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Archive for September 15th, 2007

Queensland CO2 dump plans: legislative proposals set out CCS Exploration Permits, Potential Commercial Area and Storage Lease arrangements

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

It was proposed that the P&G Act be amended and a new chapter inserted specifically to regulate tenure for CO2 capture and storage, according to the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy report, Carbon dioxide geosequestration tenure administration.

Distinct tenure briefly considered: To recognise the unique nature of CO2 geosequestration, a different tenure, distinct from the existing petroleum tenure, was also contemplated. Queensland was committed to using the MCMPR Regulatory Guiding Principles to develop CCS legislation.

Key issues for new laws: The legislation would aim to be consistent with the MCMPR Regulatory Guiding Principles and deal with the following range of issues:

• location of suitable sites;

• appropriate tenure type and term of tenure;

• capture and transport of CO2;

• access to that land;

• injection of CO2;

• storage of CO2;

• safety;

• monitoring of stored CO2;

• liability, including post-closure/post-project;

• financial;

• approval and assessment

Proposed CCS tenure model: Although the terminology may change the following tenure arrangements are proposed for CCS activities:

• CCS Exploration Permit (CCS EP);

• CCS EP for Retention- Potential Commercial Area (CCS PCA);

• CCS Storage Lease (CCS SL);

EP conditions: A CCS EP will allow the successful proponent to conduct CCS exploration in the permit area and according to the approved work program submitted with the application.

PCA conditions: A CCS PCA will be an option whereby a CCS EP holder has discovered a suitable underground reservoir for CCS storage but no “CCS stream” (yet to be defined) was currently available.

SL conditions: A CCS SL would allow the holder to inject and store a CCS stream into the previously approved CCS reservoir. The activities must be done according to the approved development plan for the project. Site selection will be one of the most important elements of CCS activities with a requirement for a “predictive CCS stream migration model” to be included in the development plan.

Reference: This publication may be printed from or downloaded form the DME website at ww.dme.qld.gov.au For copyright enquries telephone (07) 3237 1644 or send facsimile to (07) 3238 3188. The closing date for submission sis two months from the date of announcement by the Minister. Submissions can be sent by post, facsimile or email. Postal address: Mining Legislation Review, Mining and Petroleum, Department of Mines and Energy, PO Box 15216, City East Qld 4002 Facsimile: (07) 3238 3188 Email: ccsleg@dme.qld.gov.au Please note: This discussion paper is for public discussion and comment and does not commit the government or a Minister either to the views expressed in it or to a particular direction for future action. All submissions will be treated as public documents subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1992. Submissions may take the form of letters or emails addressing the questions asked in the paper, issues of concern, or a list of matters identified by page or section numbers, stating the issues arising and suggested solutions.

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Posted in CCS, CO2 Dumps, Gas, Geosequestration, Law, Policy, Queensland | Leave a Comment »

Unannounced Federal bill on CO2 register undercuts State registries, set lower standards

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

The Commonwealth was put on notice to manage greenhouse emissions, and responded with a bill totally misaligned with what the states had done so far, said Mr Gavin Jennings, Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, in the Victorian Legislative Council on 22 August 2007.

States and territories decided to establish benchmark: “A quite extraordinary proposition was put up after the Council for the Australian Federation got together earlier this year,” said Jennings. “The states and territories met and determined that if the commonwealth would not step into this space to regulate, they would do it themselves to make sure they knew what the greenhouse gas emissions system was throughout Australia. The states and territories determined that they would create the benchmark and the capacity to know where we as a nation are travelling with greenhouse generation and be able to drive important reforms, such as emissions trading. We put the commonwealth on notice to come up with a scheme to implement it.”

1400 industries measured in Victoria: “Out of the blue a bill arrived in the federal Parliament last week totally unannounced — and it is totally out of kilter with the current regulatory regime and out of kilter with the way the states and territories have planned to be able to measure reporting mechanisms now and into the future. … In relation to this initiative, the regime that we currently have in place in Victoria under the national pollutant inventory provides for 1400 energy-intensive industries to be measured through that regulatory impact including the state of Victoria.”

Commonwealth proposes monitoring fewer industries: “What has the commonwealth regime introduced? The bill that is before the commonwealth Parliament at the moment not only says, ‘Away with the inventory in Victoria, away with the 1400 companies that are currently being measured across Australia and let’s replace them with 700 companies which fall within the scope of the commonwealth regulation’,” said Jennings. “Not only that but it is particularly unclear in relation to the mechanisms that measure gas and electricity generation through the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO). Is it covered by the bill? The answer is a deafening silence from the commonwealth. We do not know whether it will measure these into the future.”

Reference: Gavin Jennings, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Parliament of Victoria – Legislative Council Daily Hansard, Victoria, 22 August 2007.

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Posted in Australia, Emissions Trading, Hansard, Law, Policy, Registry, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) triggers wind, hydro and solar energy projects throughout state

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

In spite of political opposition, the Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) legislation had resulted in a significant increase in renewable energy in the state, Victorian Minister for Industry and Trade, T C Theophanous, said in the Victorian Legislative Council on 23 August 2007.

$400 million wind farm investment: According to Theophanous the Opposition had “…voted against the Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) legislation. They have done everything they possibly could to make sure that there was no renewable energy industry. Notwithstanding that, the renewable energy industry is an important industry, and it has resulted in a significant increase in renewable energy in this state. Let me give the house some examples. We already have a number of wind farms operating: the Challicum Hills, Codrington, Portland, Toora and Wonthaggi wind farms. On top of that, under construction is the massive 192-megawatt Waubra wind farm near Ballarat, with an investment of somewhere around $400 million. There are a number of big wind farm projects, but that is not all the renewable energy industry driven by the Victorian renewable energy scheme has been able to facilitate.”

VRET encourages further $630 million investment: “The new Bogong hydro scheme was only possible because of the VRET scheme,” Theophanous said. “It is a $230 million investment; so there is new hydro power as well. The proposed solar power facility in Mildura, which is an investment of in excess of $400 million, can only work with the assistance of the Victorian renewable energy scheme. There are many other wind farms which are in the planning stages or have received planning approval, including the Macarthur wind farm, the Gellibrand wind farm, the Mount Mercer wind farm, the Yaloak wind farm and various others. The Macarthur wind farm is an AGL wind farm. A lot was said about the Dollar wind farm, and it is not going ahead. But AGL is going ahead with the Macarthur wind farm, which is a 300-megawatt wind farm investment in this state.”

Reference: T. C. Theophanous, Minister for Industry and Trade, Parliament of Victoria – Legislative Council Daily Hansard, Victoria, 23 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Energy, Hansard, Policy, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

ClimateSmart Living campaign begins in Queensland: 155,000t of greenhouse gas gas emissions per year could be saved by changing light bulbs

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

‘Change a Light Bulb Day’ on September 1 was just one of several government initiatives in the ClimateSmart Living campaign to encourage Queenslanders to make small lifestyle changes that would cumulatively have a big effect, said Premier Peter Beattie in the Queensland Parliament on 22 August 2007.

Change a Light Bulb Day in Queensland: “As part of our climate change strategy, we are moving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the Premier said. “I want to remind members that 1 September is Change a Light Bulb Day in Queensland. I launched this campaign with the minister for the environment, Lindy Nelson-Carr, at the Ekka as part of the government’s 12-month ClimateSmart Living campaign and, along with 5,500 other Ekka goers, pledged to change a light bulb on 1 September. … Change a Light Bulb Day is about encouraging all Queenslanders to change at least one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas. This is about small things making a big difference. One 60 watt incandescent light bulb, running six hours a day, produces 120kg of greenhouse gas each year. A compact fluorescent light, running for the same time, produces only 22kg. If every Queensland household replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent one, Queensland would save almost 155,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in a year.”

Series of action days in campaign: “Climate change is real,” Beattie said. “What we do to combat it is critical and it’s up to all of us to do our part to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Changing a light bulb is one easy way everyone can participate and I encourage all Members of this House to take part. Change a Light Bulb Day is the first in a series of state-wide action days encouraging Queenslanders to reduce greenhouse gas. Further ClimateSmart Living promotions include “Cool it by Degrees” asking residents to check their refrigerator temperature for efficiency, “Climate Under Pressure” encouraging motorists to pump up their tyres to reduce fuel, “Splash and Dash Day” to encourage Queenslanders to cut time in showers, as well as “Queensland Unplugged” to encourage people to switch off appliances not in use.”

Reference: PD Beattie, Premier and Minister for Trade, Member for Brisbane Central, Australian Labor Party, Records of Proceedings, First session of the Fifty-Second Parliament, Queensland, 22 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Energy Efficiency, Hansard, Policy, Queensland | Leave a Comment »

ACT greenhouse gas reduction benchmark recalculated: lower percentage of total NSW-ACT market, lower population growth

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

The greenhouse gas abatement scheme was the single most effective greenhouse gas abatement measure currently available to the territory, said ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly on 21 August 2007.

Scheme outlined: Stanhope said: “Under the Electricity (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Act, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission is the scheme regulator in the ACT. One of the commission’s functions as regulator is to determine the greenhouse gas reduction target or benchmark for the ACT in any given year. The scheme is designed to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of electricity. It requires retailers of electricity in the ACT to procure an increasing component of their product from cleaner and greener means, thereby effecting large reductions in associated greenhouse gases.”

Targets met for 2006 compliance year: “The compliance of these retailers in 2005 achieved greenhouse gas emissions abatement of 316,362 tonnes,” Stanhope said. “This is the equivalent of the annual emissions produced by around 73,570 cars. In 2006, there were 14 licensed electricity retailers in the ACT. The report confirms that all ACT electricity retailers have met their obligations under the scheme for the 2006 compliance year.”

Statistics re-worked: “In 2006, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission recalculated the ACT’s percentage of the NSW-ACT market,” said Stanhope. “The result was a lower percentage than previously calculated, which in turn affects the benchmark level. In addition, the population has grown by less than expected, which has also affected the benchmark level as it is based upon emissions per capita. Consequently, there has been a reduction in emissions savings in 2006. A total of 207,379 abatement certificates were surrendered in 2006 under the ACT scheme. This is the equivalent to removing about 48,000 cars from the roads for a year.”

Joint scheme is working: “The greenhouse gas abatement scheme remains the single most effective greenhouse gas abatement measure currently available to the territory. It is supported by the climate change strategy and demonstrates how an inter-jurisdictional emissions trading scheme can work to reduce emissions,” Stanhope said.

Reference: MR Stanhope, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Member for Ginninderra, ALP, Debates of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory, Daily Hansard, Edited proof transcript 21 August 2007. A copy of these proceedings can be accessed at
http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard

Posted in ACT, Australia, Emissions, Emissions Trading, Registry | Leave a Comment »

Queensland vegetation management policy results in 20 megaton annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

A reduction of up to 20 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year through the implementation of the government’s vegetation management policy was the single biggest contribution to Australia’s climate change to date, said Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Water, C A Wallace, in the Queensland Parliament on 22 August 2007.

Regulation amends fees: “This regulation,” Wallace said, “which the opposition has requested be not supported, amends fees made under 11 acts that are administered by my portfolio. These are the:

• Acquisition of Land Act 1967;

• Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980;

• Foreign Ownership of Land Register Act 1988;

• Land Act 1994;

• Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002;

• Land Title Act 1994;

• Surveyors Act 2003;

• Valuation of Land Act 1944;

• Valuers Registration Act 1992;

• Vegetation Management Act 1999; and

• Water Act 2000.”

Queensland a leader in climate change management: Wallace said that his department’s implementation of the government’s vegetation management policy, including the end of broadscale land clearing in Queensland on 31 December 2006, had resulted in a reduction of up to 20 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year in the first target period to 2012 of global greenhouse emissions accounting. “This is the single biggest contribution to Australia’s climate change to date and places Queensland at the front of the field in response to climate change. It is a shame,” lamented the Minister, “that the begrudging present tenant of The Lodge in Canberra could not even acknowledge this major contribution by Queensland to Australia’s achievement of greenhouse gas reductions in line with Kyoto.”

Reference: CA Wallace, Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland, Member for Thuringowa, Records of Proceedings, First session of the Fifty-Second Parliament, Queensland, 22 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Credits, Emissions, Forest, Law, Queensland, Regulation, Species | 1 Comment »

Qld remote sensing program uses satellite imagery to monitor natural environment; maps extent and spread of weeds

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

A new program would use satellite imagery linked to ground work to help researchers observe, map and understand changes to Queensland’s environment, announced Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Water C A Wallace in the Queensland Parliament on 23 August 2007.

Water quality and spread of weeds: “The Queensland government is committed to looking after the state’s vast land, vegetation and water resources,” Wallace said. “Remote sensing technology is a key tool in our approach to sustainable resource management. Today I am pleased to announce that the Department of Natural Resources and Water and the University of Queensland have joined forces to create the most advanced remote sensing program of its kind in Australia. The program has been designed to more effectively monitor the state’s natural environment. The new program will use satellite imagery linked to ground work to help researchers observe, map and understand changes to Queensland’s environment, including water quality and the spread of weeds.”

Two projects: ” Scientists from my department and UQ, as well as students from UQ’s Centre for Remote Sensing and Spatial Science, will take part in the program, which will be based at UQ’s St Lucia campus,” the Minister said. “Researchers will use high-resolution satellite imagery to assess and monitor wildlife habitats and vegetation that filter and improve water quality. Another project will use state-of-the-art satellite sensors to map the extent and spread of weeds such as prickly acacia, rubber vine and lantana. This research will link closely with the government’s Blueprint for the Bush program.”

Joint project covers most of east coast: “This innovative partnership will create a hub of expertise for research using remote sensing by sharing technical expertise, resources and training opportunities,” said Wallace. “The Department of Natural Resources and Water has used remote sensing for years to assist in the use of monitoring land clearing. Under this new program, the Department of Natural Resources and Water will join its resources with UQ, which is recognised as a national and international leader in remote-sensing education and research. The agreement will bring together skilled researchers, major computing capacity and data covering most of Australia’s east coast. This partnership is another example of the Smart State teaming up with our top universities so Queensland can lead the country in research and development.”

Reference: CA Wallace, Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland, Member for Thuringowa, Records of Proceedings, First session of the Fifty-Second Parliament, Queensland, 23 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Forest, Hansard, Policy, Queensland, Species | Leave a Comment »

Qld Bill removes cap on Local Government fees for environmentally relevant activities; endangered plant collecting penalties overhauled

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

Local councils would have powers to enforce environmental regulations, including those protecting threatened native plant species, said Queensland’s Minister for Environment L H Nelson-Carr in the Queensland Parliament on 23 August 2007.

Councils will have access to EPA tools: “Most of these changes will happen with the remake of the Environmental Protection Regulation 1998 in 2008,” the Minister said. “However, to help Local Governments with their responsibilities, councils will be provided with access to all the relevant enforcement tools under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 so that they are well equipped to deal with nuisance matters arising from activities that have not been adequately conditioned under their existing approval.”

Councils able to recover costs: “The amendments in the Bill will allow Local Governments to set their own fees for the environmentally relevant activities they administer,” said Nelson-Carr. “Currently, Local Government fees for environmental activities are capped. This cap unfairly limits councils’ abilities to set fees to cover the costs of monitoring these activities. Councils will now be able to set their licence fees for certain environmental activities.”

Penalties to fit the crime: “The second change introduces tiered penalties for offences relating to protected plants to make it clearer that the punishment should fit the crime. At present, offences relating to the taking and use of protected plants under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 can only be pursued on indictment, which means that even the most minor offences lead to a defendant facing a maximum penalty that includes the possibility of imprisonment,” said the Minister. “This is a costly way to deal with minor offences and means that action is often not taken. Queensland has the greatest variety of native plant groups in Australia, with more than 8,000 species of flowering plants, gymnosperms and ferns. About 13 percent of Queensland’s native plant species are protected plants. These plants are in danger of extinction in the next 10 to 50 years unless action is taken to reverse their decline. Apart from vegetation clearing, plant collecting is the greatest threat to many types of protected plant. Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994, the harvesting and sale of native plants and plant parts are closely regulated. Consequently, there is a public expectation that enforcement action will be taken for the most serious offences relating to illegal damage or removal of these plants.”

Better guidance on penalties: “Introducing tiered penalties for the protected plant offences will improve practical enforcement of these offences by separating the offences into different classes that carry relative penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence,” Nelson-Carr said. “The maximum penalty for the most serious offences has not changed. For less serious offences, such as just taking one or two vulnerable plants, the maximum penalty will be lower. This will provide courts and defendants with better guidance about the appropriate level of fine.”

Reference: LH Nelson-Carr, Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism, Mundingburra, Australian Labor Party, Records of Proceedings, First session of the Fifty-Second Parliament, Queensland, 23 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Forest, Hansard, Law, Policy, Queensland, Regulation, Species | Leave a Comment »

WA state government and Local Government Association form new climate partnership

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

The state government and local government had entered a major partnership agreement focusing on climate change and sustainability issues, announced Western Australian Minister for the Environment David Templeman in the Legislative Assembly on 14 August 2007.

Joint action on climate change and sustainability: “At the WA Local Government Association convention on 6 August 2007,” the Minister said, “I signed the agreement on behalf of the state government, along with Bill Mitchell, president of the Western Australian Local Government Association, and Eric Lumsden, president of Local Government Managers Australia. This groundbreaking agreement, which has been developed in very close collaboration with WALGA on behalf of local government, aims to ensure closer communication, collaboration and joint action on a diverse range of climate change and sustainability matters that are of mutual interest and concern to both spheres of government.”

Local government achievements recognised: “The agreement reflects the spirit and substance of the peak partnership agreements signed in 2002 and 2004,” Templeman said, “which foster cooperation and communication between the state government and local government. It also complements the Premier’s climate change action statement released in May of this year. The agreement is an indication of the importance the Carpenter government attaches to collectively addressing the wide spectrum of matters on the sustainability agenda, with a particular focus on the increasingly critical issue of climate change. Local government is to be congratulated on its achievements to date in addressing sustainability in the areas of waste management, biodiversity protection, natural resource management, energy and water conservation, community health, housing and other infrastructure development.”

New council to meet twice a year: “The new agreement signals a commitment by the Carpenter government to take a more significant leadership role in encouraging and facilitating further policy and best practice,” the Minister said. “Under the agreement a state-local government climate change and sustainability council will be formed, with high-level representation from state and local government. I will chair this body, which will meet twice a year to address strategic directions. It will provide the opportunity for significant matters to be considered at the highest levels of state and local government and for joint policies and actions to be developed and implemented.”

Reference: Mr David A. Templeman, Minister for the Environment, Member for Mandurah, ALP, Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, Hansard, 14 August 2007. A copy of these proceedings can be accessed at
http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au

Posted in Australia, Hansard, Policy, Western Australia | Leave a Comment »

Illegal protest activity in Tasmania: “Simply criminals who are out to damage the Tas­manian brand”, say Tasmanian Forest Contractors

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

According to Ferdie Kroon, CEO of Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association, he was amazed and incensed to read the Mercury’s front page report (5 September) into the actions of Altana Beltran, in The Mercury (6/9/2007, p. 30).

Front page coverage ‘unfair’ : “ How could a newspaper indir­ectly support the proponent of illegal activity by giving her and the Tasmanian Greens front-page status? Protesters like her are not engaging in peaceful and legal protests, they are engaging in illegal and criminal like activity. Actions which stop lawful works must be condemned by society and the media that represents us. A protestor recently mali­ciously cut the rope of a police officer who then fell about three metres to the ground”.

Distinction between legal and illegal protest activity: ” Let us not forget the costs to businesses, employees and com­munities of these illegal activi­ties, which could be in excess of $15,000 per day, not inclusive of damage to equipment. The Tasmanian Forest Contrac­tors Association does not stand in the way of legal protest activity but we will not support illegal activity and we encourage the Tasmanian community to draw the distinction between legal and illegal protest activity. Purveyors of the latter are simply criminals who are out to damage the Tas­manian brand as well as significantly impede hard-working com­munities”.

Posted in Australia, Forest, Lobby Groups, Protest, Tasmania | Leave a Comment »