John White (Australia)

From Global Energy Monitor

John White (Australia) is a an Australian businessman who, in evidence to a Victorian parliamentary committee, described himself as "from a brown coal development company."[1]


White was, until mid-late 2013, listed as one of the "Key People" of Ignite Energy Resources. The company's website at the time stated that White was responsible for "Government & Community Liaison". His biographical note stated:

"Dr White was the Chairman of Global Renewables and the CEO (and a Director) of a number of major private and publicly listed Australian companies, including Transfield Defence Systems, Visy Industries and Siddons Ramset Limited."
"John served as Chairman of the Australian Government's Uranium Industry Framework, was a member of the Australian Government's Defence Procurement Board and is a Director of the DefenceSA Board."

Direct Action pitch

In October 2013 the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt told the Herald Sun was up-beat about the prospects for government funding for DICE project based on Victorian brown coal as a potential "bonanza". "It's not going to happen overnight, but on balance I think it is more likely that within a decade the Latrobe Valley will be on its way to being both a source of clean automotive fuels and producing dramatically cleaner electricity," he said.[2]

Hunt later told ABC Radio National that he was "absolutely convinced that within a decade, if not well before we will have at least halved, if not done better, in terms of reducing emissions from the brown coal power stations." The reporter, Rhiana Whitson, stated that "the Minister won't be specific about how the cuts will be achieved, but he says technologies being developed by companies such as Ignite Energy Resources could be part of the solution." Whitson stated that White was "executive director of Ignite Energy Resources" and that "direct injection carbon injection technology is cheap, and is twice as efficient as current brown coal generators. He says the carbon can be captured and stored or used as biofuel. And he says the engines can be installed in stages as the existing generators wind down."

White went on to claim that direct injection engines have the advantage that "you can turn it on and off easily, as opposed to a very large current boiler, and so you can follow the variable demand, and the variable supply, that is increasingly causing a difficulty, as we penetrate more wind and solar renewable energy into the grid."[3]


  • Chair DICEnet, current (as of March 2014)[4]
  • Was appointed by then Opposition Spokesperson on Environment, Greg Hunt as one of 14 members of the Liberal/National Party coalition's Business Advisory Council "to advise on the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy". White was listed in the schedule as "Current Executive Director of Ignite Energy Resources, former CEO of Transfield and Visy".[5]


  • "The only apparent problem with Victoria’s vast brown coal deposits is that they are half to two-thirds water. If you burn that wet coal with old-fashioned technology, you create a lot of CO2 due to thermal inefficiency. That does not make the coal dirty; it means you are using old technology and creating a lot of CO2. That is not a reason to shut down the use of beautiful, clean, organic Victorian brown coal; it is a reason to change the technology that we use to exploit it."[1]
  • "I therefore suggest that, arguably, the sole focus on fossil fuel burning as the cause of climate change and therefore the solution to climate change is misplaced. This does not mean that we should not seek to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted from fossil fuel burning going forward as a precautionary measure, but if we could rebuild the amount of CO2 sequestered in agricultural soils — forget the forests — then we would have the opportunity of sequestering for centuries more CO2 than we have burnt or will burn from fossil fuels. I want to encourage you to really focus on the potential of the solution of rebuilding soil carbon in agricultural land. Leave forests as they are, encourage people to replant forests, but the big opportunity is rebuilding soil carbon in agricultural land."[1]

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