People-powered solutions saving on emissions and money

“Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”
~ Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica, May 2018


Find out what the renewable energy revolution looks like from the inside. Today in The Sustainable Hour, we are not just talking about the popular energy revolution which has hit Australia, we are signing up to become a part of it ourselves: We are putting our roofs on the table, so to say, and giving solar a go. This is our rebellion against the polluting and greedy energy industry and the imprudent politicians who fail to regulate it. The stakes are high because we are in a race against an emerging eco and weather system catastrophe.

“We’ve got to each independently do what we can do. It is not enough just to sit around and wait. Come along to the events. Get involved. Make a personal action yourself.”
~ Dan Cowdell, project leader, Geelong Sustainability

In the studio
Dan Cowdell, Geelong Community Solar Program, Geelong Sustainability
Alicia Brown, 100% Clean Bellarine
Alex Georgiou, ShineHub

Deakin International’s English language class
Philip Agyapong, architect from Ghana
Pouriya Ebrahim Pour, architect and mechanical engineer from Iran
Osmani Juarez Cuyuch, industrial engineer from El Salvador

Speeches
Sarah Mansfield, councillor, City of Greater Geelong

• Vicki Perrett, president, Geelong Sustainability

Prerecorded interview
Ian Dunlop, CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Geelong residents at solar community meeting
Sheryl Biddle, Jen Fuller and Lindsey Fuller

Music
Fredrika Stahl: ‘Make a Change’




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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


Why I am interested in this community solar program


Interviews with Jen Fuller, Sheryl Biddle and Lindsey Fuller recorded after Alex Georgiou’s presentation at Geelong Library on 14 May 2018

» Read more about the community solar program here



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Here come the decarbonisers

Welcome to the ‘war room’ of the energy revolution

“Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation, and we will be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”

Wouldn’t it be great if Australia had a prime minister who’d be talking sensibly and responsibly like that?

Sadly, we don’t.

In his budget speech recently, treasurer Scott Morrison couldn’t bring himself to say the words “climate” or “change”. Investment in climate solutions is heading off the cliff. Meanwhile, energy minister Josh Frydenberg is bullying the states and territories into accepting the ‘NEG’ – a policy that locks in low ambition on climate. And what’s critical, if not directly criminal when considering the long-term impact: the country’s carbon emissions have been rising now three years in a row.

But Costa Rica does.

The country’s new 38-year-old president, Carlos Alvarado, made the decarbonisation announcement to a crowd of thousands during his inauguration last Wednesday.

The French people are lucky too, as they elected a relatively young leader, Emmanuel Macron, who understands and shares the urge for decarbonising our societies, and who speaks often and at length about it:




» The Guardian – 18 May 2018:
Climate change an ‘existential security risk’ to Australia, Senate inquiry says
“Threat is not a possible future one but one endangering Australia now, parliament told.”

Climate change is a current and existential national security risk to Australia as well as to everyone else – a risk that could inflame regional conflicts over food, water and land, and even imperil life on Earth. A Senate committee inquiry told this to the Australian parliament this week.

Can the message get any clearer?

This Senate inquiry sends a very firm message to anyone who calls him- or herself a leader in business, government, media, church and council, along with all the artists and people with influence, many of who cowardly continue to ignore the threat – and in some cases even deliberately misguide the community.

Enough of the cowards and the laggards. It’s time for a community rebellion against the climate criminals on this planet – and to stop the dangerous air pollution. No more procrastination on this matter of urgency.

The good news is that the uprise is happening. And that politicians who haven’t understood this will wake up one morning very soon and find that they have lost the election. The story is changing very quickly now. Like Alex Georgiou tells us in The Sustainable Hour today:

“It’s about creating a better future. And we are sick and tired of waiting for Big Business or Government to bring the solutions for us. We have seen how that is going back and forth, and it’s getting worse and worse and worse. So our partnership here is to get people together, leverage people power and do it ourselves.”
~ Alex Georgiou, CEO, ShineHub

On the ground, locally, here in Geelong, we do are lucky to have some brilliant decarbonisers of our own – as so many other cities do all around the planet: The renewable energy industry now employs more than ten million people worldwide. That’s ten million people in the business of taking us to the global zero carbon goal – this the greatest task of our generation – one solar roof and one wind turbine at a time.


It’s a real revolution. And it’s exciting to see how it has arrived now in our little corner of the world as well. Yackandandah, a small north-east Victorian town of 950 residents, is aiming to be powered only by renewable energy by 2022 – in just four years – and Hepburn Shire aspires to become Victoria’s first 100% renewable municipality.

And meanwhile, in renewables-legendary Canberra:

» One Step Off the Grid – 16 May 2018:
ACT to change law to drop gas and pave way for all-electric suburbs
“The ACT is taking steps to pave the way for the rise of all-electric, gas-free suburbs, as part of the next step in its nation-leading push for 100 per cent renewable energy.”

There is no reason Geelong shouldn’t be able to follow Yackandandah’s, Hepburn’s and Canberra’s lead. It is only a question of residents and businesses getting together and making it happen.

If historians, some time in the future, were to assign a specific date to when we crossed the line and got to work with that great task of our generation, then maybe they will say: it all started on the 14th of May 2018, when Geelong Sustainability and ShineHub gathered a couple of hundred local residents at the Geelong Library and the community rebellion against Big Energy and parliamentarian laggards took off.

This is why today in The Sustainable Hour, we are saying welcome to the ‘war room’ of the energy revolution: The Renewables Revolution is on.

“We’re witnessing the start of a community-wide movement that is taking advantage of rapidly-improving technologies that create more energy at a lower cost and contribute to a better future.”
~ Stan Krpan, CEO, Sustainability Victoria

» Sustainability Victoria – 28 February 2018:
Community-based energy programs taking hold





“Why wait for fossil fools when we can build renewables ourselves?”
~ Michael Bones, Head of Engagement at Future Super

» My Future Super – 18 May 2018:
3 Solar Farms That Prove Everyday Aussies Can Supercharge The Renewables Revolution


Turnbull government: huge fail on climate change
When something life-threatening knock on your door, what do you do? Pretend the threat’s not there? No! You deal with it. If you can, you fix it.

In the case of climate change, what we have to do is rapidly wean ourself off those fossil fuels that we now see threaten life and eco systems on our planet. Decarbonise:

“Ending the climate crisis means we have to keep fossil fuel reserves in the ground. That means stopping all new coal, oil and gas infrastructure, and banning future fossil fuel projects — by 2020. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”
~ Go Fossilfree

In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews wants to go to the November election pretending he is a crusader for the climate. However, the Greens calls the Premier a ‘climate charlatan’ and a ‘climate change pretender’, because instead of investing in renewables, his government has just opened up 1,300 square kilometres of pristine coastline in Western Victoria to offshore and onshore gas drilling.




» The Age – 16 May 2018:
Andrews government opens up state’s western coastline to gas drilling

» Friends of the Earth Melbourne – 17 May 2018:
Andrews govt gas drilling plan undermines climate and energy credentials

Friends of the Earth Melbourne is also calling for the Victorian government to step up and show greater leadership on climate change while this Coalition government is in office. How about it, Premier Daniel Andrews, Treasurer Tim Pallas, and Minister Lily D’Ambrosio?

Ban on offshore gas makes economic sense

Margaret Hender from Cedamia wrote:

“In brief, new oil/gas projects will pay no Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) and no income tax (due to PRRT credits) – we basically give away new gas to fossil fuel companies. We also don’t have a gas shortage – gas companies already export more than half our gas, and domestic demand is falling.

Believe it or not, Bass Strait gas is already being exported. It travels in reverse in the Moomba-Melbourne pipeline, then along the Moomba-Queensland pipeline to LNG facilities on the Queensland coast. Once it reaches there, about 8 per cent of the gas is ‘wasted’ on the processing to convert it to liquid for LNG exports.

New offshore oil and gas in Commonwealth waters pay no state royalties, but perhaps those in state waters will (onshore gas pays state royalties), but either way, royalties only bring in a pittance to state coffers, particularly if you factor in the subsidies states pay to gas companies.

This means that a ban on all new offshore (and onshore) oil and gas would have to be the easiest and least-cost way of reducing future carbon emissions.

The bizarre thing is that, all a gas company needs to do to continue to avoid having to pay PRRT and income tax is to continue to spend money on new exploration and extraction projects (any expenses add to PRRT credits, which offset income tax liability).

A ban on new oil and gas would mean federal coffers actually have more money to spend on health etc than if they continue to allow new oil and gas!

Help break down the gas shortage myth and the economic benefit myths that give new gas proposals their social licence: Promoting the Offshore NMBI petition and also the Vic NMBI talking points might be a starting point.

» More info below Cedamia’s Offshore NMBI petition with an overview of the economic implications of banning new oil and gas projects.

» The Guardian – 14 May 2018:
Gas boom fuels Australia’s third straight year of rising emissions
“LNG was major contributor to 1.5% rise in year to December 2017, government data shows.”






Not happy with the politics? Time to quit the fossils

Get off gas. Quickly! That’s the only proper response to this stupidity we are seeing play out in our parliaments. Life will be better and safer without gas. And now we know how we do it:

Replacing Big Energy with community solar


» The Fifth Estate – 15 May 2018:
Bill shock powers a renewables rush
“Almost half of Australian businesses are investing in renewable energy to beat rising power costs and reduce their carbon emissions, according to a new report from the Climate Council.”

» Geelong Sustainability – 15 May 2018:
Replacing big energy with people-powered community energy


Hashtag #EnergyRevolution

#PeoplePower #CommunityEnergy #RenewableEnergy #CommunityRebellion #CleanEnergy #RenewableEnergy #FossilFuelFreeFuture #BreakFreeFromFossilFuels #ClimateSolutions #DropthePolitics #ClimateSolutions #SafeClimateFuture #StoryChange #ActOnClimate #VicClimateSolutions #LowCarbonLiving #ZeroCarbon #CleverCreativeGeelong


My Efficient Electric Home

“The Australia-originated Facebook group My Efficient Electric Home is for folks who wish to openly (i.e. not via Private Messaging) discuss methods and especially share data re space heating, water heating, and cooking in homes using devices powered/fuelled only by electricity, rather than by fossil gas, LPG, or wood.” 

By Tim Forcey

Of particular interest is the use of high efficiency heat pumps for space heating and cooling, water heating, clothes drying… Energy efficiency is of course key to My Efficient Electric Home, as is the generation (e.g. via rooftop solar PV) and storage of electricity.
Data / info regarding home economics, comfort, health, convenience, aesthetics, and feng shui are all welcomed.

The Facebook group commenced in June 2015 under the name ‘Ururu Sarara Discussion Group’ and as that former name suggests, we originally focused on the characteristics of the Daikin US7 7 star reverse-cycle air conditioner. The group name was changed to “My Efficient Electric Home” in June 2016 to reflect the ensuing broader discussions.

Key foundation references for the concept of the Australian “all-electric home” include:

• BZE’s ‘Buildings Plan’ (2013)

• The ATA’s ‘Are we still cooking with gas?’ (2014)

• Richard Keech’s & BZE’s ‘Energy Freedom Home’ (2015)

• The University of Melbourne’s ‘Switching off gas’ (2015)

More recent articles:

» The Fifth Estate – 19 October 2017:
Cutting the gas. Has the all-electric home’s time finally arrived?
Article by Tim Forcey

» The Conversation – 10 January 2017:
Can Facebook help make your home more sustainable



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“Climate change is real and it’s having an impact on our emergency services.”
~ James Merlino, Victorian Emergency Services Minister

» News.com.au – 16 May 2018:
Climate change impacts Victorian emergency fight
“Climate change is impacting on Victoria’s emergency services, including access to firefighting aircraft, Emergency Services Minister James Merlino says. The state’s fire season is starting earlier, lasting longer and is more intense, and the state needs more aircraft.”



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100% Clean Bellarine

Creating the pathway to 100% renewable energy for the Bellarine Peninsula.

100% Clean Bellarine is looking for people with an interest in renewable energy and sustainability who are willing to register as casual volunteers.

» Connect with 100% Clean Bellarine:
Facebook
Email





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Ian Dunlop about climate change solutions

Ian Dunlop is the former chair of the Australian Coal Association and former CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Existential risk of climate change

“Australian politicians again fail the community by refusing to confront the Existential Risk of Climate Change

Today the Senate Inquiry into the Implications of Climate Change for National Security released its final report.

We hear a great deal about our national security these days, which is used to ratchet up constraints upon the community in myriad ways, some justified, others not. For example, fears of terrorist activity, undue foreign influence, activist civil society speaking the truth to power, and much more.

But the big failure of the political class is its continuing refusal to address the greatest national security threat of all, which is human-induced climate change.

To its credit, the report recognises climate change as an existential threat, but then shrinks from addressing it.

This is an emergency – it needs leadership, not waffle.”
~ Ian Dunlop


» More about the national security report

Military: Climate change an existential security risk



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Arctic ice and insects disappearing

» The New York Times – 14 May 2018:
In the Arctic, the Old Ice Is Disappearing
“This, along with a near-record low for sea ice over all, supports predictions that by midcentury there will be no more ice in the Arctic Ocean in summer. As darker, heat-absorbing water replaces reflective ice, it hastens warming in the region.”


» The Guardian – 17 May 2018:
Climate change on track to cause major insect wipeout, scientists warn
“Insects are vital to ecosystems but will lose almost half their habitat under current climate projections”

» Inside Climate News – 17 May 2018:
Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows
“Limiting global warming to 2 degrees and not the more ambitious 1.5 degrees would put far more species at risk of extinction. Insects are especially vulnerable.”


“Managed retreat”? Tricky!, says Bloomberg

“With sea levels rising and flooding homes, some policymakers have argued that “managed retreat” away from the coasts is our best option. Christopher Flavelle has a terrific piece in Bloomberg on why that has proved tricky in practice:”

» Bloomberg – 2 May 2018:
America’s Last-Ditch Climate Strategy of Retreat Isn’t Going So Well
“After two vicious floods, Sidney, N.Y., decided to pull back from the river. Seven years later, things haven’t turned out as planned.”



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Geelong calendar

Coming events

Rod Quantock

The Farmer’s Place this Saturday night

Tickets are still available from www.eventbrite.com

Tickets include:

Entree – Breads and selection of house-made seasonal dips

Main – share meal style

Four Hot Dishes
– Moroccan Lamb rague
– Chicken Coq Au Vin
– Cauliflower, Spinach and Lentil Dahl
– Pumpkin and Cashew Curry

Two salads
– Green salad
– Curry potato and egg salad
served with a selection of breads, rice and cous cous
Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 with live music, Rod at 7:30.

» The Farmer’s Place:
www.thefarmersplace.com.au


Fuji Declaration anniversary

On 20 May 2018 it is the third anniversary of the Fuji Declaration



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Fredrika Stahl: ‘Make a Change’

Published on youtube.com on 25 January 2017




 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about


“Shell’s dirty hands”

On 3 May 2018, a funereal line of black-clad performers emerged from the crowds outside the Van Gogh Museum, to make visible the print of Shell’s Dirty Hands on the glass wall of this Dutch institution.

Shell’s AGM is coming up on Tuesday, 22 May, and Friends of the Earth are calling on all climate groups and activists to organise a solidarity action or photo on that day or week. There are already action planned in Netherlands, Korea and Australia.

Shell #makethefuture



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Not a penny more to the fossils

Over 500 signatories and 140 economists call for climate leadership: managed decline and a just transition away from fossil fuels and fossil fuel financing.

Despite being the primary driver of climate change, fossil fuels are not mentioned in the Paris Agreement. The Lofoten Declaration states it is critical that governments – particularly wealthy fossil fuel producers – act to limit expansion and manage the decline of fossil fuel productions through a just transition. The Not A Penny More Declaration, a sister declaration signed by leading economists, calling for an end to fossil fuel financing was also submitted.

The ongoing UNFCCC climate negotiating session in Bonn, Germany, soon ends and it is a great moment to remind governments that tackling fossil fuel production is something they cannot ignore.

» www.priceofoil.org



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» DesignTaxi – 8 May 2018:
NGO Aims To Carve Trump’s Face Into An Iceberg To Show Global Warming Is Real



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ACF donation call:

Time for everyone who cares to stand up and be counted

Mining lobbyists using their money and power have pushed the federal government to silence environment groups, writes Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation:

“Climate pollution in Australia has risen for the third year in a row – with half of this pollution coming from just ten companies. Meanwhile, in last week’s budget, the Turnbull Government chose to slash investment in – you guessed it – cutting climate pollution.

Coincidence? Hardly…

Once again, the coal lobby has sweet-talked our government into sabotaging clean energy and propping up big polluters.

In a healthy democracy, dollars don’t determine public policy – people do. We’ve got a plan to make this vision a reality. Time after time, you’ve stood and spoken for our forests, rivers and wildlife.

The mining lobby has friends in high places and much deeper pockets than we do. But our ACF community is a powerful force for nature.

We are nature’s advocates. And we will do what it takes to keep speaking out for what matters most – the air we breathe, the water we drink and the web of life we are all part of. But we can’t do it without a unified, organised and ambitious community – and most importantly, you.”

» Call for donations:
Will you power our campaign to stand up for our democracy and your rights to participate in it?
www.acf.org.au/democracy_donate_monthly



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Disruptive decentralisation of our energy system

Professor Rolf Wüstenhagen talks about the increasing disruptive decentralisation of our energy system, the main theme of #REMforum 2018 on 31 May. #REMforum is the University of St.Gallen’s annual conference on business models for renewables and e-mobility.

The conference provides an excellent environment to build the bridge between academia, industry practitioners, entrepreneurs and investors.

» www.remforum.ch



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icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Podcasts and posts about climate change

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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?




Streaming live

facebook-square-logo2_300pxThe Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.


Podcast archive

Over 200 hours of sustainable podcasts

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows in full length:

» Archive on climatesafety.info – with additional links

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» Archive on cpod.org




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