The Hunter is headed for a hotter, drier future without action on climate change: report

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull was talking up his meeting with Australia’s energy retailers on Wednesday.

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By Christmas the retailers will have sent letters to all Australian energy consumers, telling us how we can go to the Energy Made Easy website and see how we can “save potentially a verylarge amount of money” each year by switching to cheaper energy providers.

About 50 per cent of all energy consumers have not changed retailers in the past five years because of apathy orignorance of how the energy market works. Some might have tried to change but have abandoned the idea in complete bewilderment after trying to understand how their current bill is arrived at, and then trying to compare it with other providers’ billing methods.

Mr Turnbull’s talk of bills and websites came across as hollow when lined up against what the energy retailers told him. They urged the prime minister to address the Coalition’s internal battles on climate change and a price on carbon, and establish a clean energy target immediately, in line with Australia’s obligations under the Paris climate change agreement.

Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad made the retailers’ argument quite simply. A target is “agnostic” about how energy is delivered. It becomes an economic consideration.

The Nature Conservation Council is not “agnostic” on climate change, a clean energy target or a price on carbon. In its Hot, Dry and Deadly report, released in Newcastle on Thursday, the council argues that Australia needs to act now on climate change. NSWparticularly needs to act because the impacts on agriculture, threatened species, wetlands, vegetation areas and, ultimately, the community, are extreme if we don’t, the report found.

Council chief executive Kate Smolski pointed to a very dry July in the Hunter to project an imagined future, based on CSIRO predictions if global warming is not restricted to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The CSIRO predicts rainfall could decline by 25 per cent under some scenarios.

The council launched its Repower NSW campaign to coincide with the Hot, Dry and Deadly report’s release, and to encourage the community to push for political change to break the energy deadlock in Australia.

People power v the hot air from Canberra.

Issue: 38,585.

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