You know the transformation has started when…

You know that humanity is making positive steps to change our behaviour – and that the business community is beginning to speed up its transition away from polluting fossil fuels and plastic to clean, green energy in a recyclable and circular economy – when you hear and read statements from multinational companies such as these:



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“Introducing Sky – an ambitious scenario to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C. This requires a complex combination of mutually reinforcing drivers being rapidly accelerated by society, markets, and governments.”
~ Shell

Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, launched its vision of a zero carbon world by 2070 on 28 February 2018.

“A simple extension of current efforts, whether efficiency mandates, modest carbon taxes, or renewable energy supports, is insufficient for the scale of change required,” the oil company document reads.

“The relevant transformations in the energy and natural systems require concurrent climate policy action and the deployment of disruptive new technologies at mass scale within government policy environments that strongly incentivize investment and innovation…”

» Read more on www.shell.com

Sky Scenarios (PDF)

As with all ‘fossil speak’, which generally tends to contain more greenwash than actual transformational substance, it would be advisable to take Shell’s message with a grain of salt. Even so, as David Roberts commented in Vox, it show that the company is taking a notable step forward:

“The fact that an oil major is grappling with the 2°C target at all is notable — and the fact that it sees the pursuit of that target wiping out most of its primary business is more notable still. There are people in suits, sitting around conference tables in the Hague and Houston, talking about the end of fossil fuels as a major global industrial concern. That’s a pretty big step forward from even four or five years ago. But some climate activists say that the Sky scenario is weak and self-serving.”
~ David Roberts

» Vox – 30 March 2018:
Shell’s vision of a zero carbon world by 2070, explained

» CarbonBrief – 1 March 2018:
Shell shows interesting new ways to miss emissions reductions targets








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“To create a better future for our planet, we all must get involved.”
~ McDonalds ad

McDonalds – the food chain that operates 37,000 restaurants in 120 markets around the world, serving 69 million people each day – declares a goal that by 2025, 100% of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources.

McDonalds is the first global restaurant company to set an emissions reduction target in line with what the science says is needed to hold global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

The company will reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36 per cent by 2030 from a 2015 base year, and in the same period through collaboration and partnership with suppliers and producers, the company also commits to a 31 per cent reduction in emissions intensity across its supply chain.

To put that goal in perspective, it is worth noting that China recently announced that between 2005 and 2017, the country has managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 46 per cent per produced unit produced.

» Read more about McDonalds’ emissions reduction on www.sciencebasedtargets.org

» And about policy on www.corporate.mcdonalds.com



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“When it comes to the state of the environment, it’s easy to get swept up in the doom and gloom of it all. Global warming, high pollution levels, climate change and waste disposal all dominate the headlines, painting a bleak picture of what’s to come. But just because it seems hopeless doesn’t mean it is.”
~ News Corp and 7-Eleven 

I almost choked on my morning coffee reading this kind of statement coming from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and the fastfood chain 7-Eleven. Their action? Well, it doesn’t quite match the statement, but still. It’s representing change in a new direction. News Corp and 7-Eleven have teamed up to help you recycle your coffee cup and rescue it from landfill. And who do we find behind this initiative? Rob Pascoe – one of our local Geelong heroes when it comes to sustainability, owner of The Farmer’s Place.

» Read more



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VolksWagen was caught cheating with diesel emissions a year ago. As this video explains, apparently it taught them a lesson and became a wake-up call for a complete transformation of their business model, where the company now says goodbye to diesel engines all together and instead begins the creation of the largest electric car fleet in the world:



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When the Herald Sun has a positive story on the benefits of renewable energy – and an ad for hemp


…and when an Australian bank begins to advertise this message on national tv:




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New Zealand steps up to the climate challenge

New Zealand Prime Minister sends a message to the oil and gas industry that New Zealand waters are no longer “their playground”.

“Today’s announcement is significant internationally too. By ending new oil and gas exploration in our waters, the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone on the planet is out of bounds for new fossil fuel exploitation. New Zealand has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world. Bold global leadership on the greatest challenge of our time has never been more urgent and Ardern has stepped up to that climate challenge.”
~ Russel Norman, Greenpeace New Zealand executive director

» The Guardian – 12 April 2018:
New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration as part of ‘carbon-neutral future’
“Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says move ‘will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time’.”

» Reuters – 12 April 2018:
New Zealand halts future oil and gas offshore exploration permits
“Business and regional leaders said they had been blindsided by the move and feared the government was risking jobs in the US$1.8 billion oil and gas industry. National opposition Energy and Resources spokesman Jonathan Young said the decision would simply shift production elsewhere in the world, while Neil Holdom, mayor of the main city in the energy-rich Taranaki region, labeled it “a kick in the guts.”



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“If we are serious about meeting the Paris climate goals, at most we can burn just one-third of existing fossil fuel reserves. If we can’t afford to burn them what’s the point in drilling for them?”
~ Jerry Mac Evilly, policy coordinator for the Stop Climate Chaos coalition

Irish Climate Emergency Measures Bill

In Ireland, a Climate Emergency Measures Bill has passed its first hurdle. It is a Bill to end the granting of licences for fossil fuel exploration and extraction in Ireland.

Policy coordinator Jerry Mac Evilly said that research by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition showed that “Ireland’s energy security does not depend on Irish gas an oil. In fact, to increase our energy security we are far better off investing in local renewables and warmer homes that use less fuel.”

» Irish Times – 7 February 2018:
Bill proposing ban to fossil fuel exploration clears first hurdle in Dáil
“Government was strongly opposed to Bill but crucial support came from Fianna Fáil”



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“Let’s be honest, things need to change. So at AGL we’re getting out of coal. Starting 2022, ending 2050.”
~ AGL ad for solar and wind energy

AGL advertisement at Flinders Street station in Melbourne

AGL is the biggest polluter in Australia – followed by EnergyAustralia on second place, and Origin on fourth – spewing out a shocking 84.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide combined.

But if we are to believe the message from AGL’s new advertisement campaigns, it appears they have fully understood that their aging fleet of coal-fired power plants need to be closed down.


Renewables save consumers money
The energy retailer Powershop has dropped its electricity prices for all Victorian customers… and the reason? Powershop has purchased some hydro energy assets and signed lots of agreements with wind and solar farms, so now they are able to get electricity from generators that are much cheaper than traditional fossil fuels.

This is what is happening in the real world. This is what the renewable energy revolution looks like. This is not some butterfly-airy-fairy future dream, as the government wants Australia to believe. It already today results in cheaper prices for consumers. Powershop’s price drop of 5 per cent means a cut of around $70 per year for the average household.


Chief Executive Officer Ed McManus explains 
why Powershop is dropping prices in Victoria and how this is this connected to renewable energy.


Author 
Tim Flannery talks about why he likes Powershop and the work they do together with Hepburn Wind.

In elections, Australians continue to let themselves be fooled by anti-renewables scare campaigns about that “Electricity prices will go up because of renewables”, and the mainstream media is uncritically helping them spread this distorted message.

Liberal and National parties pride themselves with conserving traditional values, yet they have such close ties and connections with the fossil fuel industry that they compromise their very own traditional values such as honesty, integrity, job-creation and building the economy.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the globe there’s an energy company worth mentioning for its forward-thinking decision to leave fossil fuels behind entirely:


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“Let’s create a world which runs entirely on green energy.”
~ www.orsted.dk, Denmark’s leading energy company

» Inspirational video from Ørsted – Denmark’s largest energy company

While Australian politicians are making appalling and short-sighted decisions that result in record heat waves, destructive bush fires and hurricanes, flooding, extreme rains, prolonged drought and rising sea levels, citizens and businesses are quickly stepping up to do what is needed to protect our families from the growing dangers of climate change.

For instance, here is an energy company which has understood which way the wind blows and is transforming itself “from black to green”, as they say. And for that same reason they now change the company’s name: It used to be called DONG, which was an abbreviation for Danish Oil and Natural Gas”. This no longer reflects what the company works with, so the company has now changed its name to Ørsted – inspired by the surname of the Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism.

Brilliant! What should hold Geelong back from picking up that same mindset and creating sustainable businesses that will continue to thrive long after the industries based on fossil fuels have disappeared?

So far Ørsted has installed every fourth offshore wind turbine on the planet. By 2025 they expect to have installed enough offshore wind turbines to supply 30 million people with clean electricity.



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“At this rate, Australia would reach 70% renewable electricity by 2030. Current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032.”

» The Conversation – 6 April 2018:
Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades



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Clear signals in the private sector

“Around 1,200 companies aim to have set a science-based target by the end of 2019. Of these, 333 major corporations already have set or committed to set science-based targets through the Science-Based Targets initiative, while 864 companies declared their ambition to do so in their 2017 disclosures to CDP.

Google, Wells Fargo and Autodesk are among the companies that already have achieved their goal to source 100 percent of their electricity needs from renewables, having committed to RE100 — run by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP — while Dalmia Cement recently reported being almost halfway to doubling its energy productivity by 2030 (using a 2010-11 baseline) as part of The Climate Group’s EP100 commitment.

Investors are heeding the signs from governments and business and sending strong signals of their own about the importance of companies considering climate-related risks. At French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit in December, investors made major announcements: the World Bank moved to stop investing in upstream oil and gas projects, while AXA, the world’s third-largest insurance company, announced that it is ending insurance and investment in tar sands companies and the pipelines that transport the fuel, and selling off $2.95 billion of coal investments.”

» We Mean Business – 18 January 2018:
The year business steps up on climate action



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First pension fund in Denmark divests

In March 2018, the board of the Danish teachers’ and psychologists’ pension fund, MP Pension, announced that it has made a decision to sell investments in over 1,000 fossil fuel companies at a value of AUS$200 million. This was breaking news in Denmark, where the pension funds have been discussing this with divestment activist at their respective annual general meetings, and generally so far all have rejected to make any anti-fossil policy changes.

MP Pension’s $200 million divestment will then be invested elsewhere. Already, the fund has green investments for around $700 million, and that figure will grow.

“We believe in the green change. Both when it comes to the future of the globe and to ensure the best investment. Therefore fossil fuel companies can also come back to our portfolio if they convert their production and business model in a more climate-friendly direction,” told MP Pension’s managing director Jens Munch Holst.

The campaign to push institutions to divest from fossil fuels has so far successfully led over 800 institutions to divest over $6 trillion in assets from fossil fuel companies.

» You can read more about divestment on www.gofossilfree.org



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“See you in court…”

You realise how things are changing quickly when an American judge now finds anti-fossil fuel activists not guilty because “protest against the climate change crisis” is to be considered a legal “necessity”:




» The Independent – 27 March 2018:
Anti-pipeline campaigners found not guilty by judge because ‘protest against climate change crisis’ was legal ‘necessity’
‘We’re part of the the movement that is standing up and saying we won’t let this go by on our watch’


Colombia: Youth versus government

Colombian Supreme Court rules that youth has right to a healthy environment

“The Supreme Court’s decision marks an historical precedent in terms of climate change litigation,” said Camila Bustos, one of the plaintiffs and a researcher at Dejusticia.

A group of 25 young plaintiffs, ranging in age from seven to 26, filed a lawsuit against the Colombian government in January 2018 demanding it protect their right to a healthy environment.

Colombia’s highest court has now told the government it must take urgent action to protect its Amazon rainforest and stem rising deforestation. In its ruling, the court recognised Colombia’s Amazon as an “entity subject of rights”, which means that the rainforest has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.

» World Economic Forum | Thomson Reuters Foundation – 10 April 2018:
The Amazon rainforest now has the same legal rights as you


USA: Youth versus government

During a public case management conference, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin set 29 October 2018 as the trial date for Juliana v. United States, the constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people and supported by Our Children’s Trust. The trial will be heard before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon.

» Show your solidarity: www.facebook.com/events/234290693980457

» Press release (PDF)






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Cities are taking oil companies to court.

» Ars Technica – 11 January 2018:
SEE YOU IN COURT: NYC sues oil companies for the cost of adapting to climate change
Will also pull its pension funds out of their stocks.



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Jeremy Rifkin

This video presentation is long, but worth spending the 100 odd minutes to watch:

Economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin is onto something important here. He describes the way that the current political restrictions and lack of forward thinking is not allowing us to pave the direction to the future that we need to create.



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There are now trains that don’t pollute – hydrogen trains – being produced in Germany. The only waste they produce is water.




There are already 40 cities in this world which run 100% on renewable energy. These include Burlington in the US, Basel in Switzerland and Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. They demonstrate that 100% renewable electricity is possible today.

» Read more





An American company says it will be delivering free and infinite fusion power already in 15 years from now.


» World Economic Forum – 8 March 2018:
The circular economy could save life on Earth — starting with cities