Sunday, 6 December 2009

Putting the fox among the chickens? Will Barnaby Joyce - slated to join the shadow cabinet - be given the energy portfolio?

The announcement begs the question, just as it begs the question whether Joyce is being bought off by patronage. A silent Joyce is a harmless National Party, as the saying goes.

Ironically, on the same page of The Australian where this announcement appeared, there's a prominent ad by Shell Oil spruiking its green credentials. You can click through to watch any of four short video animations - with voice-over - to find out how Shell is "helping to prepare for the new energy future".

The one on CO2 management includes an earnest exhortation to support the legistation of measures to encourage energy producers to invest in "costly carbon capture and storage".

The colours used in this animation are mainly brown. But there's a green-themed animation that talks about 'energy diversity' - in this case the manufacture of fuels using sources other than crude oil. The light blue one is about 'energy security' and it gives a few choice details about exploration deeper under the sea and in colder conditions, as though these technological measures are meritorious, and to be applauded.

Then there's the dark blue one, which is about "changing behaviour" as part of an 'energy efficiency' drive by the company. And what is Shell doing to help people use less fuel? They are always trying to increase the energy efficiency of their plants - as though this were not an economic measure, but a moral one.

They also - apparently - "encourage customers to use more efficient fuels and lubricants". But, hang on, are lubricants actually 'fuels'? Well, no, but this is only a short animation - it's not a policy statement.

And then there's the Shell Eco Marathon that aims to "encourage teams from universities around the world to explore ideas that push fuel economy to the extreme".

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