Flat White

Why I love fossil fuels

4 May 2019

3:22 PM

4 May 2019

3:22 PM

I confess: I love coal and I love other fossil fuels, like unleaded petrol for my car. The truth is that the Australian Labor Party’s 50 per electric car pledge by 2030 is unachievable.

Electric cars won’t tow caravans, and Australians tend to be big on caravans, boats on a trailer etc. Electric cars usually travel a maximum of 300 kilometres, and given how big Australia is that standard is not good enough. Electric cars charge overnight, and no quicker than that, and cost at least $20,000 more to buy. As it stands, Australia’s electricity grid cannot support a significant increase in electric cars. As it also stands, electric cars pay nothing towards the building of roads through fuel excise taxes.

I like my petrol-efficient 2016 Mazda 3, and I’m happy with my consumer decisions to minimise my carbon footprint. I don’t like it when government tries to pressure me into making decisions that don’t sit most comfortably with me, and can’t take personal responsibility for because it wasn’t really my free choice. It’s empowering to take personal responsibility for both your good and bad choices in life.

Like other government policies and schemes that try to force people to move away from coal and other fossil fuels, it’s paternalistic, and since when did government ever know best about your consumer choices? Google the age-old “economic calculation problem”, it’s no wonder Australia has one of the highest electricity prices in the world, yet we’ve barely made a dent on the global carbon footprint. The only dent that’s been made is to our standard of living, and that’s a real national shame.

Isn’t it ironic that Australia continues to export coal and uranium, but won’t use it for itself? There are thousands of coal-fired power stations in the world, some clean, some not so clean. Yet we allow the biggest offenders, including China and India, to enable the global carbon footprint, whilst we virtue-signal to Australian pensioners and the working poor, struggling with electricity prices during winter?

In light of the above, what are we really trying to achieve under the Paris Agreement and similar deals? Anything of substance? If the substance is virtual-signalling, then everyone loses in the long run. Our love affair with our choices as consumers, free from government interference as much as possible, will win.

This piece was originally published at https://medium.com/@danapham.au.

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