Creating Mordor When We Could Be Building Rivendell. Our Dismal Performance on Renewables

Creating Mordor When We Could Be Building Rivendell. Our Dismal Performance on Renewables

The first time Sandy and I drove across Kooragang Island we were confronted by a large swamp devoid of any vegetation other than string of dead trees poking up out of the water. We turned to each other and simultaneously exclaimed “Mordor!”. Kooragang Island is home to Newcastle’s coal loader and such destruction had been unleashed that it truly resembled a barren wasteland from the Lord of the Rings. 

In the years since that first trip the area has been rejuvenated. It is now filled with vegetation and presumably the animal and birdlife that follows. A little further up the road is an energy producing windmill. The rejuvenation of Kooragang and that windmill are signs to me that we are making some progress on our environmental stewardship. Naive really, for the backdrop is one of the largest coal export ports in the world!

It was table 14 in the 2014 United Nations human development report that threw me. Table 14 maps out the proportion of each nation’s power supply that comes from fossil fuels and the proportion from renewables. Looking at the chart below isn’t pretty reading.Renewable Enery Sources

The chart shows the percentage of a nation’s energy supply that comes from renewable sources. The balance comes from carbon based sources. Of the top thirty developed nations Australia is fifth last, sourcing just 4.6% of our energy supply from renewables and 95.4% via fossil fuels.

The figures in the chart are from 2012. The renewable energy target established under the previous government mandates that we must source 20% of our electricity from renewables by the year 2020. Thank goodness this target survived the attempt by the current government to scrap it. Indeed it seems very modest when you think that if we hit 20% tomorrow we would still only be middle of the pack.

All we have are the fingerprints of an elusive God

All we have are the fingerprints of an elusive God

Any God that is a spirit will be elusive, knowable only by her “fingerprints”. She may well act in my life and world, but I will only ever see the effects of her action, never her. When I gaze at the rich hues of the setting sun I choose to see the creative genius whoContinue Reading

Should we stop reading the New Testament letters for a while?

Should we stop reading the New Testament letters for a while?

Sometimes I wonder if the Christian church would do well to read nothing in the Scriptures but the Gospels for the next twelve months. No Moses, no Isaiah, no Paul, no Peter. Just Jesus. It seems to me that one of the more detrimental consequences of a high view of the Bible is that weContinue Reading

Is Australia Being Islamicised?

Is Australia Being Islamicised?

One of the objections I commonly hear to both taking in asylum seekers and our wider immigration program is a fear that we are being  Islamicised. This reflects a worry that most Muslims, if they had the chance, would vote to see sharia law imposed on the Australian population; that Muslims bring with them a violent culture; and/orContinue Reading

Why and how we should criticise politicians

Why and how we should criticise politicians

In the last few months, the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, has come under heavy attack. I myself have written a number of pieces in which I challenge the morality of policies Mr Morrison has introduced. I’ve noticed however that alongside questions of policy, people I know have started asking questions about his personal motivationsContinue Reading

Living inside a Peter Allen song

Living inside a Peter Allen song

I sit on the Sydney to Newcastle train and feel like I’m living inside a Peter Allen song. This is the final leg of a journey home from Izmir, Turkey that saw me pass through Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney. I can’t wait to see Sandy and the kids. “I still call Australia home” isContinue Reading

Perhaps the Coldest Thing I’ve Ever Heard from a Politician

I know politicians can be cold and calculated, but footage of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison addressing asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru is chilling. With sombre, determined tones he advises asylum seekers that they are where they are because “you entered Australia illegally”, that “you will be here for a very, very longContinue Reading