COPtimism and carbon offsets in the time of coral reefs

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Our optimistic and knowledgeable guests in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 18 May 2016 are engagement manager Adam Majcher and head of implementation Scott Ferraro from ClimateWorks.

We also play a short statement by the owner of the world’s first off-grid solar-powered industrial factory, Chugg Boggs from Ace LLC Solar, and a touching and timely song by Ruth Mundy: ‘Love in the Time of Coral Reefs’.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 122:

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Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


climateworks-pathways

ClimateWorks’ four pillars

The four pillars of a low carbon economy
Building low emissions energy systems relies on three pillars, and for Australia there is a fourth pillar of non-energy emissions reduction:

[1] Using energy more efficiently
[2] Producing low carbon electricity
[3] Electrification and cleaner fuels
[4] Non-energy emissions and offsetting

Examples of the changes that occur between now and 2050 in ClimateWorks’ modelled pathway are provided on 2050pathways.net.au:

» www.2050pathways.net.au

» www.climateworks.com.au



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Carbon offset possibilities – when you wish to travel green

When you travel, you can offset your emissions. To ‘offset’ means to take the same amount of carbon out of the air as that vehicle or airplane, which transported you, put into it.

Other than setting fire to a forest, flying is said to be “the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate change.” So you may want to consider that replacing a long-haul flight with a local holiday can save over six tonnes of CO2-emissions‬.

No technical solution for air travel, such as unproblematic biofuels or a zero-emissions plane, exists today. Some day, there will be a renewables option for the air travel industry, perhaps a solar hydrogen airplane, just like some railways in Europe already are able to offer a train ticket that guarantees the use of non-polluting renewable energy, and the energy sector is building hydropower stations, wind turbines and solar plants in order to be able to provide ‘clean and green’ electricity for the coming generations of electric vehicles and trains.

However, as long as this solution and other climate-friendly alternatives do not exist, airplane passengers with a climate conscience are able to compensate their flight emissions – which is called to ‘offset’ their ‘carbon footprint’ – with companies such as the Australian Greenfleet or the German Atmosfair.

Greenfleet
A growing number of Australians offset their carbon emissions with Greenfleet: “Greenfleet will plant enough native trees on your behalf in Australian biodiverse forests to offset your emissions. Choose what source of emissions you would like to offset: vehicles, flights, households etc. To calculate the exact amount of CO2-e to offset, visit the Australian Greenhouse Calculator and select per tonne offset.”

» Greenfleet’s individual carbon offset: www.greenfleet.secure.force.com/offset

airplane-emissions

“Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist who came to a jarring realization about his own carbon footprint. When he added up his emissions, he found it wasn’t the fuel he put in his car or the electricity he used in his home that had the biggest impact. It was his air travel. In the new theme issue of Yes Magazine, ‘Life After Oil’, he writes about his decision to stop flying altogether, and how, rather than missing out, he has built a more fulfilling way of life.” 

» Read more on www.yesmagazine.org


» Use the European CO2 Calculator to calculate your travel carbon emissions

» Australian Greenhouse Calculator

Offset examples
To offset your carbon footprint from driving 10,000 kilometres a year in a car, you need to plant two trees to take those 2 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere which your car has emitted.

An economy class return flight from Europe to New York equals 2 tonnes, according to the Flight carbon footprint calculator.

To offset your carbon footprint from one return flight between, for instance, Denmark and Australia, you’ll need to take almost eight tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere. You could plant trees to take those tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere again, or you could pay a company to do it for you. There are also other ways to offset the carbon emissions.

» “Why CO2 offsetting is a good idea”: Introducing Atmosfair

» Carbon offset organisation:  www.thegreenticket.org

» In the US, check green.tripadvisor.com — which shows hotels’ green performance and aims to change tourists’ buying habits.

» Grow-Trees.com allows you to locate your tree plantation project through Google Maps. Plant trees on Grow-Trees.com and the planter and the recipient can locate the trees planted with the help of the unique eTreeCertificate number.

» Businesses, see Climate Friendly’s Carbon offset programs for your business

» One step off the grid – 29 June 2016:
Buying emission offsets has just become easier, and cheaper



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Future Proofing Geelong

» How to save money by building a smarter home: Smarter Homes Smarter Living Booklet (PDF)

» The Low Carbon Growth Plan for Geelong



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The Gold Standard Foundation

“You don’t have to wait for policy makers in order to make an impact on climate change or to support sustainable development. By supporting a Gold Standard project, you make a direct contribution to climate security while helping communities access critical services like energy, water and food. With this range of environmental, social, and economic benefits, responsible businesses can meet multiple CSR and sustainability objectives, and conscious citizens contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world.”

Carbon credit = 1 tonne of CO2 that doesn’t enter the atmosphere

» Home page: www.goldstandard.org

» Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheGoldStandardFoundation



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» RenewEconomy – 30 May 2016:
“Whatever happened to the old Malcolm Turnbull on climate change?”

“Perhaps the most egregious aspect of our leadership failure is the silence, or downright lies, on climate and energy issues by people such as Greg Hunt, Bill Shorten, and Malcolm Turnbull himself, who know full well the inadequacy of the policies they are proposing, the implications of their refusal to face up to the risks we now face, and the loss of opportunity that implies.”
Ian Dunlop


How Coalition, Labor and Greens policies compare

Excerpt from The Guardian’s 10 big issues of election 2016:

Election issue no 5: Climate change

Coalition: The government has pledged to cut emissions by 26% to 28% by 2030. But experts have doubted that Direct Action and safeguards, designed to prevent increases in emissions beyond a baseline, can deliver cuts required to meet the target.

Labor: Labor’s target is to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 based on 2005 levels and it wants 50% of energy to be generated by renewables by 2030. It has proposed two emissions trading schemes – one for big industrial polluters and an electricity industry model. The electricity scheme would require generators with an emissions intensity above an industry-wide baseline to buy “credits” from those below it – effectively penalising polluting power stations and rewarding clean ones.

Greens: The Greens plan to shift Australia to 90% renewables by 2030 and want to increase clean energy finance to $30bn over 10 years. The party has announced a $2.9bn five-year support package for 1.2m homes and 30,000 businesses to take-up renewable energy storage units.

» See more: www.theguardian.com

Tweets about Australian politics and climate change

https://twitter.com/voter_one/status/736856094929100800

https://twitter.com/essvee_/status/736856386412281857

https://twitter.com/essvee_/status/736856784330072065



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» www.ensia.com



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temperature-records-crushed_March2016

» www.thinkprogress.org



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Climate emergency

» Check the new website: www.ClimateEmergencyDeclaration.org

The climate emergency radio relay race
The Sustainable Hour’s climate emergency ‘radio relay baton’ has so far gone from:
[1] David Spratt – science author, co-author of Climate Code Red – to:
[2] Bernie Sanders – American presidential candidate – to:
[3] Ian Dunlop – former coal executive – to:
[4] Peter Rae – former Liberal senator

» See more at: www.climatesafety.info/radiorelay



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Ruth Mundy: ‘Love in the Time of Coral Reefs’

Published on youtube.com on 5 May 2016.


Change the world with your song

Two and a half years ago after a festival stall in Eltham, Victoria, the “Change the world with your song” competition was born, designed to generate wider interest in important issues, through people talking, writing and singing about them.

The competition is:
• built around four themes: Environment, War & Peace, Social Justice and Political Satire;
• with three age categories: Primary School, Secondary School and Open Age;
• with the three winners in each age category having their songs recorded on a compilation album/CD.

Entries opens 1 June and closes on 15 August 2016

Support the competition by:
• Promoting this competition among your friends, colleagues and contacts
Entering the competition

Keen to help out?
We need:
• More artists, bands or groups for the compilation album/CD
• Help with the finishing touches to our web site; this is mostly compiling information and pics regarding local or global campaigns to add to our themes pages.
• More people who are skilled at music production that want to be involved in the album production, recording, arranging, sessional players etc.
• Help with prizes (money, services, items, vouchers)

» www.changetheworldwithyoursong.com




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Make climate matter this election

Climate Action Network Australia wrote:

“As the Great Barrier Reef bleaches, the Arctic melts further and faster than ever, and we cross a dangerous threshold of 400 parts per million, our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called an election for 2 July.  Yet so far in the campaign, he’s hardly even mentioned climate change.

We know, however, that this election is crucial in determining how our country tackles the climate crisis.  Across Australia, people like you, from organisations like yours, are preparing to ensure that climate and energy issues are front of mind when Australians vote.

What’s happening this election?
You can see the type of vision that organisations are calling for, and what they have planned this election, by visiting the website www.voteclimateaction.com.au.

  1. Get involved in a climate event that’s happening near you this election.
  2. Join the National Day of Action on 28 May, by joining a doorknock near you, or running an activity your own and sharing it with #voteclimate. If you would like to run your own event, you can email claire@cana.net.au, and we can send you some useful resources like conversation guides. We’re also planning another day of action on Saturday 25 June, so stay tuned for that.
  3. Get the word out that voters care about global warming – encourage your networks to write to their local paper and call the local radio station.

We need as many voices as possible to make sure that global warming is a key issue this election. Australians want their next Government to do better to cut pollution and support clean energy. Let’s make them hear us, like we did on the streets last November.

Fossil fuel subsidies campaign update
You may remember that some People’s Climate March partners joined together to call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies around the Budget earlier this month. These organisations wrote letters and gave press conferences, urging the Government to invest money in our communities, and not give hand-outs to big polluting companies.

In its first budget, the Turnbull Government continued to make decisions in the interests of big polluters, giving $7.7 billion in subsidies to polluting fossil fuels, and keeping Tony Abbott’s billion dollar cuts to renewable energy.  The ALP has also failed to commit to an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

But the Australian public is hearing us, as recent polling shows. Our campaign to make sure our taxes go to building the type of country we want will continue past the election. If you’re interested in getting involved post-July, then send an email to claire@cana.net.au.”

» See more on www.cana.net.au/



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post-growth-economy-reportC

This paper by Dr Samuel Alexander looks at how the world might urgently transition to the needed no-growth economy. This is the real elephant in the room that none of the politicians want to speak openly about. It’s time for us to actually face up to it and get this fundamentally critical topic on a lot more agendas.

‘Policies for a Post-Growth Economy’, MSSI Issues Paper No. 6, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne.

“The 1972 publication of Limits to Growth sparked a controversy that has yet to subside. This book argued that if population, resource use, and pollution kept increasing on our finite planet, eventually economies would face environmental ‘limits to growth’ – with potentially dire consequences. Although evidence is mounting in support of this position (Turner, 2014; Steffan et al, 2015), any suggestion that nations might have to give up economic growth, or even embrace a ‘degrowth’ process of planned economic contraction, is typically met with fierce resistance, especially by mainstream economists. In response to such arguments, most economists tend to insist that technological innovation, better design, and market mechanisms will mean that economies can and should continue growing indefinitely.

Those counter-arguments have shaped the cultural understanding of this debate, meaning that the ‘limits to growth’ perspective is widely and casually dismissed as flawed. Most people, including most politicians, still believe that sustained economic growth, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is necessary for societal progress, and that such growth is consistent with environmental sustainability. For example, questioning economic growth never entered the key discussions at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015, which implies that mainstream political and economic discourse still deems continuous GDP growth not just consistent with a safe climate, but a precondition for it.

The main political implication of the growth paradigm is that governments shape policies and institutions with the aim of promoting economic growth, giving society a pro-growth structure. This is supported by consumerist cultures that seek and indeed expect ever-rising material living standards. On the flip side, any policies and institutions that would inhibit economic growth are presumptively rejected or not even given a serious hearing.

This paper provides a summary case for why there are, in fact, limits to growth, and outlines a range of bold policy interventions that would be required to produce a stable and flourishing post-growth economy. The analysis draws on and attempts to develop a rich array of thinking from literatures including ecological economics, eco-socialism, degrowth, and sustainable consumption. For decades a huge amount has been written in critique of growth economics, but the literature on what a post-growth economy would look like, or how to get there, is far less developed. This is inhibiting the movement for change.

I acknowledge that most people do not recognise the need for a post-growth economy and therefore would reject my policy proposals as unacceptable. But as the limits to growth tighten their grip on economies in coming years and decades, I believe the debate will inevitably evolve, and the question will not be whether a post-growth economy is required, but rather how to create one – by design rather than disaster.”

Dr Samuel Alexander, lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs and a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne.


» Download the report (PDF, 15 pages)






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