Climate action core Labor business in rebuilding Australia

When I attended a LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network) conference in September 2019, the concern was to make environment action part of Labor’s DNA and to cast climate action in terms of a positive vision for the future. However, people were tired. Labor had lost the unloseable election to Scott Morrison Scotty from Marketing, with nothing more than slogans and tax cuts to offer, plus scare campaigns boosted by Clive Palmer’s multi-million advertising blitz, a smear campaign directed at Opposition leader Bill Shorten, and a totally misconceived anti coal-mining intervention by former Greens leader Bob Brown.

Yes, there is more to say, and mistakes were made by Labor, but understandably many were tired and discouraged. Still, some were working on strategies inspired by the Green New Deal, in short a regeneration of the fossil fuel economy with a vision of planet-friendly, sustainable restoration and growth. Some were talking about the possibilities of hydrogen.

Post-bushfires, post-COVID, and prior to the ALP Party Conference and a possible election, LEAN has now come up with a simple and I think compelling story, to be found Climate action is core Labor business and Rebuilding Australia on the interwebs.

    Climate change threatens our way of life. It is impacting our weather, our environment and our economy. These escalating impacts will be felt unevenly by Australians. It can be hard to contemplate this challenge when the world is experiencing the upheaval of a global pandemic and so many Australians are exposed and feeling uncertain.

    The good news is that acting to arrest climate change will create unprecedented economic opportunity for Australia. In a world shifting toward cleaner sources of power, we could be a Renewable Energy Superpower. We have the best renewable energy resources on the planet. Our wind and sun and natural resources could underpin the creation of world leading new industries and manufacturing – including innovations like clean aluminium and steel. Read more about how we can become a Renewable Energy Superpower here.

    Climate action can be the bedrock of a more equal, prosperous and just Australia, our key competitive advantage in the global economy.

    But only Labor can deliver this vision. It requires the leadership of a smart, compassionate and active government. Public investment will be essential, as will fine-grained regional planning. It will require real investment in retraining and skills delivery, public ownership of key sections of the economy and genuine cooperation between government, business, unions and communities. It will require putting the national interest ahead of the market’s. And an active trustworthy government to guarantees communities they will be protected through this economic change.

Labor can:

Australia’s first task is to join the community of nations, now more than 100, which target net zero emissions by 2050. The immanent death of coal-fired power is becoming increasingly obvious.

Labor could scarcely do worse in Queensland and Western Australia than happened in 2019. Antony Green observed that of the 46 seats in those two states, the Coalition hold 34.

The startling fact is that of the remaining 105 seats in the country, Labor won 57 to the Coalition’s 43.

Making climate central to the campaign with a vision for rebuilding Australia could focus voters minds on a clear point of product differentiation.

There is nothing to scare the horses here. Labor is simply amplifying what is already happening as NSW [Liberal government] tips $70m into Hunter hydrogen hub as coal closures loom. By contrast Morrison government threatens to use Snowy Hydro to build gas generator, as it outlines ‘gas-fired recovery’ plan in spite of official advice which indicates there is no need.

Importantly, Labor’s path would then be scalable, as I think it must be in the near-term future. My expectation is that by mid-decade the world will realise that tipping points are tipping and our beds are burning as we realise that 1.5°C will not save the Great Barrier Reef, that sea level rise will continue to intrude on our coastlines and swamp low-lying islands, that wild weather, droughts storms and floods, already creating havoc, will increase.

Then we’ll see the need to cool the planet, draw down emissions (James Hansen thinks 300-320 if we want to save the ice sheets) and institute genuine climate emergency action.

See also:

  • The death of coal-fired power is inevitable — yet the government still has no plan to help its workforce:
    • At the last federal election, the Morrison government claimed 50% renewable energy by 2030 would be ruinous for our economy.

      Now, several expert energy analysts estimate that renewable projects already in the pipeline could see 50% renewables occur as early as 2025.

    Everyone is working to transition out of coal, but the heavy-handed intervention of the federal government is making things worse.

  • Electricity has become a jigsaw in Australia and coal isn’t best to fill the missing pieces:
    • Energy Minister Angus Taylor warned of “price spikes every night when the sun goes down”.

    He could have said, “When the sun comes up the price falls, sometimes to zero or negative levels.”

      Then he drew attention to what had happened when two other coal-fired power stations closed down — Victoria’s Hazelwood and South Australia’s Northern (South Australia’s last-remaining coal-fired generator).

      He said “wholesale prices skyrocketed by 85 per cent”.

      And there he finished, without going on to detail what really mattered. South Australia and Victoria now have the lowest wholesale power in the National Electricity Market — that’s right, the lowest.

    Renewables have lowered prices.

  • Outcry at Australia’s coal plant closures misses the point: change is coming:
    • Trying to heavy owners won’t hold back the renewables tide. It’s time to plan, and the blueprint exists

    EnergyAustralia had made a deal with the Victorian government to keep Yallourn open longer, but it has become unreliable, and cheap renewable energy means it has struggled to remain viable.

  • New gas-fired power not needed as renewable energy expands, grid operator says
  • 28 thoughts on “Climate action core Labor business in rebuilding Australia”

    1. I thought I’d published this last night. Seems not. I’ve just added a “See also” with links to some relevant articles.

    2. Labor policy developments looking better Brian.
      FYI “Electricity has become a jigsaw in Australia and coal isn’t best to fill the missing pieces” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-17/electricity-has-become-a-jigsaw-coal-missing-pieces/13253392
      Detailed discussion is interesting including this statement”
      “When the early closure of Victoria’s second-biggest coal-fired power station was announced last week, something the energy minister said was less than complete.
      Yallourn, in the Latrobe Valley, provides up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s power. It has been operating for 47 years. Since late 2017 at least one of its four units has broken down 50 times. Its workforce doubles for three to four months most years to deal with the breakdowns. It pumps out 3 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.
      On Wednesday, Energy Australia gave seven years notice of its intention to close it in mid-2028, four years earlier than previously announced, a possibility for which regulators had been preparing.
      In what might have been a rhetorical flourish, Energy Minister Angus Taylor warned of “price spikes every night when the sun goes down”.
      Then he drew attention to what had happened when two other coal-fired power stations closed down — Victoria’s Hazelwood and South Australia’s Northern (South Australia’s last-remaining coal-fired generator).
      He said “wholesale prices skyrocketed by 85 per cent”.

      And there he finished, without going on to detail what REALLY MATTERED South Australia and Victoria now have the lowest wholesale power in the National Electricity Market — that’s right, the lowest.

    3. I’ve added this link as well:

      John, the LEAN national executive are a very experienced group of operatives, mostly based in Sydney, with a long record of activism.

      I also think the quality of the Labor front bench is as high as it has ever been, certainly since the group put together by Bill Haydn, which Hawke inherited. I’d prefer a bit more charisma in the leader, but, if elected, I think would go a long way to bringing back decency and integrity into national politics.

    4. Brian: Startling peice of information “Bitcoin may soon consume more power than Australia — almost 10 times more than Google, Microsoft and Facebook combined.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-18/bitcoin-has-a-climate-problem/13210376
      “For the Bitcoin community, Bitcoin’s inefficiency is the feature, not the bug.”

      “It’s what gives Bitcoin its value,” said cryptocurrency researcher Peter Howson from Northumbria University.

      “If we say, ‘Oh, let’s make it efficient’, you’re just saying, ‘Let’s reduce the value of a Bitcoin’ — why would you do that?”
      Bloody hell!!!

    5. Bloody hell indeed!

      I’ve long thought that bitcoin should be banned, but I know it won’t be. It’s a danger to the human race.

    6. Labor?

      Climate Action Core?????

      Isn’t that what Kevin Rudd claimed 14 years ago?

      Labor can’t organise a picnic in a park. Bunch of total buffoons…..

      https://apple.news/A4oqGVUzSSFacz9Q1TlRPMQ

      …….. says it all.

      The only good political thing going on is the alliance between Japan, India, Australia and ? , organized, or promoted, I think by Joe Biden. This is a good starting point to protect Australia from a Chinese walk in annexation.

    7. Bilb, I think NSW Labor is near Labor at its worst.

      The latest Newspoll had Labor in front 52-48.

      Yes, Joe Biden seemed serious about telling China that its treatment of Australia was unacceptable. I didn’t expect him to take such a strong position, so we’ll see how it works out in practice.

    8. Yes, Joe Biden seemed serious about telling China that its treatment of Australia was unacceptable. I didn’t expect him to take such a strong position

      He did ?
      Do we have footage of this, I’ve not seen that yet, seems implausible ?

    9. Apparently not as good as others, tried but failed.

      So, have you the skill to share that particular snippet?

    10. It worked for me.
      As you have pointed out in the past it will be a good exercise for you to find out for yourself. But I will give you a hint.
      The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has a bearing on it and there has been some to-ing and fro-ing involving “the Quad” in recent days.

    11. Jumpy, Google ‘china us meeting alaska full video’ and maybe you can report back.

      There is an account at Politico.

      I’ve heard about it around four times on the radio, for example on PM in US and China clash during firey talks in Anchorage.

      I don’t think Australia was mentioned specifically, but we are one of the US ‘friends’.

      Hugh White says it doesn’t help us much. We shouldn’t have to choose sides.

      I believe China said that the countries in question had “done wrong things”.

    12. Ok, I’ve watched plenty of that CCP v US stuff, not seen or heard anything from Biden about Australia.

      I doubt Biden could find Australia in an atlas without help with his cognitive decline.

    13. Jumpy, you never miss an opportunity to tip dreck on figures who might be deemed from the left.

      I’ve been quite impressed the way Biden’s brain seems to be working.

    14. Here’s Chris Bowen talking with Central Queensland mayors about two weeks ago in Banana, a small town SW of Rockhampton:

      Banana is west of Biloela, on the way from Gladstone to Emerald. Bowen visited Callide power station, the new hydrogen venture in Gladstone, and then headed west with Senator Anthony Chisholm as his guide.

      Chisholm is the duty senator for Qld and travels the state constantly. All that and more on Bowen’s Facebook. Bowen seems to be talking about the right stuff, and gets trolled by climate deniers for his trouble.

    15. I doubt Biden could find Australia in an atlas without help with his cognitive decline.

      And I have no doubt the American people are eternally grateful for your considered and thoughtful expert opinion.

    16. Brian

      Jumpy, you never miss an opportunity to tip dreck on figures who might be deemed from the left.

      He might be deemed from the left ??!?

      You seem unsatisfied with 90% of MSM, 95% of Hollywood, the vast majority of “ educators “ from kindergarten to Uni and both facechook and twater constantly tipping dreck on any non-leftists.
      Would you prefer 100% and totally homogenise political though with intolerance to diversity and conservativobia ?

    17. I’ve been quite impressed the way Biden’s brain seems to be working.

      That would most likely be that cognitive bias that you admitted too.

      He fell up the stair 3 times yesterday and the MSM run cover. Trump goes gingerly down a ramp and it’s a week long media meltdown about trumps motor skills and his fitness to be President.

      Your “ impressed “ meter definitely need a recalibration but I doubt it’ll get it.

    18. Jumpy doesn’t seem to understand that nobody gives a fig what a subby from regional Queensland thinks about POTUS.
      His opinion is unsupported by facts and wilfully ignores the elements that don’t suit his narrative, making this simply a trolling exercise of the most infantile kind.

    19. Furthermore, our northern scribe explained in brain numbing detail that the the previous guy was powerless in the face of the coronavirus. He did all he could but the tools available to him were so limited that the position is really just a ceremonial one and it was up to everybody else to solve the problem. Effectively POTUS could be replaced by a sack of potatoes and it wouldn’t make any difference.
      Under these conditions who gives a flying f*ck about the cognitive abilities of the incumbent – they’re merely filling a position and have no ability to make any difference in the real world. Half a million dead or 100 million vaccinations in a couple of months, it doesn’t matter – it wasn’t POTUS what done it.
      You’ve convinced us Jumpy. We’re all Republicans here now so you can piss off. Your work here is done. (And your mother wears combat boots).

    20. I heard the other night that the US has now ordered 1.2 billion vaccinations.

      Their biggest problem at present is that their testing is not up to speed and they don’t really know how many variants they have floating around. So it is said.

    21. For anyone genuinely concerned with media bias in the US (so not you Jumpy) this might be a useful tool.
      (Disclaimer: I have just stumbled across this and I’ve not yet examined it.)

    22. John, that’s an interesting link, outlining innovative use of modular and scalable concentrated solar power (CSP) with direct heating of the molten salt.

    23. zoot, I saw the triple trip, thought he would be better crawling up.

      Biden during the campaign was always doing these little skippy runs coming into the studio. It just emphasised how old he was.

    24. What you’re not seeing is that Biden was picking up a piece of rubbish that had come off some one else’s shoe. He is that kind of attentive to those things.

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