In the Sydney Morning Herald, Anthony Albanese backed coal exports. I just want to raise some points before someone cues the pile on, on Labor… again… as usual.
Industrial Revolution and Impacts
Australia has relied on one main commodity for a very long time. We are the leading exporter of coal in the world. Many regions have a high concentration of heavy industry.
Therefore, the push away from coal globally coupled with automation means we are facing the biggest change since the Industrial revolution. Importantly, this means we need to stop the division as we are facing mass jobs displacement if not done right.
Mass joblessness, as we know has severe psychological affects on humans. From lack of self worth, to suicide. Mass joblessness equals mass poverty. Here is one video to watch on the impacts of willingly causing job displacement via automation on Truck Drivers in USA.
The main approach to combat climate change is to shut down coal. Coal is used globally for energy and production of other goods like steel. We are the leading supplier of coal to many countries, including China. This is $47 BILLION of export.
States benefit from the export of this major commodity. It helps build and fund schools, roads and hospitals, in the form of coal royalties and other taxes.
The call for mass jobs displacement along with loss of major revenue will have severe economic impacts. It’s important to think of severe economic impacts scenarios handled by conservatives are in charge. They always target the poor, which will be many of us.
Option One – Cease Coal Production
We have two alternatives. The first is the main push to cease coal production in Australia. The argument is this will raise the price of coal and put pressure on other countries to go renewable.
We are the leading exporter and there are many other export countries. Therefore, we do not know how long we cripple our economy, navigate joblessness, poverty, while other countries decide to cease importing coal. If you could predict markets & commodities you’d be very rich. (Albanese also covers this in the SMH article linked in the opening paragraph).
The Abbott and Thatcher Transactional Approach
The current push from environmentalists is to cease coal exports now. That is shut down an industry, with nothing in it’s place. Despite cries from activists, that people can just go ‘retrain’ for something else, there is not the structure, investment or opportunities currently for this to occur. A growing number of activists are also now very adamant, we no longer have time for a ‘transition’ and we just ‘have to shut down coal now’.
The current climate action push by Greens and other activists to shut down coal is the ideology of Abbott and Thatcher.
1 – Displace workers for an aim. That is – Political (Thatcher), Economic (Abbott) or Environmental (current preferred option of Greens and climate activists)
2 – Respond in a curative unemployment framework by placing the onus on the worker for joblessness with token assistance
3 – Punish joblessness
4 – Reactively respond to the fall out of joblessness and poverty
NOT Democratic Socialism
The above is not democratic socialism. It is not worker centric. It is transactional, treating workers as a commodity, ignoring the human aspects of change. If the Liberals were not invested in coal barons, they’d support this. It’s the Liberal way. As Abbott and Thatcher have already demonstrated. Or as Abbott put it “Liberating the workers’ when he shut down the car industry.
This response is a reactive response, not a proactive response. It is ignorant of the complexity of coal regions. It is ignorant of how the highly concentrated industry of coal affects everything from jobs, business, population growth, what funding councils get, house prices, housing, future investment, employment and importantly the resultant psychological negative affects that joblessness and poverty brings.
Agency is Crucial for Change
Despite the throwing around of empty concepts of transition. Those pushing transition haven’t consulted with these regions, nor understand them. Agency is important in change. Climate change activists & Greens deny regional workers & communities self agency as participants in change.
The above scenario, is why those who have come across me before on Twitter or have read my blog, have seen me take on climate change activists and Greens.
In short, I am NOT pro coal, but pro jobs, anti poverty and support self agency & inclusion in change. To not do so, is very privileged. My stance would be the same for any major displacement of workers in any industry. Coal is currently that industry.
Alternative Two – Leading Supplier of Renewables Using Our Resources
The other scenario Anthony Albanese outlined in his policy speech, is to become the leading supplier of renewables to the world, by using our coal and other mineral resources and the benefits of our industrial make up and skilled workforce.
By supplying other countries with renewables and associated infrastructure, including developing countries through direct assistance trade programs, we would enter the market as a leading, manufacturer, supplier, innovator and maintainer of renewables products. Albanese also talks up Lithium mining as significant.
As in scenario one, this too would place pressure on other countries to go renewable and as opposed to the preferred scenario pushed by activists, would expedite the take up rate globally by countries. This then places pressure on coal supply, by reducing the demand.
Some coal is still required for coal made products (metallurgical) and also some thermal, but thermal (energy would decrease, as it is naturally expected to globally via the market). Albanese states that just coal supply for wind turbines alone is significant.
For example, it takes more than 200 tonnes of metallurgical coal to produce one wind turbine. According to forecasts of global growth in wind power capacity to 2030, Australia could be exporting 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to build these turbines. This is the equivalent of three years output from the Moranbah North coking coal mine in Queensland. (Jobs and Future of Work – Anthony Albanese)
This approach also will assist developing nations gain access to electricity. Many people in ASEAN nations have no access to cooking or heating. This impacts on poverty and disease. To deny this is sickening privilege.
Transformational – NOT Transactional
This approach opposite to the preferred approach is transformational, not a transactional approach. This approach is in a preventative unemployment framework, not a curative unemployment framework. This is a Democratic Socialist approach. Labor is a Democratic Socialist Party.
This approach will see us use our resources to develop the world in renewables, reducing the demand for thermal coal supply and create a new export industry. This will naturally create more job competition and if targeted to set up in regions, will diversify local economies.
Self-Agency and Human Elements of Change
By developing regions in this way, we give communities agency in change. We give workers self agency of career change, we recognise and take great care in recognising the human elements of change. We are proactive and not reactive. It’s the opposite of the Abbott & Thatcher approach advocated by Greens.
The market will decide coal use globally. It is how we decide to respond and engage in that, that will renew us or kill us as a nation that enjoys relatively good quality of life.
The Abbott Way or the Albo Way – Your Choice
Politically the Greens party have targeted Labor, rather than the Liberals for the last four years by attacking coal regions and workers. This has developed into a huge division between city & regions. People fearing for their own livelihoods voted against the left in droves. A move the LNP in QLD brag about and how much they love the Greens.
The first option (ceasing coal and coal exports) and activism around it, has seen huge division, the working class left, lumped in with the job cancelling enviro left, mainly through the media lens of propaganda and social media climate activism of intentionally suffocating Labor’s election platform online.
Those attacking Albanese and others (including me) for being “right wing” as we talk about coal jobs, are supporting an Abbott & Thatcher approach, detailed in option 1. I’m glad I take a vocal stance to oppose that view.
This current preferred approach is, transactional, reactive in a Curative unemployment framework and ignores the human element of change and denies affected workers and communities agency as participants in change. This is driven by absolutism fueled by the Greens and Climate Activists, including self-identified intelligentsia on Twitter and also some Journalists. This is NOT democratic socialism. It is not inclusive.
Support Labor’s Vision for Jobs and the Future
All I ask is you think about and consider the alternative from Albanese’s Jobs and the Future of Work Policy Direction Speech as detailed in Option 2.
This approach to change is Transformational, proactive in a Preventative unemployment framework, recognising the human elements of change and includes and enables agency for workers and affected communities.
This alternative approach by Labor needs people to support Labor. It does not help progress to feed the divisiveness and keep participating in anti jobs and anti coal rhetoric, stigmatising workers and regions and keep fueling the division enabled by the current absolutism of Greens demands and political game play of attacking Labor and not the Liberals. As demonstrated at the last election, this just enables the Liberals. Enabling a Liberal Government through blind absolutism is no solution at all.
Support Labor’s Vision
The Greens have taken the strategic approach to attack Labor for the last four years; concentrating on attacking Queensland and Queenslanders, fueling city and regional division. They have led the way in convincing that the Thatcher/Abbott approach of ceasing coal and ceasing coal exports is the ONLY option.
Labor’s option 2, of using our resources and skills to enable global change will be a hard sell to climate activists, as it includes the use of our coal. This is up to the Labor Leadership. The Labor Leadership needs to actively counter Greens, LNP and PHON and lead proactive and respectful discussion about why we should use our coal resources to assist the entire world transform to renewable energy.
Attack, Attack, Attack
Labor needs to attack the Liberals for having no policy of change, which will only see the market blindside us, if nothing is done and there will be mass joblessness and poverty, regardless.
Most of all, Labor needs to start placing massive pressure on the Liberals, for the Government to start investing massively in regional areas to create manufacturing hubs for renewable projects and a massive investment in Research and Development, including course development, research and other projects at University, TAFE and in business.
Supporting Labor with Option 2, is the ONLY way to achieve progress in this area. It is the only option that is inclusive of all stakeholders. It is the only option that is worker centric.
Supporting Labor’s approach will mean a change for many very loud climate activists on social media. The people who are “stars of the climate action debate on Twitter” will need to do away with the ego thumping, self adulation, adulation via their fan-girling base, sickening and aggressive pile-ons and over-reactionary rhetoric and blind hatred of Coal communities and Labor above all else, as they bow to invisible Twitter applause.
If you are passionate about Climate change. Support Labor. The Planet depends on it.