There is reasonable broad acknowledgement that Global warming is caused, if not at least significantly contributed to, by the burning of fossil fuels resulting in CO2 emissions. In Australia the biggest contributors to our emissions are Hazlewood and Yallourn Coal power stations, representing 40M of our 600M tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Australian government is talking about introducing an Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), in essence to try and incentivise companies to go green.  Taxes, and then handouts will in theory minimise the family impact of the ETS.

What I don’t get is why people don’t bite off a much simpler solution, and directly tackle the carbon emissions. Raise revenue from all Carbon production, and then to reduce the corporate impact, invest the proceeds from the tax in identifying the biggest CO2 emitters, and then fixing them.

So let’s look back at our Yallourn example from earlier. The owners of the Yallourn Power Plant are saying they can convert the Brown Coal power plant to Natural Gas, for a total cost of $2.5 Billion, and result in a 75% reduction in emissions. Let’s for the sake of simplicity assume Hazlewood is the same. For $5Billion dollars we can eliminate 4.5% of Australia’s CO2 emissions.

Why wouldn’t the goverment just subsidies that conversion, and bring it forward? Or why not just pay for it outright? Sure the price of electricity is going to rise, and probably by 20%. It will probably do the same under an ETS also, but with this solution we would actually make a big dent in the problem.

It seems to me that all the politicians are looking for elegant solutions, when it may well just be easier to throw money at fixing the biggest emitters.