Dr. Mike Kelly, Member for Eden-Monaro, calling for a bipartisan approach to solving the climate change challenge in Parliament in February. Sadly Dr.Kelly has now had to resign parliament due to ill health. Story below. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong.
Jenny Goldie, CCL member from Cooma, NSW, sums up the week on climate change:
We were saddened to note the resignation of Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly because of ill health. I have written to him on behalf of Climate Action Monaro and had a letter published in the Canberra Times yesterday (see below). Mike really stuck his neck out on the climate issue and will be greatly missed. We await with interest announcement of all candidates and will duly put a questionnaire to them during the campaign. I have also written to Bega’s mayor (until this week) Kristy McBain, on the assumption she will be Labor’s candidate, offering advice on climate issues if needed.
With the Covid-19 curve flattening in Australia, restrictions are being eased slightly, and the new focus is on a post-Covid economy. Last week, environment ministers from 30 countries met in a two-day online conference to discuss how to organise a green economic recovery after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Here is Australia, there are two webinars this week, both of which promise to be worthwhile. This Tuesday, 5 May, 10am -12pm: Clean Energy Council webinar on ‘A Clean Recovery’. You can register here. And on Wednesday, 6 May, 11am to 4.30pm. “A renewables led economic recovery” webinar with a huge line-up of important speakers including NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. Register here.
Premier Berejiklian is looking for major infrastructure projects that can be used to stimulate the NSW economy impacted by Covid-19. Snowy 2.0 topped the list of 24 projects that will now be fast-tracked through the planning assessment process (hopefully while not riding roughshod over environmental protections).
The Premier may not be aware that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has found the capital costs of new transmission links, pumped hydro facilities and gas-fired generators are significantly higher than assumed in its draft 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP), while the cost of battery storage is likely to be as much as 40 per cent cheaper than assumed in the draft ISP.
I don’t think I have ever seen a documentary launched with such controversy, but Planet of the Humans, produced by Michael Moore, is being lauded by the right and demonised by the left. Scientists have called on it to be withdrawn because of inaccuracies about renewable energy. Poor old Bill McKibben gets a serve for supporting biomass energy, which he used to but doesn’t anymore. Nevertheless, there is an important message about how economic and population growth have overstretched the planet. Whether renewables can rescue us lies at the heart of the film. You can download it for free here.
Some claim the oil price crash, caused by coronavirus and by a price war between producing nations, may be irreversible. The Australian gas price has also fallen because the spot price for LNG is tied to the oil price. Energy minister Angus Taylor is calling for a “gas-fired recovery” for business and industry. A federal-NSW MOU says the state will increase the amount of gas available each year by 70 petajoules, a more than 50% increase.
This is not good news for climate. The London-based financial thinktank Carbon Tracker, says that while gas was once regarded as a cleaner fuel than coal, it is now seen as “the second-least desirable source of electricity”. Indeed, the IEA (International Energy Agency) has found that global gas-fired powergeneration must begin to decline later this decade in the interests of sustainability.
Meanwhile, energy and carbon consultancy RepuTex claims almost all of Australia’s power needs could be met by renewables with no extra cost to the consumer. If Australia were to invest in ambitious plan to invest in renewables, it could achieve 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 90% in 2040. Indeed, AEMO has laid out an action plan to accommodate levels of up to 75 per cent wind and solar in Australia’s main grid by 2025, though the country needs to urgently update the market and regulatory settings.
Here’s a petition to sign. Organised by Environmental Justice Australia, it calls on the NSW EPA to tell Vales Point power station to clean up its act.
All the best, Jenny
President, CAM. Member of CCL Aust (Eden-Monaro)
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Hundreds of wind and solar co-ops have taken on big utilities and shown they can reliably power the grid – and hugely reduce emissions.
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Letter published in Canberra Times 2 May 2020:
Mike Kelly has done much for the people of Eden-Monaro
It was with great sadness that I read Dr Mike Kelly would resign from the seat of Eden-Monaro for reasons of ill health (“Eden Monaro MP to resign from parliament”, canberratimes.com.au, April 30).
Dr Kelly has been an outstanding Member of Parliament and will be greatly missed. He managed to get around and attend meetings more than most elected representatives.
He has been particularly strong on climate change action. This has required courage in a largely conservative electorate where many people remain sceptical on the issue.
His ill health (renal failure) was brought on by the dehydration he suffered while serving in the army in Somalia, East Timor and the Mid-East. Are we not looking after our soldiers when deployed overseas?
My grandson is in the army and I would not like to think that he would have to endure avoidable conditions, such as dehydration, that could lead to life-long illness.
I wish Dr Kelly, and his wife Rachelle, all the very best in their post-parliamentary future.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW