And that has nothing to do with fuel marketing cycles that seem to afflict larger cities around the country, the cost of importing fuel because the multi-national refining companies have determined it is not economic to produce fuel in Australia or any one of the hundreds of other theories of why it now costs more than ever to fill up the car. It is all to do with politics.
In 2007, the ALP Government as a part of the process to address the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’ AKA climate change, decreed that there should be some form of regulation of vehicle fuel consumption, as well as some work on the emissions coming out of the exhaust pipes of the Australian vehicle fleet. We all know what happened to the ‘greatest moral challenge’. In 2015, the Coalition Government committed to addressing the issue. We’re still waiting. The Conversation goes in to far greater detail than we have space for here, but suffice to say if Australia had emissions and fuel consumption targets for our vehicle fleet we would be joining about 80% of the rest of the world. The Conversation also suggests the amount of money that we as a nation wasted since 2015 was $1 Billion because there are no fuel efficiency standards in this country.
We shouldn’t really be surprised. Abbott and the Coalition came to power in 2013 on a number of lies including the $100 lamb roasts and Whyalla being wiped off the map because of ‘the carbon tax’. This was followed by the unwinding of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme put into place by the minority Gillard Government. Prime Minister Turnbull, who at one stage apparently believed the imperative of acting to reduce emissions was rolled by his own party (again) because of it. Morrison installed a climate sceptic into the role of Environment Minister, who when confronted with the fact that greenhouse gases are actually rising in Australia made some excuse that our rising totals are offset by falls elsewhere because they are using gas produced in Australia for power generation and other previously high emissions generating industries. Apart from being bunkum, The Monthly daily email on Friday 7 June reports that
This data was supposed to be released to the public last Friday by the office of the energy minister, Angus Taylor. It was instead leaked to The Australian on Wednesday, when the news cycle was swamped with reports of the recent AFP raids on the media.
You’d have to wonder if the AFP will be bashing down the door at The Australian’s office in about 18 months like they did to the ABC and News Corp’s Political Reporter Annika Smethurst recently. Nah — probably will never happen.
If you think the money we are losing at the petrol pump is obscene, in the words of the generic TV gadget salesperson ‘but wait, there’s more’! If Australia adopted the same energy and resources efficiency measures as Germany, it is estimated that collectively we would save $7.7Billion per year, actually be half way to meeting our Paris commitment and potentially being in the position of not having to replace an ageing coal fired power station when it became uneconomical to run. It’s not a new idea:
California in the 1970s generated the equivalent of two new nuclear power plants of energy, just by improving the efficiency of fridges.
It’s probably obvious to most now that the Coalition government’s claim of better managing a strong economy during the recent federal election campaign was another in a long list of lies perpetrated by the A(bbott)T(urnbull)M(orrison) Government. As The Guardian’s Greg Jericho succinctly put it, ‘The Government has run the economy into the ground’. Although they claim they will be ‘meeting the [somewhat modest] targets’ of the Paris climate change protocol, they have demonstrated through their lack of genuine action and engagement they don’t give a toss about it. As they can’t even achieve a target in an area they claim they are good at — namely running a strong economy — why would the Paris targets be considered more important?
Luckily, the states and local governments around Australia are doing the heavy lifting that is required. States have the right to introduce energy efficiency standards in relation to buildings and similar infrastructure as well as funding businesses to improve their efficiency. New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia have done so. Even in the areas around Central Queensland where the Carmichael Mine is commonly seen to be the saviour of jobs and lifestyles, there are some leaving the mining industry to join the solar power ‘revolution’. The Queensland Government recently hosted a Climate Reality Conference where the Keynote speaker was former US Presidential contender Al Gore. As a part of the Conference, Ernst & Young prepared a report suggesting that there was considerable hope for creating opportunities in industries
such as solar panels, electric vehicles and batteries,” it says.
It also points out Queensland has the “critical” mineral reserves of raw earths: neodymium, cobalt, nickel and lithium used in mobile phones and other emerging technologies.
Al Gore (who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work in raising awareness of the need for action on climate change) discussed at the conference that the ‘lower’ levels of government are making far greater efforts in respect to managing climate change than the federal governments, both here and in the USA.
“I showed a slide (on Wednesday) showing a world-class electric-vehicle-charging station manufactured here in Brisbane,” he said.
That Brisbane company was Tritium Energy, recently listed as one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies and part of Queensland’s emerging electric super-highways. It was an example, Mr Gore said, of companies looking to the post-fossil-fuel era.
“Indeed there will be hundreds of thousands of jobs created here in Australia once the decision is finalised to make Australia the renewable energy superpower of the 21st century,” he said.
The reality is Coalition politicians are doing as much to reduce the effects of climate change as the current US Republicans. The US Defence Department, which has some serious concerns about climate change making a lot of their ‘assets’ unusable — including the site that controls GPS satellites around the world — has resorted to
get climate change adaptation past politicians, by talking about “climate in much the way eighth graders talk about sex — with code words and winks and suggestive language”.
“They know better than to talk about [climate change] directly and forcefully, lest they anger the elected officials who fund their projects and who believe that climate change is not a problem.”
Says a lot about the intelligence of a lot of the conservative politicians with vested interests on both sides of the Pacific — doesn’t it?
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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