Australia is playing a major role in pouring out cheap fossil fuels to the world and as a result we are responsible for more than our share of climate change.
We are the largest coal exporter in the world. Australia’s mining barons are investing heavily to double the amount of coal we export and at the same time to become the largest exporters of gas. The global fossil fuel companies are chomping at the bit to frack our farmlands and water catchments so they can sell our gas offshore. This is driving up gas prices domestically where our governments have failed to place any reserve for domestic use.
Counter-intuitive to the planned export bonanza coal companies in the Hunter are calling on government to increase their already massive subsidies as they continue to shed jobs faster than the car industry. It is clear that fossil fuel companies have no conscience and certainly do not hold the best interests of our farmlands, environment, productivity, community health or the global climate.
Renewable power creates five times more jobs per kilowatt than coal power. In South Australia which gets 22% of its power from renewables, the most of any state in Australia, energy prices have been driven down by renewables. As a result the renewable sector is drawing fire from fossil fuel interests and their political allies.
We need to get energy smart and make the shift to renewables – to secure future jobs, for a safe clean energy supply and to help stabilise global carbon emissions.
Prime Minister Rudd has publicly stated that it was a mistake to walk away from his first attempt at tackling climate change years ago. The carbon price is now working – 7% pollution cuts and 30% more renewable energy – through a moderate impost on polluters.
Expanding the renewable energy target can deliver jobs particularly in the old industrial belt towns, give the green card to billions of dollars of investment in regional areas and curb our emissions.
The world’s leading powers, including the US and China are now taking real action on climate change. We need to keep up with the rest of the world not become back of the pack again.
Tracey Carpenter is President of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network