The Guardian • Issue #2099

Gas Strategy: path to oblivion

Bush fires

Photo: rawpixel.com (CC0)

Humanity faces two major existential threats: climate change and nuclear war. The Albanese Labor government has already fuelled the threat of nuclear war with AUKUS and other war preparations. Now it’s pressing on the accelerator towards climate annihilation.

On 9 May Resources Minister Madeleine King released the government’s Future Gas Strategy.

“… gas will remain an important source of energy through to 2050 and beyond, and its uses will change as we improve industrial energy efficiency, firm renewables, and reduce emissions,” King said launching the Strategy. (Emphasis added)

She goes on: “But it is clear we will need continued exploration, investment and development in the sector to support the path to net zero for Australia and for our export partners, and to avoid a shortfall in gas supplies.”

The Minister would have us believe the path to reducing emissions is by increasing them. The government is taking the Australian people for fools.

Fossil fuels are the path to oblivion.

There is only one path to net zero and keeping climate warming within 1.5°C – to transition to renewables as quickly as possible.

The Strategy promotes carbon capture and storage (CCS) of emissions as a means of transitioning to net zero. CCS has proved an abject failure on a commercial scale. (See Green Notes Guardian #2060)

Over 60,000 clean energy jobs could be created in Australia by 2025 according to the government’s own figures. This is three times the number employed in the gas industry.

CLIMATE CRISIS

2023 was the hottest year on record, and records continue to be broken in 2024. For the past 11 months, every month has set a record temperature for that month.

The consequences of climate change are already being felt, with climate warming of an average 1.2°C over the past 4 years. Records are being broken on every continent, whether it be heat waves, drought, crop losses, famine, wildfires, flooding, storms, rising sea levels, melting of polar ice, bleaching of coral reefs, and other extreme weather events.

We are experiencing climate change now. Thousands of lives have been lost and vast amounts of infrastructure destroyed. Governments are not coping now with the devastation. Yet this is nothing like what humanity faces in the future.

URGENCY

Ironically on the same day as the Strategy was released, the UK Guardian weekly published the results of a survey page 383 leading world climate scientists, all senior authors of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Their responses emphasise urgency. 77 per cent predicted warming of at least 2.5°C by the end of the century, and nearly half predicted 3°C or more! Only 6 per cent thought the world would succeed in limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Despite these forecasts the scientists were not prepared to give up on tackling climate change and still expressed hope for the future. We should not give up the struggle either.

Nearly three-quarters of the scientists blamed world leaders’ lack of political will for their insufficient action, while 60 per cent said that corporate interests such as fossil fuel companies were interfering with progress.

Ruth Cerezo-Mota, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said “We know what we’re talking about. They can say they don’t care, but they can’t say they didn’t know.”

“All of humanity needs to come together and cooperate – this is a monumental opportunity to put differences aside and work together,” Louis Verchot, based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, told the UK Guardian. “Unfortunately, climate change has become a political wedge issue … I wonder how deep the crisis needs to become before we all start rowing in the same direction.”

LABOR DIVIDED

Labor MPs were blind-sided by the release of the Strategy – there was no consultation let alone advance notice. The Strategy has raised concerns amongst some metropolitan MPs who face serious challenges from the Greens or teals.

Five inner city Labor backbenchers have spoken out against the Strategy – Jerome Laxale, Sally Sitou, Josh Burns, Josh Wilson, and Carina Garland. MP Josh Burns said he did not get into politics to “be a support mechanism” for fossil fuels or to be a “rubber stamp.”

Ged Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, made a more cautious statement saying Australia could “not draw out our reliance on fossil fuels any longer than is necessary.”

The major parties are owned by the fossil fuel sector, bought off with large political donations and the prospect of lucrative, six-figure post-parliamentary jobs. The system is corrupt and in need of urgent change.

The gas Strategy is no different to the Coalition’s “gas-fired recovery.” Neither Labor nor the Coalition wrote the Strategy. It was written by and for the gas industry to protect and increase its profits. The drive for ever larger profits is so short-sighted that these powerful corporations cannot see they are heading towards self-destruction and the obliteration of humanity.

The world must stop developing new oil and gas projects and phase out existing ones as a matter of urgency. That includes Australia.

The 2020s are make-or-break years for humanity.

The government must cease subsidising and nationalise the fossil fuel sector.

The 2025 general elections provide an important opportunity to elect a government of a new type that puts people and the planet before profits. In the meantime, flood the Prime Minister, Resources Minister, your local MP and Senators with letters opposing the Strategy.

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