Late last week I found myself living some sort of strange fantastical dream in which Bob Carr and Malcolm Turnbull held hands and skipped through a field of daisies. Alan Jones (Chief Development Officer, Energy & Climate Change, City of Sydney) and Quentin Dempster were there too, putting flowers in each others hair and spinning round and round in a warm, clean summer breeze. The star of the dream, however, was not a soapboxing politician of dubious environmental record, nor even a renowned, likable journo. It was the youthful, earnest and determined Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Melbourne Based NGO Beyond Zero Emissions.
Pinching myself as I exited the launch at Sydney City Town Hall of their Zero Carbon Australia report, I managed to wrench myself from my dream like state. It slowly registered that I had in fact witnessed reality unfolding. Their 194 page report details a strategy to completely remove Australia’s dependecy on unrenewable sources of energy by 2020. They propose instead a combination of energy efficiency, fuel switching from gas and oil to electrified energy services, then using a combination of commercially available renewable energy technologies such as hydro and solar thermal. The report predicts a total cost of $37 Billion per year, or 3% GDP; or, $8 per week per person, for the next 10 years.
As I walked down into George st from the depths of the beautiful sandstone, Victorian era Town Hall, I was enveloped by old scratchy Jazz being played by a local newspaper vendor melted into a cacophany of car horns and city sounds. I felt strongly the sensation of being in the middle of a temporal whirlpool; worlds colliding around me. This 100% renewable vision is just radical enough to be tomorrow’s mundane policy agenda. So why wasn’t it government commissioned? Do pollies also dream of electric cars? The answer to that question will truly decide whether this great vision is given the support and funding it needs to grow..