We need a new paradigm, one powered by the sun, which in Aesop’s fable out-muscled the wind and saw the farmer willingly remove his coat as it unleashed its warmth on his back.
What does work? To state the obvious, and no, I’m not launching into an us/them rant: Money. Facts and awareness raising are just the ineffectual Wind, huffing and puffing and driving opponents deeper into opposite camps. Money is the Sun, the game changer. Money will drive the renewables revolution, ripping the past from our backs, just as it has driven the agrarian, industrial and information revolutions before it.
Money drives synergistically, where we see Moore’s Law kicking in, reducing the price of renewables in a downward ski slope, below, and then far below, the cost of fossil fuels, but it also drives entropically where we see the energy incumbents shoring up their dwindling monopolies through political donations and regulatory capture. The past head-butting the future.
The future will win. It always does. The relentless and exponential collapse of the price of renewable energy, matched seemingly by the horrific slow-motion, but nonetheless exponential, collapse of our life-support system under business as usual, form the epic backdrop to a convulsive struggle that will usher in a new era: The Age of Renewables.
We could sit and do nothing, indeed most of us will, and renewables would eventually triumph, but we need to expedite the revolution now to avoid the phenomenon of ‘catastrophe anyway’, where we wake up to address the problem with evangelical zeal, only to find, like the foolish bridesmaids, the door already locked and our fate sealed. Eureka signs are emerging as rusted on incumbents such as AGL and Origin quietly hedge their bets with small but scalable renewables lifeboats, readying for the exits, but the majority remain willfully blind.
Money, or the threat of losing it, is the tool that will open their eyes and drive the revolution. Our captains of industry and politics will smile benignly, even tut-tutting approvingly at our earnest efforts, agreeing solicitously with each point in the argument, then turn back to the board table, it’s own parallel universe, to get back to the business of Making Money.
What works, and continues to work is divestment
. Threat to The Rivers of Money. Adani have struggled fruitlessly to advance their proposed $16 billion mega-mine in the Galilee Basin, even hedging their bets with forays into large scale solar,
due in part to activist intervention with their bankers despite the active support of state and federal governments here, and again, in part to the negative economic outlook for coal, brought about in no small part by the serendipitous collapse in the cost of renewables. I.e. Coal is trying to compete but can’t beat free.
Socially aware investment funds, the Rockefellers, Universities, even the council of coal’s host city, Newcastle, have increasingly withdrawn investment support for fossil fuels. We can all do likewise.