From Hawaii and Denmark to Geelong: Incentives in the community

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We invited community planner Pat Onesta from Hawaii, who recently moved to the Surf Coast, to be our guest in the 75th Sustainable Hour for a talk about communities and renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, eliminating waste and about how best to reduce our individual carbon footprints.

In today’s program we also take a side-trip to Denmark to visit one of the world’s first community-funded solar boats and integrated ‘carbon cycle project’, the school ship Ry. We talk with the project’s co-ordinator, Maria Temponeras.

Furthermore, we touch on the recent build-up in relation to the UN climate summit in Paris in December, and the momentum for climate action which has arrived within religious groups, one of them being the Catholics, as well as in the health sector.

More links and info below.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 75:

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More information, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 75th Sustainable Hour


“Hawaii enacted a law this week that mandates that all of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources no later than 2045. The bill makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to adopt such a standard.”


» EcoWatch – 11 June 2015:
Hawaii Enacts Nation’s First 100% Renewable Energy Standard


IMG_7820ry-the-boat

The school ship Ry

IMG_7827ry_maria

Interview with Maria Temponeras, project co-ordinator

Video in Danish language about a recent visit on the boat by the Danish prime minister and environment minister.

» The project’s home page is in Danish language:
www.skoleskibet-ry.dk



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Recycling organic waste

chooksApart from providing you with delicious eggs all year round, there are other benefits to keeping chooks.
Approximately 50% of the rubbish Australians put in the everyday mixed-waste ‘garbage bin’ could be put to better use in the garden as compost and mulch.

Not only will recycling household organic waste help you improve the quality of your soil and save money, it will also reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

» Read more



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 PETITION 

Divest the Vatican

350.org writes: “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. The movement to divest from fossil fuels has always hinged on a fundamentally moral argument: Investment in the fossil fuel industry is wrong. Climate change is unjust.

These are precepts that Christians and non-Christians alike can agree on. In the past two years, hundreds of universities, cities, and faith communities have rallied around the idea of fossil fuel divestment, calling on institutions to align their investments with their moral principles and send a clear symbolic message: The actions of this industry are incompatible with a livable planet, and we are taking a stand against it.

Many leaders have responded, with institutions like the Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Christ, and the World Council of Churches committing to fossil fuel divestment in just the past few months. In June, the University of Dayton became the first Catholic University to divest.

The tide is turning. Now it’s time to divest the Vatican.

PETITION TO HIS HOLINESS, POPE FRANCIS:
“Your acknowledgement of the dire threat of climate change, the Vatican’s efforts to become the first carbon-neutral state, and your dedication to caring for Creation give us great hope.

We urge you to use the power of your office to set an example for the world. We call on you to divest the Vatican Bank from all investments in the fossil fuel industry, which is driving the climate crisis, and to publicly support the growing movement to divest from fossil fuels.

Thank you for your leadership.”

» Sign the petition:
act.350.org/sign/divest_vatican



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 PETITION 

Mark Ruffalo: Let’s hit three million

Avaaz petition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and all G7 leaders: Rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

On 3 June 2015 in the morning, 2,534,804 people had signed the petition. Share now and let’s get to three million:

» www.avaaz.org/en/g7_climate_loc

“Climate change needs a real life big green superhero, and I think Angela Merkel can be the hero we need to save everything. Heros need to know they’re supported, and we can be the ones to give Merkel the strength to face down pressure from polluters. Share this petition everywhere and let’s show her millions of us stand with her ready to smash climate change with 100% clean energy!”
Mark Ruffalo, actor who played Incredible Hulk – a big green super-hero…

 

pollution-cartoon_MichaelLeunig

 PETITION LETTER 

Crime against humanity

The Sustainable Hour’s Mik Aidt wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“This fossil madness must stop now. We have waited and waited since you, Angela Merkel, and so many other state leaders in December 2009 signed a document that you intend to keep the global warming below 2°C. Scientists tell us 2°C is unsafe, we should be aiming for 1.5°C. At the same time, even if we choose the most optimistic interpretation of all the promises that governments around the world have made so far, the world’s temperatures will rise by four degrees Celcius, according to Nicholas Stern and a group of British scientists who recently launched The Global Apollo Programme.

In total, the world today uses less than two percent of its public research- and development funding on research in renewable energy. While 10 million dollars a minute is being used to subsidies the fossil fuel industry.

So, what is currently happening in governments, six years after the Copenhagen Climate Summit, is outright betrayal. It is criminal. Politicians only get away with this collective crime against humanity because the victims are invisible. Future generations will be the victims. Angela Merkel, you must step in with a strong voice now, and demand that the world’s governments stop all subsidies to fossil fuels immediately, stop the air pollution by letting polluters pay, and ensure a fast transition to renewables by supporting the green and clean energy.”

More links and sources below.


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IMF report: Governments betray their people

» The Guardian – 18 May 2015:
Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments

2°C is too much

The catastrophic and irreversible consequences of 2°C of warming demand a strong risk-management approach, with a low rate of failure. We should not take risks with the climate that we would not take with civil infrastructure. There is no carbon budget available if 2°C is considered a cap or upper boundary as per the Copenhagen Accord, rather than a hit-or-miss target which can be significantly exceeded; or if a low risk of exceeding 2°C is required; or if positive feedbacks such as permafrost and other carbon store losses are taken into account.

Learn more:

» Climate Code Red: It’s time to ‘Do the math’ again

» Report on the Structured Expert Dialogue on the 2013-2015 Review

immunisation-cartoon_MichaelLeunig



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 VICTORIA | AUSTRALIA 

Renewables investment exodus

At a time when the only sensible thing to do is to invest in renewable energy, Australia’s global ranking for large-scale renewable energy investment plummeted from 11th in 2013 to 39th in 2014, according to a report by The Climate Council.

Investment in renewables in Australia dropped 88 per cent in 2014 compared to the year before, despite investment in renewable energy surging globally.

Despite an abundance of renewable energy resources, Victoria has some of the most inefficient and polluting coal-fired power plants in Australia. Only 10% of Victoria’s electricity generation comes from renewables, much less than Tasmania (95%), South Australia (40%) and Western Australia (13%).

In Victoria, almost a dozen wind farms were put on hold at the end of 2014 due to policy uncertainty over the federal Renewable Energy Target. Barriers in the legislation prevent state governments from having their own Renewable Energy Targets.

» Climate Council – 2 June 2015:
Australia singled out as climate change laggard in new report

» Climate Council – 20 May 2015:
Global renewables jobs surge as Australia shrinks

» Climate Council – 18 May 2015:
New report reveals that Australia is among the worst emitters in the world

 UPDATE 

New Victorian Climate Change Act

On 4 June 2015, state premier Daniel Andrews wrote on his Facebook page:
“Climate change is already happening, and it is threatening to irreversibly affect our communities, our environment and our way of life.
We want to transition our economy to reduce emissions, in ways that grow the economy and increase jobs and the review of the Climate Change Act will help us identify those opportunities.
Climate Change Minister, Lisa Neville MP has appointed a committee of climate change experts and to provide timely independent advice and recommendations to Government on the Climate Change Act.”



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apolloprogramme-scrndmp

 GLOBAL 

The ‘Apollo’ vision

A group of scientists and economists want to mimic the urgency of the Apollo Space Program to spur greater global clean energy investment.

“The vision is simple, the cost would be eye-watering, and the result could stop the growing threat from burning fossil fuels in its tracks. The authors of an initiative called the Global Apollo Programme say that, given the required high level of investment, it should be possible within 10 years to meet electricity demand with reliable wind and/or solar power that is cheaper – in every country – than power based on coal.”

» Climate News Network – 3 June 2015:
Apollo initiative asks for the moon in switch to renewables



» Read more about the Apollo Programme on www.globalapolloprogramme.org

» BBC – 2 June 2015:
‘Moon shot’ call on clean energy



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 PETITION 

Community divestment campaign

Norway is looking to divest from fossil fuel-based energy retailers operating in Australia

Dr Nick Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager at Environment Victoria, wrote:

“This Friday, World Environment Day, the Norwegian parliament will vote to divest the planet’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

If the vote passes, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, worth a staggering $AU 1.186 trillion, will sell out of coal stocks – a move that could trigger a wave of similar actions around the world.

The financial ripples will reach Australian shores. One of the casualties will be electricity retailer AGL Energy, currently the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the country. Norway’s Pension Fund is set to jettison about $120 million in AGL stocks.

We’ll feel the effects in Victoria, too. The owner of the filthy Hazelwood power station and coal mine that burned for 45 days last year is another likely casualty of Norway’s divestment push.

If Norwegians are getting out of dirty energy companies that are polluting our backyard, then why aren’t we? (…)

This week’s news from Norway is really inspiring… but also a bit embarrassing. Australia needs to catch up with the rest of the world, and one way to do that is a massive community divestment campaign – starting with your switch, right now.”



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 SOLUTIONS 

European oil giants ask for a carbon tax

The CEOs of major European oil giants BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total have just sent a letter to UN climate chief negotiator Christiana Figueres, which for the first time unequivocally recommends a price on carbon emissions, and preferably a price which is harmonised across borders. They also write that they would like to see such a price introduced and agreed upon at the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015.
 
The six directors have written a letter which was published in the Financial Times, where they recommend that the world should focus on replacing coal with gas.

This story is covered in several media outlets, among which are:

» The GuardianThe IndependentThe Climate GroupRTCC

The RTCC article is based on the World Bank’s recent Global Carbon Market Conference in Barcelona. Interviews:

World Bank climate chief Rachel Kyte interview on YouTube.com where she notes that so far it is only the European fossil companies who have agreed with this course.

Shell’s climate advisor David Hone tells of how the industry wants a global CO2 trading market, preferably with the same carbon price in all regions and countries. YouTube.com



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 REVEALED 

The two power networks charging solar owners $300 for doing nothing

The fact that they have been able to get away with this for several years raises serious questions about the level of supervision and scrutiny the Australian Energy Regulator is applying to power network companies.

A Climate Spectator investigation has uncovered a rort by two Victorian power distributors who under the false guise of a ‘meter upgrade’ are charging customers for a solar system safety test that is completely unnecessary, but furthermore they don’t even do. It reveals a wider problem facing the energy regulator of scrutinising networks’ claims about solar’s costs and impacts.

» Read more on www.businessspectator.com.au



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wind-in-dk-

 DENMARK 

Wind produces 128% of the country’s electricity consumption

Tuesday late evening at 50 minutes past midnight, the Danish wind turbines produced 128 per cent of current electricity consumption. A great deal of electricity is being exported to Norway and Sweden.

An Alternative in the Danish election
The policy of the new party The Alternative is… alternative. So far they lack support by the wider public – probably in part because everyone is afraid such disruptive changes as what they propose, but also because of personal mud-slinging. As of today, the party is polled to get 2.9 per cent of the votes in the forthcoming parliamentary election.

» www.alternativet.dk


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 GERMANY 

Village produces 400% renewable energy

The ‘Solar Village’, Solarsiedlung, located in Freidburg, Germany, is allgedly the first community in the world to produce four times more energy than it uses.

» Read more on www.minds.com



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 GLOBAL | HEALTH SECTOR 

Physician leaders say health must be given higher priority in climate summit

Physician leaders are pressing for health issues to be given a greater priority in the United Nations climate change talks.

The World Medical Association has urged its 111 national medical associations to make their voices heard. The association, representing 10 million physicians worldwide, has written to its members urging them to write to their national negotiating representatives to emphasise that climate change is the greatest global health challenge of the 21st century.

World Medical Association President Dr Xavier Deau said:

“Reducing fossil fuel consumption improves air quality and public health, as well as mitigating climate change. Last week’s resolution by the World Health Assembly on air pollution is a clear and positive step towards the improvement of the lives and health of millions of people who suffer from poor air quality. However, we believe that much more needs to be done globally and domestically to take fully into account the health impact of climate change and to engage the health sector in the process.

Improving insulation in homes and buildings can protect people from extreme temperatures and reduce energy consumption. We need to get people to adopt a more active lifestyle. So we need to see an expansion of public transport systems to improve health through increased physical activity and reduced air pollution.

All these changes would provide significant economic savings. Climate action that recognises these benefits can improve health, support sustainable development, and advance global equity.

National medical associations have a vital part to play in persuading the world that the impact of climate change on health is one of the most significant measures of harm associated with our warming planet.”

» Source: www.wma.net



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 AUSTRALIA | HEALTH SECTOR 

Doctors union mounts push for government action to tackle climate change

The powerful doctors lobby group is set to ramp up pressure on the federal government to take action on climate change. 

Australian Medical Association vice president Stephen Parnis says a working group has been established to revamp the group’s climate policy before the UN climate change conference in Paris this year. 

“We would like Australia’s targets and priorities to be informed by AMA policy and influenced by AMA advocacy,” he told doctors at the AMA’s national conference in Brisbane on 1 June 2015.

» Read more on www.smh.com.au



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Meanwhile, in Carberra…

“The Prime Minister’s office has refused to say whether Tony Abbott will attend a crucial climate summit in Paris later this year alongside President Barack Obama and other world leaders, despite the PM potentially being in Europe just prior to the event.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held this year in Malta on November 27-29. By coincidence, the Paris summit to hammer out a new global climate treaty starts a day later, on November 30, “just a two-hour flight away”, a Canberra-based diplomat said.”
Peter Hannam, Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

» Sydney Morning Herald – 2 June 2015:
Tony Abbott diplomatic dilemma: attend CHOGM and skip Paris climate summit?



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