Movement to stop coal aims to become unstoppable



Our guests in The Sustainable Hour on 29 March 2017 are Doug Rolfe from the Alternative Technology Association, and Anine Cummins from 350.org Melbourne – as the largest anti-coal movement in Australia’s history is kicked off to stop Adani’s mega coal mine in Queensland, the country’s dirtiest coalfired powerplant closes, and local councils and businesses increasingly show leadership and take initiatives to protect our climate. More info below.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 162 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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Residents in the Australian state that wants to build the world’s largest coal mine are suffering severe damage, injuries and even deaths as Cyclone Debbie continues to rampage down the Queensland coast. The media uses words such as ‘catastrophe’, ‘emergency’ and ‘destruction’ in their headlines, but remains mysteriously quiet about any climate change connection and human irresponsibility as the cause of this calamity.

With the American president signing an executive order to dismantle all Obama’s climate policies, we’ve got some new dots to connect between our warming climate, the economy, science, corruption and collapse.

In The Sustainable Hour on 29 March 2017 we raise our glasses for Hazelwood – the old, coalfired powerplant – one of the world’s most dirty and polluting power stations – which is being switched off for ever today. More than half of Australia’s global warming pollution comes from the energy sector, and big polluting coal power stations are the main culprits. Still 20 more of them to go.

We talk with Doug Rolfe from the Alternative Technology Association over the phone as he is attending the first Electric Vehicle conference in Geelong – about the perspectives of getting electric vehicles manufactured locally in the city.

And Anine Cummins from 350.org Melbourne gives us the details about the Stop Adani Roadshow which came to Brisbane Tuesday night and is heading for Melbourne on Friday. With 1,200 people attending in Brisbane it was sold-out event. Friday’s Stop Adani event in Melbourne, with room for 1,400 people, is going to be sold out as well. That’s good news for a more sustainable Australia – and bad news for Adani and the Queensland Premier.



 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


Join the Stop Adani campaign

Queue at #StopAdani in Brisbane on 28 March 2017

“Geelong Sustainability believes that the fight against the Adani mega mine is our line in the sand. We cannot allow any new coal mines for the sake of the climate, the Great Barrier Reef and future generations. So the organisation has signed on as the Geelong contact for the Stop Adani campaign.”

→ You can sign up here to hear more from Geelong Sustainability and receive a meeting invitation. Help campaign in our community to #StopAdani!

With renowned speakers from around the world and Australia, the #StopAdani Roadshow is travelling the country this week, building an unstoppable movement to end the polluting influence of the fossil fuel industry, and provide you with all the tools and resources you need to get involved.

Can you attend the Stop Adani Roadshow in Melbourne this Friday?

WHEN: Friday 31 March, 6:30pm–9:00pm
VENUE: Melbourne Exhibition Centre – Plenary 2, South Wharf
TICKETS (close to being sold out on Wednesday already!): $10-15, click here to register

Stop the Adani mega mine – move Australia beyond coal

» Read more: blogpost about the Stop Adani campaign



“A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)


Musicians Stopping Adani

31 March at 5:30pm to 6:30pm in Melbourne Exhibition Centre

muso_logo.jpgInvitation to a special briefing and planning session, activating musicians to help stop the climate-wrecking Adani coal mine

As part of the #StopAdani Roadshow, Green Music Australia and 350.org present three special briefings for musicians interested in supporting and participating in campaigns to prevent the biggest coal mine in Australia from being built.

This is the single most important fight in Australia to protect our fragile climate, to save the Great Barrier Reef, and to prevent ever worsening fires, floods, droughts and heatwaves. If you have ever thought about getting active, now is the moment, and these briefings are not to be missed.

You will hear from:

  • Green Music Australia founder, Tim Hollo, about the role of musicians in social change;

  • 350.org activists about the critical importance of Adani and campaigns to stop it; and

  • Ash Grunwald about his experiences with direct action and activism as musicians.

Places are strictly limited to 15, so RSVP as soon as possible is essential: info@greenmusic.org.au



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Welcoming civil disobedience

Lee Thiannon: Why civil disobedience matters

In the Australian parliament, Lee Thiannon, senator for New South Wales and a member of The Australian Greens, acknowledged and welcomed civil disobedience as a way to create change in society.



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Welcome to the Australian Circus Coal & Climate

“The Prime Minister will have blood on his hands if he continues to burn coal.”

~ Adam Bandt The Australian Greens


“Pathetic of Shorten and Turnbull to claim they are sympathetic to people suffering from the cyclone while condemning people who point out the obvious cause of increasingly drastic and severe weather events,” said Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Takvera has produced an informative rundown of the Australian political Coal & Climate Circus:

» NoFibs – 30 March 2017:
Greens dare criticize coal and climate policies during #CycloneDebbie reports @takvera


“To fulfil the Paris agreement, efforts to combat corruption and climate change must go hand in hand. Corruption, in the widest sense of the word, is the glue that holds the “system” together, that ensures that moneyed and powerful interests are free from rules that are meant to hold them in check. It is why governments that pledged to make large reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions have been unable to meet their commitments.”

» Live Mint – 27 March 2017:
How corruption fuels climate change
“To sustain progress in the fight against climate change and corruption, environmental and anti-corruption movements will have to work together”



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Sustainable transport

The first electric cars appeared in the 1880s, and initially electric cars were popular, until the common combustion engines for mass production and burning of gasoline became cheaper to use than the electric solution.

“People are suffering from a lack of information and aren’t aware of the capabilities of electric cars.”
Doug Rolfe, ATA, quoted in Geelong Advertiser


EVs boom as enthusiasm for hydrogen fuel cell technology wanes

The declining cost of batteries and expanding range of electric vehicles is putting nails in the coffin of hydrogen fuel cell cars, with Daimler stepping away from further development of the technology this week due to it being uneconomic compared to full electric cars like Teslas. Many manufacturers are ramping up EV production, and with Tesla now more valuable than Ford the tipping point for an EV future has well and truly been passed.

» Tweet:
 EV industry booming as enthusiasm for hydrogen fuel cell technology wanes via @FortuneMagazine http://for.tn/2nvJDLd

» The Fifth Estate – 22 March 2017:
How electric cars can help save the grid
“A key question amid the consternation over the current state of Australia’s east coast energy market has been how much renewable energy capacity to build, and how fast. But help could be at hand from a surprising source: electric vehicles. By electrifying our motoring, we would boost demand for renewable energy from the grid, while smoothing out some of the destabilising effects that the recent boom in household solar has had on our energy networks.”


https://twitter.com/AngleseaAC/status/845732618498822145






Car makers to clean up the car industry

It seems that there’s a new car industry scandal every week. Earlier this month, a new report claimed that Renault has also been cheating on their diesel emissions tests. And VW just pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion dollar fine for cheating their emissions tests.

» Sign the Greenpeace petition: “Tell the car companies to ditch diesel and switch to 100% electric.”

“They’ve been selling us diesel vehicles that they claimed were the “green” choice. But they lied. They manipulated emissions tests and sold us diesel cars that emit far more toxic fumes than they are supposed to. As a result, they have made air pollution worse. The only way to have clean air for us all to breathe is to ditch dirty fuels like diesel – and petrol –  completely.”

» The Guardian / Associated Press – 11 March 2017:
Volkswagen pleads guilty to all criminal charges in emissions cheating scandal

» Reuters – 15 March 2017:
Renault CEO Ghosn targeted in French diesel probe


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ReNew magazine: theme about sustainable transport

The latest issue of the magazine ReNew delves into sustainable transport, with a new look at where the EV market is heading for all types of vehicles, including a special spotlight on the fastest growing transport sector worldwide: e-bikes.

Speaking of water, as we did in The Sustainable Hour last week – on World Water Day – the new issue also has an update of their “hot water buyers guide” – perfect if a new system is on your horizon or if you are transitioning to an all-electric house.

Plus: DIY thermal imaging, a solar + battery system saving students money, building with nature in mind, whether hydrogen is a viable fuel, the pros and cons of driverless cars, the future of long-distance travel, selecting plants for your garden and much more!

ReNew 139 will be in newsagents from 3 April 2017, and is available for purchase online and via subscription

» www.renew.org.au


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SEA Automotive: 80 new jobs in Geelong Electric Vehicle project

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced on 5 October 2016 that SEA Automotive in Geelong will receive $516,720 in funding to support its work producing electric powered commercial vehicles.

The company is among the first group of successful recipients of its $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund grants.

This grant will fund the first stage of a commercial electric vehicle manufacturing facility, with the long term aim of developing an innovative range of electric powered commercial vehicles. The initiative is expected to create employment for around 80 highly skilled, automotive assembly workers in the Geelong region over the next four years.

» Source: www.g21.com.au



Climate emergency


How many more disasters do we need before politicians and corporate leaders put aside ideology and cooperate to overcome the challenge of climate change?

With Australia experiencing the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and record-breaking rains and severe flooding in south-east Queensland and along the north coast of New South Wales, here’s a look at how global warming has, and will, push floods and cyclones to new extremes.

» Climate Code Red – 1 April 2017:
Climate change pushing floods, cyclones to new extremes, with worse to come


A chart of average global temperature anomalies from three different agencies. Credit: World Meteorological Organization

» Live Science – 23 March 2017:
Human-Caused Climate Change Made 2016 Way Too Hot
“The year 2016 was one for the record books, at least when it comes to the weather. Last year had the highest global temperature in modern history and extremely high levels of carbon dioxide and sea level rise, as well as exceptionally low levels of Arctic sea ice, according to the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These alarming weather events and trends are continuing into 2017, the WMO said in a report released Tuesday (March 21).”


Climate and economy



Financial Effects of Climate Change

American senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s 158th ‘Time To Wake Up’ speech in the American Senate is about implementing a carbon tax.



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International Energy Agency:

“Climate action will benefit the economy”

A recent report by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency says climate action will boost the global GDP by about 0.8 percent in 2050, or $1.6 trillion, and the cumulative gain through increased GDP will be around $19 trillion from now until 2050.

» Bloomberg – 21 March 2017:
Paris Accord Could Make the World $19 Trillion Richer
“Efforts to slow climate change won’t just keep the planet habitable. They will also boost the world economy by $19 trillion”



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Energy company:

Climate is a material, financial risk

Last week, Blackrock, the world’s largest investor, responsible for US$5.1 trillion under management, released its policy on how it intends to engage on climate risk.

“Given that former Federal Resources Minister and current Queensland Resources Council chief executive, Ian Macfarlane’s day job is to spruik Queensland’s coal and coal-fired power stations, and the gas of Woodside’s competitors, into an ever diminishing market, a potential conversation between Blackrock and Macfarlane would make for great listening,” commented Daniel Gocher, Head of Research at Market Forces, in an article in RenewEconomy.

In Australia, Woodside are one of just six listed energy and utility companies that formally identify climate change as a material business risk. Woodside now acknowledges the Paris Climate Agreement, it supports carbon pricing, and is taking steps towards better disclosure of climate risks.

You may not have heard about Woodside Petroleum, but it’s big: Woodside has a market capitalisation of more than $26 billion.

According to Gocher, the question we should be asking is: If Woodside classifies climate change as a material, financial risk, then why doesn’t every other energy company?





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» National Observer – 21 March 2017:
Provinces considering carbon pricing watch Ontario’s first cap-and-trade auction
“Prime Minister Trudeau has said all provinces must set up a cap-and-trade system or impose a price on carbon of at least $10 per tonne starting next year”



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Scientists’ response to climate impacts



 

“Scientists deeply care”

 
 


» Time for scientists to march





 
PRN FM – The Gary Null Show:

How long does humanity have? A look at feedback loops and worse case scenarios for our species

» Download the episode (right-click and save)

» Play the episode on PRN.fm or on YouTube.com

The headline of this radio program may sound very alarmist and even extreme, but this American program on the Progressive Radio Network PRN is actually quite sober. An hour’s radio about climate tipping points looming. We are not being told the full truth, says Gary Null.

He interviews Dr Guy Mcpherson on 26 January 2017. McPherson is a professor emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He has specialized in forest resources, energy decline and climate change and its economic consequences. In the past he has also taught at Texas A&M and University of California at Berkeley.

Having become disillusioned with the American university environment and academia, and after attempts by university officials to silence his outspokenness about the human causes of climate change, Guy abandoned his tenured position as a full professor for ethical reasons of conscience. He is the author of several books, the latest co-written with Carolyn Baker entitled ‘Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind’.

» www.guymcpherson.com


“Physical and environmental science research shows that roughly half of the topsoils on Earth have been depleted in the last 100 years; more than 90% of fish stocks removed from the world ocean; greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise each year (stalling only when there is a major financial crash); methane is now being released from Arctic tundra and the high-latitude oceans; and we are now in the sixth mass extinction event in our planet’s 4.5 billion year history…”

“The negative emotions and feelings of darkness, sadness, grief, fear, shame, and pain that are quite natural companions to the knowledge about what is happening in the world.”
Joe Brewer


» Medium – 25 March 2017:
Why Being Realistic Feels Like Doomsday Thinking


“Global warming will bring terrible loss and sadness to many people.  We can’t give up fossil fuels in any degree because we don’t want to so we can’t.  If we did want to we still can’t because we have no control over our political systems, less still over the corporations that own and control them.  So that’s that.  We need to deal with the situation.  Pacific Islanders are just going to have to move.  The Australian bush will just have to burn and North Queensland will just have to be flooded away.  The east Coast of the US will have to get destroyed by storms, which is such a worn out movie cliché anyway.   Glaciers are alright in their way but who’s really going to miss them?  The third world was never financially viable; it will be a mercy killing. So we live in dramatic, spectacular, significant times. …”
Veronica ‘Trilby’ Wentworth-Smyth, director of the Arts Charity Trust


“Depression, worry, anxiety, substance abuse, aggression and even suicide…”

“Climate change is predicted to bring more than just floods: There could be heat waves, sea level rises causing loss of land, and forced migration and droughts affecting agriculture and the farmers producing it. And with these concerns comes a plethora of issues plaguing the human mind, such as depression, worry, anxiety, substance abuse, aggression and even suicide among those who cannot cope.”

» CNN – 14 March 2017:
Depression, anxiety, PTSD: The mental impact of climate change



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“Doomed to fail”

Our current economic system of continuous growth is based on a completely fictional model and is doomed to fail, Satyajit Das told the ABC on 9 March 2017.

Only lowering our living standards will achieve sustainable growth. That’s the message from Satyajit Das, a former financier who anticipated the GFC. Debt, energy consumption, housing affordability or superannuation – it’s all based on a financial system that’s in fact a completely fictional model. This model was always doomed to fail – eventually.

‘Beyond growth as we know it – How can we stop consuming our future?’ was presented by The Rescope Project on 4 February 2017. The ABC program is presented by Paul Barclay.

» ABC RN – 9 March 2017:
Big Ideas: Consuming our future

» Download MP3 audio file



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Religious response to the climate crisis

“Already the desert is extending, waterways are drying, Arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate. We are standing on the threshold of an ecological apocalypse. Climate change is an atom bomb waiting to explode.”

“We are gathered here today not against ISIS terrorists. We are gathered here against economic terrorists and ecological terrorists.”
~ Charles Bo, cardinal of Myanmar, speaking to 132 participants of a religious conference in Yangon on 27 February 2017



Call to Catholics:

Climate crisis is “environmental holocaust

“Climate change is real,” the archbishop of Yangon told the 132 participants in a strongly worded keynote speech that outlined ‘ecological sins’ and the need for ‘ecological conversion’. Pope Francis “is raising the great cry against this impending disaster,” Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo said. Calling the current climate crisis “environmental holocaust” and citing Laudato Si, the cardinal called for the need for global ecological conversion.

» National Catholic Reporter – 27 February 2017:
Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo calls for ‘green theology of liberation’


Call to Christians:

Speak boldly for stronger action on climate change

“I find hope hard. I’m witnessing the decline of the Great Barrier Reef from my Facebook feed as our elected representatives promote the construction of one of the largest coal mines in the world to be built right next to it (Adani’s Carmichael coal mine). Even at a time when breaking heat records has become normal, fossil fuel companies are still given billions in subsidies to further pollute the earth.
So what on earth does Christian hope look like amidst all of this?

Part of it is about speaking up in a bold way – in a way that will actually cost us something. The Government’s climate review is coming up and it’s a big opportunity for Christians to speak boldly for stronger action on climate change. Sign up as a petitioner here and let’s speak boldly for stronger action on climate change.”
~ Jody Lightfoot, Common Grace

» www.commongrace.org.au/become_a_climate_petitioner





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Climate polls

VICTORIA STATE GOVERNMENT:

Climate targets become law as new poll shows huge support

Victoria has become the first state to legislate a target of zero climate pollution by 2050. It has also enshrined renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025 into law.

The announcements come as independent research shows over eight out of 10 Victorians support the targets, and nine out of 10 believe the State Government should act on climate change.

Conducted by Wallis Research on behalf of Sustainability Victoria, the research canvassed a sample of over 3300 Victorians representative of the broader state population and with a low margin of error.

» View the key findings on www.sustainability.vic.gov.au


Age matters

The question of climate change science is also a question about how old you are – in the Australian parliaments as well as on the street:

• Young people: 7 out of 10 agree climate change is caused by human activity
• Old people: 5 out of 10 agree.

• Young people: Less than 2 out of 10 believe that the evidence is still not in, 1 out of 10 don’t know what to think.
• Old people: 5 out of 10 believe it is not in

“Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?”

63% (up 7% since November) of Australians agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity and 27% (down 5%) believe that we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate. This is the highest recorded agreement that climate change is happening and caused by human activity over the last 7 years.

By age groups, those aged under 35 split 70% agreeing and 18% believing we are just seeing some fluctuations. Those aged 55 and above split 48% agreeing and 46% believing it is probably just some fluctuations.

» See more on www.essentialvision.com.au





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How we must respond to climate change

Community, institutional and corporate leadership essential

Listen to what Ian Dunlop had to say at the Engineers Australia climate action seminar held in conjunction with the Canberra finale of Steve Posselt kayak trek on 25 February 2017. Well worth 45 minutes of your time.

» See the full presentation on webcast.gigtv.com.au

“Community, institutional and corporate leadership, in its own self-interest, is essential, as politics will never lead on an issue this complex. Corporates, investors, the community and the professions need to take up these issues as a priority, given that, even today, they are fundamentally changing every policy arena,” said Ian Dunlop in his presentation at Engineers Australia’s Climate Action Seminar on 25 February 2017.


“Unless global warming is addressed on an emergency basis a healthy global environment and economy will not be possible. The climate and energy interaction means conventional economic growth cannot continue. On the other hand, the societal benefits, investment and commercial opportunities in creating the low-carbon economy are unprecedented.”


» Ian Dunlop’s Facebook profile

Numbers are still building towards the goal of 100,000 signatures on the Emergency Declaration petition, so please continue to encourage friends to sign online at www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/sign


#ClimateEmergencyDeclaration   #PetitionToProtectEverything   #ClimateSolutions   #NoMoreBadInvestments   #Kayak4Earth



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Trump-merica’s declaration of war against the planet

“For Trump to tear up every single regulation instituted by President Obama on climate change and for him to say that that will no longer be a concern when they make their decisions, is not just a fuck you to the rest of this world, but it’s a declaration of war against the actual planet.”
~ Michael Moore, filmmaker


Trump:

“Climate action hurts American business”

The Trump administration claims climate action will hurt the American economy. So Trump and his administration has now cut 38 Environment Protection Agency programs, will be gutting the Clean Power Plan, allowing coal mining on federal land, pledging to roll back vehicles’ fuel economy standards and reversing Obama’s executive order that asked federal agencies to incorporate the social cost of carbon – putting a money value on the damage climate change will inflict – in program assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The administration wants to to discontinue anything purporting to mitigate climate change. Even the Energy Star program which is popular — and voluntary. Energy Star is not a mandatory regulation, nor a ‘job killer’. “We can only assume that it’s on the list because its strong connection with climate change,” writes professor Aseem Prakash and professor Nives Dolšak in The Washington Post (Analysis: Why Trump wants to kill a popular climate change program).

Trump has signed an Executive Order that threatens to undermine one of the most important environmental gains of the past decade. This Executive Order is a hand-out to polluters and the oil and gas industries. This action sends the clearest signal yet on Trump’s priorities: polluter’s profits are more important than Americans’ health.

Many see Trump’s executive order as nothing but a bag of wind. It will not create mass jobs – will more likely reduce the increase of jobs in renewable energy as confidence wanes. The few jobs that are created will be very short term. They will take years to create and will disappear again as soon as Trump is booted out.

If Trump worries you, please spend five minutes to listen to the introduction of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s 160th ‘Time To Wake Up’ speech, which he gave on the day Trump signed his executive order:



“This is a dying industry for reasons that aren’t merely environmental. They’re commercial as well. And while climate denialism is one thing, this commercial denialism is quite another because in the long run, it screws the very people it claims to be protecting. That’s because it proceeds from a world of false promises and false hope.”

Conservatism was lost long ago

Solid points and some dots connected well by Waleed Aly in The Guardian:

“U.S. President Trump said on Tuesday that he’s putting an ‘end to the war on coal’ with an executive order that will undo a slew of Obama-era climate change policies. To grasp this, consider the state of Australian climate policy. We are a nation that chose to ditch a carbon price, opting instead for a policy that pays companies that want to abate some of their emissions, while leaving undisturbed those who don’t. We did so on the promise of keeping power prices low and rescuing high-emissions jobs. And yet here we are with energy prices surging and coal power plants closing – nine of them in the past five years.”

“Hazelwood isn’t the victim of a green revolution in Canberra. And it hasn’t been saved by the Abbott-led brown one. If any green movement did this it comes to us from France, the home of Hazelwood’s owner company, Engie. Engie is closing coal power plants all over the place – in Belgium and the UK before Australia – and not by accident. In fact, it’s intending to ditch all its coal plants because it wants to focus on renewables. That’s the business decision it has made.”

“Conservatism is meant to be about such things. Its wisdom lies precisely in its attitude to change: its concern that we recognise when it is inevitable and make it as undisruptive as possible. It was never about some obstinate denial of reality that prefers some fantastic, alternative universe. But it seems serious conservatism was lost long ago. We’ve seen how that plays out here, and America now faces something similar.”
Waleed Aly, a Fairfax Media columnist and a host on The Project.

Read his piece:

» The Guardian – 30 March 2017:
The fantasy that coal has a future helps no one
“It’s a story of steady decline, artificial enemies and false hope. And it’s a story that tends only to produce misery.”


“Pity Donald Trump, who really believes that his executive orders can hold back the tides. Trump is surrounded by cronies rather than flatterers, and they and their foolish, ignorant king believe that by denying climate change they can restore the wealth and glory of coal, oil, and gas. They are wrong.”


» Project Syndicate – 31 March 2017:
Donald Trump’s Climate Fantasies
Article by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University


Other responses:

» Vox – 28 March 2017:
A simple way to see why Trump’s climate order won’t bring back many coal jobs

Grist: “President Trump just signed an executive order aimed at sweeping away all traces of U.S. efforts to fight climate change. This isn’t just a rollback. It’s a slash and burn.”

ThinkProgress: “President Trump’s executive order on climate change is here, and it is great news for anyone who hates breathable air.”

Mother Jones: “Trump just released his plan to gut Obama’s climate policies. It’s worse than you thought.”


Trump attack on clean energy rallies opposition

By Tree Alerts

President Trump has signed his Energy Independence Executive Order suspending more than half a dozen of Obama’s climate measures, to a chorus of voices warning that the main focus of his order – undoing the Clean Power Plan – faces major challenges over the coming years. The order has drawn condemnation from scientists and politicians across the world, with European leaders in particular rallying behind the clean energy transition.

President Trump’s ‘Energy Independence Executive Order’ to roll back Obama’s climate action legacy is going to face problems at every turn, from legal challenges to the inexorable rise of renewable energy across the U.S., where States have introduced hundreds of clean energy bills this year.

A diverse array of US voices, from sports representatives to state and city coalitions, have vowed to fight the order every step of the way, and continue their work towards a clean energy economy.

The renewables train has left the station, creating more new jobs than the dirty energy industry. Coal jobs will not come back, no matter what Trump does – something the coal industry itself has told him. Trump’s determination to kill all climate rules comes from a combination of climate denial and fossil fuel cronyism in the White House and the EPA, which appears to have based its arguments on a debunked report funded by the coal industry.

Poll after poll shows public support for climate action, and a new analysis shows nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all jobs in coal and gas by five to one. California Governor Jerry Brown vowed to continue to fight climate change calling Trump’s plans a “colossal mistake”, environmentalists labelled them as a threat to health, jobs and the economy, and the European Union’s Climate Commissioner pledged that Europe – would take the lead on climate action. Trump has not pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, but the question now is how he plans to meet US obligations to cut carbon pollution.

Even coal companies admit Trump’s plans won’t bring back coal jobs, noting that they have not been lost due to regulation, but rather to competition from renewable energy and gas, and technological changes. One utility has already stated that it will continue to cut emissions and close coal plants, regardless of what the White House does. A total of 248 coal plants have closed since 2010 and this executive order does not change the real economy, it will not bring dead and dying plants back to life. Meanwhile the rest of the world is set to take advantage of the US falling behind in the race to create prosperous, carbon free economies, particularly China who are leading the clean energy revolution, with India closing in on the top spots.

Climate science denial – the ultimate fake news – has been well and truly adopted by the White House and a US Administration stacked with fossil fuel lobbyists. The links between Trump staffers and the fossil fuel industry are well documented, but the administration continues to rub shoulders with deniers in public. Just last week the head of Trump’s transition team, Myron Ebell was a key speaker at the Heartland Institute’s climate denial conference, complaining that the US was not going to leave the Paris Agreement. An event attended by funders Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah who have respectively supported both Trump’s Presidential and Heartland’s denial campaigns.

 

COVERAGE 

RESOURCES

» Source: Tree Alerts



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Years of Living Dangerously:

The good news… The bad news… Week of 24 March 2017

WE’RE IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE. CAN THE GOOD NEWS CATCH UP TO THE BAD?

This week, the ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ team got reports of serious climate impacts coming in from all around the world, from Peru to the Arctic. But new research shows positive progress on beef and the impact of clean energy on the economy. Here is what they summarised in a newsletter:

The bad news

FLOODING TURNS DEADLY IN PERU
The usually arid coasts of Peru have been hit with the worst floods in 20 years, caused in part by warmer ocean water. The floods have killed over 70 people. Read More 

2017 SETS NEW RECORD LOW FOR ARCTIC ICE
The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced this week that this year marks a new low for sea ice in the Arctic. With 14.42 million square kilometers of sea ice, the new record is 97,000 square kilometers less than the previous record—an equivalent to the size of the state of Maine—which was set in 2015. Read More

BOUNCY GRASS BUBBLES ARE AN OMINOUS SIGN
Melting permafrost is a less discussed source of greenhouse gas. As permafrost’s icy composition melts, it releases methane once trapped, potentially creating a dangerous feedback loop. In famously frozen Siberia, methane is forming bouncy, grass-covered bubbles, which seem increasingly common. One report says 7000 of these bubbles have been identified, up from about 15 last year. Read More

KEYSTONE XL GETS PERMIT
The Keystone XL pipeline, which was rejected under Obama, has been resurrected. Today, the project received a permit from the State Department, following a 60 day review. Read More


The good news

CLIMATE ACTION WOULD BOOST THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
A new report finds that avoiding catastrophic climate change would boost the global economy. A transition to a low-carbon economy, according to the report, would cost about $1.8 trillion a year, while at the same time would yield $10 trillion per year in benefits by 2050. Read More

AMERICANS CUT BACK ON BEEF
A new report out this week showed that Americans reduced the amount of beef they ate by 19 percent from 2005 to 2014. Beef can have one of the heaviest environmental footprints of all foods, so the cutback on burgers and steaks is good for the climate too. The report estimates that the associated reduction in pollution is equivalent to taking 39 million cars off the road, about a sixth of the total number of vehicles registered in the U.S. Read More

MEET THE PEOPLE WORKING TO FIX CLIMATE CHANGE
The Environmental news site Grist has released its annual list of 50 inspiring people working to solve climate change. This year’s list includes our own Camila Thorndike and Page Atcheson, founders of Our Climate and organizers of the #PutAPriceOnIt campaign.
» Read More 

CALIFORNIA CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOR A BETTER CLIMATE
Yesterday, California passed the nation’s strictest regulations on “super pollutants,” which includes black carbon from diesel exhaust, hydrofluorocarbons from refrigerators, and methane from cow manure. These greenhouse gases don’t stay in the air as long as carbon dioxide, but they can cause much more warming in the short-term.
» Read more

[ENDS]


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Climate solutions

Advocating for a carbon law of halving emissions every decade

“A ‘carbon law’ states simply that the world must halve emissions every decade to stand a chance of reaching a stable climate system for the planet.

We emit about 40 gigatons of carbon dioxide a year. Assuming emissions start falling by 2020, and using the carbon law as our guide, we should halve carbon dioxide emissions to 20 gigatons by 2030. We then should reach 10 gigatons by 2040, and leave a small residual of five gigatons by 2050.

To make this happen, we must ramp up technology to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, protect the oceans and land that absorb half of our emissions already, and transform the world’s food system from a major carbon emitter into a major carbon store.

A carbon law of halving emissions every decade can be adopted at all levels: for individuals, families, communities, companies, cities and nations. Those with the biggest carbon footprint need to do the most.”
Johan Rockstrom, director of Stockholm Resilience Center and professor of global sustainability at Stockholm University.

» Science Magazine – 24 March 2017:
A roadmap for rapid decarbonization (PDF)
“Emissions inevitably approach zero with a ‘carbon law’.” By Johan Rockström et al.






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“It’s obvious what has to be done. Take the politics out of the climate emergency ‘debate’. First kick the fossil fuel lobbyists out of Canberra. That means a ban on political donations and strict guidelines about access to politicians by big business. Government is about providing services, and managing the country for the benefit of all. Not about propping up corporate profiteers and abdicating responsibility to ‘the market’.”
Miriam Robinson





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Germany: 41 GW of people-powered solar

“For a number of years, we saw a growth of seven gigawatts and more. Since that time solar energy has become an important part of our day-to-day business and the capacity in Germany reached 41 GW by the end of 2016. During this short time, it became clear that this form of distributed grid edge energy is the most widely recognised innovation in an arena of completely new ways of producing, consuming and sharing of energy.”
Peter Terium, CEO, Innogy

» Medium – 25 March 2017:
The global energy system is changing, and customers must take centre stage




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» The Sustainable Hour no 151 on 7 December 2016 with Phil Baulch:
Joining dots of economy, energy and environment




ACTION POINT:

Something you’ve gotta do

Comments close 5 May 2017.
Submit your response to The Discussion Paper which is for the review of Australia’s climate change policy









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




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