Professor David Karoly calls for immediate closure of Hazelwood Power Station
Professor Karoly has called for the immediate closure of the Hazelwood coal fired power station, one of the most inefficient and most polluting power stations in the world, at a rally in Melbourne on 6 November 2010, in a leadup to the Victorian state election on November 27.
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.
Watch a video of his speech
Replace Hazelwood Rally in Melbourne 6 November 2010, increasing pressure on Premier John Brumby and Ted Baillieu to commit to replacing all of Hazelwood power station within the next term of Government.
===Transcript of speech =====
Thankyou Victoria, and it is a plasure to be here and a pleasure to see so many people here and it's also fantastic that it's such a sunny day because it shows the potential in Victoria for a solution to replacing Hazelwood.
...talk about politics because I am not a policymaker. I am just a scientist and what I am going to talk about very briefly is the climate science behind why we need to close down Hazelwood.
I am going to start by looking back from 60 or 70 years in the future.
There are some young people here. In fact there are many children here and they will look back from 60 years in the future and say who was to blame for the climate they will be living through that will be hotter, with more heat waves, and more bush fires, and worst of all sea level rise that will be innundating many people in low lying areas not only in Australia, but islands in the Pacific, in low lying areas in south east Asia and in many many parts of the world.
And they will ask - who is to blame? and the answer is Hazelwood is partly to blame for causing climate change.
Draw the dots - how do we connect the dots between climate change and the future impacts and what Hazelwood is doing.
Hazelwood as we've heard already, is the least efficient, worst polluting power station in Australia. It produces more greenhouse gases than any other power station in Australia, for the amount of electricity it produces. So it is producing lots of carbon dioxide, putting it into the atmosphere every year.
Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere and has impacts for more than a thousand years. It doesn't get removed quickly. So every hour, every day, every year that Hazelwood is still being used it is causing more climate change.
That climate change, people will argue, is very small. 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.
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.
What is Hazelwood's share? It is only small, only point 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.
So we can show that directly Hazelwood emissions will cause 10,000 people to have to leave their homes every year. What that means is Hazelwood is just as responsible for climate change as any other group. Closing down Hazelwood will prevent the damages due to the extra carbon dioxide that Hazelwood put in.
So what do we need to do if we want to slow down climate change, if we want to avoid the damage due to the emissions from Hazelwood? We need to not just close a quarter of Hazelwood, we need to close Hazelwood completely. We need to do that now.
You will hear lots of people make two other arguments. They say let's wait, let's wait until there is a better solution, let's wait until the evidence is clearer, let's wait until carbon capture and storage, that dirty lie, is developed.
Every hour, every day that we wait is actually making a conscious decision to make the problem worse.
Do we want to make the problem worse by allowing Hazelwood to continue?
[Crowd says No]
The only way to not make the problem worse is to take action now to stop carbon dioxide emissions and that is going to be helped by closing Hazelwood completely now.
The other thing you will hear is that Hazelwood is really important. We need the energy; we need the jobs; it's really good. But how do you balance the damages against the good.
Now, I'm not a lawyer. I know there are some lawyers in the audience and one of them is standing as a Greens Candidate. Brian Walters will tell you that no matter how many lives a doctor saves, if he kills someone intentionally he can be tried for murder. Hazelwood is guilty of the damages from the climate change it's causing and we need to stop it now.