News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: Agency says energy efficiency is key to meeting demand; too late to avoid post-boom slump, experts say.
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Industrial CO2 capture schematic courtesy of CO2CRC.

Lou Caruana

Energy efficiency key to meeting demand, says IEA

The International Energy Agency has backed the government’s carbon-pricing reforms, but wants more done to promote carbon capture and storage (CCS) as well as the creation of a public oil stockpile, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Releasing an in-depth IEA review of Australia’s energy policies, executive director Maria van der Hoeven said Australia’s role as a key source of coal and uranium to Asian markets made efforts to move to clean energy sources all “the more imperative”

In particular, the government’s financial commitment to research and develop renewable energy technology and deploy it through the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation was important.

In 2011, renewable energy subsidies jumped 24 per cent to $US88 billion, while fossil fuel subsidies were $US552 billion.

Too late to avoid post-boom slump, experts say

Productivity experts say it is probably too late for the country to avoid a sharp drop in growth and living standards when the mining boom ends in the next few years, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Their comments back a prediction by National Australia Bank and Woodside Petroleum chairman Michael Chaney that Australia is likely to fall off a “growth cliff” owing to a failure to increase productivity.

Productivity report Beyond The Boom author Charlie Taylor said only immediate action could result in a “positive scenario”

“Acting quickly means tackling both labour and capital productivity,” Taylor said.

“That could offset the expected decline in income from lower terms of trade and a decline in capital investment in the future. If we don’t act quickly, there is $200 billion of investment at risk over the next five years.”