Former Australian Prime Minister Turnbull says ‘clean coal’ a scam


The concept of “clean coal” is a scam, according to former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday as part of its Sustainable Futures Forum, Turnbull said the idea of ​​carbon capture and storage “just isn’t working” despite years of investment.

“The proposal was that you … would efficiently separate the CO2 from the flue gases … of a power plant, then compress it and pipe it and put it underground in you know some sort of … stratum … where, hopefully. , he would stay there forever, ”said Turnbull.

Thinking back to his tenure as Environment Minister under former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 2007, Turnbull said there was “a bit of optimism” around the idea, with billions of dollars.

If a technology is not ready for large-scale deployment today, then it is too late.

Richard Lancaster

CEO, CLP Group

However, all of these investments have yielded little, with the technology only working in “some very specialized areas,” he said, adding that now is the time to “stop wasting money. “.

“It’s a scam in that the fossil fuel industry talks about clean coal and talks about carbon capture and storage as a way of not doing what we need to do, which is to stop burning fossil fuels,” said Turnbull. “I can say that as someone who thought it had great prospects, you know, about 15 years ago. But it failed, and we should be working on the technologies that work.”

Turnbull’s comments come as the world’s major economies, including China and parts of Europe, face a continuing energy crisis fueled, in part, by government efforts to cut carbon emissions in order to avoid an impending climate crisis.

Electricity company CLP Group CEO Richard Lancaster agreed, saying the coal industry “has had a long time in the past 25 years” to prove itself and that it is “too much. late “so that the idea of ​​clean coal could be further explored.

“The challenge we face in reaching net zero by 2050 is that the electricity sector needs to decarbonise well before 2050,” Lancaster said.

This means that all of the current infrastructure used to generate and distribute electricity – built over more than a century – must be replaced in less than 30 years, he said.

“If a technology is not ready for large-scale deployment today, then it is too late,” Lancaster said.

The CEO said the road to zero emissions is through “old technologies”, such as renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar power, as well as storage via batteries and pumped hydroelectric systems. .

“These are all existing technologies that are well understood, well proven, and it is these technologies… that we need to deploy,” Lancaster said.

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