How Barwon Health is becoming a greener health service

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With 6,500 staff across 21 sites, Barwon Health is the largest employer in Geelong region, and one of the largest and most comprehensive regional health services in all of Australia.

Our guests in the sustainable studio on 94.7 The Pulse on 29 July 2015, Scott Randall and Bronwyn Aylmer from Barwon Health, describe how the organisation constantly works to improve its environmental performance and lessen its impacts on the environment.

We also talk with Dr Harry Jennens from Healthy Futures, a new network of Australian health professionals, students and supporters organising to address climate change and related threats to health.

And we phone Marjan Minnesma, who has been touring Australia after she led a legal challenge against the Dutch government, saying they weren’t taking enough action against climate change, and – to everyone’s surprise – won the case.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 83:

» 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


Guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 83:
Scott Randall, director of Support Services at Barwon Health
Bronwyn Aylmer, Waste Management and Cleaning Standards Coordinator at Barwon Health
Dr Harry Jennens, organiser at Healthy Futures
Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda


Shortcuts on this page:
More information about Barwon Health’s environmental performance
Write a climate act submission to the Victorian government
Best local news this week
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Calendar of local events




 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Audio excerpts

from the 83rd Sustainable Hour


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Marjan Minnesma

Director of Urgenda

Excerpt of a phone interview with Marjan Minnesma conducted the day after her presentation in Melbourne.
The second part of the interview will be broadcasted in a few weeks.

On 18 July 2015, ABC Lateline interviewed Marjan Minnesma about the ways citizens can hold governments accountable for policy decisions on climate change:

» www.abc.net.au

» Marjan Minnesma on Twitter: @marjanminnesma



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Dr Harry Jennens

Organiser, Healthy Futures

In this interview, Dr Harry Jennens explains about the new network Healthy Futures, which is a growing network of health professionals, students and supporters organising to address climate change and related threats to health.

Right now all the network’s members are based in Victoria, but they will soon roll out a national divestment campaign and are keen to become a national network which includes people from other states – whenever people express interest.

Healthy Futures is an affiliate group of Friends of the Earth Australia.

» Website: www.healthyfutures.net.au

» Contact: harry@healthfutures.net.au
or go to this page on www.healthyfutures.net.au/contact





Great job Canberra Hospital – on their way to zero emissions. They'll also save a massive $490,000 a year in energy bills by 2017-18! #EnergyFreedom

Posted by Beyond Zero Emissions on Sunday, 16 August 2015






 MORE INFORMATION: 

Those things we talk about

Quotes, excerpts and links in relation to the 83rd Sustainable Hour – and some of the numerous pages of notes we had with us in the radio studio. 


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Barwon Health’s environmental performance

Barwon Health’s focus on sustainability is well recognised. Barwon Health is part of the Victorian Green Health Roundtable group. In 2013, the organisation’s Food Services Central Production Unit won the Geelong Business Excellence Award for Sustainable Business. And this year, in August, Barwon Health Food Services Central Production Unit will be receiving the Australian Regional Environment & Sustainability Award.



“In 2012, Barwon Health teamed up with Future Proofing Geelong to tell the story of becoming one of Australia’s greenest health services. The organisation cares not only for the people under their care, but also the Greater Geelong region.”

Some of Barwon Health’s goals are to:

• Reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint by initiating practices that improve environmental awareness and sustainability in accordance with Barwon Health’s ‘Vision and Values’

• Improve the environmental sustainability of operations, planning process policy and procedural development as a core organisation goal

• Implement a formal Environmental Management Plan and the assembling of environmental working parties throughout the organisation.

Environmental initiatives at Barwon Health

WATER TANKS
UHG, McKellar Centre, Newcomb and Kitchener House rainwater collection.
Dialysis osmosis

LIGHTING
• All new and renovated areas are upgraded with LED lighting. All levels of Baxter Wing and SCC have Led lighting including ICU.

• The LED lights have an estimated lifespan five times that of typical fluoro or similar – reducing globe and maintenance costs.

• EG-LED rated at 50,000 hours. Typical fluoro is 8,000–10,000 hours rating.

• 30% less energy consumption than today’s fluoro

• Reduces waste due to less globe changes. Aesthetically pleasing/less disruptive to patients due to reduced downtime over longer period/less interruption to service due to reduce change of globes/cleaning advantages/brighter appearance

TRI GEN
Generate power to grid, self sufficient
Gas turbine generates steam for heating and cooling

WASTE
Barwon Health is responsible for waste from ‘cradle to grave’ so to speak. Ensuring all waste is packaged, segregated, and disposed of correctly, is paramount to protect consumers, staff, contractors and more broadly, the environment.

There are approximately 25 recognised waste streams produced within Barwon Health University Hospital Geelong. These streams include:

1. Commingle
2. Paper/cardboard
3. Landfill
4. Clinical
5. Cytotoxic
6. Anatomical
7. Pharmaceutical
8. Batteries
9. Fluoro tubes and globes
10. Pine pallets
11. Polystyrene
12. Obsolete IT equipment
13. Obsolete furniture
14. Obsolete patient equipment/medical devices
15. Fixure and Developer (used in X-rays)
16. Amalgm
17. X-rays film
18. Radio Active products
19. Aged laboratory chemicals
20. Organics
21. Liquids
22. Plastic wrap and Kimguard
23. Lead aprons
24. Printer toners and cartridges
25. Mercury based patient equipment

Barwon Health’s impact on landfill over the past six years has greatly reduced by the increased number of recycling waste streams initiatives introduced throughout our organisation.

With a growing and ageing population and increased demand on health services, particularly Barwon Health, Environmental Services is continually introducing new and innovative strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

Recycled mercury at University Hospital Geelong
About 95 per cent of mercury-containing lamps end up in landfill in Australia. Mercury in landfill converts to toxic methylmercury and contaminates the wider environment through air, water and soil.

Barwon Health collaborates with Lamp Recyclers to collect and recycle the fluorescent tubes and globes it uses across its 21 sites. That’s 3,000 tubes and 7,800 globes. An estimated one tonne has been recycled at University Hospital Geelong with the amount of mercury saved from landfill approaching 120 grams in total.

» Read more

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Donations to community groups
As part of Barwon Health’s social responsibility, the organisation regularly donates obsolete furniture, IT and medical equipment to a number of charitable organisations. Some of these organisations include:

• GDP Industries-Enterprise Geelong, a Commonwealth-funded disability service, collect our polystyrene, IT equipment, non-returnable pine pallets and basically anything they can recycle.

• Rotary Club Geelong identifies community needs locally, nationally and overseas they collect our obsolete medical aids and equipment.

• Encompass Community Services offer support to people with physical, intellectual, sensory and psychological disabilities, young people who are disengaged, long-term unemployed and those facing financial, social or learning barriers. Encompass HomeStart give a new home to any of our unwanted furniture and white goods.

While Barwon Health is supporting our community by engaging in these landfill reduction initiatives, the organisation is also mindful about the quality of donations passed to Barwon Health’s community partners. An example of this is: Barwon Health ensures all mattresses have been steam cleaned prior to collection.

EMP
Project apart of our Environmental initiatives group (bi monthly meetings)

AWARDS
• Barwon Health quality awards 2012
    • Finalist: Fluoro tube recycling initiative
    • Winner: Closed Loop
• Closed Loop winner of Geelong Business Excellence Awards 2013 Sustainability Award
• Australia Regional D C 2015 Environmental Sustainability Award

CLOSED LOOP
The Closed Loop Organics System decomposes and homogenises food material in an aerobic environment with the use of:
• Initial introduction of proprietary organic starter material
• Heat at controlled temperatures
• Agitation and air flow.

The material is then reduced to approximately 20% of initial volume and weight, all within a 24 hour period.
This dry granular organic compost material (similar to ground coffee) is then able to be used as a safe soil conditioner for all plants, trees, gardens, fruit and vegetables.

By using the Closed Loop Organics System, 100 per cent of our food waste is diverted from landfill to a reusable, sustainable soil conditioner that is collected and used at a community produce farm.

» Read more abou Closed Loop

MARKETING
Barwon Health has people and groups visiting the CPU to view the Closed Loop system
• City of Greater Geelong
• Future Proofing Geelong (Scott is a member)
• Geelong Manufacturing
• VECCI
• Deakin University
• Other health services


Partnerships with Geelong Business’ – Not for Profit
GDP Industries (Geelong Disabled People’s Industries) is an ADE (Australian Disability Enterprise) offering long term supported employment to people with a disability.

Also managed and operated the City of Greater Geelong’s Geelong Resource Recovery Centre for the past 21 years and held a beneficial association with the Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group for the past 14 years.

• Polystyrene-Collecting, shredding and bagging polystyrene for resale and local re-manufacturing such as mixing with cement to make lightweight concrete pavers
• Pine Pallets
• Obsolete non-working IT and Patient Equipment
• Obsolete Furniture

Encompass HomeStart
• Obsolete reusable furniture only

Encompass The Paddock
• They offer support to people with physical, intellectual, sensory and psychological disabilities, young people who are disengaged, long-term unemployed and those facing financial, social or learning barriers.

Rotary
• Working patient equipment, patient aids

Responsibility to care for and protect the environment

Excerpt of a policy statement by Barwon Health CEO David Ashbridge

“I recognise that meeting the challenge posed by climate change and other environmental issues is the responsibility of all organisations and I understand the important role that I play in guiding the growth of Barwon Health if the challenge is to be met. There is a real link between environmental sustainability, climate change and human health and, as health workers, we have a responsibility to work toward achieving the goals set out in our Environmental Policy.

Barwon Health has already achieved benefits through implementing environmental management actions – for example, reduced operational costs, energy and water consumption, effective risk management, cleaning and hygiene practices and improved patient care and recycling actions. There has been tangible improvement in electrical, steam and water consumption, recycling activities and land care management. It is proposed to extend and refine these practices. (…)

As an organisation we need to show commitment to the principle of continuous improvement in environmental management. By using this strategy we can build for the future and fulfill our responsibility to care for and protect the environment our organisation functions within and, in doing so, cares for our patients, staff and the community.”
Dr David Ashbridge, Chief Executive Officer, Barwon Health, December 2013


More resources and links:

» Barwon Health Environmental Management Plan 2013

» Barwon Health home page:
www.barwonhealth.org.au

» Department of Health and Human Services Victoria:
www.health.vic.gov.au/sustainability
www.health.vic.gov.au/environment




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 THE LANCET REPORT: 

Climate change a ‘health emergency’

The healthcare sector accounts for up to 10% of gross domestic product in many countries. That may sound like a lot of money. But in May 2015, financial experts at the International Monetary Fund revealed that the full costs of fossil fuels being picked up by taxpayers runs at US$10 million per minute, which is more than the total spent on healthcare by the world’s governments.

The evidence linking climate change and bad health is growing: it quotes statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation estimating that, in the period 2030 to 2050, climate change will account for approximately 250,000 additional deaths each year around the world due to malnutrition, malaria, dengue fever, diarrhoea and heat stress.

On 23 June 2015 an important new research series, known as the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate, was released.

This report, published in the international medical journal The Lancet, updates and builds on the ground breaking UCL-Lancet Commission published in 2009 when climate change was first described as the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century”.

The 2015 Commission brings together more than 60 international experts as a new commission to respond to climate change. The Commission report includes research and evidence from five working groups, each tackling a particular part of the policy response to this crisis to deliver updates on the scale of the threat, and potential ways forward.

This is a bit like the UN IPCC panel for the health world. With contributions from climate scientists, economists, energy and health professionals, the Commission report presents mitigation and adaptation policies necessary to protect human health from climate change and to promote sustainable development. The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change was formed to map out a comprehensive response to climate change – a ‘prescription’ to protect human health and survival worldwide. It represents a strong international, multidisciplinary collaboration between academic centres in Europe and China, including University College London (UCL), Tsinghua University in Beijing, Stockholm Resilience Centre, the UK Meteorological Office and the University of Exeter.

Threat to human health
The 2015 Commission understands climate change as a ‘health emergency’. The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health, according to the Commission.

However, the landmark report, launched in the first of a series of rolling events around the world, provides comprehensive new evidence showing responses to mitigate and adapt to climate change have significant direct and indirect positive health benefits – from reducing air pollution to improving diet – making concerted efforts to tackle climate change one of the greatest opportunities to improve global health this century.

The key messages are
• The effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health. Both directly and indirectly, climate change is hurting our health. This isn’t something we can worry about in the future–it’s a problem that’s right here, right now.

• However, tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. By limiting greenhouse gas emissions or adapting communities to be more resilient, climate action can also result in unprecedented, concrete and rapid improvements to public health.

• Reducing carbon emissions will help avoid catastrophic climate change, and will also save a significant amount of money from being spent on healthcare costs – e.g. according to one study, the health benefits of air quality improvements could offset the costs of the carbon-cutting policies by up to ten times.

Recommendations
• Rapidly phase out coal from the global energy mix

• Encourage transition measures for cities to increases measures that support healthy lifestyles (low cost public transport, energy efficient buildings, access to green spaces)

• Establish framework for carbon pricing

• Rapidly expand access to renewable energy

• Invest in climate change and public health research (there has been no research on cc and health funded in Australia for last four years)

• Increase financing for climate resilient health systems worldwide

• Evaluate the national economic savings from avoided ill health associated with climate action

Significance and political opportunity in Australia
This report provides clear evidence that health is being harmed by current levels of global warming and climate change and that human survival depends on acting to reduce GHG emissions. The report notes that on “current emissions trajectories, temperature rises in the next 85 years are incompatible with an organised global community”.

Australians are at serious risk from the health impacts of heatwaves, extreme weather, droughts, increasing spread of climate sensitive diseases, and associated mental ill health.

Much effort is needed to protect the health of Australians from climate change. At present there is little recognition from the federal government regarding the health impacts of climate change, and no plans to take the actions outlined in this report as vital to protect the health of the community from climate impacts.

A useful frame for climate action advocates to use in relation to this report in the context of the federal government is: “Why is the Australian government failing to protect the health of Australians from this very serious threat?”

The Climate and Health Alliance has an online campaign Protect Health through Climate Action to enable people to email their MP and senators and ask them to commit to action to protect health from climate change.

» Feel free to share:
climateandhealth.good.do

» Check out ‘Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action’ published by the Climate and Health Alliance and The Climate Institute (PDF, 17 pages).

» The 79th Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse (podcast):
The big news about climate and our health
Interview with Fiona Armstrong from Environmental Justice Australia




 MORE INFORMATION: 

Quotes, excerpts and links

A selection of news of the week that we registered through the week


HEALTH RELATED NEWS

US government protects its people

How come the Australian government doesn’t think it has a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged when the American government does? The answer doesn’t blow in the wind, it lies deep down in the Australian soil – and, yes, it is deeply immoral too.

Launching the Clean Power Plan, President Obama wrote on 3 August 2015:

“We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. The effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital.

Extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires in the West to record heat waves – and sea level rise are hitting communities across the country.

In fact, 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century and last year was the warmest year ever. The most vulnerable among us – including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and people living in poverty – are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Taking action now is critical.”

“The Clean Power Plan, and other policies put in place to drive a cleaner energy sector, will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 and decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent. The Clean Power Plan will also avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.”

The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change strategy. It is the single biggest and most ambitious action the US has ever taken to tackle climate change.

Health advocates from coast to coast are heralding the plan’s finalization saying it will avoid 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days. Social justice leaders also praised Monday’s announcement given the disproportionate impacts coal pollution has on poor and minority families. Opposition to the Clean Power Plan, however, is coming from expected corners: fossil fuel companies and the politicians and interests groups they fund.

» The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – 3 August 2015:
Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants



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LOCAL NEWS



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BEST LOCAL NEWS OF THE WEEK

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Something new is happening in Geelong Independent: a full page about ‘Energy and Sustainability’!



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BEST INTERNATIONAL NEWS OF THE WEEK

France introduces price on carbon

French lawmakers passed legislation that included a last-minute amendment initially rejected by the government to increase the target price of carbon to 56 euros (US$61.48) a ton in 2020 and 100 euros a ton in 2030, equal to 150 AUS dollars.

The rate, now 14.50 euros a ton, climbs to 22 euros a ton in 2016 and is integrated in a levy on fossil fuels.

» Source: the National Assembly website www.assemblee-nationale.fr

» Bloomberg – 23 July 2015:
France Passes New Energy Law Quadruples Carbon Price

The Frenchmen generally are apparently not happy about this new energy law. They complain that this will mean that prices of petrol will start rising. People do not understand that it is about their own – or at least their own children’s – future, it’s about taking precautions. Protests are expected.

In Australia, it went exactly that way. First the government introduced a ‘carbon tax’. Then there was a politician who went to the polls with a slogan that he would abolish this ‘tax’ and save families for a yearly expense of 500 dollars. He won the election, abolished the carbon tax – and Australia was back to square one.

The whole purpose of putting a price on carbon is not that it should be a ‘tax’ which citizens must pay as a kind of punishment. It is an incentive for Big Business

1) to get everything switched over to renewable energy sources, which is cheaper for themselves and for the consumers in the long run – and

2) to stop the air pollution, which millions of people worldwide become sick and die from every year. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere has already now been allowed to rise so much that we have locked the globe in for a five to six meter sea level rise, dangerous extreme weather conditions, draughts, and the rest of it.

So how can people be so much against this? We don’t get it!

» Vox: Fossil fuel companies impose more in climate costs than they make in profits
With proper accounting, the fossil fuel business doesn’t look like such a moneymaker





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 ONSHORE GAS MINING: 

Human rights tribunal on fracking

Clean water is a human right, and the practise of ‘fracking’ – onshore gas mining fracturing the ground to extract gas – will now go on trial at an international human rights tribunal.

An internationally-recognised tribunal is to examine whether some countries have breached basic human rights by allowing fracking.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, established after the Vietnam War crimes tribunal, will hold hearings in the US and UK. It will examine testimony to decide whether there is evidence to indict certain nations on charges that they failed to uphold universal human rights by allowing unconventional oil and gas extraction.

The decision by the PPT to hold sessions on fracking follows a submission by three groups of human rights lawyers and academics: The Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment, the Environment and Human Rights Advisory and the Human Rights Consortium

Dr Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium at the University of London, said:

“Fracking has taken place around the world in spite of serious public opposition and with large numbers of people alleging that their human rights have been ignored by those who supposedly represent them. This PPT aims to consider those allegations in an even-handed and judicial way.”

The hearings on fracking are scheduled for 2017 and evidence will be invited from across the world. It will include:

• Personal witness statements
• Expert testimony on the practices and impacts of fracking
• Findings from preliminary hearings in other countries
• Peer-reviewed research
• Academic reports
• Human Rights Impact Assessments

» www.drillordrop.com

» www.tribunalonfracking.org



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 NEW REPORT: 

The Economist advises investors to divest

“From the public-sector perspective, the expected value of a future with 6°C of warming represents present value losses worth US$43 trillion — 30% of the entire stock of manageable assets.”
The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited


“Future pensioners may see the security of their retirement jeopardised as a result of the climate risk that the asset managers charged with their investments are currently carrying.”
The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited


The Economist writes: “Investors currently face a stark choice. Either they will experience impairments to their holdings in fossil-fuel companies should robust regulatory action on climate change take place, or they will face substantial losses across the entire portfolio of manageable assets should little mitigation of climate risk be forthcoming.

Charting a path away from these two options should be a strong motivation for long-term investors to engage with companies in their portfolios and to shift investments towards a profitable, low-carbon future.”

What is interesting here is that this kind of writing for once is not published by yet another socalled “treehugging greenie” site. This is The Economist talking.

» Download the full report:
‘The cost of inaction – Recognising the value at risk from climate change’ (PDF, 63 pages)

» Read the article in The Economist:
www.economistinsights.com



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 TAKE ACTION: 

Write a climate act submission to the Victorian government

Climate change policy in Victoria – what needs to be done?

Nicola Rivers, Lawyer and Director of Advocacy & Research at Environment Justice Victoria, wrote:

“Victoria needs a Climate Charter. The Victorian government has said that key stakeholders can have until August 9 to make a submission on our state climate change legislation. Can you spare one minute to help Victoria get world leading climate legislation?

With the Abbott government stalling Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change, leadership from state governments is needed now more than ever.

In 2010, the Victorian government introduced the Victorian Climate Change Act. Right now, the Victorian government is considering the future of the state’s climate laws, and is calling for public submissions on the Act. Key stakeholders, including concerned citizens like you, have until Sunday August 9 to make a submission.

Environmental Justice Australia is proud to join Friends of the Earth, Environment Victoria, and the Australian Conservation Foundation to call on the Andrews government to to adopt world leading climate change laws – the Victorian Climate Charter.

The Climate Charter proposal would make Victoria a world leader on climate change. It sets binding emission reductions targets for Victoria, establishes a ‘climate test’ for decisions that affect emissions, and gives citizens the right to take the government to court if it is not meeting its climate obligations.

It is critical that Victorians use the Climate Change Act review to demand action, and counter calls from industry to go soft on tackling global warming.

Environmental Justice Australia and Friends of the Earth have joined forces to make it quick and easy for you to have your say.

» Click here to send your submission directly to the review committee.

Your voice is important! Climate action will only happen if the community demands it.
The Climate Change Act review is a great opportunity to get some real action on climate.
Thank you for caring about this most urgent of environmental issues.”


Policy thoughts

Climate scientists predict that the record-breaking temperatures in 2014 will be surpassed this year. The Abbott government has managed to pull things so far to the anti-action side that opposition policies are also weak.

The official process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change after the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference set up a scientific review of the +2°C cap. This is the official scientific review which was reported in May 2015: www.unfccc.int

The review concluded that a world with warming of 2°C is NOT SAFE, and it is not suitable as a cap for climate policy. It also concluded that a 1.5°C warming would be less dangerous, but it is also not safe.

This UNFCCC review is summarised by Climate Analytics at: www.climateanalytics.org

David Spratt’s papers on www.climatecodered.org similarly shows the climate is dangerous already and there is no carbon budget left if adequate safety standards are applied.

Co-author Philip Sutton thinks we need not only zero emissions urgently. “To restore a safe climate, we need to take all the excess CO2 out of the air as fast as possible,” says Philip Sutton and suggests:

1. Ban all new investment in fossil fuel capacity and use (ie. oil,
and all types of gas and all types of coal) and the production of
other greenhouse gas (eg. refrigerant gases, etc.)

2. Shut down current fossil fuel production and use, and shut down
or convert other greenhouse gas emitting technologies (eg.
refrigeration)

3. Transition agriculture and forest management to minimal net greenhouse gas emissions

4. Actively promote energy efficiency

5. Promote renewable energy

6. Promote massive CO2 drawdown


Peter Reefman used to work in the renewables sector in Portland, Victoria, Australia. Today he works with cleantech in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

He reports in an email from China that while the Australian total generating capacity of renewable energy sources is about 40GW, and the Australian target by 2030 is between 20% and 50%, or between 8GW and 20GW, the Chinese are working in an entirely different mode of planning. Currently, the Chinese total generating capacity is about 1,000GW, and the Chinese target by 2030 is an extra 1,000GW of renewables, minimum, and maybe even double this.

“Australia is an international village-idiot now on climate and renewables,” he says.

A statement Peter Reefman hears from Chinese colleagues is that, “a renewable energy target of 20% by 2020 is really pretty pathetic. Why isn’t 100% the minimum, and with so many natural assets, why aren’t groups calling this to be something like 300% of what you have now, so that Australia can become a carbon-zero manufacturing hub, similar to what Iceland and Greenland are doing with their hydro and geothermal aluminium production?,” the Chinese ask.

Peter Reefman suggests that a simple three-step response for a pragmatic, strong policy alternative might be something like:

1) Stop Coal. Full stop.

2) Transition coal jobs (and create new ones) to new renewably-powered industries that are focussed on export of high-energy products and materials (aluminium, cement, etc)

3) Build the renewable energy capacity to go WELL OVER our 40GW to also power these new industries, jobs, etc. Which in turn will also carry Australia to be domestically zero-carbon for energy production.

“We know we need to stop digging up coal, especially for export. The delusional, frenzied coal export increase aspirations to China and India – to markets we know will be increasingly shrinking – is clearly the craziest thing Australia is doing right now.”

 ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA: 

‘How to get there: Six steps to climate leadership for Victoria’

six-stps-to-clim-leadership

Environment Victoria has recently proposed the following six key steps:

Step 1: Commit to a goal of decarbonisation
• Articulate a vision for reaching zero net emissions.
• Set short, medium and long term targets, or a target rate of annual reductions.
• Join the Compact of States and Regions, with Premier Andrews attending the UN climate summit in Paris to announce Victoria’s targets.

Step 2: Strengthen the Climate Change Act
• Allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and to set emissions intensity standards.
• Ensure a whole-of-government approach to reducing emissions.
• Make state-wide emissions data available more promptly.

Step 3: Make Victoria the home ground for Australia’s renewable energy industry
• Use reverse-auction feed-in tariffs to help finance new large-scale renewable energy projects.
• Increase government purchase of GreenPower.
Boost feed-in tariffs and access to finance for small-scale renewable energy.
• Support the roll-out of community energy projects and prepare for the battery storage revolution.

Step 4: Cut energy waste
• Invest in a comprehensive household retrofit program for one million low-income and vulnerable households.
• Establish performance standards at point of sale/lease for all homes and immediately move to a 7-star standard for new homes.
• Reintroduce successful programs such as the Greener Government Buildings scheme and the Environment and Resource Efficiency Plan program.
• Improve vehicle fuel efficiency standards and increase efficiency of government vehicle fleet.

Step 5: Retire our dirtiest power stations
• Implement a mechanism to phase out coal-fired power stations, starting with the most pollution-intensive, with links to achieving climate targets.
• Establish and fund an economic development plan to diversify the Latrobe Valley economy.

Step 6: Rule out new fossil fuel projects for Victoria
• Maintain the existing moratorium on onshore unconventional gas.
• Introduce a moratorium on new coal projects.
• Divert funding earmarked for coal to other investment in the Latrobe Valley.


This is what Environment Victoria will be holding the government to account against over the coming months and years, though they remain open to other government interventions that will similarly bring down emissions as quickly as possible.

» A quick summary of the components of each of these steps can be found here (PDF, one page in A4)

» For the background to these actions, see the full ‘Six Steps to Climate Leadership’ report on
www.environmentvictoria.org.au


Economic model with rising carbon fee

In America, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby released a study from Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) that examined the impact of a steadily-rising fee on carbon-based fuels with revenue from that fee returned to households in equal shares. They write that, “There is no economic argument against Fee and Dividend. It creates jobs, grows the economy, saves lives, and makes Americans richer.”
With the fee starting at $10 per ton of carbon dioxide and rising $10 per ton each year, the major findings were:

• In 20 years, CO2 emissions would be reduced 50 percent below 1990 levels.

• Because of the economic stimulus of recycling carbon fee revenue back to households, in 20 years, 2.8 million jobs would be added to the American economy.

• Improved air quality would result in 230,000 premature deaths avoided over 20 years.

» REMI economic study:
www.citizensclimatelobby.org/remi-report

But carbon prices alone won’t deliver
Professor Kevin Anderson of the UK Tyndall Centre and one of the world’s most forthright climate scientists has made it clear over and over again, including at the Radical Emissions Reduction conference 18 months ago and in writings before and since, that radical energy efficiency measures must be at the core of any action plan.

Kevin Anderson is very strong as well on why carbon prices can’t deliver even a 2°C target.

» Both issues are covered here:
www.kevinanderson.info





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MOST SHOCKING NEWS OF THE WEEK

indlandsisen_jb5

How air pollution has colored Greenland’s ice cap black
Pictures from an expedition with researcher Jason Box reveals how pollution and forest fires have colored the ice blacker than ever before.

» See the photos on: www.ing.dk


IMF about Aussie subsidies: $41 billion in 2015
The IMF has projected Australia will subsidise coal, petroleum and gas consumption by a whopping $41 billion in 2015. That is almost two per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product!
That’s $1,800 per Australian. It is $3.700 per working person in Australia.

It is starkly obvious that the addiction of both the COALition and Labor to coal and gas comes at our expense.

With one hand you scrap the carbon tax claiming to save families $500 on their electricity bill.
With the other hand you take $7.200 from every family where both parents are working.

“Maybe if they spent less time wining and dining with coal lobbyists, who often used to be senior members of their own parties, and more time thinking about the public interest we wouldn’t be in such a crazy situation. Or maybe we should just kick this mob out…”
Jeremy Buckingham


» Sydney Morning Herald – 26 July 2015:
Renewable energy expense attacked as Australia gifts $41 billion to fossil fuels





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Famous Australian broadcaster caught lying

Broadcaster Alan Jones was caught lying in a panel discussion on Q&A, ABC TV, on 20 July 2015. How does he get away with it? Because no one in the room knew the facts and were therefore unable to counter his claims. Lack of knowledge is a huge problem in this game of energy politics.

» www.theconversation.com

“The reason many countries now have strict efficiency standards is not just about emissions reductions but because it makes economic sense.
Bloomberg


Bloomberg: the real energy prices

Compare these figures from Bloomberg (below) with what climate change sceptic shock jock Alan Jones misled the million-odd viewers of the ABC’s Q&A program last Monday with, when he told everybody that coal-fired power is about $79 a kilowatthour, while wind power is about $1,502 a kilowatthour. (Yes, he said “kilowatt” – not “megawatt”).

An old fossil fool, you could say. But as long as he gets away with saying this kind statements in prime time on national tv, and no one in the tv show is able to correct him, right there on the spot, the Australian population will continue living in the belief that coal is 20 times cheaper than wind power.

Maybe it is time to educate and update yourself on these figures. To memorise them and have them ready at any moment. And to check whether your local MP has understood this, and remembers the figures, as well!

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s most recent calculations:

• a new wind farm in Australia would cost $74 a megawatt hour

• a new gas base-load station would cost $92

• a new large-scale photovoltaic solar project would cost $105

• a new coal-fired power station would cost $119

“So both wind and solar are already cheaper than coal,” says the Bloomberg’s Australian head, Kobad Bhavnagri.

» www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au





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Scientists: Temperature keeps rising

Global warming’s record-breaking trend continues as a result of the swelling volume of carbon pumped into the atmosphere from factory and power station chimneys and motor and airline exhausts.

Detailed update by hundreds of scientists on climate indicators in 2014 reveals highest recorded rises in temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases.

» www.climatenewsnetwork.net



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 SOUTH AFRICA: 

New film on the cost of coal

The new documentary ‘The bliss of ignorance’ investigates South Africa’s complex relationship with one of the country’s most abundant resources: coal.

Experts are predicting the creation of a ‘sick’ generation in the Mpumalanga Highveld region, which is home to 12 of the world’s largest power stations. This documentary looks at the impact of South Africa’s energy policy – particularly the support for Eskom, the state’s energy utility’s reliance on coal-fired power stations – on public health.

The film is produced by Friends of the Earth South Africa and Friends of the Earth International.

» See and help promote this documentary film:
www.vimeo.com/111593436



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Paper: How to reach 100% renewables in 10-15 years

“The group of scientists are saying that deciding what to do about climate change depends on the value we put on human life, both now and in years to come.”

Maybe you heard about the ‘Apollo initiative’ and the report when it came out a month or two ago, and browsed through the website, www.globalapolloprogramme.org?

At Centre for Climate Safety, we got so distracted and upset when reading on the front page of the website that “only 2% of global research and development currently is invested in clean energy” that we started researching more and writing about this topic, and eventually didn’t get to read the actual apollo report itself.

Alex Kirby from Climate News Network did. And the headline of the article he wrote about the report, highlights that this is a report that really shouldn’t be overlooked:

‘Eminent group urges governments to make the massive research investment that would enable the world to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2025’

It is a 40-page, easily read paper ready for use in advocacy work for a 10 (or 15) year 100% transition to renewables energy source.

» Read more – or

» Download the ‘Apollo report’ (PDF)



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Exponential drop in renewables prices to strand fossil investments
The price of renewables is dropping very fast. The price of photo-voltaic panels is actually dropping exponentially. And this exponential price drop should continue, according to this graph from the Global Apollo Program Report, part of The London School of Economics and Political Science. The graph shows the “price of silicon photo-voltaic panels” falling exponentially as the “cumulative installed PV capacity” rises.

Global warming blogger Andrew Gunner commented: “This sort of exponential price drop often occurs in emerging industries and it will probably continue. These remarkable price drops, and increasing pollution limits on fossil fuels, are a tsunami. Clearly, Australia’s continued investment in fossil fuels, like building new railways and ports for coal, is terrible for our environment. But it is also terrible economic management, a waste of resources. Like slide rulers, fossil fuel investments are likely to gather dust. Like asbestos, they will be dismissed as toxic.”





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Report about climate change risk

One of the co-authors of the Apollo report (mentioned above) is Sir David King, formerly the UK government’s chief scientist. Together with scientists from the UK, US, India and China he recently published another report which was commissioned by the UK government.

The group of scientists are saying that deciding what to do about climate change depends on the value we put on human life, both now and in years to come. They say climate change poses risks that demand to be treated as seriously as the threat of nuclear war.

» www.climatenewsnetwork.net


Ireland’s president also calls for a new economic order to address the threats of global warming.

“The global challenges of climate change and inequality could not be met if governments were not in control of their economies,” the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, said.

» Economic changes needed to tackle climate challenges



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Compare Australian policy with China’s

To put what is happening at the moment in Australia in a bit of a perspective, just try and compare it with what is currently happening in China:

• Australian total generating capacity: about 40GW
• Australian target by 2030: between 20% and 50% which means: 8GW to 20GW

• Chinese total generating capacity: about 1,000GW
• Chinese target by 2030: an extra 1,000GW of renewables, minimum, maybe double this






 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Calendar of local events

in beginning of August 2015 in and around Geelong


 9 August 2015: 

Changing the Dream Symposium

‘Can we be at peace with the world we have?’

“We’re doing this because we believe that, even though there are many people doing great things in the sustainability realm, there is an underlying sense of outrage, even anger that, despite their best efforts, the World we want is not emerging fast enough to save our civilization. Many in the movement are feeling burnt out or disillusioned, this workshop is designed to help us be the finest, most noble expressions of who we can be in the World we have right now. To witness the unfolding, however it looks and to play our part as selflessly as we can without attachment to any particular result.”


The Symposium is not about beliefs, it’s not about answers. The invitation is to neither believe nor disbelieve what is presented, but for participants to engage in their own dialectic about the matters raised.

The modern Industrial world was created by hard working, well meaning people such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and America’s greatest industrialist, George Westinghouse. Their intentions were largely compassionate, as they sought to improve the lives of ordinary people.

What followed from their actions were unintended consequences which were unforeseeable and ultimately global in their effects. Half of the world’s fauna have lost their habitat in the last fifty years, ninety percent of ancient forests are gone, ninety percent of large fish are gone from the oceans; two world wars, creating mass destruction were made possible by industrial scale production. How is this not a tragedy?

Many people are now hurt, lonely, despairing, and fearful. During this event, we aim to create a space of loving presence where people can expand their understanding of how we arrived at the world we have.

This includes an opportunity to share our grief, our despair and our fears about the future; to perhaps recognise the possibility of transmuting painful emotions and fear.

In a safe space, the restoration of the memory of oneness becomes possible. Access to the memory of oneness enables us to mindfully bear witness to the play of Humanity. This creates the possibility of clear thought, open heartedness, effective right action, personal hope and empowerment. As a part of a community of trust, we can create the finest expression of who we can be – for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Sunday 9 August 10am to 4pm in Alphington. Organised by Triple Ecology Collective

» See more on www.bethechange.org.au

» www.facebook.com/events

» www.facebook.com/photo.php




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 12 August 2015: 

Global cinema event: ‘Unity’

‘Unity’ is a new film from the writer and director of ‘Earthlings’, Shaun Monson. It will have a worldwide event release from 12 August 2015. The film will challenge audiences, it forces us to hold a mirror up to humanity. It is a film that even the strongest of viewers will walk away from with questions, emotions (some good, some bad) and perhaps a broader view on the world.

“Make the connection – Human • Animal • Tree. Please be kind to every expression of life”



Trailers

[1:57 min] June 2015

[9:48 min] February 2015

[5:20 min] 2012

Geelong Village Cinemas screenings:
• Wednesday 12 August at 7pm
• Sunday 16 August at 4pm

» villagecinemas.com.au

About ‘Unity’
‘Unity’ features an unprecedented cast of 100 celebrity narrators (from Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Aniston and Helen Mirren, to Dr Dre and Depak Chopra (see website https://unitythemovement.com for full cast list).
It is a documentary about why we can’t seem to get along with each other, even after thousands and thousands of years.

Seven years in the making, ‘Unity’ is a new documentary that explores humanity’s hopeful transformation from living by killing into living by loving. It is a unique film about compassion for all beings, or all “expressions of life,” and going beyond all “separation based on form,” and beyond perceiving opposites.

Writer and director Shaun Monson, collaborating with an astounding cast of 100 celebrity narrators (never before gathered in the history of film-making), presents a message of love, tragedy and hope, all set against the backdrop of some of the most compelling 20th and 21st century footage imaginable.

Presented in chapters, (like its predecessor ‘Earthlings’) ‘Unity’ takes an in-depth look at what it truly means to be human, to be mortal, and to be incarnate in this world.

The film explores our brief existence among the Cosmos (Chapter I), then moves on to the perceptions of our Mind (Chapter II), the nature of our Body (Chapter III), the infinite capacity of our Heart (Chapter IV), and ultimately to the mysterious energy of the Soul (Chapter V).

Initially, these chapters will appear unrelated to each other. But as the film progresses it becomes clear that all life is interconnected, and each chapter represents the totality of our mortal experience, which is only measured in decades.

» Website:
www.unitythemovement.com

» Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/UnityFilmOfficial



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 14 August 2015: 

‘Merchants of Doubt’ film screening in Colac

New documentary from Robert Kenner, the director of ‘Food Inc.’

You are invited to a movie screening which is also a Lock the Gate fundraiser on Friday 14 August at 6:30pm in Colac Cinema, COPAC, Corner Rae and Gellibrand Streets, Colac

See the trailer:

TICKETS $15 adults and $10 – Over 16 years
(RATED M – LANGUAGE AND ADULT THEMES)
Tickets available online: www.trybooking.com/IKQL
Or buy from your Lock the Gate group co-­‐ordinator

“WHY ARE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS SO EFFECTIVE?”
CORPORATE INTEREST VS. PUBLIC INTERESTS
“EXPERTS” FOR HIRE + HEALTH FOR SALE

» Read more about the book behind the film:
www.merchantsofdoubt.org



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xavier-rudd560

 18 September 2015: 

Xavier Rudd comes to Geelong

The Sustainable Hour loves Xavier Rudd and we think you should too! He is a huge supporter of Lock the Gate and is starting his national tour and visiting Victoria soon.

He performs at Deakin’s Costa Hall at the waterfront campus in Geelong on 18 September 2015.

» Home page:
www.xavierrudd.com

» Coal Seam Gas fact sheet, Petition for renewable energy, and more:
www.xavierrudd.com/movement

» See: www.gpac.org.au



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