Crunch time: Modern technology meets Australia’s ‘amazing’ coal

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“The refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe gives us a sobering glimpse of what a less stable world looks like.”
OurVoices.net

In The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 9 September 2015 we listen to excerpts from inspirational climate change speeches held during the last week by US President Barack Obama and Canadian author Naomi Klein, a comment from Australian author Tim Flannery, and an absurd ‘amazing coal’ commercial by the Minerals Council of Australia.

We have a bit of a vent over the fossil madness which is going on at federal and state level in Australia, and our guest, Heinz Dahl, from EnviroCreate presents a look into the kind of technological solutions that are going to help us get out of this seemingly unstoppable carbon polluting era.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 89:

» 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



Guest in the studio:
Heinz Dahl, EnviroCreate

Audio excerpts:
• President Barack Obama speaks in Alaska, author Naomi Klein speaks in Sydney Opera House, author Tim Flannery is interviewed by ABC RN, Charlotte Church sings in front of Shell’s headquarters in London. We also play the ‘amazing coal’ ad by the Minerals Council of Australia, as well as one that makes fun of it, as well as Alan Jones’ tv ad which opposes the Abbott government plan to change legislation to enable Big Coal to go ahead with their mining projects.


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» Global event on 24 September 2015: www.ourvoices.net/lighttheway

Refugee crisis: a “rehearsal”
“The refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe gives us a sobering glimpse of what a less stable world looks like”, wrote OurVoices.net. A senior British politician Lord Ashdown says we face a humanitarian crisis on an immense scale if millions of people have to flee the impacts of global warming. Lord Ashdown was leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats for 11 years. He describes the present flight of refugees from Syria and other conflict areas as a “rehearsal” for the vast humanitarian disaster he believes will soon unfold.

» The Independent – 2 March 2015:
Climate change key in Syrian conflict – and it will trigger more war in future





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» Sign this petition





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Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 89th Sustainable Hour


 REMARKABLE SPEECH 

President Obama speaks out in Alaska

The Australian Prime Minister is “not fit to lead”, according to the American president. Obama didn’t say this directly, but he very much hinted it in a strong speech he held in Alaska on 31 August 2015:

“Let’s remember, even beyond the climate benefits of pursuing cleaner energy sources and more resilient, energy-efficient ways of living, the byproduct of it is, is that we also make our air cleaner and safer for our children to breathe. We’re also making our economies more resilient to energy shocks on global markets. We’re also making our countries less reliant on unstable parts of the world. We are gradually powering a planet on its way to 9 billion humans in a more sustainable way. 


These are good things. This is not simply a danger to be avoided; this is an opportunity to be seized. But we have to keep going. We’re making a difference, but we have to keep going. We are not moving fast enough.

If we were to abandon our course of action, if we stop trying to build a clean-energy economy and reduce carbon pollution, if we do nothing to keep the glaciers from melting faster, and oceans from rising faster, and forests from burning faster, and storms from growing stronger, we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair: Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields no longer growing. Indigenous peoples who can’t carry out traditions that stretch back millennia. Entire industries of people who can’t practice their livelihoods. Desperate refugees seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own. Political disruptions that could trigger multiple conflicts around the globe.

That’s not a future of strong economic growth. That is not a future where freedom and human rights are on the move. Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that – any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke – is not fit to lead.”
Barack Obama, President of the United States, on 31 August 2015


» The above quote starts at 19:11 in the video recording of Obama’s speech on youtube.com:

Published on youtube.com on 31 August 2015.

» Full transcript:
www.whitehouse.gov




» Media release: CLIMATE LEADERS TO OBAMA: CHAMPION ZERO EMISSIONS GOAL AT PARIS TALKS
President’s Climate Legacy Hinges on Launching Emergency World War II-Scale Climate Mobilization



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 REMARKABLE SPEECH 

Naomi Klein speaks out in the Sydney Opera House

Canadian researcher, writer and broadcaster Naomi Klein addressed a packed audience at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 5 September 2015. She gave a passionate speech about the Australian indigenous people, climate change, Pope Francis’ Encyclical, morals, refugees, and more – worth investing a bit of time into watching.

If you don’t have an hour to spend on this, jump to 35:00 and watch some minutes from there, and then watch the end, from around 54:00 and onwards. These were the two audio excerpts we played in The Sustainable Hour.

Published on youtube.com on 5 September 2015.




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 REMARKABLE STATEMENT 

Radio host Alan Jones speaks out in a tv ad

‘Quite simply unbelievable’: Alan Jones opposes Abbott government plan

Published on youtube.com on 4 September 2015.

» Read more: www.smh.com.au



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‘Amazing Coal’ campaign in Australia



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Minerals Council of Australia: ‘Coal. It’s an amazing thing’

“This little black rock is an amazing thing. Find out more: http://littleblackrock.com.au”


Published by Minerals Council of Australia on youtube.com on 5 September 2015


‘Amazing Coal’ reactions

“This little rock can do amazing things… Including changing the thermal properties of the atmosphere and maybe bankrupting human civilisation. amazing, coal. we’re all very impressed.”
Scott Ludlam, Senator

» The Sydney Morning Herald – 7 September 2015:
What an ‘amazing little black rock’ did to social media


“The funny guys from A Rational Fear return with a withering takedown of the Australian mining industry’s new advertising campaign extolling the virtues of coal. The Little Black Rock commercial, launched by the Minerals Council of Australia, is a bid to change perceptions of coalmining in Australia. But according to the Rational Fear team, the little black rock might not be all it’s cut out to be.”

» See the video here: www.theguardian.com


The Australian pension fund Future Super wrote in an email to its members:

“The Rockerfellers did it. Oxford University did it. The home of the world’s largest coal port, the City of Newcastle, did it. YOU did it. Institutions and individuals are lining up to sell their shares in coal, oil and gas companies, taking a bold stance against the fossil fuel industry. And its working.

Just last week the Mineral Council of Australia released a TV ad featuring a shiny lump of coal and boasting about its ability to “create light and jobs”. It’s the fossil fuel industry’s latest and most ridiculous attempt to sell the future of coal to Australians.

At Future Super we thought we’d take their ad to the streets. Here is the response:

Will you share this video and ask your friends and family to join the movement of Australian’s divesting from coal, oil and gas?

» SHARE ON FACEBOOK

Together we are turning the tide on this destructive industry and securing a future without this dirty little rock. A future worth retiring in.
Thank you for your support.

Kind regards,
Alex, Simon, Adam and the Future Super team

P.S. You can see the Future Super video along with several other spoofs on Junkee and a scathing review of the ad by The Guardian.

P.P.S. The Saturday Paper today published a great piece on recent divestment campaigning, revealing that most superannuation contributors own coal companies, tobacco stocks and nuclear weaponry. If you’ve consolidated your super into Future Super then don’t worry, you aren’t one of them. Click here to check out the story.”

Spoof of an Australian coal tv ad in April 2012.



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The industry of fossil fools is panicking

Anthony from the GetUp team wrote:

Coal is amazing? On what planet?
The Minerals Council must think Australians will believe anything. This week they launched a bizarre, error-riddled video calling coal “amazing” and featuring lavish close ups of the rock that costs Australia an estimated $9 billion every year in subsidies[1].

It seems they think it’ll only take a little bit of PR for Australians to celebrate the dirty reality of coal-fired power. They couldn’t be more mistaken.

Recent polling shows 80% of us believe wind, solar and other renewables should be prioritised over coal, but the Minerals Council and its member companies in the energy sector like AGL and EnergyAustralia are holding us back[2]. But rather than investing more in the renewable energy Australians want, these companies appear to spend their budgets on greenwashing advertisements, and send out pro-coal propaganda via the Minerals Council. Along with Origin and Simply Energy, these companies are the biggest coal-based polluters in the energy market, with their retail arms accounting for more than 70% of household connections[3].

These guys may be doing everything they can to prop up their fossil fuel investments, but we can change all that – by showing energy companies that the more they cling to coal, the more their customers will abandon them for companies that have gone fossil fuel free, for good.

The Better Power campaign has switched more than 12,000 people away from some of the dirtiest polluters in Australia — will you join them?

The Minerals Council likes to spruik coal by saying it provides 71% of Australia’s electricity [4]. They’re right, that’s a massive number — and we need to do everything we can to bring it crashing down. Coal is the biggest contributor to Australia’s toxic air pollution, which kills more people in our country than car accidents, while the public health cost of coal-fired power in Australia amounts to approximately $2.6 billion[5].

Switching energy companies won’t change the industry overnight, but it sends a powerful message. AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia generate huge amounts of income through their customer base, and switching just a few thousand customers can have a huge impact on their bottom line. In fact, a recent Credit Suisse report estimated the Better Power campaign had the potential to switch 30,000 customers from AGL at a cost of $100 million to the company[6]. Those are big numbers, but we’re almost halfway there, with 12,000 Better Power switchers voting with their wallet and divesting from some of the dirtiest power companies in the country.

Can you take five minutes to see if Better Power is right for you?

For the Better Power campaign, GetUp has partnered with Powershop, a carbon-neutral energy retailer owned by a 100% renewable energy generator. Powershop has a commitment to never invest in coal or other fossil fuels, was ranked greenest energy retailer in Australia by Greenpeace last year, and has already invested over $1 billion in renewables.

It’s important to note that if you switch to Powershop you will still be receiving electricity from the grid, which means it will be a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy. But this year Better Power switchers will automatically offset more than 72,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from their energy usage — the equivalent of more than 28,000 average cars off the road for a year, and they have peace of mind knowing they are not directly contributing to the retail arms of Australia’s biggest polluters.

If you switch, you’ll also enjoy some of the lowest rates on the market, with Powershop ranked among the cheapest retailers in Victoria by the government’s Essential Services Commission and the St Vincent de Paul society’s Tariff Tracker[7],[8].

By switching you are also making a valued contribution to GetUp, with our partner Powershop paying a commission for each person who switches through Better Power at no cost to the customer. So far we’ve raised more than $1.2 million through the Better Power campaign, with all funds going straight back into our campaigns for renewables and against coal and coal seam gas.

Big Coal is pulling out all the stops to make you fall in love with its product. But Australians aren’t buying the spin.

In the leadup to the Paris Climate Summit, GetUp members will be coming out in force to rally our governments to do more to address climate change. But as consumers, we also need to do more. Small individual decisions can add up to create massive impacts when we do it together, and at 12,000 switchers and counting we’ve got a great headstart.

Thanks for all you do for GetUp, and the environment.
Anthony, for the GetUp team

PS – People all across the country have been coming together to Light the Dark in memory of little Aylan, the Syrian refugee lost far too soon, over the last week. If you’ve already been a part of it – know that you’re helping to move mountains. If you haven’t already, check out some of the action here.

References:
[1] “Counting the Costs of Subsidies”, International Monetary Fund, 17 July
[2] “Australia Institute report shows 80% of Australians favour solar, wind & other renewables over coal”, Solar Choice, 10 December 2014
[3] AGL and EnergyAustralia are members of the Minerals Council, Origin Energy and Simply Energy are not. “The Dirty Three: The Truth About AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin”, GetUp, April 2015
[4] Minerals Council Australia Twitter post (twitter.com/MineralsCouncil/status/640338664568913920)
[5] “Coal the biggest contributor to toxic air pollution: study”, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 2015; “Coal and health in the Hunter: Lessons from one valley for the world”, Climate and Health Alliance, February 2015
[6] “AGL Energy – I can see clearly now”, Credit Suisse Research and Analytics, 19 March 2015; Citi Research, 18 February 2015
[7] “Energy Retailers Comparative Performance Report – Pricing”, Victorian Essential Services Commission , October 2014.
[8] “Victorian Energy Prices”, St Vincent de Paul Society, July 2015



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 SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN: 

No New Coal Mines

The No New Coal Mines team wrote on 9 September 2015:

“An historic declaration
Today, Prime Minister Abbott is heading to Papua New Guinea to represent Australia at the Pacific Islands Forum.
When he arrives, he’ll be facing Pacific Leaders who have just signed the historic Suva Declaration on Climate Change, including a call for a global moratorium on new coal mines. 

This is big. Several small island states could walk out on the Pacific Islands Forum if Australia and New Zealand force them to compromise on a declaration demanding ambitious action on climate change.

President Anote Tong of Kiribati, who made the initial call for No New Coal Mines, said: “We cannot negotiate this, no matter how much aid. We cannot be bought on this one because it’s about the future.”
This historic declaration and the solidarity of Pacific Island nations sends a strong message ahead of Paris COP21: that the Pacific Islands demand concrete action on climate change, and that means no new coal mines. 

Let’s show that we’re behind them – will you forward this email to three friends, asking them to join the call?
Go to: www.nonewcoalmines.org

In other coal news, yesterday morning The Australia Institute released the results of a poll of Newcastle residents exploring their support for Newcastle City Council’s divestment decision, which was due to be rescinded last night. The results were stunning: 

• Almost half (47.3%) of Novocastrians supported the council’s decision, while 24.8% were opposed. 

• Additionally, the majority (51.9%) of respondents to the ReachTEL polling thought that coal investments were financially risky (25.8% thought coal investments are financially safe). 

Last night Newcastle City Council, home of the world’s biggest coal port, defeated the motion to rescind (6 votes to five)! 
Thanks for supporting No New Coal Mines, an initiative of The Australia Institute. Don’t forget to like us Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.

» www.twitter.com/NoNewCoalMines
» www.facebook.com/NoNewCoalMines

The No New Coal Mines Team



P.S. No New Coal Mines is a big international project on a scale the Australia Institute has never attempted before. We’ve achieved some huge early wins, but there’s a long way to go til Paris, so over the next few weeks we’ll be making some calls to our supporters to ask if you can chip in to help this project in the crucial few months ahead – thanks for your support.

» www.nncm-theausinstitute.nationbuilder.com/donate



 PETITION: 

Stop the coal mines

Petitioning the Queensland and Federal governments: Don’t use taxpayer money to build a dangerous and unbankable coal mega mine

» Sign the petition on www.aycc.org.au/galilee


Letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and your ministers, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and all members of both the Federal and Queensland Government

According to the International Monetary Fund, Australia subsidises the fossil fuel industry by more than $40 billion a year. That, dear Tony Abbott, Annastacia Palaszczuk and members of the Federal and Queensland Government, is a pro-carbon tax of $1,712 on every man, woman and child in this country.

Add to that that burning coal is contributing to making our climate unsafe and threatening the livelihood of our children and grandchildren. This financial and environmental madness simply can’t continue any longer.

Barack Obama, President of the United States, talked about the risks we are confronted with because of our carbon emissions, in a speech about climate change on 1 September 2015. He said: “Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that — any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke — is not fit to lead.”

That message, I believe, was addressed to leaders like you. Shame on you for wasting tax payers money in this way, and for manipulating and mismanaging this nation in such a dangerous and shortsighted manner where you totally ignore your moral obligation to care for future generations and our connectedness to other nations and all life on this planet.

Tony Abbott, with your Catholic bagground, you should be even more ashamed of yourself for ignoring what Pope Francis is telling you and the entire Catholic community in a very direct and outspoken way in his latest encyclical letter. Have you actually read it? Doesn’t seem that way.

Most of you have children yourself. Do you really not care that you might be damaging your very own childrens’ future? Do you think your children won’t care when they get older and more and more carbon emissions-related trouble begins to kick in?

It is great to see that more and more so-called normal Australians are beginning to understand what is going on here. They are beginning to feel that we, the ordinary citizens, have been taken hostage by our incompetent, shortsighted and selfish leaders. So a mobilisation has started which will not rest before we see this coal madness coming to an end. Australians are making the switch to renewables by the thousands every week.

We have known for more than 20 years that we need to stop polluting the air. Those days are over where you can pretend you don’t know it – or that “the science isn’t clear”. Subsidising fossil fuels at this time is absolutely criminal, and I hope those of you who are personally responsible for allowing this to continue will one day soon be persecuted and punished for your crimes against humanity – and against the Australian people.
Mik Aidt


» Write your own letter and sign the petition on www.aycc.org.au/galilee


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Read also:

» RenewEconomy:
Thermal coal hits a new low. Where does the market go from here?



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A coal-city transitions to clean energy

“Why is a coal city saying ‘no’ to coal investment?,” Tony Abbott asked when Newcastle City Council recently made the controversial decision to move the city’s investment portfolio away from banks which back “environmentally and socially irresponsible” industry – such as coal mining.

At the same time, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes is seeking funding for a new body to “identify and promote job creation opportunities” in the Hunter, and help our “already transitioning economy” to manage the “transition to clean energy”.

The end of the construction phase of the mining boom, a steep downturn in commodity prices, and a swathe of associated job losses in the Hunter in recent months has prompted a discussion about the future of coal in Newcastle. And with unemployment in Newcastle currently at 15 per cent and youth unemployment at 20.6 per cent, Cr Nelmes says now is the time to start planning for that future.

» Read more: www.theherald.com.au



Kirsty from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition wrote:

“It’s almost too outrageous to be true. Multi-billion dollar mining companies getting cash handouts from taxpayers to pay for a project no one wants, that would destroy the Reef and our climate.

Yep, the Federal and Queensland governments are pushing forward to make these projects go ahead, against all odds. Even though huge international and Australian banks are saying they won’t back it, they want to use the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund to pay for this disastrous project.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said recently “We are doing everything we can to help to get the Adani Carmichael mine open.”

Sign this petition and make sure we do everything we can to stop it.

At the same time as they consider using the public’s money to fund this dangerous mine, the Queensland and Federal Governments have 6 key decisions to make that could see the coal in the Galilee Basin dug up and burnt. From the dredging and dumping approvals, to revisiting the Carmichael mine approval that was recently thrown out in the courts, to the compulsory acquisition of Wangan & Jagalingou land. Even worse, the Queensland Government is now the proponent for dredging the reef so it’s hard to see how they’ll make an unbiased decision.

We’ve been fighting the mega mines and ports in Queensland for two years now, and it’s clear that these projects don’t make sense. That’s why we’ve been out the front of the big banks every week for the last 12 months. That’s why we’ve seen major construction companies, international banks and 2 out of 4 big Aussie banks publicly back away from the project.

Now we have a vital window in the next few months to stop this project from going ahead. The Queensland government is the proponent for the project and has to approve the dredging and dumping, and Environment Minister Greg Hunt has been tasked with approving the Carmichael mine.

We need as many people as possible to sign this petition, and share it widely to send a strong message to these decision makers. They have to know that Australians don’t want this project to go ahead, and won’t stand by while they gamble public money, the Great Barrier Reef and our climate on an unbankable and unburnable coal mine.

The Queensland government was elected on a mandate of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and not using public money for big mining projects. Now, just months into their term, they’re trying to get Tony Abbott to spend your money through the Northern Infrastructure Development Fund and giving the green light to Adani before financial close.

We can’t let this happen. Together we have worked so hard to stop this massive climate disaster of a project from going ahead. As young people we know that another world is possible, and that Queensland needs a planned transition away from fossil fuels – the only thing standing in our way is out-of-date ideology from our leaders.

If you believe in a brighter future for Queensland and for Australia, sign this petition to make sure these dangerous projects don’t go ahead.

Kirsty, on behalf of the whole AYCC and Seed teams.”



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 IMPORTANT REPORT: 

Benefit rather than a cost

This Citibank report is important to know about, and to understand, in these times and in the political climate we live in. The report is called ‘Energy Darwinism II – Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth’

The report was published by Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (Citi GPS), a division within Citibank which is America’s third-largest bank. Mind you: a large bank. Not Greenpeace. Not a university. A bank.

The Citi report looks at the economic costs and benefits of a low-carbon future. It finds – and this is what everyone needs to understand – that investments in cutting carbon pollution will save money, before even accounting for the tremendous savings from avoiding climate damage costs.

The report states: “What is perhaps most surprising is that looking at the potential total spend on energy over the next quarter century, on an undiscounted basis the cost of following a low carbon route at $190.2 trillion is actually cheaper than our ‘Inaction’ scenario at $192 trillion.”

In other words: “the green transition” will be $1.8 trillion cheaper than the current inaction.

It is estimated that the green transition will cause a minimal additional cost of 0.1 per cent of world GDP by 2025 – and from then on we begin to save money because of higher energy efficiency as a result of the investments.

The Citi report then asks the trillion-dollar question – if tackling global warming is such an economic no-brainer, what are we waiting for?

The answer is that while the global economy would clearly benefit from climate action, it would create “stranded assets” for the fossil fuel industry, because a large percentage of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if we’re to avoid dangerous climate change. And the fossil fuel industry has extensive influence over many world governments.

» Download the report (PDF)

» The Guardian – 31 August 2015:
www.theguardian.com

» RenewEconomy – 24 August 2015:
Why wind and solar are already better value than fossil fuels
“Citigroup has published a detailed analysis of the costs of various energy sources, and it concludes that if all the costs of generation are included (known as the levellised cost of energy), then renewables turn out to be cheaper than fossil fuels and a ‘benefit rather than a cost to society.’ ”






You owe the world $12,000

“Writing in Nature Climate Change, H. Damon Matthews from Concordia University in Montreal argues that the fairest way to deal with climate finance (that is, of equitably balancing the international books in order to pay for climate change mitigation and adaptation) is to label individual countries as debtors and creditors and to calculate relative balances given their historic CO2 emissions. If you’re living in the U.S. or Australia, you’d owe a solid $12,000 under Matthews’ scheme: the atmospheric bill for all of those Furbies and Oreos and SUVs you bought between 1990 and 2013.”

» Grist – 8 September 2015: 
You owe the world $12,000 for burning all those fossil fuels
Article by Clayton Aldern


The energy solutions we are heading towards

“A matter of economics”

A new forecast by leading analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that Australia will have more than 50GW (50,000MW) of solar capacity by 2040, and more than half of all generation capacity will be “behind the meter” and located in households and businesses.

The forecasts by Bloomberg, made at RenewEconomy’s Disruption and the Energy Industry conference in Sydney this week, also included a prediction that household solar capacity would be 2.5 times greater than that of remaining coal-fired generators by 2040.

Analyst Hugh Bromley says it will simply be a matter of economics. “Solar is getting cheap … and coal will become expensive,” particularly for new power plants. “It (coal) is not in the money any more.”

» RenewEconomy – 10 September 2015:
Australia tipped to have 50GW of solar capacity by 2040


New momentum for renewables

“A new wave of momentum is building for a phase-out of fossil fuel emissions in favour of a 100 per cent renewable energy future.

In recent weeks the leaders of Brazil and Germany committed to decarbonise their economies, French President Francois Hollande acknowledged a “viable” Paris agreement would see 80 per cent of fossil fuel resources stay in the ground, and Muslim leaders called on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to take climate action, just a few months after the Pope addressed a similar call to 1.2 billion Catholics.

Meanwhile, even those companies that traditionally rely on fossil fuels for their fortune are waking up to the threat of dirty energy, with French giant Total becoming the latest energy company to turn its back on coal.”
The Tree


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“Low-carbon urban actions available today could generate a stream of savings in the period to 2050 with a current value of US$16.6 trillion.”


Quote from the ‘New Climate Economy Working Paper’ – which was written as a supporting document for the 2015 report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, ‘Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate’.

» Download the report (PDF)

» www.newclimateeconomy.net

“New research shows that saving the planet from global warming by combining renewables and energy efficiency will also save money and create jobs.”

» Climate News Network – 11 September 2015:
Efficiency drive can cut a quarter off energy demand


Technological advancements in the energy sector

Some of Heinz Dahl’s references and links:

» RenewEconomy:
Redflow’s Hackett: Battery storage as common as broadband within 10 year

» EV Obsession:
Wireless Charging For Electric BMWs By 2017?

» RenewEconomy:
IEA study highlights remarkable shift in competitiveness of solar PV

» Greentech Media:
Value of Battery-Backed Solar in California: 25 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

» Los Angeles Times – 28 August 2015:
Renewable energy requirement creates jobs, Berkeley study says

» RenewEconomy:
How France could go nearly 100% renewable energy

» PV Magazine:
Renewables come closer to covering 100% of German demand



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» World Wind Energy Association – 9 September 2015:
Worldwide wind market booming like never before: Wind capacity over 392 gigawatt


The Carbon Neutral City race
Melbourne and Vancouver aim to be carbon neutral by 2020, and Adelaide in South Australia aims become the first city that reaches the goal. A positive signal in a country where climate action at national level is ignored by the Abbott government.

Ian Hunter, South Australia’s Minister for Climate Change, talks to the South Australians about how the state will transition to a low carbon economy:

South Australia expects that 50% of its energy use will come from renewable sources in 2025. More about South Australia’s climate policy here: www.yoursay.sa.gov.au


Picture 21

» One step off the grid:
New 100% renewable energy retailer to keep profits in local community

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USA: Renewables can supply 100% of all energy

A new paper, ‘100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight – all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States’ by Jacobson et al from Standford University, describes the wind, solar and other renewable technologies needed to supply all the energy used in the USA. That is all the energy, not just the electricity.

They find that using wind to generate 50% of energy, solar photovoltaic (PV) for 38%, concentrated solar power (CSP) for 13% and a combination of hydro, geothermal, tide and wave power for the remainder (5%) allows all energy in the USA to be supplied at a lower cost than using fossil fuels.

The total is over 100% as extra power is required to stabilize the power grid because the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine.

» Download the report (PDF) from web.stanford.edu

Read more:

» New paper shows that renewables can supply 100% of all energy (not just electricity)

» US: 100% conversion to wind, water and solar power by 2050 feasible, PV to account for 38%


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vic-renew-energy-roadmapCOVER

Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap

Place a submission: Public consultation on the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap is open. The Roadmap outlines a set of initiatives aimed at accelerating the development of renewable energy projects in Victoria.

Public consultation on the Roadmap will feed into the development of the Victorian Renewable Energy Action Plan, which will set long-term actions to drive renewable energy investment in Victoria.

» To find out more about the roadmap, where consultation sessions are being held, and how you can place a submission go to www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au

» ‘The Renewable Energy Roadmap’ (PDF)

Friends of the Earth Melbourne have whipped up an online form to help people make submissions. It takes about a minute to do and it encourages you to insert your own targets.

» Find it here:
www.melbourne.foe.org.au/vret_submission

» Share the message about this on social media – help get the word out:
Facebook
» Twitter

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Financial Times: “Our responsibility”

“To design wise policies, we need all the efforts of scientists, economists and technologists, and the best knowledge that the 21st century can offer. But to implement them successfully, we need the full commitment of political leaders and the full support of the voting public. As Pope Francis’s Encyclical on environmental issues proclaims, our responsibility — to our children, to the poorest, to steward the diversity and richness of life on earth — surely demands nothing less.”
Martin Rees, 4 September 2015, in Financial Times



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United Nations: Not on track

As far as solving the climate change crisis and stopping carbon pollution at a global level, unfortunately, we can’t expect much from the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December. Here is why:

The targets countries have set so far to limit their contribution to climate change over the next several years won’t do enough to keep global warming below the 2°C threshold, according to a new report.

The report, published Wednesday by the Climate Action Tracker, analyzed the 29 “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) — or countries’ goals for limiting warming post-2020 — submitted to the United Nations so far. The researchers found that, if countries stick to these commitments for 2030 and don’t take additional action against climate change, keeping warming below 2°C — the level that many scientists say is the highest warming the Earth can tolerate without major catastrophic effects (though others say 2 degrees is too high) — would become nearly impossible.

“It is clear that if the Paris meeting locks in present climate commitments for 2030, holding warming below 2°C could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5°C beyond reach. Given the present level of pledged climate action, commitments should only be made until 2025,” Bill Hare, a co-author of the report and founder and CEO of Climate Analytics, said in a statement. “The INDCs therefore need to be considerably strengthened for the period 2020-2025.”

This isn’t a surprise for many following the lead-up to Paris, however. As Climate Progress’ Joe Romm has pointed out, experts have long known that the commitments made in Paris likely won’t keep warming to 2°C — Paris is necessary for getting the country on track to 2°C, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all of climate action.

“Paris is focused on stanching the bleeding with a tourniquet,” Romm wrote in July. “The goal has always been to get firm global commitments from the big emitters to meet serious targets in the 2025-2030 timeframe so we can get off our current emissions pathway — a pathway that would blow past 4°C (7°F) warming, ruin a livable climate for centuries and make feeding 9 billion people post-2050 an unimaginably difficult task.”

The report also found that some countries, including Canada and Australia, don’t yet have legislation in place that would allow them reach the goals set out in the INDCs.


Read more:

» ThinkProgress – 4 September 2015:
Countries’ U.N. Climate Pledges Aren’t Enough To Keep Warming To 2 Degrees. That’s Ok.
Article by Katie Valentine



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The madness of public subsidies

All signs point to the clean energy benefits as IMF uncovers ‘shocking’ fossil fuel subsidies. The Tree wrote:

G20 still subsidising fossil fuel industry despite phase-out pledges
Turkey, currently president of the G20, spends up to US$1.6 billion on fossil fuel subsidies annually, a new report from Oil Change International and 350.org shows. The G20 as a whole is still doling out US$770 billion per year to fossil fuel companies, despite its 2009 promise to stop. While many G20 members are showing ambition on climate change, they continue to funnel vast subsidies to the oil, coal and gas sectors. In the run-up to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey in November, to be held shortly before the crucial UN climate talks in Paris, Turkey can walk its talk by beginning to phase out subsidies to fossil fuel producers. If other G20 governments follow suit, they could send a signal of real change at a pivotal moment.

• Continuing to subsidise fossil fuels is unnecessary and dangerous. Three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground to keep overall temperature rise under the 2degC benchmark agreed by governments. $88 billion a year of spending on fossil fuel exploration alone by the G20 while its leaders have agreed to limit global warming is illogical, as well as harmful to the planet and its inhabitants.


• Turkey can show its leadership by turning to renewables. With a rapidly growing population, Turkey is looking for energy solutions. Banking on carbon-pumping coal is not a sustainable or wise answer. With snap elections approaching, and with its G20 presidency putting it in the spotlight, Turkey’s leaders Erdoğan and Davutoglu can steer their country in the right direction by embracing its huge renewable energy potential and doing away with support for fossil fuels.


• The G20 countries can help the poorest cope with climate change. While the G20 nations emit about 80 per cent of the world’s carbon, their wealth will help them to deal with the impacts of climate change. It is the poorer nations who will find it hardest to adapt. The G20 can provide leadership on the sticky issue of climate finance for developing nations at their November summit, and make a difference at home too by finally upholding their pledge to do away with fossil fuel subsidies.



Without government subsidies: no jobs

“Members of the Abbott Government assert the Carmichael Coal Mine will create 10,000 jobs, while others say it’s more like 1,464 jobs. Without government subsidies the mine will probably produce no jobs, but which number is right?”

» Find out in this article on www.businessspectator.com.au



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Musicians call Shell to stop drilling for oil in the Arctic

As Shell drills for oil in the Arctic, singer Charlotte Church joined the ‘Requiem for Arctic Ice’ on its 18th day outside Shell headquarter in London. The protest ran the whole of August 2015.

Charlotte sang ‘This Bitter Earth’ with the Ligeti Quartet on strings and Kelly Lovelady as a conductor.
‘This Bitter Earth / On the Nature of Daylight’ was written by Clyde Otis and Max Richter.

» Join in and see other performances at www.grnpc.org/Ig2pj

“Time is running out. Shell is in the Arctic hunting for oil right now! For as long as it stays there, we will protest against its risky oil drilling plans. WE are the movement that will save the Arctic.”
Greenpeace – Save the Arctic


» www.music.savethearctic.org





Local events in the Geelong region


‘Word for Word: National Non-fiction Festival’

Australia’s largest festival to showcase only non-fiction literature, writing and ideas – is coming to Geelong. The festival was initiated by Deakin University.

Professor Tim Flannery will give a keynote address based on his latest book ‘Atmosphere of Hope’ on the opening night tomorrow, Thursday September 10.

» www.wordforwordfestival.com.au



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Declare Victoria Gasfield Free

Victoria can be the first state in Australia to put in place a total ban on all unconventional gas mining. It is up to us.

Take part in the ‘Farmers & Friends Against Fracking’ rally in Melbourne on Sunday 20 September 2015.
This will be great opportunity to bring our message to the city that gasfields will never be welcome in Victoria.

20 September at 12 noon at the State Library in Melbourne

» www.frackfreegeelong.org



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BZE film night: Cowspiracy Screening and Panel Discussion

6:30pm Wednesday 23 September 2015
Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, 251 Faraday Street Carlton VIC 3053
Library – Multi-purpose Room1

Panel:
Stephen Bygrave – CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions
Mark Pershin – Campaign Director of Less Meat Less Heat



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Walk to school month

5-30 October
Walk to school month is an annual event which encourages primary school children to walk to and from school in October. Walking to school is great for children’s health and wellbeing and helps to reduce traffic congestion around schools. Primary schools and students are encouraged to visit the Walk to School website to register and: 


• order free posters, classroom calendars, stickers, certificates and fact sheets 

• track walking achievements and be in the running for great prizes 



» More information: go to www.walktoschool.vic.gov.au



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People’s Climate March Melbourne

On the weekend of 27-29 November 2015, as world leaders arrive in Paris for the UN climate summit, people will take to the streets in hundreds of major cities around the globe as part of the largest climate mobilisation ever: the People’s Climate March.

In Melbourne, a broad and diverse coalition of organisations from the environment, conservation, clean energy, development, indigenous, health, labour, faith and grassroots climate sectors will join forces to demonstrate the huge public support for real action on climate, hold our political leaders to account and build on existing campaigns and organising methods to strengthen our movement for the longer term.

The Melbourne PCM will be held at 5.30pm on Friday 27 November.

Support is building: 
A big thank you to the more than 25 Victorian-based climate campaign and environmental groups that have already endorsed the People’s Climate March. See the list – and sign on – at peoplesclimate.org.au

Geographic Hubs:
A network of people and groups in different geographic area who can act as a local hub for organising and coordinating local volunteers is currently being built. If you’re interested in becoming one, please register here.

New website coming soon:
A new website with rally details, signing on, RSVPs, toolkits and engagement ideas is being built at present and should be up in about two weeks.

Toolkit
A “toolkit” of ideas and resources for promoting the event is being put together by ACF, including posters, flyers, website banners, digital stuff for social media etc.

Key dates:
This week: The Pacific Island Forum is taking place in Port Moresby and our lovely Oxfam friends released a report yesterday surrounding climate change and the Pacific. Download here.

24-25 September: Pope Francis addresses UN General Assembly and US Congress on his environment and climate encyclical: a big news story!

End-September: New PCM website, campaign toolkit released.

25 October:  Release of “This changes everything” film. The film will be available on the TUGG platform, an intermediary website where members can go to host an event or buy tickets, so you will be able to organise local showings. Details to follow.

Sunday 14 November: Australia’s biggest ever door-knock day, two weeks before the marches. More info soon.

Friday 27 November: Melbourne People’s Climate March.

» Website: peoplesclimate.org.au






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