Negative responses to my recent Marinus article on facebook made me think about this form of campaigning and the climate emergency. Many of these objections came from those who appear to support some form of climate action, but are opposed to all forms of pumped hydro. One critic appeared to have not read the article but asserted that pumped hydro was a ‘scam’. Is this a case of ‘tunnel vision’ or just missing the big picture?
It is obvious that some negative campaigns are good and have been successful – for example the anti-nuke campaign and the more recent lock the gate campaign in Victoria. Others are ‘good’ but yet to succeed such as stopping logging and reducing burning. ‘Bad’ campaigns are easily defined climate wise as those that are against any improvements in greenhouse gas reduction. This is especially so of wind generation and to a lesser extent pumped hydro. The ‘not in my back yard’ syndrome is apparent with the opposition to the Delburn wind farm west of Morwell. The ‘nay sayers’ clearly do not understand the climate emergency or perceive any additional benefits such as using the pine plantations for generator location or of cleaner air in the Valley as a result of this renewable energy project.
It is the significant parts of the ‘green’ movement’s ‘bad’ negative campaigns that I find a trifle annoying. The ‘Stop Adani’ ride during the last election was a positive, if, with hindsight, politically flawed, campaign which I supported. However I definitely do not support their opposition to some wind farms and other renewable energy projects designed to reduce emissions. To me these ‘bad’ campaigns signify that those making the decisions do not understand the ‘climate emergency’ much as our state government can have strong renewable policies and yet keep logging or pushing a clean air tax on electric vehicles.
The answer then is to keep as many options open as possible. It is becoming increasingly likely that the renewables solution of solar, wind and batteries is the path that will be the most successful. But it is far too early to be ruling out pumped hydro. The simple answer is, at this stage, we should be working on both.