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Questions raised after resources minister says Australia should invest in coal power to reduce emissions

Michael Slezak reports in The Guardian (17.1.17) on comments from the federal resources minister, north Queensland's Matt Canavan, suggesting that improved technoloogy at coal-fired power stations would drastically reduce Australia's carbon emissions, prompting queries and criticisms from economists and energy analysts.

'Research touted by the resources minister that reportedly suggests Australia can rely on coal to meet emissions reduction has been attacked by experts and appears to have been misreported.

'The Australian reported on Tuesday that research conducted by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science – and commissioned by Matt Canavan, the federal minister for resources – showed Australia could cut its emissions by 27% if it replaced its existing coal power stations with the more efficient “ultra-supercritical” technology.

'If true, that would get the country close to its 2030 target, which is a reduction of 28% below 2005 levels.

'However, a summary of the analysis seen by Guardian Australia suggests the new coal technology – under a very expensive demolition and construction program – could reduce Australia’s emissions by 12% at most.

'In fact, to reduce Australia’s emissions by 27% by relying on reductions in the electricity industry alone, the sector’s emissionswould need to be reduced to almost zero. Australia’s entire electricity sector only accounts for about a third of its carbon emissions.'


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