REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: We're all little green frogs boiling in the pot of climate change

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

Have you ever heard of the urban myth that you can place a frog in a pot of boiling water, and it will instantly leap out? But if you place the frog in a pot of lukewarm water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death.

Pretty grim, right? But this saying has been simmering away in the back of my mind for a while now and I can't quite shake it.

Last week, the G7 countries (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) all agreed to stop international financing of coal projects and to phase out support for all fossil fuels to meet the globally agreed climate change targets.

Meanwhile, here in Morrison's Australia, the federal government has confirmed it will use taxpayers money to build a $600 million gas-fired power station in the NSW Hunter Valley.

The Hunter gas-fired project was announced the same day as the International Energy Agency (IEA), an oil and gas industry-based body, said reaching zero net emissions by 2050 would require a massive transformation of the global energy sector and new investment in fossil fuel projects would have to stop immediately.

Energy analyst Bruce Robertson, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), warns the IEA's Net Zero by 2050 report is not only backed by industry, it forecasts that gas will decline dramatically. Therefore, the Hunter gas project will be a stranded asset in no time.

To top it all off, this year's federal budget has completely failed the environment by continuing to not actively address the climate crisis.

Instead, the federal government has promised $58.6 million to support the expansion of the gas industry, $173.6 million to help update the gas industry's roads in the Northern Territory, as well as subsidising $723 million for gas powered generation, to build a massive 1700 megawatts of gas plants in NSW.

I can't help but wonder if we may be a little green frog in a pot of lukewarm water, on a gas-fired stove, with the heat slowly rising.

I grew up surrounded by green tree frogs. My family are from a small town in north-west NSW called Coonamble; it's dry, hot and in the middle of nowhere. I remember as a kid, you would always be joined in the shower, toilet or swimming pool by green tree frogs. Where there was water, there were frogs.

The last time I spoke to my grandfather, he told me that he hasn't seen any frogs on his farm in years. His tone grew serious and he looked me in the eyes and said, you know something is very wrong when all the frogs have all gone.

In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

More stuff happening around Australia ...