The Playford Declaration
Here in South Australia we are in the midst of an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables plus storage.
We applaud what the former State Government has achieved in the construction of renewables and battery storage; the solar subsidy it announced for low income citizens; and the planned move to overlapping local grids to provide a robust network.
While South Australia is well on target to hit its plan for 50% renewables, and predicted to reach 73% renewables by 2025, it is still funding the search for more gas fields, still licensing oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight, and still considering unconventional gas and fracking in the north and south-east of the state.
AS WAS NOTED BY BILL MCKIBBEN in his essay “Do The Math” in Rolling Stone (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719), globally, we already have five times the amount of fossil fuel reserves we could possibly burn safely by 2050 — 2,795 Gigatons in reserves vs 565 Gigatons that we could burn by 2050 — there is no reason to spend $48 million searching for more gas and oil.
It makes no sense to search for new fossil fuels which we cannot burn if we hope to contain warming to at most the 1.5 – 2 degrees we pledged for the Paris Agreement. We1need to recognise that the Energy transition is not yet complete. Premier Thomas Playford in the mid 1940s shifted our energy system to use brown coal from Leigh Creek. We need visionary politicians who realise that we need to both rapidly move to 100% renewal energy, and to stop burning fossil fuels. That means:
- encouraging a renewables industry, including hydrogen production and export of green energy;
- providing retraining and employment to those currently in the fossil fuel industry through a just transition to the new renewables industry;
- supporting the development of the new renewables industry and the production of clean fuels for domestic use and export;
- providing low cost renewables for those on low income to reduce energy poverty;
- supporting industry to install modern energy efficient lights, engines & motors; public & community ownership of the energy grid and generators; tightening the building code to improve insulation & energy performance; no funding for new oil or gas exploration;
- a stop to further development of underground gasification of coal, fracking and extending gas fields;
- a stop to oil prospecting in the Great Australian Bight;
We call upon current and would-be politicians (and Premiers!) to take inspiration from Playford’s example and commit to a just, socially equitable energy transition: support not only a rapid move to renewables but also stop the support and funding of fossil fuels, whether for domestic use or export, for the sake of the state, the nation, and the planet.
Friends of the Earth – Adelaide
Left Unity SA