New report on heatwave management in Victoria

Originally posted on Confluence:

Extreme heatwave as stormclouds gather at Pascoe Vale

Extreme heatwave as stormclouds gather at Pascoe Vale. (Image: Takver , Creative Commons )

The Victorian Auditor General’s Office has released a report on heatwave management. The report examines the emergency management arrangements during the 2009 and 2014 heatwaves and recommends improvements in emergency management arrangements.

There were 374 excess deaths during the January 2009 heatwave. While there were 167 excess deaths during the January 2014 heatwave. Following the 2009 heatwave the Department of Health developed a heatwave framework to reduce the impact of extreme heat on public health. The lower number of deaths in the 2014 heatwave cannot be clearly attributed to the implementation of this framework. However, it is likely that the framework and collective efforts of all government agencies contributed to the reduced public health impact in 2014.

The report still identified key shortcomings in the response to heatwaves. “There needs to be greater clarity around…

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October 15, 2014 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

Fair Food Forum at Coburg Farmers Market discusses agriculture and food security

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Climate Action Moreland members ventured to the Coburg Farmers Market on Saturday to shop, to chat with other Moreland residents about climate change, collect signatures on the Monster climate petition, and listen to candidates for the State Election in November 2014 speak at the Fair Food Forum.

Food security and agriculture are important subjects which we should all be aware of and asking our political representatives about.

Fair Food Week – 10 to 19 October – is organised by Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA). Michael Croft, AFSA President, described the occasion as “Fair Food Week encourages the general community to embrace local food production, purchase and consumption.”

All candidates for the seats of Brunswick and Pascoe Vale who had so far committed to stand were invited to speak, however the Liberal candidate for Brunswick cancelled the night before, Jane Garrett, Labor MP for Brunswick refused to attend, and Lizzie Blandthorn, Labor candidate for Pascoe Vale although originally agreeing to come then reneged and instead handed out red balloons and launched the Batman market near the Batman railway station.

But the forum went ahead with the Greens candidates Liam Farelly and Tim Read, Dean O’Callaghan from Save the Planet and Sean Brocklehurst from Socialist Alliance.

I am really astounded that both major parties refused to send anyone along to this forum. Food and agriculture is so important in our lives, and yet both the Liberal and Labor parties could not bother to provide some-one to represent their party and policies in this area. Climate change is already affecting agriculture from long and intense droughts, changes to rainfall patterns, more extreme weather events, and of course rising temperatures affecting crop yield and milk production.

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October 14, 2014 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

City of Moreland an Australian climate leader in decision to divest

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Tonight the City of Moreland has become the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments.

Moreland joins around 30 cities internationally which have made similar commitments, including Seattle, Dunedin, and Oxford.

It follows recent announcements from Industry superannuation funds HESTA and Local Government Super, statements from ANU and Sydney universities restricting coal investments, and decision by the Uniting Church in Australia and the Perth Anglican diocese to divest from high carbon fossil fuel and mining investments.

Local residents from Climate Action Moreland and 350.org were thrilled with the result at the council meeting, that Moreland Council is an Australian leader in climate action. This follows the launch of Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution program last Saturday to reduce community emissions by 22 per cent by 2020.

Over 1000 residents had signed a petition for the City of Moreland to make this decision to divest. The campaign also entailed a public meeting that attracted over 100 people on a cold and wet winter night, and outreach to residents and all councillors for this result to occurr.

Council motion on Fossil Fuel Divestment

Councillor Item – Proposed by Crs Samantha Ratnam, Lenka Thompson and Sue Bolton

In moving the motion Cr Thompson outlined the following, according to the minutes of the meeting:

Cr L Thompson advised Council that as part of its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reflect its values in all areas it works in, the City of Moreland will seek to ensure that it is not investing money in ways that may directly or indirectly contribute to climate change. The City of Moreland commits to divest itself from the Fossil Fuel industry.

As well as avoiding direct investment in the fossil fuel industry, Moreland also recognises the role of many banks in financing new Fossil-fuel projects in Australia. For this reason the City of Moreland will work to change its banking practices to both minimise indirect investment in fossil fuels, and (where consistent with prudent financial management), direct other banking activities to institutions that do not fund fossil fuel investments.

Background: As part of its work to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and reflect its values in all areas it works in, the City of Moreland will seek to ensure that it is not investing money in ways that may directly or indirectly contribute to Climate change. The City of Moreland commits to divest itself from the Fossil Fuel industry. As well as avoiding direct investment in the fossil fuel industry, Moreland also recognises the role of many banks in financing new Fossil-fuel projects in Australia. For this reason the City of Moreland will work to change its banking practices to both minimise indirect investment in fossil fuels, and (where consistent with prudent financial management) direct other banking activities to institutions that do not fund fossil fuel investments.

Resolution:
It is resolved that the City of Moreland:
1) Commits to not directly invest in any company for whom the extraction, production, refining, or distribution of fossil fuels forms a core part of their business strategy, nor in any company whose principal business involves providing infrastructure or services to companies previously mentioned.
2) Affirms its decision to limit the current financial services contract to three years and deny any automatic renewals to the present provider (the Commonwealth Bank) if it has not divested from Fossil Fuels at the expiry of the initial three year term.
3) That council receives a report by 28 February 2015 on:
a) fossil fuel divestment options
b) analysis on fossil fuel free investments available to council
c) Options and implications of divestment from fossil fuel
4) That the information generated in the report in point 3 (and pending consideration of the options and implications report by Councillors) be used to develop a fossil fuel divestment strategy by June 2015 that will include the following:
a) A summary of Council’s investments, financial services arrangements and loans
b) Strategies, actions and timelines of the best options to move council’s investments to financial institutions that do not finance fossil fuel projects
c) A framework to maintain ongoing reporting and review of council’s banking to minimise indirect financing of fossil fuel projects and maintain public confidence that council is keeping its commitments.

The motion was Carried 6/3
A Division was called and this is how our Councillors voted:

Councillors For:

Cr Lenka Thompson
Cr Lita Gillies
Cr Sam Ratnam
Cr Helen Davidson
Cr Oscar Yildiz
Cr Sue Bolton

Councillors Against:

Cr John Kavanagh
Cr Rob Thompson
Deputy Mayor Meghan Hopper

Absent for vote:

Mayor Lambros Tapinos
Cr Michael Teti


Cr Sue Bolton explained the decision on Facebook the next day:

Last night’s council meeting took another step towards divesting from fossil fuel. There will be another two votes by council (February and June) before we can say that Moreland council has really divested from fossil fuel. Last night’s vote took us another step towards this goal. Six councillors voted in favour (myself, Lenka Thompson, Sam Ratnam, Lita Gillies, Helen Davidson and Oscar Yildiz). Three councillors voted against divestment (Meghan Hopper, John Kavanagh, Rob Thompson).

 

October 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm 1 comment

Moreland Council plan to cut community emissions 22 per cent by 2020

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At the Coburg Carnivale, the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy plan was launched by Moreland Council Mayor Cr Lambros Tapinos, Wills Federal MP Kelvin Thomson and Brunswick State MP Jane Garrett. The strategy aims for community greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 22 per cent by 2020.

Cr Lambros Tapinos formally launched the plan saying:

“Zero Carbon evolution is a practical plan for how the Moreland Community can reduce our carbon emissions by 22 per cent by the year 2020. It was developed in a partnership between Council and Moreland Energy Foundation. If we can achieve the ambitious goals set out in this strategy the Moreland community will well and truly be on track to become a zero carbon city and do our fair share to respond to the challenges of climate change.

“Council has a proud history of action on climate change and has achieved carbon neutral status for our own corporate operations. We have done this since 2012. The Moreland Energy Foundation has over 13 years of experience at working with the Moreland Community to reduce carbon emissions. Zero Carbon Evolution signals a new era in community action on climate change in Moreland. Council and MEFL working in partnership are committed to work to support and assist the community in reducing their carbon footprint.

“I encourage each and every one of you to consider what you can do to play a part in creating a zero carbon city here in Moreland. Maybe it is putting solar panels on your roof, insulating your home or choosing to replace some short car trips with either walking or cycling, but we can all do our bit.”

Watch the speech of Cr Lambros Tapinos:

Also speaking after Cr Tapinos was Federal MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson who brought some international dimension to the subject saying the real significance at the UN Climate summit wasn’t the absence of the Prime Minister but the negotiations and statements from US President Barack Obama and the high level Chinese delegation on climate action.
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October 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm 2 comments

Transport Forum question on Climate change and heatwaves

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The Moreland Transport Forum was held on Monday, just a few hours after Premier Denis Napthine signed the East West Link contracts. A few of us from Climate Action Moreland attended handing out our leaflet on East West Link being Climate Madness, and a climate postcard.

Andrea Bunting from our group submitted the following question to be asked at the forum. It was the most highly rated question.

With climate change, we are facing a hotter, carbon-constrained world. Currently during heatwaves we can experience power failures for public transport, unbearable heat in trams and trains, and buckling of train tracks. Dark roads also amplify the urban heat island effect; hence temperatures in our urban areas are much hotter, leading to increased deaths and illness. What will you to do (a) reduce dependency on fossil fuel usage in transport; (b) ensure that all transport infrastructure can deal with heat waves; and (c) reduce urban heat island effect from dark roads?

The question was asked slightly differently in person at the forum to all three candidates – sitting member for Brunswick Jane Garrett MP, Greens candidate for Brunswick Tim Read, and Liberal Party no 2 on the ticket for Northern metro region (Upper house) Gladys Liu.
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October 2, 2014 at 12:03 am 2 comments

Julie Bishop MP shunned at UN Climate Summit

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On Tuesday Australia’s Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop took the podium at the United Nations Climate Summit to an almost empty plenary to announce that Australia was balancing economic growth with climate action, with a puny 5 per cent cut on 2000 level by 2020 using $2.55 billion to fund this cut in emissions. (Read her her speech) Australia’s climate stance has been savagely condemned at New York summit, not least by our neighbours, Pacific Island nations who accuse us of abandoning them to the plight of more extreme weather and rising seas.

For the Paris meeting in December 2015 Australia needs to come up with new targets for after 2020. Bishop told the summit: “Australia will consider its post 2020 target as part of the review we will conduct in 2015 on Australia’s international targets and settings. This review will consider the comparable actions of others, including the major economies and Australia’s trading partners.” There was no mention that the Climate Change Authority had already conducted a review of comparable targets to 2020 for Australia and found that a target of 19 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 already could be justified.
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September 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm 1 comment

Moreland residents attend Peoples Climate march while Townsville gives a satirical salute

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Did you notice more people on the trams and trains going into the city from Moreland, not to mention more cyclists going into the city? I did. We were all going in to attend the People’s Climate march, a global event at 2700 locations in 160 countries. Some big, most small, and a huge turnout in New York.

New York hosted the main march to send a strong message to the 120 plus heads of state attending the Emergency UN climate summit called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. And what a march it was with early estimates of 310,000 people, later revised upwards due to the large crowds to 400,000 people. It is the largest climate protest that has so far occurred and compares with similar large protests in the US on moral and ethical issues.

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Here in Melbourne we were part of a 30,000 strong protest, a rebuff to the anti-climate policies of the Federal and State Governments. There were also events in regional towns around the state. You can read my report of the Melbourne Peoples Climate protest and regional events at my blog.

Tony Abbott the climate Wally

Unfortunately our Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a ‘climate Wally’ and is not attending the Climate Summit even though he is in New York the very next day to discuss the threat of terrorism. Instead he is sending Julie Bishop MP, the Foreign Minister, but with no increased targets to present.
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September 23, 2014 at 8:33 pm 1 comment

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