THE recent climate change report from the world's scientists gives us a clearer picture of the global climate emergency.
The news from the northern hemisphere shows how quickly and cruelly the summers are heating up.
Rural areas face the highest costs of climate change from droughts, bushfires and heatwaves but also the greatest opportunities to benefit from the economic boost that can come from cheap, renewable energy.
Here in NSW there are some hopeful signs.
Minister for Energy, Matt Kean, has committed to net zero emissions by 2050.
Stage one has involved establishing renewable energy zones strategically in rural NSW. He's driving an ambulance to the emergency!
The zones have already achieved substantial investment in renewable energy generation and storage.
Although we're outside the renewable energy zones here in Bathurst, we've seen a number of proposals for solar farms outside Eglinton, Glanmire and Brewongle. So far, so good.
Also, some helpful plans to transition the economy out of fossil fuel have been developed.
For example, the Beyond Zero Emissions report shows how 1.8 million jobs, especially in the regions, can come from engaging with the new economy.
The plan for the Hunter region shows how developments in transport, tourism, manufacturing, retrofitting of buildings, resource recovery, renewable energy and land use innovation could provide jobs for many of the workers displaced from the coal industry.
A recent state parliamentary inquiry recommended a similar process.
So you'd think that the government would be giving investors, workers and communities a clear road map for phasing out the coal industry.
It should be working with coal communities to plan a transition to an economic future based on renewable energy which acknowledges the past contribution of coal to NSW development and explores economic development opportunities for the affected regions.
Unfortunately, just the opposite is happening.
While Kean works to reduce our emissions, the state government's Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW is also proposing to open up more of the state to coal exploration and mining. And not far from Bathurst.
For example, they propose to open up the Hawkins and Rumker sites near Rylstone in the tourist area near Dunns Swamp and the Wollemi National Park for coal mining exploration.
Minister Kean must feel like he is driving an ambulance to the emergency with the handbrake on.