Renewables on the agenda in Victorian state election

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Let there be no doubt about this: Renewable energy ought to be prominently on the agenda in the Victorian state election. 11,000 Australians could be employed in the renewables sector in the next 15 years with policies that support clean energy, according to research by the Climate Institute.

Renewable energy is on the United Nations’, on American President Barack Obama’s, on the world’s climate scientists’ and on 78 per cent of the Victorian voters’ agenda, according to a recent GetUp poll. So why on earth wouldn’t it be on the state election candidates’ agenda?

The reality is that it is often the editors, and the radio and tv hosts of the mainstream media who decide what should be debated and which part of the debate should be shared with the voters.

Certainly, renewable energy was most prominently on the agenda of four Geelong candidates and a wind industry spokesperson – at least for one hour of Wednesday the 19th of November 2014: in the Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse.



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 52:

» 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


In the Sustainable Hour studio were:
Christine Couzens, Labor candidate for Geelong
Doug Mann, independent candidate for Geelong
Sarah Hathway, Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong
Heinz Dahl, managing director of NexTgen Wind

On the phone:
Bruce Lindsay, The Greens candidate for Geelong

Pre-recorded audio interviews with:
Lisa Ashdowne, The Greens candidate for South Barwon
Geoff Carr, director of Ecology Australia
Mark Diesendorf, professor, renewable energy analyst

Speech excerpt:
Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The Liberal party’s candidate for Geelong, Paula Kontelj, and Australian Country Alliance candidate Tony Leen were invited as well, but did not reply our invitation or our questionnaire



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“We just have to grow up as a society and face our responsibility to the world, and our responsibility to our children and our grandchildren. And if that means that we are going to have to put up with a little bit of extra regulation when it comes to how we build our houses, then so be it.”
Doug Mann – in The Sustainable Hour



“The renewable energy industry is the future. It is where the growth will be. Geelong coming forward and wanting to be the capital centre of renewable energy is fantastic and it should happen. We have the facilities, the infrastructure and the desire.

What we need is a strong state government to stand up and set its own targets, to make its own agenda, and not be reliant on the federal government’s legislation. Stand up, like in the US: Each state has got its own target, each own agenda. In Canada: all the provinces – it is the same. In Germany: the same. Let’s do it here in Australia as well. Let the state of Victoria stand up and be strong – be stronger than South Australia.

We have got the resources and the facilities, we’ve got everything here. We have the skilled labour. Let’s do it. Let the Victorian government, whoever it is going to be, stand up, make our own target, and set our own agenda.”
Heinz Dahl – in The Sustainable Hour



Audio excerpts from the program

In order of appearance


Geoff Carr speaking at the Growth Forum
Geoff Carr speaking at the Growth Forum

Geoff Carr


Right-click to download mp3

Botanist Geoff Carr spoke about growth at the Torquay forum ‘Growth – is bigger better?’. Geoff Carr is director of Ecology Australia
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Surf Coast Energy Group has put together a short video from the SCEG Growth Forum. They encourage you to share this far and wide with your networks and let the current candidates know the issues are important in the lead up to the state election.

“Essentially the forum is about CHOICES. When we don’t make choices the choice is made for us – and there are major consequences for that.
1. Shut Down the Anglesea Coal Mine.
2. Survey the Surfcoast Residents about population growth & livability.
3. Lobby the Government to create permanent town boundaries to limit growth.
Please send your local candidate an email requesting the above three actions and begin to start taking part in helping protect our precious Surfcoast.
LABOR: Andy Richards: arichards22@y7mail.com
LIBERAL: Andrew Katos: Andrew.Katos@parliament.vic.gov.au
GREENS Lloyd Davies: lloyddaviesengineer@gmail.com
Surf Coast Energy Group



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Lisa Ashdowne


Right-click to download mp3
About development and growth


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About a letter Liberal candidate Simon Ramsey wrote to the editor of Geelong Advertiser, and to which Lisa Ashdowne replied.



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Mark Diesendorf


Right-click to download mp3
Mark Diesendorf is a leading sustainable energy analyst, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. His most recent book is ‘Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change’.


“Business cannot succeed in a society that fails.”
Peter Bakker

Peter Bakker


Right-click to download mp3
Peter Bakker is President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The audio clip is an excerpt from a speech he gave at the Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen. You can see Peter Bakker’s interesting presention in full lenght on video.ku.dk and on youtube.com


“It’s pretty simple, isn’t it?”



GetUp: ‘Tony Abbott: Protect the RET, protect regional Australia’

“If you ask Charlie Prell, a farmer from the small NSW town of Goulburn, what the government could do to support farmers, he’d say it’d be keeping a solid, stable renewable energy target.”

» www.getup.org.au



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Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre

On 19 November 2014, Christine Couzens and Lisa Neville from the Labor Party met with the plumbers of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre to discuss apprentices and how a Plumbing Industry Climate Centre could be started up at Breakwater in Geelong.

“It is absolutely amazing what they are doing there,” told Christine Couzens in The Sustainble Hour.

The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre is an industry led training facility in Brunswick, Melbourne. The centre is a Five Star Green Star rated building and is a working example of innovative design and sustainable plumbing. Through providing access to a training resource without peer, the industry is taking up the challenges of new technology, new risks and new approaches.

» www.picac.com.au


What the state election candidates say about renewables and climate change

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. Here are three resources:

The Sustainable Hour has asked 13 environmental and sustainability questions to the candidates for Geelong region, Lara, South Barwon, Bellarine and Geelong:
» Questionnaire

Environment Victoria has carefully scrutinised the promises and commitments made by the major political parties and scored them. Our objective is to provide you with factual, spin-free information to help you make an informed decision at November’s election.
» Environment Victoria Scorecard

This analysis by Environment Victoria 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

» Yes 2 Renewables:
Where do South Barwon candidates stand on renewable energy?

Update: On 25 November 2014, four days before the election, Labor finally published its environment policy:
» ‘Our Environment Our Future’





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Victorian voters support clean energy

Victorians want more investment in renewable energy, a poll commissioned by an activist group has found.

The ReachTEL survey, commissioned by GetUp!, found 53 per cent of respondents thought it was “very important” for the state government to invest in renewable energy. A further 25 per cent said it was “important”, while 21 per cent were indifferent or thought the issue was unimportant.

Support for more investment was highest among Victorians intending to vote for Labor or the Greens (86 per cent) compared to 69 per cent for intending Liberal voters.

“Victorians want renewable energy, it’s clear it’s important to them,” said GetUp! national director Sam McLean. “It’s time for candidates to step up and make a commitment to the environment.”

The poll took in the views of 1,200 Victorian voters and was done on 6 November 2014.

Research by The Australia Institute shows an overwhelming 90 per cent of people want more solar power in the nation’s electricity mix.

» Source: The Australian – 19 November 2014:
Vic voters support renewables: poll

Video about GetUp’s door knocking campaign – on Youtube.com and Facecook.com



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“Geelong is a marginal seat battleground with the seat of Geelong held by Labor, and South Barwon and Bellarine held by the Liberals on less than 5 per cent margins. With the downturn in manufacturing, including closure of Point Henry Aluminium smelter and the Geelong Ford factory, employment is a key issue in the region.”

“The continued operation of the Anglesea coal mine and power station despite the closure of the Alcoa aluminium smelter, with the enhanced bushfire risk and pollution health impact on local communities, will obviously play a part in this election motivated by local community group Surfcoast Air Action.”


Citizen Journalism analysis of the Victorian state election by John Englart at No Fibs



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“Victoria and NSW have moved from leaders to laggards in Australia’s renewable energy race.”
Climate Council


Victorian election 2014:

Victoria “has worst renewable energy policy environment”

The state Victoria has the worst policy environment for renewable energy in Australia, a study has found less than two weeks from the state election.

And in the wake of international plans to tackle emissions, Premier Denis Napthine said Victoria’s reliance on coal-fired power would continue for some time, while also saying alternative energy deserved more attention.

The Climate Council has released a comparison of each state’s renewable energy sector, which has found Victoria the worst performing state.

“Victoria’s new planning rules have cost the state an estimated $4 billion in lost investment and 3,000 jobs,” said the Climate Council’s chief councillor, Professor Tim Flannery.

In Victoria, just one in 10 homes has solar panels, compared with South Australia where 25 per cent of homes have solar panels.

Climate action target for 2025
Electricity production in Victoria from wind, hydro and other renewable energy sources currently is at 12 per cent and growing.

The South Australia government has already exceeded its target of generating 33 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from renewables over a full year, and has now set a 50 per cent target by 2025. With this 50 per cent by 2025 renewable energy target South Australia is leading the way.

» Read more: www.theage.com.au

» Read about the report: www.climatecouncil.org.au/staterenewables

» Download the report



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Geelong Clean Jobs Forum

A full hour of radio interview with Mark Diesendorf is coming up on 94.7 The Pulse next Wednesday at 11am, (published as podcast on the Internet two days later in iTunes and on www.climatesafety.info), and in beginning of 2015 we will broadcast an hour with excerpts of the presentations at the forum.

From The Sustainable Hour we wish to express a big thank you to everyone who helped making this event such a remarkable success – an event which appears to be spreading exactly the kind of positive rings in the water that we had hoped it would – around what knowledge about renewables can do for the city of Geelong. Thanks to all speakers and candidates for your inspiring contributions, and to GPAC for generously providing the facilities and physical space for it all!
This was a brilliant experience!

Here are some of the media coverage of the event:

Surf Coast Times 20-11-14
» Surf Coast Times – 20 November 2014:
Forum hears that the future is clean energy
By James Taylor

Geelong Addy Op Ed 20-11-14
» Geelong Advertiser – 20 November 2014:
Our city can benefit from renewables
By Michael Martinez

» Geelong Advertiser – 14 November 2014:
Plans to build a Bongo van will create jobs
www.geelongadvertiser.com.au


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“People will be shaking their heads in disbelief at the Prime Minister’s alarming comment today, and future generations will wonder how our Prime Minister could be so short sighted.”
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson


Clippings from the news stream

Australia

» The Guardian – 10 November 2014:
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


» The Guardian – 9 November 2014:
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


» Ecovoice – 6 November 2014:
Australia ranks last on climate leadership in global report of 60 countries
The Global Green Economy Index out today lists Australia as last among 60 countries assessed for leadership on global warming


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» The Tree – 13 October 2014:
Australian PM supports misleading coal industry PR offensive
“Tony Abbott’s comment, that ‘coal is good for humanity,’ while opening the Caval Ridge coalmine in Moranbah shows the Prime Minister is completely out of touch with the reality of the climate crisis we face.”

Climate change




Interestingly, this is not some greenie propaganda video… this is the WORLD BANK trying to reach out to us.
Please don’t just watch it. Begin to take action. Now. First of all by showing it to your friends, your family, colleagues, etc.

A new report from the World Bank warns of severe impacts on agricultural production, water resources and ecosystems as well as increased vulnerability to coastal flooding as a result of global warming.

» Get the new report from the World Bank



“The world’s best climate experts have released the most comprehensive report on climate change ever made. The conclusions are sobering. Our climate is changing at a disastrous rate. Our leaders need to hear a message of hope, to step outside politics as usual and realise that people around the world are praying for them to be bold and do what is right.”
Rev. Fletcher Harper, OurVoices

» See the video statement by Fletcher Harper on www.vimeo.com

» Home page and petition: www.ourvoices.net



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Amazon pledges to go to 100 per cent renewables

The largest cloud computing service in the world, Amazon, has pledged to go to 100 per cent renewable energy sources for its global infrastructure needs, following in the footsteps of tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Amazon rents computing power to many popular websites, including Netflix, Spotify, and Pinterest. Amazon hasn’t announced a roadmap or timeframe for its shift to renewable energy, but has been adding data centres powered by 100 per cent renewable energy since 2011.

Sources:
» Wired: www.wired.com
» The Oregonian: www.oregonlive.com
» Data Center Knowledge: www.datacenterknowledge.com



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