Low Emission Coal Use » Low Emission Coal Use
Heavy investment into research and development of clean coal technologies is occurring around the globe. However, surveys of public attitudes suggest most of the general public are unaware of any advanced coal technologies including carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). This lack of awareness has become an increasing focus of policy makers internationally. A number of individual governments have been working to develop a range of communication strategies and activities to raise awareness of CCS and other zero emission technologies, with the ultimate aim to reduce societal risk to the technology.
The major aim of this research was to systematically bring together the range of activities that have taken place or are planned, at the state, federal and international level. This report provides an easily accessible and detailed roadmap of efforts in communication around low emission coal technologies illustrated on the following page. There is also a Gantt chart which outlines the timing of activities and finally a regional overview which demonstrates where the concentrations of research and communication activities have occurred around the world.
Contact was made with individual representatives of research, industrial and government organisations working in the area to ascertain the processes they have used and what materials they have developed as part of these activities. The major strengths and weaknesses of the range of communication activities are also examined.
On the following pages, the 'Roadmap' identifies communication activities according to the different types or classes of activities, the regions in which these activities were conducted and the approximate time that they commenced. A more detailed 'Timeline of Activities' is provided in the Gantt chart which illustrates approximately when each activity commenced, its duration and highlights the methods used within each activity through shading. Finally, the 'Regional Overview' illustrates the specific location of each of the communication activities. This map demonstrates that the CCS activities have predominantly occurred in developed countries that have coal, oil or gas as their major source of electricity or industry base.
It is anticipated that there will be a number of benefits to the Australian black coal industry arising from this roadmap and associated study of activities. In particular it enables industry partners to draw from the best communication processes available from around the world to develop a long term capability in this area to progress CCS successfully. By finding relevant applications for the Australian market place it will also assist in ensuring the long term sustainability of the Australian coal industry. It also confirms the work conducted by Australian research organisations to date have been world class and are sound processes for engaging communities in discussion around this topic.
Arising from this analysis is a number of recommendations for the industry to provide a guide for future communication strategies regarding CCS. The recommendations include:
R1: Proactively communicate about CCS to the range of stakeholders through dialogue and discussion.
R2: The Australian coal industry partner with credible environmental NGO's and other trusted sources to develop communication materials which clearly outline the benefits of CCS and address the major concerns the public currently hold.
R3: Ensure an independent NGO is engaged to work with the Australian Coal Industry to communicate about CCS activities in Australia.
R4: Invest in developing education curricula which addresses the topic of climate change, the role of coal in energy generation and solutions for mitigation.
R5: Find opportunities to engage high profile public figures to stimulate discussion around the issues being addressed by CCS would help to raise a more positive profile within communities.
R6: Review in more detail the range of communication materials already developed and test their applicability to the Australian public using focus groups with a range of target audiences.
R7: Develop communication tools for a range of mediums including Internet, newspaper, television and radio.
R8: Where possible, demonstrate support for renewable energy sources as part of the portfolio of solutions to climate change.
R9: Identify resources to facilitate and support ongoing activity.