Technology touted by the NSW State Government as a solution to coal’s climate change pollution was not certain to be commercially viable until the Upper Hunter’s giant Anvil Hill coal mine had run its course, according to the Federal Labor Party and industry experts reported in The Sydney Morning Herald.(9/6/2007, p. 9)
Controversial Upper Hunter project approved: Despite repeated warnings from the world’s top scientists that substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions had to be made over the next decade, the Government approved the Upper Hunter project on Thursday. The Upper Hunter project included the development of a coal mine which was anticipated to produce up to 530 million tonnes of CO2 pollution during its 21-year life.
NSW premier pledges $22m to ‘clean’ coal: On 8 June, in a reannouncement of a commitment first made in March, Premier Morris Iemma defended the Upper Hunter project by pledging $22 million to technology aimed at improving the efficiency of coal-burning and capturing CO2 from coal to bury it underground. Iemma also emphasised that his government’s first priority was to protect the already heavily subsidised coal industry and not to cut emissions by reducing demand for coal-fired electricity. "Greenhouse gas emissions from power stations will be captured and pumped into deep underground rock formations for permanent disposal."
But clean coal unlikely until 2030: In contrast, the federal Labor Leader Kevin Rudd had recently stated that he did not expect carbon capture and storage technology to be viable until 2030. Scientists and industry experts had also estimated that the technology would not be ready until 10 to 40 years from now.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 9/6/2007, p. 9