More climate ambition and Stop Adani a clear message from Wills Climate Forum to Mark Butler and Peter Khalil

February 28, 2019 at 2:42 pm 1 comment

Wills Climate Forum

Wills Labor MP Peter Khalil finally was able to organise a climate forum for his electorate centred on the City of Moreland, with shadow minister for climate and energy Mark Butler MP attending.

It was clear from the audience questions that although Labor is on the right track with climate policy, many citizens of Moreland think more ambition is needed given the climate crisis and the need for climate emergency planning. This was made clear by the most recent science in the IPCC 1.5C report published in October 2018. Most also want to see a clear statement and commitment to stop the Adani mine, and in fact any new coal or gas projects.

For about two and a half years Climate Action Moreland urged Peter Khalil to hold a policy forum on climate action. Indeed, our first meeting with our MP in December 2016 urged a forum on climate policy and a second forum on local climate resilience and solutions. (See: Talking climate emergency with our Wills MP Peter Khalil).

It was good to get at least one forum on climate change in this three year term. But much more is still needed.

Peter Khalil, when elected, joined the energy and environment parliamentary committee. At the forum he mainly stepped aside to let Mark Butler speak and answer questions, with small additions. It was a packed event, and pre-registration was needed to ensure getting in, although there was standing room at the back for people who decided to come along at the last minute.

There are many highly concerned citizens in Moreland on the climate issue, and the attendance and questions highlighted this fact.

Alison Rowe, the CEO of the Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL), compared the forum.

Community Energy Seed Funding announcement for MEFL
There was good news incorporated in Mark Butler’s initial address, emphasising the need to seed fund community energy sector here in Australia. This sector is far more prominent in European countries.

A Shorten Labor government will establishment the Australian Energy Foundation through the Moreland Energy Foundation with a $4.7 million establishment grant.

The Australian Energy Foundation will:

  • set up national offices in capital cities
  • develop a resource toolkit including the legal, financial and engagement tools and templates to support the community energy groups nationally
  • develop a national training program to support the community energy sector
  • establish an initial funding pool to provide start-up funding for community energy projects
  • establish an innovation stream to investigate and incubate new models
  • support the development and installation of community energy projects


This is the kind of innovation that will increase renewables and community equity in renewables energy system. Read the full media release

Watch Mark Butler announcing the funding for community energy startups

A majority of the time was devoted to questions, and there were many of them, more than could be answered.

Labor climate ambition and Stop Adani
The second question was on whether Labor’s climate policy was ambitious enough given the climate crisis and the IPCC report on 1.5C published in October 2018.

Claudia Lang, from Stop Adani Moreland asked for those in the audience to stand who thought Labor’s climate policies weren’t ambitious enough. Most of the room stood. Nearly all kept standing when asked who thought a future Labor Government should also stop the Adani coal mine proceeding.

“Today we heard the PM announce the funding of a re-labelled renewable energy fund, during a meeting on Friday Peter Khalil attempted to stymie the passion of young leaders from school strike 4 climate with Labor’s own renewable energy fund promises. Neither, however, seeks to address the issue in full. I’d like to ask the room to stand up with me, symbolically or physically, to show the panel that the electorate of Wills is concerned that Labor’s policies are not going far enough…
And stay standing for a moment to show our Labor panel members that no climate policy is adequate unless it is stopping the Adani Carmichael mine. We ask the panel what will you do to stop the Carmichael coal mine?”

Around three quarters of the room stood up.

This was an important message to send to Labor that Wills citizens support strong renewables target well above the 50% target promised by Labor by 2030, the need to Stop Adani, and no new coal or gas. Mark Butler and Peter Khalil responded to the question.

Peter Khalil was one of the early Federal Labor MPs to publicly state his opposition to the Adani mine in a public statement to Climate Action Moreland in May 2017.

Mark Butler also made clear that he does not think the Adani mine, or any coal mine opening up the Galilee basin, should go ahead. But the implication is that this is still not a party position.

Watch Mark Butler and Peter Khalil response:

Kyoto credits carryover and offsets
The question was raised about the Morrison Government using Kyoto Protocol carryover credits to meet Australia’s already low 26-28 percent by 2030 Paris climate targets, and whether Labor would also use the credits. A second part of the question revolved around use of offset credits.

Labor’s Shadow Climate and Energy spokesperson Mark Butler stated clearly “we are not interested in achieving targets through accounting tricks or Copouts.” but left the details for official climate policy announcements in coming weeks.

For background on use of Kyoto credits see:
December 2018 The Guardian: Australia likely to use controversial Kyoto loophole to meet Paris agreement

At COP24 in Katowice in Poland: Fossil Award to Australia for not ruling out Kyoto carbon credits for Paris target use

Sydney Morning Herald analysis by Peter Hannam: Scott Morrison’s pea-and-thimble trick

Update Australia’s UNFCCC commitment
Question to Mark Butler on if and when a Labor Government would update Australia’s commitment to the UNFCCC and update our NDC commitments. Labor has said they want to lift Australia’s emission reduction target to 45 percent by 2030 from the current 26-28 percent target.


Preserving Carbon dense forests
Mark Butler answered a question on preserving carbon dense forests, important for climate action.


How will Labor constrain aviation emissions

My question actually raised what a Labor Government would do to constrain domestic aviation emissions given airport expansion in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart.

Development of High speed rail is part of the answer, but doesn’t really answer my question about airport expansion that will increase aviation and aviation emissions.

The pitifully low tax on aviation was not raised in my question, or in the response. information on domestic aviation fuel taxation was included in the Climate Action Moreland submission on Melbourne Airport Masterplan:

“One of the issues is the level of taxation of aviation fuel, which gives aviation a cost advantage over ground transportation taxation of fuels and regulation of transport.

“Domestic aviation fuel is only taxed at $0.03556 per litre.

International aviation is excluded from any taxes or charges arising from a prohibition on countries imposing a fuel tax or VAT on international flights from the outdated 1944 Civil Aviation Chicago convention. The ICAO has failed to review and update this4. International flying is thus kept artificially cheap, while trains and cars become more expensive.”

Mark Butler detailed the need for east coast high speed train, which is definitely part of the solution, but did not answer the question about how a Federal Labor Government would constrain domestic aviation emissions. Watch his answer:


For background see: Melbourne Airport and Aviation Emissions

The take away message from the forum is that Labor climate policy is on the right track, but lacks the ambition and sense of urgency and climate emergency, as detailed in the latest IPCC climate science that argues we need rapid and sustained emissions reduction and transformational changes across all sectors.

While the electricity sector is well on the path to decarbonisation, it needs to speed up, and detailed plans for agriculture, transport and stationary energy also need to be drawn up as policy and acted upon.

Wills Climate Forum

Entry filed under: Adani, climate change info, Event, forum, news, Politician education, renewable energy. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Say Hello to climate activists at the Sydney Road Street Party on March 3 Momentum gathering for global school strike for climate in Melbourne

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Petition Dan Andrews on Climate Emergency

Sign the petition to Premier Dan Andrews to declare an Ecological and climate emergency declaration

What Lies Beneath

Read David Spratt’s What Lies beneath:
Spratt-What Lies beneath-cover

Elephant in the Sky

New report on Aviation emissions and Australia, The Elephant in the Sky:

Climate Reality Check

Read David Spratt's Climate Reality Check:

Dubai, United Arab Emirites, COP28

UNFCCC climate conferenceNovember 30, 2023
5 months to go.

This is the current C02 in our atmosphere. We need to get it below 350 for a safe climate.

Current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere


Visitors to this site

%d bloggers like this: