TUMBY BAY - Australia’s daft prime minister and climate change laggard says he wants to solve the problem of global warming using technology.
What he means by technology are dodgy developments such as carbon sequestration.
Until that happens he plans to open new gas fields to provide feedstock for new gas-fired power stations, which he thinks produce less pollution.
The reason he is pushing both of these propositions is because he is hemmed in by a group of Neanderthals in his own Liberal Party and its coalition partner, the Nationals, who he needs to keep him in power.
By putting this power-at-any-cost mentality above the fate of the planet Scott Morrison is conveniently forgetting that proven non-polluting, renewable technologies like wind, solar, hydro, geo-thermal and tidal already exist.
Most other countries have recognised these technologies as the way forward.
We Australians should appreciate this belated embrace of renewables even as we feel excruciating embarrassment at our government’s disregard.
So, with the rest of the world heading in the right direction, humans will be saved despite our foolish prime minister.
Or will we?
My cynicism shrieks at me that something isn’t quite right here.
Why are conservative capitalists like Boris Johnson and Joe Biden so willing to phase out fossil fuels and embrace alternative energy sources?
Perhaps they’re not so different from Scott Morrison.
What Morrison wants is what Johnson and Biden want: to maintain their neoliberal world of consumer driven economic growth.
The difference lies only in Johnson and Biden believing they can do that using renewable energy sources.
What they envisage is business as usual being run by pristine and guilt free renewable energy companies which have given up on polluting, planet destroying fossil fuels.
Nothing changes except the way energy is produced to maintain the capitalist project.
We should be glad, it seems, that even if we have to continue to suffer the inequities of capitalism at least we’ll still have a planet on which to live.
Well, maybe not.
Providing enough electricity to satisfy the appetite of the capitalist project will require a massive increase in renewable energy.
This will necessarily entail huge amounts of metals such as lithium, cobalt, silver, copper, nickel, aluminium, rare earths and silicon sands.
The mining and processing of these minerals, many of which come from poorer countries, have the potential to cause major environmental damage.
Their processing will also require large inputs of energy.
Refining silicon sands for the manufacture of photovoltaic cells, for instance, is not only an energy intensive process but also a toxic one.
The heat required to manufacture aluminium for the frames of the solar panels and the protective high transparency glass to protect them is equally great and just as toxic.
And solar panels only last for about 25 years before they have to be replaced.
Logic suggests that great care needs to be taken with new energy developments so they don’t have a negative impact on the planet.
It also suggests that the world should be aiming for a much more modest energy output with less industrial production.
That aim hardly fits what Biden and Johnson and other first world leaders have in mind.