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Australian Politics

Labor, Coal and Climate Action

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.

About trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. You will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

Discussion

22 thoughts on “Labor, Coal and Climate Action

  1. As I`ve stated before Trish,if the Liberal Party wanted to invent a political party the attacked Labor non stop then they would have created the Greens

    And do please let me leave this analogy here for any Greens apologists on denying Australia an #ETS in 2009

    My analogy of @Greens hubris
    Just like an ex wife beater who now advocates a white ribbon,preaching a virtue whilst never acknowledging how the PTSD actually got here in the first place

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Bighead1883 | December 9, 2019, 4:16 pm
  2. Thanks Trish. We need a balanced view on this issue. Not the emotional reactions on social media that I am seeing.

    Like

    Posted by glennjonesy | December 9, 2019, 5:56 pm
  3. Say if conditions worsen over the next 3 years with prolonged drought, more firestorms and temperatures rising what good will be coal mining jobs when the well being of the population is at risk?

    Black lung disease from coal dust is on the rise and coal miners are willingly signing their own death warrants by going to work.

    There was 20 deaths from black lung in QLD last year, can’t find figures for the rest of the states and there have been 54,000 deaths in the US since about 1950.

    Surely coal must now rank with asbestos for untimely and preventable deaths.

    We’re at 1 degree warming now which we now see of what is to come and I can’t help fearing what will be catastrophic events at 2 degrees. There won’t be much left at 4 degrees that the scientists say is the threshold and I forecast the scientists will be starting to review that figure.

    I’m not an alarmist, but I believe real action has to start right now to prevent the planet from reaching 1.5degree otherwise we’re all going to be cooked.

    Maybe we should all be looking at UBI and get rid of coal mining as soon as possible as there is no other alternative.

    Like

    Posted by bobraftogmailcom | December 9, 2019, 6:37 pm
    • I look forward to your defence of Abbott/Thatcher style solution that isn’t just about pushing people onto a UBI, which will actually create an oversupply of labour, drive wages down (as is now) create an atmosphere for renewing individual agreements and threaten the existence of unions. That’s not a visionary solution at all. If warming grows to extinction point in three years, it’s beyond our control. Nothing we can do or say. It’s a shame the environmentalists and greens attacked Labor for four years and created mass fear of joblessness in regional QLD and NSW. We could be taking action now, instead of Scott Morrison doing nothing.

      Like

      Posted by trishcorry | December 9, 2019, 7:10 pm
      • What made you bring Abbott/Thatcher into this?

        I made a few points about the now, what’s happened in the past cannot be undone..

        The only arguments I hear for coal is about massive exports and the addiction to the royalties and not unlike the addiction to the pokies, royalties that funds blah, blah, blah.

        Nothing last forever, just like the steam engine had its day so will coal and the sooner the better for all our sakes..

        It is not out of our control, we need a leader to transition us from coal ASAP and at the same time look after the coal miners.

        There will be more disruptions just like that in the video, it’s happening in the mines, all that bullshit about 10,000 jobs generated by Adani was just that, the mine will be fully automated from pit to port and providing 140 jobs and there won’t be any royalties for years due to what appears a sweetheart deal and the profits will be shipped to the Caymans like all the other miners do and we wear it because of the jobs.

        One way to look after the miners is to go after big biz who generate billions in turnover and evade tax which I believe is in the tens of billions every year and which could be used for retraining or whatever has to be done.

        Not sure where you got your info about UBI, but if you start to get massive layoffs from industries due to robotics which includes driverless, cars, trucks and trains, UBI starts to make sense.

        There was a trial in a province in Canada in the seventies and it was going very well till it got axed by a conservative governor. And that maybe a reason to revisit these scheme.

        At the end of the day, a coal mining job is worthless if it impacts on the well being on everyone including the miners.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by bobraftogmailcom | December 9, 2019, 8:23 pm
  4. For one’s economy to rely so heavily on a product whose effects are already resulting in fatalities and damaged infrastructure world wide is failure, not success. Not being courageous enough to implement an alternative and no, it ain’t gonna be renewable energy, is a disgrace. To cover up physical limitations in both resources and environment with perpetual currency creation and erosion of liberties is criminal.

    Option 1 and option 2 are not going to happen.

    High unemployment which, is required, will occur due to resource limits. The unemployed, by consuming the least, are actually doing to most good. To make it fair and achieve something, we would all need to consume the same small amount regardless of position or employment. That ain’t gonna happen.

    Renewable energy is another term for perpetual energy and like its cousin, perpetual motion, it defies physics. That is why physicist are never consulted when advocating these inefficient devices. Shattered delusions is not something that any government needs right now.

    https://theconversation.com/no-australian-city-has-a-long-term-vision-for-living-sustainably-we-cant-go-on-like-this-123916

    Without perpetual credit, enabled by perpetual currency creation, the economy will tank. That is going to happen anyway. Perpetual currency creation is another delusion. Negative interest rates anyone? Helicopter money perhaps? Central bankers are trapped; damned if they print and damned if they don’t. It is only a matter of very limited time before the ponzi scheme of global financialization reaches its inevitable ponzi conclusion.

    A whole new paradigm is required that does not include the perverse conjuring of wealth and it is needed now. Again, not happening.

    Free currency is being invested in fake markets. Real wealth is that created by the sweat of the brow and has always been and continues to be stolen from us with unfair taxation. It is also harder to produce now with declining GDP per capita, another manifestion of resource limits having been met.

    So much of our natural resources have have been squandered by a select few to benefit themselves only. We are told that we are wealthy and yet, we have accrued a mountain of debt and we all pay unfair taxes while criminals take obscene golden handshakes and all but a few scream for more; all for the sake of, assuming by some miracle that business as usual continues long enough, a few jobs monitoring robot miners.

    Anthony Albanese’s comments, just like those of our Prime Minister, are a display of total ignorance of basic physics and maths or else it is a cowardly display of deception and betrayal in order to advance the Labor Party’s election prospects.

    Get ready. The industrial and political classes and their minions are in denial and don’t look like changing their absurd policies anytime soon.

    “If you end up with a miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” — Frank Zappa

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Harquebus | December 9, 2019, 8:21 pm
  5. Disagree or not, high unemployment is going to happen. Will it be implemented voluntarily and fairly or will it be imposed on us brutally by both natural and law enforcement forces? The later is firmly locked in unless a total rethink on all aspects of our economy and society is implemented. This is the failure of politics. To follow the same pro growth paradigm of rip it up, suck it up and exchange it at a loss for cheap crap that is designed to fail and accept without question the obvious to all but the willfully blind resulting ecological disaster, is the absurdity that plagues it.
    Have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Harquebus | December 9, 2019, 10:13 pm
  6. Recognise the transition…. sell to the world that still needs coal

    Coal power generation will wind down of its own weight both in Australia and the rest of the world

    As Trish notes, manufacturing steel will still need coking coal with probably a longer term wind-down

    Develop policies to ease coal workers….
    – some will keep working coal but their numbers will decrease as coal use declines
    – consider the workers… renewables and other industry replacing coal based generation and mining

    The LNP will never develop policies for the transition
    Its Labor that will do this

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by David Brown | December 10, 2019, 12:03 am
    • Coking coal is a problem that could have been resolved by now if politicians had acted four or five decades ago when they should have. Rather than obediently submitting to it as a necessity like Albanese, we should be hurrying along the development of its alternative fuel sources. Germany is already at proof-of-concept stage with hydrogen-fueled steel production. Meanwhile the ALP, in panicked retreat to their traditional “me-too” position, is teaming up with the LNP to hold Australia trapped in a Kodak moment.
      And the bottom line, of course, is that any new coal mining is incompatible with keeping climate change to barely manageable levels. Albo may be able to restore Labor’s electoral fortunes, but he can’t have his climate cake and eat it too.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by David Yacopetti | December 15, 2019, 9:18 am
      • Germany is working on a prototype. That’s an experiment design. It’s not expected to be commercially viable for 20-30 years. Albanese is also looking at exploration of hydrogen. However even the hydrogen made needs some thermal. Then it depends on the reconfigurations of steel production and the take up of that. It’s not as simple as you think. Albanese is also exploring cobalt, lithium and copper as counties will be sourcing these for new technologies. I think environmentalists are far too bogged down in sack everyone, find somewhere for them to go, if we can’t find anywhere then give them a “UBI” which we already have in Australia, it’s called the Dole. Albanese’s plan is to set up new industry alongside existing industry to create natural movement in the skill set of that cohort whilst maintaining us as a key exporter of minerals because it’s this country every country looks to for quality. Your plan will see countries buying inferior coal for years, whilst absolutely destroying our economy. The Greens also support coal for at least ten years, so what is your issue? Your issue is you have been brainwashed to believe anything to do with coal is evil. When even Germany you hold up to high esteem imports 18 million tonne of thermal a year and 56 million tone of hard coal a year from Russia and does not expect to achieve their aims until 2050. Also central to Germany is the Unions are included in a very similar approach Albanese is doing.

        Like

        Posted by trishcorry | December 15, 2019, 9:32 am
  7. You say that the Greens want to shut down coal production now. That is not yture. Their plan was and is to transition away from coal, while providing jobs for miners in renewables, and re-training them as they need. Albanese has adopted this plan, and that’s a good thing. The Greens don’t care who does it as long as it’s done.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by John Newton | December 13, 2019, 3:44 pm
    • Ok. I look forward to the Greens making the public statement that they support Labor’s plan. Although it’s more comprehensive than “transition people to renewables” a concept that people who live in regions laugh at. Greens also have an arbitrary shut down date which is idiotic and nothing like Labor’s policy. Even Germany won’t achieve what they want until 2050 and they will still need to dig and import coal. And they don’t even rate as an exporter and coal is not listed in their top ten commodities. Coal is significant in Australia for both.

      Like

      Posted by trishcorry | December 13, 2019, 3:54 pm
  8. Labor’s vision needs to be made more understandable. Please simplify the message. I would share this article, but I think its unnecessarily complicated as it is now.

    Like

    Posted by Anne Webber | January 8, 2020, 12:01 pm
    • I agree. Yes, Labor does need to simplify its message. However, I’m not representing Labor. Transforming a country from coal to clean energy, in a country that relies heavily on coal as an commodity for jobs and revenue, and where multiple regions are heavily impacted by coal (including many people and issues unrelated to coal) it is indeed very complex. This article is merely to provide context around the over reactions of people every time they hear the word coal. In addition, I have written this to try to explain the differences in approaches to change (which too is complex). However, in a nutshell, this is what Labor’s approach is:
      👉 There are 195 countries in the world
      👉 Almost all of them are undergoing transformation to renewables- Including AUSTRALIA. Until that is complete, they will be using coal (and use will reduce over time)
      👉 To make renewables you need METALLURGICAL coal. This makes Steel and other infrastructure
      👉 Countries are buying OUR top grade coal to BUILD renewables
      👉 We can also set up manufacturing hubs to BUILD renewables to export to other countries
      👉 As countries transition thermal DEMAND goes DOWN
      👉 The MARKET will close thermal mines.
      👉 HOWEVER, we should be the last supplier standing keeping some mines open for a very small market, as our coal emits much less emissions than Indonesia, Russia or Germany’s. (Higher quality coal will be a demand in the future for countries still using it as they transition)
      👉 We open up exploration of new in demand minerals of cobalt, lithium, copper etc and hydrogen. This uses the strength of our existing skill sets of current thermal mine workers.
      👉 Labor’s approach will prevent job losses, create new export markets, assist the world to transform to renewables (not just us) AND reduce GLOBAL emissions (not just ours)
      👉 It knocks every existing plan out of the park.

      Like

      Posted by trishcorry | January 8, 2020, 12:37 pm

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Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. You will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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