Some major Australian power generators are doing next to nothing to prepare for a low-carbon future, according to a new report from WWF-Australia.
The 2008 WWF-Australia Power Generators Carbon Future Score Card assessed 19 of Australia’s power firms on the work they are doing to reduce their carbon emissions and around half were awarded two stars or less out of a possible five.
The worst performers were Alcoa, the world’s largest alumina producer, Intergen, a global power generation company, and Rio Tinto, a multinational mining company. All three received no stars.
“These companies and the other companies who have got just one star really are facing extinction unless they make dramatic cuts in their emissions,” said Paul Toni, Development and Climate Change programme leader for WWF-Australia.
“All of these are very big, wealthy and influential companies with access to a lot of capital. They should be leading the pack, not dragging the chain.”
The survey judged the generators on whether they had invested in alternative power sources and whether they set greenhouse gas reduction targets.
It also took into account whether they were investing in research for renewable energy and “clean coal” demonstration plants.
The report accused the lowest-scoring companies of lobbying for government compensation but failing to invest in technology to cut emissions at their most polluting power plants.
“It's remarkable how these dinosaur companies can complain about their future and ask for handouts but do zero to reduce their emissions,” said Toni.
“Despite knowing for 20 years that carbon emissions would have to be cut, the carbon footprints of the worst performing companies from power generation and mining interests remain enormous and extremely damaging.”
The results of the lowest scoring companies were in stark contrast to industry leaders such as Origin Energy, TRUenergy, Babcock and Brown, Transfield Infrastructure Services and Verve, who all scored four or five stars.
Only Origin Energy, who scored five out of five, and TRUenergy had publicly available quantified emission reduction targets.