The Guardian reported that the steady lights had not even come back fully in South Australia after the freak storm that cut down power on the whole state last month when the latest climate war was breaking out in another front.
The push-back against the state’s 41% reliance on renewables, specifically wind farms has attracted a gumbo of opportunists seeking to push their particular carbon targets. These include Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, who is attempting to justify his less-than-ambitious renewable energy target; Nick Xenophon, who is considered the king of SA populism is jumping on the bandwagon; and the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who is known for hating wind farms.
Following their footsteps is the industry group, ACCI who is calling for an independent review of the state’s energy mix while right-wing “shock jocks” all over the nation take advantage to move beyond the increasingly settled debate on climate science in finding a new target for their sarcasm. And presiding over it all is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who appears who have ceased to even realise when he is trashing his own political integrity.
Industry experts have been following the issue over recent weeks to monitor whether the South Australian blackouts have the capacity to spark another climate panic, but the public is not buying the renewable panic.
And after the Coalition voters rejected the experts and see a causal relationship that even the prime minister and his energy minister did not really assert. But the 60% figure who doesn’t represent a significant rejection. Plus, these findings are reflected in broader attitudes towards renewables after being asked to choose between threat and solution…. And the signs are unanimous.
So the question is, if renewables are popular with the public and were not blamed for the SA blackout, then why are there people hating renewable energy?
Every year, the commonwealth publishes the Energy in Australia report that gives a snapshot of the industry. The numbers give a compelling context to the renewable energy debate. Below are some points:
Energy occupies a central place in the economy of Australia. It’s 6% of the economy or about $100 billion value. It also is responsible for 155,000 jobs.
Nearly ¾ of the said value comes from coal mining, gas and oil extraction. This also includes petroleum and coal product manufacturing and most of it for export.
Australia produces 3 times as much energy as it consumes. The country is number 8 in the world for production versus number 20 in the world for consumption.
The country has 100 years of coal reserves and 50 years of gas reserves.
Despite the rising consensus on climate change, the growth in the Australian energy production in the decade, in 2013 to 2014 was twice as fast for black coal and gas as it was for renewables.
Featured Image Credit: The Guardian