The world is changing fast. If we don’t keep track of the changes, we lose out on the opportunities we have right in front of our nose to transform, transition, change and improve our city, our homes and our lives.
Knowing what is happening in the rest of the world helps us realise what can be achieved – it reminds us that real positive change is not just some distant dream. Out there, others are already proving that it is possible.
During the last months, Colin Mockett has been helping us with this – keeping track – as he generously shares his global outlook and knowledge with us and our listeners in the beginning of each Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse.
These are some of Mockett’s world view reports and global outlook commentaries:
20 February 2019: How the world is tracking with the Paris Agreement
In July 2017 French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced a plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles in France by 2040 as part of the Paris Agreement. Hulot also stated that France would no longer use coal to produce electricity after 2022 and that up to €4 billion will be invested in boosting energy efficiency.
» The Independent – 6 July 2017:
France will ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040
To reach the agreement’s emission targets, Norway will ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2025
» The Independent – 4 June 2016:
Norway to ‘completely ban petrol powered cars by 2025’
The Netherlands will do the same by 2030.
» Eletrek.co – 10 October 2017:
The Dutch government confirms plan to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
Electric trains running on the Dutch national rail network are already entirely powered by wind energy.
» The Guardian – 11 January 2017:
Dutch electric trains become 100% powered by wind energy
The House of Representatives of the Netherlands passed a bill in June 2018 mandating that by 2050 the Netherlands will cut its 1990 greenhouse-gas emissions level by 95% — exceeding the Paris Agreement goals. [www.volkskrant.nl]
» UNFCCC secretariat – December 2015:
Paris Agreement, FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1 (PDF)
» The Conversation AU – 26 February 2019:
Eighteen countries showing the way to carbon zero
“Reducing emissions doesn’t have to conflict with a growing economy, as these 18 developed nations show.”
» The Wuppertal Institute – 9 January 2019:
Ten Country Reports on Ambitious Climate Policy
“The sum of greenhouse gas emission reductions from Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is not enough to limit the level of global temperature rise to below either the 1.5°C or 2°C target. All Parties are therefore compelled to strengthen their reduction targets. The German Environment Agency (UBA) has commissioned the Wuppertal Institute and the NewClimate Institute an analysis of the institutional set up and challenges in ten selected countries.”
13 February 2019: A look at the statistics on natural disasters in Australia: What is the cost?
» Listen in The Sustainable Hour no 254
6 February 2019: How the UK compares with Australia
Week after week, Mockett draws a comparison between the approach of several country’s being taken to meeting the climate change target. This week Colin compares the UK with Australia.
#13: Carbon emissions figures
In his 13th Global Outlook, Colin Mockett takes a closer look at the figures for global and national carbon emissions – and how Australians are not “doing their bit”.
» This Global Outlook was part of The Sustainable Hour no 235 on 26 September 2018.
#12: The Queen has gone green
Colin has received a letter from the Queen. It is eight pages long and talks about what the Queen is doing for sustainability.
» This Global Outlook was part of The Sustainable Hour no 234 on 19 September 2018.
#11: The Philippines are getting off coal
About renewables policy in the Philippines, China, the US and the UK, and about the emphasis Elizabeth II – the Queen of Australia – puts on speeding up the inevitable transition away from the dirty coal, oil and gas.
» This Global Outlook was part of The Sustainable Hour no 233 on 12 September 2018.
#10: World’s largest solar plant in Egypt
In The Sustainable Hour on 5 September 2018, Colin Mockett is back from a trip to Egypt where he noticed the country is increasingly turning to the sun for power because solar has now become competitive with traditional fossil fuel based electricity generation.
» Read more on www.borntoengineer.com. . .
#9: Global renewable energy consumption over the long-run
In The Sustainable Hour on 15 August 2018, Colin Mockett shares his findings from a new, global renewable energy report, which was published by Our World in Data.
#8: Plastic bag bans around the world
In The Sustainable Hour on 1 August 2018, Colin Mockett presents a global outlook on plastic regulation in different countries.
#7: On target or not on target – with CO2 emissions
22 per cent of global electricity is produced with renewable energy sources.
Iceland: 100 per cent of its electricity is generated from natural recourses
Switzerland: 60 per cent
Sweden: 57 per cent
Denmark: 42 per cent
Germany: 35 per cent
Australia: 6 per cent
» More below. . .
#6: Australian politics in a Chinese and Icelandic perspective
“Unfortunately we are living in a dinosaur country. I don’t think there is another nation that I can name that has turned the world’s problem of climate change into a political issue and has a government that uses the climate as a political football. If you look at the world governments as a class room, we have let the bullies take over the class.”
“We have two elections coming up within the next year, both state and federal. The simple thing to say to our politicians is: “Hey, where does the environment sit on your agenda?” And if they give you a political excuse, which means they will talk around corners and say nothing, then you will be saying to them: “I’m am not voting for you. I am only voting for people who put the environment – and the climate crisis which the world is going through – front, centre and at the top of the list.”
~ Colin Mockett in The Sustainable Hour no 223
» More below. . .
#5: Plastic recycling
Plastic recycling in the United Kingdom, Philippines and Surf Coast Shire. Fixing our roads with plastic gravel. Building houses with plastic bottles. Kitchen bin without bin-liner. And: Mockett’s Sustainable House principle.
» More below. . .
#3: Global index
» More below. . .
#2: Electric busses and societal transformation in Shanghai
» More below. . .
#1: Electric vehicles in Shanghai, China
» More below . . .
“We have brought in laws which are disincentives to healthy transport. To get people back on the bicycle, get rid of the helmet law.”
~ Colin Mockett
13-minute excerpt of The Sustainable Hour’s live radio interview with Colin Mockett: About Joan Kirner, a report, helmet laws, civil disobedience, lobbying and the Northern Territory’s helmet freedom…Mockett explains what a couple of economic scandals, a Premier in damage control mode and a cycling helmet report had to do with how Geelong – officially declared “Australia’s first cycle city” in 1981 – gradually transformed into an anti-cycle city.
» Read or download the three-page letter to Council which Mik talks about during the interview:
Geelong Sustainability’s Submission re: Building Better Bike Connections (PDF)
» Geelong Sustainability – 3 March 2018:
Better bike connections in Geelong
» Listen to the full one-hour podcast:
Global Outlook #6
Information about the topics Colin Mockett talked about in The Sustainable Hour on 18 July 2018:
» The Guardian – 25 April 2012:
Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, the International Energy Agency warns
» The Guardian – 16 July 2018:
UK politicians ‘failing to rise to the challenge of climate change’
“ACCC‘s report misses the mark on solar”
“The final report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into electricity prices contains many valuable suggestions to reduce power bills but prematurely ending support for rooftop solar isn’t one of them,” the Clean Energy Council said.
Excerpt of media release from Clean Energy Council on 11 July 2018:
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rooftop solar is one of the few direct ways that households and businesses are able to reduce their power bills.“
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides modest support – which continues to reduce every year – which has encouraged the installation of rooftop solar power on almost two million homes,” Mr Thornton said. “Something the ACCC has not considered is that the solar industry is regulated through an accreditation scheme that is linked to SRES through legislation. The accreditation scheme has been instrumental at maintaining high safety and quality standards during a decade of massive growth.
“Virtually every part of our power bill has gone up this decade, but technologies like solar power, solar hot water and energy efficiency are some of the few things that are actively making a difference in cutting the cost of power for people from all walks of life,” he said.
Mr Thornton said some of the other recommendations by the ACCC definitely had potential, but any intervention in the market by government needs very careful consideration to ensure it does not damage investment confidence that is crucial to bringing on new power supply.“
The recommendation that the government support new development financing by guaranteeing offtake in the later years of new projects is technology neutral – and not designed to favour coal or gas as has been reported. This provision could help to encourage PPAs between businesses and developers of new energy projects. But recommendations like this need to be considered carefully in the context of the market, and to ensure they do not end up being twisted to meet a narrow political agenda,” he said.
“The good news is that, as outlined in a report released by the Australian Industry Group last week new wind and solar projects built under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) are already starting to reduce wholesale power prices and this will accelerate in the years ahead as more come online.”
“Mishmash of cognitive dissonance for fixing the unfixable”
» The Guardian – 13 July 2018:
Australia’s failed energy policy needs more than just a Band-Aid
“The ACCC report is a mishmash of cognitive dissonance and half-baked suggestions for fixing the unfixable.”
Excerpt of media release from GetUp on 11 July 2018:
“The bombshell report from the ACCC has exposed the blatant market manipulation and massive mark-ups that big energy companies use to drive up prices and gouge their customers.This report is a damning indictment of the energy sector heavyweights, but doesn’t come as a surprise. GetUp’s own Dirty Power Games report exposed the rorts and rip-offs in the sector almost two years ago, proving coal-fired power companies like AGL, Origin, and EnergyAustralia aren’t just fuelled by dirty energy, they’re dirty all the way down.If you’re still with AGL, EnergyAustralia or Origin, you can fight back. Join 20,000 GetUp members who’ve left the Big Three for a cleaner, fairer energy company today. » Switch to Powershop now
What’s the answer? Flooding the market with cheap, clean renewable energy to drive down prices, rebalance the energy sector, and take the power back from these coal-fired dinosaurs. The problem is we can’t rely on this government to do what needs to be done. It’s paralysed by a hard-right clique that are already using this report to agitate for their favourite cause —more expensive, dirty, coal-fired power, funded directly by public money.
But while the government twists itself in knots trying to avoid the elephant in the room, the rest of the country is getting on with the job. We are building renewable energy infrastructure in our neighbourhoods, putting solar panels on our rooftops, and supporting companies that do the right thing by investing in renewable energy. That’s why 20,000 of us have switched away from the dirty energy cartel to GetUp’s energy partner Powershop – named greenest energy company by Greenpeace three times running. We’re sending a message that we won’t sit still while the government refuses to move on the dirty energy giants. We are voting with our wallets for a cleaner, fairer alternative. The truth is there is so much to be done to solve Australia’s dirty energy crisis. GetUp members have done the groundwork by funding and championing visionary policies like the Repower Australia Plan, but with the Turnbull government missing in action on renewable energy, we need to lead the way. Switching away from the worst offenders in the industry to better alternatives like Powershop not only sends a powerful message, it means you’ll no longer be contributing to the bottom lines of Australia’s biggest polluters.
More reasons to switch to Powershop
• Support for renewables: Powershop is owned by a 100% renewable energy company, with firm commitments never to invest in fossil fuels like coal and coal seam gas
• Price drops, courtesy of renewable investment: This year Powershop dropped prices across Victoria, New South Wales and southeast Queensland off the back of a massive investment in clean energy.
• Carbon-neutral: Powershop offsets all its own emissions, as well as any emissions associated with their customers’ energy usage
• Transparency and fairness: Powershop has always strived to provide customers with transparency over their usage and billing and provides fair comparisons to all customers.
• Collective impact: Together, GetUp members have wiped an estimated $66 billion off the bottom lines of the Big Three and offset 120,000 tonnes of CO2 by switching to Powershop.Although Powershop is owned by a 100% renewable energy company, it’s important to note you won’t receive renewable energy if you switch —you’ll still receive the same mix as everyone else on the grid. But you will be supporting a company that has shown strong, consistent, and vocal support for renewables, and backed that up with regular large-scale investments.”
1. Power rip-offs: ACCC lines up energy giants, The Australian, 11 July 2018
2. Electricity prices: ACCC calls for new powers to fix ‘market manipulation’, The Guardian, 11 July 2018
3. ACCC calls for major reset of energy sector to drive down power bills, Brisbane Times, 10 July 2018
4. Dirty Power Games, GetUp, August 2016
5. Pro-coal Nats welcome ACCC call for government to underwrite low-cost power generation, The Australian, 11 July 2018
6. Powershop drops prices in Victoria, Powershop Blog, 1 March 2018
7. Powershop drops prices in NSW and South East QLD, 25 June 2018
8. AGL Energy – I can see clearly now, Credit Suisse Research and Analytics, 19 March 2015
Petition to save renewable energy
Excerpt of media release from Adam Brandt and Ellen Sandell, Australian Greens Victoria, on 11 July 2018:
“Today, Malcolm Turnbull announced that “renewables do not need to be subsidised any longer”.
His comments come off the back of an ACCC report into electricity prices that proposes abolishing the rooftop solar support scheme 9 years early and instead providing public subsidies for gas- and coal-fired power stations.Renewables are under attack from the ACCC on one side and Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull on the other. Help us save renewables by adding your voice to our campaign.
This report proposes policies that will strangle renewable energy. It could literally spell the end of federal policies that promote renewables in Australia. If the small-scale renewable energy scheme (which supports rooftop solar) is abolished, there will soon be no federal incentives for renewable energy.
• The Renewable Energy Target stops growing in 2020
• The National Energy Guarantee is inadequate
• Rooftop solar schemes are facing the axe
Without the small-scale renewable energy scheme, there will be nothing left to bring in new renewables.
Don’t let the coal-huggers win. Sign our petition to save renewable energy.
The ACCC’s proposals to scrap support for renewables and to provide public money to ‘dispatchable’ power including coal and gas will help Malcolm Turnbull corral Tony Abbott and the Trumps on the backbench behind a disastrous new energy policy. Right now, political punters, journalists and business are poring over this report, deciding which of the 56 recommendations to take on board. They need to reject the anti-renewables garbage in this report.Help us send them a strong message that we won’t stand idly by while his government trashes renewables.With an election looming at both the state and federal level, the old parties are hypersensitive to public sentiment. By mobilising support for renewables, we can show them that this is an issue that shifts votes.”
» Sign the petition
“P.S. The best ways to cut power bills and bring down pollution are to build more renewables and to stop big corporations ripping off customers. We’ll have an exciting announcement about this soon, stay tuned!”
Adam Bandt is the Federal MP for Melbourne. Ellen Sandell represents the electorate of Melbourne in the Parliament of Victoria
Global Outlook #6
Information about topics Colin Mockett talked about in The Sustainable Hour on 4 July 2018:
“The Nationals’ party room has produced a two-page letter of pro-coal demands for Turnbull. The demands include a $5 billion fund to provide off-budget equity in three new baseload power stations as the price for the junior Coalition party’s support of the National Energy Guarantee.”
~ Paula Matthewson
» The Guardian – 8 July 2018:
Tony Abbott is trying to agitate the Nationals into a rebellion
“Energy is proving to be Abbott’s latest weapon in a bid to blow up Turnbull’s leadership. But will it succeed or backfire?”
“The Business Council of Australia, the country’s pre-eminent business lobby group, has effectively declared war on wind and solar technology, declaring that a target of 49 per cent renewables, as proposed by Labor, would “wreck the economy.”
In echoes of the Minerals Council of Australia’s extraordinary campaign against the mining tax under the Rudd government, BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott vowed to campaign against Labor’s renewable energy target, which she said would “destroy” the Australian economy.”
» RenewEconomy – 27 June 2018:
Big business lobby declares war on wind and solar
How Australia will get to 33% renewable electricity by 2020
“Despite best efforts by Coalition government to stop it, Australia will end up with 33% renewables by 2020, will likely get to 40% by 2030, and has enough in pipeline to reach 85%.”
» Chatham House | Walt Patterson:
The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy
“Which countries are best placed to become the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewable energy’ and what impact would this have on global energy geopolitics?”
#AUSPOL: Malcolm Turnbull delusional turnaround on climatehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68tJXvn7cjkDoes Malcolm Turnbull think he can get away with telling us “coal will be a part of Australia’s energy future forever”, when he – the very same person – told us back in 2010 that,
“Climate change is real, it is affecting us now, and it is having a particularly severe impact on Australia. And yet, right now, we have every resource available to us to meet the challenge of climate change except for one: and that is leadership. Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership, a political cowardice the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime before.”Malcolm Turnbull said this in a speech at the Deakins on the Politics of Climate Change in 2010. In the same year, he also stated that we have “zero carbon budget left” – meaning: we cannot allow ourselves to burn any more fossil fuels:
“Our response to climate change must be guided by science. The science tells us that we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got.”Well, science is telling us to stop burning coal. For instance, scientists from University of Oxford said last year that to avoid dangerous global warming, 2017 is the last year energy companies can build new coal power plants.“For policy makers who think of climate change as a long-term future issue this should be a wake-up call,” said Cameron Hepburn, co-author of the study, back then. “Research published last year by four Oxford economists and scientists concluded that to keep climate change to below 2°C, no new coal plants can be built after 2017 unless they have zero emissions.”
“Climate models give a glimpse of the Australia we are creating. They show the nation’s wheatbelts, from Esperance to the Wimmera, dried to a crisp. They show the Queensland coast being thrashed more relentlessly by fiercer storms. They show a rash of summer bushfires that make Black Saturday look like candles on a cake. But they do not show the reef. By the end of the century, we will have boiled it to death. This is the Australia we are creating. Even more, it is the Australia we will have to accept if the Adani mine is approved.”
» For links to sources, see www.climatesafety.info/thesustainablehour167
» Sydney Morning Herald – 17 September 2017:
How Malcolm Turnbull has trashed the Liberal Party record and betrayed our oceans
“The earth is already too hot. Back in 2010, when he was launching the first Beyond Zero Emissions report on a ten year transition to zero emissions energy, Malcolm Turnbull said that we had no carbon budget left. What a hypocrite! How can he live with himself? It’s time to declare a climate emergency and Malcolm knows it.”
~ Jane Morton
23 countries sign ‘Declaration for Ambition’23 countries recently signed a joint statement – New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian countries among them, even Canada! – where they say they will step up their own efforts to reduce carbon emissions:
» Climate Action – 22 June 2018:
23 nations sign pledge to step up action on climate change
Leading nations have pledged to set more stringent goals and “lead from the front” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before 2020. The joint statement, called a ‘Declaration for Ambition’ was signed by 23 nations.
Why on earth hasn’t a modern, civilised and educated country like Australia signed this declaration?Well of course, when you know the decade-long history and the influence the coal and gas lobby has on politics, it is obvious why it hasn’t happened – but the question we should be asking ourselves is then: Why are we, the Australian people, passively accepting this?Or to put the question in a more constructive way: What will it take to make Australia join this ‘Declaration for Ambition’?The bottom-line answer is public pressure.Before that, it would help a lot if the Australian climate action movement was able to agree on turning something like that into a common goal to campaign for. And if the nation’s public broadcasters would step in and assist with the education and coverage that is largely missing in Australian mainstream media at the moment.
» Read more about the Australian climate policy procrastination which now can celebrate its 30 year anniversary
» Listen to the full one-hour podcast:
Global Outlook #5
Information about topics Colin Mockett talked about in The Sustainable Hour on 28 June 2018:
» World Economic Forum – 28 June 2018:
These Indian fishermen take plastic out of the sea and use it to build roads
» Listen to the full one-hour podcast:
Global Outlook #3 and #4
Information about topics Colin Mockett talked about in The Sustainable Hour in June 2018:
In this year’s index, Sweden is leading the list, while Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea, Australia and the United States form the bottom five of this classification.
A shameful, global ‘booo’ to Australians
For the past 13 years, the Climate Change Performance Index has been keeping track of countries’ efforts in combating climate change, monitoring the development of all greenhouse gas emissions of 56 countries and the EU.
Climate Change Performance Index is a review charts the efforts that have been made to avoid dangerous climate change, and also evaluates the various countries’ current efforts regarding the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement from 2015, where all countries of the world – apart from the United States, which later on opted out – adopted the goal to limit global warming to “well below” 2°C and promised to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
» Read more on the home page:
» Download the 2018 index:
Climate Change Performance Index 2018 – A4 PDF [6,2 MB]
» Financial Review – 27 June 2018:
Australia deemed a world laggard in energy efficiency
Australia has slipped in international rankings of energy efficiency, according to a survey. We’ve actually gone backwards.
Sunny thumbs up to Indians
» Climate Action – 22 June 2018:
India to bring forward 100,000 megawatts of new solar power
“The Indian Government has signalled its intention to launch the largest tender for new solar power capacity in the world.”
» Listen to the full one-hour podcasts:
Global Outlook #1 and #2
Information about topics Colin Mockett talked about in The Sustainable Hour in May and June 2018:
The electric vehicles are here
Electric vehicles on the world’s roads will grow to 125 million by 2030, according to a new report, with China and Europe leading the way. As more and more utilities turn to wind and solar, fossil fuel plants and equipment providers are feeling the pain. Volkswagen is confident it can meet and even exceed its goal of selling 1 million electric vehicles a year by 2025.
» CNBC – 30 May 2018:
Electric vehicles will grow from 3 million to 125 million by 2030, International Energy Agency forecasts
“The number of electric vehicles on the road around the world will hit 125 million by 2030, the International Energy Agency forecasts. The world’s fleet of electric vehicles grew 54 percent to about 3.1 million in 2017.”
» Reuters – 29 May 2018:
Volkswagen expects to beat electric car sales goal on China, Europe demand
Lighter, cheaper, electric car to be built… in Geelong?