China’s Coal Power and Australian Devotion to Obscurity


“Why should we do anything when China is building a new coal power station every week?”

I had this one hurled at me just the other day over dinner. It is both misleading and irrelevant, but serves the point of misinforming.

Moreover, the Climate Institute / GE Low-Carbon Competitive Index, released today shows that China is actually a high performer, rating 3rd (up from 7th) on the index. On the other hand, Australia  rates 17th and the US has declined from 8th to 11th.

Far from world leaders, we seem devoted to a carbon economy that is quickly being left behind. This would seem especially so if the LNP come into power and Mr. Abbott lives up to his promise of scrapping a market-based mechanism designed to decouple economic activity from carbon emissions, namely, the price on carbon.

This is the reality behind such banter as, “they’re telling us what light globes we can use!”

Well, no. If you’d like, why not use a washboard or go all out and move next door to the Amish?

The money to be made in the 21st century will increasingly be carbon neutral and the trend setters will be on the cusp of such technologies and social changes. By fighting against the inevitable economic and social trends, we are damaging our own long term prosperity.

Unlike much of Europe and the US, our economy has not faced as much hardship in the last few years. We ought to have been investing in tomorrow’s industries and exporting it to a hungry world.

Instead, we’ve decided to pitch up tents on either side of the political soap opera being played out, while people like Rinehart make a healthy dollar from common resources and pay for the priests of misinformation to carry out an Orwellian-styled sermons around the country, with equality, progress and unity the antagonist and business-as-usual the messiah.

We should want a globally competitive economy. The pro-business-as-usual message that seems to have sucked many Aussies in just isn’t in our national interest.


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