Australia – Down the Rabbit Hole
THE END OF THE FOSSIL-FUEL ERA?
The world wants to end the fossil fuel era and move to the age of renewables. But Abbott’s attacks have seen jobs in the renewables sector plummet.
All over the globe, governments and industries and entire nations are beginning the transition away from coal and embracing the clean, sustainable energy that the sun, wind and oceans can provide.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures show us that investment in clean energy is now greater than in fossil fuels. Investment grew by 32% in China last year, by 8% in the US, 26% in Canada and 14% in India. 800,000 jobs were created around world between 2012 and 2013 thanks to the renewable energy sector. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that renewable energy employed 7.7 million people.
However, in Australia, under the Abbott Government’s relentless attacks, investment in large-scale renewable energy fell by 88%. We saw jobs in the renewable energy sector plummet.
In five, ten, twenty years — if the Abbott Government is to be remembered for something it will be its cruel social policies and its absolute determination to ignore the science and wreck the climate.
But — and this is the important part — the renewable energy sector is moving at too great a pace for even the most bloody-minded of governments to hold it back.
Today, the Abbott Government and the Labor Party are going to slash our Renewable Energy Target from 41,000 GWh to 33,000GWh. This ‘deal’ will cost Australia $6 billion in wind and solar investment according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
It will also take Australia backwards at a time when the rest of the world is embracing the opportunities that renewable energy offers.
Abbott, and the Labor Party, will try to justify this illogical, damaging and frankly dangerous deal by saying it was necessary for industry ‘certainty’.
Well, that just doesn’t stack up.
There was no problem with industry certainty in 2010 when the number of rooftop solar installations tripled, or from 2009–2010 when the number of accredited solar installers almost doubled.
Uncertainty doesn’t come from nowhere. Uncertainty comes from two old parties that continue to protect and invest in Big Coal despite its disastrous impacts on our climate, our Great Barrier Reef, our health and our ability to participate in the innovative and sustainable economy of the future.
And, given PM Abbott’s anti-wind farm comments on Friday where he made it crystal clear that his intention is to destroy our renewable energy industry, it is obvious that even the reduced 33,000 GWh target is not certain under this government.
Today, when the Abbott Government introduces its legislation into the Senate to slash our Renewable Energy Target, the Labor Party will support it. The legislation as proposed by the Abbott Government will include chopping down and burning our native forests and pretending it’s clean energy.
We, and the Labor Party, will introduce amendments to remove native forest burning from the legislation. But we don’t know yet whether our amendments will be supported by enough cross-benchers to get them over the line.
The question then will be, if our amendments are knocked back, will the Labor Party vote for the legislation — including native forest burning — like it did in the House of Representatives, or will it do the right thing and walk away?
Here’s what I can promise you: the Greens will always support renewable energy.
We will always advocate for keeping coal in the ground.
We have a plan to transition Australia to net-zero pollution by 2040.
But we need everyone.
Join our climate campaign to #TakeThePowerBack from big coal and take the #ParisPledge calling on the Abbott Government to up its game before the UN Climate Conference in Paris, in December this year.