Replacing coal and gas with renewables will create jobs

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People are being lied to by politicians who say we can take climate action while extracting, burning and shipping off coal and gas for decades to come. We can’t, says Adam Bandt.

Opinion: I’ve been to coal towns from Collie to Muswellbrook and said ‘I’m from the Greens, we want to phase out coal by 2030 and to work with you to ensure you’ve got secure jobs afterwards’.

Sure, guys in hi-vis vests sat with their arms folded staring at me while I talked. But I didn’t get run out of town. In fact, the common response was ‘Don’t agree with everything you say, but at least you’re being honest with us’.

People are being lied to by politicians who say we can take climate action while extracting, burning and shipping off coal and gas for decades to come. We can’t.

Working people, tradies, miners, and mechanics deserve better than politicians dressing up as workers only to sell them out.

‘Net zero by 2050’ while still expanding coal and gas is nothing more than fraudulent corporate greenwashing. If the government keeps giving public handouts to tax-dodging billionaire coal and gas corporations, we put our kids’ lives and futures at risk. We’ve seen the damage droughts and bushfires do, but expanding coal and gas makes them worse.

If we don’t act by 2030 the window to stop global warming will close. 2050 is too late.

But we can’t leave workers and communities in the lurch, like when the government shut down the car industry without a jobs plan.

With a bit of planning, we can provide secure, well paid jobs for coal and gas communities that will make Australia more self-reliant and sustainable.

All down the east coast, coal and gas areas are also terrific places to make green hydrogen and green steel for export.

To tackle the climate crisis, we still need mining, as many of the minerals needed for renewables are found in abundance here. The best job for a coal miner is another mining job.

Replacing coal and gas with renewables will create hundreds of thousands of secure jobs close to where people already live in new export industries, and with our abundance of sun and wind we can bring back manufacturing with the cheapest clean energy on the planet.

Renewables are cheaper than coal or gas. The cost of solar power has fallen 80 per cent and wind power has fallen 40 per cent.

The cost of using coal, oil and gas is going up, it’s the leading cause of the climate crisis, and it’s only going to get more expensive.

As well as mining and manufacturing jobs, we can restore our rivers, plant lots of trees and fix up the soil. We can improve our waste practices, invest in public transport, and electric charging stations in a national project similar to the USA’s ‘New Deal’. We could even call it the Green New Deal.

Instead of giving handouts to big corporations who send their profits offshore, we can phase out coal and gas and invest in our people, our skills and industries and our future, to build a truly strong and sustainable economy where we can look after ourselves.

Adam Bandt in the national Greens Leader

Read related topics:Mission Zero

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