Climate change is having a significant impact on Australia, as seen by recent wildfires and floods. The energy needs of the populace are being met by solar and wind power, and the government is beginning to catch up.

climate change and renewable energy
[Climate change and renewable energy in Australia]

The memory of the Black Summer has not yet faded from the communal consciousness of Australians. The forest fires that occurred in late 2019 and early 2020 burned over a total area of 180,000 square kilometers, which is equivalent to about half the size of the Germany, according to statistics provided by the United Nations. 33 persons lost their lives as a result of the flames, which also burned over 6,000 structures and 3,000 residences. In addition to the millions of other creatures, almost 60,000 of the critically endangered koala bears were among those that perished in the fire. The recovery of these forests from these fires will take decades, and it will take much longer for old-growth eucalyptus forests to recover.

In Australia, there has been a discernible rise in the frequency of severe weather events over the course of the last decade. In addition to the bush and forest fires, some of which can only be doused after a period of months, a great number of towns and villages are hit by severe floods each year, some of them many times each year. Some of these flames can only be extinguished after months.

On the other hand, Australia reflects on a decade during which it did nothing to safeguard the environment or the climate. Even in 2019, former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was defeated in legislative elections at the end of May, continued to assert that there was "no credible evidence" linking climate change and the recent spate of forest fires. Despite the fact that an investigation conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 was able to provide conclusive evidence of this, In it, the experts made the prognostication that heat waves and fires in Australia will become more severe, stating that there was a "99 to 100 percent possibility" of this happening. Which has, at the very latest, been clear with the occurrence of the Black Summer.

Because of his lack of knowledge, Morrison was fired from his work. Anthony Albanese, leader of the Australian Labor Party, will take over as Prime Minister after him. Albanese has never been accused of denying that humans are contributing to climate change, thus this accusation cannot be levelled against him. Prior to his election, Albanese had a relatively low profile on the international stage; nevertheless, in Australia, he had been a prominent figure in the Social Democratic Party for more than 20 years. Beginning in 2007, he held the position of Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development during the administrations of a few different Premiers.

An office that is beneficial to him right now, when roads and bridges need to be restored after the harsh weather events, and when residences and businesses that have been damaged need to be rebuilt or remodeled over and over again: Who else except a long-serving infrastructure minister would have a greater understanding of this? Who would have a better understanding of what percentage of the money for the infrastructure these repairs take up?

On the other side, a significant number of Australians are of the opinion that climate protection initiatives would be detrimental to the company site. Taking all of this into consideration, Anthony Albanese should still have a long way to go before he is elected Prime Minister. It was impossible for Albanese, who held the position of Leader of the House, which is analogous to the position of parliamentary group leader of the governing party in the German Bundestag, to prevent internal strife within his Labor Party in 2010 regarding the appropriate path to take with regard to climate policy. Two different Prime Ministers of the Labor Party were removed from office as a result of internal conflict caused by disagreements about this matter. This, in turn, was not well received by voters, and as a result, the party found itself in the opposition in 2013.

After failing to win either of the previous two elections, Albanese did not have a clear path to the leadership of the party until 2019. At first, many people didn't give "Albo," who was obviously becoming older and grayer at the time, much of a chance to bring about a change in governance. When Albanese was involved in a vehicle accident in 2021 that was not his fault, he was nearly killed. Seeing this as a second opportunity, he cut down on the amount of alcohol he drank and shed 18 kg for a period of time. Not only did Albanese alter his outward look, but he also reinvented himself in a number of other political spheres. During the course of the election campaign, the lawmaker, who is a native of a multicultural neighborhood in Sydney and now resides there, said that an end must be put to the "climate wars" in Australia. If elected to office, he would make it his top goal to form a government that works to mitigate the most severe effects of climate change.

After he was victorious in the election, he made more audacious statements and pledged to usher in "a new era for climate preservation and renewable energy." Albanese, in concert with the leaders of the many island nations that make up Oceania, announced the existence of a climate emergency in the Pacific. The surrounding islands of Australia are considered to be "imminently endangered" by global warming. During the course of the election campaign, the director of the laboratory made the announcement that CO2 If Australia wants to cut its emissions by 43 percent by 2030, then it should become climate neutral by the year 2050. In the meanwhile, the smaller nations of the Pacific are pressuring the government in Canberra to work toward more expansive objectives. In addition, Albanese and fifteen other leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum have sent a joint letter to the International Criminal Court, arguing that the court to investigate and punish inactivity on this matter as a violation of human rights. Additionally, Australia has submitted a bid to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2024. According to Albanese, the current global climate catastrophe presents an opportunity for Australia. If we accept this challenge and work hard enough, we have the potential to become the market leader in renewable energy.

Not only those who have been affected by the regular floods that has occurred in the areas around cities like Sydney and Brisbane are eagerly awaiting a shift in climate policy. Australia, which is also coming under growing criticism throughout the globe, is seen as one of the worst offenders when it comes to climate change and is responsible for exceptionally high levels of CO2 emissions per capita. In addition to this, Australia is the greatest exporter of this raw material and has more than ten percent of the world's hard coal reserves, making it one of the country's most valuable natural resources. According to the findings of the research tank Climate Analytics, this results in the nation being responsible for something in the neighborhood of five percent of the world's total emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is possible that Australia's high share may more than quadruple by the year 2030 as a result of new coal mines, which were pioneered by Scott Morrison.

In the event that Albanese's climate measures are defeated in parliament, it is not in the least bit impossible for this to take place. In the same way that the Green Party did not want to agree to a "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme" that was offered by the Social Democrats in 2010, on the grounds that the aims that were defined inside the scheme did not go far enough. Even this year, the Green Party is reiterating its position that arbitrary climate objectives set in a laboratory are insufficient and is advocating for a decrease in CO2 emissions of at least sixty percent. The Labor movement does not have a majority of its own inside the Senate.

Nevertheless, regardless of the outcome of the local political test of strength, Australia has immense potential to make a visible contribution to the preservation of global climate by growing its use of solar and wind energy. On the island continent, there is a reputation for having an abundance of both sunshine and wind. If there is an abundance of solar energy, some of it may be used to produce hydrogen, which could then be sent to places like Europe or Asia to replace fossil fuels there. Numerous businesses have already made the transition to the use of renewable energy sources on their own will, even in the absence of large climate protection programs. A significant number of individual homes have already finished their own energy transition and had solar systems installed on the rooftops of their buildings. With tremendous savings:

According to a research that was conducted by the Australian Energy Council, this smooth energy transition has contributed to Australia's position as one of the western industrialized nations that currently has one of the lowest rates for power. The spikes in prices that have resulted from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which have had a comparable impact on numerous nations, have not altered this fact. Customers in Australia spent almost eight percent less for their power in the years 2020 and 2021 when compared to the two years before. This price decrease was a direct result of the increased quotas that the cheaper, more renewable forms of energy have been providing on the market. Therefore, in 2020/2021, the cost of power in Germany was the highest, at around 40 cents per kilowatt hour, while the cost was the lowest in Iceland. The price of a kilowatt hour in Australia was 20.5 cents in the most recent comparison, which was in 2014; however, it has recently dropped to 17.6 cents. In the state of Queensland, it is anticipated that the cost of energy would fall by an additional around 10 percent by the year 2024. Australia is well on its way to being a "lucky nation" with regard to the future of renewable energy and is well on its way to becoming a "fortunate country."

On the other hand, when it comes to the effects of global warming, we find the exact reverse to be true. Anthony Albanese is under even more pressure with the climate protection law he is envisaging than many other heads of government are, as shown by forecasts by climate researchers: According to this, Australia will have to deal with an increase in average temperatures of up to 3.9 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, as well as with a greater number of and a greater intensity of anticipated fires. And elsewhere, where water levels are steadily rising year after year.

The author  Jorg Schmilewski has worked as a reporter for German media outlets based in Australia and Southeast Asia since 2007. His writing has appeared, among other publications, in DIE ZEIT and the Berliner Zeitung.

Source: IPG
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