Vigil to Replace Hazelwood – Lizzie Blandthorn MLA Pascoe Vale

Replace-Hazelwood
Climate Action Moreland urges local MPs to support strong action now to close Australia’s dirtiest power station, Hazelwood.

Our climate is getting hotter and more extreme, with more intense heat waves, more menacing bush fires, and more costly extreme events such as Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Local climate change activists will approach Lizzie Blandthorn, MLA for Pascoe Vale, this Thursday when constituents will deliver a letter calling for the urgent closure of the world’s third dirtiest power station.

Community Vigil – Climate Action Moreland
Where: Electoral Office of Lizzie Blandthorn,
416a Bell Street, Pascoe Vale
When: Thursday at 7:30am – 8:30am
Register: on Facebook event

During the unprecedented 2009 Black Saturday bushfire period, there were 374 extra heat-stress-related deaths in Victoria, an average of more than 4.25 deaths for each Legislative Assembly electorate in Victoria.

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. (See Climate Council June 2014 report: Australia’s Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared)

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.

We urge 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.

Further Vigils

We will follow up our vigil outside Lizzie Blandthorn’s electoral office for the seat of Pascoe Vale with further vigils for the two other State MLAs that represent our municipality here in Moreland: Frank Maguire, MP for Broadmeadows and Jane Garrett, MP for Brunswick.

Community Vigil – Climate Action Moreland
Thursday, May 14 from 4.30-5.30pm
Frank McGuire, Broadmeadows
Meet at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre, Shop G42, Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows

Community Vigil – Climate Action Moreland
Thursday, May 28 from 8.00 – 9.00am
Jane Garrett, Brunswick
Action on the corner of Nicholson St and Park St bike path, then deliver letter to her office at
Suite 1, 31 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East (near corner of Brunswick Rd and Nicholson Street)

April 27, 2015 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Climate Action Moreland advocates strong science based post 2020 climate targets

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Climate Action Moreland advocates Australia should go back to the climate science on what we should do in terms of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to take to the Paris UNFCCC climate negotiations in December 2015.

In 2007 Australia formally signed on to the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement negotiated that year, called the ‘Bali Roadmap’, adopted in a footnote the IPCC 4th Assessment report strong greenhouse gas reduction targets for Industrialised countries of 25 to 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2020. We think we should adopt this as a benchmark, that we agreed to in 2007. This would require shifting Australia’s 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. While Australia is responsible for about 1 per cent of global emissions at 18.3 tonnes per capita, Switzerland by comparison is responsible for 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions with 6.4 tonnes per capita.ii Europe submitted it’s target as 40 per cent reduction in emissions on 1990 levels by 2030.

We should aim to be carbon neutral by 2050, after which Australia should try to be carbon negative through soil carbon farming initiatives, afforestation, development of blue carbon sinks, and technological filtering the air of carbon dioxide. This is in accord with the negotiations that took place at Lima in December 2014, that articulated that “an aim of zero net emissions by 2050″.

Our targets for 2020 and 2025 are higher than the Climate Change Authority over the next decade as they reflect the scientific recommendation for much larger carbon reduction earlier. The Authority put forward in March 2014 that Australia’s 2020 target should be 19 per cent reduction on 2000 levels. In their latest review for post 2020 they argue:

“a 30 per cent reduction by 2025 remains reasonable and achievable even if Australia does not strengthen its 2020 target beyond the minimum 5 per cent reduction. If Australia is able to do more than 5 per cent by 2020, this would allow a more gradual acceleration of effort beyond 2020….a 2030 range of 40 to 60 per cent below 2000 levels, and a long-term emissions budget to 2050. These goals would help Australia make a fair contribution to global climate action to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees.”

The targets by the Climate Change Authority are based on comparable international action, and the belief that we have a carbon budget which we can expend in the transition, and has been advocated as part of the IPCC 5th assessment report. But the global carbon budget does not reflect some of the unknowns such as the permafrost feedback and other possible climate feedback mechanisms that would reduce this budget.

The Climate Action Moreland targets reflect the argument that for a 90 per cent chance of staying under 2 degrees Celsius the global carbon budget is already used up. This is explained in David Spratt’s latest report: Recount. It’s time to do the math again.

From David Spratt (2015) Recount. Time to do the Math Again

From David Spratt (2015) Recount. Time to do the Math Again

Global and Australian decarbonisation by 2050 is feasible.

Higher targets for Australia may not be easy to achieve, but we won’t know until we start.

Work on deep decarbonisation has been done at Monash University and by Climateworks, published 2014, and explained at the Conversation (Australia can get to zero carbon emissions, and grow the economy) to show that:

“Not only can we reach net zero emissions by 2050, this can be achieved without major structural changes to the economy, and minimal impact on Australians’ lifestyles.”

A 2013 report by Ecofys (PDF) investigated whether global carbon neutrality was possible to achieve by mid century and concluded it was technically and physically feasible as long as we rapidly escalate decarbonisation.

In the words of Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Read our full submission to the Australian Government UNFCCC climate targets taskforce as a PDF for downloading: 20150424-CAM-submission-Australia-post-2020-targets or below. Note that the blue headings are directly taken from the White paper issued by Prime Minister and Cabinet which they requested specifically answered. The text below also corrects some spelling and typographical errors discovered after formal submission:

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April 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Meeting with Moreland Councillors to discuss Zero Carbon Moreland plan

Zero-carbon-Moreland-coverAs many of you may be aware City of Moreland’s strategy for reducing emissions in the municipality by 22 per cent by 2020 was launched last year – See my report of the launch.

Councillors Lenka Thompson and Samantha Ratnam invite residents to their Ward meeting on Tuesday the 21st April 2015 7pm at Coburg Library meeting room (corner Victoria and Louisa Streets) to discuss Council’s plan to make the Moreland community carbon neutral through the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy.

When: 7pm, Tuesday 21 April 2015
Where: Coburg Library Meeting Room, Corner Victoria and Louisa Streets, Coburg.

Come along to hear Paul Murfitt, CEO from The Moreland Energy Foundation, and discuss how we can work together to combat climate change. Some members of Climate Action Moreland will also be attending too.

You can download and read City of Moreland’s plan: Zero Carbon Evolution (PDF).

April 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Moreland roofs now generate 12MWh power annually from Solar PV

JugendSolar_small_0Welcome to the local solar revolution.

Moreland City Council has just installed an extra 100kW of solar PV panels – 390 new panels in all – on the Coburg Civic Centre roof. This adds to the existing 9kW system that was already functioning.

These panels will meet 30 per cent of the building’s energy needs, as well as saving 160 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, with an estimated saving of $23,000 from Council’s electricity bill each year,

Read more at MEFL: Coburg Town Hall gets solar-powered.

We think this is great news. Keep up the good work City of Moreland in transitioning to zero net emissions.

It is not only our Council that has been going solar, another item from the MEFL newsletter uses figures from the Clean Energy Regulator to show that at the end of February 2015:

  • 3,961 solar power systems had been installed in Moreland with a capacity of 10,708 kW
  • 414 solar power systems (1,622 kW) have been installed the 2014-15 financial year
  • 86 households have installed solar (244 kW) through the current bulk-buy coordinated by MEFL’s Positive Charge initiative
  • On average, householders in Moreland have installed 3.9 kW solar power systems

I also checked the latest figures for March 2015. In December 2013 I looked at the penetration of solar PV in Fawkner and more broadly across Moreland. Figues in brackets are from November 2013 data, so you can compare the change.

Suburb Total Dwellings Dwellings installed Percent Installed capacity
Fawkner 3060 4520 328 (246) 7.3% (5.4%) 940kW (571kW)
Hadfield, Glenroy and Oak Park 3046 11482 811 (635) 7.10% (5.5%) 2167kW (1391kW)
Coburg 3058 11303 1092 (835) 9.7% (7.4%) 3178kW (1990kW)
Pascoe Vale 3044 9127 680 (546) 7.5% (6%) 1716kW (1238kW)
Brunswick 3056 7014 504 (389) 7.20% (5.5%) 1264kW (835kW)
Brunswick South, Brunswick West 3055 3933 303 (246) 7.70% (6.3%) 756kW (563kW)
Moreland LGA 51330 (56139) 4027 (3343) 7.80% (6.1%) 10950kW (7666kW)

Congratulations Moreland. We now have a power station the equivalent of a 12MWh of annual generation capacity operating during the day on the roofs of Moreland. A good proportion of this energy would be used near production, saving in energy transmission losses. Of course Moreland is not the only municipality enjoying the solar PV revolution. Here are the latest stats of some Melbourne northern region solar PV installations:

Municipality Total Dwellings Dwellings installed Percent Installed capacity
Moreland 51330 4027 7.8% 10950kW
Moonee Valley 36135 3050 8.40% 8583kW
Darebin 46499 4400 9.5% 11316kW
Hume 54920 8007 14.6% 24692kW
Whittlesea 52770 7394 14.00% 20888kW
Banyule 43137 3681 8.50% 9959kW
Maribyrnong 23539 2026 8.60% 5753kW
Melbourne 10236 551 5.40% 2132kW

As you can see from this table the urban/rural fringe municipalities of Hume and Whittlesea have a much greater penetration of solar PV, now exceeding 14 per cent. These are not wealthy areas, with new estates where people have a substantial mortgage but also see solar PV as a cost effective way of saving on their utility electricity consumption. Moreland at 7.8% is second lowest after the City of Melbourne.

This graph shows the solar PV monthly aggregate installation across Moreland postcode areas time series:

Click to open larger version

Click to open larger version

There is still a lot of opportunity for take up of solar PV in Moreland.

If you are thinking of doing so, Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) offshoot Postive Charge offers a solar PV bulk buy to save when purchasing.

This is one reason why consumer demand for electricity is falling.

But due to the loss of the carbon price from July 2014, utility scale energy production from both black and brown coal is rising. We need action at both state and Federal level to enhance emission standards that will result in the closure of some of our ageing coal fired clinkers like Hazelwood, which is the most polluting and inefficient power station in the industrial word, and produces substantial population health impacts and social costs.

 

April 15, 2015 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

Close toxic Hazelwood Power Station: protest at #Springst

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Climate Action Moreland has had a long involvement in the campaign to shut down the Hazelwood Coal power station. This has on occasion entailed working or lobbying with our local MPs. This Thursday 16 April a protest has been called for the steps of Parliament House at 12.30pm to 1.30pm. It was called jointly by Green MPs Adam Bandt the Federal member for Melbourne and Ellen Sandell, the State member for Melbourne. See the Facebook event page registration.

Ms Sandell is due to make a statement in State Parliament on Thursday, calling on the Labor government to replace Hazelwood with clean energy and to support a community-led transition plan for mine rehabilitation and job creation.

We also call on the Premier Dan Andrews and the Labor Government and especially our local Labor MPs that represent Moreland – Jane Garrett (Brunswick), Lizzie Blandthorn (Pascoe Vale) and Frank McGuire (Broadmeadows) – to heed the grassroots campaign to close down Hazelwood.

It is way past time. Read more below on the amount of pollution and impact on health from Hazelwood. David Spratt at Climate Code Red has also detailed past promises by Labor for a phased closure of Hazelwood in his article: Hazelwood: Australia’s dirtiest power station in nation with the world’s dirtiest power industry.

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April 14, 2015 at 3:08 am Leave a comment

Why is Australia’s dirtiest Power station still operating? Hazelwood.

20150301-why-is-Hazelwood-still-open

We need urgent action to address climate change and replace coal

Burning coal, prinicpally in coal-fired power stations, is the single largest contributor to global warming. We need a rapid end to fossil fuel use to preserve a safe climate and healthy future. Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley is Australia’s dirtiest power generator, and the third dirtiest in the world.

Hazelwood can be shut without affecting power supplies

Hazelwood is not needed for power generation and closing it will not affect the security of our electricity supplies. Dirty coal power stations such as Hazelwood are a major disincentive to investment in new, large-scale renewable energy. The Australian energy market regulator says there is excess electricity generating capacity and Hazelwood can be closed without affecting energy security.

Coal is a major health hazard

The 2014 Morwell mine fire was a major health hazard. The Hazelwood owners are profiting from a facility that is causing damage to local residents and our future climate. The Latrobe Valley needs jobs. Many jobs will be created through the decommissioning of Hazelwood and in mine rehabilitation.

It produces over 18 million tonnes of carbon pollution and uses 27 billion litres of water every year, and is Australia’s single largest source of dioxin pollution.

A steady stream of jobs can be created in the LaTrobe Valley: decommissioning and mine rehabilitation will require a significant workforce for many years.

So why is Hazelwood still open?

In 1992 the SECV announced that Hazelwood will be retired in 2005, to follow older plants at Newport and Yallourn. But in 2005 the Brack’s Government extends the life of Hazelwood power station. (See Hazelwood power station – A brief history)

The Victorian Labor government promised in July 2010 to start closing Hazelwood. However, the Baillieu/ Napthine government promoted coal and attacked renewable energy. We now have a new Labor government. Labor must make good on its promise to close down Hazelwood.

Make your voice heard

Tell Enengy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio time’s up for Hazelwood.

• Ring on 9465 9033
• Email: lily.d’ambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au
• tweet #replacehazelwood @LilyDAmbrosioMP
• Join Climate Action Moreland

We need strong community support and strong, loud voices. Join us!

Replace Hazelwood with clean renewable energy

March 18, 2015 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

Climate Action = Sustainable Transport

Upfield path at Brunswick station

Upfield path at Brunswick station

Our latest leaflet on Sustainable Transport can be downloaded: 20150228-revised climate and transport leaflet

This comes just as the sad news on Friday night of the tragic death of a cyclist who was car door-ed on Sydney road and thrown in the path of a truck. The cyclist was an Italian visitor to Australia. He was unable to be revived at the scene. Much of Sydney Road was closed to Friday evening’s peak hour traffic because of the death.

This highlights that there is much to be done in improving cycling infrastructure to increase cyclist safety as cycling continues to grow and expand in the Moreland municipality. The Upfield Bike Path is already choking with congestion during morning and evening peak times as the main north-south route.

While Moreland Council has been receptive to improving cycling infrastructure, this requires more substantial long term urban planning involving the State Government and VicRoads and funding at Federal and State levels. We need a cycling superhighway, fully separated from vehicle traffic, running north-south from Park Street to the Western Ring Road, with feeder paths to the east and west.

Peter Allan also nailed the issues regarding cycling in Moreland in this pre-election 2014 video:

More people cycling results in less vehicle emissions, plus providing an added community health and social benefit through active exercise. Improving walking, cycling and public transport contributes to reducing emissions under the Zero Carbon Moreland plan.

Public transport also needs improving in expanding the network and it’s efficiency. The Dan Andrews Victorian Labor Government has set about it’s promise of removing 50 level crossings with grade separation in Melbourne, including Munro and Bell street on the Upfield line and Glenroy Rd on the Craigieburn line. The announcement that the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel project will go ahead will also increase rail capacity through the rail network, a much needed improvement. The Greens suggested extending the No 19 Sydney Rd Tram line service to Fawkner: an even better idea would be extend the Sydney Rd tram past Fawkner to the Campbellfield shops, as suggested by Sustainable Fawkner.

Improving sustainability needs pressure on all three levels of government to make the infrastructure changes necessary as community behaviours change.

John Englart
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February 28, 2015 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

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