A tale of two energy visions: China and Australia

● By John Mathews, Macquarie Graduate School of Management ● Over the past few weeks China and Australia have both released white papers on energy. The two documents could not be more different. Australia’s white paper is largely about our continued obsession with becoming an alternative “Saudi Arabia” of gas. It has a view we should take over as the world’s largest exporter of gas before the year 2020. The White Paper has extensive sections on building up the gas and petroleum sectors, as well as coal for export, and allowing market forces to work in the national markets for liquid fuels. In all this, the White Paper has a single paragraph on the country’s disastrous increasing dependence on petroleum products imports. The chart 2.4 (p. 18) says it all. This chart reveals how poorly Australia has been served by the oil majors. While Woodside et al have been focused on the export market for bulk liquid and gaseous fuels, Australian motorists have been left in the lurch by the rundown in refining capacity. The result: the blowout in imports of “refined petroleum products”. But this is not the only glaring inconsistency in the White Paper. Its almost exclusive focus on export prospects for oil and gas (and to some extent coal) is achieved at the cost of any serious consideration of the building of the only long-term sources of energy security, which are renewables. In place of outlining the steps needed to transform our energy structure from one depending on digging up and burning fossil fuels to one that employs sophisticated technologies — so that solar, wind, geothermal and bioenergy could play an important and growing role — we find instead mere gestures towards the issues. There are no quantitative goals apart from the already announced Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020 (itself under constant attack) ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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