Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Eye of the Renewable Energy Storm

By Ian Lowe

Political foes have united in their condemnation of fear-mongering about renewable energy.

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Australian responses to climate change have been a political football in recent years, so it’s a rare experience to find past or present politicians from different political parties even sharing a stage. It is quite remarkable to find an ALP Minister and a former Liberal Party leader in furious agreement. But I witnessed that phenomenon in Brisbane at the end of November.

Griffith University organised a 2-day conference on Pathways to a Sustainable Future. The dinner featured veteran comedian Rod Quantock, but also offered a platform to Queensland’s current Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles, and Dr John Hewson, national leader of the Liberal Party from 1990–94. Yes, two politicians with formal academic qualifications, both holding doctorates! It would be simplistic to conclude we would have a more reasonable debate if we had better-educated leaders, but a capacity for critical analysis clearly helps decision-makers to deal with complex issues.

Miles and Hewson agreed on several important points: climate change is real and happening now, Australia’s current commitments fall well short of our share of the necessary response, yet some of the recent statements and actions of Coalition ministers have been scandalously irresponsible.

Hewson zeroed in on the claims by senior politicians that South Australia had suffered a statewide blackout because of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.