Monday, June 11, 2007

Australia should embrace the clean energy industry

Here is an excellent letter to the editor of The Age that points out that the Howard Government is guilty of extreme economic negligence by deliberately ignoring the fantastic opportunity for Australia to develop jobs and exports in the clean energy industry.

The European example points out on what Australia is missing out on:

  • In 2006 in Europe $38b was invested in the renewable energy industry
  • In 2007 it is projected that renewable energy industry investments will increase to $45b
  • Nuclear provides about 6% of Europe’s energy and is being phased out
  • On current trends renewable energy is predicted to be cost competitive with coal by 2015
  • The renewable energy industry employs approximately 500,000 people while the coal industry employs about 30,000
  • In 2006 wind energy output exceeded nuclear energy output on one day in Germany
  • In 2006 in France, energy production from nuclear was halved due to a shortage of water to cool the power stations.
  • Germany has now mandated that new houses must produce 20% of their power needs
  • The EU is currently considering increasing their Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) to 20%
It is interesting that emission trading in Europe has not assisted renewable energy, it has only improved efficiencies of fossil fuel use. So John Howard's future dated "response to climate change" is far to little, far too late.

What a waste
Vivienne Gray, Williamstown
Published in The Age on Saturday 10 June 2007. (Source)

Why does our Prime Minister always stress the economic costs of adjustments needed to address global warming, and not the economic opportunities?

Andrew Stephens' article (3/6) highlights how Australia has lost out over the past few years. The Federal Government has failed to foster technologies and industries that could have ensured our ongoing prosperity and at the same time helped reduce our greenhouse emissions. As a result, many thousands of "green-collar" jobs have been created offshore.

The last decade gave us a chance to make progressive adjustments to our fossil-fuelled energy industries. But in the face of government inaction, we now have to take more drastic steps and, if Howard is to be believed, we'll need a network of nuclear power plants.

So, we can forget about being the "clever country". The Federal Government's vision will ensure we remain the world's quarry - mining coal (until no one will buy it) and uranium. Our existing power plants will be replaced with equally ugly nuclear power plants.

Oh, and we'll take the world's nuclear waste, too. At least we'll lead in something.

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