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Food for Thought 2

Renewing and Targeting our Commitment
to God’s Earth and All Creation

Refresh Australia! logoHow do we get to where we need to go if we don’t have a map showing the roads to get there and only a very limited timeframe in which to get to the destination? With a map of the territory – even if unknown – and signposts along the way we manage to stay on track. And with the latest appropriate technology (that which doesn’t cost the Earth) and the will to make it, we can fast track ourselves to where we need to be.

In the race to avoid dangerous, accelerating climate change, targets are essential. Targets in a sense are both destinations and signposts and so we as a nation and member of the Earth community need to set binding targets for emissions reductions for the medium and long term, at levels the science now says are essential to prevent catastrophic, nonlinear change and mass extinctions. That means 60-90% reductions in emissions from current levels by 2050 and an interim target of around 30% by 2020.

So, now that we know the destination and have map in hand to find the signposts just how are we going to get there? There are directions we can take to more quickly reclaim a brighter future and health for the planet. Renewable energy in all its forms is a vital and substantial part of the climate solution and so more substantial investment in renewables is required.

The Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) is an existing policy mechanism that needs to be dramatically expanded and adjusted to ensure rapid increases in and uptake of renewable energy in the Australian energy market. The targets espoused by research think tanks suggest 25% of generated power is feasible in the medium term – by 2020. Much of the technology is already available and has been in use elsewhere for years. Other new renewable technologies are being developed and are waiting in the wings for the market to open sufficiently to allow them to further develop and become cost competitive.

Wind TurbinesWind, biomass and solar PV are proven technologies and can be implemented in varying scales from single dwellings to ‘farms’. Solar thermal, ‘hot rock’ geothermal are not too far off being scaled up to generate significant baseload power to the grid, and wave energy has huge potential for medium sized coastal communities. These technologies do not use up reserves of that other precious necessity on an increasingly dry continent – water – whereas coal and nuclear, from mining to power plant, use incredible amounts of water. Future planning and future proofing necessitate water conservation.

It seems a madness that options that are known to do significant damage to the health of the planet – coal and nuclear – are currently on the table as sources of energy well into the future. It says a lot about the power of the mining lobby and energy industries that their voices are heard and listened to over the voices of reason and community. Coal may be ‘cheap’ and plentiful but the fossil fuels and our addictions to them are what got us into this mess in the first place. It’s like we are collectively continuing to smoke tobacco when we know the tar and poisons and cancer are killing us.

Solar PanelSo while we can urge government and industry to get fully on board the renewable energy wagon through advocacy and campaigning, we also have an opportunity to be heard at the ballot box sometime later this year. And as consumers, individually and in community, we already have significant power to drive the investment in new clean green renewable energy.

  • Are we prepared to spend a bit more cash up front to switch to green power for a sustainable future?
  • Are we prepared to go the extra step to walk our talk through investing in Solar PV for our rooftops?

We, also, must take practical steps to reclaim our health, and re-energise, renew and refresh the body that sustains us.

For ACTIONS go to www.thebigswitch.org.au and sao.clriq.org.au/refresh_australia/.

 

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