The world is burning, and all Australia has is a big stick | RenewEconomy

The world is burning, and all Australia has is a big stick

The world is burning, and Australia is doing nothing but waving a big stick. No wonder the kids have gone on strike.


As tens of thousands of people – the vast majority of them striking school children – gather around Australia to call for stronger government action on climate change, where were our top politicians?

The nation’s leader, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, was quite likely tucking himself into bed over in the US, looking forward to a week of bonhomie and back-slapping with fellow first-rate climate denier, US President Donald Trump.

He who brought a lump of coal into parliament and told us “don’t be afraid,” is not even bothering god about climate change, let alone making policy to try to slow it on its terrifying path. In fact, he has carefully constructed his US visit so he won’t attend the UN climate summit that will be held in New York from tomorrow.

While our kids listen to scientists talk in terms of “despair” and “climate grief” and feel compelled to make signs and march and yell, our energy  and emissions reductions minister Angus Taylor waves a big stick, and bemoans “shrill demands from aggressive activists” for unsettling business leaders.

In effect, Taylor is trying, with that big stick and his newspaper editorials, to bully the utilities into doing what the government has already chosen to do: ignore the science, turn a blind eye to the economics of new technology and future prosperity, and bury their collective heads deeper into last century’s fossil fuel economy.

While students and workers all around the country call for a quick end to fossil fuel burning – because that is what the science says must happen if we are to have any chance at this, resources minister Matt Canavan – the man who, we are told, charmingly introduces himself on overseas trips as “hello, I’m Mr Coal from Australia” – says environmentalists are “bullies and cowards.”

And in the same breath he calls engineering giant Aurecon “a bunch of bed-wetters” for distancing itself from Adani coal mining projects, including the massive Carmichael coal mine in north Queensland.

Just this week, one of the newest additions to the federal Senate, Northern Territory Nationals MP Sam McMahon, used her maiden speech to lash out at renewable energy, as “a hoax of immature technology replacing safe, clean, reliable and inexpensive power stations.”

Thankfully, she is not in charge up north, where the Labor government has just this week unveiled a comprehensive and uncompromisingly science-based Climate Change Response, including a massive solar push as the Territory aims for net zero emissions by 2050.

But she is not alone. Of the other “newby” Coalition members in Canberra, South Australia Senator Alex Antic came with up this convoluted mess in his maiden speech: “The reckless rush into the unproven, uncosted world of renewable energy in my home state represents both the deceased canary down a renewable energy coal mine – to coin a phrase – and a masterclass of failed policy from a failed former Labor government.”

Perhaps Antic should acquaint himself with the state Liberal government’s new policy – net 100 per cent renewables by 2030. And, like many of South Australia’s targets, it will likely be reached well before then.

And let’s not forget the memorable maiden speech from Queensland’s National Party MP Gerard Rennick who says we don’t need to worry about CO2 because immigrants are a bigger problem, something about over-stocking the paddock.

And while independent and sensible media outlets like The Conversation seek to give climate change the attention it deserves – and declare zero tolerance of climate denialist views – senior Liberal Senator Eric Abetz compares the academic website to a “totalitarian regime.”

“Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong couldn’t have put it better themselves. They’d be so proud,” he told parliament. “To so superciliously and arrogantly deny a voice to an alternative point of view is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.”

Is it any wonder there are kids taking the day off school by the thousands? Is it any wonder the schools these kids attend are themselves now condoning this action? Is it any wonder that more than 2000 major Australian businesses have also backed today’s climate strike, and are giving their staff a free pass to themselves attend?

Climate change is terrifying. And the only thing more terrifying is the people who hold the power refusing to do anything about it.

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  1. Jon 10 months ago

    Proud to be just one in the crowd, humbled by the attitude of the kids runnning these events.

    A bit disappointed that a union rep who was given the mike making an overall very good speech sprouted BS about the recent failed attempt to have only qualified electricians install solar panels…

    Leave that BS at home guys…

  2. Ian 10 months ago

    At least 2 aspects to the fossil fuel economy in Australia1. Domestic energy and 2. Energy exports.

    The big money is in energy exports, and you can understand the reluctance to give up that huge pile of riches, but why all the fuss by the incumbents about domestic energy consumption? After all that paragon of virtue Norway is able to accept the dichotomy of what they sell and live off in terms of exports and what they do at home in terms of home energy consumption.

    This country has become so polarised that the one side says no FF no matter what loss to income and the other all FF no matter the environmental cost.

    This polarisation is probably more honest than say Norway’s position of compromise and puts us at the head of the charge.

  3. RobertO 10 months ago

    Hi All,

    Another way to look at this is many of these children will be voters in less than 10 years.

    The Federal Government / State Governments are going to have issues with there anti-VRE/ keep coal forever polices.

  4. Ren Stimpy 10 months ago

    Protest is ‘level one’ of climate action.

    Funding for renewable energy projects and infrastructure is the ‘top shelf’ of climate action.

    The latter is a far better form of protest than the former.

    The Coalition is denying the funding for renewable projects and infrastructure…. in terms of climate action they suck! But Labor will provide the funding (via the CEFC and ISP) for many renewables projects and much required infrastructure.

    Politically the Greens are currently helping the Coalition. For all protest voters (and future voters) the best climate answer is to avoid the Coalition and their boosters the Greens, and vote directly for Labor who would deliver REAL money funding for large renewable energy projects – it’s the top-shelf best form of protest!

  5. Alan Wilson 10 months ago

    The conservative fools and know nothings the sooner they get voted out the better … the national party is a bunch of low IQ idiot’s … the liberals use to be hard business people now there just a bunch of morons who follow the coal and oil idiot’s money to nowhere there all fools ….and every time they open there mouths and close there brains there proving it …

  6. Joe 10 months ago

    I watched ABC Insiders show on Sunday (22/9 ) with Fran Kelly as host and she interviewed Angus Taylor. The Angus, the try hard that he is, more of the same usual bulldust when it comes to emissions and emissions target. It is embarrassing to hear a Government Minister repeat his nonsense over and over again. The Fran got into the Angus over his ‘Grass-gate Affair, again the Angus spinning more of his bulldust. A pity that the Fran didn’t also get into him over the ‘Murray-Darling water money for The Caymans’ issue, she could then have segwayed into the need for a Federal ICAC at which the Taylor might be the first to appear.

    • Ross 10 months ago

      Hi Joe. I watched insiders as well and listened to the Taylor interview. Incredibly impervious to argument and evidence. All he did was spin the same old same old talking points. All lies and prevarication.

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