Essay by Eric Worrall
As Australia grapples with a savage energy price spike, Australian Greens have chosen now to push for the cancellation of coal projects.
Australia urged to quickly ditch coal to meet new climate goals
26 May 2022 08:20AM (Updated: 26 May 2022 08:20AM)
Australia’s Labor Party formed a new government on Monday (May 23), after unprecedented support for the Greens and climate-focused independents ended nearly a decade of rule by the conservative coalition in Saturday’s general election.
New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of centre-left Labor has promised to end the “climate wars” – disagreements over the need for action on climate change that have dogged politics in Australia for years.
“The election was a strong vote for climate action,” Joe Fontaine, a lecturer in environmental science at Murdoch University in Perth, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A phase-out of coal power is “crucial” to meet the Labor government’s new climate goals, added Fontaine, who said Greens and independents may push for even more ambitious targets.
Currently, Australia’s energy consumption is dominated by fossil fuels, with coal providing about 40 per cent, oil 34 per cent and gas 22 per cent, according to government data.
…Read more: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/sustainability/australia-urged-quickly-ditch-coal-meet-new-climate-goals-2708086
The energy price spike;
Power bills set to spike as global energy crunch hits home
Electricity bills for hundreds of thousands of Australian households will rise by up to $227 a year as consumers feel the pinch of soaring fossil fuel prices and incoming Energy Minister Chris Bowen accuses predecessor Angus Taylor of having delayed the bill shock for political reasons.
While cost-of-living pressures are rising and inflation is sitting at a two-decade high, the Australian Energy Regulator on Thursday confirmed that spikes in the cost of wholesale electricity are set to drive double-digit jumps in household and small business bills across the country within weeks.
The Australian Energy Regulator usually sets the default market offer on May 1. However, in April, the former Coalition government delayed that process until after the May 21 federal election, citing the need for more time for the regulator to compile data on the recent price fluctuations.
The NSW and Queensland default offer price rises are being driven largely by spiking wholesale costs because of higher coal and gas prices adding to the cost of fuelling the states’ biggest power stations. Coal and natural gas prices have been rising sharply around the world as a global energy crunch is being exacerbated by energy utilities shunning Russian supplies and scrambling for alternatives in a bid to starve Moscow of the revenue it needs to fund the war in Ukraine.
…Read more: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/the-economy/power-bills-set-to-spike-as-global-energy-crunch-hits-home-20220525-p5aojp.html
The new Australian Labor Government, which was elected on a promise of strong climate action, will likely have to depend on a coalition with Green politicians to pass legislation. But Labor’s razor thin parliamentary majority is in peril, if Labor caves in to their Green coalition partners, and triggers even worse energy price spikes for ordinary Australians with radical fossil fuel bans.
Doing nothing is also a risky choice. Australia’s coal exports might be going strong, but our fossil fuel power stations are rapidly approaching the end of their service life. Power companies over the years appear to have responded rationally to open political hostility, by running their equipment into the ground, patching rather than maintaining, to squeeze every last dime out of their investments before some radical green politician pulls the plug. Our crumbling fossil fuel power station infrastructure is all but ready for the scrap heap.
Like AOC, our Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has an economics degree. He also has lots of non mainstream economic ideas, which he frequently shares with the public, such as Albonese’s explanation that the best way to fight inflation is large government mandated wage rises.
Our Prime Minister’s great green energy transition plan allocated a whole $200 million for backup batteries, which I’m sure he thinks is enough.
So I’m really looking forward to writing about our new Prime Minister’s plan to solve the household energy bill crisis.