Going the wrong way on energy
Australia is getting hammered by climate change, said Bob Brown, former head of the Green Party, and the government’s new energy plan won’t help. The National Energy Guarantee policy is supposed to provide reliable power with a mix of energy sources that can be fired up as needed. To get there, though, the government is abandoning Australia’s commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. It has slashed subsidies for green energy sources, including solar and wind power, even as it considers allowing Indian billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani to dig the world’s biggest export coal mine, which would produce annual greenhouse-gas emissions “greater than those of medium-sized countries like Malaysia.” Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg says that the energy plan will save consumers $500 a year each. Yet that doesn’t take into account the price “of the Great Barrier Reef being half dead” and of “death-dealing heat waves in our cities.” Rising sea levels are damaging our coastal infrastructure, and rising temperatures are drying out the Murray-Darling basin, where most of our food is grown. Those costs “will hit everyone’s pocket—from rising insurance premiums to the direct impacts on households, business, and government.” The new policy fails to mitigate global warming or even lower power bills; instead, it offers handouts to the fossil fuel industry.