Students and scientists sounding the climate trumpet

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Guests in the studio: Daniel ‘Sully’ Sullivan, Sarah Hathway and Lois Newman. Prerecorded interview: Tim Flannery, author. More info below.


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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


Climate action at our universities

From left: Lois Newman, Sarah Hathway and Daniel Sullivan
Lois Newman (left), Sarah Hathway and Daniel Sullivan

Our own Deakin Geelong students Sarah Hathaway and Lois Newman are part of the Deakin Divest from Fossil Fuels group which we’ll be hearing more about as their campaign unfolds. They have started with a petition to their Vice Chancellor asking supporters to sign on that a ‘leading edge’ university such as Deakin should not be supporting toxic fossil fuels.

Lois Newman is club president of Deakin Greens Club Geelong

Sarah Hathway is a member of the Deakin Young Socialist Alliance


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Daniel Sullivan is part of a very determined group of students, supported by many staff who are driving the Divest Melbourne University campaign – as well as their concern that as a place of higher learning which prides itself in preparing its students for the future, Melbourne University shouldn’t be investing in toxic companies which are endangering their students’ very futures.

The divest campaign is also pushing the economic folly of investing in companies which are losing money all over the world as they become stranded, worthless assets as we transition to healthier, job-rich renewable energy sources.

» Read Daniel Sullivan’s story: Graduating with a degree and a message

» Sign the petition: Call on the University of Melbourne to divest!
– petitioning the Vice Chancellor of The University of Melbourne, Glyn Davis: “Sign this petition if you think that it’s time for Melbourne University to show its genuine commitment to sustainability…”





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Tim Flannery pulls a crowd at the Surf Coast

Tim Flannery spoke at the Surf Coast on 22 August 2016

» Audio: Interview with Tim Flannery by Alistair Cameron

Tim Flannery spoke at an event entitled ‘Environmental Leadership and Sustainability in the 21st Century: A Community Perspective presents An Evening with Tim Flannery and Community Expo’, held on Monday 22 August in Torquay.

He spoke about the climate crisis and climate solutions – about promising areas of innovation, about ways to get our CO2 pollution out of the atmosphere, and about why we need to involve people in the decision making in society. The presentation will be broadcast on The Pulse TV at a later stage – we’ll keep you posted.

» Audio: Tim Flannery answers three questions

Q&A with Tim Flannery – on social equality, using our greater interconnectedness, and what kids can do.


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350 people from the Surf Coast came to hear Tim Flannery’s climate change presentation

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Tim Flannery signing his book, ‘Atmosphere of Hope’

» Audio: Tim Flannery answers The Sustainable Hour’s question about the Climate Emergency Declaration

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“In 2009, the most recent year for which figures relating to all human-caused greenhouse gases exist, our emissions were around 50 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. And since then they have only grown. One way of grasping the significance of 50 gigatonnes is to consider what would be required to get a small portion of our annual emissions – say, four gigatonnes – out of the air. If we wished to remove this amount by planting trees, for example, humanity would need, over a 50 year period, to cover an area the size of Australia with forest, planting a New York State-sized area every year, and maintaining the growing trees in a healthy state.”

» The Guardian – 20 November 2015:
Climate crisis: seaweed, coffee and cement could save the planet
“Greenhouse gas levels are on track to exceed the worst-case scenario. Tim Flannery argues that there are still realistic grounds for hope”



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 EXTRA! EXTRA!: 

In other news

News stories and coming events which we think you should also know about


Open letter on the climate crisis from 154 Australian scientists

Dire warnings coming from 154 Australian climate scientists demanding climate policy that matches the science.

Two excerpts from the letter:

“Dear The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia,
The following is an open letter signed by 154 Australian atmospheric, marine, environmental, biological and medical scientists, including several leading climatologists, for your and your government’s attention.

There is no Planet B
In July 2016, global temperatures soared to the hottest in the 136 years of the instrumental record, 0.1°C warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009. It followed a succession of rising temperatures, moving from 0.42°C above average in 2000, to 0.87°C above average by 2015. (…)

While the Paris Agreement remains unbinding and global warming has received minimal attention in the recent elections, governments worldwide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

We call on the Australian government to tackle the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy and do what is required to protect future generations and nature, including meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time. There is no Planet B.”

» Read the open letter

» The Guardian – 25 August 2016:
Letter signed by 154 Australian experts demands climate policy match the science

» The Guardian – 25 August 2016:
Climate scientists write another letter warning of unfolding crisis for Turnbull to ignore



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» Vox – 26 August 2016:
Scientist finds clever new way to represent same old depressing climate trends



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CEDA report ignores a veritable herd of elephants in the room

By Dr Gideon Polya, Melbourne

In 2014, the highly influential Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) issued a report entitled ‘The Economics of Climate Change’ that concludes:

“[Our] approach would not be technologically neutral. Instead it would focus on trying to capture as much of the potential positive NPV [Net Present Value] of each low greenhouse gas emission technology. While this may result in greenhouse gas emissions being marginally higher in the short term, Australia would be spending funds to maximise their long-term reduction”.


This report ignores a veritable Herd of Elephants in the Room apparent to science-informed climate change analysts, ignores the acute, existential seriousness of the worsening climate emergency, and absurdly argues for effective Business As Usual now to enable a better positioning for climate mitigation or climate adaptation in the future.

In stark contrast, the 2010 Open Letter signed by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel Laureates, stated: “Delay is not an option” and the Synthesis Report of the March 2009 Copenhagen Scientific Climate Change Conference which had 2,500 delegates stated: “Inaction is inexcusable”.

This week, Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth scientist and paleoclimatologist from ANU, stated:

“The Paris agreement, being non-binding, is in danger of not being fulfilled by many of the signatories … [we need to] transition from carbon-emitting technologies to alternative clean energy as fast as possible, and focus technology on draw-down (sequestration) of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”


» Dr Andrew Glikson was quoted in James Whitmore’s article Letter signed by 154 Australian experts demands climate policy match the science, The Guardian Australia, 25 August 2016

» See also Open Letter to Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull re the need for urgent climate action – signed by 154 Australian scientists, The Conversation, 25 August 2016

» Gideon Polya: Critique Of CEDA’s ‘Economics Of Climate Change’ – Neoliberalism Dooms Planet, Countercurrents, 26 August 2016



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Newsletter from Market Forces

Yet again the devastating impacts of fossil fuels have been highlighted by some shocking developments over the past couple of weeks. As more information comes to light about the re-emergence of black lung disease in Queensland, we are again reminded of the toxic effects coal has on human health and air quality. On top of this, new findings suggest that the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia are likely to more than triple to $33 billion by 2020 – and that’s not to mention the human and environmental suffering that these events will inflict.

At the same time, the USA’s biggest bank JPMorgan Chase became the fifth major American bank to announce a retreat from coal financing. Australia’s big four on the other hand are still lagging on the issue.

 

LATEST NEWS

A shocking reminder of the health impacts of coal

Up to 1000 current and former Queensland coal mine workers could be affected by black lung disease, and it’s possible that authorities and mining companies have tried to cover up the extent of this health disaster. You can read more here, and use Super Switch to find out if your retirement saving are being used to support the coal industry.

Can you mitigate natural disasters without mitigating climate change?

The Australian Business Roundtable predicts the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia are likely to more that triple to $33 billion by 2020. If members of the Roundatble – such as Australia’s banks and insurance companies – are serious about reducing the impacts of natural disasters, they must immediately stop supporting the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Click here to find out more and take action.

Another US bank is getting out of coal, Aussie banks dragging the chain

JPMorgan Chase this week announced a significant withdrawal from financing coal projects, including a blanket ban on lending to new coal mines. While the JPMorgan policy isn’t perfect, it is still a far sight better than any of Australia’s big four banks, who have so far failed to back up their support for the ‘less than two-degree’ global warming limit with meaningful policies and action that will help acheive that aim. Find out more and take action here.

COMMUNITY

Volunteer position available: Research assistant

Want to help build the base of data and knowledge that helps drive the campaigns of Market Forces and dozens of other environment groups? We’re looking for a skilled and passionate researcher and data analyst to join our team as a volunteer. Click here to find out more and apply.

Join our super funds divestment team

Do you want to be part of a team that helps move our retirement savings away from fossil fuels and towards zero emissions and low impact activities? Come along to our volunteer meetings in Melbourne to find out more about the super funds divestment campaign and how you can get involved. More details here.

TAKE ACTION

Tell your bank: if they keep funding dirty coal and gas projects, you’ll move your money elsewhere

See where your bank stands when it comes to investing in fossil fuels

Find out if your super fund is investing your money in fossil fuels

Send your message to cut fossil fuel subsidies

Support our work: At Market Forces, we achieve a lot with a little, and we rely on the generosity of our supporters to make our work happen. Even a small donation will help us achieve big things. If you would like to help us continue our work, please make a donation here.







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