Posts tagged ‘climate change’

Transitioning from Coal to Renewable Energy – CAM’s Submission to Senate Inquiry

Climate Action Moreland has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Retirement of Coal-Fired Power Stations. It is reproduced below.

Our submission discusses and is guided by the following principles:

  • Australia needs to rapidly transition to zero net emissions. The closure of coal fired power stations is an essential first step in this process.
  • All of Australia’s communities need to plan a transition to a zero net emissions society based on 100% renewable energy and slashing energy wastage through energy efficiency and conservation.
  • Communities that rely on coal power need a just transition plan that will not only mitigate the job losses experienced, but also help transform their economies to allow their communities to prosper in the future.
  • In conjunction with the closure of coal-fired power, governments must complement these policies with strategies to ensure that our electricity systems are secure and reliable, and that electricity is affordable for all Australians.
  • Rather than relying predominantly on market mechanisms, the transition will also require national planning, strong regulations and direct government investment and ownership.
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Loy Yang Power Station – Photo by John Englart

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November 9, 2016 at 11:58 am 1 comment

Tell the government it’s over for coal

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Can you help tell the Victorian government it’s time to close down Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station?

In conjunction with climate action groups in Yarra and Darebin, CAM has produced postcards to the premier and local MPs.

The cards read: “The Premier says he wants to be a leader on climate change action and renewable energy jobs. That means leaving coal in the ground, not issuing new exploration licences. It means closing Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station. Hazelwood is no longer required and is crowding out solar and wind investment. Please act now before it is too late.”

Can you help spread the word by letter-boxing your local area, putting the postcards in localshops and cafes, of helping at a street stall?  Please email Mark Riley on markriley@netspace.net.au or ring 0432 030 211.

August 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm 2 comments

Replace Hazelwood Primer

Replace-Hazelwood-Primer-CoverIt is clear in Victoria that positive programs of energy efficiency and encouragement of renewables are insufficient by themselves for strong climate action. We need to close down the high emissions intensity of brown coal electricity generation, it is the elephant in the room. Climate Action Moreland has actively campaigned to close down the Hazelwood Power Station since 2009, including producing a brief history of Hazelwood.

This primer to Replace Hazelwood is written by David Spratt from Climate Code Red, provides timely information on why The Victorian Labor Government should act to close Hazelwood.

Summary

• The Victorian Government has expressed a desire (though it does not yet have a policy) for a significant expansion of renewable energy in Victoria. This has widespread community support and must be done quickly and at a large scale because climate change is already dangerous. Scientists warn that two degrees Celsius of warming could occur in just two decades, so preserving a safe climate and a healthy future requires rapid de-carbonisation.

• Expanding renewable energy requires coal-generating capacity to be removed from the market because oversupply is crowding out and preventing new investment. The Australian energy market operator says there are about eight gigawatts of surplus generating capacity across the national market, equivalent to five Hazelwood power stations. This includes up to 2.2 gigawatts of brown coal generation that is no longer required in Victoria in 2015, which is greater than Hazelwood’s capacity. Power companies have been lobbying government for capacity to be reduced, and senior Victorian energy department bureaucrats are aware of the need to close coal power stations in order to roll out renewables.

• The Victorian Government has committed to being a leader on climate change. Closing down excess coal generation is a key test of the government’s climate credentials. Coal-fired power stations are the world’s largest source of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. Victoria cannot make the necessary emissions reductions without addressing the operations of Hazelwood and/or Yallourn power stations.

• Hazelwood power station is old, unsafe and dirty. Based on emissions intensity, it is the third-dirtiest coal power station in the world and the dirtiest in Australia, releasing around 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, almost three per cent of total Australian greenhouse emissions. The Hazelwood majority owner, Engie (formerly GDF Suez), owns the third-most polluting coal-power station fleet in the world. The full – health and carbon pollution – social costs of Hazelwood totalling $900 million per year are borne by the community, rather than the plant’s owners.

• A steady stream of local jobs can be created in the Latrobe Valley with the rehabilitation of mines and decommissioning of plant, which will require a significant workforce stretching well over a decade. The Latrobe Valley needs a strong jobs package and an economic transition plan and new industries because the move from coal to clean wind and solar renewable energy is now both urgent and inevitable.

• Hazelwood power station and mine are a health hazard to local residents, exemplified by the autumn 2014 mine fire. The owners of Hazelwood have abused their social licence and forfeited the right to profit from a power station that is now a major health hazard – both to local people and to all peoples who face the uncertainties of living in a hotter and more extreme climate.

• In July 2010, the Victorian Labor government promised to start shutting Hazelwood and passed climate legislation providing the reserve power to regulate emissions from existing brown coal-fired generators. Restoring the government’s capacity to regulate emissions would be complementary to actions being taken by other governments, including in the United States and Europe.

Download and read the full primer: HZ-primer-v1-lowres

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Replace Hazelwood Primer – Click to Download PDF

June 16, 2015 at 11:25 pm 3 comments

Will Victoria lead in climate action? Brown coal is the elephant in the room

Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio talking up Labor's positive climate action on energy, while ignoring the elephant in the room, Victoria's brown coal - June 3, 2015. Photo: John Englart

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio talking up Labor’s positive climate action on energy, while ignoring the elephant in the room, Victoria’s brown coal – June 3, 2015. Photo: John Englart

Victoria is taking steps to lead on climate change action, according to the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews. In an announcement on Thursday the Premier said an independent review of the Climate Change Act 2010 would be established to report to the government before 31 December 2015, and tabled in early 2016 along with a Government response.

Environment Minister Lisa Neville said “Climate change is already happening, and it is threatening to irreversibly affect our communities, our environment and our way of life.”

The committee will propose options to strengthen the Act, so it can provide a strong foundation for Victorian action on climate change. The original Act was passed with the support of opposition parties. After the election of the Baillieu Government most of the measures and targets were wound back or abolished in the legislation.
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June 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm 2 comments

Moreland Candidate Forums for #vicvotes State Election

Coal ain't clean
We think climate issues are important for the state election on November 29th for the citizens of Moreland. Here are the meet the candidate forums so far organised in Moreland covering the electorates of Brunswick, Pascoe Vale and Broadmeadows.

Attend them to meet the candidates, Don’t be shy, ask questions.

With the Federal Government effectively in denial on climate change, being shunned at the United Nations for our pitifully weak targets, and supporting expansion of coal exports. The Baillieu/Napthine State Government has also been backtracking on climate mitigation by: restricting wind farms, closing energy efficiency programs, reducing the solar feed-in tarriff to 8c per Kilowatt hour, allocating more brown coal licences, only a temporary ban on fracking and CSG to June 2015, building an $8 billion East West Link tollroad we described as climate madness, and no current State target to reduce carbon emissions.

The Liberals repealed the 20 per cent by 2020 target the Brumby Government set in 2012. Surveys have repeatedly found citizens of Victoria want action on climate change.

Our local Moreland Council are leading in tackling climate change by achieving carbon neutrality in 2012 and setting a community emissions reduction target of 22 per cent by 2020, setting in place a process to divest from fossil fuels, establishing heatwave strategy and urban planning, tree planting and trialing cool pavement technologies to combat the urban heat island effect.

A forum has already occurred at Coburg Farmers Market discussing agriculture and food security issues, but also including the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security. Labor and Liberal candidates chose to be unavailable or attend other events – a poor sign when food production and distribution and climate change are so important to discuss. See our report: Fair Food Forum at Coburg Farmers Market discusses agriculture and food security

We should demand equal climate action leadership from our state government representatives, Please attend. Listen. Ask Questions. Join the discussion.

Friday 7 November:
Pascoe Vale Candidates Forum. Coburg Uniting Church. 7.30pm. Facebook Event page
Pascoe Vale Candidates (so far):
Lizzie Blandthorn (Labor)
Liam Farrelly (Greens)
Sean Brocklehurst (Socialist Alliance)
Jacqueline Khoo (Liberal)

Tuesday 11 November:
Fawkner Candidates Forum for seat of Broadmeadows. 6.15pm-8pm at John Fawkner Secondary College, 51 Jukes Rd, Fawkner
Broadmeadows candidates (so far):
Frank McGuire (Labor)
Jaime de LOMA-OSORIO (Greens)
Mohamed Hassan (Voice for the West)
RSVP to the event: on eventbrite or Facebook

Friday 14 November:
Brunswick Candidates Forum. Brunswick Uniting Church. 7.30pm.
Brunswick Candidates (so far):
Jane Garrett (Labor)
Tim Read (Greens)
Dean O’Callaghan (Independant – Save the Planet)
Stella Kariofyllidis (People Power – No Smart Meters)
Giuseppe Vellotti (Liberal)
Ward Young (Animal Justice Party)
Babar Peters (Australian Christians)

Climate change and the Victorian Election: quiz your candidates

Monday 17 November
6.30 – 8.30pm
Coburg Town Hall, 90 Bell Street, Coburg
Organised by Climate Action Moreland (CAM)
RSVP via Facebook page
Endorsed by Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Moreland Bicycle Users Group, 350.org (Melbourne), Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel and MEFL

October 25, 2014 at 9:25 am 1 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 2 comments

Campaigning for a safe climate at Sydney Road Street Party

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A dedicated crew of climate campaigners from Climate Action Moreland took to Sydney Road on Sunday with a stall at the annual Sydney Rd Street Party.

Conditions were ideal with cool cloudy morning before the sun came out to warm things up and bring tens of thousands of people onto Sydney Road in Brunswick.

East- West Tunnel = Climate Madness

Climate Action Moreland was one of a host of community groups present, which included the Moreland Community Against the Tunnel (MCAT on Facebook) .

Climate Action Moreland had a leaflet connecting the dots between building the East-West tunnel and climate change. We were active in giving out leaflets for the Sunday March 30 rally against the East West tunnel.

Greens Councillor Lenka Thompson at the MCAT stall

Greens Councillor Lenka Thompson at the MCAT stall

Climate action is a State government election issue

VoteClimate_B5Also on our radar was the importance of ensuring climate action is an issue in the November 2014 Victorian State election. We had postcards addressed to Jane Garrett, the local Labor member for Brunswick, the Premier Denis Napthine, and Greens upper house member for Northern Metropolitan Greg Barber. The postcards urged all parties to take climate action seriously. We need action at Federal, State and local Government, as well as action by you and I as individuals, and businesses both small and large.

The Climate Change Authority released it’s report last week arguing that the conditions have been met for Australia to lift it’s target to 19 per cent emissions reduction on 2000 levels by 2020. But with the Abbott Government slating this Authority for closure if it can get legislation through the senate, it is doubtful whether we will see a substantive increase in emissions reduction target with the present Federal Government led by Tony Abbott.

Coal mine fire poisoning Morwell. Time to close Hazelwood?

Much can be achieved at the municipal and state levels which arguably are more important for planning, development, conservation and land management issues as they affect climate mitigation. The Morwell coalmine fire has demonstrated the health risks associated with coal mines and coal fired electricity. But we have a State Government that has forbidden wind farm development across most of the state, including within 5 kilometres of any town. Which would you rather live close to, a coal mine next to town like Morwell or a wind farm? Perhaps it is time to close down the GDF Suez owned Hazelwood coalmine and coal fired power station for good and build some non-polluting wind farms instead. Read more on this by Ketan Joshi: The cost of coal puts renewable myths in perspective.

After almost a month of battling the toxic fire which has poisoned the air over Morwell, Victoria Chief Health Officer has advised that vulnerable people should move out of the area in a health warning on 28 February (ABC news – Morwell mine fire: Premier Denis Napthine backs Victorian health officer’s decision on warning). But Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said that Premier Napthine had dodged the main question about whether the state government had done all it could to minimise the risk of coal mine fires.

The Premier and Health Department officials are playing with peoples’ lives and future health. According to Associate Professor Adrian Barnett, a Principal Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, commented via the Australian Science media Centre:

“Coal smoke is very dangerous to health; we know this from some of the earliest epidemiological studies in this field on the London coal smoke smog of 1952 that killed around 12,000 people. This high number of deaths comes from a relatively low individual risk (around a 10 per cent increase in mortality during the London smog episode) applied to a large city population. So the more people who are exposed in Morwell, the greater the overall health problem will be. We would also expect emergency hospital admissions to rise, especially for respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Those at greatest risk are children, the elderly and those with pre-existing chronic disease. Pregnant women would also be advised to keep away from the smoke. Staying indoors or wearing masks does not offer complete protection from some of the smoke particles, which can be tiny and easily penetrate inside homes. If I lived in the area I would move my family away until the fire was out.”

Urging Moreland Council to Go Fossil Free and divest

The City of Moreland Council is pro-actively working at increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste and reducing carbon footprint. But there is still much that can be and needs to be done at the local Government level, including progress on planting an urban forest to help counter the urban heat island amplification of heatwaves and reduce Moreland’s high social vulnerability to excessive temperatures.

The Council also utilises the facilities of the Commonwealth Bank which has invested, along with other major Australian banks, in the Abbott Point coal port infrastructure. Abbott Point will increase the export capacity of coal from new coal mines in the Galilee basin in Queensland and increase shipping through the Great Barrier Reef adding extra pressure on an already fragile reef ecosystem which many tourism operators depend upon. Climate Action Moreland have a petition to urge Moreland Council to divest banking with the Commonwealth Bank, and indeed any bank with major interests in fossil fuels. Market Forces have investigated which banking and financial institutions have investments in fossil fuels and which take a more ethical stance. It’s time for Moreland Council to commit to going Fossil Free.

Images of our stall at Sydney Road Street Party

Thankyou to all our old supporters who came up to us and asked what we are doing and reconnected and the new people who added their names to our mailing list. See below a few photos from our stall on the day taken by .

March 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

CAM February 2014 news

Welcome to the February 2014 edition of the Climate Action Moreland Newsletter.

CAM-banner-brunswickTHA lot has been happening for climate activists since the Abbott Government came to power in September 2013. We urgently need to get climate change back on the political agenda, and build public support for Australia to take strong action on climate change.

Now more that ever, we need all concerned residents to work together to build this support. Climate Action Moreland (CAM) has several events organised. We hope you can join us.

CAM Planning Session: How should Climate Action Moreland work in 2014 to address the climate change emergency?

Monday Feb 17, 2014, 6.30 – 8.30 pm.
Join CAM to review 2013 and consider how we can best work in 2014. The Edy Castle offers generous dining options before 6 pm.

Venue: The Dining Room, Edinburgh Castle Hotel, 681 Sydney Rd (crn Albion), Brunswick

More information: Mark 0432 030 211 SallyRose 0431 445 930

Sydney Rd Street Party: Sunday March 2, 2014, 12 noon to 6pm

CAM is having a stall. Come and join us to help spread the word about climate change. Our stall will be south of Glenlyon Road on the east side. If you can help out for an hour or so, please let us know. Contact SallyRose 0431 445 930 or Michael 0400 054 134

Consultation with Moreland City Council on Community Climate Action Plan: Wed 12 March 2014, 6.30-8.00pm

Moreland City Council is developing a plan to map out Moreland’s strategy for climate action to transition towards zero net greenhouse gas emissions across the community by 2020. This consultation gives CAM members an opportunity to share their ideas with the Council.

Venue TBA. Please contact Mark 0432 030 211 or SallyRose 0431 445 930 or check out our Facebook page.

You can also do the Moreland Council’s survey on climate action before Feb 28.

There are many more activities for climate activists

Sustainable Living Festival: Big Weekend, February 14-16, 2014

Federation Square. There will be lots of stalls and talks related to climate change. For more info see SLF website

Moreland Community against the East-West Tunnel (MCAT): Rally on Sunday March 30, 2014 from 1pm.

Corner of Wilson St and Sydney Rd Brunswick (opp Barkly Sq)

CAM is working with a range of other community members to campaign against the proposed East-West Link and in support of better public transport. Moreland City Council is also supporting this campaign. 

Fast, frequent and accessible public transport – powered with renewable energy, of course – is a vital part of addressing climate change. The anti-tunnel campaign has galvanised much of Melbourne. This is a great opportunity for climate activists to promote public transport as a local climate solution. MCAT meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at Temple Park Senior Citizens Centre, Hodgson St, Brunswick, and are running community stalls around Moreland to collect signatures and build support. For more info see the MCAT facebook page or contact Sue on 0413 377 978, Michael 0417 354 169,or Riki 0400 877 819

March in March Melbourne, Sunday March 16, 2014 from 12 noon

Starting at State Library of Victoria

The March in March is planned as a peaceful, non-partisan citizen’s march to protest against the current government’s policy decisions that are against the common good of our nation. People will be marching in support of a range of issues. The federal government is axing a range of climate change policies. This is a great opportunity for climate activists to spread the word: we need to build public support for strong climate action!

For more info see the March in March facebook page

Marchinmarch-GBR

Meeting of Grassroots Climate Campaigners

Climate campaigners including members of CAM met on February 2 to discuss building collaboration among climate groups and related campaigns. 47 people braved Melbourne’s searing heat to attend. Next two meetings are scheduled for Sunday 2 March 1-5pm and Sunday 6 April 1-5pm. For more information contact Jane at ozemail.com.au

Fossil Free Campaign – Divest from fossil fuels

Earth Relay for Climate Action - Brunswick
Go Fossil Free Australia is part of a global campaign aimed at moving public institutions’ and individuals’ money out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. The campaign is targeting super funds, banks, educational and religious institutions and government. It is asking institutions and individuals to ensure that they do not put their money in banks and other financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels. Have you suggestions about local institutions that can be encouraged to divest from fossil fuel? For more info go to their website or contact Michael on 0400 054 134.

Addressing climate change impacts in Moreland

It is clear that the climate is already changing, and Australia is getting hotter. Even if we stopped emitting carbon now, we are likely to experience increased warming. The recent heat waves gave us a taste of what future summers may be like.

Local government can play a strong role in protecting people from some of the immediate impacts of climate change. Some ideas are providing respite centres during heat waves, and reducing the urban heat island effect. Suburbs that have lots of paved areas and little vegetation can be several degrees hotter than suburbs with lots of trees.

CAM would like to collect ideas on what Moreland City Council can do to protect local residents from some of the impacts of climate change. We will be starting this discussion on the Climate Action Moreland website. Please join us and send your ideas. Or Click here to send us your ideas in an email

Breaking News:

Following the recent heat wave, CAM members approached a Moreland Councillor about the Council providing relief centres for vulnerable people during heat waves. As a result, the Council passed a motion to investigate use of local buildings to be used as heat refuges next summer. For more details, see our Facebookpage.

Keep in touch with CAM

Keep in touch at https://climateactionmoreland.org/ or climateactionmoreland at gmail.com or Find us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/climateactionmoreland/ Follow us on Twitter at @camoreland. Or call SallyRose at 0431 445 930
Earth Relay for Climate Action - Brunswick

February 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

Wills MP Kelvin Thomson speaks strongly against carbon price repeal

Kelvin Thomson pictured with Climate Guardians outside Parliament House, Canberra

Kelvin Thomson pictured with Climate Guardians outside Parliament House, Canberra

Wills Federal MP Kelvin Thomson spoke out strongly against the Coalition’s Carbon Price Repeal Bills on Monday 18 November 2013, while the Federal Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott was trashing Australia’s international reputation at CHOGM and at United Nations Climate talks in Warsaw.

Thomson was elected by citizens of Wills with a strong mandate on carbon pricing and to take strong action on climate change. Watch his speech in parliament below:

Since the election Kelvin Thomson has published two climate change related statements. The first, on the debate within the ALP on whether to fight against the repeal of the Carbon Price (September 19, 2013) and associated clean energy package.

The second statement, Wild Weather But Climate Action Grinds to a Halt (October 18, 2013) was input into the discussion around extreme weather and climate change raised by Adam Bandt’s tweet in relation to the unusually early and intense Sydney Bushfires in the Blue Mountains in October.

I had the priviledge of interviewing Kelvin Thomson at his electorate office in Coburg prior to the September 7 election as part of my citizen journalism coverage of the seat of Wills. Find below the verbatim transcript of the part of my interview dealing with climate change and related questions.


John Englart: You are obviously very concerned about climate change, so I have a couple of questions about that. So you actually do personal things? You have a solar hot water system? solar panels?

Kelvin Thomson: I had all the solar panels and all that stuff installed in my house, and then I moved house towards the end of last year. I’ve got to retrieve that…I have got plenty of rainwater tanks installed in the new house, I’m going well on that front, but there are a couple of things I have to put in place. Lack of time as much as anything proves to be a barrier but I do belive in those things. I do believe that solar panels are environmentally the right thing to do and are good for households over time. I am a strong supporter of that, and I’ve managed to get away without things like clothes dryers, dishwashers for most of my adult life and I think that we do have an individual responsibility to try to reduce or to contain and manage our carbon emissions. It is no good telling the rest of the world to cut your carbon emissions when we are not doing that ourselves.

John: China and the US have indicated this year that they are increasing their actions to limit their emissions. Do you think Australia should be considering lifting our targets from 5% on 2000 levels by 2020. I think there was a leaked report of the Climate Change Authority was considering lifting the target to 15 per cent.

Kelvin Thomson: We have said that we will look at more ambitious targets, subject to what other countries are doing and that will have to be an ongoing consideration. I think at the moment the key thing is that we do get our emissions trending down because the regrettable realty is we’ve been talking about action on climate change for a very long time. But each year those emissions have been going up. That is the thing that has to change. We have got to get the emissions coming down and once we get the trajectory coming down it seems to me yes we can do better.

I have advocated ambitious climate change targets. I advocated an 80 percent reduction target in a report prepared by the Parliamentary Treaties committee which I chaired.

John: By 2050?

Kelvin Thomson: …No…. I need to go and check this John. 60 per cent by 2050 and I think the treaties committee was 80 per cent by 2050. It’s either 2050 or 2060? But the idea of having an ambitious climate change target I think is important. We are moving towards renewable energy at 20 per cent by 2020 target. That is proving to be very useful in my view. It is something that is driving a lot of the solar panels and wind turbines, geothermal projects and so on. And that is another reason I believe the Government is entitled to be re-elected, because if you get the Liberal Party in they will be working away undermining the renewable energy target.

John: Like the State Government with wind farm laws?

Kelvin Thomson: Exactly. The state government position on wind farms is outrageous. To give anybody a power of veto on any windfarm that they live within 2 kilometres of. You try matching that against residents in this area having a 2 kilometre veto over something like the East-West tunnel or the Brunswick terminal station upgrade or something like that. It is farcical and fanciful that the state government should endeavour to ringbark wind energy in the way that they have done.

But the 20 per cent by 2020 target is a good strong target and people in the renewable energy industry say to me that it has given them a lot of confidence to invest and to put serious money into renewable energy.

John: We have touched upon the refugee issue but with climate change, there is a World Bank report out recently that a lot of South East Asia, South Asia are going to be affected by rising sea levels. It is likely there are going to be movements of people. We are seeing some boat people now, but I think that in 20 to 30 years time it could be a lot more people, because there is going to be a lot of flooding of low lying areas.

Kelvin Thomson: It is a point I have mentioned myself in speeches gone by, John. It is one thing to think about a place like Tuvalu or Kiribas which maybe has 10,000 people, but that is one order of magnitude, but in Bangladesh my recollection is that 100 million people living in low lying areas, that is potentially subject to inundation. You cannot imagine Australia, you cannot imagine any other country in the world being able to deal with what can be termed climate refugees like that!

It seems to me that we have to… it is one of many reasons why we have to be serious in our response to climate change and be determined to reduce the level of carbon emissions in the world and have serious climate change targets. Otherwise, there is the risk of quite catastrophic outcomes. Tens of millions of people finding their homes uninhabitable, that is a catastrophic outcome.

John: I think our aid budget the Labor Party is aiming to get it up to 0.7 per cent of GDP? It is still not there yet. Do you think it needs to be raised?

Kelvin Thomson: We are quite some way from 0.7. The Labor Party has committed to get to 0.5 per cent by 2017/18. It is presently at 0.37 per cent. It is a $5.7 billion budget, and this year it is gong up by $500 million, and it will go up by $500 million basically each year to get it to the 2017-18 target.

We would all like to see the aid budget increased and I think the 0.7 target, the United Nations target is the right target, it is an appropriate target. But obviously we are in tight fiscal times and you can’t just do these things in the way you would like to. Australia increasing our budget by $500 million on a $5 billion budget is inceasing by 10 per cent, and it’s worth being aware the other OECD countries are on average reducing their budget by 4 per cent. So we are goung up by 10 and others have gone down 4, and I know that in the United Nations Australia is held in high regard in that we are increasing our budget and others are not.

I have had the good fortune to spend time at the UN and experience the goodwill that exists towards Australia and one of the things that drives that good will is that we are upping our aid effort.


Kelvin Thomson provided thorough answers (PDF) to questions on climnate change put to all candidates by Climate Action Moreland before the Federal Election.

During the election campaign three public forums were held and climate change was raised as an issue at all three. The first public forum was organised by Climate Action Moreland focussed on climate change. The second was on food security and agriculture at Coburg Farmers Market. The third forum was organised by Brunswick Uniting Church.

Three very different forums in which Thomson spoke strongly on the Labor Government’s carbon pricing and clean energy package. The Liberal candidate was absent from all three forums. The Greens candidate, Tim Read actually outpolled the Liberals after preferences making the Wills two party preferred vote between the ALP and Greens, a very select group of Federal electorates.

As has been shown this past week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has trashed our international reputation by rejecting the Commonwealth climate change risk fund at the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka.

Our reputation for constructive contributions to international negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is also in tatters.

Australia has won not one, but four Fossil of the Day awards, which are conferred each day by civil society NGOs at the climate negotiations.

The first rebuke came for Australia not putting forward any new finance commitments at the Warsaw negotiations. The second and third awards were for repeal of carbon pricing and abandoning neighbors on loss and damage.

The fourth award was given for a statement that obligations for new, predictable and reliable finance from developed countries are “not realistic” and “not acceptable.” This statement undermines one of the cornerstones of the UNFCCC: That developed countries due to their historic emissions have an obligation and commitment to provide funding for developing countries for climate mitigation and adaptation.

As Australian civil society observer Mim DiNapoli wrote from COP19 climate talks in Warsaw, “This isn’t just bad press. The refusal to step up to the plate will be remembered by countries around the world. Our absence of leadership, coupled with our unwillingness to listen to the struggles of the outside world, will continue to create holes in the fabric of progress in halting climate change.”

John Englart
Climate Action Moreland member

November 20, 2013 at 8:32 am 2 comments

Join the National Day of Climate Action 17 November

Update: Well done to everyone that attended the 30,000 strong rally (Estimated by the Age reporter) in Melbourne, indeed the 60,000+ people around Australia. CAM member John Englart wrote up a report of the rally for his climate blog, which also provides a wonderful summary of events around Australia. Also see the Getup media summary page.

Come and join the members of Climate Action Moreland and thousands of others at the National Day of Climate Action at 11am Sunday 17 November, Treasury Gardens Melbourne.

Come along to stand in solidarity with Yeb Sano, the Filipino lead climate negotiator at the UN climate Conference in Warsaw, presently on hunger strike in solidarity with the people of the Philippines suffering the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan, clearly linked to climate change.

Or stand in support of the people of the pacific island nations under threat from rising seas. Or the residents of the Blue Mountains who so recently faced raging bushfires so unusually early in the season.

It has been the hottest summer on record, the hottest September and October on record, the hottest 12 month period on record according to the Climate Council latest report on Off the Charts: Record breaking October heat & climate change

20131112-CC-hot-October

Today the Abbott Government introduced the legislation to repeal all the work of the previous Labor Government, not only on carbon pricing but also the positive legislation on clean renewable energy.

Our Federal MP for Wills, Kelvin Thomson, stood today with the Climate Guardian Angels in Canberra in opposition to the repeal of the carbon price.

20131113-KelvinThomson-climate-guardian-angels-canberra

Many nations, including the USA and China, are ramping up action to reduce carbon emissions through carbon taxes, emission trading schemes and even regulatory action. The Federal Government is intent on winding back the small degree of positive action we have in place.

The Climate Change Authority recommended in a draft report recently that our small emissions reduction target of 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 should be lifted to 15 to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 due to increasing action by a range of other nations and trading partners. Scientists have told us since at least the Bali roadmap in 2007 we should be reducing emissions by 25 to 40 percent on 1990 levels by 2020. Read the Climate Council summary of this draft report.

But the Abbott Government, despite numerous assurances while in opposition of it’s support for the target range commitment of 5 to 25 per cent target by 2020 based upon comparable action by other nations, have now even dropped that pretense of bipartisan support.

All we get now is $3.2 billion as budgeted for emission reduction, mostly to be spent via a reverse auction, with no guarantee we will even achieve the 5 per cent base emissions reduction target. Tom Arup in the Sydney Morning Herald sums up: Tony Abbott stifling Australia’s climate change ambitions

This is a major reversal to ongoing commitments he gave as opposition leader, according to the Climate Institute, who have put together a comprehensive list of assurances (PDF), all now broken.

Already Australia has earned a dubious Fossil of the Day Award at the Warsaw Climate talks, conferred by civil society organisations

The Abbott Government decided not to have ministerial representation at the United Nations climate negotiations in Warsaw. Australia often plays a pivotal role in these negotiations as part of the Umbrella group, and often has a diplomatic importance above our economic status as a middle level power.

“If you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu,” said Erwin Jackson of The Climate Institute. Australia Won’t be missed from these negotiations, which is a missed opportunity and will result in lowering our influence diplomatically on a global level, not only on climate but also on other issues.

John Howard has now stated that the only reason he supported an Emissions Trading Scheme going into the 2007 Federal Election was political expediency in neutralising the issue.

So what we need to do is make repeal of the Australian carbon price an expensive political proposition that will cost Tony Abbott dearly at the next election if not earlier. Malcolm Turnbull is still waiting in the wings and knows Tony Abbott’s climate policy is ‘bullshit’, if anyone had any doubts.

20131117-National-day-climate-action

See you on Sunday and hope you can get involved in the grassroots climate action movement.

John Englart
Climate Action Moreland member

November 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

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