Beyond our water pipes

Future water security lay outside the usual water delivery infrastructure. In The Sustainable Hour on 11 July 2018, our guest is the Victorian Minister for Water and Police, the Hon Lisa Neville MP, who expands our vision on water in a talk about water efficiency and behaviour change, storm water, wetlands and tanks, fracking, climate change and other risks to our water security, and what the the next state election has to do with that.

Audio clips: Dr Jeremy Leggett about fossil fuel companies being taken to court, and The Juice Media about fracking for gas in the Northern Territory.

Music: ‘If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous’ by Sarah McQuaid and ‘Limits’ by the Formidable Vegetable Sound System.





Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 224 on 94.7 The Pulse:

The Sustainable Hour this Wednesday was produced by: Colin Mockett, Anthony Gleeson and Mik Aidt

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

  » Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast via iTunes or Stitcher





 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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


 #WATER: 

Lisa Neville: Guarding our water

As a minister for Police, the Hon Lisa Neville MP guards our waterways and fresh water resources with an extra level of authority. She is Minister for Water and Police for the Government in Victoria, serving as the member for Bellarine, representing the Labor Party.

Following the Victorian state election in 2014, Neville was made Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. In May 2016, she then changed to be Victoria’s Minister for Water and Police. In The Sustainable Hour, she explains how this has worked out well for her.




» Lisa Neville’s home page:
www.lisanevillemp.com.au

» Find contact details on www.parliament.vic.gov.au


Sustainable water strategy review

Communities in Victoria’s central regions are encouraged to contribute to the Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy review.

Media release from www.delwp.vic.gov.au on 28 June 2018:

“REVIEWING WATER STRATEGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Sustainable Water Strategies are long-term plans for water resources across Victoria’s Gippsland, Northern, Western and Central regions.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Sustainable Water Strategies Senior Manager Chris McAuley said this is a landmark strategy that has had an enormous impact on water management in the region.

The Central Region covers Greater Ballarat, Greater Geelong, Inner West, Greater Melbourne, West Gippsland and Westernport, with more than 80 per cent of actions outlined under all strategies now complete.

The Central Region SWS is important to sustainable water management in Victoria, and was established during the Millennium Drought in 2006.

To date 104 of the 112 actions identified in the Central Region SWS have been completed.

The review is not developing a new strategy or new policies. Rather the review report summarises the delivery of the actions within the SWS, documents lessons learnt and outlines issues for consideration in a future SWS or SWS’s incorporating the Central Region.

Minister for Water Lisa Neville said community input is vital to the review and will help outline how water management has changed since the strategy’s release and identify lessons learned to inform a new sustainable water strategy process.

Key accomplishments under the Central SWS include:
• 60 GL of water transferred to the environment across the Central Region,
• the reduction of water consumption by 30 percent at the height of the drought,
• significant improvements in water use efficiency which have now become permanent water saving measures, and
• improved interconnection of water systems increasing options for meeting demand.

The strategy was also among the first in Victoria to recognise indigenous values of water, leading to formalised engagement with Traditional Owner groups in the subsequent Victorian Waterway Management strategy.

Community members are encouraged to contribute to this report as their feedback will be crucial to informing future strategies.”

» To view the review report or contribute go to www.engage.vic.gov.au


Connection between Aboriginal people in Geelong and water

The connection between Aboriginal people in Geelong and water recognised with a new program funded by the Government.

Media release from www.delwp.vic.gov.au on 22 June 2018:

“ABORIGINAL VALUES ARE KEY TO GEELONG’S WATER FUTURE
Minister for Water and Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville congratulated the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority for receiving a grant under the inaugural Aboriginal Water Grants Program, which supports Aboriginal participation in water management to improve outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

The Labor Government is providing $120,000 to support a local Aboriginal Water Officer to help support the opportunities for Aboriginal values of water in partnership with Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal people.

This statewide program, in partnership with Traditional Owners across Victoria, aims to support spiritual and cultural uses of water, and create employment opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians.

It will also support the self-determination of Traditional Owners by prioritising projects that best meet their needs regarding water management on Country.

The grants support initiatives that enable Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to work in water management, and understand and promote Aboriginal water values, uses, aims and requirements, including:

• Recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water.
• Include Aboriginal values and traditional ecological knowledge in water planning.
• Increase the participation of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in water management.

Grants of up to $200,000 are available for initiatives that seek to identify and use Aboriginal waster values and traditional ecological knowledge, and up to $120,000 for organisations who recruit an Aboriginal water officer.

Aboriginal communities’ connection to Country plays a large part in cultural continuity, with the Victorian waterways playing an important role in their sense of identity.

The Labor Government’s Water For Victoria policy sets out ways to promote water security and protect jobs, agriculture, and the environment and recognise Aboriginal water values.

The Labor Government also introduced legislation that requires all water management to have regard for Aboriginal uses and values of waterways or traditional ecological knowledge in managing these natural assets.

The list of grant recipients for the first round of these grants is available at water.vic.gov.au/aboriginal-values. Future rounds will be announced in due course.



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“Tretching from Queensland to South Australia, billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money has been poured into rescuing the rivers and streams of the Murray-Darling Basin. Linton Besser investigates where the money, and the water, is going.”

This is the Four Corners program on water theft, which Colin Mockett referred to. It was shown in July 2017.

 #NSW #WATERTHEFT: 

Murray River water theft row continues

» The Guardian – 11 July 2018:
Murray-Darling Basin Authority: former employee accuses agency of manipulating data
“Royal commissioner labels government’s approach ‘irregular and deplorable’.”



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‘Thirsty world’

“If climate change continues unabated, half the global population is expected to suffer from severe water shortage by 2050.”




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The Ecosia video that Mik mentions in The Sustainable Hour: ‘How trees provide clean water for farmers like Joram’



Tree planting Google-alternative urges Australians to make the switch

If 1 per cent of Australians used Ecosia, the search engine could plant 10,155,700 trees

According to a survey released in 2017 by the Climate Institute, 65 per cent of Australians believe Australia should be a world leader in finding solutions to climate change.

What if there was a tool that allowed Australians to become world leaders in fighting climate change? “There is!,” says the team behind the search engine Ecosia.

Ecosia generally works like any other search engine, Google for example. Search engines make an incredible amount of money with online advertising. Unlike any other search engine, Ecosia invests 100 per cent of its profits in reforestation projects all over the world. This means that by switching to Ecosia as a search engine, users can plant trees every day.

An average Ecosia user helps finance 41 trees per year. So if 1 per cent of Australians switched to Ecosia, they could help plant an additional 10,155,700 trees.

An average tree in Ecosia’s reforestation project portfolio sequesters 50 kilos of CO2 over the course of its lifetime. This means that Australian Ecosia users could help take 507,785 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere in one year.

“Help Ecosia make Australia a world leader in fighting climate change and spread the word about the tree planting alternative to Google & Co” – start using www.ecosia.org when you need to search for something.





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 #CLIMATEELECTION: 

State election in the horizon

“It is time to start voting for new people who will put the environment – and the climate crisis which the world is going through – front, centre and at the top of the list.“
~ Colin Mockett in The Sustainable Hour

Extreme weather events are the new, and dangerous, normal. People are dying in a global heatwave. The Arctic warms. Energy companies and governments know all about the impact air pollution is having on the environment, but they are not taking the necessary steps to mitigate that risk. For most people and businesses, it’s totally free to use the atmosphere as a dump for greenhouse gases. So who’s paying for the direct harms to our state from man-made climate change? We are.

On 24 November 2018, Victorians will vote for who is going to define our state’s policies addressing climate change. Only, climate change is not on the agenda for this election, if we are to go by the latest ReachTEL poll for The Age. At The Sustainable Hour we will be asking the candidates again and again: “Where does the environment sit on your agenda?” And when they talk around corners and say nothing, then we will tell them we can’t recommend people vote for them.





 #CLIMATEELECTION #COMMENT: 

COALition of coal-huggers

“It might be a good time to remind voters that it was the Coalition that banned the building of wind generation in Victoria in 2011. This killed a growing local industry and severely curtailed new electricity supply in the state. This decision was reversed by Labor in 2015.

This meant we were poorly prepared for the inevitable closure of the 57 year old Hazelwood power station last year.

Yet the Coalition that caused this situation – jumped on Twitter last summer – every time there was a blackout – blaming Labor and renewable energy – but never once actually checking WHAT was the cause despite this information being easily available on the AEMO Twitter account.

And guess what – in common with 98% of other blackouts, distribution problems were responsible.

This should be pretty troubling that the party that wants to run the state – not only don’t care for the truth but don’t know how things work.

The Coalition have promised to remove the VRET – which is driving investment in the renewable energy sector on this state – increasing supply – which in turn brings down wholesale prices, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and directly employs 100s.”
~ Comment on Facebook


 #COALKILLS: 

AEMO’s advice to burn coal for longer fails Australians and the need for climate action

Environment Victoria has condemned today’s recommendation by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to keep Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power plants operating for as long as possible.

Media release from Environment Victoria on 17 July 2018:

“Any suggestion that we should burn coal for as long as possible is ridiculous and totally fails Australians’ interests when it comes to climate change,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.

“The National Electricity Objective requires AEMO to consider price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply. In the 21st Century, given that electricity is over a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, it verges on lunacy that AEMO does not have to think about climate change.

“That’s how we get advice from AEMO to burn coal for as long as possible, even if it condemns us to a world that is increasingly hostile. The National Electricity Objective needs to be re-written to include climate change considerations.

“The report highlights that a mix of firmed renewable energy is the cheapest form of new generation. We should be increasing our investment in renewables to speed up the transition, not lagging behind and relying on ancient, polluting coal power stations.

“We have already been labelled one of the worst countries in the world on climate action. We need to take action through real government ambition in the transition to renewable energy.

“The $27 billion that AEMO estimates will be needed to replace Australia’s coal-fired network is less than half of what we are currently spending on the NBN, or about half of what the Turnbull government is spending on just twelve submarines.

“Renewable energy is already helping push power prices down. Poll after poll shows Victorians want more investment in renewables to help push prices down, cut pollution and create new jobs in regional areas.

“Victorians want to put an end to dirty energy, not to extend its lifespan. There is no reason to wait when we can start building our renewable future now,” said Dr Aberle.



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 #CLIMATECRIMINALS: 

Interview with Dr Jeremy Leggett

“It is becoming cheaper in some places to build new solar plants than it is to run existing coal plants. And in Kentucky and other places, new solar, battery, wind companies are employing out of work coal miners because they have got complimentary skills.”

“If you are in an oil or gas company, be very careful, because this isn’t just about economics. This is about liability. And in the law courts right now, cities, companies, individuals, school children are taking these companies to court, accusing them for a range of crimes – from security fraud right through to murder, first degree murder, knowingly keeping going and defending the status quo. I’m not saying that this is right – don’t shoot the messenger here! – I’m just reporting what is happening in the court rooms of the world. So I am saying to them: Be very careful. You may not secure your retirement.”
~ Dr Jeremy Leggett

Dr Jeremy Leggett from the United Kingdom is founding director of SolarCentury, founder and chair of SolarAid, and a researcher and writer on climate, clean energy, technology and the future of civilization.

Recently at FundForum International 2018, he was asked to do this interview summarising his keynote talk about climate change and the opportunities and threats to investment management.

» Share on Youtube




» Below2c – 10 July 2018:
Where We Are In The Clean Energy Revolution



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Facebook advertisement for Australian Ethical Super Fund

 #CLEANENERGY #AUSPOL: 

ACCC misses the mark on solar

“The final report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into electricity prices contains many valuable suggestions to reduce power bills but prematurely ending support for rooftop solar isn’t one of them,” the Clean Energy Council said.

Excerpt of media release from Clean Energy Council on 11 July 2018:

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rooftop solar is one of the few direct ways that households and businesses are able to reduce their power bills.

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides modest support – which continues to reduce every year – which has encouraged the installation of rooftop solar power on almost two million homes,” Mr Thornton said.  

“Something the ACCC has not considered is that the solar industry is regulated through an accreditation scheme that is linked to SRES through legislation. The accreditation scheme has been instrumental at maintaining high safety and quality standards during a decade of massive growth.  
     
“Virtually every part of our power bill has gone up this decade, but technologies like solar power, solar hot water and energy efficiency are some of the few things that are actively making a difference in cutting the cost of power for people from all walks of life,” he said. 

Mr Thornton said some of the other recommendations by the ACCC definitely had potential, but any intervention in the market by government needs very careful consideration to ensure it does not damage investment confidence that is crucial to bringing on new power supply.

“The recommendation that the government support new development financing by guaranteeing offtake in the later years of new projects is technology neutral – and not designed to favour coal or gas as has been reported. This provision could help to encourage PPAs between businesses and developers of new energy projects. But recommendations like this need to be considered carefully in the context of the market, and to ensure they do not end up being twisted to meet a narrow political agenda,” he said.

“The good news is that, as outlined in a report released by the Australian Industry Group last week new wind and solar projects built under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) are already starting to reduce wholesale power prices and this will accelerate in the years ahead as more come online.”


Excerpt of media release from GetUp on 11 July 2018:

“The bombshell report from the ACCC has exposed the blatant market manipulation and massive mark-ups that big energy companies use to drive up prices and gouge their customers.

This report is a damning indictment of the energy sector heavyweights, but doesn’t come as a surprise. 

GetUp’s own Dirty Power Games report exposed the rorts and rip-offs in the sector almost two years ago, proving coal-fired power companies like AGL, Origin, and EnergyAustralia aren’t just fuelled by dirty energy, they’re dirty all the way down.

If you’re still with AGL, EnergyAustralia or Origin, you can fight back. Join 20,000 GetUp members who’ve left the Big Three for a cleaner, fairer energy company today. 

» Switch to Powershop now



What’s the answer? Flooding the market with cheap, clean renewable energy to drive down prices, rebalance the energy sector, and take the power back from these coal-fired dinosaurs. 

The problem is we can’t rely on this government to do what needs to be done. It’s paralysed by a hard-right clique that are already using this report to agitate for their favourite cause —more expensive, dirty, coal-fired power, funded directly by public money.

But while the government twists itself in knots trying to avoid the elephant in the room, the rest of the country is getting on with the job. 

We are building renewable energy infrastructure in our neighbourhoods, putting solar panels on our rooftops, and supporting companies that do the right thing by investing in renewable energy. 

That’s why 20,000 of us have switched away from the dirty energy cartel to GetUp’s energy partner Powershop – named greenest energy company by Greenpeace three times running. 

We’re sending a message that we won’t sit still while the government refuses to move on the dirty energy giants. We are voting with our wallets for a cleaner, fairer alternative. 

The truth is there is so much to be done to solve Australia’s dirty energy crisis. GetUp members have done the groundwork by funding and championing visionary policies like the Repower Australia Plan, but with the Turnbull government missing in action on renewable energy, we need to lead the way. 

Switching away from the worst offenders in the industry to better alternatives like Powershop not only sends a powerful message, it means you’ll no longer be contributing to the bottom lines of Australia’s biggest polluters. 

More reasons to switch to Powershop 
• Support for renewables: Powershop is owned by a 100% renewable energy company, with firm commitments never to invest in fossil fuels like coal and coal seam gas

• Price drops, courtesy of renewable investment: This year Powershop dropped prices across Victoria, New South Wales and southeast Queensland off the back of a massive investment in clean energy.

• Carbon-neutral: Powershop offsets all its own emissions, as well as any emissions associated with their customers’ energy usage

• Transparency and fairness: Powershop has always strived to provide customers with transparency over their usage and billing and provides fair comparisons to all customers. 

• Collective impact: Together, GetUp members have wiped an estimated $66 billion off the bottom lines of the Big Three and offset 120,000 tonnes of CO2 by switching to Powershop.

Although Powershop is owned by a 100% renewable energy company, it’s important to note you won’t receive renewable energy if you switch —you’ll still receive the same mix as everyone else on the grid. But you will be supporting a company that has shown strong, consistent, and vocal support for renewables, and backed that up with regular large-scale investments.” 

1. Power rip-offs: ACCC lines up energy giants, The Australian, 11 July 2018 
2. Electricity prices: ACCC calls for new powers to fix ‘market manipulation’, The Guardian, 11 July 2018 
3. ACCC calls for major reset of energy sector to drive down power bills, Brisbane Times, 10 July 2018 
4. Dirty Power Games, GetUp, August 2016 
5. Pro-coal Nats welcome ACCC call for government to underwrite low-cost power generation, The Australian, 11 July 2018
6. Powershop drops prices in Victoria, Powershop Blog, 1 March 2018 
7. Powershop drops prices in NSW and South East QLD, 25 June 2018 
8. AGL Energy – I can see clearly now, Credit Suisse Research and Analytics, 19 March 2015 


Petition to save renewable energy

Excerpt of media release from Adam Brandt and Ellen Sandell, Australian Greens Victoria, on 11 July 2018:

“Today, Malcolm Turnbull announced that “renewables do not need to be subsidised any longer”.

His comments come off the back of an ACCC report into electricity prices that proposes abolishing the rooftop solar support scheme 9 years early and instead providing public subsidies for gas- and coal-fired power stations.

Renewables are under attack from the ACCC on one side and Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull on the other. Help us save renewables by adding your voice to our campaign.

This report proposes policies that will strangle renewable energy. It could literally spell the end of federal policies that promote renewables in Australia. If the small-scale renewable energy scheme (which supports rooftop solar) is abolished, there will soon be no federal incentives for renewable energy. Right now:

• The Renewable Energy Target stops growing in 2020
• The National Energy Guarantee is inadequate
• Rooftop solar schemes are facing the axe

Without the small-scale renewable energy scheme, there will be nothing left to bring in new renewables.

Don’t let the coal-huggers win. Sign our petition to save renewable energy.

The ACCC’s proposals to scrap support for renewables and to provide public money to ‘dispatchable’ power including coal and gas will help Malcolm Turnbull corral Tony Abbott and the Trumps on the backbench behind a disastrous new energy policy.  

Right now, political punters, journalists and business are poring over this report, deciding which of the 56 recommendations to take on board. They need to reject the anti-renewables garbage in this report.

Help us send them a strong message that we won’t stand idly by while his government trashes renewables.

With an election looming at both the state and federal level, the old parties are hypersensitive to public sentiment. By mobilising support for renewables, we can show them that this is an issue that shifts votes.”

» Sign the petition


“P.S. The best ways to cut power bills and bring down pollution are to build more renewables and to stop big corporations ripping off customers. We’ll have an exciting announcement about this soon, stay tuned!”

Adam Bandt is the Federal MP for Melbourne. Ellen Sandell represents the electorate of Melbourne in the Parliament of Victoria



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The Juice Media: ‘The Australien Government ad’

“The Australien Government has made a tourism ad for the Northern Territory and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.”

» Share on YouTube or Twitter


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Sarah McQuaid: ‘If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous’









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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?




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