Michael, are you writing about Australia? Sure sounds familiar. There is a huge stoush (Australian for ‘fight’) going on about Adani (the Indian billionaire accused, inter alia, of corruption on a grand scale) planning to open the biggest coal mine ever seen in this country. The federal government has been falling over itself (happens frequently with those who have their feet in their mouths) to support it, with promises of no- or low-interest loans and grants for the Adani project. Now the Chinese government wants to finance the mine, as all the major banks, here and overseas, have bowed out.
On a positive note, at Port Augusta, in South Australia, a large, polluting coal-fired power station has closed and in its place is someone is building a thermal solar plant. Much of the impetus for this has come from citizens — ‘if the people lead the politicians will follow’ —although the South Australian government is one of the most progressive in Australia when it comes to supporting a change to renewables. The locals have got solidly behind this and see the closing of the coal power station as an opportunity to reinvent their economy.
On the other hand, the federal government has been nothing but scathing, although it does put some money into some renewable energy projects like the one at Port Augusta. When a massive storm swept across South Australia a bit over a year ago and blacked out the whole state, many in the federal government blamed the blackout on the state’s reliance on wind energy! Our immediate past prime minister, Tony Abbott, is a devout hater of renewable energy and has several times publicly declared that he finds wind turbines, including when he was prime minister. For instance: “Up close, they’re ugly, they’re noisy and they may have all sorts of other impacts.” (12 June 2015).
I imagine that Mr Abbott would be happy to live in a place like this.
Thankfully, we are moving in the right direction, although too slowly. If only we could get the politicians out of our way …