Our government is spreading lies about clean energy
Yesterday I shared an article on Google+ about how the NSW Coalition Government forced Origin Energy to spread false anti-carbon price propaganda on their power bills:
One of my Google+ friends defended them
If society wants clean energy, it should not punish the government at the election booth when there are no jobs (which are created by dirty energy.
But we want both and the gvt sets priorities on how they avoid most pain.
Funny thing that – they are human too. (allegedly)”
I don’t think clean energy will cost us jobs
I find it hard to believe that an entirely new industry – one that our whole country will rely on – would not create a LOT of new jobs. I’d suspect more jobs than the existing fossil fuel industry.
Let’s just look at the current state of the industry. In 2011, there were 176,429 people employed in the mining industry in Australia. At the start of 2013, there were 24,300 people employed in the renewable energy industry. At that time, it accounted for 13.14% of Australia’s electricity supply. If it was responsible for all of our electricity supply, that would be approx 185,000 people employed. So around the same as the mining industry.
Of course, this is hardly an exhaustive (or expert) comparison. I don’t know if construction and transport for the mining industry is categorised as Mining or Construction / Transport, and there are no doubt some mining-specific jobs in the Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste Services category. But it’s a good start, and it’s not what I’d call a bleak employment outlook.
Especially as my comparison also ignores the boom we’d see in renewable energy innovation if the government truly got behind it. Can you imagine the number of jobs that would be created if the government invested $10b per year in renewable energy instead of mining (the mining industry currently receives around $10b in subsidies)?
Even if it did, we still have to plan ahead
Even if there are fewer jobs in renewable energy (which I doubt), if our governments don’t plan for a time when there is no fossil fuel available, we’ll be completely screwed when that time arrives. We need to be investing in innovations that we can export in place of coal. Especially in light of news like this: One of China’s largest traders in iron ore will buy only 25 million tonnes of iron ore from Australia this year.
And don’t forget, as fossil fuels become increasingly rare and difficult to extract, they also become more expensive. So if we continue to rely on them, our cost of living will go up and up, and this will impact our employment rate, because people will have less money to spend. By contrast, renewable energy will become less expensive, so our cost of living will go down, and we’ll have more money to spend (improving our economy and employment rate).
We also need to be finding alternatives for fueling day-to-day life and business, because our supplies of fuel are way lower than they should be, and a simple 3-week interruption could wreak havoc on our economy.
And what about these findings that suggest energy efficiency creates 387% ROI? I know it’s not clean energy, per se, but it’s nonetheless necessary, and it could be used to create both jobs and profit, in place of fossil fuels.
And what’s the economic cost of not going clean?
Will our international reputation, tourism industry and trade relations suffer if we ignore pressure from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to take the threats posed by global warming more seriously? And if we ignore pressure from the US to address climate change?
We MUST punish any government that resists clean energy
Resistance to clean energy is short-sighted. Discrediting and lying about clean energy, scrapping the Home Energy Saver Scheme and the Climate Commission, and conducting another review of the renewables industry (because the last report was glowing), and appointing known climate-change denier to head it up, all while actively encouraging and subsidising the fossil fuel industry? That’s just unforgivable.