Is Coal or Climate Change in the Public Interest? Why a Moral Dilemma?

The issue with coal is to do with influence in politics in my view.  I remember the Mining tax  and how it was lobbied to be removed.  We have seen Al Gore’s film Inconvenient Truth and the power of the energy industries to create studies critiquing climate change when there is 100% scientific agreement. We can see how industry does not operate in the interests of society, it is solely focused on profit.  They do not work for the public they work for shareholders and their own industry interests. That is why they should not be allowed to influence politics at all.

It is clear there are voices who gain access to government and there are many more voices who do not.  This has implications in respect of what is in the public interest?  Morality is at the heart of this.  We typically reward profits but not moral decisions.  Is backing an industry that is clearly not in the interests of the future of the planet, it is indeed  crime against humanity (and the planet).  I say this with respect to all involved, but the reality is that people (sentient beings) are being harmed and will be further harmed as climate changes and the health impacts are experienced.   If this quote is accurate from below it is diminishing an internationally reputable report and is misleading the public.

Deputy Prime Minister:  He said the government would not change policy “just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do”.

To not work 100% for a future free of harmful technologies is essential. I think of Buckminster Fuller and sense his spirit in this.  We need to find innovative approaches that reduce emissions to ZERO.  It is indeed a crisis!  This is a moment in time for real leadership not power politics (that is both electricity and influence).

It is evident when you look at cities that they are designed to maximise consumption.  They have entertainments, activities, shops and infinite ways to spend.  This is at the heart of the dilemma faced by those who have trumpeted economic growth as the solution to jobs but at odds with the environment as it depletes earth systems and is completely out of whack with nature.  We talk sustainability but as those who lead the world are predominantly white Anglo Saxons who have no idea of how to live in nature, they conceptualise a world based on modelling in linear terminology or outcomes without any sense of the wholistic nature of life on earth.   We sure ourselves up with mind games where numbers are short term, unable to calculate the trillion upon trillion of iterations of knock on affects as we blindly consume ourselves to death.  Not unlike the addict who cannot break the habit and has to have another fix.  The prospect of losing supply is terrifying so another fix, another situation where all seems stable, another comforting conversation another narrative to put off what is inevitable occurs.  This is how denial works.  We are too fearful to really look, and for those who do, they have no idea how to turn this massive ship around as the captains of industry are steering us not into ice as it has melted but onto the rocks.  It is a crash that is inevitable. It is a wake up call.

The thought coming to me now is – the wicked webs we weave.

Australian government backs coal in defiance of IPCC climate warning

Deputy PM Michael McCormack says policy will not change based on ‘some sort of report’

 Morrison on IPCC emissions report: ‘There are a lot bigger players than us out there’ – video

The Australian government has rejected the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s call to phase out coal power by 2050, claiming renewable energy cannot replace baseload coal power.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said Australia should “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC’s dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe.

He said the government would not change policy “just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do”.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, also did not commit to the total phase-out of coal, but called for more renewable energy.

Since the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull abandoned the emissions reduction component of the Coalition’s national energy guarantee, Australia has been left without a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, when the renewable energy target will expire.

 Australia’s climate wars: a decade of dithering – video

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has claimed Australia will meet its Paris climate agreement targets of reducing emissions by 26% to 28% on 2005 levels by 2030 “in a canter”. The claim is contradicted by environment department figures showing emissions are rising and advice from the Energy Security Board that Australia will fall short under a business-as-usual scenario.

The IPCC report held particularly sobering news for Australia, that holding warming to 1.5C rather than 2C would probably be the difference between the survival of some Great Barrier Reef coral and its complete decline.

On Monday McCormack told Sky News coalmining was “very, very important” because it provided 60% of Australia’s electricity, 50,000 jobs and was Australia’s “largest export”. Iron ore will be Australia’s biggest exporter earner in 2018-19.

McCormack said he “understands the concerns” expressed in the IPCC report, but admitted he hadn’t read it yet. “I’ll certainly consider what it has to say. But the fact is, coalmining … and coal-fired power stations do play an important part of our energy mix in Australia and will do so going forward.”

“The Liberals and Nationals in government are supportive of small business, of industry, of farms, and of coalmining.”

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg – who as energy and environment minister championed a policy to reduce emissions by 26% in the electricity sector – warned that without coal “the lights will go out on the east coast of Australia”.

The environment minister, Melissa Price, said the IPCC report was designed to inform policymakers but was not “policy ­prescriptive”.

On Tuesday Price told ABC AM she had not read the whole report, and said Australia’s policies were “adequate” to meet its 2020 Kyoto target.

Asked to explain how Australia will reach the 2030 target, Price cited the emissions reduction fund – which only has $250m left of $2.5bn – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the government’s investment in Snowy 2.0 hydro-electric.

Price conceded there had been “a slight increase” in Australia’s emissions but blamed an increase in liquid natural gas production. She dismissed scientists who say Australia will miss its targets as “their opinion” but said she was “very comfortable” with Australia’s trajectory.

Price said it would be “irresponsible” to commit to phase out coal by 2050 because clean coal technology could be available by then.

At a doorstop on the Gold Coast on Monday, Morrison said the IPCC report “does not provide recommendations to Australia or Australia’s program, this is dealing with the global program”.

“Let’s not forget that Australia accounts for just over 1% of global emissions, so there are a lot bigger players than us out there impacting on these arrangements.”

Morrison said Australia’s emissions per capita were “at their lowest level in decades” and the government’s focus was “to ensure that electricity prices are lower”.

Earlier on Monday Morrison ruled out exiting the Paris climate agreement but vowed not to provide more money to the global climate fund.

Advice from the Energy Security Board suggests the dumped national energy guarantee would have reduced household power bills by $150 a year.

Labor is yet to decide whether it will persist with the Neg for the electricity sector with an emissions reduction target of 45%, or whether it will take a different policy to the next federal election.

On Monday Shorten said the government’s priorities were “all wrong” because “they’re not taking action on renewables”.

“What we need to do is move our energy mix to having a greater proportion of renewables. But we are not saying that there won’t be fossil fuel as part of our energy mix going forward.”

Mohandas Gandhi

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”