Sunday, November 7, 2010

Climate scientist Professor David Karoly calls for Hazelwood immediate closure

Professor David Karoly calls for immediate closure of Hazelwood Power Station

Emminent Melbourne climate scientist Professor David Karoly has called for the Hazelwood coal fired power station to be closed down completely, saying "Hazelwood is partly to blame for causing climate change."

Photos: Replace Hazelwood (Takver)

Speaking at a a Replace Hazelwood rally in a leadup to the Victorian state election on November 27, Professor Karoly told the crowd that "Hazelwood is only one of many power stations, but in fact the emissions are really, really important. Climate change causes warming; warming causes melting of ice and warming of the oceans; which cause sea level rise."

Karoly served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 (awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Al Gore) and is a member of the faculty of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Hazelwood produces almost 15% of Victoria's greenhouse pollution and 3% of the nation's emissions. It is one of the most inefficient and most polluting coal fired power stations on the planet.

Sea level rise will cause coastal innundation and salinity changes and threaten widespread coastal agriculture and industrial infrastructure. It will cause some island nations like Tuvalu, the Maldives,and Kiribati to become first inhabitable, before they are eventually submerged altogether. (See The risks of Sea Level Change - Dr Peter Ward, professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle.)

"One hundred million people will be flooded due to sea level rise before the end of the century, and that is not 100 million people in total but 100 million people every year subject to annual flooding from sea level rise for the very lowest estimate of sea level rise for any emission scenario." said David Karoly.

Hazelwood's share of that climate impact, Professor Karoly estimated as ten thousand people having to leave their homes every year. "What is Hazelwood's share? It is only small, only.01 per cent. That is a small number. That means that 10,000 people, the typical size of many country towns in Victoria, will be flooded annually; will have to leave their homes. "

Premier John Brumby promised in July to close down a quarter of Hazelwood's capacity by 2014 as well as a generous feed-in tariff for large scale solar power. But a new coal fired station will also be built.

David Karoly stated clearly that to slow down climate change and avoid the damage due to the emissions from Hazelwood, then "We need to not just close a quarter of Hazelwood, we need to close Hazelwood completely. We need to do that now."

Environment Victoria estimated five thousand people attended the Replace Hazelwood rally which marched from the State Library to the steps of parliament house. The rally called on all political parties to commit to replacing all of Hazelwood power station within the next term of Government.

Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said: "Over the past 12 months Hazelwood has become the major environment issue of the state election. We've seen some policy movement from the ALP and the Greens, but now, 3 weeks out from the election, we need a clear plan from all political parties to commit to replace all of Hazelwood, Australia's dirtiest power station".

"So far, The Greens have promised to replace all of Hazelwood within four years, while the Labor Party has released a plan to close the equivalent of one-quarter of Hazelwood by 2014. The Coalition however has been almost silent on the issue and it's not at all clear where they stand," said Mark Wakeham

Community groups from around Victoria brought to the rally eight 3 metre high smokestacks, a replica of the now infamous Hazelwood towers. The smokestacks were carried through the streets to parliament house where they were symbolicly toppled.


* Read a full transcript of David Karoly's speech
* Pre-prepared edited version of David Karoly's speech published by the Sydney Morning Herald - Wrong to dismiss the dirt on Hazelwood
* Environment Victoria - 5000 Victorians rally for election action on Hazelwood