The headlines that made a splash yesterday when we launched our Energy [R]evolution Scenario: Australia report said that Greenpeace “declares war on coal”. It got me pondering this phrase, which naturally people would like to pin on Greenpeace. It allows what we’re saying to be discounted. No threat to powerful business interests: the greenies are just being radical again, please quietly continue your business as usual.

The irony is that the Energy [R]evolution Scenario provides an inspiring vision of what Australia’s future could be like if we make the transition to renewable energy. It shows that we have the capacity to introduce renewable technologies twice as fast as current policies enable. It shows that it is possible for Australia to become a global leader on climate change by reducing our carbon emissions much faster than we previously thought. And it shows we can do this while ensuring a stable electricity supply and creating tens of thousands of extra Australian jobs.

Avoiding runaway climate change inevitably means shifting away from our reliance on coal. There’s nothing radical about that: it’s a simple equation when you consider that avoiding runaway climate change requires urgent action in the next few years, and the only hope for coal – carbon capture and storage – won’t come online until at least 2030. An energy [r]evolution entails phasing out coal and replacing it with renewables because that is what is required to stabilise our fragile climate. Our Scenario lays out the good news: that coal CAN be responsibly phased out in Australia by 2030 and that renewables CAN do the job. It’s up to the Rudd Government to make this vision a reality that Australians can take pride in.

Greenpeace advocates a responsible phase out of coal-fired power stations because our planet requires nothing less. We are also calling on the Rudd Government to support affected workers and communities during such a transition, through, for example, providing job guarantees and retraining so that coal workers can find employment in the new “green” industries. Our ship, the Esperanza, will be in Australia in a couple of weeks time to help us talk to people about these issues. We want to join together with other Australians who are saying to Kevin Rudd, “it’s time for an Energy [R]evolution!”.

To see a copy of the report go to