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Australia Absurdly Declares Methane Burning
Clean And Renewable

By Dr Gideon Polya

26 August, 2009

Australia is the world's biggest coal exporter and a world leading annual per capita greenhouse gas polluter. It is now described by its Labor Government as a global energy superpower because of its major role in coal, liquid natural gas (LNG) and uranium exports. However, in view of the public perception of a worsening climate emergency, the Australian Government evidently believes that it has to appear to be doing something about climate change while not substantially affecting the wealth of its corporations or of  its conservative citizenry.

90% of Australian voters vote for either the extreme right wing, pro-war, pro-coal Liberal-National Party Coalition (currently in Opposition) or the extreme right wing, pro-war, pro-coal Australian Labor Party (to some aka the Apartheid Labor Party or Apartheid Israel-supporting Labor Party; currently in office Federally and in all states and territories except Western Australia), these “democratic fascists” being collectively known in Murdochracy Australia as the Lib-Labs. About 10% of Australians vote for the anti-war, pro-peace, pro-environment, pro-human rights Australian Greens.

The pro-coal Australian Government has belatedly and ostensibly acted over climate change by proposing a Carbon Trading Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) called the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme or CPRS that will actually increase Australia 's carbon pollution but which has been rejected by the Libs as too tough on Big Business and by the Greens as fraudulent and ineffective. However the Australian Government has succeeded in passing legislation for an equally dishonest  Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme that was supported by the Libs with negotiated inclusion of coal seam-derived methane as a “renewable energy source” (it is NOT)  and reluctantly supported by the Greens because a RET Scheme was required to save the ailing Australian renewable energy industry from complete collapse.

Fundamentally,  the pro-coal Australian Labor Government's approach to the global warming crisis has been to regard  it as a difficult Public Relations (PR) problem – how to pretend to be doing something about man-made global warming but actually doing the opposite in the interests of Australian, UK and US corporate interests. The name of the Australian game is to keep polluting the atmosphere with Planet-killing (terracidal) greenhouse gases (GHGs) for as long as possible. The Australian Government's approach has been  Goebbelsian (the Big Lie) and Orwellian (turning the truth on its head as in Big Brother's assertion in “1984”: “war is peace, ignorance is strength, slavery is freedom and 2 plus 2 does not equal 4”).

Some of the worst Goebbelsian and Orwellian abuses of the pro-coal, climate criminal, Bush-ite Australian Government are set out below for your amazement.

1. The Australian Government says (WRONGLY) that methane is “clean fuel” and “clean energy”.

Australian Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson (being interviewed re the A$50 billion (US$41 billion) LNG export deal with China and a $25 billion LNG export deal with India ): "LNG is part of a movement to low emissions fuel economy because it is clean energy… But it's also important to India and China that we also go forward on the climate change challenge. " [1].

Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean (being interviewed re the A$50 billion (US$41 billion) LNG deal with China and a $25 billion LNG export deal with India ): “ But it is the great deal from China in terms of a clean-energy source... We're not just selling the gas, we're also selling the [carbon capture and storage] technology.” [1].

Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean (being interviewed re the A$50 billion (US$41 billion) LNG deal with China ): “ Well, time will tell in terms of what impact on the GDP. I think that what we've got to look at is the revenue stream - $40 billion over the next 20 years. But there are other aspects of this too, Kellie, which I think are really important. Clearly Australia is now being seen as a global player by China , for gas, clean fuel. This development is also the largest single CO2 storage, so carbon sequestration. It's not just export of the gas, it's export of the technology, and obviously if China wants long-term supply from Australia, it's going to have enormous knock-on ramifications for other countries in the region that also have to secure their energy resource going forward….Australia also has gas reserves on the east coast, methane gas. So Australia positioning itself as a global supplier of clean energy to the world, I think is not just important in terms of this specific initiative, but going forward the opportunities that can be made from it.” [2].

In a letter sent to Australian media and MPs I set out the reality known to any scientifically-literate Australian High School student: “LNG is essentially methane (CH4) which on burning  yields carbon dioxide (CO2): CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O. The molecular weight (MW) of CH4 = 16; the MW of CO2 = 44.  The 2.25 million tonnes pa of LNG exported to China will generate 2.25 million tonnes x 44/16 = 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Methane from gas wells or coal seams is NOT “clean energy”, contrary to the assertions by Australian Trade Minister Crean, Resources and Energy Minister Ferguson and the Rudd Labor Government.”

2. The Australian Renewable Energy Target (RET) includes major non-renewables as “clean” renewables.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) Bill passed by the Australian Parliament (August 2009) sets a target of “20% renewable by 2020” and measures this by allotting 1 Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) per 1 MWh (megawatt hour = million watt hour) of renewable electricity generated and put into the grid. However what can be regarded as renewable energy includes a number of clearly non-renewable components. [3].

i. “Phantom renewable energy” is major part of the RET Scheme. 5 RECs are issued for every 1 MWh of solar or wind electricity put into the power grid i.e. 4/5 of the so-called renewable energy to achieve the “20% renewable by 2020” target can be phantom renewable energy. Thus 8% of electricity in Australia comes from renewables at present; however, assuming no net increase in power, the “20% renewable energy by 2020” could be achieved by merely adding a further (20-8)/5 = 12/5 = 2.4% of renewable energy (e.g. wind, solar, wave, or  tidal). [4, 5].

ii. Coal-, oil- or gas-based electricity for electric hot water (clearly non-renewable energy).

iii. Gas-based or other carbon-based electricity for solar hot water (clearly non-renewable energy).

iv. Methane gas from coal seams (clearly non-renewable energy). [6].

v. Methane gas from land-fill (clearly non-renewable energy).

vi. Geothermal energy (a huge non-carbon resource but ultimately non-renewable energy).

vii. Forest-derived biomass (a net CO2 polluting energy source, especially in SE Australian Eucalyptus regnans forests which have the highest carbon sequestration density of any forests in the world) [7-9].

viii. Terrestrial non-algal biomass in general (which, like forest-derived biomass, is a net CO2 polluting energy source due to loss of soil carbon from tillage and methane generation from any attendant anaerobic degradation of cellulose material). [10, 11]

ix. I understand that the nuclear option has not been explicitly ruled out of the Renewable Energy Target scheme (the overall nuclear cycle in a largely carbon-based economy, i.e. from uranium oxide mining and processing and plant construction to waste disposal and decommissioning, is a major CO2 polluter and uranium and thorium resources are non-renewable). [8].

x. Similarly, clean-er coal burning (as in the latest modern plants in China today) and coal burning with limited or near-complete carbon sequestration (euphemistically referred to by the Australian Government as “clean coal”, as yet undeveloped and effectively inapplicable in a 10 year time frame even if it is proven to work) may not have been ruled out of the Renewable Energy Target Scheme.

The pro-coal, Australian Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition and the pro-coal Labor Government (aka the Lib-Labs) are saying that carbon burning can be clean energy, clean fuel, green, and renewable - rubbish or indeed KRudd (the name of Australia's PM Kevin Rudd).

3. The proposed Australian ETS called the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will INCREASE Domestic and Exported Carbon Pollution.

The  most notorious assertion of the Labor Government is in the title of its Carbon Trading Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), namely the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”, which in reality on current projections will INCREASE Australia's domestic and exported greenhouse gas pollution to 180% of the 2000 value by 2050. [12].

One is left gob-smacked by the cynical Orwellian Newspeak of the pro-coal, Australian Lib-Labs who together are supported by 90% of the Australian voters. Big Brother in George Orwell's prescient novel “1984” declared that “war is peace, ignorance is strength, slavery is freedom and 2 plus2 does not equal 4” and the same upside-down Newspeak is evidently alive and well Downunder in Australia or Oz -  the Land of Flies, Lies and Slies (spin-based untruths) and the magical Land of Clean, Green Carbon burning.

The deadly serious side of this is Climate Genocide in which racist, genocidal Apartheid Australia is remorselessly involved. The dire prediction of top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock (the Gaia Hypothesis) that  fewer than 1 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed climate change translates to a climate genocide involving the deaths of 10 billion non-Europeans (6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 0.3 billion Bangladeshis and 0.3 billion Pakistanis). Apartheid Australia (whose “land is girt by sea” and “abounds in Nature's gifts” in the words of its National Anthem) will be a survivor but has major complicity in the worsening climate genocide – Australia's domestic and exported annual per capita GHG pollution is 2 times the annual per capita GHG pollution  of the US, 8 times that of the World, 10 times that of China, 25 times that of India and 60 times that of acutely global warming-threatened Bangladesh. [13, 14].

Lib-Lab lies and slies overwhelmingly prevail in Australia with the complicity of the lying, climate genocide-ignoring Mainstream media (notably the US -owned Murdoch media and the cowardly and unethical, taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC). International and intra-national Sanctions, Boycotts, green tariffs, reparations demands and criminal prosecutions (e.g.  to the International Criminal Court)  are the only things that will bring pro-coal, climate criminal, genocidal and terracidal  Apartheid Australia to heel.


[1]. SBS World News, “Energy top of agenda after landmark deal“, 19 August 2009: .

[2]. Simon Crean, Transcript, “Interview with Kellie Connolly, National Nine News; subject: $50 billion gas deal with China ”, Simon Crean website, 18 August 2009: .

[3]. “Clean energy to soar after deal struck”, WA Today, 19 August 2009: .

[4]. Simon Roz, “Tell Big Oil to stop the lies”, Greenpeace, 21 August 2009: .

[5]. Mark Carter, “ It is if I say it's so”, The Age, 21 August 2009: .

[6]. “ Australia 's Renewable Energy Target – Green Coal?”, Energy Matters, 19 August 2009:

[7]. Drs Heather Keith, Dr Brendan Mackey, and Dr. David Lindenmayer (ANU), “Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world's most carbon-dense forests”, PNAS July 14, 2009 vol. 106 no. 28 11635-11640: .

[8]. Nature Conservation Council of NSW, “Renewable Energy Target Scheme - exposure draft legislation for public comment”:

[9]. “Senate to vote today on including biomass in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target Scheme”, Forestmedia, 19 August 2009: .

[10]. Dr Joseph Fargione et al: “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1235 – 1238: .

[11]. Dr Timothy Searchinger et al: “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1238 – 1240: .

[12]. Dr Gideon Polya, “Australia's “5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 2020” endangers Australia, Humanity and the Biosphere”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group:

[13]. Dr Gideon Polya, Climate Disruption, Climate Emergency, Climate Genocide & Penultimate Bengali Holocaust through Sea Level Rise”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group:

[14]. Dr Gideon Polya, “G8 failure means climate genocide for developing World”, Countercurrents, July 2009: .

Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003: ). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: and ) and an updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History, Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008: ). In recent years he has been  teaching Biochemistry theory and practical courses to second year university agricultural science students at a very good Australian university. When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for Peace and for Mother and Child see: .

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