For those of us who care about climate change, the relationship between global warming and Hurricane Sandy is clear. And the science backs this up: rising ocean surface temperatures, and the impacts of cold water from the melting Arctic ice working together to create what’s being called a Frankenstorm.
This is a very readable article about the climate change causes of Sandy: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/29-0
And of course its not just Sandy that’s been hitting the US hard this year – record droughts and fires have not only devastated the landscape but also pushed up food prices. And not suprisingly direct impact has meant record levels of support in the United States for action on climate change.
As someone working on climate change issues, people have said to me many times that its only when climate change starts affecting us directly will we be galvanised into action. Until then no-one will want to make the necessary changes. I was always dubious about this idea – to be the impacts of climate change were obvious to anyone who did want to have their head in the sand.
But these polls from the United States speak for themselves. After the events of this year, three quarters of people from the United States now think that action on climate change is necessary. This is even though political leaders rarely speak about the issue and the popular media like Fox News gets reporting on climate science wrong 93% of the time.
So lets hope that Sandy has put climate change back on the agenda for the upcoming Presidential elections. Far from being expedient or insensitive, drawing about the links between global warming and the climate chaos in the United States is the only ethical, and responsible, option.
For many of us, the town of Port Augusta in central South Australia is synonymous with the detention of refugees with its proximity to the infamous Baxter Detention Centre as well as to visit those inside.
Baxter was completely dismantled in 2007, and the enormous front steel gates even sold off at auction. But the town of Port Augusta is now becoming famous for another reason – as the site of a vibrant community campaign to build Australia’s first big solar plant.
Port Augusta has long been home to two large coal fired power stations, both of which are reaching retirement age. The South Australian government has proposed replacing these power stations with gas but the local community has grown tired of the health effects of burning fossil fuels and are calling for the building of a clean renewable energy instead.
The semi-arid lands around Port Augusta will greatly suffer from the fall in rainfall that we’ve already seen as a result of climate change, and will need clean energy solutions if these areas are to remain habitable.
The local community are joined by climate groups throughout the country such as Beyond Zero Emissions, 100% Renewables, and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition to take the quest to the Federal and South Australian governments and to people across Australia.
Many of you have taken our survey on the importance of building large scale renewable energy in Australia. And in the next couple of weeks we’re going to be taking the results of that survey to our local member, Kelvin Thomson and we’ll update you on what he says about the campaign to build big solar. If you’d like to get some lobbying experience get in touch with us: email@example.com.
Walk in support
But until then, we invite you to be a part of the Port Augusta campaign! This week a group of around 100 people are walking from Port Augusta to Adelaide and solidarity (or SOLARdarity) walks are planned around the country, including Melbourne:
12pm, Sunday 30 September 2012
Walk from CERES to Energy Minister Martin Ferguson’s office in Preston
On the ashes of the coal fired power station, let’s build something we can really be proud of! For more information about the campaign see: http://repowerportaugusta.org/. For more information about the Melbourne walk see:https://www.facebook.com/events/409101889150904/
Report back on community solar
And while we’re on the joyous topic of solar – a report back about our community solar project. How inspiring would it be to have a community scale community owned rooftop solar park in Moreland? Or how about ten?
We’ve been working hard over the last couple of months investigating all aspects of what’s necessary to make community owned solar project work and we’ve decided it’s definitely do-able! The search for the perfect roof is now on.
If you’d like to get involved in this great community project, we’re looking for a couple more people to join our core organising group. No experience in solar necessary, just enthusiasm, some time to commit to the project and an interest in community solar is all you need. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. Meetings are fortnightly on a Monday evening.
Climate Action Moreland and Environment Victoria supporters met with local Federal MP Kelvin Thompson on the 14th June to call on the federal government to deliver a plan to replace Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station with clean energy. The federal government is currently in negotiations with the owners of Hazelwood and other old polluting power stations to strike a deal to close up to three power stations. The deadline is June 30 to secure an outcome but recent media speculation has suggested the government might back out of this commitment.
Ellen Roberts, Convenor of Climate Action Moreland commented “This is our one chance to make it happen. It will be good for cutting greenhouse pollution, good for new clean energy jobs, and good for the future of our kids.”
Mr Thomson met with the group, and offered his support for replacing the ageing Hazelwood power station with clean energy. “Replacing Hazelwood will cut Victoria’s greenhouse pollution by over 10 per cent, and will also free up 27 billion litres of water each year. We need to replace Hazelwood and start making the shift to the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Mr Thomson.
In recent years Climate Action Moreland has been working tirelessly with Environment Victoria and other community groups seeking a commitment from government to close Hazelwood. This action has involved talking to thousands of people and doorknocking on hundreds of homes in Moreland. The community is very supportive of renewables.
Environment Victoria and Climate Action Moreland are also encouraging others in the Moreland community to show their support for replacing Hazelwood by signing a nation‐wide petition at www.change.org/replacehazelwood and to write to your local MPs urging immediate action on closing Hazelwood.
CAM wants to kick start a community owned solar park in our area – and we want you to be involved!
What is community solar?
We all know about solar panels on household roofs. Community solar is a bigger version of this, about fifty times bigger, and instead of being owned by the householder the panels are owned co-operatively by community shareholders.
Has it been done before?
You might have heard of Hepburn Wind – two community owned wind turbines outside of Daylesford that can power the whole town! We can do that here.
Come to the first community solar meeting:
7pm, Monday 19 March
Edinburgh Castle (Function Room)
Cnr Albion Street and Sydney Road
If you can’t make it but want more information please contact us at email@example.com or call Ellen on 0408 583 694
Saturday December 17 from 3pm, Kirkdale Street Reserve, which is on the Merri Creek at the end of Victoria St. Melways 30 B 8
Please bring food to share.
Let us celebrate our year!!
All this week, there will be a beach outside the Mechanix Institute – a signifier of future sea level rise, and a talking point for the people of Brunswick.
Check it out! A full program of activities: http://brunswickbeach.wordpress.com/site/
Leading up to 31 October, communities across Victoria and other states of Australia will be passing a human sized earth globe from suburb to suburb and town to town until it reaches Canberra. This is the Earth Relay. The hope is that the relay will generate media and community attention along its passage to parliament and the Earth Dome will act as a symbol of hope and optimism for a cleaner, safer world.
Climate Action Moreland will host a leg of the Earth Relay on Saturday 8 October from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm outside the Mechanics Institute, corner of Glenlyon Road and Sydney Road, Brunswick. Present will be the earth Globe. Please show your support and join the celebration.
Members of Climate Action Moreland will be sending a message about how we think the carbon price can be improved, particularly increasing the 5% target.
Once the legislation is passed, the Earth Dome will be packed up and shipped to Durban for the international climate change negotiations, and with it will go our pride that finally Australia is acting on climate change and our hope that this will help deliver progress on climate change on the international stage.
You can see the Earth Dome here:
For more information on the relay and to see what other groups are doing visit Environment Victoria website ( link below).