Energy & Resources Talking Points 26-04-2016


Electric cars and the oil impact
With the use of electric vehicles (EVs) continuing to grow, major carmakers and tech companies are investing significantly in developing long range electric cars that are more affordable and perform better than gasoline alternatives. This is a trend we’ll continue to see, last year battery prices for electric vehicles fell by 35 percent, and with batteries making up one third of EV cost, EV demand is only set to increase. Despite EVs comprising of one-tenth of 1 percent in the global car market, and some predicting it will take 50 years for EVs to have an observable material impact, their growth is intrinsically aligned to displacing oil demand. EV sales have grown 60 percent last year, mirroring the growth curve that propelled the Ford Model T ahead of the horse and buggy early 1900s. If this growth is to continue, Bloomberg calculated a 2 million barrel per day displacement to oil demand as early as 2023. An ambitious forecast yes, but it seems an imminent drop in demand is due as a result of EVs. Click here for the full article.

Rise in coal use to stay at 2 percent yearly
According to the President of the China National Coal Association (CNCA) Wang Xianzheng, China’s annual coal consumption will continue at 2 percent during 2016-2020. China aims to limit coal consumption to around 4.3 billion tons by 2020.  Despite China’s decelerating economy, the government is still aggressively pushing for the advancement of ‘cleaner and greener growth’. According to Wang, in order to ensure this target is met the coal industry will restructure, upgrade, cut capacity and merge. China intends to have non-fossil energy account for 15 percent of its energy by 2020, and 20 percent by 2030. Click here for the full article.

CSIRO announces new research centre, cuts 275 jobs
CSIRO intends to fire 275 of its 5000 staff, despite revealing that a new climate research centre in Hobart will be created. According to the CSIRO boss Larry Marshall, there will be 40 full time positions available at the new centre. The cuts will be focused upon six divisions, including the oceans and atmosphere division. The decision to fire workers within these divisions began in February, with the decision receiving fierce criticism. The decision has also caused anxiety amongst many Australian’s who are fearful of the future of Australia’s climate research.  Dr Marshall justified the decision by explaining that the agencies needed to progress from climate monitoring and enter climate mitigation and action. The newly established climate centre will concentrate on modeling and projection data work on Australia, and will have a 10-year research mantle. Click here for the full article.

Pressure to cut AUD$7bn in fossil fuel subsidies
A diverse coalition has visited Canberra to urge Treasurer Scott Morrison to cut $7bn allocated to fossil fuel subsidies in the budget. Organised by climate change advocacy group 350, the coalition is advising reallocation to sectors such as healthcare and renewable energy. Of the $7bn, $5.5bn is allocated for non-agricultural fuel tax credits, $1.24bn for concessional rates in fuel excise aviation fuel and $650m for mining exploration and prospecting tax deduction. According to a recent Reactel poll, 48 percent of those surveyed believed the fossil fuel subsidies were too high. In a letter to Morrison, 50 companies urged an end to these subsidies, with Chief Executive of the renewable energy company ‘Roofjuice’ Nigel Morris holding up innovation as an investment priority essential for the future. The poll also shows that cutting these subsidies is the most popular solution to budget repair. It stands as 15 percent more popular than reducing benefits from negative gearing, raising GST, increasing capital gains tax and tightening superannuation tax concessions. Click here for the full article.