Election winds, divestment action and questions of growth

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As the G20 summit approached in Brisbane and the Australian Prime Minister kept insisting on that the world leaders should ignore the looming economic impact of carbon emissions dangers, local screenings of Al Gore’s ‘Reasons for Hope’ were scheduled all over Australia, and in Victoria, a State election is coming up.

This was the premise for the 51st Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse, which was broadcasted in the Geelong airwaves on 12 November 2014.

Guest in the studio:
Colin Mockett, Geelong-based entertainer

Guests via the phone:
Charlie Wood, 350.org Australia
Graeme Stockton, Surf Coast Energy Group


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 51:

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


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

Victorian state election

Learn about the political parties’ environmental policies, or lack of the same, and find out what the candidates in your area are saying and thinking:

» Geelong: The Sustainable Hour’s Scorecard for Geelong region

» Environment Victoria’s analysis summarises every policy announcement with environmental implications from the three main parties: Promise Watch (PDF, 17 November)

» Friends of the Earth’s survey of public statements made by the state’s current members of parliament, and those seeking to become members of parliament: MP Watch




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Podcast: The Energy Gang

On 26 October 2014, American podcast The Energy Gang took a look at what they termed “the abysmal political climate for renewables in Australia.” The show features a discussion between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Media Editor Stephen Lacey. Jigar Shah called Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a “sucker” and said Abbott is “digging his own grave”. “It is an ideological battle,” said Shah.

» www.greentechmedia.com



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Growth:

World population will soar higher than predicted

United Nations leaders have worried for decades about the pace of population growth. A few years ago leading calculations had global population peaking at nine billion by 2070 and then easing to 8.4 billion by 2100. Currently it stands at 7.2 billion. Recently the U.N. revised these numbers steeply upward: the population is now expected to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050 and continue to 10.9 billion by 2100.

» Read more: www.scientificamerican.com

Costs of urban sprawl
A useful report from USA analyses the excess costs of urban sprawl, that has relevance to Greens policy and sustainability in Victoria and Australia more generally. Decentralisation seems to have dropped off the radar in Australia – and ever-growing urban capitals and large regional cities at the expense of smaller cities and towns has significant implications for energy and climate policies, as well as for individual affordability.

» Read more: www.newclimateeconomy.report (PDF)

Renewables policy:

Renewable energy investment in Australia dropped 70% in past year

Climate Council report finds Australia is losing green business overseas as China and US exploit global shift to renewables

» www.theguardian.com

Australia told it should aim for 40% cut in greenhouse gases by 2025

The Climate Institute also says the world needs to know how Australia will calculate its target

» www.theguardian.com



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Reasons for hope

Citizens are getting active across the country the week of the G20, starting with small gatherings in cafes and lounge rooms, building to a global social media campaign.

Register an event, ACF will send you a host kit, and their climate team will look after you and answer all your questions:
» www.action.org.au

» Read more: www.24hoursofreality.org/event/post


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Fossil exploration subsidies: a scandal

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“Australia currently gives $4 billion in subsidies to [exploration projects] in the fossil fuel industry – that’s enough money to power almost half of Queensland with solar energy! That’s why the Greens have a Bill before Parliament to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies for big mining. We need to end the free-ride for the big end of town, not ram through Abbott’s cruel budget cuts which hurt our community’s most vulnerable people.”
Christine Milne


“We pay for both ends of the divine tragedy”

“G20 taxpayers (you, me) subsidize the fossil fuel industry. That in itself is crazy enough, and it should stop as per last week; industry participants must be able to fend for themselves, or fold. That they don’t, speaks to a very unhealthy level of power in and over our political systems. Subsidizing coal and oil is as insane as bailing out Wall Street banks. It’s money that defies gravity, by flowing from the bottom to the top, from the poor to the rich.

2) Then there’s the huge amount of the subsidies: $88 billion a year. That could solve a lot of misery for a lot of people. It adds up to well over $1 trillion in this century alone. Next time you feel good about prices at the pump, please add that number, it should set you straight.

3) But that’s just the start. Those $88 billion go towards exploration for new oil, gas and coal resources which, according to the UN’s IPCC climate panel, can never even be ‘consumed’ lest we go way beyond our – minimum – goals for CO2 concentrations and a global 2°C warming limit.

4) And it keeps getting better. For who do you think pays for the research conducted for the IPCC reports? That’s right, the same G20 taxpayer. As in: you and me. We pay for both ends of the divine tragedy. We got it al covered. We pay for exploratory drilling in the Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico and all other ever harder to find, riskier and more polluting resources.

If this were not about us, we’d undoubtedly declare ourselves stark raving mad. Since it does directly involve us, though, we of course favor a more nuanced approach. Like sticking our heads in the sand.”

“May I suggest you try and find out who in your respective government has given the thumbs up to these crazy handouts, and when you do, make sure they’re fired.”
Raúl Ilargi Meijer, theautomaticearth.com

Billions subsidising new fossil fuel exploration activities

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the world must phase out up to 70 per cent of fossil fuels by 2050, Australia and other G20 nations continue to pay lip service to a clean energy transition by spending billions subsidising new fossil fuel exploration activities.

A new report from Oil Change International (US) and the Overseas Development Institute (UK) has highlighted the perverse incentives governments are giving to fossil fuel companies, with G20 governments spending $100 billion (USD$88 billion) a year searching for new oil, gas, and coal reserves.

The US leads the way with $5.9 billion (USD$5.1bn), but Australia’s $4 billion (USD $3.5bn) puts it a close second, and ahead of the $2.7 billion (USD $2.4bn) Russia spends. Globally, governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of AUD$887 billion a year, while spending, by comparison, a tiny AUD$117bn (USD$101 bn) on renewable energy.

Such skewed support for fossil fuels is a direct threat to the global carbon budget, which states that two thirds of known fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground if the world is to keep average warming to 2DegC. The report urges G20 leaders to phase out these dirty, inefficient exploration subsidies as a first step to meeting existing commitments to avoid harmful climate change.

» Oil Change International’s report: www.odi.org

» The Tree: www.treealerts.org

» BBC: Fossil fuel promises are being broken, report says



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FILM SCREENING IN GEELONG:

Documentary premiere: ‘Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret’

Limited seats remaining for the Geelong Screening of investigative documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret 

California filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn have announced the Geelong premiere of their new film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, with a special invitation only screening, on Wednesday, November 19th, at 6:00pm at the Courthouse ARTS, Main Theatre, corner of Gheringhap and Little Malop Streets, Geelong. 

Two amazing speakers, including the director and co-producer of Cowspiracy, Kip Anderson from the USA, who is starting his Australian tour at the Melbourne Premier the night prior to the Geelong event, and Philip Wollen, former vice-president of Citibank turned philanthropist and social justice advocate.

Llyod Davies of the Greens Party, independent candidate for Geelong Doug Mann, and Andrew Meddick of the Animal Justice Party will be on the panel to question Kip Andersen and Philip Wollen after the screening. 

Simply Vegan Cuisine will be serving delicious vegan food from the Dolly Bus. Dinner will be served from 5pm before the screening and will open up again during the interval at 7:30pm. 

If you are yet to reserve your place for the screening, limited seats are available via RSVP to 
the email address below. A list will be at the door with your name to be ticked off on arrival. 

Screening details:
Wednesday 19 November 2014
Doors open: 5:00pm 
Showtime: 6.00pm
Run time: 90 minutes
Interval: 7:30-8:00pm 
Guest speakers and Q&A: 8.00pm onwards

» RSVP essential. Contact email: cowspiracy.geelong AT gmail DOT com



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