Al Gore Delivers Hope
He may be Inconvenient, but perhaps the former US Vice President Al Gore could deliver a welcome pep talk to Malcom Turnbull before he heads home? In Australia to promote optimism as much as his new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Mr Gore says the solar energy revolution is already changing the world for the better.
Gore's message wasn't lost on former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Greens Senator David Shoebridge, and TEC's Jeff Angel last night, who all enjoyed front row seats at a special premiere screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power which opens August 10 across Australia.
Nearly a quarter of all Australian households have now invested in solar panels, enticed by falling technology costs and volatile electricity prices. It's been said that a petrol generator would probably be cheaper than using power from our fossil fuel dominated grid. It's neither “cheap”, nor sustainable. Australians paying 40c/kWh for coal fired power, are doing the maths.
At the same time, community energy funds, many of them staffed by volunteers, two thirds of them in regional areas, and over half amongst the conservative end of the population, have already invested over $24 million dollars in solar panels for small businesses, social housing, and community services.
So it's no accident that both PM Malcom Turnbull and renewables' naysayer, Senator Cory Bernardi, also have solar panels on their private homes! Despite the continued support the Federal Government is giving the fossil fuel industry (to the tune of $1 billion for the Adani Mine alone), in private our leaders are simply going with the flow.
As Peter Fitzsimons said in SMH today, "while the politicians might try to advance or retard the process of change, depending on how visionary or backwards they are, economics runs the show regardless."
Al Gore agrees, and he's seen first hand across America that President Trump's attempts to rubbish the Paris Agreement (ratified by 194 other countries), and stifle the renewable energy industry, have invigorated the sector as almost nothing else could.
"Globally, the market capitalisation of the coal industry has been plummeting because nobody wants the dirty air, much less the global warming pollution," said Mr Gore. What's more, the future for jobs is in renewable energy.
"In the US, there are already twice as many jobs in solar as in coal," he said. "Solar jobs are growing 17 times faster than other jobs in the economy. The single fastest-growing occupation is wind turbine technician."
Certainly the preview crowd last night responded enthusiastically to Gore's pitch that we will accomplish a transition to a greener fairer world. TEC supporters will get an exclusive chance to see the film at our own special preview on July 26th at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington - tickets available through Eventbrite later this week.
No doubt, with its cogent "call to hope" delivered with a mix of science, fly on the wall reportage, and travelogue, the film will prove a potent boost to the local environment movement as well as promoting the burgeoning green energy sector.
TEC has been pushing for energy market reform for decades, and currently supports the community energy sector through our Green Energy campaign, run by our energy advocate Mark Byrne.
"The hundreds of thousands of Australian homes and businesses using solar panels are actually creating their own big power network - a decentralised one," says Jeff Angel. "Now many communities also want to set up mini-neighbourhood solar power stations and gain even more control over their power supplies."
This is why we have also been working to make the National Electricity Market more friendly to local solar power, which we advocated in our submission to the Finkel Review in June.
What Can You Do?
- Come to TEC's screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington, on 26th July at 6pm for 6.30 screening. Tickets include a glass of premium prosecco or other beverage. Available on Eventbrite.
- Support our Green Energy Campaign
- Learn more
And if you get into arguments about any of this here is some ammunition:
- Polar Bears: yes climate change really is threatening them with extinction
- Rocket science: NASA puts satellites and rockets up into the outer atmosphere all the time, so we tend to trust they work hard to base their calculations about climate change on carefully researched evidence, not opinion
- Al Gore doesn't have solar on his house! Yes he does. 33 panels in fact.
- Renewables will never provide base load power the way coal does? Incorrect!
Australia's energy mix: the quality and reliability of solar, batteries and control systems have reached a level where they can be relied on by agribusiness, not to mention small businesses and communities
- Listen to TEC's podcast - Climate Change explained by Professor Steve Turton, James Cook University
Good Luck and remember - hope is a renewable resource!