I found this quite amazing, and encouraging.
THE world’s largest miner, BHP Billiton, has weighed into the climate change debate, warning that Australia should ”look beyond coal” and towards other energy sources.
The chief executive of BHP, Marius Kloppers, said Australia’s economy will suffer if it does not significantly reduce its carbon emissions in anticipation of a global carbon price .
”Failure to do so will place us at a competitive disadvantage in a future where carbon is priced globally,” he said.
BHP is one of the world’s largest producers of thermal coal, which made up about 8 per cent of its revenue last year. And while BHP and the broader mining industry have acknowledged the need for action on climate change, Mr Kloppers is now calling for Australia to take a lead on the issue.
The mining industry, through the Minerals Council of Australia, was one of the most fierce opponents of the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme.
The call by Mr Kloppers, made at a business lunch in Sydney, is unlikely to be given a warm political reception. Both sides of politics are too scared to canvass the end of the coal industry because of the votes they would lose. Instead, both back the development of clean coal technology, such as carbon capture and storage.
Mr Kloppers stressed the need for a clear price signal on carbon emissions and recommended a combination of a carbon tax, land use actions and a limited emissions trading system, which could apply to electricity generators. He said Australia’s energy production was particularly carbon intensive and the highest among OECD countries in terms of tonnes of carbon emitted per unit of energy. Coal-fired power stations account for almost half of the country’s emissions.
”Australia will need to look beyond just coal towards the full spectrum of available energy solutions,” he said…
Among items on that spectrum one might count a fascinating entry in The New Inventors last night:
Solar Paint is an environmentally friendly solar cell technology that will allow every household in Australia to generate their own electricity, affordably and sustainably. The invention involves the development of a completely printable organic solar cell based on semiconducting polymer nanoparticles dispersed in water. Essentially these tiny particles in suspension are a water-based paint, which can be printed or coated over large areas. In the first instance these coatings will be put onto plastic sheets that can be placed on the roof of a house. However, in the longer term it will be possible to directly paint a roof or building surface.
About the Inventor
Professor Paul Dastoor is a Professor of Physics at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He received his B.A. degree in Natural Sciences and his PhD in Surface Physics, also from the University of Cambridge. After completing his doctorate he joined the Surface Chemistry Department at British Steel before taking up his present appointment at the University of Newcastle. He was an EPSRC Visiting Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK in 2002 and a CCLRC Visiting Research Fellow at the Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire, UK in 2004 – 05. He has published over 60 papers in refereed journals and has extensive commercialisation experience with 3 patents. He is the Founding Director of the Centre for Organic Electronics at the University of Newcastle that is focussed on the development of electronic devices based on semi-conducting polymers. These exciting materials offer the tantalising prospect of paints that generate electricity directly from sunlight.