So how did we get to this point? Or more appropriately, what was the point of getting to where we are now? How difficult was it to spend years researching something that is in the future? Has the
future arrived? At what point did many of us say, eg, climate change is real for me? At what point will the majority ask for stronger action on climate change disruption and be heard by the
leaders who are meant to lead us? We just had a Federal election and the former leader, Bill Shorten, of the major opposition party, the Australian Labor Party, couldn't make up his mind about
whether or not to make a 'Just Transition' a central election promise in Australia (there were plans for a central Just Transition authority if they won the election). It should have been a no
brainer. The Greens had one, Beyond Zero Emissions have many plans, loads of the green NFPs in Australia had one and the Australian public, according to a Lowy poll, polled 66% of Australians
wanted stronger action on climate change just before the election. I doubt they would have rejected a Just Transition if they were asked whether or not they supported it. Naomi Klein
outlined her desire for one as well in her book 'This changes everything' which was published in 2014 and is a brilliant read.
I think it's great that the Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, was able to balance the budget but at what cost to health, education and 'The Environment'? A billion dollars has been set aside for 'The Environment'. A hundred billion dollars has been set aside for roads, ports and rail upgrades. Apparently transport is not part of the environment. Furthermore, the Federal Government has no energy transition plan and refused to sign a Just Transition declaration at the Poland climate conference in December 2018.
So, the question is how much would a Just Transition cost and how many jobs would it create? The Greens claimed 180,000 new jobs would be created with a Just Transition. Should that budget be limited to civilian costs or should it include Defence as well? I think we're lucky in South Australia because successive Governments have rallied to introduce funding for green technology...I read yesterday that we're building the world's largest Hydrogen gas and 'green ammonia' plant - powered by sunlight, CO2 and water. Bring it on!
Something that I have encountered over my research is how difficult it is to introduce fabricated green tech on the market since the costs of production are high (though we do have access to reasonably priced Corten steel). I'm specifically referring to the Kon-Tiki 'Rolls' kiln as a case study for small-scale greentech/apptech in Oz. I've used social media as a way to get the word around. I've provided loads of information about biochar and biochar kiln technology on the website and ads elsewhere. I've sent away emails to a range of places and people who might be interested but despite this effort, not one email reply or phone call has reached me with interest about the tech. So I'm wondering is it marketing, the cost of the technology, the vision of potential users, my vision, or just time poor markets that can't concentrate on anything for too long. I mean, I have to reflect on this and ask who am I not reaching out to? I have faith in the kiln technology and at the current price of naked biochar on the market, if you have a sustainable feedstock supply to burn, you could make your money back in half a dozen burns. So what's missing in the equation? More marketing, more phone calls, or cheaper tech? Or everything and then some. The problem is I love the 'Rolls' kiln I'm selling (readyfundgo.com/project/kon-tiki) but it is a lot of money for buyers to spend on something they haven't tried out BUT people make that leap of faith in some cases every year on buying a laptop for their office. These kilns will last for years even when they are left out in the weather. The problem with the campaign is that it would really help if I had one of the 'Rolls' kilns built so I can do photo shoots and demonstrate the tech to the general public. But, I need to run the campaign in order to get a few of these beauties built so I can market it some more and get the whole small-scale biochar show 'rolling' in Oz.
What would make it a lot easier for my business and other start-ups would be to access to seed funding for greentech/apptech startups like my own. I've researched this on the internet and there doesn't seem to be any specific small grants or seed funds coming from State or Federal budget for greentech/apptech (though CEFC did link me to energylab.org.au which has a great range of resources including angel funding for 'cleantech'). I need around 10k to get it going and I don't want to get a bank loan and use my house as collateral. I've even thought about selling my house so I could get the beautiful thing built. I can't seem to find meaningful work anywhere or I'm underskilled and won't meet the criteria for many jobs. So, this is how I got to this point...all I can say is seed funding for greentech/apptech start-ups from Government should be a high priority within 'The Environment' (which includes us) budget, even if they don't promote the grants as part of a comprehensive Just Transition.