The jig’s up, my friends!
This week green groups were ‘exposed’ for collaborating to protect the environment by the fossil fuel lobby, right-wing commentators in the media, and the Turnbull government. Not really that surprising. However, their criticism inadvertently revealed a far scarier truth: That the lobbyists, right-wing media and government are collaborating to do the opposite.
In the last few weeks, fracking (coal seam gas) companies were discovered to be emitting around 170 times more climate change inducing pollutants than they report. And the mining lobby in Australia was caught paying a marketing company to create fake opposition to renewable energy on social media.
But Australians know the score. 71 percent of us nationally believe the government should put more emphasis on producing domestic energy from solar, while only 9 percent think there should be more focus on coal. And just this week, renewables overtook coal as the world’s biggest source of new power capacity.
It’s obvious to everyone that renewable energy is the future. It’s inevitable.
But the Coalition government isn’t embracing this healthy and safe future for us. Instead, they’re propping up fossil fuel companies, inviting foreign companies to come and destroy our local environment, and in the long run, our planet as well.
On average, heatwave days in Sydney are starting 19 days earlier than usual, and climate change as a trend is making heatwaves and hot weather worse across the country. We’re seeing more regular and more intense weather events affecting Australia, and even more so the nearby Pacific Islands. Climate change is already negatively impacting health, property, infrastructure and industries like agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
As part of agreements made at the COP21 climate talks in Paris last year, Australia committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent on 2005 levels by 2030. Yet, with currently implemented policy measures, Australia’s emissions are set to increase substantially to more than 27 percent above 2005 levels by 2030.
Regardless of this, Australia has yet to ratify the Paris climate change agreement. We’re now with the hundred-odd slowest countries to ratify, like Afghanistan and Angola, rather than leading the way with those that have already agreed like Austria, Argentina, as well as some of the largest emitters, that comprise 61 percent of current global emissions.
In fact, 86 of 191 countries have already ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
What could possibly be holding our government back?
Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, and one of the largest gas exporters. We’re also the largest greenhouse gas emitter per person of any country in the developed world.
Our actions, therefore, could have a significant impact on global climate change, and huge influence over global climate change policies. We have an opportunity to move away from generating the pollution that causes climate change, while at the same time saving money and creating healthy, homegrown energy.
But instead, we’re rapidly falling behind other countries. The Coalition hasn’t offered a vision for transitioning Australia away from fossil fuels.
In the US, the number of jobs in solar alone now exceeds those in oil and gas combined (also more than coal). And there were 9.2 million jobs in renewable energy globally by the end of 2014, an increase of nearly 20 percent on the previous year. The experts at IRENA expect that number to double by 2030.
This is an energy transformation that Australia needs to make – and can make. A new report from the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions this week shows that credible climate change policies would create more one million new Australian jobs by 2040.
Instead, our government was, and is fanatical about oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight on the basis of the 100 short term jobs promised by BP’s plans.
Why can’t they see the way forward?
The solutions are simple and get cheaper and more efficient every year. The cost of producing renewable energy continues to drop. The cost of wind power per unit dropped by about one-third in the last five to six years, and that of solar dropped by 80 percent.
Even the usually conservative International Energy Agency says solar will be the biggest single source of energy by 2040.
This month, communities and organisations successfully protected the Great Australian Bight from BP’s oil drilling plans, despite the usual extravagant financial incentives offered by our government.
If our government really wants to stop us ‘pesky greenies’ working together to protect the planet, there’s a really simple way to do it …
Get real about protecting the environment!
And if you can help, please get in touch or chip in a few bucks to help keep up the pressure!
We don’t do anything without your support, so a hearty and heartfelt thanks.