But the CSIRO has said while clean coal is a concept popular with politicians and mining executives, it is still at least a decade away.
At the East Asia Summit in the Philippines on Monday, Prime Minister John Howard said that the Australia-China Joint Coordination Group on Clean Coal Technology would identify and implement joint clean-coal technology projects and share knowledge on new initiatives.
But CSIRO scientist Dr John Wright told the ABC that “realistically, before we go into large scale capture and sequestration of CO2, it’s going to be of the order of a decade or perhaps a little bit longer”.
“You can’t get away from that, there’s so much work that has to be done in you know, by piloting the processes, putting them into demonstration plants and then going to a full-scale commercial plant, but that’s the sort of time scale that’s required for any major change of any major activity,” Wright said.
Greenpeace yesterday called Howard’s clean coal partnership with China “a typical diversion from acting on the real solution to climate change – switching from coal to renewable energy”
“The deal seems to involve no new financing and doesn’t address the central problem that without a price on carbon, technologies such as geosequestration will never be commercially deployed,” Greenpeace spokesman Ben Pearson said.
“Moreover, it will be at least 10 years before we know if geosequestration even works, which is simply too late.”
The new clean coal group will convene for the first time in April and will include representatives from government, the scientific community and from industry.