For those who’d hoped the winds of political change would usher in an energy transition for Australia, I offer these words of solace…..
Regardless of which political party is in power, when it comes to making sustainable, meaningful changes to how we consume energy, neither political party can do a damn thing. Why? Because there isn’t a person alive with the power to change the laws of physics.
When it comes to energy, there’s no free lunch. Any physicist worth a joule will agree with this statement. The long-term solution to creating sustainable changes to our energy consumption habits must….. absolutely must, increase the total amount of available energy. It will access more and use less in the process. The energy returned on energy invested must be better than fossil fuels.
Governments may want to influence how we consume energy and they may have the best of intentions, but they can only provide incentives not solutions. The problem with incentives, is that they all too often incentivise the wrong behaviour. An energy solution that requires the support of government is a dead-man-walking. What’s worse, is distracts and diverts resources away from the process of finding real solutions. Those that can stand on their own two feet.
If you want to displace coal, oil and gas without having enormous impacts on our current standards of living, the only answer is a solution that accesses more energy and uses less. You can’t vote for it, you actually have to do something about it.
The solution will be
born from technology and innovation. The best government dollars invested are those used to make it more efficient for people to seek and find solutions. Dollars spent on Clean Energy accelerators like @EnergyLabAu and research organisations like #CSRIO are a great start. Make it more efficient for people to find the answers that will create true change. Take the fingers off the scales and allow the human race to evolve its energy use. Mother Nature has used this process for billions of years and its very doubtful we’re going to find a better one in the next few.
Ignore political promises and rhetoric. There’s no easy solution. Transitioning beyond fossil fuels is going to be the hardest thing our species has ever done. But the harder it is, the faster and more likely it is that we’ll come up with a solution that works now and forever. The means to move away from fossil fuels requires a Darwinian battle for survival (link).
Be the change you want to see in the world. This is the opportunity that now presents itself and it’s now screaming louder than ever.