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A green or a black future

In this world, in Australia in particular, we have a choice between:
  • A green future, in which we embrace renewable energy and protect the planet, and
  • A black future, in which we stay with fossil fuels including coal, neglect renewable energy and action to minimise climate change and related problems, and bugger the planet.

This page was written 2018/06/29, last edited 2020/07/09
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
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Renewable energy (left, foreground) is displacing coal (right, background)
Port Augusta

New solar power, coal-fired power station shutting down

This view at Port Augusta, South Australia, April 2016, nicely symbolises the decline of coal. On the left is the new solar power-tower of Sundrop Farms. The big smoking chimney is on the Northern Power Station, SA's last coal-fired power station; which was soon to close. Further right are the two chimneys of the Sir Thomas Playford coal-fired power station, which had already closed-down. The chimney stopped smoking on 2016/05/09.

At the time this photo was taken, an average of around 33% of SA's power was generated by wind farms and another 5% by solar PV. By 2017 more than half of the power generated in SA was renewable.

A black future

The powerful regressive right wing of the Australian Liberal Party, exemplified if not led by a group of politicians calling themselves the Monash Forum, are trying to keep the dying coal industry alive as long as possible.

The coal industry kills millions of people world-wide each year and is one of the main causes of climate change and ocean acidification. In Australia we are losing one of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, largely due to the coal industry.

Australia has among the highest emissions intensity of all the world's nations, we therefor have a great moral responsibility to take effective action to reduce our emissions.

Any sane and well informed person holding even a very basic level of ethical standards can see that coal and fossil fuels is not a future that we should be wanting to see.

A black future, that includes coal, will be a future in which our children and grandchildren and the whole world's biosphere will suffer greatly due to our failure to take the responsible actions that are obviously needed.

A green future

South Australia had negligible renewable energy in early 2003, by the time of writing this more than half of its electricity was being generated by wind and solar PV. In this period the state's last coal fired power station was shut down. This has been a great success story that could have been achieved even more quickly, it could and should go much further and could and should be emulated and improved upon by the other Australian states.

By far the majority of the Australian people are supportive of renewable energy; it seems very unlikely that any more coal-fired power stations will be built. Renewable energy, at least in the form of wind and solar PV, is now cheaper to build than coal-fired power stations.

The great question is, will we adopt renewable energy in Australia and elsewhere, quickly enough to avoid climate change disaster? Will our future be green, with a healthy environment, or black, with a terribly damaged environment?


Related pages

On this site


How should Australia generate its electricity?
South Australia's great success with renewables
Base load power: the facts
Mid-North South Australia, leading the nation in renewable energy
Northern SA's renewables
Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia
A tale of two cities, one progressive, the other regressive
Wind power in South Australia
Wind power in Australia
Pumped hydro energy storage

Environment, climate change, ethics

Climate change
Climate change, natural disasters and what we should be doing
Greatest crime in history
Major threatened disasters compared
Opposition to wind power and to the coal industry
The Abbott Australian Government
The end of coal
The Turnbull Australian Government

On the Internet

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report: The human cost of weather-related disasters 1995-2015.
Renew Economy; AGL ridicules Coalition request to keep Liddell [coal-fired power station] open extra 5 years.
The Conversation; Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds, David Shearman, 2016/11/28.
The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine.

The big three Australian power generators see no future in coal

AGL's statement on the Liddell closure.
Energy Australia boss says there are much better options than keeping the old Liddell coal-fired power station running for a few more years.
Origin Energy boss rejects coal

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