The following letter has come to me via Andrew Bray formerly of 100% Renewables and now of the Victorian Wind Alliance. VicWind can be followed on Twitter with @VicWindAll and on Facebook.
It is written to Catherine King, the Federal Member for Ballarat.
As you may have seen from our Facebook/website updates, our Khmer Rode RAGE group have returned safely to Australia and doubly motivated to contribute to a more sustainable and just world.
The sights we saw and the people we met have impacted greatly on our group and to return home to Australia and be greeted with floods and bushfires and storms and the announcement of an upcoming election (the first for many in our group who are 18-21) has sharpened our curiosity and so the group has asked me to pose some questions to you as our Federal representative. We would be happy to speak to you in person or would also be happy with an e mail response if that were more convenient for you…we are sure you are a busy lady and are appreciative of the time and support you have given our team in the past.
We are aware that there have always been floods and storms and droughts and bushfires in Australia, but as we understand it, in the past 10 years Australia has experienced the worst ever drought, the worst ever bushfires, the worst ever floods and the most severe ever cyclones…all in the same decade. Also as we understand it, Australian’s are the biggest per capita greenhouse emitters on the planet and fast climbing the ladder of total emissions as well, especially when the coal that we export to other countries is taken into account. And as we have just witnessed, despite the destruction of the past years within Australia caused by extreme weather events, Australians are not the ones paying the most immediate or significant penalties for our emissions, but it is our global neighbours those in developing nations and wildlife that are most severely and directly affected…. For hundreds of millions, it is literally a daily matter of life and death.
And so our questions are:
1. Does the Federal Government take the costs associated with extreme weather events into account when calculating the costs of fossil fuel generated energy?
2. If so, how?
3. Is there any economic sense in which such events can be seen as “mini stimulus packages”, providing employment for lots of builders, garbage contractors, insurance assessors etc??
4. Is the Federal Government aware of the plan developed by Beyond Zero Emissions (beyondzeroemissions.org ) to have Australia 100% zero emissions within 10 years??
5. This seems to us a very credible plan, developed by very credible and knowledgeable people…. Could please explain why it hasn’t been adopted as federal policy?
6. Given that, by definition, Australia has to transition away from fossil fuels at some point, do we need to burn all of the existing fossil fuel reserves before we make the transition to 100% renewable energy??
Thanks again for all your past support of our program and we very much look forward to discussing/reading your answers to our questions.