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Blog Post: Saving the environment from our own Government

By 11 June 2014 10

renewal-energy

I never expected Tony Abbott to take any sort of stance to fight climate change, so I’m not entirely surprised by his current move to form an alliance to put economy before environment.  I don’t agree with it, but I am not surprised by it.

I am however surprised and disappointed by the ACT Government’s move to reduce their use of renewable energy for their services by more than three quarters.  All this given their (very) recent announcement to achieve 90% renewable energy use across the Territory by 2020.

According to the Canberra Times, renewable energy use in ACT government directorates fell by 83% in 2012-13 and carbon emissions from the ACT public service rose 15 % over the past year.

Of course, I have read enough to know of the financial pressures on businesses and government and that the increased cost of renewable energy can be off putting. I can’t help but wonder though, if this is an issue that is fairly timely.  Surely this isn’t something that can be ‘put off until we have more money’?

As a mother of 3 small children I feel a responsibility, or in more honest terms, a level of guilt over the fights they will have to fight on account of decisions we have made and are making now.

My neighbours have a garden full of fruit trees and vegetable plants.  We have lemons and mandarins that droop into our driveway, that we can pick anytime.  They installed double glazing (having lived in the UK for a number of years I can’t help but wonder why these haven’t been installed in every house in Canberra), haven’t extended their standard three bedroom home and use a wood burning heater.  They make me wonder if we have strayed too far from what is sustainable.  When I picture buying a house I think of 4+ bedrooms and plenty of garden space.  Should I actually be contemplating something smaller that is more efficient to heat?

And then there are questions over the toxicity of cleaning products, the food miles clocked up in our grocery shop etc etc.

In all this it frightens me that we are becoming fatigued by the environmental message and that we potentially face a time (hopefully just one election term…?) where we move backwards and lose focus – and stop believing that protecting our planet for our kids is important.

For me, I’m trying to work out how to shift my family’s mind set towards simpler things, reduce our household waste and stop quite so much plastic crap entering our house.  Wherever possible that extends to buying locally grown produce.

I can’t help but feel like it’s a small thing for us to make these changes. For the big things we are so reliant on our government to do the right thing.  I fear the impact of their current stance.

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10 Responses to Blog Post: Saving the environment from our own Government
#1
Tenpoints12:08 pm, 11 Jun 14

I agree with all of the above. Unfortunately the majority of people have been conditioned to equate happiness to how much tangible stuff they own. Pretty much any policy good for the environment is going to have an immediate and sustained detrimental effect on one’s ability to have or acquire stuff. Thus, any government that floats a policy such as this will have the majority vote against them.

That’s why the Lib budget is so unpopular, because people lose their “standard of living”. They’re (Liberals) not even doing it for the environment!

Social change is what’s needed here. We need to quit whinging about the price of electicity and start assiging brownie points for waste reduction, ethical and sustainable produce, energy efficiency in everything we do.

Oh, and being nicer to each other.

#2
VYBerlinaV8_is_back1:40 pm, 11 Jun 14

Tenpoints said :

I agree with all of the above. Unfortunately the majority of people have been conditioned to equate happiness to how much tangible stuff they own. Pretty much any policy good for the environment is going to have an immediate and sustained detrimental effect on one’s ability to have or acquire stuff. Thus, any government that floats a policy such as this will have the majority vote against them.

That’s why the Lib budget is so unpopular, because people lose their “standard of living”. They’re (Liberals) not even doing it for the environment!

Social change is what’s needed here. We need to quit whinging about the price of electicity and start assiging brownie points for waste reduction, ethical and sustainable produce, energy efficiency in everything we do.

Oh, and being nicer to each other.

Seems kinda at odds with our ‘I deserve’ culture, though…

#3
pink little birdie4:25 pm, 11 Jun 14

Replace your cleaning products with lemons (free from drooping tree), vinegar and bicarb.

I’m not actually sure where vinegar and bicarb come from but it’s much more sustainable than most cleaning products. (cheaper too). They are my non lazy cleaning products.

I think the only products that these don’t replace is dishwashing products.

Double glazing should be a cheap thing.

#4
pink little birdie4:26 pm, 11 Jun 14

or serious mess cleaning products.

#5
Masquara6:30 pm, 11 Jun 14

If renewable energy was economically viable, government intervention wouldn’t be necessary.

#6
water_lily7:20 pm, 11 Jun 14

Don’t just talk about, like the Nike ad says: Just Do It.

#7
rommeldog567:45 pm, 11 Jun 14

If double glazing is so effective at reducing energy costs/consumption, wouldn’t it be a great idea if the ACT Gov’t could make a contribution to the incredibly high cost of getting it retrofitted to an existing house – providing of course, the cost of the subsidy isn’t added onto the quote by the industry.

“Quit whinging about the price of electricity”. Really ? Do u know that for every one of the ACTs new Solar Farms, an additional $15-$20 pa will be added to the Electricity bill you are already getting ??? That will add about $200pa to each bill. I wouldn’t mind contributing, but the feed in tariff to the solar farm owner is guaranteed for about a decade as I recall (I’ll stand corrected on those figures, please). So, the artificially high electricity bill, courtesy of the ACT Gov’t, is here to stay.

As a matter of balance between green ideology and affordability, wouldn’t it have been nice to wait a bit to see if/how the production of more cost effective solar power evolves with advances in technology ? Or is that just too much common sense ?

Why pay absurdly high feed in tariffs locked in for so long at this point in time ? Answer : So the Gov’t doesn’t have to invest as much $ in meeting energy demands. They just pass that ultra higher cost onto mug ACT Ratepayers/residents (who are a captive market anyway) so they can spend more on misguided “stimulus” packages and the green toy train set. We are being taken for a green ride, I’m afraid !

#8
wooster3:25 am, 12 Jun 14

So you expect my taxes to pay for your guilt.

Hopefully the age of pathetic government intervention is over for the greenie rent-seekers.

#9
Tenpoints11:57 am, 12 Jun 14

rommeldog56 said :

If double glazing is so effective at reducing energy costs/consumption, wouldn’t it be a great idea if the ACT Gov’t could make a contribution to the incredibly high cost of getting it retrofitted to an existing house – providing of course, the cost of the subsidy isn’t added onto the quote by the industry.

“Quit whinging about the price of electricity”. Really ?

Do u know that for every one of the ACTs new Solar Farms, an additional $15-$20 pa will be added to the Electricity bill you are already getting ??? That will add about $200pa to each bill.

I wouldn’t mind contributing, but the feed in tariff to the solar farm owner is guaranteed for about a decade as I recall (I’ll stand corrected on those figures, please). So, the artificially high electricity bill, courtesy of the ACT Gov’t, is here to stay.

As a matter of balance between green ideology and affordability, wouldn’t it have been nice to wait a bit to see if/how the production of more cost effective solar power evolves with advances in technology ? Or is that just too much common sense ?

Why pay absurdly high feed in tariffs locked in for so long at this point in time ?

Answer : So the Gov’t doesn’t have to invest as much $ in meeting energy demands.

They just pass that ultra higher cost onto mug ACT Ratepayers/residents (who are a captive market anyway) so they can spend more on misguided “stimulus” packages and the green toy train set.

We are being taken for a green ride, I’m afraid !

1. Yes, subsidising double glazing would be a good option. And yes, a subsidy is pointless if it does not apply to the end-user.
2. Yes, the ACT government is forcing you to pay for green energy. That’s a good thing. Not for you obviously, but for the environment because you, and everyone else in Canberra will be using less coal per unit of energy consumed.
3. The feed in tariff, I would postulate, is to increase the economic attractiveness of solar panels. At the moment, they are not economically viable without a feed-in tariff. Hopefully in 10 years they will be.
4. In terms of “waiting till the technology improves.” I would argue that that applies more to consumers than governments. Several large government sponsored solar farms will doubtless inject funds into developing the technology and/or least promote uptake around the country which will of course provide further benefit.
What misguided stimulus packages are you referring to?
Ok, so just to be clear, I do not support light rail. The use case is very shaky.
Here’s what’s good:
*Carpooling, Cycling, Full buses. These transport modes are being utilised to their full potential.
Here’s what’s NOT good:
*Single occupant cars, empty buses and empty trams. These transport modes are not being utilised efficiently. From a per capita energy usage, this is bad.
$600m is a big opportunity cost for something that is unlikely to be utilised. Spend that money on something else more useful.

wooster said :

So you expect my taxes to pay for your guilt.

Hopefully the age of pathetic government intervention is over for the greenie rent-seekers.

Yes actually, I do. I expect a portion of your taxes and everyone else’s taxes to go towards reducing the rate at which we are crapping all over the planet. Denial is step 1. Try to keep up.

I don’t want to debate about whether the climate is changing. That’s all everyone seems to bang on about. This is something that no-one seems to have cottoned on to yet.
I’m talking increasing scarcity of resources. That’s oil, that’s coal, that’s a bunch of other stuff we dig out of the ground at an exponentially increasing rate. Sooner or later our government will no longer be able to afford to subsidise the rising prices of these resources and so we will all end up paying more – for electricity, for fuel, for anything wrapped in plastic.
So yeah, don’t complain about the price of electricity. This is only the beginning.
Now to be honest, no one likes to stick their head out on these topics because you’re pretty much guaranteed to be called a hypocrite in one way or another. To be properly planet-neutral would take a ridiculous level of compromise. But wake up to the situation. The more we can promote environmental conservation now, the better off we’ll be able to cope as resource scarcity and climate change comes to a head.
Governments should be investing in/subsidising renewable energy measures, green transport and other strategies that reduce the energy cost of day to day life. Something that’s “economically viable” is usually not “environmentally viable”, not until the cost of non-renewables surpasses the cost of renewables, and by then it will be too late.

Watch Home (2009) in 1080p. Even if you hate the environment, you’ll still love the footage – it’s spectacular.

#10
Solidarity2:00 pm, 12 Jun 14

Nuclear power plant, done.

It’s where this stupid train money should be going towards.

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