Australian “low-carbon heroes” recognised amid federal climate policy vacuum

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RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson named alongside GFG Alliance’s Sanjeev Gupta, climate policy pioneer Simon Corbell and community energy champion Nicky Ison, in 350.org list of more than 30 low-carbon heroes.

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RenewEconomy editor and founder Giles Parkinson has been named alongside GFG Alliance’s Sanjeev Gupta, climate policy pioneer Simon Corbell and community energy champion Nicky Ison as one of Australia’s low-carbon heroes, in a new report from 350.org.

The report, published on Wednesday, names more than 30 businesses, community groups, NGOs, researchers, academics, investors and individual experts selected by a committee as “leading the charge” to cut emissions and drive renewable energy uptake in the ongoing federal policy vacuum.

As the report points out, ever cheaper solar and wind energy technology hardly needs championing, these days, with more and more companies including industrial giants like BlueScope Steel, GFG Alliance, Mars and Telstra choosing it – one way or another – as the best way to control energy prices.

But climate action, particularly in Australia, is another matter.

As RE reported just last week, the Scott Morrison-led Australia has quickly “returned to the bad old ways that were a feature of Tony Abbott’s engagement on climate change, and John Howard’s involvement with Kyoto.”

Taking the low road at crucial international talks, the new PM has shown no interest in climate change, and has instructed new energy minister Angus Taylor to forget about emissions and focus solely on “bringing down prices.”

And his new environment minister, Melissa Price, is a former mining company lawyer who talking up the idea of having new “fair dinkum” coal-fired generators.

Clearly, heroes are still needed.

“Those named in 350.org’s Heroes Building the Low-Carbon Economy report are to be applauded for stepping into the climate change leadership void and seeing the opportunities in being part of the low carbon economy,” said 350.org Australia CEO Blair Palese.

“If our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor aren’t prepared to actively support renewable energy, we urge them to get out of the way and let these leaders get on with the job of transitioning Australia to a sustainable, affordable future.”

“Heroes” in the report range from Bluescope Steel, with its recent major solar power purchasing agreement, to the One Step Off The Grid regular Totally Renewable Yackandandah, and Andy Vesey, former CEO of AGL, who stood firm on the company’s plans to shutter its old coal generators and replace them with a combination of renewable energy and storage.

International heroes including companies like Tesla, Gupta’s GFG Alliance, Mars, and Neoen Energy are recognised in the report alongside local community groups and organisations like Enova Community Energy, and the pioneering state and territory governments of the ACT and South Australia.

“As the world gathers in California for the Global Climate Action Summit in September, the many heroes nominated in this report show that, despite a
dearth of federal leadership to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, we are moving there rapidly thanks to their inspiration, innovation and leadership,” says the report from 350.org, itself a giant of international of climate action.

“We celebrate everyone recognised here for filling the leadership void and showing that politics can’t hold back the renewable energy tsunami.”

On our own Giles Parkinson, who was selected by judges for “special recognition,” 350.org points to the 2012 creation of RenewEconomy (and later  One Step Off The Grid and the newly launched EV-dedicated site, The Driven) for giving the low-carbon economy a “unique voice” in the Australian media landscape.

“As a publication it has broken hundreds of news stories about energy and climate ahead of the mainstream media and established itself as an authority on the renewable energy sector, providing insight, opinion and analysis of events that most media outlets have been unwilling to explore,” the report says.

“RenewEconomy is read widely among industry leaders, policy-makers, investors and members of the public with an interest in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and in October, 2017, it surpassed 25 million page views.”

(We’d like to point out that 11 months later, RenewEconomy is now at 34 million views, following its first ever million-view month in August.)

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