The time to end our reliance on the fossil fuel industrial complex, and shift our focus to building the infrastructure our nation needs to run on renewable energy, is now. Behold the tipping point.
Renewable energy, including wind and solar power, account for differing percentages of power provision across the states, with Tasmania at 99% and NSW a meagre 7%. Wide-scale, intensive investment in these industries is needed immediately. This should be our national focus, our war effort. We have the technology, we have the evidence to prove the necessity, we, in Australia without doubt, have the perfect renewable energy environment with our vast sun soaked island. Instead, our politicians and industry heads dither while we, the people, watch on. A collective raised finger and slightly agape mouth, hoping and trusting someone who has the power to do something on a grand scale, will.
We need to start asking ourselves why climate change isn’t the thing that is driving us into the streets in desperate, organised demand for change. The things we do shout about will seem petty and insignificant once this thing really takes hold. In this we are as short sighted as our elected leaders.
Australia has ratified the Paris Agreement but our chances globally of being able to meet the set targets are already severely in jeopardy. At COAG our Prime Minister ruled out the Emissions Intensity Scheme as we are told it would see an increase in energy costs, which of course would deter voters; all very short term politically minded rubbish, and arguably not even the case. This is not a ‘Greens’ issue, or something to be sidelined as just an environmental issue. This is economic and industrial growth or decline, the health of future Australians, liveability, mass movement of displaced people, irreversible damage to our planet. When we are driving around in dune buggies with shaved heads, chucking arrows at each other, it will be because the people who could make a difference didn’t. Wind farms are ugly, miners will lose their jobs, people may have to pay more for electricity.. none of that will matter in our dystopian future.
So who is climate change going to have to affect for real change to happen? What tangible negative outcome is required? When is our Arch Duke Ferdinand moment? Our own Great Barrier Reef is at risk, bleached by warming sea temperatures. Globally, low lying populations will be affected first, and significantly, but they are for the most part, you know, ‘other’ countries. But closer to home, is the submersion of your water front home too far off in the future for you to care about? What about rising energy prices as the fossil fuels finally run out and we have not prepared? We are told that not implementing new mining projects will result in a lack of jobs and growth in regional areas, but later, when the mines close, and there is little alternative, what then?
The energy companies that are investing in renewables and building wind and solar farms are doing so inconsistently, and until the federal government aggressively mandates and subsidises the change in direction it will be up to these companies to go it alone; and the states will continue with their disparate approach. The infrastructure projects required could see an employment boom. It is up to our government to change the game here, and make it attractive to all energy companies to make the switch and invest long term in Australia’s future today.
Start looking at what you as an individual can do to. Lobby your politicians NOW. Put pressure on your local council to encourage the installation of solar panels to reduce our dependance on the grid; get informed about your energy options with your own provider. And to our politicians, when the crunch comes, if we have not prepared this country to be run on renewable energy, who will you blame? What will you say you were doing in 2017, when faced with ridiculously overwhelming evidence that the time is right now to plan for this globally catastrophic change, and you did not champion and fight for renewable energy? How will you explain to your children and their grandchildren that you fiddled while the planet quite literally started to burn?