Where the power lies
by Paul Cockram (in the Braidwood Times)
“Better not do anything too hastily,” reported the Federal Government’s commission into global warming and Australia’s carbon emissions. The expert panel from the power, coal, aluminium and mining industries all agreed that caution would be the best approach.
Well, as Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”.
Seriously though folks, the lack of depth in the energy options debate is fast becoming a sick joke. Yet there must be plenty of intelligent, knowledgable and sensible voices around the place somewhere but they aren’t getting their ideas out.
Let’s hear directly from the experts who study climate and energy issues and not from politicians who are obliged to add the ‘waffle factor’. Perhaps the newspapers could help here – they have expressed concern lately about the eroding of free speech.
It’s not just free speech we need in Australia today, it’s intelligent speech. So here’s the plan. We’ll call for nominations for a panel of ‘energy-future experts’ who’ll be granted ‘people’s panel priveledge’, similar to parliamentary priveledge, free to speak their minds without censure.
Scientists who work on the government payrole are paid with our money, we should hear what they have to say. It’s not good enough when trained people, scientists and technocrats, who work for the CSIRO say, or in Land Management, are unable to publicly promote their ideas or the results of their research.
Let’s also hear from mad inventors and starry-eyed idealists – some of the best technological achievements have had to run the gauntlet of derision and doubt.
But please, let’s not take too much notice of the international resource corporations – our best interests are not the same as theirs. Can you dig it?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the tide started to rise on the east coast soon as a result of the whole joint tipping over as the west gets lighter. Over in the wild west they’re digging up the place as fast as rail lines to the sea can be laid.
OK – so we all profit from the mining boom with jobs and a share of the wealth paid to the government, but living well by selling our country from under us cannot last for ever.
And then there’s the water – or lack of it. A new plasma TV that’s wider than the current one is pretty neat, but so is a warm shower on a cold morning. The ‘standard of living’ argument is often used when steadily increasing comsumption is actually what is being promoted.
It’s up to us to keep the pressure on government to do what’s right, not just for us now, but for our children’s children – and if that doesn’t suit big business, too bad.
It’s all right in front of us in the daily newspapers; some journalists are doing a good job of reporting the way in which the marketeers and private equity bucaneers are charging on regardless of the environment. What financial commentators tend not to do is make moral judgements about what’s right and what’s wrong.
That’s for us to do.