It’s too hot for climate denial

April 10, 2018
Autumn weather was predicted to be hot. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

This Autumn heat wave across the eastern states should remind us that we have less and less time to deal with the catastrophic consequences of an unscientific energy policy.

We live in an era of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change and yet horse-and-buggy politicians, such as Tony Abbott MP and PM Malcolm Turnbull, continue to insist that we still need coal-fired power.

Abbott’s recent cycling spectacle through the Latrobe Valley in Victoria was timed to heap extra pressure on Turnbull in the lead up to his 30th consecutive Newspoll loss. Abbott, a climate change denier, is demanding Turnbull reallocate funding away from expanding the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme to instead build a new coal-fired power station to replace the Hazelwood power station.

Abbott is part of the Monash Forum which includes 30 others, including Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews and Barnaby Joyce.

The cabal is named after John Monash, a civil engineer who advocated coal-fired power in the Latrobe Valley early in the 20th century. Since the climate denier grouping came to light, the family have demanded it desist from using their relative’s name for “anti-science” and “anti-intellectual” purposes. If Sir John was alive today, they said, he would favour wind and solar energy.

Meanwhile, leaning on AGL’s owners to sell the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley to competitor Alinta Energy, Turnbull and Minister for the Environment and Energy [sic] Josh Frydenberg are demonstrating, once again, just how government intervention works — to help corporations maximise their profits.

AGL announced plans late last year to close Liddell by 2022 due to its ageing infrastructure. It said it considered selling Liddell but decided against “as Liddell is currently needed to supply energy to its customers and will be repurposed to form part of its alternative generation post 2022”.

While Abbott and Turnbull may differ on some policy, they both believe that coal is king, and keep repeating the lie that renewable energy is not able to deliver enough base load power. (They like to refer to sustainable energy as “intermittent”, as part of their scare campaign.)

That’s not what Turnbull said in 2010 at a 2000-strong Sydney Town Hall meeting to launch Beyond Zero Emissions’ stationary energy plan to shift to 100% renewable energy over 10 years.

“Our response to climate change must be guided by science”, Turnbull said back then.

“The science tells us that we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. We are, as humans, conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got. We are dealing in scientific terms with enormous uncertainty …

“But we are dealing with uncertainty and it may well be and indeed there is considerable evidence, that it may well be that many of these forecasts that we’ve become so used to, in fact err on the conservative side.

“We are told that 2010 will be the warmest year on record since records began in the late 1800s. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic …

“Sometimes the task of responding to the challenge of climate change may seem too great, too daunting. It is a profound moral challenge, because it is a cross generational challenge. We are asking our own generation to make decisions; to make sacrifices, to make expenditures today so as to safeguard our children, their children and the generations that come after them. It truly requires us to think as a species, not just to think as individuals …"

Turnbull went on to argue that the only way to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions was to make big cuts to emissions, provide government support for innovation and invest in clean stationary energy, specifically concentrated solar thermal power. “Government support for innovation and investment in clean stationary energy is important, particularly at the early stages”, he said.

Now, he is in charge of a government which is recommending negligible cuts to carbon emissions and that says “intermittent” renewables cannot deliver the baseload power required.

They like to use the word “intermittent” as part of their scare campaign, ignoring the fact that non-toxic molten salt energy storage has been in use for years, and the technology continues to advance.

Back then, Turnbull railed against the then Kevin Rudd Labor government, saying it was bereft of leadership or conviction. Now we know more about climate science, and the devastating impact that global warming is already having, we have to conclude that the Turnbull government, which understands the science, is acting in a criminally negligent way.

Help us defeat him by bringing more people into action to save the planet from those who are prepared to gamble with it.

Green Left Weekly was founded in 1991 to help bridge the divide between the ecological and social justice movements. You can help us get and us by taking out a subscription for yourself or a friend. In addition you can make a donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund which will help us continue to expand our publishing schedule.

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