Thursday, 3 December 2009

How to drag money out of dumb people

Herald Sun
Thursday 26/11/2009 Page: 75

Well what do the pebble headed Fred Flintstones's and Barney Rubble's and all their dinosaur supporters have to say for themselves now that they have forced climate change law to slip through a crack in the rocks? You know that saying, don't wish too hard because you might get what you asked for? That is exactly what has happened, courtesy of the deniers and sceptics of Australia.

They argued for so long and so hard to strip credibility from the science that shows that human activity has caused global warming that our politicians became confused and agreed on an emissions trading scheme that will not reduce carbon pollution, but perversely will make marketeers and polluters richer by giving big emitters a licence to continue emitting. It is a scheme with no incentives for investors to bankroll new technologies that can satisfy energy demands without producing waste or carbon emissions.

In Spain, Germany, the US and even China and India, billions of dollars are being invested in renewable energy. For more on these progressive energy sectors visit: http://beyondzeroemissions.org/ media/radio, where you can hear interviews with international experts working in advanced energy sectors in some of the biggest developed and developing economies.

Get it straight from the horse's mouth and not from the soapboxes of Australian deniers unfamiliar with the exciting energy innovations that are already commercialised overseas. Although very much in the minority, these deniers are so generously funded by the fossil fuel and mining sector they can draw on limitless resources to cast unfounded doubt on the accepted science that the planet is warming because we burn too much coal, oil and gas.

And now they are claiming that a handful of old, disjointed and out of context email exchanges between British scientists proves that human induced climate change science is a "fraud", to quote Adelaide academic Ian Plimer, one of the chief engineers of global warming scepticism. What rot.

Sadly, the deniers have achieved sufficient ambivalence in the minds of enough politicians about the impact of atmospheric carbon dioxide, that this week both parties did a dirty deal to further dilute the inappropriately named carbon pollution reduction scheme.

This anachronistic piece of legislation is more than ever a carbon pollution reward scheme. The deal on the table now gives an elite group of powerful companies with influential lobbyists an extra $7 billion in handouts, on top of the billions previously promised, when emissions trading begins.

When this new carbon market is up and running in 2011, what will happen is that "new ways will be created to drag money out of dumb people", to quote an unnamed source who makes a living out of taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities in financial markets. And yet, this is exactly what the deniers have so forcefully argued should be avoided. But they wished so hard, their efforts have backfired and now the rest of the economy will suffer.

If the sceptical Plimer had stuck to his knitting, which is mining and geology and not economics or renewable energy, instead of labelling climate science a "fraud", our House of Reps may have been more responsible this week. Hopefully, enough senators will have the sense to block the CPRS when it's their turn to vote. If on the other hand, Plimer has some insight that escapes the rest of us, if he truly can see the past and the future of the planet, is he applying his talent to assess the fortunes of the mining companies he is associated with? If so, perhaps his supporters should put their money where their faith is and invest in them.

According to Australian Securities and Investments Commission records, Plimer is a director of Broken Hill Operations, Ivanhoe Australia and CBH Resources. He is also deputy chairman of British-based gold and copper explorer Kefi Minerals.

Previously, he sat on the boards of Kimberley Metals, Orion Metals, AXG Mining, Bemax Resources and EIM Resources - all mining companies.

Business laments deal delay

Australian
Tuesday 1/12/2009 Page: 4

BUSINESS leaders were viewing the uncertainty surrounding the government's emissions trading scheme and the Coalition's possible alternative climate change policies with increasing alarm yesterday. The industry most affected by the introduction of any carbon price aluminium said the ETS deal negotiated between Malcolm Turnbull and the Rudd government was probably the best it was going to get. aluminium.org.au/" target="_blank">Australian Aluminium Council executive director Miles Prosser said: "This ETS deal addresses a lot of our concerns. We would rather see it go through because we can't see the circumstances emerging that would deliver a better outcome."

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, representing the LNG industry among others, was concerned that a policy vacuum would mean more piecemeal regulation. APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson said: "We made real progress in the ETS negotiations.., above all else, we do not now want to see a return to a piecemeal uncoordinated approach to climate change through state and federal regulations."

Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte, an outspoken critic of earlier versions of the government scheme, wrote to the Opposition Leader yesterday saying passage of an amended ETS would provide the LNG industry with vital investment certainty. The Business Council of Australia said its views had not changed since a statement released last week "commending' the deal and saying it would "enable Australian businesses to plan for and make the required decisions about investments to transition Australia to a low-emissions economy".

The Energy Supply Association of Australia was concerned at the prospect of delay and the suggestion that the Coalition could favour reducing emissions through regulation. ESAA executive director Brad Page said: "We really need to see a final carbon policy sooner rather than later because large-scale investment is waiting for it." Mitch Hooke, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, which has opposed the government's ETS model, said a deferral "gives us the opportunity to get the design right".

"We know we have to have a carbon price but we can look at partial auctioning under a better designed ETS, or at a carbon tax," he said. Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said his members strongly supported the passage of the CPRS. "Delaying the certainty of a carbon price simply delays investor certainty. The most important thing is to make a start on these investments." he said.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Stop wasting energy, there's money in it

Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 28/11/2009 Page: 7

Cutting energy waste maybe the only thing we can all agree on at the fag end of a divisive debate about the best way of tackling climate change in Australia. As it happens that is the most productive area we could possibly focus on, environmentally and economically. One proposal that may emerge from the carbon pollution reduction scheme now before Parliament is the creation of a prime ministerial task group to develop a broad-based market mechanism to promote energy efficiency in 2010. Ho hum, you say? No money in it? Wrong.

Energy efficiency is the fastest growing carbon abatement market of all, according to HSBC's recent Climate Annual Index Review. HSBC estimated that the global market for energy efficiency in 2009 was$US164 billion ($178 billion) and would grow to more than $US600 billion by2020.

Clean coal versus renewable energy versus nuclear gets all the headlines. But the International Energy Agency expects 63% of the world's emissions reductions by2030-needed to meet an inadequate 450 ppm carbon dioxide stabilisation target will come from energy efficiency. A 2007 Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics study estimated energy efficiency would directly account for 55% of Australia's carbon abatement by 2050.

This is what energy experts call plucking the low-hanging fruit. Last year McKinsey & Co ranked carbon abatement strategies from cheapest to dearest, and showed many energy-efficiency strategies have a negative cost-that is, they make you money. In the commercial property sector, for example, McKinsey & Co says we can save $130 for each tonne of carbon dioxide pollution avoided.

This puts into perspective the debate about whether Australia meets its international emissions reduction obligations at home or by importing carbon credits-for example, paying to leave rainforests standing in developing countries while continuing to burn coal here like there's no tomorrow. Energy efficiency strategies are the cheapest abatement of all.

At the household level, this means "50 ways to beat the new green tax", as touted by one newspaper this week during this week's parliamentary negotiations. Too right. Let's change our globes (didn't we already?), hang out our clothes and wash the dishes by hand - or at least fill the dishwasher before turning it on. Such steps seem obvious but are we really going to beat climate change by killing the standby switch? Rightly or wrongly, it feels trivial.

Technology won't do the hard work for its. Mark Lister, from the Alliance to Save Energy, says in almost all cases the energy efficiency dividend from use of better technology over the years has been taken up as increased consumption. Demand continues to grow at about 2% a year - higher than population growth. Though we have more efficient fridges than we did a decade ago, they are bigger and there's a spare beer or wine fridge out the back. Add in air conditioners and plasma TVs, McMansions and SUVs, and you get the idea. Things have got worse, not better, in housing and transport.

Meanwhile prodigious amounts of energy are wasted by business, which dwarf anything householders can come at. Rob Murray-Leach, chief executive of the Energy Efficiency Council, says Australia is well behind Europe and the US. Historically, low energy prices have made its sloppy in our energy use-although it gets complicated when you start trying to put figures around sloppy. At its lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie, for example, the Belgian company, Nyrstar, last year found annual savings of $5.5 million after doing an assessment with the federal energy department.

Or take the Moomba gas plant in South Australia, where Murray-Leach says Santos found it could reduce energy use by a third - enough to power 100,000 homes. In commercial buildings, energy efficiency retrofits routinely achieve energy savings of 40-50%. The profits, often measured in payback periods counted in years, are real but are too small for most property investors to bother about.

The visiting TEA energy efficiency chief, Nigel Jollands, who recently called our commercial building standards "appalling", hopefully gave a wake-up call to an industry that pats itself on the back every time it announces a new green star rated office building but has been lax on maintaining and improving the existing stock. The potential savings in this sector are guaranteed.

One Sydney company, EP&T, which has partnerships with the likes of Westfield, Colonial, GPT, Macquarie and Investa, is launching a service in which it stumps up the money for retrofits and reaps a return from the savings. That's not to say energy efficiency is easy. It's the ultimate marathon, as constant technological improvement increases potential savings against "business as usual" - itself a moveable feast. Plus it's a marathon with obstacles. Worst of all, our national energy market encourages participants to increase energy use.

Then there are cultural issues, information and skills deficits and downright pig-headedness or what economists call "bounded rationality"- when people don't behave optimally, in this case refusing to save money. Another obstacle would be the pollution reduction scheme itself. Currently structured, it would increase energy prices a little, shortening pay back periods from efficiency improvements. But demand is stubbornly price-inelastic.

Worse, according to energy expert Richard Dennis from the Australia Institute, the scheme would create structural impediments to a fair allocation of the return from investment in energy efficiency. "Say a large commercial property owner spends a lot of money on energy efficiency. It's true that they capture the savings in electricity - their bill will fall - but it's their electricity generator who will make money from sale of spare permits."

What is needed (and what could be introduced next year) is a complementary mechanism to the planned scheme to create an economic incentive to pursue energy efficiency - particularly in the commercial and industrial sector, because the carbon trust is meant to promote voluntary energy reduction in the household sector.

Mark Lister says a full policy response to climate change - as proposed in the US under the Waxman-Markey emissions trading scheme would have three strands, a "white certificate" scheme to promote energy efficiency, alongside "green" certificates under the renewable energy target regime, and "black" pollution permits as outlined under the CPRS. That's for next year.

Call to develop solar power station in WA

www.abc.net.au
Nov 28, 2009

The energy retailer Synergy Energy has called for expressions of interest to build a solar energy station in Western Australia. It is seeking projects up to 50 MWs in size to feed into the South West Interconnected System and provide power to households from Kalbarri to Albany. The Energy Minister Peter Collier says the expressions of interest can be for either direct or indirect solar energy.

Mr Collier says the government is committed to the national target of having 20 per cent of the state's electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020. He says solar energy will be vital to achieving this goal. Proponents will be encouraged to seek funding from the Federal Government's Solar Flagships program.

Brumby urged to clear cloud over solar plant

www.smh.com.au
November 29, 2009

THE State Government is being pressured to step in to ensure Australia's largest solar energy power plant goes ahead at Mildura, with renewable-energy campaigners saying more than 1000 jobs are at stake. The Abbotsford-based company behind the plant, Solar Systems, was placed in receivership in September after failing to attract additional funding to build the $420 million plant. More than 100 workers owed $4 million in entitlements were made redundant. A public meeting to be held in Fitzroy on Thursday night will call on the Government to guarantee that the plant is built, or risk losing a further 950 potential jobs.

The ''Renewable is Do-able, Green Jobs for Victoria'' campaign was launched when Solar Systems went into receivership. The company needs $50 million to $100 million to make the Mildura solar plant operational. When it was launched, the Federal and State governments pledged $125 million in grants, only a fraction of which have been delivered. Solar Systems administrator Stephen Longley, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said a decision on whether the company would be sold or go into liquidation would be made tomorrow week at a second creditors' meeting.

''Save Solar Systems'' campaign spokesman Chris Breen said organisers wanted the Government to immediately intervene to guarantee that the company's Abbotsford factory would remain open, the redundant workers reinstated and the solar energy plant built. ''We want the Government to step in and do whatever it takes to make the Mildura solar energy plant happen,'' Mr Breen said. ''If Solar Systems folds, no other company in Australia currently has the technological capability to build the plant. If we don't get large-scale renewable energy there, then when and where will we get it?''

One sacked worker, Diamond Creek engineer David Turner, is relying on the Government to ensure the plant goes ahead so he can get his job back. ''We knew the company was trying to raise money but we didn't think the situation was so dire,'' he said. ''The point is the technology is here and we just need a bit more willpower to get it over the line.''

The collapse of Solar Systems, which has been blamed on the global financial crisis, is a significant blow for the renewable energy industry and has cast doubts on a $50 million State Government grant and a $75 million Commonwealth grant earmarked for the project. The State Government has handed over only $500,000 of its grant to Solar Systems, and none of the federal funding has been delivered.

A spokeswoman for Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the Government was working closely with administrators to sell the business. ''Our $50 million was provided to build the solar energy station, not for the operation of the company, and the operational matters will be determined by the administration,'' she said. ''The Government is still keen to see a solar energy station built.''

The 154-MW solar plant was to have produced enough energy to power 45,000 homes, create 950 jobs and save an estimated 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas a year. Solar Systems planned to use photovoltaic solar cells to concentrate the sun's power by 500 times and feed the energy into the national power grid by 2013. A pilot plant to demonstrate the technology has been completed at Bridgewater, central Victoria, but construction has not begun on the main project.

The project ran into trouble in July when Hong Kong-based energy company China Light and Power (CLP Group) refused to provide additional funding unless another company stepped in to share the risks. CLP Group announced a month later that it would write off its $53 million investment in Solar Systems. Solar Systems investors who could face big losses include tennis great Ken Rosewall, millionaire playboy Adrian Valmorbida, and political and media identities John and Janet Calvert-Jones.

Duke Energy project to store wind energy

www.commodityonline.com
2009-11-27

NORTH CAROLINA, USA (Commodity Online): Duke Energy has received a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, build and install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at one of its wind farms in Texas. The batteries at Duke Energy's Notrees Windpower Project in Ector and Winkler counties, Texas, will store excess wind energy and discharge it whenever demand for electricity is highest – not just when wind turbine blades are turning.

The prevailing technology used at wind and solar farms throughout the world allows electricity to be produced only when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. The intent of the Notrees grant is to demonstrate how energy storage can help overcome this issue, often referred to as "intermittency." Meeting demand for energy with stored renewable power instead of electricity from conventional generation sites that burn coal or natural gas may also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Energy storage truly has the potential to serve as a 'game-changer' when it comes to renewable power," said Wouter van Kempen, president of Duke Energy Generation Services, a Duke Energy unit that owns and develops renewable energy assets. "Through this project, Duke Energy intends to show that renewables can play an even bigger role in our country's energy future."

This project represents one of the nation's first demonstrations of energy storage at a utility-scale windfarm. The 95 wind turbines in operation at Duke Energy's Notrees site can generate 151 MWs (MW) of clean, renewable electricity. In April 2009, Walmart began purchasing energy directly from the Notrees project to power up to 15% of its stores and facilities in Texas.

The total value of the 20-MW energy storage project at Duke Energy's Notrees site is $43.6 million. The DOE grant was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, known informally as the federal stimulus program. Duke Energy and DOE must negotiate the terms and conditions of the grant before any funds are released.

In addition, Duke Energy will work with the Energy Reliability Council of Texas to understand the project's implications and establish requirements for its implementation. The Electric Power Research Institute will provide advisory services to Duke Energy throughout the development of this energy storage project.

Can we trust the doom-laden eco-loonies on global warming?

www.pressandjournal.co.uk
27/11/2009

THERE are more than a few red faces among the climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) after computer hackers allegedly revealed the contents of e-mails that the scientists sent to each other on the internet. In fact, it is estimated that if their faces get much hotter, their noses will melt like the polar ice caps that they've been banging on about for so long.

One of the e-mails that caused the climatic scaremongers the most embarrassment was the one that reads: "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps for each series for the last 20 years and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Professor Phil Jones, the university's CRU director, dismisses any notion that this e-mail suggests that there was any attempt to cover up the fact that, far from getting warmer, the Earth's temperature has actually been dropping for the last 10 years. He and others of a like mind would have us believe that it was just an unfortunate choice of words. Although, to the neutral observer, it is difficult to see how the words "trick" and "hide" could be quite as innocent as the good professor would have us believe.

The story caused barely a ripple in the British media. I caught one item on one of the TV channels that featured a climate scientist sitting on a beach with a lot of black and white shells. He explained, rather unconvincingly, I thought, that we have always had hot spells and cold spells and argued that the hot spells were getting more frequent while the cold spells weren't. As he spoke, he threw away the black shells, representing the cold spells, until he had only white shells left. As a piece of scientific mumbo-jumbo this was hard to beat.

I was more impressed by historic climatologist Tim Ball, who was interviewed on YouTube on the subject of those e-mails. He claimed that the exposure of the said files was confirmation of the collusion that has been going on between scientists who have a vested interest in promoting the global warming theory. He pointed out that a small group of 43 scientists have been publishing their doom-laden tomes and reviewing each other's work in a cosy "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine" set-up.

He revealed that one of the leading lights in the eco-loony campaign had suggested to another scientist who had managed to infiltrate their ranks that they bury the mediaeval warm period in order to give their global warming argument more bite. Tim Ball points out that Greenland was actually warmer 1,000 years ago when Vikings strutted their stuff. What seems to have upset him as much as anything else was the blatant contempt the e-mails showed for anyone who dared to question this cabal of scientists.

There are too many people making too much money out of this climate-change business, and too many politicians climbing on the global warming bandwagon in order to curry favour with the sandal-wearing beardies for anybody to dare to challenge this new religion. And it's not just the likes of Al Gore, who has picked up an Oscar for his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, and become rich by investing in windmills and such like, who are profiting from this message of doom.

A neighbour of mine used to sell ships, but he had the sense to get out of that business a few years ago when he saw the way the wind was blowing and now he's making money hand over fist flogging windmills all over Scotland. He has every reason to be grateful to Mr Gore for spreading his global-warming gospel, although some critics of Gore's award-winning propaganda piece have pointed out that he used graphs linking CO2 and temperature that have since been discredited scientifically.

The shots of drowned polar bears that plucked at the heartstrings of millions of schoolchildren who were exposed to the documentary have since been revealed to have been of bears that were killed in a storm. The latest survey on the polar bear population shows that their numbers are greater than they have been for years.

In his book Real Global Warming Disaster, Christopher Booker says: "The world's politicians are poised to impose on us far and away the most costly set of measures that any group of politicians has ever proposed in the history of the world – measures so destructive that even if half of them were implemented, they would take us back to the Dark Ages." If you think this is all a bit academic, consider how much your gas and electricity bills will increase by over the coming years in order to pay for all this so-called renewable energy.

Billions of pounds will have to be spent covering the countryside in those windmills, and then there's the wave power project to be paid for. Meanwhile, Scotland is sitting on 10% of all the coal reserves in Europe and will continue to sit on it while our leaders are still persuaded by the argument put forward by a bunch of scientists who are feathering their nests with the largesse handed over to them by the windmill manufacturers and their ilk.

But what do I know? So let's give the final word to Professor Richard Lindzen, a leading atmospheric scientist, who writes: "Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st-century's developed world went into a hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature of a few tenths of a degree and.., proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age."

Well, we might be contemplating such a rollback in this neck of the woods, but you can bet your life that China and India will be harbouring no such notions. Nor will any other country with a titter of wit.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Government fiddles around the edges while Australia burns

www.smh.com.au
November 27, 2009

In 1992, in response to the threat of global warming, the governments of the world agreed to "stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system".

Recently, the G8 nations agreed to an objective of limiting global warming to only two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. The best estimate of what is needed to have a 50:50 chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere below 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases. To do that, global emissions must peak before 2015 and fall by 50 per cent to 85 per cent by 2050.

How can global emission reductions be distributed between different countries? A fair way of distributing a limited resource among a group of people is to give everyone an equal share. Children understand that this is a fair approach, even if politicians don't.

All governments in the world agreed in 1992 to the underlying principle that "developed countries should take the lead in combating climate change". Per person emissions of greenhouse gases in developed countries are four times higher than in developing countries. Australia has the highest emissions of carbon dioxide per person in the world, six times higher than the average for developing countries and even higher than the US.

For Australia, a fair share of the global emissions reduction needed to stabilise long-lived greenhouse gas concentrations at about 450 ppm would be 25 per cent to 40 per cent emissions reductions by 2020 and 90 per cent to 97 per cent reductions by 2050. The Federal Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) is an ambitious attempt to introduce an emissions trading scheme as a market-based approach.

Such a scheme has the potential to introduce short-term and long-term targets for emissions reductions, such as 25 per cent emissions reduction by 2020 and 90 per cent emissions reduction by 2050. However, such a scheme can only be effective if it is comprehensive in including all emission sources, such as transport and agriculture, and if there is minimal compensation for the highest emitters. The principle of "the polluter pays" seems to have been reversed in the proposed CPRS, as the biggest emitters are likely to receive the largest financial hand-outs.

The recent negotiations between the Government and the Liberal Party have led to some improvements to the CPRS. The expansion of terrestrial carbon offsets is likely to drive profound improvements to the way we farm in Australia and how we manage our land. It will put a price on carbon and create new market opportunities to protect and restore degraded land at an almost unimaginable scale. Of course, the additional compensation to the worst emitters also puts more costs on to all taxpayers.

Australian governments' policies on population growth, encouraging immigration and an increasing birth rate, also make it more difficult to reduce emissions. This encouragement for increasing population in Australia is completely at odds with the claimed aims of tackling climate change. Every additional person in Australia is likely to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the highest per person rate in the world, making the problem much worse.

The Victorian Government's ambitious green paper on climate change includes discussion of many important actions to respond to climate change through both adaptation and emissions reduction. But the Government appears unwilling or unable to accept that an urgent whole-of-government approach is needed, with limits on population growth, a strategy to phase out brown coal power stations, huge investment in low-carbon energy sources and public transport, and regulations requiring dramatic improvement in energy efficiency.

The CPRS and its market-based mechanisms need to be complemented by regulations that overcome the likely market failures over the coming decade. Victoria has benefited from cheap energy from brown coal, which is the worst energy source in the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy produced. The sooner that electricity production from brown coal is phased out, the better off the world will be.

If government is to deal seriously with climate change, it should separate quality of life and economic growth from growth of greenhouse gas emissions by moving rapidly to zero-carbon energy sources. There are many opportunities for new green jobs and green industries.

Australia has tremendous resources of energy from a wide range of renewable sources, with more total solar energy input received by Australia than any other country in the world, and more potential sources of wind energy, wave power and geothermal power per person than any other country.

Good government requires urgent and substantial action to rapidly transform to a low-carbon, sustainable society. Delaying a decision is to make climate change worse, and more difficult and more costly to combat. History will judge our governments' responses. So far, they have been inadequate.

David Karoly is a professor in the school of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne and played a key role in a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Italy's solar power capacity rises to 700 MW: GSE

www.reuters.com
Nov 26, 2009

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's total capacity of the photovoltaic (PV) installations that turn sunlight into power has risen to 700.7 MWs from 650 MW a month ago, the state-run energy management agency GSE said on Thursday. The number of PV installations on stream in Italy, a major solar energy market in Europe, rose to 56,285 now from about 53,000 a month ago, GSE said in an update on the sector.

Italy may well reach a total PV installed capacity of 800 MW by the end of this year and hit 1,200 MW by the summer of 2010, Gert Gremes, chairman of Italy's PV association GIFI told Reuters, confirming his earlier forecast. PV installations mushroomed in Italy from about 22 MW in early 2007 after the government launched a new incentive plan that was among the most generous in Europe. The government intends to cut incentives to ease the budget burden.

The industry which needs clarity on new incentive scheme to plan future investments expects the government to announce its new plan by the end of this year or in January at the latest, Gremes said on the sidelines of a PV conference. The southern region of Puglia, with 96.6 MW of installed capacity, is Italy's leader by PV capacity, while the northern region of Lombardy has the most installations, numbering 8,630, with a total capacity of nearly 84.9 MW, GSE said. Installed PV capacity in Italy is expected to rise above 900 MW by the end of this year and reach 1,500 MW in 2010, a GSE official said in September.

Howard goes silent on the ETS - Former PM A Climate Change Believer

Australian
Friday 27/11/2009 Page: 5

JOHN Howard refused yesterday to weigh into the debate over whether the Coalition should support the Rudd government's emission trading bills, as opposition frontbenchers dramatically abandoned their leader over his handling of the issue.

The former prime minister's refusal to comment on the deal struck with Kevin Rudd comes about two weeks after he said Labor's ETS was similar to the scheme the Coalition took to the last election. "What Mr Rudd is proposing is not all that different from what I took to the last election," Mr Howard told News Limited newspapers on November 8.

Yesterday, however, Mr Howard declined to comment on the question of whether the Coalition should support the scheme, which has triggered extraordinary Liberal Party ructions. "Since leaving parliament, I have remained silent on day-today policy issues confronting the opposition. I do not intend to alter that approach in relation to the ETS," Mr Howard said.

After refusing for many years to sign the Kyoto Protocol or implement an ETS in Australia, Mr Howard changed his mind before the last election, after a report from his hand-picked emissions trading taskforce led by the head of his department, Peter Shergold. In June 2007, he told the Liberal Party federal council in Sydney the nation needed to respond to man-made climate change.

"I announce specifically that Australia will move towards a domestic emissions trading system, that's a cap-and-trade system beginning no later than 2012," he said. Mr Howard said emissions reduction targets would be set in 2008, after detailed economic modelling of the impact of the scheme on the economy and families.

"The scheme will be national in scope and as comprehensive as practicable, designed to take account of global developments and to preserve the competitiveness of our trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries," he said at the time. The following month, unveiling further details of his ETS policy, Mr Howard declared he had become convinced that human activity was causing the planet to warm.

"over time the scientific evidence that the climate is warming has become quite compelling and the link between emissions of greenhouse gases from human activity and higher temperatures is also convincing," he said.

In contrast to the current strong objections of Liberal MPs to implementing an ETS before Copenhagen, Mr Howard said: "Being among the first movers on carbon trading in this region will bring new opportunities and we intend to grasp them."

Solar plan falls short of promise

Courier Mail
Friday 27/11/2009 Page: 5

ONLY two suppliers have joined the State government's program to deliver 200,000 discounted solar hot water systems as doubts continue over whether it can fully deliver on an election promise.

Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson revealed yesterday that 110 systems would be installed in homes by the end of this week and 850 customers had now been allocated to a supplier, well short of the 40,000 it had initially hoped to install in the first year of a three-year plan. A second company, Ecovation, has now joined the program to supply the systems for $500 or $100 for pensioners.

But when asked if the Government was still on track to deliver on its election promise, Mr Robertson indicated the program was subject to the Commonwealth retaining its solar hot water rebate and more suppliers agreeing to join the scheme. Opposition MP Jeff Seeney said homeowners should not "hold your breath" waiting for their systems to be installed.