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Australian Parliament Adopts 20 Percent Renewables Standard By 2020

Australia’s Parliament has passed a law requiring that 20 percent of the country’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, an increase from the current level of 8 percent. The standard, which matches the European Union’s, means that the households of all 21 million Australians could be powered by renewable energy in a decade. Green Party leaders said, however, that the standard should be 30 percent, and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong noted that even with the new renewable standard, the nation’s CO2 emissions are expected to be 20 percent above 2000 levels in 2020 because of the growth of the Australian economy. Meanwhile, a new report shows that electricity generated by renewable sources in the U.S. reached an all-time high in May, with alternative energy accounting for 13 percent of total electrical generation. That’s 7.7 percent higher than May 2008, with most of the growth coming from wind and solar power. Hydropower remains the largest source of renewable energy, accounting for 9.4 percent of U.S. electricity production.

This piece originally appeared on Yale's e360 Digest

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While I'm glad of the goal, we won't HAVE a population of 21 million by 2020. We're going up a million every 3 years due to high immigration. We'll be what, 24 million by then? That's a lot of extra Co2 producers.

Posted by: Eclipse Now on 21 Aug 09

...and let's bear in mind the following:
* the Australian govt remains wedded to coal, and is the world's 4th largest producer and single largest exporter of the stuff
* it's actively pursuing the expansion of uranium mining
* a fairly recent article of New Scientist magazine points out that Australia has ample geothermal reserves to power it's domestic needs
* ghost power / standby power (electricity used to power appliances which aren't actively being used at the time, eg clocks on microwaves, etc) is variously reported as being betwwen about 12% - 30% of average domestic power consumption, according to various sources I've seen while working in the RE industry, so a considerable chunk of the emissions being made are for ABSOLUTELY no gain
* ...not to mention the power gluttony of many appliances, like plasma TV's, drawing around 2kW simply to show a TV picture)
* the Australian Labor Party (the party in govt in Australia) got elected by campaigning that the incumbent Liberal party were "asleep on climate change", and then implemented deliriously weak CO2 reduction targets which are on par with those of the Liberal party they replaced... and the govt seems keen to facilitate "business as usual" for the big polluters in industry...

If ever we've needed radical change, it's now...

Posted by: Ken T on 22 Aug 09

for an incisive look at the above issue, see the following article in Australia's Green Left Weekly:

Posted by: Ken T on 23 Aug 09

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