Last month Australians were blasted by heatwaves, Tassie forests scorched by fire and Queensland swamped like never before. Dead fish in a stagnant river system made headlines. Whatever the local issues, climate change is multiplying their impact.
This year, Germany closes its last black coal mine, India and China install clean energy at breakneck speed and Sweden commits massive research investment to replace coal in steel production, using wind and hydrogen by 2050. The age of coal is ending.
Australia’s coal obsession threatens our future, but as elections loom the fossil fuel industry is ready to chip in squillions to secure support to dig and drill. Angus Taylor wants taxpayers to underwrite aging coal-fired power stations and the major parties are reluctant to say “no” to Adani. Its hard to bite the hand.
Without a plan for a labour market transition tied to clean energy investment, coal communities will do it tough. They deserve better. In 1990 the German coal sector employed over 100,000 people. This has dropped to 20,000 by 2019. Thanks to good policy, their renewable energy sector now employs over 300,000 people.
Community pressure is building. The recent refusal by the NSW Land and Environment Court to approve the Rocky Hill Coal Mine near Gloucester on the basis of its contribution to global emissions, is a first.
Climate disruption is here. We have a rapidly closing window to make the changes necessary for a liveable future. Resist the urge to turn off. It’s our time to stand up for life on earth, join the young and make our vote count.