(PO Box 977, Clare 5453)
Senator Penny Wong,
Dear Senator Wong;
Quoting from The Conversation: "It's unclear what toll the current heatwave will take on human life but we know that [in a heatwave] the rate of heat-related illness and unexpected death rises. The European heatwave of 2003 resulted in between 22 000 and 45 000 deaths in excess of those expected for that time of year. Similarly, in Victoria in 2009, there were 374 "extra" deaths beyond what would have been expected over the summer."
Of course there will be many other problems from climate change: environmental, social, and economical (see http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/Greenhouse.html)
Australia has in the past relied heavily on coal for its electricity. In the last ten years the cost of both wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV) have steadily declined – to the point where they are now comparable to the cost of power from new coal-fired power stations. You would be aware that the greatest disadvantage of wind and PV is that they are not necessarily available when they are needed.
Recently the cost of solar thermal power with storage has also been falling to the point where it is realistic in a country with top class solar resources such as Australia. The cost of power storage systems is also falling and there is a huge amount of continuing research into the subject.
Australia faces a choice: to stay with 19th century coal technology; which is destined to be more and more shunned by the progressive world, or get with the world leaders and change to renewables.