Climate Change #4
Words Arthur Hunt
Australia sets new benchmark
Solar expert, ANU professor Andrew Blakers, says Australia is currently installing renewable power four or five times faster per capita than the European Union, Japan, China and the United States, based on preliminary data available for global installations in 2018. He said that this trend is expected to continue, unless politics intervenes and that Australia’s entire Paris emissions reduction targets will be reached five years early, in 2025. He expects that Australia will reach 50% renewable electricity in 2024 and 100% by 2032.
These predictions will be supported by recent pre-election promises in NSW. The Coalition Government is offering interest-free loans of up to $14,000 for a solar-battery system for up to 300,000 owner-occupants with an annual income of up to $180,000 over the next 10 years. The Labor Party is offering subsidies capped at $2,200 for installation of rooftop solar systems by 500,000 owner occupants with a combined income of up to $180,000 over the next 10 years.
In Queensland, the latest Government program still has grants and loans available for solar and battery installations. www.qld.gov.au/batteryloans.
In Germany, the federal government has announced a plan to close all 84 coal-fired power stations by 2038. The plan includes some $45 billion in spending to mitigate the pain in coal regions. It is expected that Germany will be counting on renewable energy to provide 65% to 80% of the country’s power by 2040, with gas-powered generation filling the gap.
Climate Council report
The Climate Council’s latest report, Weather Gone Wild, has found climate change is increasing the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather and that Australians are suffering as a result. Higher temperatures are creating a more energetic climate system, with increased risk of longer droughts, longer bushfire seasons, greater floods, and stronger cyclones.
Bushfires linked to climate change
Following the recent bushfires in Tasmania and Victoria, former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins has said that due to the longer fire seasons, there wasn't enough fire services to defend Australia. In a TV interview he said that: "It's extremely inconvenient for any government that does not have a cogent answer for what they’ll do about climate change, to see the effects of climate change putting more and more people and homes at risk."
His comments coincide with the launch of a new advocacy group, Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action. This new group plans to take a petition to Parliament, demanding politicians take climate change seriously. https://bushfiresurvivors.org/
Green New Deal
The New Deal was the economic, infrastructure and social program that President Roosevelt developed to pull rural areas out of the Depression and restore employment. In the past week Democratic members of the US Congress have introduced a proposal for a Green New Deal which would address climate change and many social and economic problems at the same time, partly by investment in renewable energy. This will be a hot topic prior to the 2020 elections. Google “Green New Deal”.
Following the floods in North Queensland, former Premier Peter Beattie and others have revisited the Bradfield scheme to turn coastal rivers inland and provide water for western Queensland and the Murray-Darling Basin. The original plan foundered due to the cost of lifting water across the Dividing Range. One wonders whether cheap solar power and modern tunnelling could make the plan succeed.