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Options for Change in the Australian Energy Profile

Abstract

Climate change is occurring largely as a result of increasing CO2 emissions whose reduction requires greater efficiency in energy production and use and diversification of energy sources away from fossil fuels. These issues were central to the United Nation climate change discussions in Durban in December 2011 where it was agreed that a legally binding agreement to decrease greenhouse gas emissions should be reached by 2015. In the interim, nations were left with the agreement reached at the analogous 2009 Copenhagen and 2010 Cancun meetings that atmospheric CO2 levels should be constrained to limit the global temperature rise to 2 °C. However, the route to this objective was largely left to individual nations to decide. It is within this context that options for reduction in the 95 % fossil fuel dependency and high CO2 emissivity of the Australian energy profile using current technologies are considered. It is shown that electricity generation in particular presents significant options for changing to a less fossil fuel dependent and CO2 emissive energy profile.

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Correspondence to Stephen F. Lincoln.

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Lincoln, S.F. Options for Change in the Australian Energy Profile. AMBIO 41, 841–850 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-012-0315-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-012-0315-0

Keywords

  • Energy profile
  • CO2 emissions
  • Electricity
  • Efficiency
  • Fossil fuels
  • Renewable energy
  • Nuclear electricity