Posts tagged ‘climate change’
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0432 030 211.
It 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.
• 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
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.
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
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.
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.
Climate action is a State government election issue
Also 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 John Englart.