Climate action: Vision, Plans & Progress

Photo: A banner saying "The big tesla battery turns me on"

Boost climate action by fostering:

  • An attractive vision of the future,
  • The progress already achieved,
  • Plans for action including the next steps,
  • The benefits of action,
  • Ways of decreasing the costs of the change, and
  • The dangers of inaction.

(These “determinants of change” are loosely based on the Beckhard-Harris Change Model)

We can:

  • Promote each of these determinants of change.
  • Forge them into slogans & bring them into conversations
  • Be wary of focussing too much on the dangers of inaction (see below), like bushfires, coral bleaching, and extinction. This can inhibit climate action by producing grief with its denial, anger and despair.
  • Let people know about our significant progress. For example, Sanjeev Gupta saved the Whyalla steelworks and will power it with renewable energy, retaining old jobs, and creating new jobs. It is uplifting to focus on this progress. Success breeds success.
  • Balance the “fears of inaction” with “the hopes of action”

Vision: Australia as a renewable energy superpower

Australia: A renewable energy superpower” is an attractive, positive vision. It offers cheap power, jobs and prosperity, which should even appeal to “conservatives”. And it tackles climate change.

An alternative vision is “A zero-carbon Australian economy”. This is better in that it explicitly covers say reducing emissions in agriculture. However, at face value, it only offers the removal of carbon.

Within the vision of “Australia as a renewable energy superpower”, include allied visions like:

  • Re-industrialise with renewables
  • 700% Renewables = Cheap Electricity + Exports + Jobs
  • 700% Renewables = Booming Australian Economy
  • Export green hydrogen to replace diesel in Asia
  • Renewables = Drought-proof agriculture
  • Renewables = Super-cheap electricity
  • A zero-carbon Australian economy
  • A carbon-drawdown Australian economy.

Slogans / Talking points

Promote these allied visions by covering each of the determinants of change in a balanced way. Forge slogans to present (1) the vision, (2) progress towards it, (3) plans for it, (4) benefits realised and expected, (5) ways to reduce the cost, and (6) the damage of no change.

Now for a feast of talking-points and slogans.

Often supporting information is included in a smaller font.

Promote a vision

Australia = Renewable Energy Superpower

Renewable Energy Superpower Report (Beyond Zero Emissions, 2015)

700% Renewables & Export Clean Power

200% renewables better for Australia than 100% (Renew Economy)
Australia could aim for 700% renewables (Renew Economy)

  • Stop worrying about 20% renewables, 700% is the answer.

Promote progress

Grid briefly over 50% wind & solar: Noon 6 Nov 2019

Australia’s main grid reached 50% renewables for the first time (Renew Economy: 6 Nov 2019)

See separate page on Progress towards the renewables revolution in Australia.

Promote plans

Export green hydrogen to Asia, not coal

Hydrogen gains ground on LNG as an alternative fuel (The Guardian: 8 Apr 2019)
Japan’s hydrogen future may be fueled by Australian renewables (Australian Renewable Energy Agency: 27 July 2019)

  • Go all-electric now. 100% renewables here soon.

Promote the benefits of action

Build renewables & Avoid the vast expense of oil wars

If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil (The Guardian: 18 Sep 2019)

  • Renewables use no water. Way to go in a dry land.
  • 700% Renewables = Super Reliable Electricity
  • Renewable energy generates jobs
  • Export Renewable Energy for Jobs & Wealth
  • Use all Renewables to Escape Oil Wars

Renewables = super cheap power

Australia glows orange.
We have outstanding
sun and wind.

ACT hits 100% renewables & saves millions

Australian Capital Territory Reaches 100% Renewables (Renew Economy: 1 Oct 2019

Businesses are slashing costs via renewables contracts

(Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry: Renew Economy: 8 June 2018)

More Renewables = Lower Electricity Bills

The verdict is in. Renewables reduce energy prices: The Conversation: 6 Dec 2018

Renewable Hydrogen Export = Cheap Electricity

Renewable hydrogen could deliver export markets for renewables and cheaper electricity (Renew Economy: 11 Oct 2019)

See separate page on Renewable energy is cheap and getting cheaper fast

Renewables = Drought proof agriculture

Solar power + Desert + Desalination = Sundrop tomatoes

(Sundrop Farms, near Port Augusta, South Australia)

Reindustrialise with Renewables

Renewables = Whyalla Steelworks world-scale expansion

See above article

German steel furnace uses hydrogen not coal

German Steel furnace runs on hydrogen not coal (Renew Economy: 13 Nov 2019)

Re-industrialise with Renewables

We have lost car manufacturing and more. Cheap, clean power can save energy-intensive industries and attract more.

Our Iron-ore + Solar Power = Steel Exports + Jobs

Instead of exporting our iron ore, we can use our cheap energy to make steel here & create skilled jobs. We can export the steel, including of course the energy used to make the steel. It’s an efficient way of exporting renewable energy.

Alcoa wants clean power for Portland smelter

Australia’s aluminium sector is on life support. It can & should be saved (The Guardian: 31 Oct 2019)

Symbiosis: Renewables (cheap, clean power) & Aluminium smelting (flexible demand)

Aluminium needs cheap and clean power. And renewable energy needs large energy users, like the newst aluminium smelters, so we can pay them to use less during a power shortage. This reduces the need for power storage. (See above article)

Export clean power and products

Export electricity to Singapore via cable

The $20 billion plan to power Singapore with Australian solar (The Guardian: 14 July 2019)

  • Export Our Solar Power by Exporting Aluminium
  • (It takes lots of energy to make aluminium, so when we export the aluminium, we export this energy.)
  • Our Bauxite + Renewables = Jobs + Aluminium Exports.
  • Make aluminium & steel our greatest exports
  • Australian green hydrogen to replace diesel in Asia

South Australian big battery is kicking goals

NSW-QLD connectors failed 25 Aug 2018: Tesla battery kept lights on in South Australia: NSW blackout

The big battery is no big banana (Renew Economy: 27 Aug 2018)

Tesla big battery to expand by 50%

Tesla big battery adds new capacity and services on march to 100% renewables grid (Renew Economy: 19 Nov 2019)

Tesla big battery saved consumers over $50 million in first year

(See previous article)

The Big Hornsdale / Tesla Battery Turns Me On

(Hornsdale Power Reserve, South Australia)

Some dangers of coal

We can forecast wind & solar generation, not coal plant failure. Coal is the big risk.

AEMO worries about our aging coal generators and summer heat (Renew Economy: 22 Aug 2019)

Coal = expensive, dirty power = de-industrialised Australia

Electrify Industry

  • Electrify Industry. Ditch coal and gas.
  • Electrified Beer is cheaper.
  • Make beer with heat pumps. Save 69% energy
  • Electricity heats better and cheaper
  • Make steel using hydrogen, not coal
  • Make milk powder using heat pumps (Energy-saving 66%)
  • Make bricks with microwaves (Energy saving 50%)

Electrifying Industry Report
(Beyond Zero Emissions, 2018)

Electric Vehicles

  • Electric buses don’t fumigate people
  • Electric buses = No diesel fumes
  • My next car will be an EV. Cheap to run. Few moving parts.
  • EVs will run over oil wars.
  • EVs will slash my fuel bill & the nation’s import bill.

Electric Vehicles Report
(Beyond Zero Emissions, 2016)


  • Concrete = 8% of emissions. Use low-emissions concrete
  • Put recycled-glass into cement
  • Put recycled-plastic into cement
  • Make cement from dumped coal fly-ash
  • Make cement without emissions.
  • Don’t cook the planet. Use geopolymer cement.

Rethinking Cement
(Beyond Zero Emissions: 2017)

Land Use

  • Plant forests to draw down CO2
  • Add biochar to keep carbon in the soil

Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry
(Beyond Zero Emissions: 2014)

Reducing the costs of climate action

When private-industry begins to take up what have been plans for climate action, it is clear that the plans offer profit. It suggests the costs are worthwhile.

  • Renewables Revolution = Great Opportunity

Some jobs will be lost in the transition, an enormous cost for some, so we need to push for a just transition.

  • A Just Transition is a Must

Fund/Negotiate a Fair Transition away from coal

(How to transition from coal: Four lessons for Australia: The Conversation: 15 May 2019))

Diversify the economy of coal regions

(How to transition from coal: Four lessons for Australia: The Conversation: 15 May 2019))

Promote democratic government

A related vision is for Australia to have a “democratic government”.

The federal coalition keeps considering new coal and nuclear generators while demonising renewables. This is strange as companies are moving to renewable energy because renewables give cheap, clean electricity – and the cost of renewables keeps on tumbling. The government is not making decisions based on climate science and it seems that they are not even making rational economic decisions. One possibility is that they are making decisions that favour donors and powerful interest groups.

  • Govern for all, not for the few
  • Democracy not Oligarchy
  • Public disclosure of donations within a month

Renewables are cheap.
Coalition backs coal.
Corruption commission?

The Senate has passed the Greens bill to create a federal anti-corruption commission, but the Coalition will block the bill. Senate passes the Greens bill to create federal ICAC (The Guardian: 9 Sep 2019)

Promoting climate danger can inhibit climate action

It seems natural to warn of the dangers. At climate marches, most of the banners are about:

  • what to stop, like “Stop Adani”,
  • urging unspecified climate action, like “Climate Action Now”, or
  • the dangers of climate inaction, like “Welcome to the Age of Fire”.

The dangers are real. The key measures of our planet’s health show that we are in a climate emergency. And we’ve had many alarming local events such as:

  • coral bleaching of 2016 and 2017 leaving over half of the Great Barrier Reef dead,
  • the 2019 floods that hit Townsville and then the Queensland inland, and
  • the catastrophic early start to the Australian fire season in Oct and Nov 2019.

Powerfully conveying these dangers is important, as people often need a shock before they change damaging habitual ways and adopt alternatives. Yet, strangely, even observed global climate changes and local Australian impacts have not shocked and turned Australian electors. And they have not turned federal politics.

A few slogans on the dangers of inaction

Firms ignoring climate will go bankrupt: Bank of England

The Guardian: 13 Oct 2019

  • Fear in the age of fire and flood
  • Denial = Climate Change Refugees = Start the boats
  • Annual heat records are melting down
  • Act now or swim later
  • Respect Existence or Expect Resistance

But the dangers can lead to grief with denial …

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross writes about how people react when confronted with death, the “stages of grief”. Similarly, the climate emergency can shock people, and in their grief, they can move into:

  • Denial, e.g. “Our climate has always changed”,
  • Anger/fight, e.g. many companies are still promoting doubt about established climate science,
  • Bargaining, e.g. “Yes it’s happening, but I have found a better way: clean coal”
  • Depression, e.g. “We have already blown it. There is nothing we can do now”, or
  • Acceptance that we are in a climate emergency

People need to know we are in a climate crisis, but promoting the profound dangers of climate change can generate each of the elements of grief, including those that inhibit climate action: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.

There is a lot to grieve. It can be hard for people to accept the science and act.

So promoting climate action requires more than just threatening people with the dangers of inaction. We need to promote each of the determinants of change in a balanced way.

Vision, plans, benefits and progress

Let’s urge climate action, by warning people of the dangers and by promoting:

  • A great vision, “Australia can become a renewable energy superpower”
  • Well-researched plans
  • Substantial progress, like at the Whyalla Steelworks, and
  • ways of decreasing the costs of climate action.

To stimulate climate action we can:

  • Express these succinctly by forging them into slogans.
  • Bring them into conversations.
  • Paint them on banners
  • Weave the slogans into speeches, reports, and newsletters.
  • Balance the “fears of inaction” with the “hopes of action”

Related pages

Please let me know how I can improve these webpages, particularly if you dream up a good slogan, or if I’ve missed some key progress.

Updated 12 April 2020

Code: Atomic