The United States is not the only country with boorish ideologues in positions of power. Malcolm Turnbull was ousted from his position as prime minister of Australia last week when leaders of his own party pushed him overboard as a result of his support for a national energy plan that included renewable energy goals. Australia now has its fifth prime minister in as many years as ultra-conservative troglodytes who have pledged allegiance to fossil fuels have repeatedly resisted any attempt to make renewable energy part of the National Energy Guarantee.
After being stabbed in the back by his own people, he had some thoughts about the bloodbath. Climate change policy is “very hard” for the Liberal-National Coalition because it is treated as an ideological matter with “bitterly entrenched” views, Turnbull said in his final press conference according to a report in The Guardian.
Australia has been roiled by dissension surrounding its attempt to formulate a National Energy Guarantee. In the end, Turnbull eliminated the renewable energy component of the NEG in a vain attempt to appease the mad dogs on the right wing of his own party, but it was to no avail. They eviscerated him anyway.
“In terms of energy policy and climate policy, I think the truth is that the Coalition finds it very hard to get agreement on anything to do with emissions,” Turnbull said. “I mean, the national energy guarantee was, or is, a vital piece of economic reform. It remains the government’s policy, of course. The emissions issue and climate policy issues have the same problem within the Coalition of … bitterly entrenched views that are actually sort of more ideological views than views based, as I say, in engineering and economics.”
Kinda sounds like the dysfunction afflicting the US, with rabid ideologues paddling furiously against the tide to deny climate change and obstruct the advent of renewable energy systems. The wonder is that these lunatics keep getting elected. But the oceans of cash flowing to politicians from fossil fuel industries know no international boundaries. To paraphrase an old expression: “Money talks; common sense walks.”
In the end, it will make no difference. Renewables are a rising tide that is sweeping away all other forms of energy. Trying to hold back that flood will be no more effective than King Canute sitting on the shore in his throne and commanding that the incoming waters cease their advance. The great engine of commerce is an irresistible force. Ideology must always yield to the economic imperative, as CleanTechnica reader EE1 has cogently pointed out recently. The Tesla Powerpack installation in South Australia has already demonstrated that battery storage is cost effective.
Turnbull has been replaced by Scott Morrison, whose primary claim to fame is being the architect of harsh immigration policies that have consigned illegal immigrants to offshore gulags. Like the US, Australia was built almost entirely by immigrants. At the ferry landing in Darling Harbor in the port city of Sydney, visitors will find the Welcome Wall, which features short quotes from some of the thousands who came ashore there after arduous ocean voyages on sailing ships.
Sydney is the most multicultural society I have ever experienced. Its neighborhoods are lined with mile upon mile of restaurants featuring foods from every corner of the Earth. How sad to see it embracing the demonization of the very process that has made Australia the nation it is today. Is the rise of racist government policies around the world from Italy to America to Australia a coincidence? You can make up your own mind on that.
The rise of renewables may ameliorate the existential threat of carbon emissions, but hatred of others may be the defining factor leading to the downfall of humanity in the final analysis. The proliferation of solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and compostable plastics may be wonders of technology, but if in the end our very existence is defined by who we hate and who hates us, what’s the point?
Photos by the author.