Science facts are useful - Greenhouse 2009 reaffirms urgency of action on warming

WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) acknowledges the combined efforts of scientists from a range of disciplines to continue the development of science at the Greenhouse 2009. Papers presented at Greenhouse 2009 show that global warming is accelerating.

WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)


Media Release - 24 March 2009

Science facts are useful - Greenhouse 2009 reaffirms urgency of action on warming.


WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) acknowledges the combined efforts of scientists from a range of disciplines to continue the development of science at the Greenhouse 2009 meeting in Perth, 23-27 March 2009.

The four day Greenhouse 2009 conference in Perth has featured presentations by the Federal Climate Change Minister, Senator Penny Wong, and by the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett as well as of course a great many of the world's leading scientists working on growing the knowledge base and delivering this to the community.

Every qualified scientific body in the world, from the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chinese Academy of Science, accepts unequivocally that global warming is a reality - it is being measured - and agrees that warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The enormous gathering of science and scientists at Greenhouse 2009 shows there is no dispute within the expert community as to the reality or causes of man-made global warming. In science, just because all the experts agree doesn't make them right - it just makes them extremely unlikely to be wrong.

Papers presented at Greenhouse 2009 show that global warming is accelerating.

Science informs the community - it is the community's role to decide if the consequences of climate change are acceptable based on the scientific advice. Many scientists are working to inform the community and strongly encouraging governments and the business community to respond accordingly.

"The only long-term commodity is innovation, and to tap it, we need a diversity of tools including regulatory measures and incentives for rapid uptake of existing technologies that can deliver low emissions energy today, and further develop those technologies," says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA.

"Rebuilding long-neglected infrastructure and investing in research, new technologies and sustainable energy are part of what defines economic opportunity in the 21st Century," says Dr Wills.

"At the same time we need to put in place transitionary measures that also contribute to the reduction," says Dr Wills.

In reducing carbon emissions into the next decade, and in the absence of commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, effective management of coal in energy generation into the next decade must be closing old inefficient coal-fired power stations in a short time frame. However, with the threat of global warming, it is certainly no longer appropriate to build old-fashioned coal fired power stations with low thermal efficiency. Inefficient coal must be penalised in an emissions trading system and this will create an environment for replacement of those units by power stations with much greater thermal efficiency.

One option would be to replace old generation with more efficient, supercritical coal-fired generation. A better option is to transition to lower emissions technology, high efficiency combined cycle gas-fired cogeneration will be a valuable technology for energy generation.

"There are two primary weaknesses of gas as a low emissions solution: supply and world markets."

"No-one can absolutely guarantee energy supply, and the use of fossil fuels is not a guarantee of energy supply. The bottleneck of gas supplies from the North West Shelf creating an energy generation crisis for Perth and the south-west first in January 2008, and re-emerged in June 2008, and highlights the need for more urgent action to create diversified generation capacity for south-west Western Australia, and so minimise the risk of outages."

"Natural gas has a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy. But restrictions in the gas market could compromise Western Australia's ability to both sustain the economy and meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. Stepping up with additional renewable energy projects now will diversity energy supplies and reduce this risk in the future. And a recovery of the world's economies will guarantee higher gas prices, and mean that renewable energy projects will continue to become more economically competitive and more affordable."

"The challenge today is to embed sustainable policies into national economies."

Media Contact:
Dr Ray Wills 0430 365 607

Editors notes:
1. Greenhouse 2009 website - http://www.greenhouse2009.com/
2. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses variously promoting, developing and/or adopting sustainable energy technologies and services that minimise the use of energy through sustainable energy practices and maximise the use of energy from sustainable sources. WA SEA is supported by a growing membership of 225 industry members from a diversity of businesses. www.wasea.com.au.

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