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A new book by University of Melbourne scientist Professor Peter Cook calls for Australia to make the most of its advantages in clean energy technologies, especially solar, geothermal and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The book Clean Energy, Climate and Carbon, published by CSIRO Publishing, outlines the global challenge of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and the promise and limitations of clean energy technologies in meeting that challenge despite relentless increases in global energy demand.

“While the focus of the book is on providing a non-technical guide to clean energy technologies and why we need them, it sets out to put CCS in context as one of the key technologies essential to address climate change,” said Professor Cook.

“New, low emission sources of energy are vital to our future and Australia is well placed to be a leader in their development. We have abundant solar, geothermal and fossil fuel resources, as well as storage capacity for hundreds of year’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions.

“Just as importantly, Australia has an excellent track record of research and innovation, and an outstanding science base, especially in earth sciences. A carbon tax alone is not sufficient to drive most clean energy technologies. We need a focussed, non-competitive approach, not unlike the Apollo spaceflight program, so that Australia can make substantial progress towards clean base load electricity.”

Clean Energy, Climate and Carbon considers the full range of clean energy technology options before focussing on CCS technology, including capture, transport, storage, monitoring, costs and risks. The final chapter discusses the political dimension, some of the policy options and how CCS and other clean energy technologies might be taken forward. As a definitive technology and policy overview, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the Australian and global energy future.

Professor Peter Cook is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Principal  Adviser to  the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), a major research consortium of universities, industry and government institutions involving more than 200 researchers. Professor Cook initiated the Centre in 2003 and was its CEO until 2011.