The Gov Is Using COVID-19 As A Cover To Revive Fossil Fuels Despite The Catastrophic Fires

How are we still so blind to the effects of climate change after what happened last summer?

The trouble with the COVID-19 coverage right now is how much it’s overshadowed and undermined the climate crisis and the fight against fossil fuels – how have we forgotten our catastrophic bushfires already?

No doubt this global pandemic is serious and beyond deadly, but the resulting lack of exposure on other world issues is pretty worrying – especially now that our government is trying to undo environmental protection acts so they can continue destroying our planet with unviable fossil fuels.

In a controversial leak, the ABC and The Guardian have obtained a report by the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) that reveals their plan to peel back environmental protection acts and burden us Aussie taxpayers with underwriting the gas industry expansion.

Wait, What’s The NCCC?

The NCCC is the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, which is a bunch of business leaders and the likes hand-picked by our PM Scott Morrison’s office to come up with ideas to get us out of this coronavirus crisis and recover economically.

Am I surprised that their answer to all our problems is the natural gas industry? No, because this is Scott Morrison’s government – the man who literally brought a lump of coal to parliament.

Several of the NCCC members have strong links to the gas sector which has resulted in accusations of conflict of interest and corruption. The Chair of NCCC, Nev Power, is literally a director and shareholder of Strike Energy, a company which wants to be “the lowest cost onshore gas producer in Australia.” His company would directly benefit off the government investing in subsidies for natural gas and the underwriting of gas pipelines as suggested in the report.

Way too many of our government officials have their hands in the fossil fuel industry’s pants, so it’s not surprising that they would exploit a global pandemic in order to further their own agendas around coal mining – but it’s still cooked.

So, What Does The NCCC Report Say?

The report is 11 pages long and therefore has quite a lot of information to sum up. Here are the bits that I reckon you should be the most concerned about:

Basically, the leaked report proposes revving up the natural gas industry to solve employment issues by creating more jobs, despite heavy criticisms about how viable the gas industry industry even is and if it has a future.

Probably one of the scariest bits is the call to scrap “green and red tape” on gas development, including peeling back environmental protection acts to open up more land for exploitation, speeding up mining approvals, and replacing Aussie standards for equipment used in the process.

The report also suggests Australian taxpayers should underwrite the massive expansion of Australia’s gas industry – including destroying the land and building hundreds of kilometres of pipelines.

The report calls upon the government to ‘create the market’ for this by taking a “non-operating equity position, minority share, or underwriting position” to get things started. This means they want policy interventions and government subsidies.

It’s worth mentioning here that last week Scott Morrison stated in his presser that he doesn’t want a nation propped up on subsidies, in regards to his decisions around potentially axing JobSeeker and JobKeeper. Apparently this doesn’t apply to mining.

Why This Is Worrying AF

The report barely mentions alternatives to natural gas or the dangers of pumping more carbon into our already damaged atmosphere. Climate change is real, and as we discovered with last summer’s catastrophic bushfires, we really can’t afford to mess with our environment even more.

Pumping more carbon into the air by mining for fossil fuels and extracting natural gas is the biggest driver of climate change in our society today, and specifically the warming of the planet – which is exactly what caused the bushfires to be so much worse than usual last year. With weather events becoming more catastrophic all around the world, we are seriously running out of time to get our shit together.

This new revival of the gas industry will do the exact opposite of what we need – with more environmental drilling and carbon expulsion (not to mention the amount of water that is stolen from our earth through fossil fuel mining), we would be setting ourselves up for an even worse fire season – something that I don’t think we can afford.

You’d think that the government would be worried about these things, especially considering the hellish 2019 summer that lead to Australia making world headlines – but I guess when you actively profit from fossil fuels, human lives are no longer prioritised.

And on top of that, this would be coming out of our taxpayer money, despite the fact that we are already going to be paying off JobKeeper and JobSeeker for a long time coming. It’s all pretty fucked. If you want to read about all this more indepth, check out the ABC and the Guardian.

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