The Way out of the Trumbull Swamp?

In Australia there is exasperation and despair over the federal government’s energy policy. It displays ignorance of the international energy revolution, deceit for political purposes, and negligence for it delays the transition to renewable energy which will save lives and suffering. Australia is now 16th on the list of wealthy OECD countries for clean energy and related initiatives.

The government has used power failures in SA to persistently state that the SA government and its renewable energy target are responsible. The mantra of the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine continues despite investigations almost entirely absolving the SA government. The faults residing with AEMO, outdated technology for incorporation of wind farms into the grid, and a poorly organised national market.

The quietly spoken Premier of SA used the word “liar” for the Prime Minister and this could also be used for senior members of the government who continue to make these false claims. It is interesting to note that Minister Frydenburg’s biography in Wikipedia now says “On 19th February 2017, he lied to the Australian public on the show Insiders about the cause of the South Australian blackouts which by that time it had been already proven false”.

In the USA, numerous environmental and health regulations are now being rescinded by Trump and by the EPA at the behest of a new director who has previously worked externally to destroy them. GHG emissions are set to rise and the Paris pledge is in doubt.

However, much of the US will have resilience to this assault. States in the East and West (particularly California with sixth place in the world table of GDP) have powerful commitment to renewable energy and are increasing their targets so the US can still move forward.

Yet in the darkest hours of history humanity has awakened to its plight. On this occasion it may be a combination of self survival instinct from business and a growing movement inside the Republican movement as detailed by Bob Inglis for a carbon tax as the pure neocon market solution to the problem- and yes, exactly the tax abolished by Abbott! Inglis the Republican now visiting Australia, lost his seat for his advocacy, but he now musters support in the right wing. To this group of neocons the carbon tax is a pure market mechanism.

Indeed Inglis has gone further than any member of the Coalition or Labor by stating on his visit to Australia that coal is expensive because of its externalities. DEA has been waiting for them to say this for 10 years! Is Inglis, this disciple of Milton Friedman and his carbon tax, our Messiah from the Republican Right? Not exactly, for he spoiled his revelations with as statement straight out of the mouth of Milton Freedman- “if we fix the economy the environment will be fine”.

We should note that Minister Frydenberg studied at Harvard- he must have missed the lecture from Friedman or didn’t understand it……

So where is the Australian resilience? Will Victoria and SA, like California and New York State, rise to lead the nation by delivering their renewable energy targets? The resilience lies in the huge numbers of Australians with solar on the roof thereby reducing their bills and seeking storage, it also lies in the Right’s heartlands where rural people apparently recognise it for employment and self-sufficiency.

In Australia this is where the battle to reduce emissions resides and the climate deniers on the Right have chosen it to fight on it.

What can DEA do? There are those who advocate strategic plans. Others recognise we must deploy our health expertise where it best counts in the contest. With feral Federal governments in power and state elections looming we need to continue prescribing renewable energy as our treatment.

Also going for Australia is that we don’t seem to have as many and as devoted climate nutters as the US!

These words are the personal thoughts of David Shearman, some but not all with tongue in cheek.

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