Members and friends of ARRCC turned out for the snap rally in Canberra on Friday, August 19th, in front of COAG’s Energy Council meeting. We were calling for urgent shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Well over 100 people came from diverse community groups.
The speakers painted amazing word-pictures about the beauty of renewable energy and the jobs it creates. And outgoing ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Simon Corbell, received a hero's welcome when he came to address the crowd in recognition of the ACT’s leadership on renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
At that stage of the rally, things were looking reasonably positive. Unfortunately, they turned out to be hollow words at the top of a communiqué that could have been almost entirely written by the gas industry. There is little about Australia’s urgently-needed transition to renewable energy, a change that the community wants and is leading. The communiqué focuses on 'security of supply', particularly in relation to gas. Community rates barely a mention. ‘Consumers’ get a few mentions but, other than that it is industry and, to a lesser extent, government.
The Ministers certainly missed a key and important opportunity to facilitate an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy – in fact, the meeting’s outcomes have us heading in the opposite direction and there are some big stings for renewable energy buried in the text.
As well as participating in the rally, ARRCC was one of the grassroots groups that wrote to the ministers before the meeting, asking that minimising climate impacts be added as an objective in the national electricity and gas laws. Unfortunately, that too, did not occur.
It seems to me that communities – including faith communities – are going to have to step up to make our voices heard, particularly over the next 6 months.
As we face an unrolling climate emergency, the voices of the people – the voices of reason, of doing what is right to protect life on Earth as we know it, of protecting our life-support system – need to be heard. Will you step up and help that effort? I’d love to talk to you about how you can help – let me know and how when would be a good time to talk.
In the meantime, let’s support each other and pray for greater connectedness and respect between people and between people and our precious Earth.
Readers could alternatively take action with Yes2Renewables.