Wrong way Australia, turn back now!

Source: Australia’s Electricity Generation Mix 1960-2009, a report commissioned by Environment Victoria (May 2011)

Source: Environment Victoria report "Australia’s Electricity Generation Mix 1960-2009"

Our society is heading in the wrong direction. According to a new “Australia’s Electricity Generation Mix 1960-2009” report commissioned by Environment Victoria, the proportion of Australia’s electricity generated by renewable energy has declined from 19% in 1960 to 7% in 2008. As Australia today generates 10 times the amount of electricity as it did in 1960, coal-fired electricity generation has increased by 1200%.

The Gillard Labor government’s carbon tax/emissions trading scheme won’t reverse this increasing dependence on fossil fuels. Minister for mining company profits Martin Ferguson and numerous other Gillard ministers have made it clear that the real objective of this scheme will be to boost a greater shift to gas.

Gas-fired electricity has increased its  share from 1% in 1970 to 16% in 2008, according to the Environment Victoria report.  The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, which projects gas to be the “fastest growing fossil fuel” in the next two decades, predicts that gas will more than double its share in electricity generation to 36.8% by 2029-30.

Source: ABARE "Australian Energy Resource Assessment" report (2009)

“For all of the hand-wringing about climate change over the past decade we’ve seen massive growth in emissions from coal generation while renewable energy has flat-lined”, said Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director for Environment Victoria.

Our society in heading in a totally wrong direction. The profit-driven capitalists who make the decisions about what to invest in, with money that really isn’t theirs to gamble with, are investing in fossil fuels instead of renewable energy. If we leave this future shaping choice to the capitalists, they are going to invest (with the help of generous public subsidies) a further $240 billion in continuing this overwhelmingly fossil fuel-based energy industry, according to a report just released by Ferguson.

This is criminal, especially as Beyond Zero Emissions has produced a report that shows that it is entirely feasible to shift to 100% renewable stationary energy in just 10 years with a total investment of about $370 billion spaced out over that time. It makes sense. The capitalists’ choice keep us hooked on fossil fuels doesn’t – except to slake their profit-lust.

If you have had enough, it is time to invest in fighting for fundamental change through the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund. You can make a donation online today.

Direct deposits can be made to Green Left Weekly, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992.

Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation on the toll-free line, 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

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