Ken Stewart, March 2011
Four times I heard on ABC radio this morning, confirmed by a Google search, that China has unveiled a plan to produce 11% of its power from non-fossil (i.e. nuclear) fuels by 2015, and to cap its energy consumption from fossil fuels at 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent. Wow! And just in time to shame Australians who aren’t keen on Julia Gillard’s (or anyone’s ) Carbon Tax.
Except this is not a Carbon Tax, but government regulation. Now what was it the Opposition was proposing?
I thought I’d run the old Reality Check calculator over these reported figures.
In 2009 energy consumption was about 3.06 billion tonnes of coal equivalent, but by 2010 it was up to 3.25 billion.
By 2015 China will cap its fossil fuel energy consumption at 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent.
That’s an increase of “only” 23% in 5 years. Up by nearly a quarter.
Compare that with Australia’s 2008-2009 figures: using the approximate conversion factor of 1 tonne of coal = 29.3 Gigajoules, about 0.197 billion tonnes of coal equivalent (source: ABARE).
That’s right, China will increase its fossil fuel use by three and a half times Australia’s annual total.
It’s the cap you have when you’re not having a cap.
And no doubt the Greens and ALP will hail this as a reason to introduce the Carbon Tax.