Wednesday, 3 June 2009

News from Neil #1

Graphic comes from here.

Neil Rankin has sent me some stuff, so I have given this post what I think is a catchy title.  I have also labelled it Number One because I hope this will be the first of regular contributions from Neil.  Neil is a stalwart of Watershed Victoria who battle to prevent the Victorian government from building a desalination plant at Wonthaggi and giving control of a significant part of Victoria's water supply into private, indeed foreign owned, hands.

Miss Eagle is an admirer of Neil's.  A vital component of constructive activism is to have on board a person or people who can bed down the passion and the activity with solid facts, figures, research, information.  Neil makes a solid, reliable contribution in this field. He is a scientist and mathematician.  And he doesn't stay in some geeky backroom or attic either.  He speaks out and speaks out where it counts - as a speaker at public meetings, to the press.  Here he is quoted by none other than Kenneth Davidson.  Please come again, Neil.


Victorian emissions soaring, and water a culprit!

From the Federal Governments National Inventory of  Greenhouse Gas Emmissions by Economic Sector 1990-2007 (

In 2007, Victoria had the highest emissions of all the states in the electricity, gas and water sector, at 65.2 Million tonnes CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2-e).

We have eclipsed NSW who were the highest in this sector in the 1990’s.

Victoria has increased its emissions in this sector by some 40.8% between 1990 and 2007, from 46.3 to 65.2 Mt CO2-e. NSW only increased their emissions in this sector by 32.3% over the same period.

Victoria will increase its annual emissions by another 1.2 Mt CO2-e by the operation of  the proposed desalination plant (if kept to the 150 gigalitre capacity rather than the design maximum of 200 gigalitres). This represents another 2.6% increase above our 1990 levels in the water, electricity and gas sector.

Alternative water supply options could have sourced the same volume of water at not much more than a quarter the emissions. To put this another way, water supply need only have increased our emissions some 0.7% further above 1990 levels rather than the 2.6% now being proposed.

Our overall emissions must be reduced, not increased, from 1990 levels to avoid catastrophic climate change. Australia will hopefully reduce its emissions by something like 30% on 1990 levels by 2020. How will this be done when states like Victoria appear uninterested in actually reducing emissions?

Offsetting the desalination plant’s emissions with renewable energy credits will merely cover the new emissions. There will be no net reduction in emissions. Had the Victorian Government pushed the alternative water supply options, we would have had nearly three quarters of the renewable energy available, to actually offset and reduce some 1.9% of those 1990’s emissions (¾ x 2.6 = 1.9). The Victorian Government has instead decided to tie up these renewables (currently more than the quantity available) to cover their wasteful and unnecessary desalination plant.


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