This is The ChangeUnderground for the 23rd of May 2022.
I’m your host, Jon Moore
Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!
We hear the argument here in Australia and I’m sure it pops up elsewhere that we’re only x% of global emissions. What happens if we spend the money and change but the US, China and India don’t?
The fact that the x% quoted and it varies from 1 to about 2.5% doesn’t take into account our coal and liquified natural gas exports because they’re being burnt somewhere else by someone else really destroys the argument.
But let’s look at the question. What if we transition to 100% renewables and zero emissions?
Well, we’ll have a less aurally polluted world as the sound of internal combustion engines are removed from our background sound matrix. The exhaust fumes from millions of vehicles, factories and power stations will not be causing respiratory disease. And done right, with a bit of forethought, a huge surplus of energy, available for industry, innovation and experimentation as well as export would underpin the economy. Export would be by undersea cables to places like PNG, Indonesia and Singapore. We aren’t able to use coal bulk carriers for this, pity really.
True enough, global temperatures would continue to rise if only one country bothered to make the transition but the many advantages of that change would be obvious to everyone looking in from outside.
To be fair, I think that argument has had its day. There’s sufficient momentum for change, Russo-Ukrainian, Yemeni, Syrian and Ethiopian conflicts aside. I’m sure there’s other conflicts in this world that I haven’t heard of, which is a sad state of affairs.
Change, though, has arrived in this great southern land. The coal loving, science denying, pseudo Trumpian, god bothering conservative coalition that’s ruled here for 9 odd years was tossed out last Saturday. A wave of loosely aligned professional women, known as the Teal Independents and the Green party look like they’ll hold the balance of power in both houses with a Labor minority government in the House of Representatives. Given the fires of 2019/2020 and the floods of 20121/2022 it would have been surprising if a change had not occurred. During the life of the last parliament, alleged sexual assaults in the parliament building, sexual harassment by ministers, staffers masturbating over female minister’s desks and, I shit you not, when a women’s march for change happened our Prime Minister stated that those protesters were lucky to be living here because they weren’t being shot at for demonstrating. That Prime Minister has connections with prosperity gospel evangelicals and gave his last speech as PM at his local mega church. This might not seem unusual to some of my listeners, especially in the US but it is a distinctly distasteful combination of church and state which does not sit well with Australian cultural norms. We have no problem with people believing whatever they want but the general rule of thumb is that that is a private matter and not one public display.
We too have had our sexual abuse of children scandals and cover ups by institutions, not just by but noteably including, every religious organisation in the country, including the one our past PM is affiliated with.
To put it all in a shorter form, the convergence of fossil fuel business interests, a rich equals blessed by god attitude and a born to rule mentality leading to rorts and corruption on scales not seen here since the Rum Corp of the early NSW colony (link in the show notes) has been keeping us from achieving or even setting rational climate goals.
The groundswell for change has been built upon a quiet anger at being dismissed and ignored for the sake of corporate (read coal) donors to the ruling coalition. There is now great hope for more ambitious 2030 and 2050 targets backed up with actual plans and funding. As I’ve mentioned in other episodes, inflationary periods have been caused by spikes in oil prices, get off the oil and remove that cause. As I said earlier, a much quieter world where we can think more clearly.
Unfortunately, that virus is passing through work. I was infected early in the current wave as we’re all vaccinated to the hilt as are our clients, a vulnerable group, people are getting crook but not bundying off. It has meant staff shortages and long hours. I know we’re not alone in this but it is having an effect so this week’s episode is a week late and a little short. Hopefully things will be on a more even keel for the next episode Number 300!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.
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NSW Corps (The Rum Corps):