Climate Change and Intergenerational Equity: What is Needed in Energy Policy : Part 1

What is Needed in Energy Policy in Western Australia and Globally in 2010 ? Much has been said and written on this subject and one could be forgiven if members of the public were totally confused.  What is the problem?  What really can be done?  Where does leadership start?

Responding to a recent informal invitation to meet to discuss these issues with Kate Doust, the Shadow Minister for Energy in the WA Parliament recently, I considered it a prudent use of my time to document considerations that any government or prospective government needs to include in their political or bipartisan agendas.  I considered that to accept this invitation was my civic duty to try and offer ways the State of Western Australia could be a more effective and active participant in the solutions to Climate Change.

In the process of writing this document it occurred to me that these issues are global and highly relevant for the developed world and even more important for the developing world.

They have a chance to get these initiatives right the first time and not have to undergo expensive retrofitting and adaption after the event.

Rather than the Parliament collectively, to continue to appear as a denier of the problem and worse still, an immobilised spectator of the issues, it could be a force for progress.  No one wants our Parliament to be seen as an unwitting pariah to this potentially deadly, global problem?  It simply has to be solved.  Time is showing that there is no escape from this reality.

The following article is offered to stimulate intelligent debate and potent action. Politics aside, the governance mechanisms need to be in the public interest, free from any hysterical, sectarian or industrial lobby group interference. From my long-term experience in working with governments over many decades, it appears that most politicians (of all persuasions) mean well when first entering parliament, but in order to stay in power tend to bend to the powerful lobby groups.  These are not always pushing for outcomes that are in the public interest.

Political action to avert future damages of Climate Change is a classic case in point.

It is my educated opinion that a rational point for debate is that we need a review of governance systems in relation to energy use and power sources and a new 21st Century response that will benefit WA in the long run.

The opinions and points made in this document are based on my 40-year professional and academic career and long-term experience.  This includes many successes in the built environment as an architect, project manager, builder and developer, as well as teacher, researcher and innovator.  This experience is not only about what has gone right but also, what has gone wrong or not worked to plan. The errors or miscalculations are actually where the best lessons are learned.  Getting it right is not that easy.  I am sure most politicians can testify to that truism.

After looking at all the evidence and possible solutions available in 2010 and beyond, it is obvious we must heighten levels of awareness and not delay decisive action any longer.  Time is marching uncomfortably onwards.  Therefore political system needs to facilitate the process and not hinder it any longer, through inaction.

Continue reading : Part 2

An Independent Professional Opinion by Garry Baverstock AM, B. Arch, MSc, LFRAIA,

Adjunct Professor, Built Environment Program, Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (RISE) at Murdoch University.
Director of Wise Earth Research Centre.

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