Climate morals, psychology and engagement

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What does climate change do to us in psychological terms?

We have a social psychology researcher, Dr Andrea Bunting, with us in the 49th Sustainable Hour. Andrea Bunting is saying: Let’s speak about climate change! So we will – and with Dr Jacinta Morahan from Surf Coast Air Action in Anglesea as well. We also play a statement from Cr Andy Richards about the year-long process of creating a new environment strategy in Geelong council.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 49:

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What does climate change do to us? Not in the sense of flooded roads and bushfires and all the other physical impact, which we tend to focus on, because it is scary stuff – dramatic, and costly. But what does it do to us mentally? How do we cope with climate change? How will our kids cope with it?

Most people seem to not be coping with it at all, because they have simply shut off. Their solution to the problem is to pretend it isn’t happening. Or that it doesn’t matter. So let’s not talk about it.

Media and policitians have registered this, so they keep silent about it as well.

Meanwhile, scientists are telling us that the cost of inaction on climate change keeps rising every day we continue business as usual. To change this dangerous situation, we need to first understand the psychological mechanisms that make so many people shut off entirely from the whole discussion.

To help us with this, we have a social psychology researcher, Dr Andrea Bunting, with us in the 49th Sustainable Hour. She is Honorary Research Fellow at Latrobe University, School of Psychological Sciences and explains about her research in the psychology behind moral attitudes to climate change.

Andrea Bunting is saying: Let’s speak about climate change! So we will – and with Dr Jacinta Morahan from Surf Coast Air Action in Anglesea as well. More about this, and about the booklet with the same title, below on this page.

We have two special reasons to celebrate in The Sustainable Hour today. First of all, this is ‘Day One’ in a new and greener City of Greater Geelong council. A council which now has a policy and a strategy on how to manage some of the biggest challenges we are faced with today – climate change being one of them. The ‘Environment Management Strategy’ was finally approved in Council on 28 October 2014, after having been two years on its way. And around 30 people had come to celebrate that moment together with the councillors. We have a report from the Council meeting, and a short statement from Councillor Andy Richards about the year-long process of creating this strategy.

The other reason is that on 30 October 2014, The Sustainable Hour is one year old. We broadcasted our first show one year ago, and there are now 49 podcasts out there on the internet to show for it!

Guest in the studio

Andrea Bunting, Psychology for a Safe Climate

LetsSpeakaboutCC-coverWritten and published by Psychology for a Safe Climate, the booklet ‘Let’s Speak about Climate Chance’ provides an opportunity for readers to reflect on how they and those around them have responded to news of climate change. The booklet provides insight into how we can better encourage conversations and community engagement.

» Download the booklet (PDF)




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Pre-recorded interviews

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Jacinta Morahan, Surf Coast Air Action


Phone interview with Jacinta Morahan – Part 1


Phone interview with Jacinta Morahan – Part 2




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Cr Andy Richards about Geelong Council’s new enviroment strategy, and about how he has experienced the local mobilisation and “democracy at work”.


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Topics we talked about:
Local news
Climate, morals, psychology and mental health
Climate fact check
Climate policy
Divestment



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Local news

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Media release from Geelong Sustainability:

Council praised for sustainability policy paper

“Enough with the protesting, it’s time to party,” said numerous community and environment groups that turned up to the meeting of Council in City of Greater Geelong on 28 October to show support for the councillors’ call for a permanent ban on onshore gas extraction and its launch of a new environment strategy.

“Climate change didn’t come with a manual. But this Environment Management Strategy is a good step in that direction, both for the Council and the Greater Geelong community. It shows leadership and strength,” said one of the speakers from Geelong Sustainability, Geelong Environment Council, and Frack Free Geelong, who used the public question time to commend the councillors and officers for the new policy document.

They also reminded the 13 councillors that words and paperwork alone will not be enough. Council will have to find money in the next budget to ensure that the targets set out in the new policy are met.

Unanimously the chamber endorsed the new Environment Management Strategy which includes 10 so-called ‘One Planet Living’ principles. They also made a decision to strengthen the commitment of Future Proofing Geelong partnerships which support the continuation of the city’s low-carbon growth plan.

Geelong Sustainability’s Dan Cowdell said, “The news about Council’s recent achievements has already spread around the world. And the new strategy puts Geelong in the very good company of visionary cities such as Fremantle, Lismore, Canning, Yackandandah, and Canberra who are setting ambitious targets for how soon their electricity should be coming entirely from renewable sources.”

“The Geelong region is at a cross roads right now – the old industries are dying and new jobs are needed. At the same time the urgency to act on climate change and the need to shift our energy supply to renewable energy presents a unique opportunity to see Geelong transform into a cleantech manufacturing hub and a 21st century smart city,” said Dan Cowdell.

“The title of this new policy describes it as an “environmental” strategy. But really, as it is outlined in One Planet Living principles, this is not about “environment”, this is about “us”: It is about all those things that are important to us in our daily lives such as employment, our health, safety, and by the end of the day: our happiness and our mental well-being,” said Mik Aidt from Frack Free Geelong.

He also reminded the councillors that in order to demonstrate leadership, Council would now need to find the money to ensure that the targets set out in the policy are met.

Environment and Sustainability Portfolio holder Cr Andy Richards spoke about the importance of the EMS during the meeting and thanked the council officers and community for their help. He outlined the extensive community consultation process that that council has gone through and the further discussion and education around fracking which was also included in the EMS.



Celebration of Geelong Council’s new environment strategy on 28 October 2014
Right-click on the link below and use drop-down menu to download photo in high resolution.
Photos by Phil Hines, www.philhinesphotography.com.au

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Cr Andy Richards and Cr John Irvine is congratulated by citizens of Geelong for the launch of Council’s new Environment Management Strategy. » Download hi-res



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Citizens of Geelong congratulated Council on the launch of its new Environment Management Strategy. » Download hi-res



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Cr Andy Richards (left) and Cr John Irvine gave a speech to the citizens of Geelong who had come to congratulate them on the launch of Council’s new Environment Management Strategy. Download hi-res

» More high resolution photos can be found on www.frackfreegeelong.org/download

South-west Victoria communities and campaign groups, including Frack Free Geelong, acknowledged in the Senate



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Local ‘clean energy week’ in November

• 12-15 Nov: #OnMyAgenda event with screening of ‘Reasons for Hope’ video screenings in private homes
• Friday 14 Nov 4pm-6pm: Geelong Clean Jobs Forum at GPAC with Mark Diesendorf and more
• Friday 14 Nov 6:30pm-8pm: Film screening at GPAC: ‘The Future of Energy’
• Saturday 15 Nov 3pm til next morning: major camping event at Hepburn Wind
• Sunday 16 Nov 2pm-5pm: SCEG Growth Forum in Torquay with state election candidates



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Climate, morals, psychology and mental health

Why is climate change still not registering as a major concern for many people?

“Living in an atmosphere of that the future has disappeared in the past, and that climate disasters will put a full stop to it all is the confusing, unmanagable condition for the generation that was born in the mid-1980s. Like previous generations, it tries to find its place in history, but it must do so from a brand new existential situation. We are The Planetlose Generation,” wrote a young Dane recently in the Danish newspaper Information.

Climate change is such a huge global issue. It makes people feel quite powerless and not know what to do. In The Sustainable Hour on 29 October 2014, we talked with Dr Andrea Bunting about what can be done about that.

Philosophers have been putting forward reasons why we need to see climate change as a moral issue, and how we might conceptualise individual and collective responsibility for action to reduce its impacts. Psychologists, on the other hand, try to understand what leads people to morally engage or disengage. Key to this is understanding the moral emotions elicited by thinking about climate change.

Dr Andrea Bunting draws on both sets of literature and discusses how we can move forward in increasing people’s moral engagement.

Says Andrea Bunting, “As a global and long-term problem, climate change presents a huge ethical challenge. Climate change is the consequence of a huge number of small acts, which individually are not intended to cause harm. Moreover, the main victims of climate change – future generations and people in vulnerable countries – are distant in time and space from those who have contributed to the problem.

My main interest is in what leads people to engage or disengage with climate change. I am particularly interested in why people have become less concerned about climate change over time while the scientific predictions have become more dire, though I think that people have started to re-engage in the last year or so.

I am particularly interested in people’s emotional responses to climate change. People tend to talk about negative emotions like fear and worry. I am particularly interested in the moral emotions – such as guilt, shame and moral outrage.

It has been suggested that making people feel guilty about climate change can turn them off, so what is the role of guilt?

Then there is the issue of engaging in individual action or in collective action: what motivates people to act individually or collectively.

Another issue is the belief that one’s actions can make a difference which we call ‘perceived efficacy’. This is a very powerful motivator – or demotivator – of collective action. How do we sustain the belief that we can make a difference – and hence remain engaged?”

Dr Andrea Bunting is an active member of Climate Action Moreland and Psychology for a Safe Climate. She was a mechanical engineer and more recently a sociologist of technology, researching the institutional barriers to sustainable energy. She developed and taught a range of subjects in sustainable energy at RMIT University.

More recently, Ms Bunting has turned her attention to researching the psychological drivers for climate action, and is currently conducting research at La Trobe University on how emotions affect people’s collective engagement with climate change.


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Dr Andrea Bunting gave a talk at a fully packed Philosophy Café in the Strasse Bar of The Barking Dog hotel in Geelong West on 29 October 2014.

» Psychology for a Safe Climate’s resource links:
www.psychologyforasafeclimate.org/articles.php


» Talking Climate – a British gateway to research on climate change communication:
www.talkingclimate.org


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Richard Wilkinson: Inequality versus sustainability

“Reducing inequalities within our societies is not only important in improving wellbeing in a whole range of different ways, it is also a precondition for moving towards sustainability.”
Richard Wilkinson

Richard Wilkinson suggests there is a connection between inequality in society, unsustainable consumerism and ignoring the carbon emissions and climate change issue. Which, if he is right, should also tell us that climate campaigning in itself won’t do the trick, really – it will never be able to “mobilise the masses” as the climate campaigners are hopeful it would.

According to Richard Wilkinson, it is not going to a quick and simple operation to get a majority of people on board “the green train” as long as we don’t also deal with the ‘consumer inequality’ issues in our society.


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“It’s true that focusing on individual culpability is a limited instrument when it comes to something like climate, which so crucially involves large-scale collective action and responsibility, but it can help illuminate the extraordinary denial and resistance that has met scientists’ increasingly frantic warnings.”


» Grist – 6 November 2014:
How climate change is like street harassment
By David Roberts



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Climate fact check

“27,519 healthy years of life are lost by Australians every year from exposure to air pollution.”
» Source: Environmental Justice Australia, Clearing the Air – Why Australia urgently needs effective national air pollution laws


9°C degrees warmer in 2200

“Australia must move its economy to one that is renewable energy based… With a world that, scientists say, could be 4°C degrees warmer in 2100 and 9°C degrees warmer in 2200, no one will be burning coal and gas, regardless of how much of it there is. It will be left in the ground. The Renewable Energy Target has been so successful it will easily achieve 28 per cent by 2020. That means we should be setting higher, more ambitious targets, not ones that we will meet already.”
Stephen Bygrave, Beyond Zero Emissions



» Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research – September 2014:
CO2 emissions set to reach new 40 billion tonne record high in 2014
Carbon dioxide emissions, the main contributor to global warming, are set to rise again in 2014 – reaching a record high of 40 billion tonnes.


Banks loaned 66 billion euro to coal mining last year
A report has shown that 92 of the world’s leading banks last year provided at least 66 billion euro in financing to 65 coal mining and energy companies, and 373 billion euro (US$500 billion) in total between 2005 and April 2014.
In other words, even after the publication in 2012 of numerous reports on climate change and the clear, present and irreversible danger burning fossil fuels poses to life as we know it, bankers keep shutting off from this reality and hand out 66 billion euro to fossil fuel companies in 2013 alone. And this trend is continuing in 2014. This is how absurd things stand.
» Source: BankTrack’s Banking on coal 2014 report


71%: “Unsure of the difference my actions will make”

Polling from ComRes showed that two out of three people would be more inclined to support climate action if they heard more about the solutions. And 71% say people are less likely to take action on climate change because they’re unsure of the difference their actions will make.
Similarly, when asked about what would make them personally more likely to take action on climate, they said hearing more about the solutions (41%) and benefits (39%).”
Mal Chadwick in The Guardian



» Marketwatch – 22 September 2014:
This 1 chart exposes climate-science deniers as frauds
“This one pie chart exposes the great science-deniers hoax. Powell’s pie chart reveals why climate-science deniers have zero credibility in attacking the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change, the UN-IPCC’s 2,500 member scientists, or the IPCC’s five assessment reports published since 1988.”


Recent articles about climate psychology

» ClimateProgress – 6 November 2014:
How To Engage And Win The Conversation About Climate And Energy
Betsy Taylor of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions has updated her excellent messaging guide on climate and clean energy, ‘Climate Solutions for a Stronger America’.
Article by Joe Romm

» Grist – 28 October 2014:
Climate depression is for real. Just ask a scientist
Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely. By Madeleine Thomas

» Washington Post – 28 October 2014:
Maybe you can change people’s minds about climate change after all
By Chris Mooney

“Climate change makes us want to punch someone, says science.”

This was a headline of an article published in the magazine Grist last week. They quote a working paper from the American Bureau of Economic Research, which concludes that “an uptick in violence of all kinds” could be a huge part of what climate change looks like.

» More about the topic climate change and conflict on
www.pinterest.com/mikaidt/carbon-world-war



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Working paper on climate and conflict

National Bureau of Economic Research working paper looks at chilling connections between climate change and conflict

From bar fights to riots to international warfare, researchers continue to take note of the chilling connections between climate change and conflict. This time it’s a group from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), who conclude in a recent working paper ‘Climate and Conflict’ that an uptick in violence of all kinds could be a huge part of what climate change looks like.

The NBER study is not the first to point out such connections, but it’s kind of startling how similar this paper’s conclusions are to the growing body of research on the topic, including a report from the IPCC: Higher temperatures correlate to higher crime rates. So do droughts, floods, and other natural disasters. There’ve been claims that the war in Syria was exacerbated by climate change. People are connecting the dots between climate change and violence against women. And when one Harvard doctoral student combed through decades of U.S. weather and crime data, he came up with some terrifying specifics, as EcoWatch reports:

“Between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States,” he concluded.

» National Bureau of Economic Research working paper ‘Climate and Conflict’



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Breakthrough presentations about climate change

Last week, a special ‘Breakthrough’ forum confronted the myths and reality of dangerous climate change. The speakers talked about the “new era of climate activism” that is changing everything about the way we campaign on climate change. Two highlights:

DAVID SPRATT – AUTHOR & CLIMATE ACTIVIST:
DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE: MYTHS & REALITY
Few would disagree that the world should avoid “dangerous” climate warming, but what does that term mean? Is climate change already dangerous? Are greenhouse gas levels already too high? David Spratt outlines some of the recent developments in climate science knowledge as a way of discerning the gaps between myth and reality in climate policy-making.

PAUL GILDING – AUTHOR & STRATEGY ADVISOR:
A SUPER NATIONAL MOBILISATION
As the realities of dangerous climate change become clearer, so to does the need to rapidly transform the economy, removing all fossil fuels as fast as humanly possible. How could such a dramatic change occur? Paul Gilding explores the potential for a super national wartime scale mobilisation, and examines the role of the market, activism and policy in planning this great transition.



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Calculate the risk yourself

Would you like to calculate the risk of exceeding temperature targets, given a chosen level of CO2?
You can do this using an online calculator at:

» www.global-risk-indicator.net

The calculator gives you a chance to compare the risk of exceeding a target temperature with other risks that we face, eg. the chance of an airline fatality, or the risk of dying from lightening strike or a terrorist attack.



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Climate conference in Melbourne:

Practical Responses to Climate Change

This conference allows engineers, policy makers, scientists, planners, academics and members of the public to present, discuss and debate the latest research and practice relating to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

The conference will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

» For registration, click here.



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Climate policy

Wind turbine maker sacks 100 workers, blaming renewable policy uncertainty

Wind turbine maker Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland, Victoria, has had to sack 100 workers. The company said lack of certainty on renewable energy target has created investment drought.

This is so absurd. We are told by scientists we are threatened by dangerous climate disruption. One of our strongest weapons to combat that problem is launching a massive production of wind turbines. Instead, wind turbine makers are being forced to close down because of anti-renewables government policies.

Don’t the Australian state and federal governments have a duty of care?

Read more:

» www.theguardian.com

» www.theage.com.au

» www.abc.net.au

» Slashing the RET – it’s about defending mates, not consumers:
www.businessspectator.com.au



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Why close the Clean Energy Finance Corporation?

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was set up by the former Labor government in Australia to make investments and provide commercial loans to clean energy projects.

The Abbott government has instructed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to prepare its accounts for the upcoming mid-year economic statement on the basis that it will stop making investments on 31 December 2014 and cease to exist on 30 June 2015.

It doesn’t really make much sense, because the corporation is actually making money, not spending it. The only reason the Abbott government could possibly have to shut it down is that it helps the new renewables sector to grow, and that is not in the interest of the old fossil fuel industry. The government is protecting a specific industry sector, not its people – that is what this policy boils down to.

“The coercion of an instrument of government, enabled by legislation, to ignore and or act outside or against its remit, is behaviour usually described under the heading of corruption and normally subject to judicial condemnation and remedy,” wrote Mike Flanagan.

“Disgraceful. Shame Abbott SHAME”, wrote Phil and Mandy.

» The Guardian – 31 October 2014:
Clean Energy Finance Corporation told to prepare for its demise
“In the year to 30 June, the CEFC issued more than $900m in loans for clean energy projects, securing the annual abatement of at least 4.2m tonnes of carbon dioxide. Despite Abbott government instruction, the ‘green bank’ says it is legally obliged to continue operating until legislated not to”



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Climate science explained in 60 seconds by the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. Published on youtube.com on 10 December 2014

Maybe you could try to show this one minute video to your climate-denying uncle?

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K. Royal Society have also co-authored an excellent (and colorful) climate change primer – a Climate Change Q&A – that lays out the answers to 20 common questions.
Great to have up your sleeve for that awkward Christmas lunch with your climate-denying cousin:

» www.royalsociety.org/…/climate-change-q-and-a.pdf



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“The science has spoken, there is no ambiguity in the message. Leaders must act now, time is not on our side.”
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Updated special alert from The Tree about the IPCC Synthesis Report

“In the most comprehensive, authoritative and scrutinised assessment of climate change ever produced, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has offered its starkest warning yet about the challenges facing humanity. Not only does the IPCC show that climate change is real and that its impacts are happening faster than ever, but for the first time it lays out the true extent of human influence on the climate system. While previous estimates say human activity – primarily the burning of fossil fuels – is responsible for more than half of all warming, the latest report shows we are actually responsible for all warming since 1951.

But the main takeaway for decision makers is this: governments can no longer just be talking about emissions reductions, they need to work towards a complete phase out out of fossil fuel emissions globally. The IPCC makes it clear that emissions need to go to zero if the world is to keep global warming below the internationally agreed limit of 2DegC. In the words of experts and observers tracking the IPCC process:

“The science is in and it’s game over for fossil fuels”.

For the first time, the Fifth Assessment Report includes a strict carbon budget for governments, of which over two-thirds have already been used up. At current rates the world would burn through the rest in less than 30 years. For the best chance of avoiding severe levels of warming, governments will need to peak emissions, rapidly phase fossil fuels down to zero and transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

Such a transition is not only possible, but is economically viable, according to the IPCC. Rapid development of renewables since the body’s last Assessment Report in 2007 means that clean energy is cheaper and stronger than ever before, and bringing multiple societal benefits – including increased energy access, jobs and improved public health. Continuing down such a path and investing in renewable energy in the next few decades will also be cheaper than paying a rapidly growing bill for “severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.” Such cost savings would vastly outweigh the costs associated with the clean energy transition, says the IPCC.

Requested and endorsed by governments, the release of this report – which ends a five year process covering 30,000 pieces of evidence and involving over 2000 scientists – should act as a guide for governments working on a new global climate agreement which is due for sign off in Paris next December. Speaking at the launch press conference, IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri said the scientists were now “passing the baton to policymakers and the decision making community” to act on the report’s findings.

Also addressing reporters in Copenhagen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that “the science has spoken, there is no ambiguity in the message. Leaders must act now, time is not on our side.”

At the Secretary-General’s climate meeting in New York in September, government leaders put climate change back on the political agenda, while outside the UN hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets calling for more climate change as part of the Peoples’ Climate Marches.

The people have spoken, businesses demand action, investors want long-term certainty, and IPCC scientists have set government’s a clear choice: “either put policies in place to achieve this essential shift, or they can spend the rest of their careers dealing with climate disaster after climate disaster.” ”

» www.treealerts.org



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Denmark pledges to be coal-free by 2025

Coal is not good for humanity, Tony Abbott, and before you know it, the world will no longer be using it for producing electricity – which is going to leave you and your mates in the coal industry with a silly lot of useless scrap metal infrastructure that you are investing in and even using billions of tax payers money on supporting.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets in Copenhagen to approve its latest report, which will provide the strongest assessment to date of the dangers to life and the planet of burning fossil fuels, Denmark has pledged to examine how it can stop using coal as an energy supply by 2025.

This is five years ahead of previous targets and, as Danish Climate and Energy minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen, said, “It would benefit the climate and it would be a very, very good signal to send.”

Denmark has already set itself the target of meeting 100 per cent of its energy needs with renewables by 2050. Today 30 per cent of the country’s energy supply comes from wind energy and 20 per cent from coal.

This summer the government’s energy agency declared that onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation in Denmark, significantly undercutting coal power.

The coal industry’s future is, and must be, one of decline. The global market price for coal has already collapsed under oversupply. Dark clouds also loom over any significant expansion of the industry as renewables become cheaper and stronger and international action is taken to reduce carbon pollution.

Denmark has already set itself the target of meeting 100 per cent of its energy needs with renewables by 2050.
Today 30 per cent of the country’s energy supply comes from wind energy and 20 per cent from coal.
By 2020, Denmark wants wind energy to make up 50 per cent of its overall power supply.
A week ago, Denmark was powered 100% on wind energy over one full weekend.

» The Tree: Denmark discusses being coal-free by 2025

» 350.org: Denmark pledges to quit coal by 2025


Danish PM: “Time to get serious on climate change”

Speaking to an audience of more than 750 Sustainability Science experts, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that “it’s time for action on climate change.”

The IARU Sustainability Science Congress is meeting in Copenhagen until Friday and is intended to encourage policy makers to meet to discuss global sustainability issues with a range of different experts.

Denmark has worked hard to provide conditions to encourage the green energy technology sector, resulting in a tripling of green energy exports which now represent more than 10 percent of the nation’s total exports.

» Source: www.thelocal.dk


» Norway: Electric vehicles take 15% market share:
www.electric-vehiclenews.com



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Oil industry “taking the gloves off”

The Australian oil, coal and gas industry is taking notice of all the anti-fossil activism, and is obviously (judging from the choice of photo in Oil and Gas Insights Australia’s latest newsletter) annoyed with it. So now they are allegedly “taking the gloves off…” – whatever that means. Apparently they still don’t think activism will achieve anything in the long run.

“Shell Australia Country Chair Andrew Smith said at a breakfast in Perth this week that bold leadership was needed to step up and confront protest activity for the industry to fulfill its vision in Australia.
“Activism, boosted by digital communication, is fast becoming one of the greatest challenges facing Australian growth.” ”

» www.ogiaustralia.com



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“I think the Australian government must be one of the most ignorant governments I’ve ever seen in the sense, right across the board, on immigration or about anything else, they’re totally unwilling to listen to science or logic”
Lord Deben, former UK Environment Minister, UK, Conservative Party, about the Australian government’s repeal of climate change and environmental laws

“A recent study by Globe showed that 66 countries, accounting for 88% of global emissions, have passed climate laws.
While most countries were already taking action to tackle rising temperatures – another reason why a deal might be achieved at the crunch climate talks in Paris next year – Lord Deben singled out two countries, Australia and Canada, for criticism.
Australia in particular, where the government has repealed climate change and environmental laws, was behaving ‘appallingly’.
“I think the Australian government must be one of the most ignorant governments I’ve ever seen in the sense, right across the board, on immigration or about anything else, they’re totally unwilling to listen to science or logic,” he said.”

Lord Deben is a Conservative life peer sitting in the U.K. House of Lords, with varied business interests including being a non-executive director of the Catholic Herald newspaper.

» The Guardian – 5 June 2014:
www.theguardian.com




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Divestment

Moreland: first council in Victoria to divest

After a vote at a council meeting in the City of Moreland on 8 October 2014, Moreland has become the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels – and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments.

Around 30 cities and counties internationally have made similar commitments, including Seattle, Dunedin, and Oxford. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of similar divestment commitments made by Local Government Super and the Anglican Diocese of Perth.

Residents from 350.org Melbourne and Climate Action Moreland were thrilled with the result, which comes after months of engagement with the council and the community, including a petition with over 1000 signatures and a community forum held in August which attracted over 100 people.

“The leadership shown by Moreland will be an example to spread to other local councils in Australia, showing that fossil fuel divestment empowers local communities in the fight against climate change,” commented petition organiser Michael Stanley from 350.org Melbourne and Climate Action Moreland.

The decision affects millions of dollars in council investments – a May report showed the council had cash and investments of 36 million dollars. Moreland’s principal bank is the Commonwealth Bank, which like each of the ‘Big 4’ is a major lender to fossil fuel projects around the country, including controversial coal projects on the east coast.

The international divestment campaign, promoted locally by 350.org and Market Forces, contends that investing in fossil fuels is both unethical, since fossil fuel use is the main driver of climate change, and financially risky, since the value of financial holdings in fossil fuels represents assets that will be largely stranded in the event of any serious international agreement to limit carbon emissions.

» Source: Media release from 350.org.au



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US banks join EU counterparts to steer clear of Australian coal expansion

Wall Street’s biggest banks are following the lead of UK and German financial institutions, and ruling out financing projects threatening Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Three of the largest investment banks in the world – Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase – have ruled out any investments in Queensland’s Abbot Point coal port according to the Rainforest Action Network.

While Morgan Stanley is also backing away from future coal expansion, Adani claims the bank has not discussed further projects and is currently advising on the sale of its port share.

The news follows Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays publicly ruling out investments in the coal port earlier this year, leaving the Adani Group and GVK, who are seeking $26.5 billion to expand coal exports, dwindling options for finance.

Australia’s ‘big four’ banks are now under pressure to join their US and EU counterparts, especially given scientists today renewed warnings to the Australian Government that its plan to protect the reef ignored the threat of climate change, that its efforts would be futile without strong moves to cut carbon emissions, and called for a ban on dumping dredging spoils from coal expansion into the reef.

» Source: www.treealerts.org

American city council divests

Ashland in Oregon, USA, has joined in the global movement to divest from fossil fuel. Tuesday night, the city council became the second in Oregon to pass a divestment resolution.

» Source: www.earthfix.kcts9.org



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» How to divest: Quick Guide



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Something more they do in Moreland

Climate change and the Victorian Election: quiz your candidates
“A climate change forum for Moreland citizens. The federal government is failing us on climate change. We need strong, immediate action from a new state government to slash Victoria’s carbon emissions and protect our communities from the impacts of climate change.

Candidates standing in Brunswick, Broadmeadows and Pascoe Vale are invited.

Monday 17 November 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Coburg Town Hall, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Organised by Climate Action Moreland (CAM). Endorsed by Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Moreland Bicycle Users Group, 350.org (Melbourne) , Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel and MEFL
» Facebook event page
» www.climateactionmoreland.org



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grist

Ships will bring your iPhone from China – and a whole lot of ‘black carbon’ too



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Recommendation

If you liked listening to this podcast, you should also listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 40:
Amid silence and indecision a climate warrior steps in

In this program Geelong’s ‘Climate Warrior’ Malcolm Ayles was out guest at The Pulse. He tells how he has managed to get his over 200 young martial arts students interested in climate change. We played an audio clip with the author of a new book coming out soon with the title: ‘Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change’, an excerpt of a short and poetic TED-presentation by Clint Smith about silence, “the residue of fear”, an excerpt of a sharp senate speech by The Green’s leader Christine Milne about the greed and self-interest of the ‘fossil fools’.



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» Podcasts and posts about climate change


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