The Queensland Resources Council has just announced that Queensland (Australia) coal exports have reached a record high.  The Australian government must be jumping for joy, with the resources sector once again contributing substantial growth in federal revenues (and the election war-chest).  Apparently two thirds of our coal is destined for steel making, while the remainder will be used for power generation.

Maybe it is just sour grapes, but the news does not lighten my current mood or temperature, which can best be described as volcanic.  Why?  Because short-term gains are being put before long-term national interests, and because I am sweltering in my lounge room through yet another extended extreme heatwave.  My phone tells me it is 41º celcius (105º F) outside.

Frankly, I get sick of claims that Australia can do little to reduce global carbon emissions; the argument being that we are minnows when it comes to the global carbon footprint.  Australians account for a mere 0.5% of the global population, and yet our emissions comprise 1.3% of global emissions.  That sounds kind of unfair to me.   Ian Dunlop, in a piece written for Pearls and Irritations, states that if exports are taken into account, Australia is the sixth largest carbon polluter globally and will soon rank higher as LNG exports increase.  We have skin in the game.

To hear some talk, you would expect that Aussie coal has some special properties that other countries cannot do without.  That strikes me as odd because both China and India (significant markets for our exports) have coal reserves of their own to rival Australia (top 5 countries by coal reserves – USA, Russia, China, Australia, India).  Is Australia such a low cost producer that our coal is much cheaper than coal extracted “in-country”?  Perhaps subsidies or concessions (eg. concessional loans and grants, royalty-exemptions or fuel-tax credits) make it more cost-effective to invest in Aussie coal production and/or import Aussie coal?  Lucky the value of the Australian dollar has plummeted because now all those high-tech goods and services that Australian businesses might want to import to make our economy more productive, are so much more expensive, while those things we just dig out of the ground and ship off to (more diversified?) economies, are so much cheaper.  My goodness, we are practically giving that coal away.

Apparently, there are enough coal reserves in the Asia-Pacific region to last another 100 years, which is probably just long enough to see us out as a species.  How ripped off the Ruskies must feel!  Their massive coal reserves are relatively unexploited.  To add insult to injury, it is damn cold there, so a warmer climate could conceivably advantage their agricultural production — a bonanza in the event of global food shortages.

If sufficient national leaders believe that mining carboniferous minerals is all that their countries have to offer the world, then they will end up eating the global pie.  But they can’t have it too, not without divine intervention.  I imagine unscrupulous nation states on the edge of this precipice, might be amenable to a little tinkering in the collective psyche of those who, for whatever reason, genuinely do not believe in anthropogenic climate change.  I can also imagine that such players might be only too happy to provide assistance to others with a vested interest in protecting the fossil-fuel industry.

But I digress.  Heatstroke.  It has been argued that Australia’s climate policies are being held to ransom by conservative, neo-liberal, climate change deniers within the government.   I don’t believe a word of it.  Conservative senior minister, Peter Dutton, has reportedly said that, “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping around your door.”  If he and his colleagues know the consequences of unfettered coal use, then it seems amoral, even cruel, not to prioritise policies that minimise carbon emissions.  If they don’t understand the consequences, then they are not fit to govern.

My own view is that with everything Australia has to offer, we have no business being in the coal business.

It used to be that I found winter in my region, the most trying season.  This honour now goes to summer.  Heatwaves like the one we are currently experiencing are becoming all too frequent.  And they are deadly.  I’m a little worried that my love might have a heart attack.  He’s stressed and tired.  He hasn’t slept well for weeks.  It has been too hot.  My poor dog, Makea, is really suffering.  I will never get another Finnish Lapphund.  The bossy red dogs are coping much better.  The bossy possum returned when we forgot to shut the garage door.  He likes it when we spray him with mists of water.  Meanwhile my youngest is attending a circus festival in the Otway Ranges, a beautiful venue surrounded by wilderness.  The fire danger is extreme.

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Hot or guarding his prize?  Probably both.

Here is a photo of my collection of sun umbrellas.  I have four in total to shade the concrete in my backyard.

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Our tap water has turned yellow.  There has been a huge increase in the demand for water.  This increased draw has stirred up sediments in our water storage system.  The water tastes awful, but at least we have water.  For now.  Don’t get me started …

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Kind Regards
Tracy.

This is my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompts —  Collection and Quest  viz my umbrella collection and because I’m on a quest to separate fact from political spin.

 

 

 

44 thoughts on “All Kinds of Awful

  1. I understand and share your feelings 100%. Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog does, also. She wishes she could send some of her snow over, but I told her that’s absurd and impossible. She said it’s the thought that counts, but I’m not so sure. I think the ICE counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tracy your observations are spot on. As you know if logic and informed self interest were at play but no it’s actually policy JDC (just do not care) which dominates. Canada is also making its way economically through resource extraction. Everyday the coal trains run to the west coast coal export port, at Roberts Banks. A coal port on the west coast of the USA is closed because of dust so we also welcome American coal trains to Roberts Banks. The false clam that Canada’s emissions are tiny is misinformed. Canada’s coal contributes to pollution globally so add those global emissions to our totals. I’m reminded of a sick joke which says, “If you keep extracting resources at this rate the planet will be ruined but if we don’t our economy will be ruined.” Very deep thinking. Hence the fire sale on resources to save the economy. But good bye the environment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s very hospitable of your government, Sid. Very disappointing though. Is there a strong political movement for change? That sick joke is in wide circulation here too. It may not surprise you that I plan to write on the environment/economy divide issue. It annoys me no end when I hear it. The environment is the economy. But now that I’ve got that off my chest, perhaps I won’t bother. I think people are sick of me sounding like a broken record. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The slogan of the Trudeau government is that the economy and the environmental must work together. ‘Go hand in hand’. This of course is mocked as mere ‘virtue signalling.’ by the Conservatives. In their universe Conservatives are not interested in conservation and preservation. Politicians who love the environment and want to preserve it, are called ‘tree huggers.’ Sadly rational debate is in short supply. Tracy please keep beating the drum fo a green economy.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes and it would be wonderful if they did. Unfortunately, conservative pollies don’t support alternative energy sources (not when coal brings huge revenue), one former minister famously said he though wind farms were ugly and he didn’t want them close to where he lived, but go to Europe and they are everywhere- Australia used to be an innovator, now we are a laughing stock. I am desperate to get solar panels on my roof and stop using gas in my home, being in windy Perth, I am also looking at domestic wind power generation which is becoming a bit of a thing. One day I hope to afford an electric car charged with solar energy…(dreams).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would be interested in what system you put in, if you do, Jenny. The ACT has a 100% renewable energy target. I feel I should support that initiative by sourcing our power from the commercial sector (as a way of supporting the renewables industry). But I may change my mind later.

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    2. Solar farms are being built, Christine. But there is debate about whether even our unambitious emissions reduction target will be met and whether more could be done. There appears to be a strange fixation on building new coal fired power stations. They are considered more reliable when the sun is not shining, but solar combined with storage might change that. I hope so. I think the more challenging issue is growth in emissions from gas developments. Plus, there are lots of emissions in our agriculture, transport and business sectors. There are some incentives to reduce emissions in those areas, but there is no big stick though, like a price on carbon, which would penalise bad performers. I hope that it is not too much information. Regards. Tracy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tring to think of what to write other than Yes
    Love your umbrella collection which is just the thing to stop the heat going into the house. Bloody possum……you’ll be sorry for “adopting” a serial pest

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Are there other citizens equally outraged, Tracy? I wish there was something you could do. Government is a bitch to buck, but if everyone got a petition or something together, you might rile them enough to take some other action. The poor dogs…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois, if the polls are anything to go by, a majority of Australians want more to be done to reduce emissions and a faster trajectory of emissions reduction. So there is outrage aplenty. The government should know this, if they don’t they’ve been living under a lump of coal. The government appears to be out of step with just about everyone, including the business community, on this one. Our former PM, the one that was dumped recently, said it was ideology, rather than science, that was driving government climate policy. There are a few sops to emissions reduction so they can say they are doing something. But the implication of the former PM’s statement is that the government is incapable of agreeing on a policy even within its own ranks. My own opinion is that ideology is a big factor, but the coal lobby holds at least as much sway. Much of the mining occurs in areas that are held by seemingly conservative members of parliament.

      I think only a change of government will deliver real change. But public pressure needs to be sustained even if a change of government occurs because of the temptation to backslide.

      I suppose I could just let all the experts and commentators talk about it. But I think ordinary voices like mine need to be heard. I do have some previous public policy experience in this area. It is dated now but it has made me quite cynical, and maybe a bit feisty too. Aren’t you glad you asked? 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve spent some time thinking how to comment, Tracy, and really I have nothing to add about this depressing situation except that I agree with everything you (and your other commenters) are saying.
    Your umbrella idea is a good one, I shall try it myself. Try to stay cool, there’s still more to come

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jane. I’ve just replied to Lois. I thought hard about her question too. There is a bit of personal information which you might find interesting.

      It is pretty awful here. Hanging out for the weekend. We usually put our evaporative cooler on in the evening, but the humidity level has just jumped and it doesn’t work well then. I hope you are able to stay coolish. I hear there are some lakes and dams around Mudgee that have been closed due to algae blooms. The kids won’t be able to swim on their holidays!

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      1. I haven’t heard about the algal blooms, Tracy, but it wouldn’t surprise me with the lack of water flow here. Apart from the Cudgegong River which is permanent because of the Windamere Dam, (which is very low and at present water is being let out to go to Burrendong Dam) I haven’t seen the creeks run for at least two years, maybe more. We are spending most of our time indoors.
        So many people are pinning their hopes on a change of government, including me, so I hope the opposition is having a serious listen to what folk are saying….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You write so well and make a complex topic accessible to all. It’s difficult to comprehend it was 45 degrees in Dubbo today from what I heard on the news! Geez! that’s Kimberley weather. Your photographs of your garden and Makea are wonderful. Keep cool.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I was in Perth once during January. The heat seemed bearable. Maybe because it was dry and a breeze came through in the afternoon. During that time, I discovered that Perth had this vast subterranean network of shopping centres. Seemed like a good idea to me.

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      2. I only go into shopping centres to get my hour long walk in air con comfort! lol

        The afternoon sea breeze is known as the Fremantle Doctor! Our dept at uni had an academic who blew in late afternoon for a few minutes and, yes, her nickname is forever …

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this essay! For adding to the wake up call. Our Rotary had a talk yesterday about the REALITIES of recycling and plastics…. and that China no longer will take our contaminated waste and why should they? We all need to clean up our acts!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An interesting article Tracy. We were once innovators, it beggars belief that the sun and wind is not utilised to its full potential. But then, as you say, it cannot be sold overseas. Love your colourful umbrellas such a good idea, as long as they are anchored down. I think you need to join your dog in the ice bath. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Pauline. The umbrellas don’t work so well when the wind is strong, as it often is, when temperatures reach these heights. We are working on providing more natural shade from the surrounding gardens. I like the sun on the concrete in winter because it is like a little heat sink. I’ve a few ideas to create flexible shade. It is good to have a project. I’ve got a spray bottle to spray my feet. Bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. And here we are with a notional ten years to turn even a millimetre around for the good of the future, and we’re still carving square stone wheels – I’m with you, thanks for saying it.

    Liked by 1 person

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