Can you help tell the Victorian government it’s time to close down Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station?
In conjunction with climate action groups in Yarra and Darebin, CAM has produced postcards to the premier and local MPs.
The cards read: “The Premier says he wants to be a leader on climate change action and renewable energy jobs. That means leaving coal in the ground, not issuing new exploration licences. It means closing Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station. Hazelwood is no longer required and is crowding out solar and wind investment. Please act now before it is too late.”
Can you help spread the word by letter-boxing your local area, putting the postcards in localshops and cafes, of helping at a street stall? Please email Mark Riley on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0432 030 211.
Melbourne climate activists staged an “End of Coal” parade on August 13. They were celebrating the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to cancel its involvement with Adani’s Galilee coal proposals. They called on all Australia’s Banks to stop investing in fossil fuels.
Dressed in party gear, singing anti-coal songs and performing theatrics, the activists visited the Commonwealth Bank to congratulate them on their decision. They then visited ANZ, NAB and Westpac branches across Melbourne’s CBD, urging them to follow in the Commonwealth Bank’s footsteps by ruling out involvement in Galilee coal. Many bank staff were rather bemused; others got a little cranky at having their banks occupied.
Horticulturalist and Climate Angel Bronwyn Plarre said: “Commonwealth Bank has responded to community action and ceased their relationship with Adani. It’s now time for all of Australia’s other Big Banks to end their relationship with all fossil fuels. We’re here today to deliver a message, on behalf of the community, calling for exactly that.”
Kelvin Thomson, Moreland’s Federal MP for the seat of Wills in the House of Representatives, rebuked the Abbott Government for the low climate targets that were announced on 11 August 2015.
Kelvin wrote on his blog on 13 August:
The Liberal Government’s announcement that it plans to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 falls a long way short of what is needed to effectively tackle extreme weather events.
Its claim to be comparable with the United States is utterly misleading. The US plan is indeed for 26-28 per cent reductions, but by 2025, not 2030. How on earth can we claim to be going as fast as the United States when it will take us 5 years longer to get there?
Moreover the Liberal target is way short of the recommendation of Australia’s Climate Change Authority. The Climate Change Authority was charged with taking into account not only climate science and current and future climate change impacts, it was also tasked with examining what other countries are doing, and the economic and social impacts of climate action. Its investigation was comprehensive and its recommendations deserve to be treated with the utmost seriousness.
Read more at Kelvin Thomson’s blog.
Reposted from John Englart’s climate blog with some updates:
Australia’s post 2020 climate targets were approved in cabinet last night ahead of a Liberal and National Party room caucus meeting today. The post 2020 climate targets were announced at a press conference (See transcript and media release) today and amount to 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.
In comparison, the Climate Change Authority which has investigated both the science and comparative international action, called for a 40 to 60 per cent cut on 2000 levels by 2030. Other reputable organisations have also called for higher targets. The Australian Academy of Science called for emissions cuts of 30 to 40 per cent for the same period. The independent Climate Institute urged a 45 per cent cut on 2005 levels by 2025.
Climate Action Moreland submission to the Climate change Taskforce was that Australia should shift our 2020 target from 5 per cent on 2000 levels to 25 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. This then would place Australian climate action in accord with what the best scientific advice demands as our fair share. For 2025 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Norway has already committed to this target. For 2030 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Switzerland has already committed to this target. Australia is responsible for about 1.5 per cent of global emissions at 18.3 tonnes per capita, but our export coal accounts for another 3.3 per cent of global emissions. Export LNG would also increase global emissions.
— John Englart EAM (@takvera) August 12, 2015
“The initial target offer ahead of the Paris climate negotiations in December is a core test of the government’s climate and economic credibility,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute in a media statement. “This target fails tests both of scientific credibility and economic responsibility in a world increasingly focused on modernising and cleaning up energy as well as economic systems. This target is bad for the climate and bad for our international competitiveness.”
During the press conference Tony Abbott outlined that protecting the coal industry was more important than protecting the environment: “Our policy doesn’t depend upon the demise of coal. In fact, the only way to protect the coal industry is to go with the sorts of policies that we have. That’s why I think our policies are not only good for the environment but very good for jobs.” he said.
In a recent public opinion poll 50 per cent of respondents wanted renewables favoured over coal and only 6 per cent favoured support for the coal industry over renewables.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to a question whether Australia is still committed to keeping temperature rises below two degrees? how Australia’s target fits in with that goal which we agreed to in Cancun in 2010, responded by evading and not answering the question.
“The Paris meeting is about getting a global agreement where every country puts forward their targets in advance of the meeting and then there will be a discussion about the framework action that would be required in order to meet the two degree goal.” she replied.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt outlined how the Government would achieve these targets without a carbon price. They will continue using the Emissions Reduction Fund with the addition of the safeguards mechanism. Other measures include developing vehicle efficiency standards, implementing ozone and fluoro carbon measures as part of the next round of the Montreal Protocol, and develeopments in technological change such as in battery storage technologies.
When asked if other abatement measures would leave room for lifting the Renewable energy target, Prime Minister Abbott responded, “It doesn’t depend upon a higher Renewable Energy Target. It assumes the target that is now in place, which is effectively a 23 per cent target.”
It is clear in Victoria that positive programs of energy efficiency and encouragement of renewables are insufficient by themselves for strong climate action. We need to close down the high emissions intensity of brown coal electricity generation, it is the elephant in the room. Climate Action Moreland has actively campaigned to close down the Hazelwood Power Station since 2009, including producing a brief history of Hazelwood.
This primer to Replace Hazelwood is written by David Spratt from Climate Code Red, provides timely information on why The Victorian Labor Government should act to close Hazelwood.
• The Victorian Government has expressed a desire (though it does not yet have a policy) for a significant expansion of renewable energy in Victoria. This has widespread community support and must be done quickly and at a large scale because climate change is already dangerous. Scientists warn that two degrees Celsius of warming could occur in just two decades, so preserving a safe climate and a healthy future requires rapid de-carbonisation.
• Expanding renewable energy requires coal-generating capacity to be removed from the market because oversupply is crowding out and preventing new investment. The Australian energy market operator says there are about eight gigawatts of surplus generating capacity across the national market, equivalent to five Hazelwood power stations. This includes up to 2.2 gigawatts of brown coal generation that is no longer required in Victoria in 2015, which is greater than Hazelwood’s capacity. Power companies have been lobbying government for capacity to be reduced, and senior Victorian energy department bureaucrats are aware of the need to close coal power stations in order to roll out renewables.
• The Victorian Government has committed to being a leader on climate change. Closing down excess coal generation is a key test of the government’s climate credentials. Coal-fired power stations are the world’s largest source of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. Victoria cannot make the necessary emissions reductions without addressing the operations of Hazelwood and/or Yallourn power stations.
• Hazelwood power station is old, unsafe and dirty. Based on emissions intensity, it is the third-dirtiest coal power station in the world and the dirtiest in Australia, releasing around 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, almost three per cent of total Australian greenhouse emissions. The Hazelwood majority owner, Engie (formerly GDF Suez), owns the third-most polluting coal-power station fleet in the world. The full – health and carbon pollution – social costs of Hazelwood totalling $900 million per year are borne by the community, rather than the plant’s owners.
• A steady stream of local jobs can be created in the Latrobe Valley with the rehabilitation of mines and decommissioning of plant, which will require a significant workforce stretching well over a decade. The Latrobe Valley needs a strong jobs package and an economic transition plan and new industries because the move from coal to clean wind and solar renewable energy is now both urgent and inevitable.
• Hazelwood power station and mine are a health hazard to local residents, exemplified by the autumn 2014 mine fire. The owners of Hazelwood have abused their social licence and forfeited the right to profit from a power station that is now a major health hazard – both to local people and to all peoples who face the uncertainties of living in a hotter and more extreme climate.
• In July 2010, the Victorian Labor government promised to start shutting Hazelwood and passed climate legislation providing the reserve power to regulate emissions from existing brown coal-fired generators. Restoring the government’s capacity to regulate emissions would be complementary to actions being taken by other governments, including in the United States and Europe.
Download and read the full primer: HZ-primer-v1-lowres
Victoria is taking steps to lead on climate change action, according to the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews. In an announcement on Thursday the Premier said an independent review of the Climate Change Act 2010 would be established to report to the government before 31 December 2015, and tabled in early 2016 along with a Government response.
Environment Minister Lisa Neville said “Climate change is already happening, and it is threatening to irreversibly affect our communities, our environment and our way of life.”
The committee will propose options to strengthen the Act, so it can provide a strong foundation for Victorian action on climate change. The original Act was passed with the support of opposition parties. After the election of the Baillieu Government most of the measures and targets were wound back or abolished in the legislation.
Our visit to Jane Garrett MLA, member for Brunswick, was our third state MP we have visited that represents the Moreland Municipality, to raise the necessity and importance of closing Hazelwood and a community transition plan.
People in Moreland Call on Jane Garrett MLA to Act Now. Climate Action Moreland urges local MPs to support strong action now to close Australia’s dirtiest power station, Hazelwood.
We had about 30 people turn up to our vigil at the intersection of Nicholson St and the Capital City Trail bikepath.
“Great support this morning from cyclists as we bring awareness to the urgency of closing Hazelwood, before visiting our local MP Jane Garrett on our quest to #replacehazewood.” said Bronwyn Plarre.
Indeed, many cyclists took a leaflet and some volunteered to be photographed with a sign. Preaching to the converted? maybe. But many of these cyclists are Jane Garrett’s constituents, concerned about climate change and the necessity for closing coal emissions and transitioning to renewable energy.
The Victorian Labor Government has moved positively on energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy. But it also needs to be making economic transition plans to phase out coal emissions, starting with Hazelwood. Here are photos from the day:
When: Thursday, May 28at 8:00am – 9:00am
Where: Park St and Nicholson St, East Brunswick (bike path)
At the end we will be walking up to Jane Garrett’s office to hand over a formal letter.
Register to attend on Facebook
If your cycling to school or work, chat with us for a while or hang around and come with us to deliver the letter to her office.
Our climate is getting more extreme and unpredictable, with more intense heat waves, more menacing bush fires, and more disastrous and costly weather events such as Superstorm Sandy in north-east USA and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Climate change activists will visit Jane Garrett MLA for Brunswick, from 8am, Thursday 28 May where constituents will deliver her a letter calling for urgent replacement of the world’s third dirtiest power station.
CAM has welcomed the moves by the the Victorian Government to relax the laws on wind farm developments and the fact that it will re-open the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry. CAM has also been encouraged by recent proposals to examine Victoria’s future with regard to energy efficiency, climate change and renewable energy.
During the unprecedented Black Saturday bushfire period, there were 180 extra heat-stress-related deaths in Victoria, an average of more than two deaths for each electorate in Victoria.
This is just one way climate change is affecting constituents right now, with many more severe impacts that will affect Victoria’s rainfall and food-growing capacity, worsen bush fires and inundate coastal areas.
The need to move quickly to replace dirty coal with clean renewable energy and jobs was highlighted in a new report from Oxford University’s Stranded Assets Programme, which identified the most-polluting, least-efficient and oldest “sub-critical” coal-fired power stations.
The report found 89% of Australia’s coal power station fleet is sub-critical, “by far the most carbon-intensive sub-critical fleet in the world.
One quarter of Australia’s coal plants need to close within five years if Australians are to play an equitable part in keeping with government pledges.
“The previous ALP state government showed promise in this matter”, said Gemma Williams, “We hope this current government will show strong leadership now.”
In 2010, then Labor premier John Brumby, in explaining his policy for a phased close-down of Hazelwood, told ABC radio listeners: ‘either you believe in closing Hazelwood or you don’t, and I do.’
Labor’s 2010 climate change legislation provided the reserve power to regulate emissions from existing brown coal-fired generators.
This legislation was undermined by the Baillieu government, and now is the time to restore the government’s capacity to regulate emissions.
CAM is urging the development of a strong jobs package and an economic transition plan for the Latrobe Valley because the move from coal to clean wind and solar renewable energy is now both urgent and inevitable.
Climate Action Moreland will be taking these message to electors and other state MPs in Moreland:
+ Urgent action is required now to replace coal
+ Hazelwood can be shut without affecting power supplies, and
+ Coal is a major health hazard to Victorians