Food for Thought 2
and Targeting our Commitment
to God’s Earth and
How 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
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.
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/.
to Food for Thought 3
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