Joining dots of economy, energy and environment

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“We need each other more than ever.”
Phil Baulch – in The Sustainable Hour


“Less is a new more.”
Simon Mulvani – in The Sustainable Hour



Triggered by the epically stupid plan to build a toxic coal complex in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, The Sustainable Hour on 7 December 2016 circles around our economy, energy and environment: how we can transition away from a growth-model based on debt and greed – and away from anxiety and despair over the way things are going.

Fort Hood in Texas, the biggest army base in the US, is installing wind and solar. Why? To save taxpayers $168 million dollars.
Now who would complain? Meanwhile, in Australia… deep breath!… The Turnbull government decides to give “conditional approval” for a $1 billion loan of public money to build the railway for the coral reef destroying Adani mega coal mine in Queensland. This at a time when most countries around the world are finally realising we need get off the dangerous burning of coal, because our planet keeps warming. At the poles, temperatures are 20°C above normal and an ice chunk the size of India has disappeared.

The alarm bells of climate science are ringing louder and louder, but in Australia our politicians ignore them. How are we to respond? Why aren’t the public in uproar over this madness?

We talk with Phil Baulch, co-organiser of the coming Geelong event Join the Dots, about why he sees local action and participation in local street projects as an antidote to anxiety and despair.

We also talk with Simon Mulvani from Save the Bees Australia – Bee The Cure about what we can learn from the bees’ way of doing things. More info below.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 151 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)


» Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast — via iTunes or via your own podcast/RSS software


“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer



“The society that bees have created is something for the human race to aspire to. They are sustainable, know and tell each other what to do. They sort of teach us how to be alone by going out foraging by themselves, but they also teach us how to work together. Bees don’t respond well to greed.”
Simon Mulvani – in The Sustainable Hour

Poster for Join the Dots event in Geelong

Poster for Join the Dots event in Geelong


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“The mine will supply new coal power stations in India, whose power minister said yesterday would not be required until 2022, and who wants to get India off imported coal within the next few years. The power will only cost twice that of new renewable energy, and so an exciting market has been identified among those living in energy poverty.”
Julian Vincent, in The Age, Aside from the culture, environment and cost, is Adani a good investment?


 EDITORIAL: 

Walking on coal, playing with fire

Why would public broadcasters be serving a climate-destructive industry?


By Mik Aidt

ABC’s and SBS’s celebration of Adani’s ‘job bonanza’ in their news programs on 6 December was shocking. Is this supposed to be a ‘public broadcaster’ reporting in the people’s best interest? Or are the ABC and SBS, like the state government of Queensland and the federal government in Canberra, simply extensions of Adani’s PR-department?

I wonder what is wrong with these people. And what is wrong with us. Are we really accepting these lies and such playing with fire as far as our own children’s future is concerned?

We keep setting new records for carbon emissions on the already overheated planet. We cross the 2°C degrees line within just a decade or two. Maybe even earlier. To avoid going above the famous 2°C degrees, we can’t cross 405ppm of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Well, we are at 400ppm right now – and climbing.


“We have already invested 1,3 billion in this mine project alone. This project is a net-positive impact on climate change in the world. We have a look on fact, not just emotions. Australia has a moral responsibility to be a part of the solution and not just a part of the problem.
Jeyakumar Janakaraj, Adani

“Today is a great day for regional Queensland. (…) It is imperative that projects such as this get off the ground.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier, Queensland

Surely, these ABC and SBS reporters, the Adani CEO, the Queensland premier, politicians and mayors are all fully aware that they are committing their own families – and every young child in this country – to a grim future which climate scientists and biologists such as Guy McPherson predict will be “chaos”, “catastrophes”, and “hell on Earth”, within our lifetime.

“Our children will be very angry with us if we do not do something about the way we manage nature. There are not enough who protest – we need an entire army! Predictions suggest that Africa and Australia will be uninhabitable by the end of this century. It will be chaos. But we are just beginning to understand this. The future will be terrible, and if we do nothing, it will be even worse,” said Dave Goulson, a British biology professor and author.

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Are you federal and Queensland politicians out of your mind not acting on this? What are you thinking? Or rather: What are you hiding? Is it all about personal rewards that you are receiving for your favours to Adani? Or is it that you just don’t care because you don’t think this is “your” climate emergency? – you figure you are likely to escape it because you’ll be dead and buried by the time the man-made catastrophe breaks out.

To me that is just not good enough. I have children, and I care. Because I love my children. I want the best for them. And I want to show them we can do better than this.

Our leaders have the powers to make a real difference. It is time for them to act on that moral responsibility which comes with decisive influence. And that includes our national broadcasters ABC and SBS. How can public broadcasters be hurraying over a “job bonanza” that destroys our climate? Why was not a single critical question asked to these Indian coal mining billionaires by any of the two broadcasters? Where was the reporter pinpointing the lies and explaining the risks?

Why did we not hear in that same report any mention, for instance, about that six other countries at this point are set to completely phase-out coal power – or other examples of what this tendency is going to mean for that so-called ‘job bonanza’ which Adani and the company’s puppet politicians claimed to be so happy about. How can such lies and dangerous climate-damaging misconceptions be aired uncommented by the ABC to the Australian people?

Why no mention of the predictions that suggest coal is killing the Great Barrier Reef and that Africa and Australia could become uninhabitable by the end of this century because of this kind of investment in old, dirty and wrong energy infrastructure?

Why not a single question about what will happen with the $22 billion dollar investment when the world decides in full force to move away from coal because it raises the global temperatures of our oceans and the atmosphere – and because we have cheaper alternatives that don’t?

The head of Michigan-based utility DTE Energy said that “coal is finished” not because of regulations or a so-called “war on coal,” but because it cannot compete with lower-cost wind, solar and natural gas.

A new report by GTM Research backs up that claim, showing that the price of solar power has been falling sharply for years and will continue to drop.

» Support us in our call for ABC and SBS to do better than this.

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» Sign the climate emergency declaration petition.


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To ABC’s credit, the following day, their reporter Stephen Long showed how this report should have been produced. He took a closer look behind the gushing praise from politicians at the economic reality of the proposed Adani coal mine:

How come this kind of sensible questions were not raised or even mentioned in the initial report from Queensland?





 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


Honest Government Advert

“The Australian Government just released this advert about the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and it’s surprisingly honest and informative,” wrote The Juice Media as they published this video on youtube.com on 4 December 2016. They also suggested:

Six ways you can help stop CCRAP

1. Tell PM Malcolm Turnbull you don’t want your tax dollars to be used to subsidise CCRAP: www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef

2. Join GetUp!’s Fight for the Reef: www.fightforthereef.getup.org.au

3. Donate to the Wangan & Jagalingou defense fund: www.wanganjagalingou.com.au/donate

4. Follow the Wangan & Jagalingou on Facebook to keep up to date with the campaign to stop CCRAP on their lands: www.facebook.com/WanganandJagalingou

5. Find out more about the Wangain & Jagalingou traditional owners: www.wanganjagalingou.com.au

6. Share this video

☛ You can support the Juice Media to help them make more videos: www.patreon.com/TheJuiceMedia



» Great stats overview for the CCRAP project: www.nonewcoalmines.org.au

» ABC News: Adani Carmichael rail line closer to federal loan

» ABC News: Fast-tracking Adani Carmichael coal mine a bad idea

» Environmental Law Australia: Carmichael coal mine case

» Hashtags on Youtube: #WaterIsLife | #StandWithWanganJagalingou | #NoCCRAP

» Hashtags on Twitter: #WaterIsLife | #StandWithWanganJagalingou | #NoCCRAP


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“Action is the antidote to despair.”
Edward Abbey, American author (1927–1989)




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Phil Baulch

Phil Baulch co-hosts the weekly program ‘Life, what’s in it for me?’ on 94.7 The Pulse on Thursdays at 1pm. It is a radio program about mindfulness, the heart and soul in the Transition Towns movement, and about what would constitute a misallocation of our time and resources.

Phil Baulch has been studying the relationship between ‘the three Es’ – Economy, Energy and Environment – for more than 10 years.

“Energy descent is the central issue here,” he tells us, and explains how the Adani mine is a great example of how desperate we’ve become to get energy. It also points to how vulnerable the project is to declining coal prices that go with declining economic growth.

The Adani Carmichael project has energy content of only 4950kcal compared to the benchmark of 6000kcal. The ash content of Carmichael coal is estimated to be 26% — more than double the average of 12% for Australian thermal coal.

At the end of the last Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt was U.S. president at a time of growing access to energy and resources. Donald Trump is president at a time of diminishing access to energy and resources. Ronald Reagan inherited 20% interest rates, 14% inflation, debt to GDP 35%, while Trump inherits 0% interest rates, inflation 0%, debt to GDP 105%.

According to Phil Baulch, reliable economic growth is over – forever. We are living on an illusion of prosperity based on debt.

Exxon has $46 billion in total debt — and in fact lost its coveted AAA credit rating this year. Exxon stock trading at almost 21 times next year’s earnings and Chevron trading at roughly 25 times forecast earnings. Australia may soon lose its AAA credit rating too.


To dig deeper into the topic of the three E’s, Phil Baulch recommends you watch this video:

The video explains much of the rationale for the ‘Join the Dots’ event. It runs for just under an hour.

Chris Martenson is an ex Fortune 300 CEO who saw the global financial crisis coming in 2007. He sold his stocks and moved his family to a small town in a rural area where he could take some control over the means of his own existence and build a community of trust.

Chris Martenson published this video on youtube.com on 20 June 2014. He wrote:

“The above video is a condensation of the 4.5-hour long full Crash Course video series. The data and analysis underlying the material represent over a decade of intensive research and study. Over that decade, its forecasts have proved increasingly validated by events like the collapse of the housing bubble in 2007, the 2008 credit crisis and the anemic ‘recovery’ since, oil prices persistently over $100 per barrel, the five-fold rise in gold prices, and many other symptoms of an unsustainable world economy reaching its failure point. Sadly, the risks warned of in this video are very real, and they are arriving now.

Once you’ve finished watching the video, please share it with those whom you think would most benefit from it. The more people we wake up to its message, the more hands we’ll have supporting us today in planning for tomorrow.”



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Citizen to activist

This film is about the journey from citizen to activist:



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ECONOMY:

Car loan bubble: six million behind with their payments

Could we be heading into a mortgage crisis, but with cars?, asks Grist Magazines’s Heather Smith:

“The Federal Reserve Bank of New York thinks so. It released new figures last week showing that the percentage of delinquent subprime auto loans in the U.S. has reached its highest level since 2010: six million people who are more than 90 days late on their car payments.

Maybe the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is right that those loans should never have been made in the first place. Subprime auto loans have more than doubled since 2009. Like home mortgages, auto loans are bundled together and sold as investments. If those loans turn out to be bad, the impact will ripple across the economy.

Unfortunately, most Americans need a car to get to work, and that’s a big drain on their finances. Drivers in the U.S. spend more than $6,300 a year on average to own and operate their vehicles (parking and tolls not included), and the poorest fifth of Americans spend 42 percent of their annual household budget on automobiles.

If we invested more in public transit systems and housing near transit hubs, many people wouldn’t need cars or car loans. But instead we’re looking at Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan, which would likely add to drivers’ burdens by creating more toll roads.”



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“Civilisation becomes one huge lie.”
Guy McPherson – presenting in Hamilton, New Zealand, on 27 November 2016.





“If you go to your medical doctor, and your medical doctor knows with great certainty that you have stage 4 cancer, and you are almost certain to die within the next six months – how would you feel if he withheld that information? I bet you would consider that malpractice. I consider most climate scientists to be guilty of malpractice. Because they know what I know, and they are not telling.”
Guy McPherson – presenting in Hamilton, New Zealand, on 27 November 2016.


“If the truth is dire, find another, not-so-dire version”

“Politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders are mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. Fully captured by corporations and the corporate states, the media continue to dance around the issue of climate change. Occasionally a forthright piece is published, but it generally points in the wrong direction, such as suggesting climate scientists and activists be killed (e.g., James Delingpole’s 7 April 2013 hate-filled article in the Telegraph). Leading mainstream outlets routinely mislead the public.

Mainstream scientists minimize the message at every turn, with expected results. As we’ve known for years, scientists almost invariably underplay climate impacts (James Hansen referred to the phenomenon as “scientific reticence” in his 24 May 2007 paper about sea-level rise in Environmental Research Letters). A paper in 27 June 2016 online issue of Nature Climate Change reinforces the idea of scientific conservatism, pointing out that dependence upon historical records leads to missing about one-fifth of global warming since the 1860s.

In some cases, scientists are aggressively muzzled by their governments.

Even museums are not safe from misinformation about climate science to appease fossil-fuel philanthropists, as reported in the 17 June 2014 issue of AlterNet. I’m not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (most couldn’t care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version.”
Guy McPherson

1989 Noel Brown quote

U. N. predicts disaster if global warming not checked
“Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program (…) said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.”
Associated Press, 29 June 1989

“The perma-frost isn’t supposed to become perma-melt.”
Guy McPherson – at a presentation in Hamilton, New Zealand, on 27 November 2016.


» Guy McPherson – 2 August 2016:
Climate-Change Summary and Update


‘Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time’
By Pauline Panagiotou-Schneider (author, narrator) and Guy McPherson (author, narrator)

‘Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee’ tells the story of a ladybug and a honeybee who find each other after losing their entire families to the poisonous fogs the humans are spraying. The unlikely duo pursues a safe haven from the poisonous fog and are aided by lightning bugs, a mysterious dragonfly, and even cockroaches along the adventure of a lifetime. They encounter doubting ticks, denying termites, and a slug desperately resigned to his fate along their way, but they never give up in their seemingly hopeless quest.

» Available on Amazon.com


Biology, bees and climate change

“Climate warming is predicted to reduce omega-3, long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acid production in phytoplankton,” according to the title of a paper in the 12 April 2016 online edition of Global Change Biology. These essential fatty acids are vital to the health of all vertebrates, with a direct relationship to cardiovascular and immune system health, as well as neurological function, vision, and reproduction.

The situation on land is worsening, too, as a result of climate change. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees. The title of a paper in the 13 April 2016 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B tells the story: Rising atmospheric CO2 is reducing the protein concentration of a floral pollen source essential for North American bees.


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According to a new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, we only have a few decades left before everything we know and hold dear collapses.

The report, written by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center along with a team of natural and social scientists, explains that modern civilization is doomed. And there’s not just one particular group to blame, but the entire fundamental structure and nature of our society.


“Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don’t reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us … Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don’t exact immediate punishment on the stupid.”
Neil Dawe, Canadian Wildlife Service biologist

» Mic.com – 18 March 2014:
NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It’s Not Looking Good for Us




Energy


Adam Bandt: Renew Australia Energy Transition Bill

Can this Renew Australia Energy Transition Bill 2016, introduced by Adam Bandt, achieve cross-party support? Could it be rolled out with a tighter implementation timeframe?

Something very similar is a key component of the asks under a climate emergency declaration and mobilisation.

Please sign the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition at www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/sign




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24 Hours of Climate Reality

We played a clip with Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – in an interview with Al Gore in the 24 Hours of Reality online streaming tv show. Gina McCarthy is an air quality expert. Currently she is the administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Hour 5 was about Australia.

In New South Wales, Australia, 24 Hours of Reality 2016 interviewed Josh Gilbert, head of the Young Farmers Council of the New South Wales Farmers Association, a powerful lobbying group. He is transforming attitudes on the climate crisis in rural communities, connecting the dots between the realities farmers see in the field and the latest climate science to build support for action.

Gilbert is leading a movement that caused the association to vote unanimously to change its official position on climate change from denying the reality of the crisis to advocating for solutions. Young leaders like Gilbert are now raising their voices and taking the threat of climate change seriously.

Here is 24 Hours of Reality 2016 report about wind energy in Argentina:

» Youtube channel with more than 20 interviews from the tv event:
www.youtube.com/user/ClimateReality

» Home page:
www.24hoursofreality.org



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ECONOMY:

World’s leading economists say “environmental sustainability is a requirement”

Environmental sustainability is a requirement, not an option, according to 13 of the world’s leading economists, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and four former Chief economists of the World Bank.

Traditional economic thinking no longer applies. Inequality within countries is threatening social cohesion and economic progress and development needs to be seen in a broader perspective in order to achieve more equitable and sustainable results, say the 13 leading economists, who have summarised their accumulated know-how in a so-called ‘Stockholm Statement’, where they predict insecurity and conflicts caused by climate change:

“Competition over resources and environmentally related migration can lead to insecurity and conflicts which undermine development. At the global level, climate change is a long-term threat to the viability of the planet and, equally, a short to medium term threat to livelihoods, agriculture and habitat in many countries. Mitigation efforts must be pursued first and foremost at a global level, while adaptation policies require active intervention and support at national and local levels. These are problems that cannot be left to the free market to solve. Regulatory interventions by the state and a certain amount of multi-country policy coordination are indispensable.”

» SIDA – 16 November 2016:
Leading economists call for inclusive and sustainable development in Stockholm Statement

» Read the Stockholm Statement:
www.sida.se (PDF)


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» Associated Press / Curbed – 6 December 2016:
How 11 cities are leading the climate change fight
“The last year has seen big discussion on the ability of climate treaties and energy policy to shape and save our environments. But in many ways, the changes that are helping to bring about greener government policy are happening on the city level”




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Urban innovation for liveable cities

This whitepaper highlights sustainable approaches across urban mobility, water, climate adaptation and intelligent energy, demonstrating how long-term planning across sectors are key elements in creating liveable cities built on holistic, sustainable solutions.

» Download the whitepaper (PDF):

» Read more about it



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Renewable energy



» Yahoo7 / AAP – 7 December 2016:
EnergyAustralia’s $1.5bn for renewables
“EnergyAustralia will invest $1.5 billion in new wind and solar projects across eastern Australia as part of a move towards renewables. The electricity provider has committed to buying 500 megawatts of power from wind and solar plants, more than doubling the amount of energy it can source from renewables. It said on Wednesday it had bought the output from a planned 42.6 megawatt solar farm at Manildra in central west NSW, which will be able to power 14,000 homes per year when completed in 2018.”

» One Step Off The Grid – 7 December 2016:
Households will power half the grid by 2050, networks admit
“Report from Australia’s main network lobby and CSIRO suggests that by 2050, nearly half of all future generation – and storage – will be on site in homes, business and communities.”

» The Guardian – 29 March 2015:
Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet
“Georgetown, Texas decision not about going green: ‘I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,’ says city official”



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Take2 is Victoria’s collective pledge initiative to help keep the global temperature rise to under 2°C degrees. It enables businesses, local government, community and educational organisations and individuals to take action on climate change.

» Be a part of Take2 and make your pledge

Take2pledge








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Help make 94.7 The Pulse into Geelong’s SOLAR radio station

The Pulse has launched its solar radio fund so we can offset the massive electricity costs in broadcasting a diverse range of programs. We need your support to make it happen:

» Donate now

94.7 The Pulse is Geelong’s community radio station. We broadcast over 80 radio programs, including 16 multicultural language programs and a weekly tv show, for nearly 250,000 people. That uses a lot of energy from our 130 volunteers, and a lot of electricity. So now we are buying SOLAR PANELS for the station and a SOLAR STAGE so we can broadcast anywhere.

We are determined to be a solar radio station – but we need your help! We have set up a crowdfunding campaign, with a range of goodies and rewards available, including merchandise and even the chance for “15 minutes of fame” on your favourite Pulse program!

Your assistance will bring not just an immediate benefit to The Pulse, but will contribute to our long-term future….helping to save the station money on our bills and save the environment! Help us save the planet, one broadcast at a time.

» Send your sunshine to the SOLAR RADIO FUND. Donate here:
www.generosity.com

» Find out more:
www.947thepulse.com

…and share this video with your friends on Facebook


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Reactions to Adani’s disastrous coal mine


“The lack of spine displayed by Malcolm Turnbull this week on carbon pricing and the glee by both the federal and Queensland government towards the Carmichael mine highlight that politics remains wedded to the belief that economic growth trumps concerns of climate change. Unfortunately such thinking only makes the problem worse.

Viewing investment in a coal mine as the solution is like a smoker suggesting another cigarette at least will alleviate the nicotine withdrawal.

This week the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, argued that ‘the life of this project will be anywhere between 50 and 60 years. That means generational jobs.’

But given the current trajectory of climate change, those in 60 years will be only shaking their heads in wonder that a politician would be so naive as to talk of economic growth without thinking what that type of growth would do to the planet.”
Greg Jericho – in The Guardian on 11 December 2016



» The Guardian – 11 December 2016:
On climate change and the economy, we’re trapped in an idiotic netherworld



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“The Australian Government has not only blown 20 per cent of its carbon budget to 2050 in four years, it appears it is also preparing to throw AUD$1 billion of taxpayer money at a disastrous coal project that will either end up being a colossal white elephant, or the death knell of the Great Barrier Reef and its AUD$6 billion tourism industry.

The Reef is already in crisis from the worst bleaching event ever, but the Government is doing nothing of substance to protect it, as it is more interested in chasing risky, fading coal dollars than building effective climate policy,” wrote Global Call for Climate Action.

Talk about intergenerational theft: Who would pour a $1 billion loan of public money into a climate-destroying coal mine at a time when countries around the world are beginning to close down their coal fired power plants? They close them because they make people sick, and because we literally are in a climate emergency – look for instance at what is happening at the North Pole at the moment. And at the sad, climate-related deaths we hear about daily in the news, both in Australia and around the planet.

The Guardian reported on 1 December 2016: Climate change will stir ‘unimaginable’ refugee crisis, says military – “Unchecked global warming is greatest threat to 21st-century security where mass migration could be ‘new normal’, say senior military”.

“Evidence that society is in danger of reaching its eventual target of complete or near-complete energy decarbonisation too late to save the planet from runaway global warming was particularly clear this month,” wrote Jeremy Leggett in his monthly review of the ‘state of the transition’, summarising the events of November 2016.

“The Turnbull Government plans are an insult to our generation,” wrote Australian Youth Climate Coalition. It is more than that. If our children had any say in politics of today, they would change the laws right away and ban that sort of climate-destructive activity. At first, the common and sensible ‘polluter pays’ principle will be enforced also for polluters of the air, and some years further down the track it will be deemed a criminal act for industries to burn carbon in large quantities.

Not only from a climate perspective, from also from an economical point of view, from a health perspective, from the sad environmental perspective – considering the bleached future of the The Great Barrier Reef and species going extinct – and even from a national security perspective… it just doesn’t make any sense why the Australian people should accept being forced to fund a new coal mine against its will.

The Adani mega mine is Australia’s Standing Rock in the making.


»Sign petitions against the Adani coal mine



Ian Dunlop wrote about the Adani Galilee Basin coal mine:
“If the rumour that the Federal Government is about to loan the Adani Group $1billion to construct a rail link to the Galilee Basin to open up the Carmichael coal mine is true, this will be one of the most dishonest and irresponsible decision in Australia’s history.

Australia has signed and just ratified the Paris climate change agreement to hold temperature increase ““well below 2degC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5degC”, and much more.

It is already impossible to limit temperature to 1.5degC. To have a realistic chance of meeting the 2degC limit, we have no global carbon budget left today. That means we cannot build any more fossil fuel operations and we have to begin phasing out existing operations. If Carmichael is built, one of the largest coal mines the world has ever seen, far from alleviating poverty, massive poverty will be created particularly in India which is already experiencing regular extreme weather conditions, and here. Carmichael by itself will push global temperatures close to 3degC when we are already experiencing dangerous climate change at the 1.2degC increase which has occurred thus far. And behind Carmichael are several other large mines which our duplicitous government will no doubt want to pursue

Subsidising Carmichael totally contradicts our obligations under the Paris agreement. The mine has to be stopped at all costs otherwise we are simply committing collective suicide:

Adani coal mine: green groups fume over plan for $1b federal loan

If you have any concerns for your children and grandchildren’s future, get active. Sign the petition as a start:”
www.acf.org.au/billions


Quentin Farmar-bowers wrote about the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine and national security:
“Is anyone in our political braintrusts, left or right, joining the dots as they spruik the merits of new coal mines?
A one metre sea level rise will inundate 20% of the Bangladesh land area, populated by more than 30 million people.
India some time ago built a 2 metre high fence around Bangladesh, manned by 80,000 Indian troops, to keep the Bangladesh population in as sea levels rise – “the world’s first climate fence”.

So Mr Adani is going to build the world’s biggest coal mine to ensure that he creates an even bigger problem, presumably with support from the Indian military to raise the level of the fence as sea levels rise. Clearly a very responsible visionary. And will we then “stop the boats”?

And please don’t tell me that if we don’t allow Carmichael to proceed, others will fill the gap. All coal expansion will stop given the point the world has now reached.

Mr Frydenberg cries copious crocodile tears about energy security. At the same time the government, by supporting Adani, is totally undermining our national security.”


Environmental Justice Director Miriam Lyons said that the fact the government was willing to consider such an unpopular move shows that the company has too much influence over government:

“It’s bad enough that we are allowing this dangerous project to proceed, let alone paying for it. The vast majority of the profits will go offshore. People are furious. Australians overwhelmingly want new investment in renewable energy. They want to see the Reef protected, and they want their taxes spent on things that will actually benefit them, like schools and hospitals.

This is a train to nowhere. This is a massive waste of taxpayer money. The government is crying poor on hospital spending, but wants to hand over cash to a train that will wreck the Reef, waste farmers’ water and will not carry a single passenger.

Australians waiting on much-needed investment in local public services deserve better than a government that turns the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility into a lucky dip for any company that wants a spare billion to prop up its latest white elephant.

This is another example of the federal government bending over backwards for offshore coal interests at the expense of everyday Australians who’d rather see the money go to local infrastructure, hospitals and schools.

Yesterday the government confirmed that it had no plan to save the Reef – or the 69,000 jobs that depend on it – from the impacts of global warming. Now, just months after Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ruled out Commonwealth investment in the project, we hear that his government may actively subsidise the Reef’s destruction.

Mining and burning this coal will fuel global warming, causing more coral bleaching and threatening tens of thousands of jobs in the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry.

Adani has destroyed environments in India and Africa. It’s been shown to be engaged in corrupt practices. It can’t be trusted with our Reef, it can’t be trusted with our water, and its rail project certainly can’t be trusted with one billion dollars of public money,” said Ms Lyons.


Quentin Farmar-bowers also commented:
“These days off setting carbon pollution is not mandatory but it ought to be.
When Adani opens his Australian paid for coal mine there will be a substantial release of methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. This is in addition to the carbon pollution generated by the machines that will be moving thousands of tonnes of soil. The soil contains organic matter that will oxidise and so release even more carbon dioxide.
So who is going to take responsibility for this pollution?

Adani has no money. If he did he would not have asked for a billion dollars from the Australian tax payer as part of Australia’s aid to India.
So it is clearly the responsibility of the primary funder of the coal mine: that is the Australian tax payer.
So how do you off set carbon pollution?
One way would be to establish forest on agricultural land. Expensive on land though and also on water.
Another is to build renewable energy facilities and use these to replace coal fired electricity. This may the way to go for the Adani mine.
It will have to be a substantial wind farm to do the job
There are other things to off set like loss of biodiversity and loss of health and so on
It’s going to be a very very expensive exercise for the Australian tax payer. Luckily the royalties might cover a little bit of the cost.

So the REAL answer is for Australia to donate $1,000,000,000 worth of solar panels to India and wash our hands of this silly mine.
If Turnbull feels bad about this he could return Adani’s donations. He could even give Adani a personal payment of $100,000,000 to get lost. It would be cheaper and better for the whole world.
Offset are a good bargaining position.
Every megawatt hour “saves” one tonne of CO2.
Every tonne of coal burnt produces about 3+ tonnes of CO2.
To produce a megawatt hour in a year you need about a kilowatt of solar panels.
So to offset a coal mine producing a million tonnes of coal (= 3 millions tonnes of CO2) a year you need 3,000 kilowatts of solar panels.
That is a lot of bread!
By the time they have offset the coal production there is actually no point in digging it up as the market for electricity has already gone to solar.”

 


The fossil fight


In America, authorities have declined the North Dakota pipeline permit, and the protesters are celebrating it as a win. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has declined permission to build a dangerous oil pipeline through Standing Rock tribal lands in North Dakota, following months of direct opposition by indigenous groups, U.S. military veterans and clean water activists.

The company constructing the pipeline had said it was unwilling to reroute the project, but protesters remain vigilant against future attempts to undermine this victory by President-Elect Trump, who wants to invest in coal and oil despite new polls showing that his supporters want him to support a renewables boom across the U.S.


Dangers of coal mining

Dangers of coal confirmed as 32 die in latest Chinese tragedy
Thirty-two miners were confirmed dead on Sunday in the second coal mine explosion in a week after an explosion hit a mine in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia midday on 4 December 2016. News of the blast came just hours after 21 miners were confirmed dead in Heilongjiang province following an explosion that left them trapped for four days in an unlicensed coal mine. It also comes after at least 67 workers were killed when a platform at an unfinished coal plant collapsed last month, and on October 31 when 33 miners died following a coal mine blast in Chongqing.


ENVIRONMENT

The climate emergency unfolds


“Last year was the warmest on record, and this year is on track to be even warmer. Extreme weather, along with public policies affecting food and water supplies, can worsen or create humanitarian crises. Of the most immediate concern, sharply reduced crop yields in multiple places simultaneously could trigger a shock in food prices with devastating effect, especially in already-fragile regions such as Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Compromised access to food and water greatly increases the prospect for famine and deadly epidemics…”
John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, in a speech on 16 November 2015 at the Opening Session of the Global Security Forum 2015, held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies





Expect climate catastrophe: Paris Agreement lacks enforcement
“Despite the political fanfare in Paris, the planet is likely headed for irreversible catastrophic climate change. To bequeath a livable planet to our grandchildren, citizens must demand of their governments greater global transparency and enforcement measures against emissions”. By Andres Corr

Armed forces prepare for climate change

“Last year the US Defence department issued a directive that dictates that climate change be incorporated into every aspect of US military training and preparedness.

The directive says Defence must be able identify and assess the effects of climate change and take those effects into consideration when planning. It must anticipate and manage risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell “said that while we didn’t know where the problem of climate change would take us, he said climate change was the ‘ultimate threat multiplier’.

Campbell said armed forces had their role to play in response to climate change, not just in adopting best practice on environmental management and energy needs, but in increasing the use of Defence assets in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. He said the scale of climate change problems, their unpredictability and the level of support required from land forces were key issues for Defence. He should be commended for delivering this message.”

….and wow, something must be changing – because the above text was published in… The Australian – a paper which generally presents climate sceptic and pro-fossil fuel views.




“Notice the rivers reducing. There are only two kinds of people who deny this: Rich people who know it’s true but don’t want their profits to be affected. And idiots.”
Cornell Williams (534 liked this comment by 5 December 2016)

“It looks like we’re a disease! Wait, we are!! We’re killing the earth!! We will never learn until it’s to late.”
Eric Koehler

“We are a species that is changing the very planet we live on. Unfortunately that change is threatening the very ecosystem service that we require to survive. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

Question: What are you prepared to do, pay or change so your great grandkids have the chance to live in a world that has a mild stable climate?
We vote everyday as consumers. We reward the behaviour of those companies that we patronise.
As feeling, sentient beings we can either chose a path of selfishness or selflessness, paths that leave a scar or tread lightly on these ecosystem services.”
Stuart Whitney



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Climate change debated in the Victorian Parliament

Debate on Victoria’s new climate change laws, the Climate Change Bill, started on 8 December 2016. Nicola Rivers, Director of Advocacy and Research in Environmental Justice Australia wrote:

“Disappointingly the Liberals and Nationals have decided to vote against it.

Peter Walsh MP, head of the Victorian National Party asked in Parliament this morning what the cost to jobs would be if we act on climate.

Brad Battin MP, Liberal Spokesperson for Emergency Services and Environment argued States shouldn’t take action to reduce emissions and that Hazelwood power station, the dirtiest power station in Australia, should remain open.

Ellen Sandell MP stated that the Greens would support the Bill because, although it could be stronger, it is a step in the right direction.

We agree.

If passed these laws would set 5 yearly climate emission reduction targets for Victoria leading to net zero emissions by 2050, and would require all Victorian government agencies to determine how they would reduce Victoria’s emissions to meet the targets. Although the Bill is not perfect and we would prefer it was stronger, it sets some very clear requirements and intentions for government to embed emission reduction and climate adaptation into their decision-making and take action every year to reduce emissions. If passed, the Victorian Labor Government appears committed to use the new laws to set genuine targets and work across all areas of government to achieve them.

The Bill passed the Lower House without Liberal and National support, but without those parties the Labor Government will need support from the Greens and cross benchers for it to pass in the Upper House. Debate in the upper house will start next year.”



States need to step up
“Just this week we saw the Turnbull government in complete disarray over its climate change policy with the right wing really setting the agenda and blocking Malcolm Turnbull from taking any action. So it is becoming clearer and clearer why states need to step up.

This is especially the case for states like Victoria, where we are disproportionately responsible for causing climate change due to our carbon-intensive brown coal power industry. (…)

Victoria is already feeling the effects of climate change and has experienced a rise in temperature and a reduction in rainfall across the state since 1950. Droughts have been getting longer, bushfire seasons are becoming more unpredictable and more extreme, and extreme weather events are becoming more and more likely.

Just last week, experts told us we are now seeing weather patterns and events across Australia that we did not expect to see until at least 2030, which is a pretty frightening prospect. So climate change is happening even faster than scientists have predicted, and that is very scary, especially as we go into another dangerous, long, hot fire season.

So we are running out of time to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. It is entirely possible that it is already too late to avoid any impact on Victoria — on our environment, our agriculture, our economy and our way of life.”
Ellen Sandell, The Greens, state MP for Melbourne


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 ADDITIONAL: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we think you should know about



https://twitter.com/ClimateGuardia/status/806956621918130176

Thanks to Malcolm Turnbull

Thanks to Malcolm Turnbull, the victory of climate sceptics is almost complete! (Click to read more…)








» The Guardian – 9 December 2016:
On climate policy and power prices Turnbull is talking rubbish. Here are some facts



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nobel-divest-call

Nobel prize winners call for divestment

14 Nobel Prize winners and scientists have released an open letter calling on the Nobel Foundation to divest its $420 million endowment from fossil fuels.

There’s a particular irony that the Nobel Foundation – established to celebrate those who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit to [hu]mankind” – should be funding its activities from the profits of companies doing the most to threaten humankind like BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and Lukoil among others.

“The Nobel Foundation can influence not only others to divest, but also inspire our world leaders and our fellow citizens to act more swiftly to address climate change. The time could not be more urgent,” wrote the 14 Nobel Prize winners and scientist.

Mik Aidt wrote in a comment on www.facebook.com/nobelprize:

“With decisive global influence and 3.5 million Facebook-followers comes a huge moral responsibility. We have a climate catastrophe breathing down our neck simply because of a huge communication breakdown, where science and facts are manipulated and distorted to mislead the public, for one simple reason: human greed.

You praise great minds and great leadership, you reward great achievements. Fine! But if you don’t realise the responsibility you have to take some leadership on climate change yourself, as an organisation, and as foundation, what kind of world do you anticipate to be handing out your Nobel Prize in, in say a hundred years from now?

Defence forces around the world are currently preparing for what climate change will bring in terms of conflicts and deaths.

It would be good to see Norwegian Nobel Committee take a clear stand for peace and progress by making a difference in this communication war.

To begin with you could communicate to these great minds and leaders, along with the rest of the world, that the only right thing to do at this stage is to become carbon-neutral as an organisation, and to ensure that not a single krone of your fund is invested in climate-destructive fossil fuel projects.

This time of the year is a good time for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to announce to the world that you are divesting from fossil fuels.

It all boils down to take a stand. It really is as simple as that. An email to the committee members could be all it would take. The decision is not at all difficult to make.

We keep setting new records for carbon emissions on the already overheated planet. We cross the 2°C degrees line within just a decade or two. Maybe even earlier. To avoid going above the famous 2°C degrees, we can’t cross 405ppm of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. We are at 400ppm right now – and climbing. Surely, your committee members would fully aware of what is going on – behind the scenes as well.

The rising CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has been allowed to reach this point only because our thought-leaders at all levels have kept quiet about what it is we need to do, and how fast we need to do it.

“The future will be terrible, and if we do nothing, it will be even worse,” Dave Coulson, a British biology professor and author, said recently.

For an organisation with a voice such as yours, you can’t not take a stand. Doing nothing is taking a stand just as well. For an intelligent species we are collectively acting remarkably stupid. You’d expect, if any, a committee such as yours to make a difference here and show the way we need to act in order to change things to the better. To give hope to the increasing numbers of people around the world who understand what is happening and who have fallen in despair.

World-changing physicists, chemists, journalists, lawyers and authors of the IPCC report all argue that Nobel ‘should not profit from the destruction of our planet’s climate’. Please listen.”



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POLICY | PETITION:

Make the polluters pay

“If you make a mess, you clean up. But when big companies pollute, we, the citizens, are paying the price – with our health and with the climate being destroyed. We have to stop this. You can help to push politicians to adopt an ambitious EU-law, which puts a price on the CO2 pollution and forces the polluters to clean up after themselves,” wrote WeMove.eu.

» The EU petition can be signed here




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Food

» The Conversation – 8 December 2016:
How to reduce your kitchen’s impact on global warming
“The food we eat is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint. In research recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production we ranked fresh foods based on how much greenhouse gas is produced from farm to fork.”



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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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1 comment for “Joining dots of economy, energy and environment

  1. 11 December 2016 at 23:32

    In news item about $1B loan to endanger reef, you make mention that even biggest army base in Texas is inverting in renewables. It may be interesting to know they previously had big diesel gen sets, needing full backup, for security, but suffered failures if skilled folks didn’t power them up periodically. But this costs. So they found themselves a software package to identify when power from the grid is high, which then triggers fire up of gensets. So US Army can now actually make money. Believe this led to possibility of making more money with renewables and high value of cleaning up wave form of electricity supplied from/to grid.

    Software used is from small team in Melbourne, acquire some time ago by big transnational Schneider. Competition products previously hadn’t been successful because of need to communicate with various proprietary boxes monitoring electricity at different nodes in large sites. For each of these, comms needed to be configured, awkward and intricate. So this product autogenerates config code for each brand and model of proprietary box. Eureka, US military convinced, biggest single power generator,

    BERNIE.

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