SACOSS' Liveable Futures conference today provided an important and thought-provoking examination of critical equity considerations thrown up by our accelerating move to renewables.
"Decarbonising our economy in response to a changing climate is inevitable and necessary. But it’s also important for us to examine the equity implications of the energy transition," stressed SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley.
"Who benefits? Who has access to technology, and the benefits of renewable energy, and who is excluded? How can we support broader benefits of the transition? What can also be done to make sure the burden of paying for our clean energy transition doesn’t fall on those least able to afford it - while ensuring that we do create change for future generations?"
"Reducing SA's carbon emissions also presents an opportunity to redesign our transport systems to be more accessible, affordable and inclusive. Access to inclusive forms of public and community transport, and redesigning our cities and regions to encourage cycling and walking is critical to a just and sustainable future.
"Despite our efforts to mitigate climate change there are still very real risks that water security will become an even bigger issue in those parts of South Australia that depend on rainfall for their water supply. Water justice means making sure all citizens have access to a reliable source of safe and affordable drinking water. It also means that we collectively recognise current and past water injustices and take action to address this via inclusive governance and giving under-represented voices a genuine seat at the table.
"Then there are complex questions around the future of gas. Is it socially responsible to invest in the expansion of our residential gas network in a decarbonised economy? What of the evidence suggesting that, for new residential builds, it is cheaper to go all-electric with solar, rather than seek a gas connection? A just and coordinated transition plan should be at the heart of discussions," said Mr Womersley.
The SACOSS Liveable Futures Conference brought together a range of people from across government and the health and community services sector, and beyond it, to discuss these very topical issues - including why community organisations are 'leading from the frontline' and getting climate active. Discussions were inspiring and uplifting to mobilise us all to imagine a different, inclusive and sustainable future for all South Australians.
Let us know if you would like to follow up on any discussions or topics from the conference.