Targeting the target confusion

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This is Geelong calling. We say it is time to change the way we talk about renewables and emissions targets. First of all, we need to stop the confusing use of percentages in relation to a specific year.

Instead, when we all express our results and targets in carbon-tonnes per capita per year, the figures suddenly become transparent and comparable.

“It is all a bit of a scam,” says our guest in The Sustainable Hour today, Alan Barlee, as we discuss the confusion which reigns whenever politicians talk about emissions and renewable energy targets: “It is a pretty cynical use of statistics by those people who are trying to either protect their vested economic interests or to protect their vested political interests,” he explains.

The Sustainable Hour also talks with Deborah Hart, author of the new book ‘Guarding Eden: Champions of Climate Action’, and brings you Jack Nyhof’s fifth Sustainability News Bulletin.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 87:

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 MORE INFORMATION: 

Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 87th Sustainable Hour


The target confusion

Renewable energy electricity generation in percentage of total
• The Australian Capital Territory ACT has a renewable energy target of 90 per cent by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2025.
• ReEnergise Geelong: 100 per cent by 2030
• South Australia: 50 per cent by 2025
• Queensland: 50 per cent by 2030
• Federally, the Labor opposition has committed to a national goal of 50 per cent by 2030.

UN: Emissions reduction targets
• The Australian government had pledged 26 per cent reduction by 2030 as compared to 2005-levels
• The Germans have pledged a 85 per cent reduction on 1990-levels by 2050


“Should Australia’s emissions reduction targets be based on the scientific evidence about what is needed to prevent dangerous climate change or should we trust parliamentarians to make up their own number?
While Tony Abbott is adamant that the Parliament is not well suited to address issues of who can marry who, he is adamant that the Parliament, in which he leads the majority party, is best placed the “balance” the interests of future generations against the profits of the coal mining industry today.”
Richard Denniss


“Doctors are dismayed by the inadequacy of the Abbott government’s just-announced carbon emission targets of at least 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which it aims to take to the United Nations climate change meeting in Paris in December. We see a government who is again failing to acknowledge the enormity of the increasing health impacts of climate change, and failing to treat the problem with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.”
Dr Sallie Forrest, a medical doctor and a public health specialty registrar. She is also a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia



“Like the French, we should require all new roofs to be planted or solar. Like the Germans, we must pledge 85 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2050.
This conjures improbable fantasy of an honest, principled and backboned Australian political leadership. Imagine the panic that would cause among the policy-rorters and trough-guzzlers.
But on the comfort side is Cuba which, in 1990, with Russia’s connivance, became the no-oil test case. Everyone expected disaster but found, when forced to walk, work and cycle more, to mend and invent, to produce bio-fuel and farm organically, they lived healthier, longer lives and formed stronger, more energised communities.”
Elizabeth Farrelly

» Sydney Morning Herald – 20 August 2015:
Two degrees or four? It’s a personal choice for survival in the near future
By Elizabeth Farrelly

Australian government spruiks fudged figures

Australia set to fail emissions target as government spruiks fudged figures

Serious questions are already being asked about whether the Abbott government has been misleading about its emissions reduction target given even its own figures contradict its hyperbolic claims, but a new international analysis out today not only sheds more light on its creative accounting, but shows it is likely to dramatically fail its goal. The Climate Action Tracker has evaluated Australia’s emissions reduction target (26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030), and found that the Government’s policies will actually deliver a 27 per cent increase in emissions in the same period (61 percent above 1990 levels). Prime Minister Tony Abbott might like to claim his target is “the best in the world” per capita, but the analysis shows it clearly remains among the worst. With Australia facing heavy impacts from rapid climate change, and the only response from the Abbott government being “purely political” “policy rubbish” and a high-cost alternative in “direct action”, it will be judged on its actions.
The Tree


Climate action saves $1,800 billion

While the COALition maintains that ambitious targets for renewables and emissions reduction would be economically catastrophic for Australia, a new report from Citigroup has come to exactly the opposite conclusion: strong climate action could save governments around $1.8 trillion by 2040, while inaction could cost as much as $44 trillion by 2060.

Those climate goals our politicians keep talking about don’t match with the climate reality. There is a huge gap between what the world needs for climate restoration, and where we are heading. At best, Paris will deliver commitments that will lead to over 3°C degrees of warming.

According to the Australian author Philip Sutton, the huge gap highlights the need for an impending shift in the purpose of climate campaigning: to press for maximum protection delivered at emergency speed and calls for the most effective action in the new ‘post-Paris’ era.

“The principal struggle must shift, from the clash between no action and some action, to the crucial struggle between those who want to constrain reform to levels that are not too disruptive and those who want action that will provide highly effective and timely protection,” Philip Sutton writes in his discussion paper ‘Striking Targets’, which was released in a series of Breakthrough discussion papers in August 2015.

» Read more about Philip Sutton’s ‘Striking Targets’ discussion paper



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 NEW BOOK: 

‘Guarding Eden: Champions of Climate Action’

guarding-eden_deb200By Deborah Hart, published by Allen and Unwin in June 2015, 256 pages, price: $13.50 / $17.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760112356

“It enrages me to hear people say that ‘oh yes, the young generation, they will fix things.’ This is happening now on our watch and we are responsible. We have the capacities. 1) It will be too late, and 2) it just seems deeply immoral to me to suggest that we can just keep making exacerbating, huge problems, willfully ignoring them, and leave them for our children to manage. It is just completely wrong.

Parents are supposed to be looking after their children. So to have the greatest threat to them being willfully ignored by the very people for whom the duty of care is their responsibility, is their job – that is the job of government – to have the decision makers willfully ignoring the greatest threat… They are the ones with the greatest capacity to do something. And they are the ones who are really failing.

It requires some urgent political action. So my book is targeting the young adults, to basically say, ‘Okay, this is the ammunition you need. Challenge the grown-ups in your lives.’ ”
Deborah Hart

“This book showcases the stories of 12 climate activists – ordinary people holding a range of viewpoints and coming from diverse backgrounds.This book demonstrates that it isn’t easy fighting to save the planet but also stresses how utterly important it is that individuals and communities keep going. A useful book that demonstrates the ability of individuals to affect change.”
Pam Harvey

Listen to more radio about Guarding Eden

On 31 August, the Melbourne-based Beyond Zero Community Show had author Deborah Hart in the studio, together with three of the contributors: Julien Vincent (known for the organisation Market Forces, amongst other things), Carol Ride, President of Psychology for a Safe Climate, and Fiona Armstrong, the founder and convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance. 

» Listen to the radio show and/or download the mp3-file here:
www.3cr.org.au/beyondzero



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 NEW BOOK: 

Tim Flannery: ‘Atmosphere of Hope’

atmosphere-of-hope-200Published on August 26 by Text Publishing

“We need new tools because we’ve now been emitting carbon pollution at a worst-case scenario rate for a decade. There is great inertia in the system that will carry us into increasingly dangerous climate territory.”
Tim Flannery


Reasons for climate hope
The new breed of “third way” technologies that could help avert climate disaster:

Seaweed farms – the cultivation of seaweed could be used to absorb CO₂ efficiently and on a large scale.

Carbon-negative cement – the manufacture of cement contributes about 5 per cent of green house gas emissions but new methods of cement production are being developed that allow CO₂ to be absorbed and sequestered in cement over long periods.

Carbon-negative plastic – plastics are now oil-based but carbon-capture technologies have been developed that combine air with methane-based greenhouse gas emissions to produce a plastic material.

New carbon capture and storage – Conditions in some places on earth might allow the storage of CO₂ in liquid of solid form. One idea is to use the pressure deep in the ocean to keep CO₂ in liquid or solid form. Another is to capture and store CO₂ in the Antarctic as dry ice or CO₂ snow.


» Sydney Morning Herald – 15 August 2015:
Tim Flannery’s message of hope: new third way technologies will help combat climate change


» ABC Radio National | RN Breakfast – 26 August 2015:
Tim Flannery’s Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Tim Flannery joins Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast. Listen now



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 BOOK: 

Bob Brown: ‘Optimism’

optimism-bob-br200The introduction to Bob Brown’s book ‘Optimism” is available for download for free here (PDF)

Bob Brown’s ‘Optimism’ was published in August 2014.

» Read more on www.bobbrown.org.au/optimism



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 NEW BOOK: 

How an industry managed to undermine the science

Climate-change-book-cover_3Austalians were spun a story that rejected science in return for protecting the interests of the polluting industries, says new book by Maria Taylor who investigates how corporate interests worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks.

Journalist and newspaper publisher Maria Taylor’s book ‘Global warming and climate change: What Australians knew and buried… then framed a new reality for the public’ shows how Australia could have acted on climate change a quarter of a century ago, but how corporate interests and economic ideologies not only stopped the clock on action, but wound it back.

There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place. In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005. For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science. But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public.

‘Global warming and climate change: What Australians knew and buried… then framed a new reality for the public’ is published by ANU Press.

» Copies can be purchased online at www.mariataylor.com.au

» See also: www.theguardian.com

» www.echo.net.au



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POC21: Proof of Concept

► POC21 Trailer: ‘The World We Need’

On 15 August 2015, POC21 innovation camp brought together over 100 makers, designers and social innovators to join forces at Millemont Castle near Paris. During five weeks of co-making and co-living, their goal is to prototype a new breed of open-source, sustainable products.

Ahead of the UN climate summit COP21, organisers OuiShare from Paris and Open State from Berlin want to deliver the proof of concept that a fossil-free, resource-efficient society can be build by citizen pioneers. Participants will embrace an unique creative process complete with mentoring sessions, work sprints, reality checks, campfire chats and more.

The mission of POC21 is to inspire an action culture of makers that replace mass consumerism and to make open-source, sustainable products the new normal.

» Home page: www.poc21.cc

» Facebook: www.facebook.com/POC21


“The stuff that makes us feel alive”

► Charles Eisenstein about POC21

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilisation, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. He is the author of the books ‘Sacred Economics’ and ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’ and is a keynote speaker during OuiShareFest 2015 in Paris.
In this video he muses about the connections between ecological transition and the open-source movement, how to “contribute without controlling” and why ideas like POC21 “make us feel alive again”.



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About ‘Convergence and Contraction’

Info and links that bear on Global Common’s and ‘Convergence and Contraction’ which Alan Barlee talked about in The Sustainable Hour:

Convergence and Contraction is an emissions management model relating to compliance with the ‘objective’ and ‘principles’ of the UNFCCC. After 21 years of effort to establish the Convergence and Contraction principle, it is now widely recognised as ‘an over-arching principle’ for ‘Climate Governance’ and UNFCCC-compliance. Extensive ‘endorsements’ and awards reflect that.
The Global Commons Institute was founded in 1990.

» Global Commons Institute briefing

» Global Commons Institute home page: www.gci.org.uk



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Open letter to Richard Marles, MP, Australian Labor Party

To: MP in the House of Representatives Richard 
Marles, Corio

Dear Richard Marles MP,

Never has trust in our government – and in politicians in general – reached a lower point.

As I am sure you are fully aware, the government was very annoyed and upset by the Federal Court overturning their Carmichael Coal Mine approval, so now it seeks to rip out those laws that were put in place to give Australians a voice against dangerous projects – such as new coal mines.

The big polluters want to erode our legal right to hold large companies accountable for pollution or driving animals to extinction.

The Prime Minister and Attorney-General George Brandis are calling people who care ‘vigilantes’ and ‘saboteurs’.

We are not! We are part of a global movement endorsed by the highest leaders of the Catholic and Muslim religions to protect this planet against vigilant destruction and pollution by greedy, shortsighted industrialists – such as those people the current federal Government represents.

Will you speak for us?

Yours sincerely,

Mik Aidt
Geelong, Victoria, Australia”



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Naomi Klein in an excellent interview on accelerating the climate movement, the need to transition to a zero carbon…
Posted on Facebook by The Climate Mobilization on 25 August 2015.



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2015-hottest-yearTheIndep

2015 hottest year ‘by a mile’

“It’s a sure thing. If you want a number, I would say about 99 per cent [certain],” said Professor James Hansen, a veteran climate researcher at Columbia University in New York and former director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“We really don’t have a pause in global warming. I’ve frankly never really agreed with that,” said Dr Jessica Blunden, a climate researcher at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which collates records on land and sea temperatures. “We’ve continued to break heat records in the 21st century since 1998 – 2005 was a record warm year, then 2010 was a record and then 2014 was a record and now we’re getting ready to beat that record again. I disagree with the thought that there is a warming hiatus.”

» Read more: www.independent.co.uk

TheIndep_climatec400






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