The picture of our PM (Scott Morrison) peering into a glass jar, presumably full of hydrogen (CCN 289) but, perhaps, completely empty, isn’t a bad image of our invisible climate policy.
Thirty-odd years ago, hydrogen was considered a strong possibility as an alternative fuel, and hydrogen fuel cells were being touted as the solution to our energy problems.
Technology has moved on since then, and the widespread introduction of solar and wind power, and the trend towards electric cars has dropped hydrogen considerably down the priority scale as a contributor to the global energy mix.
Given the production complications of extracting hydrogen, it isn’t clear just what consumption niche is still open for general application of hydrogen.
It is typical of our current government that it is investing in speculative solutions for meeting our energy requirements, when we have well-recognized technologies capable of doing the job and requiring only a concerted research and production effort to make them the standard for our future.
Hydrogen is difficult to refine, to transport and to use, and the claim that hydrogen can be extracted from coal without a heavy energy input and without requiring carbon capture (a technology not yet successful anywhere in the world) seems highly fanciful, but it seems that our PM will do anything to divert attention from the fact that we have no direction and no priorities in this crucial area.
Photographs of him sniffing experimental hydrogen do not meet the purpose.
Technologies are properly applied for a purpose, which means that you first have a target, then a plan and, then, a technological direction towards your target.
Thrashing around aimlessly with random technological fragments and hoping that one of them will solve your political dilemma is a hell of a way to run a railroad, but it seems to be our PM’s preference.
We need to stop dragging our feet and join the international community in achieving a carbon-neutral future: Australia is being left behind and will miss out on enormous economic potential, if we don’t come to our senses soon.
Email, Apr 26
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy