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Treasury warns against "theoretical" CCS: Government must release advice

Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today called on the Rudd Government to release Treasury advice that reportedly warns against a $5 billion investment in geosequestration of greenhouse emissions from coal, apparently to be announced in tomorrow's Green Paper.

A source in today's Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun calls geosequestration a "theoretical approach" and says "Not only is it very costly, no one knows whether it is a realistic storage solution for carbon emissions." However, the Rudd Government reportedly plans to push ahead with this expensive and risky option against the Treasury advice.

Senator Milne said, "Is the Rudd Government really so blinded by coal dust that it is willing to brush aside Treasury's warnings against geosequestration, and continue to ignore the real opportunities to slash emissions that are ready to roll out now?

"If a doctor were to tell a lung cancer patient that they should ignore existing curative treatment, keep on smoking, and wait for a theoretical treatment which might become available in 15 years, they would be rightly condemned and most likely struck off.

"Why, then, is it OK for a Government, elected at least in part on a platform of dealing responsibly with climate change, to sideline the tremendous energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that exist right now and throw their financial and rhetorical weight behind an imaginary technofix?

"Martin Ferguson, who clearly sees his job as Minister for Coal and Uranium, has made it clear that the support for geosequestration is about protecting the future of the coal industry. This is about legitimising ongoing coal profits at the expense of everyone and everything else.

"If the Government plans to make this announcement in tomorrow's Green Paper, they must first release Treasury's modelling of both options: modelling that includes geosequestration and modelling that leaves it out as untried in favour of the proven energy efficiency and renewable energy options. If the Government only asked Treasury to model geosequestration and not a multi-billion dollar injection into efficiency and renewables, it is incumbent on Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong to explain why.

"The Government's obsessive behaviour defies any logical explanation. It is a sad indictment that Australia's so-called leaders cannot and will not imagine a life that leapfrogs coal."

Senator Milne will be in Canberra for the release of the Green Paper tomorrow, and will be available for comment both before and after the release.

The Greens' priorities for the Green Paper can be found <a href="

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