Residents angry at Council cuts to climate mitigation budget
A meeting of Moreland residents on Thursday evening called on Moreland Councillors to reinstate full budget funding for the Carbon Management Strategy and reverse a decision taken last month. The meeting also decided to protest Council’s budget decision at the next Council meeting in Glenroy on Wednesday 13th August.
The Empowering Moreland forum organised by Climate Action Moreland and 350Australia (Melbourne) attracted more than 100 people to venture out on a cold Melbourne winter night to discuss strategies for taking action on climate change both individually and collectively.
Details on the work of Climate Action Moreland was given in a presentation by Andrea Bunting from the group. This highlighted both the progess being made at the local level with Moreland Council in their commitment to action on climate change, although not without some recent blemish with a poorly thought decision on 9th July to cut $100,000 from the carbon management strategy budget. Climate Action Moreland and Sustainable Fawkner issued a statement requesting reversal of this decision.
There was a notable sound of anger and frustration at the budget cut when it was talked about in Andrea’s presentation. Andrea’s long talk was followed by a detailed presentation by John Knox and Isabella from 350.org Melbourne which focussed on the basic climate maths articulated in a 2012 Bill McKibben article in Rolling Stone, followed by divestment strategies to change corporate investment out of fossil fuels through challenging banks and superannuation funds to divest.
There is more than five times the amount of fossil fuel reserves that can be burnt for a reasonable chance of staying under 2 degrees C of warming. In fact, with release of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost there is almost certainly even less carbon budget for us to use. Moreland resident and climate author David Spratt argues we have already used up all of our allowable carbon budget.
Either way, we have a huge carbon bubble which will engender stranded assets. And still we have Federal and State Governments approving fossil fuel developments like the Carmichael mine in the Galilee basin in Queensland, which is estimated could account for 4% of global emissions by 2050 adding 0.011-0.027C to global warming according to scientists. If all five proposed coal mine developments in the Galilee basin go ahead, this could amount to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
But if the major banks can be persuaded not to finance the port and rail infrastructure of these projects, they will not go ahead. Already at current international coal prices they are uneconomic to develop. Adani, the primary developer of the Carmichael mine, was recently awarded “Stranded Asset” award for 3rd most unburnable coal in the world.
There is another divestment day coming up on October 18 to enable people to publicly demonstrate to their financial institutions personal divestment as a result of the unethical and unsustainable investment practices being engaged in.
Residents want funding for Council solar PV systems reinstated
At the end of these presentations people from the floor were keen for some action or motion requesting council to reverse it’s 9th July decision to cut $100,000 from the $525,000 carbon management budget.
The budget was for purchase and installation of three projects totalling approximately 150 kW solar PV systems equating to $41,000 savings on utility bills and 250 t CO2e reduction, now being compromised by the loss of one of these projects (45 kW system) – probably the one for the Coburg Leisure Centre.
The first Motion was proposed by John Englart with an amendment from the floor accepted, seconded by Greg Platt:
“This Meeting of Moreland residents calls on Moreland Council to reinstate full budget funding for the Carbon Management Strategy this financial year with no reduction from other environmental budget areas.”
The second motion proposed a protest outside the next Council meeting at Glenroy.
“This meeting endorses a protest outside the next Council meeting at Glenroy over funding cuts to the Carbon Management Strategy.”
Both motions were put to the meeting by Master of Ceremonies Paul Murfitt from Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd and passed without dissent.
The meeting also heard briefly from Kirsten Wood on ‘Zero Carbon Evolution’, Moreland Council’s new climate action plan that maps out an ambitous plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the Moreland community. (See More information and download the documents from Council’s website)
The meeting was also treated by Judy Brett, a retired Professor of Politics, to a preview launch of the Monster Climate petition (See website once launched) being organised by the Victorian Women’s Trust – a monster paper petition that will be presented to Federal Parliament. The petition is in the groundbreaking tradition of the 1891 Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition which contained over 30,000 signatures which demanded the right for women to vote in the colony of Victoria.
After all the formalities of the meeting there was opportunity for informal talking and networking over a hot cuppa tea and some fabulous cakes and vanilla slices generously donated by Ferguson Plarre Bakery.