Australia needs to stop putting all its money into new renewable energy and use existing technology to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, an expert says.
David Byers, the boss of an Australian carbon capture and storage research organisation, said focusing solely on renewables could be a costly waste of time and resources.
"Believing the world can mount a rapid, reliable and low-cost transition to an energy system that relies exclusively on wind, solar and hydro-electric power could lead to public resources being misplaced and discarding energy sources necessary to meet the world's daily energy needs," the chief executive of CO2CRC Limited said.
More than 80 per cent of the world's energy supply is from oil, gas and coal and this fossil fuel mix hasn't changed in 40 years nor is it likely to shift easily or quickly, he said.
"It is only through global deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies, that the pathway to a low carbon energy system will be feasible and economically viable," Mr Byers said.
"Technologies like carbon capture and storage are commercially viable and ready to play a vital role in delivering cost-effective emissions reductions by transforming the global energy system without trashing it."
Mr Byers will be the co-chair at the Greenhouse Gas Technologies conference, running from Monday to Thursday in Melbourne, where Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel will also be a guest speaker.
About 900 international delegates will attend to discuss developments in carbon capture and storage technology and its role in reducing emissions from fossil fuels at the event.
Carbon capturing involves removing it from the atmosphere and storing it underground.
Australian Associated Press