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Geelong Advertiser: Shell appeals for change

Geelong Advertiser photo of David Hone, Shell Global Climate Change Adviser 

(Shell global climate change adviser David Hone in Geelong.Photo: GLENN FERGUSON)

Martin Watters
27 June 2007

THE day a petroleum company insists immediate action is needed to stop CO2 emissions further warming the planet, is the day to start listening.

Shell International yesterday urged government, big business and consumers to urgently change society’s unsustainable energy use before 2025 and stop the planet warming disastrously by up to six degrees.

The petrol giant’s global climate change adviser David Hone flew from Europe to reveal the company’s vision for sustainable energy, including his work with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, at a meeting for Geelong leaders.

Mr Hone, a former Shell refinery engineer at Corio, outlined the major challenges facing Australia to stop the current trend towards catastrophe, requiring:

 GOVERNMENT -funded development of new energy sources, such as wind and solar;

 LAUNCHING  an emissions trading scheme to ensure market control on companies’ carbon footprint; and,

 EVERYONE  changing consumer trends, including cars and house choices.

Mr Hone urged drastic changes in aiming for 550 carbon parts per million (ppm) in the earth’s atmosphere by 2025, triggering an emission growth downturn.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “business as usual” figures pointed to 900 ppm and no slowdown in the rise of emissions.

Standing in the way, however, was developing countries’ increased energy use as seen in China and India.

The climate change expert said China was building the equivalent of one Latrobe Valley coal plant every month, with each one expected to pollute for the next 50 years.

Mr Hone dismissed reports temperature change was a natural phenomenon.

“There have been significant net changes in climate over the millennia, but what we are doing to the environment now is a steep change and a very rapid one,” he said.

“The evidence is there that this is a result of what we are doing and not which was naturally there.”

So where would less fossil fuel use leave one of the biggest petrol companies?

One common thread in Mr Hone’s appeal was an insistence governments must legislate for and support early renewable energy projects.

Shell would benefit for such project funding. The company already boasted being the world’s leading biofuels blender, half-owner of one of the largest offshore wind farms, a major hydrogen public transport partner, and designer for a 20 megawatt solar facility.

“It’s a twin challenge. How do we limit the energy for the next 50 years and how are we going to supply that energy in a sustainable way?” he said.

“What it means is if we want to start this very ambitious plan, we better start now.”

One positive, Mr Hone said, was evidence showing strong economies helped population growth levelled off as seen in Europe and Japan.

http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2007/06/27/4974_business.html

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