It seems this is the year we need to endure the tedium of 2 elections, with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull engineering a double dissolution election for the middle of the year as a predecessor to the awful spectacle unfolding in the United States.I did have high hopes for Malcolm, as whenever he isn't in charge of the party he acts and talks like an intelligent, decent man. And I must admit I did greatly enjoy his revenge on his utterly incompetent predecessor Tony Abbott last year (Abbott having stabbed Turnbull in the back over the carbon tax several years earlier). However Turnbull seems to have squandered all of his political capital trying to avoid any conflict with the far right of his own party, thereby dashing the hopes of the moderate centre of the country who provided him the poll support he needed to topple Abbott, and now trails in the polls after having a massive lead 6 months ago. Climate is starting to figure in the election campaign, with Labor's support for a new emissions trading scheme and renewed funding for renewable energy institutions, provoking another hysterical campaign from the government (egged on by the morons at The Daily Terror). ReNew Economy notes the government's policy on renewables is one step forwards, two steps back and quotes some interesting comments from Ray Kurzweil (good to see someone understands exponential growth - I've been baffled at how many "experts" still seem to think fossil fuels will be important in 20 years time).
Ray Kurzweil, the futurist who has made a host of noteworthy predictions, including the uptake of the internet, says he expects solar to become the dominant energy source within 12 years, pointing to the repeated doubling of solar’s share of energy production every two years. “In 2012 solar panels were producing 0.5% of the world’s energy supply. Some people dismissed it, saying it’s a nice thing to do but at a half percent is a fringe player. That’s not going to solve the problem,’” Kurzweil said at a recent forum. “They were ignoring the exponential growth — just as they ignored the exponential growth of the internet and human genome project. Half a per cent is only 8 doublings away from 100%. “Now, four years later solar has doubled twice again. Now solar panels produce 2 per cent of the world’s energy, right on schedule. People dismiss it saying ‘2 per cent is nice, but a fringe player. That ignores the exponential growth, which means it is only 6 doublings or 12 years from 100 per cent.” Not everyone is ignoring it. Oil major Total last week announced it was creating a new division focusing on renewables and “electricity” rather than transport fuels, with a goal to be one of world’s top three solar producers.As usual, this journal recommends voting for a Green or a feisty independent - neither of the big parties ever do anything meaningful about climate or renewable energy unless they are forced to.