The renewable technology sector in Australia is “way too quiet,” Independent Member of Parliament for Warringah, Zali Steggall, said the Smart Energy Council’s Emergency Fuel Summit in Sydney yesterday.
Renewables, she said, are nowhere near active enough in the lobbying space. Ultimately this silence has allowed fossil fuel industries continue their domination here and has lent polluting industries a greater voice and influence over politics in this country.
Her message was if Australia is to avert climate catastrophe, renewable industries will need to get louder, fast.
The MP pointed to online resource Influencemap.org, a thinktank providing data on business impacts relating to the climate crisis. The thinktank found during the pandemic the oil and gas sector dominated Australia climate-related policy battles.
It said fossil fuel industries were “more than twice as likely” to succeed based on its detailed assessments on “quick wins” when it came to policy.
While much of the fault for Australia’s climate inaction does fall on the political class, Steggall said, the renewables sector also needs to take responsibility for advocating for itself and strengthening its political influence.
🧵on Aus fuel security crisis at #fuelsecuritysummit w/@allegraspender @kyleatink
Admiral Chris Barrie of @aslcg_org
Cheryl Durrant fmr @DeptDefence@BJafari of @EVCouncil@RichieMerzian of @TheAusInstitute@SDHamiltonVIC of @HydrogenAus
John Grimes of @SmartEnergyCncl #auspol pic.twitter.com/KpaWVHejjN
— 🌏 Zali Steggall MP (@zalisteggall) April 21, 2022
Her message followed an address from Admiral Chris Barrie, who served as Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002. Since then, Admiral Barrie has been active in tracking climate risks to Australia.
He described climate change as the greatest threat to the security of Australia.
Alarmingly, he categorised the country’s preparedness on that front as “lacking,” saying the country has not dealt adequately with “any challenge of significance” in recent years.
Unlike nuclear war, which he sees as another major threat – albeit one in which power is concentrated in the hands of a few, climate action “rests in the hands of us all,” he said.
He described the upcoming election as the “most important” election in his lifetime. While he criticised the federal government’s failure to act, he took a broad view on the responsibility to avert catastrophe, saying that if Australia fails, there is “no one to blame but ourselves.”
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