Coal, Coal, Coal, that’s the elated squeal from the federal Liberals at the moment! It’s almost as intense as the hallowing eureka cry for gold back in the 1850s when everyone lived for the dream of finding an Eldorado.
These are dangerous times for the future of our planet as more coal mining means more of the same C02 output. This is exactly what the world’s climate doesn’t need!
Recently Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce gleefully flaunted a chunk of coal in parliament pandering to the coal-mining obsession before Scott Morison when on to taunt the federal opposition with the words “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.”
Ironically the audacious passing of the coal to the Liberal troops in parliament came during the middle of one of the most intense heat waves across central eastern Australia when temperatures were smashed and fire danger levels reached catastrophic.
It seems regardless of how extreme Australia’s environment becomes, the connection of coal burning and the consequential planet-warming message just isn’t getting through.
The coal-taunting incident in parliament is an ominous sign that climate-change denial is becoming an entrenched conservative culture.
This all came soon after Prime Minister Turnbull’s shock announcement that “Australia ought to be building a new generation of coal-fired power plants, subsidized by the government if need be”.
Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos recently flagged the possibility of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation being used to fund technology-neutral power sources.
Scott Morrison, who recently led a push for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to include coal power as an option in the region as it transitions to higher levels of renewable energy, confirmed that new coal would be part of the government’s energy policy mix.
Meanwhile Australia - the world’s largest exporter of coal - has invested $590 million since 2009 in clean-coal technology research and demonstration, and yet we still don’t have one modern high-efficiency, low emissions coal-fired power station.
With the opposition Labor party standing strong on a 50% renewable energy target, the Liberals are pushing the coal barrow in defiance to any renewable¬ energy future.
Wind back 6 years when Malcolm Turnbull said – “to effectively combat climate change the nation must move … to a situation where all or almost all of our energy comes from zero or very near zero emissions sources”.
In August 2010 Malcolm Turnbull spoke at the launch of a report demonstrating the technical feasibility of moving Australia to a 100% renewable energy nation.
“We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got…. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on…. We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us”.
Since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister somehow the tides have switched dramatically as he has done a classic u-turn for the coal industry in Australia.
The big development projects such as the $16 billion Adani Group’s Carmichael Coal Mine and rail project have obviously permeated its influence through the Liberal party.
Despite the uncertainty of future coal exports the Liberals alarmingly have seemingly committed themselves to a coal driven–planet warming future!
*Ted Mead was born in the Latrobe Valley Victoria, and is more than familiar with the smoke-choked skies from the ubiquitous Coal-fired power stations. Ted laments over the past practice of burning fossil fuels as we didn’t realize what the consequences were then. However, and alarmingly, we now know the ramifications of our past but inexplicably we refuse to act.