Over 60 pieces of good news about climate action


We have good news for you. Literally!

For the 100th Sustainable Hour radio show on 21 November 2015, we collected a list of examples of climate action news stories that have come out recently. Landmarks, mile stones and gains to celebrate and that give hope for a much faster transition to a fossil fuel free Australia and to a safer climate than what our current elected leaders have shown willingness to aim for.

We have continued updating the list since then, because we believe it is extremely important to share the massive amount of good news that is coming our way about climate action. The energy revolution is happening full force already, and there are a lot of good reasons for this. Spreading this news and knowledge, creating this narrative, is probably one of the most motivating and inspiring things you can do if you would want people everywhere and in all sectors and layers of society to begin to take action themselves.

So read the list, educate yourself – and then tell your neighbours, your family, friends and colleagues about those of the news stories that you think are the most significant.


  1. The world now has a global agreement to guide action on climate change
  2. Cities, not nations, will lead fight against climate change
  3. Paris climate deal to ignite a $90 trillion energy revolution
  4. Climate change investment went up 18% in 2014
  5. The world is decarbonising at a rate of 2.7% per year
  6. Companies and investors are committing to a low carbon revolution
  7. Thousands of hospitals are committing to reduce emissions
  8. Majority of business leaders call for a climate change agreement
  9. Wind energy is already cheaper than new coal or gas
  10. In 2015 the global wind market reached a new record of activity
  11. The energy efficiency revolution: Rise of the LED technology
  12. The world’s most influential banker warns of carbon bubble
  13. Coal is choking and renewable energy growing, says new report
  14. Part of the fossil fuel industry prepares for renewables evolution
  15. 154 religious leaders call for 100% renewable energy
  16. Pope Francis publishes agenda-setting teaching letter
  17. Islamic Climate Declaration sends message to 1.6 billion Muslims
  18. Dalai Lama calls for urgent action on climate change
  19. Our daily bike rides benefit the climate immensely
  20. Global deforestation rate has been halved since the 1990s
  21. Billionaires are stepping in to support innovation
  22. Social media mobilises millions in call for climate action

  24. Sweden to become the world’s first fossil fuel free nation
  25. Norway’s capital Oslo makes landmark move to ban cars
  26. Morocco poised to become a solar superpower
  27. China has become the world’s renewables superpower
  28. China and Norway lead the way for the Electric Vehicle
  29. Canada has a new Liberal leader investing millions in clean energy
  30. Canada: Climate change warning stickers at gas stations now a reality
  31. USA: Groundbreaking ruling: State has constitutional obligation to act on climate
  32. USA: Companies sign up to climate change pledge
  33. USA: Barack Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline
  34. USA: New York Attorney General investigates Exxon over climate cover-ups
  35. USA and Japan cut off finance to the dirtiest coal power plants
  36. USA: Portland prohibits the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects
  37. Netherlands: Promising solar bike path

  39. New Chief Scientist wants a fossil fuel free Australia
  40. Two of Australia’s big four banks commit to global warming limit
  41. Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy supplier ready to go
  42. Australia now has a bank that is commited to climate action
  43. Australia has a super fund which understands all of this – and acts on it
  44. Polls shows majority of Australians want climate action
  45. Australian all-electric bus set world record
  46. Australia will have a 100% renewable electricity grid by 2040 by default
  47. Promising new ‘hydro battery’ solution
  48. Promising portable wind turbine
  49. Solar is booming
  50. Printable solar panels one step closer to market
  51. Community solar: Start-up success with floating solar plants

  53. City of Melbourne divests
  54. Community-owned power projects promoted by state government
  55. Victorian Government supports local councils’ climate change action

  57. Huntlee to become Australia’s first off-grid town
  58. Toowoomba to become home to the biggest solar power plant in Australia: 2 GW
  59. South Australia breaks records with renewables
  60. King Island’s electricity supply powered 100% by renewable energy

  62. Geelong now has its own Community-Owned Renewable Energy group
  63. Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre opens in Geelong
  64. Geelongians want their city on 100% renewable energy by 2030
  65. The Surf Coast initiative #SmallChanges is inspiring and mobilising residents to act on climate
  66. In Geelong, the solar revolution now has a theme song

“You must be really blind if you don’t see the tipping point is here in clean energy.”
Stuart Gulliver, head of banking giant HSBC Holdings

Which one of these news stories is most important to you? Which three of the above headlines do you think should be on our Top Three list? Tell us in the comments field below – or on goodnews@climatesafety.info

Top Three on 21 November’s Act on Climate market day was:

  1. Geelongians want their city on 100% renewable energy by 2030
  2. Cities, not nations, will lead fight against climate change
  3. Companies and investors are committing to a low carbon revolution

Help us expand the list further
What is the best news you have heard recently when it comes to climate change action? If you have seen something inspiring or encouraging which you think should be added on this list, then send us a link – and if possible a short text to go with it – to: goodnews@climatesafety.info

On Saturday 21 November, we broadcasted The Sustainable Hour no 100 live from the Act on Climate Festival in Steampacket Gardens in Geelong. Through-out the radio show, participants commented list. We will be adding their comments shortly.

Tony & Mik
– Your climatical mates from The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse


The world now has a global agreement to guide action on climate change

The UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015 ended with a global agreement which heralds the end of the fossil fuel era, giving the world the tools to drive emissions to net zero. This deal contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C. puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history.

Goldman Sachs predicts the deal will boost the fast-growing $600 billion global clean energy economy. Already in the first weeks after the agreement was made, coal stocks sunk with 20 per cent, while renewable energy companies saw a lift.

» Read more


New Chief Scientist wants a fossil fuel free Australia

Dr Alan Finkel has been appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to replace outgoing Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb when his four-year term ends in December. Australia’s next Chief Scientist lives in a house entirely powered by renewable energy and believes that everyone will eventually drive an electric car like him. He said:

“My vision is for a country, a society, a world where we don’t use any coal, oil, or natural gas because we have zero-emissions electricity in huge abundance. But you can’t get there overnight. What we need to do is optimise the technology so we can cost-effectively introduce alternatives.The best way to get rid of coal is to introduce alternatives that deliver value at a reasonable price rather than just arbitrarily turning it off.”

Dr Finkel, who is currently the President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, will begin his new role as the government’s key science and innovation adviser next January.

» www.abc.net.au


Sweden to become the world’s first fossil fuel free nation

The Swedish government has announced that their aim is to become one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. They will be investing an extra US$546 million into renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget.

“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world.”
~ Stefan Löfven, Swedish Prime Minister

The government also announced that it will be spending money on smart grids, renewable energy storage technology, an electric bus fleet, subsidies for green cars, and climate adaptation strategies. They will also be renovating residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Sweden, a country of eight million people, already gets two-thirds of their electricity from non-fossil fuel energy sources.

» Collective Evolution – 5 October 2015:
Sweden To Become The World’s First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation In History


The Norwegian capital simply bans cars

Oslo city centre will be car-free within four years. To make the shift, the Norwegian capital will boost its investment into public transportation and add roughly 60 kilometers of bike lanes, Reuters reported. It will help the city halve greenhouse gas emissions. Also, it’s a strong indicator that similar bans may be enacted in other major cities across the continent.

More about the Norwegians’ decision to transform their capital:

» Mobile.news.com.au: www.mobile.news.com.au

» Resilience.org: Oslo makes landmark move to ban cars

» Arstechnica.co.uk: Oslo city centre will be car-free within four years


Promising new ‘hydro battery’ solution

Andrew Blaker from the Australian National University has a promising concept for energy storage in Australia: to create ‘energy hubs’ with a widely distributed set of large PV solar panel plants and/or wind farms with pairs of small, off-stream, deep dams built nearby, separated in height by several hundred metres, i.e. valley and hilltop sites with respectively good solar and wind exposure, linked with a pipeline, a high-head pump, a hydro-turbine and an existing high-voltage cable not too far away.

This energy-efficient recirculating ‘pumped hydro’ arrangement uses well-proven energy storage technology that can be built and commissioned quickly, allowing variable output renewable energy sources to become baseload resources for an additional capital cost of only 10-15 per cent.

The first step needed is a detailed survey of potentially thousands of potentially suitable sites around the country.

Linking widely separated PV and wind facilities with access to the national grid reduces the random variation of output caused by fluctuating local day/night and weather conditions, and the pumped hydro provides an energy storage buffer against periods of high and low demand. Backup generation for intermittent use could be provided from existing conventional hydro, with limited use of biofuels, and possibly gas turbines during a transitional period.

» To learn more, see the video above – or go to www.vimeo.com/143211412 to see it


Promising portable wind turbine

Two brothers have created a simple portable wind turbine in four sizes that anyone can use. When The Trinity was launched on Kickstarter it reached its goal already on the first day.

The Trinity turbine costs between $399 for the smallest and $5,999 for the largest version and can be set as a tripod, or laid flat, depending on the circumstance. It’s all-in-one turbine with plenty of use-cases, shipped in April 2016 from a facility in Reykjavik, Iceland.

» fastcoexist.com: This Mini, Portable Wind Turbine Could Charge Your Phone Or Power Your House



Solar is booming

More than one million homes – one in ten homes – in Australia have solar panels on the roof, and new offices these days use a third less energy than was the case a decade ago. In the past three years, the amount of energy needed to heat and cool a new home has fallen by almost a fifth.

In 2011-12, solar power costs dropped by 80 per cent and continue to fall. And this means electricity gets cheaper too. There was a day in July 2014 when rooftop solar systems sent so much power flowing back into the electricity grid in Queensland that they contributed to a plunge where wholesale electricity prices in that state went negative, to minus $100 per megawatt hour.

Grid-electricity consumers are being ripped of by the current energy system, where only around 11 per cent of your electricity bill goes to cover the cost of the actual electricity used. The rest, 89 per cent of your money, disappears into the pockets of the row of ‘middle men’ who stands between you and the power plant.

The solar boom will soon change all this. In just a couple of years we will begin to see housing developments which aren’t connected to the grid, offering home-buyers 100 per cent renewable communities, with fixed energy costs for 20 years, and support for the local economy.

The removal of price controls has resulted in soaring retail margins for energy retailers. Recent research by the St Vincent de Paul Society found consumers are being gouged in a market of 18 energy suppliers.

In Victoria, 45 per cent of the electricity bill is paid to the retailer, and only around 11 per cent of the bill covers the cost of the actual electricity used, the survey by St Vincent de Paul Society found.

The Climate Council notes that half of all households may adopt solar systems with battery storage 2018, which would make Australia a battery storage leader with a domestic market potentially worth $24 billion.

That Australia has the potential to become a renewable energy superpower is a no brainer, writes The Tree.

» Financial Times – 5 November 2015:
Sunshine revolution: the age of solar power
From the US to China, solar power is poised to tackle climate change and shake up the electricity industry

» The Age – 1 November 2015:
How to cut your power bill and even quit the grid

» Sydney Morning Herald – 12 October 2015:
Energy companies gouging households ‘because they can’

The AUS$ 12 million dollar bank of floating solar panels installed by Infratech Industries near Jamestown in northern South Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Infratech Industries


Community solar: Start-up success with floating solar plants

A promising Australian start-up is helping rural communities get off the grid using floating solar rafts that generate 57 per cent more energy than rooftop solar. Reflectors are used to concentrate more sunlight on the solar panels, and the dam water is used to cool the panels. The dam allows the solar raft to be rotated to track the sun and further increase its energy harvest.

» Read more on www.smh.com.au

» The Guardian – 24 December 2015:
Solar technology: the US and China look to Australian innovators for solutions


Printable solar panels one step closer to market

It’s the latest thing in solar: printable solar panels – a cheaper and faster way to print solar cells onto plastic. Developed by the CSIRO and Melbourne universities, the team says it can be used to power everything from laptops to rooftops. On 10 September 2015, CSIRO’s senior research scientist Dr Fiona Scholes told ABC that the technology was almost at the commercialisation stage.

» ABC News: Printable solar panels, developed by CSIRO and Melbourne universities, one step closer to market


City of Melbourne divests

On 27 October 2015, the City of Melbourne voted unanimously not to invest in fossil fuels, making it the tenth and largest Australian City Council to join the global fossil free movement. Congratulations to City of Melbourne and to Councillor Arron Wood who moved the motion!

Other Australian city councils that have divested are Canberra (ACT), Fremantle, Gloucester, Goomalling, Leichhardt, Lismore, Marrickville, Moreland and Newcastle – and so has Christchurch, Oslo, Uppsala, Örebro, Belfast, Münster, Boxtel, Oxford, Bristol, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and further 25 city councils around the planet. As the first capital in the world, City of Copenhagen is set to divest from fossil fuels. In January 2016, the mayor of Denmark’s capital launched a push to withdraw the city’s £700m investment fund out of coal, oil and gas holdings.

Recently, the National Tertiary Education Union and the Australian Academy of Science also committed to fossil free investing, joining The London School of Economics and over 500 institutions globally who collectively have divested or committed to divest assets worth more than $3.4 trillion.

Massive funds like the $1.15 trillion Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund and the US’ largest pension fund CALPERs have committed to divest from coal.

So has Europe’s largest insurance company, Allianz.

Norwegian life insurance and pension provider Storebrand began its coal divestment program in 2013. Storebrand has calculated that it has earned between $15-18 million (80-90 million NOK) since december 2013 by reducing its exposure to coal.

» Petition: Tell City of Greater Geelong to follow Melbourne’s example

» See the long list on www.gofossilfree.org/commitments

» Read more about Melbourne’s divestment on www.350.org.au

Photo above: Some of the institutions that have divested in 2015


The world’s most influential banker warns of carbon bubble

The world’s most influential banker, Mark Carney, chairman of the G20 countries’ Financial Stability Board, says an orderly switch from fossil fuels to renewables is needed to avoid turmoil on world stock markets.
“Mark Carney’s carbon bubble backing is a big deal. The Governor’s warning could represent a tipping point for the climate change debate”, say campaigners. “Mark Carney has taken the carbon bubble theory into the mainstream.”

“Global warming could become one of the biggest risks to economic stability. With climate change, the more businesses invest and change with foresight, the less they will regret in hindsight”.
Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, in a speech at Lloyd’s of London

Speech by Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney given at Lloyd’s of London:
‘Breaking the tragedy of the horizon – climate change and financial stability’

» Read the speech: www.bankofengland.co.uk

» Read more on www.climatenewsnetwork.net

UBS, the world’s largest private bank, has started urging its investors to join the clean, renewable energy movement. Their analysts are predicting that power plants in Europe might become completely extinct within the next 10 to 20 years.

» www.businessgreen.com – (for subscribers only)


154 religious leaders call for 100% renewable energy

154 religious leaders from all world regions call for a zero carbon, climate resilient and equitable future
As negotiators in Bonn continue to grapple with the draft text for December’s climate talks, faith leaders are, today, offering governments a timely reminder of just what is expected of them by their citizens.

In a statement handed over to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, 154 leaders representing people of faith from across the globe are calling for an ambitious and transformative climate deal to be signed in Paris that will protect the world’s poorest and put the world on a pathway away from polluting fossil fuels and towards a 100 per cent renewable energy future.

In doing so they join faith leaders, along with leaders from all walks of life demanding strong climate action and leading the way towards a future free from dangerous climate change.

» www.actalliance.org


Pope Francis publishes agenda-setting teaching letter

Pope Francis’ leadership on issues such climate change and the environment is remarkable and has become an inspiration to leaders all over the world, both Catholic and non-Catholic. In June 2015, he published ‘Laudato Si’, a 184-page teaching letter – a so-called encyclical – of 42,000 words which draws on a long tradition of Catholic teaching on the environment and social justice.

The letter became a significant milestone in the global climate change debate. Pope Francis addresses the young generation’s top concerns: he describes how the older generation of politicians and business leaders justify exploiting the planet, polluting the air and destroying the environment in the name of so-called ‘development’ and economic growth, and he calls for a shift to an economy which is responsible, ecological and fossil fuel free.

Pope Francis is head of the Roman Catholic church which has 1.2 billion members world-wide.

» Read more: www.climatesafety.info/encyclical


Launch of Muslim Climate Declaration   This is huge! The Islamic Climate Declaration launched today. Read it here: #Muslims4ClimateCredit: Islamic Relief Worldwide   Posted by OurVoices on Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Islamic Climate Declaration sends message to 1.6 billion Muslims

“Islamic leaders from across 20 countries have today launched a bold Climate Change Declaration urging the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to make climate change a priority issue. Much as Pope Francis declared action on climate change essential to the Catholic faith, the Islamic Climate Change Declaration offers a clear message to mosques and madrassas worldwide that they have a religious and moral duty to tackle the problem.”


“We call upon corporations, finance, and the business sector to –

• Shoulder the consequences of their profit-making activities, and take a visibly more active role in reducing their carbon footprint and other forms of impact upon the natural environment;

• In order to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities, commit themselves to 100 % renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible and shift investments into renewable energy;

• Change from the current business model which is based on an unsustainable escalating economy, and to adopt a circular economy that is wholly sustainable;

• Pay more heed to social and ecological responsibilities, particularly to the extent that they extract and utilize scarce resources;

• Assist in the divestment from the fossil fuel driven economy and the scaling up of renewable energy and other ecological alternatives.”

“We are driven to conclude from these warnings that there are serious flaws in the way we have used natural resources – the sources of life on Earth. An urgent and radical reappraisal is called for.”

“We recognize the corruption (fasād) that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption. Its consequences have been global climate change, which is our present concern, in addition to contamination and befoulment of the atmosphere, land, inland water systems, and seas; Soil erosion, deforestation and desertification; Damage to human health, including a host of modern-day diseases.”

» The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change

Read more:

» The Tree – 18 August 2015:
Islamic leaders join global call for a fossil fuel phase-out

Dalai Lama calls for urgent action on climate change 
The Dalai Lama is the latest faith leader to call for urgent action on climate change to ensure “environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.” His Holiness cited dangerous glacial melt in his homeland, the Tibetan Plateau, which has the most ice Arctic and Antarctic and has experienced three times more warming than the global average in the past 50 years. The rapidly melting ice and permafrost pose dangers to the local water supply and could release millions of tons of CO2 if melting continues.

» ReutersAPThink ProgressMashable


Coal is choking and renewable energy growing, says new WWF report

In 2014, 59 per cent of net additions to global power capacity were from renewable energy, according to a report from World Wildlife Foundation, published in October 2015.

Investors are becoming increasingly aware of the risk of stranded assets, and start to shift their investment strategy accordingly. The market for coal is shrinking fast. Indeed so fast that the coal industry is in terminal decline.

Global coal consumption fell by between 90 and 180 million tonnes in the first half of 2015 — the largest drop on record. A small gain in India was overwhelmed by declines across the rest of the world.

The United Kingdom have announced plans to close all their coal-fired power plants by 2025, becoming the first major economy to put a date on shutting coal plants to curb carbon emissions. Its about time Australia did the same.

In Victoria, a proposed new coal project in the Latrobe Valley to export brown coal briquettes to China was recently cancelled, and the Andrews Government has announced a review into government funding to coal projects over the past 15 years.

Renewable energy generation rose by 12 per cent in 2013-14, comprising 15 per cent of total generation in Australia, according to Climate Works Australia, an independent, research-based, non-profit organisation set up by the Myer Foundation and Monash University.

Electricity generation by renewable sources – primarily wind, solar and hydro – has grown by two-thirds in the past decade.

Renewable energy accounted for about half of all new power plants last year, a new report by the International Energy Agency stated.

International jurisdictions that are already 100% powered by renewable energy include the nation of Iceland, several small islands, and the states of Carinthia in Austria and Schleswig-Holstein (population 2.8 million) in Germany.

Costa Rica, Lesotho, Bhutan and Uruguay all use renewable energy for a substantial amount of their power. Renewables provide 94.5% of Uruguay’s electricity. The country has slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs without government subsidies in less than ten years.

In Australia, carbon emissions from power generation have fallen by more than 13 per cent in the past four years. This reflects a 5 per cent fall in demand from grid-supplied electricity (equivalent to the entire annual electricity consumption of Tasmania) since 2010, a rise from 7 per cent to 12 per cent in the share of renewable energy since 2004, and a 14 per cent fall in coal generation since 2004.

“The goal of powering a company, city, state, or nation with 50%, 75%, or even 100% renewable electricity would have seemed preposterous not long ago. But increasingly, a growing number of companies and governments are aim­ing to achieve such targets. And nobody is laughing.”
» A Status Report on Rising Commitments Among Corporations and Governments to Reach 100% Renewables

» Read the Executive Summary of the WWF report here (PDF)

» Read (PDF)

» Read the report Getting to 100 (PDF)

» IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015

» Sydney Morning Herald – 19 november 2015:
UK aims to close coal-fired power plants by 2025 in bid to curb carbon emissions

» One Stop Off the Grid – 17 November 2015:
It’s getting much easier for companies and cities to go 100% renewable

» Business Spectator – 10 November 2015:
2015: The year global coal demand fell off a cliff

» Bloomberg – 14 April 2015:
Fossil fuels just lost the race against renewables

“Today, renewable energy is competing directly with coal, nuclear, natural gas and other sources,” said Jigar Shah, president and co-founder of Generate Capital. That’s true even in emerging markets like India. The upshot is that developing countries can now afford to share in the wealth of clean energy technology.

“Most of the patents in renewable energy were in the 1970s, and so they’re off-patent now,” said Shah. “So, if India wants to manufacture solar panels in India, they can.” As India moves to expand solar energy production, it will be able to produce solar panels near where they are sold.

» CleanTechnica – 29 October 2014:
Solar PV In India Is Cheaper Than Importing Coal From Australia

» ClimateProgress – 17 June 2015:
India Just Upped Its Solar Target Five-Fold, Will Install More Solar This Year Than Germany

» RenewEconomy – 19 January 2016:
Hazelwood owner Engie launches push for 1,000GW of solar

Coal is a harmful rock in a hard place as fortunes fade
If 2015 was “the year that coal broke”, 2016 is already confirming it’s unfixable. China announced the closure of 1,000 coal mines, while 2015 US coal production was shown to be the lowest in 30 years, as yet another of the country’s major coal players filed for bankruptcy. The coal industry complains it is being “vilified” as “public energy number one”, but fresh research shows the harm new plants would do. Only a few nations now linger at the toxic coal party: Australia is exporting as much coal as it can despite the fact it’s making its citizens sick. India is still banking on coal despite its renewable energy ambition. Poland and Turkey want to burn even more of the black stuff. But with renewables making countries both wealthier and healthier, and a clean energy future indicated at the highest levels, there is no reason to cling onto harmful, volatile fossil fuels. Those countries which do could face legal consequences, as well as dealing with the inevitable damage to their economy, health and community.
The Tree

Climate change investment went up 18% in 2014

Worldwide investment in renewable energy technologies grew 18 per cent to US$391 billion in 2014, the largest annual total ever.

» Thomson Reuters Foundation – 16 November 2015:
Climate change investment up 18 pct in 2014 as clean energy surges


“4,700,000 new jobs that have been created worldwide in renewable energy since the previous UN talks in Copenhagen. And how at the same time, the price of solar PV modules has dived 75%, wind power has fallen a dramatic 30% and the number of countries with renewable energy targets has almost doubled.

» Climate Council: ‘A Whole New World: Tracking the renewables boom from Copenhagen to Paris’

» The report (PDF)


Social media mobilises millions in call for climate action

In 2014, 88.5 million people connected with Al Gore’s #ClimateHope message on social media. 88.5 million people! – that is an encouraging and exciting figure!

2,934,870 people had signed Avaaz’s Mega Climate Petition for a 100% Clean World on 7 November 2015. The organisers of the petition write that “this is the most important petition we’ve ever done.”


Canada has a new Liberal leader investing millions in clean energy

Trudeau came into the election promising to bring about a U-turn in Canada’s energy policies – including undoing the former prime minister’s fossil fuel focused energy policies. And so he did. In less than a month, Canada executed a complete about-face on global climate change. The New York Times wrote: “The new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has moved climate-change policy to the top of the country’s political agenda after it spent nearly a decade as an afterthought.”

» CBC.ca:
Justin Trudeau’s environment plan: End fossil fuel subsidies, invest in clean tech

» Huffington Post:
The Trudeau Effect: Has Climate Inaction Become An Election-Losing Strategy?

» The New York Times – 26 November 2015:
Canada’s New Leadership Reverses Course on Climate Change



Polls shows majority of Australians want climate action

Three different Australian 2015-surveys tell the same story:

Poll 1: A recent Lowy poll found that 50% of Australian adults now say: “Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.”

This is the highest result on this question since 2009.

The polling showed that 63 percent of Australians now believe the government should commit to significant emissions reductions so other countries will be encouraged to do the same. The same poll also found that 43 percent of Australians now believe solar energy will be the primary energy source in the future, a higher figure than coal.

» LowyInstitute.org: 2015 Lowy Institute Poll finds rapidly shifting attitudes on climate issues and strong views about solar

Poll 2: The Climate Institute’s ‘Climate of the Nation 2015’ report clearly shows where Australians stand. Based on a nationally representative survey conducted in July 2015 with 1,016 Australians, this year’s results show an increasing awareness and concern about the impacts of climate change and the country’s future energy mix amid the intensifying political debate. More Australians now trust the science that says climate change is caused by human activities. These are some of the reports’ key findings:

• A large majority – 70 per cent, same as last year, up from 64 per cent in 2012 – think that climate change is occurring with 89 per cent – up 5 points – of those accepting humans are at least partly the cause.

• 69 per cent of Australians agree that ignoring climate change is simply not an answer, as it increases the risk of the situation getting worse, up 5 points from last year.

• 59 per cent agree that the seriousness of climate change is under-estimated by government

• Support for regulating and limiting carbon pollution is very strong with two in three – 67 per cent – agreeing governments need to regulate carbon pollution and only 9 per cent disagreeing.

• Like last year, a strong majority of 59 per cent think that Australia should be a world leader in finding solutions to climate change.

• A similar 71 per cent – up 1 point – think that that tackling climate change creates new opportunities in renewable energy.

» Read more on www.climateinstitute.org.au

» Download the report on ‘Climate of the Nation 2015’ (PDF)

Poll 3: CSIRO published the report ‘Australian attitudes to climate change and adaptation: 2010-2014’. It states:

“This report presents the findings of a longitudinal study of Australians from 2010 to 2014, comprised of five national surveys conducted annually in July and August of each year. In total they surveyed 17,493 Australians aged 18 years and over.
Respondents predicted that 23% of Australians were of the opinion that climate change was not happening, when in reality fewer than 8% of respondents were of this opinion. Most people expect temperatures to rise in their region. About two-thirds of respondents (66%) expected it would get warmer in their region over the next 20 years. People’s engagement in individual climate-relevant behaviour has reduced in 2014.
People think extreme climate and weather events will increase in intensity and frequency in the future. Anger, fear, and powerlessness were rated as the most commonly felt emotion in response to climate change. Hope, joy, and excitement declined over time.”

» Download the report: ‘Australian attitudes to climate change and adaptation: 2010-2014’

“Research by the CSIRO has found more than three quarters of Australians agree climate change is happening, with divisions emerging along political lines. Three quarters of Australians believe climate change is real; views on cause correspond with world view, voting patterns: CSIRO report”

» Quote from an article by political reporter Francis Keany on 3 November 2015:


Our daily bike rides benefit the climate immensely

Cycling is immensely beneficial in fighting climate change, according to the European Cyclists’ Federation.
“When you incorporate all factors in the calculations, a cyclist on average emits 21 grams CO2 per kilometer. A person driving a car emits 271 grams of CO2 per kilometer, or around 13 times more,” says The European Cyclists’ Federation’s report, ‘Cycle more often 2 cool down the Planet’ which ads yet another dimension to the discussion about cycling versus car driving.
“The Municipality of Copenhagen has been conducting research and analyzed the level of cycling in Copenhagen. The amount of people who choose the bicycles in favor of car saves Copenhagen from 90.000 tons of CO2 emission annually. Compared to the total emission of 549.000 tons of CO2, this is a considerable reduction,” says CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Klaus Bondam.


Global deforestation rate has been halved since the 1990s

As trees grow, they trap CO2. When they die, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. About 296 gigatons of carbon is stored in the world’s forests. Over the past quarter century, forests have seen a net loss of some 319 million acres – an area just larger than South Africa. Between 2010 and 2015, an average of 0.08 percent of the world’s forests was lost each year. This means that the deforestation rate is going down, because each year in the 1990s, 0.18 percent of the world’s forests was lost.

» www.csmonitor.com


Billionaires are stepping in to support innovation

Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has pledged to commit US$2 billion ($2,000,000,000) to research, development and deployment of new technology to combat climate change. In other words, he has committed his fortune to moving the world beyond fossil fuels and mitigating climate change. “The only reason I’m optimistic about this problem is because of innovation,” he says.

Bill Gates had a reputation as being a pretty smart guy some 20 years ago. Turns out he has a better understanding of the global carbon emissions problem than many of us would have been aware of. Read more

Billionaire Manoj Bhargava – called “a crusader” for sustainability – similarly has started a program – www.BillionsInChange.com – which supports innovators who are, in his words, “inventing the right things”. The video above is a short trailer for a film about Manoj Bhargava and his visions. It was viewed 24 million times during its first month on youtube.com.

“The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.”

» See the film which was published on youtube.com on 4 October 2015

» Article about Manoj Bhargava and BillionsInChange:
Stimulating Innovation: 5-hour Energy Founder Invests in Global Change

» www.facebook.com/billionsinchange
» www.twitter.com/billionsnchange
» www.instagram.com/billionsinchange

Bill Gates has invested in a company called Beyond Meat:

» The Guardian – 28 November 2015:
Bill Gates to launch clean energy project on sidelines of Paris climate talks
“Microsoft co-founder will announce multi-billion-dollar Initiative Cleantech on opening day of two-week climate summit alongside Barack Obama”

» Fortune – 3 October 2013:
The Bill Gates-backed company that’s reinventing meat

» www.facebook.com/BillGates


US companies sign up to climate change pledge

This is an important bit of news because it represents main economy driving businesses coming on board. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Alcoa and eight other of America’s largests companies have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. This is the market taking the lead.

The market and money have put the brakes on so far. This initiative has the potential to change this. Alcoa, for instance, is making a commitment to reduce absolute emissions by 50% by 2020.

In total, according to the White House, the pledge equalled “at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy”.

» See the companies’ pledges on the White House fact sheet
» Article about the pledge on www.theguardian.com


USA: Barack Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline

After more than six years of review, the United States President Barack Obama announced on 6 November 2015, that his administration has rejected the fourth phase of the Keystone XL Pipeline. He said, among other things:

“Today, the United States of America is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. America is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe. America is leading on climate change by working with other big emitters like China to encourage and announce new commitments to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. In part because of that American leadership, more than 150 nations representing nearly 90 percent of global emissions have put forward plans to cut pollution.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face – not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”

A head of state has never rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its climate impacts before. If the pipeline had been built, it would have sent about 800,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil per day to refineries in Texas, estimated to lead to about 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the pipeline’s 50-year lifespan.

The rejection is a reflection of the courage shown by thousands of people who have sat in, marched and organised against this pipeline.

Earlier in 2015, Obama’s administration delivered a finalised Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the United States’ push to cap its own emissions.

» Here is a longer version of the video above

» Here is the transcript of Obama’s speech

» More on www.washingtonpost.com

» Washington Post: How Obama’s Keystone XL rejection adds momentum to the Paris climate talks


China has become the world’s renewables superpower

It is not long ago when everyone was talking about China as the global laggard: “As long as China isn’t doing anything about its carbon emissions, what will it help if we take action,” the argument went.

Well, those days are long gone. Today, China is leading the way on renewables. The country is expected to boast an impressive 40 per cent of all renewable capacity gained between 2015 and 2020, and China is now home to about more than a quarter of the world’s renewable power capacity.

In 2013, new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity in China.

China’s renewable energy investment is part of its 12th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, which calls for the country to spend $473.1 billion on clean energy investments from 2011 to 2015. China’s goal is to have 20 percent of its total energy demand sourced from renewable energy by 2020.

In 2013, global new investment in renewable power and fuels was approximately $214.4 billion, down 14 percent compared to 2012, and 23 percent lower than the record high in 2011. By way of contrast, China has increased its investment in renewables nearly every year for the past ten years.


» Global Risk Insights – 13 October 2015:
Growth in renewable energy is slowing, but China still leads the pack

» Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2015

» Financial Times – 9 January 2015:
China extends lead over US as top green energy backer

» Forbes – 17 June 2014:
China leads in renewable investment again


Paris climate deal to ignite a $90 trillion energy revolution

The emissions reductions plans which China, India and 153 countries have submitted to the United Nations cover 88 percent of global carbon emissions. Current pledges are already set to more than double renewable energy supply and make it the dominant source of electricity by 2030; not to mention the huge benefits they will deliver in terms of lives and money saved, and jobs created.

The countries’ pledges represent an “unprecedented commitment and engagement by member states”. Taken together, they commit the world to a reduction in fossil fuel demand by 30 to 40 per cent over the next 20 years. This is just the start of a revolutionary shift to net zero emissions. It is expected to kick-start an unstoppable clean energy revolution, estimated to ignite a $90 trillion investment in renewable energy sources – bringing new jobs, saved lives and cost savings.

China invested $80 billion in renewable energy in 2014 alone – as much as the US and the EU combined. India has pledged to raise renewables to 40 per cent of its power output by 2030.

Renewable energy employed 7.7 million people directly or indirectly around the world in 2014, estimates IRENA.

» Read more on www.telegraph.co.uk and in

» The World Resources Institute’s report ‘Assessing the Post-2020 Clean Energy Landscape’ (PDF)

» Grist – 23 November 2015:
Here’s how the U.S. can dump fossil fuels for good

» Report: The Clean Energy Future: Protecting the Climate, Creating Jobs and Saving Money (PDF)

“Renewables can make the world richer and happier”

“The International Renewable Energy Agency says the UN climate goals are within reach – if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiency could make up the rest.”

» The Guardian – 16 January 2016:
Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within reach

» Climate Change News – 15 January 2016:
Renewables can make the world richer and happier. Here’s how


Cities, not nations, will lead fight against climate change

It will most likely be cities, not nations, that will play a bigger role in preventing the global temperature from rising more than two degrees.

In December 2015, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo hosted a summit with 700 mayors from around the world who endorsed the 100% renewable energy by 2050 goal.

“The mayors of the world are those in the best position to take the actions needed, and they [already] are,” said Zachary Tofias, head of sustainable communities at the world’s global city networks C40. C40 has a Cities Climate Leadership Group, which involves more than 80 cities worldwide, and together with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg, the C40 group has launched a common platform, The Compact of Mayors, which captures the impact of cities’ collective actions through standardised measurement of emissions and climate risk, and consistent, public reporting of their efforts.

Compact of Mayors is the world’s largest cooperative effort among cities to fight climate change.

“The Compact of Mayors provides hard evidence that cities are true climate leaders, and that local action can have a significant global impact,” it is stated on the initiative’s website, www.compactofmayors.org

City of Sydney is one of city members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which – along with UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg and other city networks – launched the Compact of Mayors. City of Melbourne, City of Adelaide, City of Perth, Lismore City Council and Byron Shire Council are also members.

Collectively these cities, with South Australia and the ACT represent over 2.4 million people – 10 per cent of the Australian population. Their emission reductions will generate 129 MT CO2e abatement by 2020 – equivalent to more than one year of Australia’s annual domestic transport emissions – and 342 MT CO2e savings by 2030 – equivalent of nearly four years of Australia’s annual domestic transport emissions.

localleaders-declarationGoing 100% renewable
700 mayors and local leaders from cities including Paris, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Stockholm who met in December 2015 at Paris City Hall announced that they will go 100% renewable. A few days later, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to commit the city to going 100% renewable by 2035. Clearly cities will be leading the way.

» See the declaration on www.uclg.org (PDF)

Read more:

» About the Australian cities: www.climate-leadership.org

» About how cities not nations will lead: www.scmp.com

“Communities in Germany, Canada and Uganda are already reaping the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels to more decentralised energy systems.”

» The Guardian – 4 November 2015:
A global shift to 100% renewables is not just cleaner – it’s about equality

See also:

» The Guardian – 24 November 2015:
Most of Britain’s major cities pledge to run on green energy by 2050
“Leaders of more than 50 Labour-run councils sign pledge to eradicate carbon emissions ahead of Paris climate talks”

» www.facebook.com/100ResilientCities


Community-owned power projects promoted by state government

To drive and promote the development of new community-owned power projects, on 7 November 2015 the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio launched the state’s most comprehensive guide for communities wanting to establish renewable energy projects. ‘Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorians’ covers the commercial, technical, governance and regulatory aspects of establishing renewable energy projects.

“This new resource gives local community groups considering renewable energy projects the guidelines they need to make the best choices,” said Lily D’Ambrosio.

The Andrews Government’s support for community-owned renewable energy projects so far include:
• $200,000 grant to a community group in Newstead to develop a master plan for transitioning the town to 100 per cent renewable energy
• $100,00 grant for the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group to build a solar farm at the Black Forest Timber Mill in Woodend
• Drafting a discussion paper for community input ahead of delivering our commitment for the Macedon Ranges community wind farms.

» Read more on www.premier.vic.gov.au

» Victorian Renewable Energy Roadmap (PDF)


Geelong now has its own Community-Owned Renewable Energy group

In the beginning of 2015, a group of 30 people established Geelong CORE – a Community Owned Renewable Energy project which aims to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Repower Shoalhaven and Hepburn Wind and build an icon renewable energy project in Geelong. The group has regular meetings and is currently looking for a suitable host site for a Solar PV System, which will be installed with the help of a skilled CORE team of local professionals.

» Read more on www.geelongsustainability.org.au/core


Geelongians want their city on 100% renewable energy by 2030

ReEnergise Geelong is a growing community of Geelong residents who want to get on with creating a new economic future for Geelong, transitioning to a clean, renewable energy system.
ReEnergise Geelong calls on government, business and community leaders to support Geelong’s vision for 100 per cent clean, renewable energy by 2030.

» You can join them on www.reenergisegeelong.org

Plumming Industry
The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre on 66 Tanner Streat in Breakwater, Geelong

Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre opens in Geelong

Training the plumbers of tomorrow, the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) is a unique industry-led training facility which will soon open on 66 Tanner Streat in Breakwater, Geelong. A similar facility already exists in Brunswick, Melbourne, which boasts to be a world class facility in the reduction of green house gas emissions, showcasing the newest technology in water and energy efficiency, and the world’s very best, leading edge technology.

PICAC is an industry partnership supported by the Plumbing Trades Employees Union, Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia, National Fire Industry Association and the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association.

» www.picac.vic.edu.au


New York Attorney General investigates Exxon over climate cover-ups

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the American oil and gas company Exxon Mobil for claims the company made about climate change, a source familiar with the probe confirmed to The Huffington Post. The investigation centers on whether the company misled investors and the public about the financial implications of climate change and its effects, the New York Times reported.

The Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News recently reported that Exxon scientists knew as early as 1977 that the use of fossil fuel contributes to global warming, but has since perpetuated climate change skepticism.

» Huffington Post – 5 November 2015:
New York Attorney General Investigating Exxon Mobil For Alleged Climate Cover-Up

Presidential candidates want Exxon investigated for climate cover up 
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants ExxonMobil to be investigated for intentionally deceiving the public about the dangers of climate change, he said in a letter to the Attorney General.

“Exxon Mobil knew the truth about fossil fuels and climate change and lied to protect their business model at the expense of the planet,” Sanders wrote. Exxon’s misinformation campaign, recently revealed in two investigative reports by InsideClimate News and LA Times, could lead to federal racketeering charges. Members of Congress wrote a very similar letter, and Martin O’Malley, another democratic presidential hopeful, has also expressed support for an investigation.

» The HillThink ProgressHuffington PostSlateInsideClimate News


Two of Australia’s big four banks commit to global warming limit

Commonwealth Bank and NAB have joined the climate change push to limit global warming to 2°C degrees. They are yet to work out much of the finer detail, but Blair Palese, chief executive in Australia of activist group 350.org, said the new policy “commits the banks not to finance, advise on, underwrite or arrange for any thermal coal projects or companies in Australia or overseas”. That included any project infrastructure and new coal-fired generation assets, she said. It also committed them to switch to zero thermal coal exposure by 2020 at the latest, and start to target fossil fuel areas like gas and oil.
On top of that, it would mean investing $20 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects by 2020, with at least half of that invested in Australia.

NAB said that it would commit to $18 billion in ‘financing activities’ over seven years to 2022 to help reduce climate change.

» Australian Financial Review – 5 November 2015:
Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank join 2-degrees climate change push

» Sydney Morning Herald – 5 November 2015:
Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank join 2-degrees climate change push


Morocco poised to become a solar superpower

Morocco plans to build the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. Powered by the Saharan sun, it aims to provide almost half the country’s energy by 2020. The first phase with a generating capacity of 160MW goes live in November 2015. When finished, four solar plants will occupy a space as big as Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, and generate 580MW of electricity, enough to power a million homes.

» The Guardian – 26 October 2015:
Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project


Huntlee to become Australia’s first off-grid town

A million dollar study has been launched, which could see one of the Hunter’s newest townships become Australia’s first to go completely ‘off the grid’. Construction has already started on the new township, with 7,500 new homes to be built over the next 25 years.

“We see Huntlee being an example which can then be applied across all greenfield projects throughout Australia,” Danny Murphy from developer LWP told the ABC.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Ivor Frischknecht said if successful, Huntlee could set the pace for renewable development in Australia.

» ABC – 6 November 2015:
Huntlee to become Australia’s first off-grid town

South Australia breaks records with renewables

“If South Australia were a country, it would have more wind and solar than any country on earth,” economist Ross Garnaut has said. On average, 40 per cent of South Australia’s electricity is from solar and wind, and on occasion it goes to 100 per cent.

As the first Australian state government, South Australia has committed to a new target of zero net emissions by 2050. Currently about 40 per cent of South Australia’s power is provided by renewable energy, the most of any mainland state. South Australia’s example is showing that much higher levels of renewable energy are possible throughout the rest of the country.

» RenewEconomy – 25 November 2015:
South Australia commits to zero net emissions by 2050

» WA Today – 26 May 2015:
Green power success stories take the wind out of Tony Abbott



Wind energy is already cheaper than new coal or gas

The latest study by US investment bank Lazard has highlighted the extent to which wind and solar technologies are beating conventional fuels – coal, gas and nuclear – on costs of production, and also on abatement.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that wind is cheaper than new coal or gas-fired generation. “Wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce in both Germany and the United Kingdom, even without government subsidies,” according to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“It has never made less sense to build fossil fuel power plants,” reported Bloomberg. “It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. As more renewables are installed, coal and natural gas plants are used less. As coal and gas are used less, the cost of using them to generate electricity goes up. As the cost of coal and gas power rises, more renewables will be installed.”

In other words: If some Tony, Andrew or Alan tells you that wind energy is a bad idea, there can only be one explanation: you are listening to a person who has a vested interest in the industry of polluting the air.

Over 39% of Denmark’s electricity consumption in 2014 was produced by the wind turbines. That is a world record. In 2014 the Danish wind turbine owners received on average 4 cent per kilowatt-hour for the electricity they produced. Even so, Danish wind turbine owners were making a fortune on wind power. Danish society makes more than AUS$100 million every year from trading its wind power with water power from Sweden and Norway. The economic success has to do with Denmark’s location between Norway and Sweden – two countries which have plenty of hydropower and dams, which can both produce power … but which can also be used as a kind of giant ‘water batteries’ – to the north, and Europe’s most industrialised and populous country, Germany, to the south.

When the wind is not blowing, then the Norwegians and Swedes can produce electricity with the turbines at their dams, and the electricity current flows south down through Denmark – down to Germany. When, on the other hand, the wind blows, the Norwegians and the Swedes shut their turbines, so the lakes are being filled up – while the Danish wind power is being used instead. The wind energy is a bit cheaper than what the Norwegians and Swedes can sell their hydroelectric power for during the days when the wind is not blowing. In other words, the key to making money on renewables is not only building the renewable energy plants, but to be able to store the energy.

In July 2015, the Danish wind turbines produced – over some hours one Friday – approximately 140 percent of the Danish electricity consumption. The remaining 40 percent was exported to Sweden, Norway and Germany. This situation has since been repeated numerous times.

» RenewEconomy – 18 November 2015:
Wind and solar beating conventional fuels on costs – Lazard

» U.S. Department of Energy – 15 November 2015:
‘Revolution… Now’

» Bloomberg – 6 October 2015:
Solar and Wind Just Passed Another Big Turning Point

» BZE – 7 February 2013:
In Australia, Wind Power Is Already Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels, And Solar Is Right Behind


Australia will have a 100% renewable electricity grid by 2040 by default

Solar and wind energy could replace all fossil fuels in Australia by 2040 if their recent rate of deployment is maintained and slightly increased over the next 27 years – delivering the country with a 100% renewable electricity grid “by default” as early as 2040. The nation’s capital, Canberra in ACT plans to get to 90% renewables already by 2020.

» RenewEconomy – 26 July 2013:
Solar, wind could replace all fossil fuels in Australia by 2040


Part of the fossil fuel industry prepares for renewables evolution

Solar energy will comprise the backbone of the world’s energy system in years to come, according to the CEO of Shell (yes, that Shell), Ben van Beurden.
The exact words used by Van Beurden were that he has “no hesitation to predict that in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.” Considering that these words were from the CEO of one of the largest oil companies in the world, one would assume that he has good reasons for saying what he did.

» Cleantechnica – 30 September 2015:
Shell CEO: Solar Energy To Be Backbone Of World’s Energy System


The world is decarbonising at a rate of 2.7% per year

The good news: The world is now decarbonising at a rate of 2.7% per year. The bad news: Authors of the latest Low Carbon Index report warn that the decarbonisation rate must reach 6.3% annually in order to limit global warming to 2°C degrees.

Then again, if we have managed to decarbonise at a rate of 2.7% annually lately, stepping up to 6.3% annually shouldn’t seem like such an impossible task at all.

Renewable power generation capacity accounted for 1,828 gigawatts (GW) in 2014, compared to around 1,500 GW of gas-fired power station and 1,880 GW of coal-fired power station globally.

The majority of renewable power generation comes from hydropower (1,172 GW), followed by wind power (370 GW), and solar photovoltaics (175 GW).

In particular, the share of variable renewable energy from solar photovoltaics and wind power is expected to increase from 3% of annual generation production in 2014 to around 20% by 2030.

In 2012, more wind turbines were erected than ever before worldwide.


The chart above shows the rising installation and declining costs of wind energy. Wind is the first non-hydro renewable energy source to begin to approach the same scale as conventional energy forms like coal, gas and nuclear.

The cost decline correlates to a rise in the size and efficiency of wind turbines, especially after 1998. According to a clean energy report from the US Government, the average single-turbine capacity has increased about 162% in just over 15 years, and overall wind capacity in the US has more than tripled since 2008.

“In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels. I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050 or thereafter,” Saudi Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi, told a conference in Paris.


» www.irena.org

» www.cdkn.org

» www.cleantechnica.com

» www.energy.gov


In Geelong, the solar revolution now has a theme song

The People’s Solar wrote: “An old friend used to say that sustainability needs a theme son, there is something about music that brings people together. So when we heard Alex Aidt (age 10) and his brother Matt (age 8) had adapted a catchy, kooky rap song about solar power into a busking routine to raise funds for their school’s solar project at South Geelong Primary, it grabbed our attention. The best bit? Well, check out their video…”

“Creative. Proactive. Fearless. If the solar revolution needed a theme song, or even just a lead singer, we think it may have just arrived. Huge congratulations to Alex and Matt, their family and school. Let’s share this story far and wide, because good stories need to be told.”
~ The People’s Solar, in a newsletter


USA and Japan cut off finance to the dirtiest coal power plants

That the United States and Japan have reached a deal that would cut off finance to the dirtiest coal power plants is great news. It could mean that dozens of proposed new coal power plants don’t go ahead, preventing billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. 

To learn, then – and this is not good news, it is actually really bad news – that Australia is reported to be opposing America’s and Japan’s move to cut off finance to the dirtiest coal power plants is nothing less than outrageous, considering where the world is at with its leaders’ irresponsible unwillingness to lower dangerous levels of air pollution. We are told by the world’s climate scientists and meteorologists that the warming of the planet caused by governments’ inaction is nothing less than a catastrophe in the making.

In itself, it is shere madness to see that the wealthy OECD nations, after decades of warnings from the scientific organisations, still in 2015 are using public money to fund new coal. About $4 billion are provided annually to coal power plants through government-backed “export credit agencies”. Shame on Australia for blocking an international deal that could prevent scores of new coal power stations being built in Asia.

» If you agree, sign here



Australia now has a bank that is commited to climate action

They are called Bank Australia. Through their responsible approach to banking, they are a carbon neutral bank, Australia’s first 100 per cent customer owned bank, with $3.6 billion in assets and 24 branches around Australia.

They are the first bank in the world to establish a Conservation Reserve and have purchased nearly 1,000 hectares of land so far to regenerate the natural habitat to offset biodiversity loss from the land acquired for new home contructions. When you borrow money for a car, they will offset the carbon emissions that car will produce over the life of the loan.

They have signed the UN Global Compact, and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, and they are the first bank in the world to commit to all the seven climate commitments of the ‘We Mean Business’ pledge:
• Commit to adopt a science based emissions reduction target
• Commit to put a price on carbon
• Commit to procure 100% of electricity from renewable sources
• Commit to responsible corporate engagement in climate policy
• Commit to report climate change information in mainstream reports as a fiduciary duty
• Commit to removing commodity-driven deforestation from all supply chains
• Commit to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions
So far, over 120,000 people and community sector organisations in Australia have chosen to bank with them.
It is all good news to us.

» www.bankaust.com.au

Australia now has a super fund which understands all of this – and acts on it

It is called Future Super, and it is Australia’s first fossil fuel free super fund. By signing up to Future Super, members have now divested over $100 million from fossil fuel exposed funds. It was founded by Simon Sheikh who once sat on the inaugural board of the now 90,000 strong Australian Youth Climate Coalition. He was also the National Director at GetUp! for five years.

» www.myfuturesuper.com.au/our_story

» www.facebook.com/myfuturesuper


Companies and investors are committing to a low carbon revolution

More than ever before, companies and investors understand that creating a low carbon strategy is good for their bottom-line. So while national governments are hesitating, stalling and even wasting taxpayers money on building new coal-fired power plants, forward-thinking businesses and investors are committing to take bold climate action and slash the emissions. Under the ‘We Mean Business’ slogan, 260 companies with a total revenue of US$5.8 trillion and 144 investors with US$19.5 trillion assets under management have committed to create a low-carbon revolution.

AGL Energy, Bank Australia, Commonwealth Bank, National Austalia Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, Westpac, Woolworths, Walmart, as well as Coca-Cola Enterprises, IKEA Group, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, H&M, Nestlé, Nissan, Renault, Volvo, even the norwegian oil company Statoil and the French gas-oil company Total are among them.

» www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org

Google has announced they will triple their purchases of renewable energy by 2025, with the goal of powering their operations with 100% clean energy.

Under a UN-led NAZCA initiative, commitments to climate action by companies, cities, subnational regions, and investors have registered because they want to address climate change. On 10 November 2015, 935 cities, 1,778 companies and 418 investors had registered their commitments to set emissions reduction goals.

» www.climateaction.unfccc.int

And then there is the B Team – companies leading by example, with US electricity company NRG Energy, the global consumer goods company Unilever and the international investment group Virgin Group, and many more, aspiring to reach Net-Zero greenhouse-gas-emissions by 2050 within their companies.

“Plan A – where business has been motivated primarily by profit – is no longer an option. We are focused on driving action to meet a set of challenges that underpin Plan B – by starting ‘at home’ in our own companies, taking collective action to scale systemic solutions and using our voice where we can make a difference.

Founded in the belief that the private sector can, and must, redefine both its responsibilities and its own terms of success, we are developing a ‘Plan B’ – for concerted, positive action that will ensure business becomes a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.

Our vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to become a driving force for
social, environmental and economic benefit.”
The B Team

At the climate summit in Paris, the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi) unveiled an ambitions and action plans developed by more 153 companies and 70 partners over the past 12 months to lead the transition to a low carbon world.

PwC analysis shows that if the ambitions are met, LCTPi could achieve 65% of the emissions reductions necessary to stay under 2°C, channel $5-10 trillion of investment into low carbon sectors by 2030 and support 20-45 million jobs each year.

» Read more on www.wbcsd.org

“The global conversion would net 22 million new clean energy jobs and prevent 3.3 to 4.6 million premature deaths from air pollution,” Scientific American wrote.

» Scientific American – 19 November 2015:
139 countries could get all of their power from renewable sources

Thousands of hospitals are committing to reduce emissions

At an annual Health and Climate Summit in Paris, signatories of declarations representing over 1,700 health organisations, 8,200 hospitals and health facilities, and 13 million health professionals, brought the global medical consensus on climate change to a level never seen before.

Over 7,800 hospitals and health facilities worldwide have committed to take local action by reducing their own emissions and improving their preparedness to respond to climate change.
The public health climate action engagement is important because it can strengthen national and international climate policy.

“Climate change, and all of its dire consequences for health, should be at centre-stage, right now, whenever talk turns to the future of human civilizations. After all, that’s what’s at stake,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

An unprecedented alliance of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from every part of the health sector came together on 5 December 2015 calling on governments to reach a strong agreement at the UN climate negotiations that protects the health of patients and the public.

» For more information, see the press release here on www.climateandhealthalliance.org

» WHO’s Call To Action


Majority of business leaders call for a climate change agreement

A majority of business leaders call for a climate change agreement in Paris to support private sector investment, and business action on climate is seen as a route to innovation, growth and competitiveness, according to a global CEO study by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture which was based on a survey of 750 business leaders from UN Global Compact companies.

“For perhaps the first time, we are beginning to see a united front of business leaders and policymakers setting their course toward a bold deal that can begin to close the gap between ambition and execution on climate,” said Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy. “It is clear from our research that business leaders increasingly see climate change through the lens of fundamental disruption in their industries, and that leading companies are approaching climate change as an opportunity for growth, innovation and competitive advantage.”

Significant investment is already transforming critical sectors to low-carbon growth. But while companies are moving quickly to innovate climate solutions and adopt low-carbon business models, they see significant barriers to progress, because new climate solutions require industries to rethink their business models, develop new competencies, and build new coalitions, and because the current policy uncertainties are slowing the scale and speed of transformation.

For this reason, the “business leaders are calling on governments and policymakers to secure a bold and ambitious deal in Paris that can stimulate investment and unlock the full potential of the private sector.”

Read more:

» Accenture.com:
The United Nations Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study | Special Edition: A Call to Climate Action

» www.businesswire.com

See also:
Open letter from CEOs to world leaders urging climate action

“We are CEOs from 78 companies and 20 economic sectors. With operations in over 150 countries and territories, together we generated over $2.1 trillion of revenue in 2014.

In the spirit of the World Economic Forum to foster public-private cooperation, we affirm that the private sector has a responsibility to engage actively in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to help the world move to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.”
» Continue reading


King Island’s electricity supply powered 100% by renewable energy

The use of renewable energy to power King Island’s electricity supply for 33 successive hours has been hailed as a significant milestone.

“What makes this significant is that we’ve used renewable energy to support the needs of an entire community, which includes residential and industrial loads, for a full day,” Hydro Tasmania’s King Island Renewable Integration project’s director Simon Gamble said.

“Our system has successfully managed the peaks in energy consumption that occur over the course of a full day, including early evening when demand is at its highest and there’s no solar contribution. It’s the first time anywhere that this has been achieved at a megawatt scale for such an extended period of time.”

» The Advocate – 12 November 2015:
Renewable energy a power coup for island


USA: Portland prohibits the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects

Portland in Oregon, USA, took a step toward combatting climate change on 12 November 2015 when its leaders unanimously supported a resolution to actively oppose the local expansion of all new fossil fuel storage and transport.
The broad policy mandate aims to halt the local expansion of fossil fuels through the city’s existing laws.

Portland shows the way!

» Read more on www.insideclimatenews.org


Victorian Government supports local councils’ climate change action

The Victorian Government has opened a new $1.15 million grant program to help councils make their communities more resilient to climate change.

The Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015 program, open for bids until 29 December 2015, comprises two parts: a competitive round of grants of between $20,000 and $80,000 open to all councils; and a non-competitive round of grants of up to $10,000 for “resource-constrained councils”.

According to the government, the grants are needed to help councils “drive local climate change action”, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and “making effective and innovative decisions on how to increase resilience of services and assets”.

Lisa Neville, Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, said: “The impacts of climate change are real, and acting on climate change is fundamental for a thriving, resilient Victoria. We need to support local government to take advantage of the opportunities for jobs, growth, cleaner industries and more liveable communities. The government recognises the need for a coordinated, whole of government approach, and the need to work closely with the community, including local councils.”

Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins added: “Many local councils have a fantastic record of working with their communities to tackle climate change – [this] announcement will help further that work. The impact of climate change is felt by all Victorians, and it is up to us to take action and reduce its effects – at a national, state and local level.”

» Premier.vic.gov.au – media release – 4 November 2015:
$1.15 Million To Help Victorian Councils Respond To The Challenges Of Climate Change

» Councils can submit applications for the Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015 program here:

» www.thefifthestate.com.au


China and Norway lead the way for the Electric Vehicle

By September 2015, over one million highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and electric light utility vehicles have been sold worldwide.

In Norway, one in three new cars is electric. In the first three months of 2015, Norwegians registered 8,112 plug-in electric vehicles, up 40% from same period one year earlier. The country now has total of 75,000 plug-in electric vehicles registered.

In China, the electric car production is surging, and the government has started building a nationwide charging-station network that will fulfil the power demands of five million electric vehicles by 2020. In the first 10 months of 2015, Chinese carmakers produced 206,900 new energy vehicles, three times as many as they did in the same period last year.

Intense promotion by the government has brought more and more new energy vehicles onto China’s roads, saving energy and combating pollution. Measures in place include tax exemptions, subsidies and requirements for government bodies to buy green cars.

In March 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Transport set a target of 300,000 new energy commercial vehicles on China’s roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles.

» Xinhuanet – 10 November 2015:
China’s electric car production surging

» Xinhuanet – 9 October 2015:
China to build chargers to power 5 million electric cars by 2020

» Quartz – 8 July 2015:
In Norway, one in three new cars is electric


This chart shows electric vehicle (EV) sales taking off after 2013, concurrent with the falling cost of EV batteries. The hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle market is still in its infancy, but it is expected that the emergence of sustainable hydrogen (water-splitting enabled by solar or wind energy) will eventually take off, too. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

» Read more on www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car_use_by_country

Illustation above: Registration of all-electric vehicles in Norway by year between 2004 and 2014. Graphics by Mariordo


Netherlands: Promising solar bike path

One year after a bike path outside Amsterdam was plastered with custom solar panels, it’s generating more power than predicted — and the designers are convinced that it’s proof that networks of solar-covered roads could eventually be a viable energy source.

While typical rooftop solar panels are cheaper to build and can pump out more power, the SolaRoad team argues that pavement could add valuable real estate as roofs start to fill up. In the Netherlands, there’s more available space on roads than all rooftops combined.

» SolaRoad’s home page:

» Fast CoExist – 16 November 2015:
This Bike Path Paved With Solar Panels Shows That All Streets Could Double As Power Sources



The energy efficiency revolution: Rise of the LED technology

Improved energy efficiency in buildings correlates to an increased potential for replacing fossil fuels with clean energy and stationary energy storage, and as a ripple effect that creates more space in the electricity generating landscape for the mobile energy storage units known as electric vehicles.

In other words, building energy efficiency is a critical piece of the overall clean energy puzzle, and LED technology (Light Emitting Diode) is an important element in that strategy.

The LED chart above only hints at the future. There is still plenty of room for growth in LED adoption and technology enhancements that lower costs.

» U.S. Department of Energy – 13 November 2015:
Secretary Moniz Announces Clean Energy Technologies are Accelerating in the U.S. Marketplace According to New Revolution…Now Report

» Cleantechnica – 16 November 2015:
The Clean Energy Revolution In Three (Or Four) Charts



Canada: Climate change warning stickers at gas stations now a reality

City in Canada becomes the first in the world to implement climate change warning stickers at gas stations

Drivers in one Canadian city will soon be getting a dose of climate reality when they go to the gas station.

“The message is that burning fossil fuels causes climate change and … to add a positive spin, here are some tips when using your automobile on how to make it more fuel efficient,” North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto told the CBC.
“We all say in Canada, ‘shame on Alberta, shame on tar sands,’ but by pointing finger up-stream, we distance ourselves from the problem. We’re providing most of the demand for that product.”

North Vancouver’s mayor told the CBC that the city hopes to get the stickers, which will cost $3,000 to $5,000 to produce, implemented in gas stations across the city by early 2016.


» www.cbc.ca

» www.thinkprogress.org



Australian all-electric bus set world record

An Australian company has broken the world record for the greatest distance traveled by an electric bus after one charge.

The Australian all-electric bus launched by Brighsun in Melbourne at the end of October 2015 set a new world record for the greatest distance covered by an electric bus on one charge: 1,018 kilometres.

“What it means is that commercial electric buses can now travel the whole day or interstate without having to find somewhere to recharge. We believe it will bring a whole new concept of public transport with no pollution to Australia and to the world,” said Brighsun communications director Gladys Liu.

The prototype e-bus was launched at Yuroke, one hour north of Melbourne’s CBD, by Australia-based company Brighsun, as one of four full electric buses ranging from high range capacity route service passenger buses to touring coaches.

» One Step Off The Grid – 20 November 2015:
Australian all-electric bus drives into record books – 1,018km on one charge


USA: Groundbreaking ruling: State has constitutional obligation to act on climate

Climate action brought to the courtroom: Judge protects right to stable climate in groundbreaking decision in Washington case

“Kids understand the threats climate change will have on our future. I’m not going to sit by and watch my government do nothing. We don’t have time to waste. I’m pushing my government to take real action on climate, and I won’t stop until change is made,” said 13-year-old Zoe Foster, a petitioner in the Washington state case which argues that govenments have a legal duty to protect atmosphere for present and future generations.

Eight young climate activists in Washington filed a case grounded in the Public Trust Doctrine, which says “it is the duty of the government to protect the natural resources that are essential for our collective survival and prosperity.”

On 18 November 2015, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis R. Hill issued a groundbreaking ruling in the unprecedented case of the youth petitioners who requested that the Washington Department of Ecology write a carbon emissions rule that protects the atmosphere for their generation and those to come. 

Judge Hill declared “[the youths’] very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming…before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.”

The Washington court announced that it is the government agency’s legal duty to protect the atmosphere for present and future generations. This is a landmark decision. Highlighting inextricable relationships between navigable waters and the atmosphere, and finding that separating the two is “nonsensical,” the judge found the public trust doctrine mandates that the state act through its designated agency “to protect what it holds in trust.”

The court confirmed what the Washington youth and youth across the nation have been arguing in courts of law, that “[t]he state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public’s interest in natural resources held in trust for the common benefit of the people.”

“It’s incredible to have the court finally say that we do have a right to a healthy atmosphere and that our government can’t allow it to be harmed,” said 13-year-old petitioner Gabriel Mandell. “This ruling means that what the Department of Ecology does going forward in its rulemaking has to protect us, the kids of Washington, and not just us, but future generations too, like my children and those to come. Now they can’t decide to protect short-term economic fears and ignore us because we have constitutional and public trust rights to a stable climate!”

The court validated the youths’ claims that the “scientific evidence is clear that the current rates of reduction mandated by Washington law… cannot ensure the survival of an environment in which [youth] can grow to adulthood safely.”

The judge determined that the State has a “mandatory duty” to “preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality for the current and future generations,” and found the state’s current standards to fail that standard dramatically for several reasons. 

» EcoWatch – 20 November 2015:
Groundbreaking Ruling: State Has Constitutional Obligation to ‘Stem the Tide of Global Warming’

» Our Childrens Trust – 19 November 2015:
Judge protects right to stable climate in groundbreaking decision in Washington case

» Catholic Climate Movement – 17 November 2015:
Constitutional right to life argument applied to climate

» Western Law: Washington State Youth Win Unprecedented Decision in their Climate Change Lawsuit

» Judge Hill’s decision (PDF)

» Press release (PDF)


The Dutch Urgenda Foundation and 900 co-plaintiffs won a climate case on 24 June 2015 that forces the government of the Netherlands to adopt more stringent climate policies. 

In the Dutch case, the nonprofit Urgenda (urgent + agenda), together with hundreds of citizens who joined in a “crowd pleading,” filed a case against the Dutch government in 2012 for not taking sufficient measures to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Urgenda says it is the first case in Europe “in which citizens attempt to hold a state responsible for its potentially devastating inaction.” The group says that it is also the “first case in the world in which human rights are used as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change.”

According to a press release from the district court in The Hague, the Dutch government has to take more action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. It also must ensure that emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25 percent lower than those in 1990. Previously its goal was 17 percent, “which is below the norm of 25 percent to 40 percent for developed countries deemed necessary in climate science and international climate policy,” the court said.

Urgenda says that with this verdict, more people can start their own climate cases. Currently there is a similar case in Belgium, and people in Norway are preparing one as well.

» Read more on www.theguardian.com

New Zealand student sues government over climate targets
Backed by a group of lawyers, Sarah Thomson has filed papers with the High Court this week to sue the New Zealand Government over its its “illegal, unreasonable, and irrational” 11% climate target. The 24-year-old Waikato University law student doesn’t consider herself a climate activist but felt “urgent action” was needed over climate change. The law suit is believed to be the first of its kind – but was dismissed as a “joke” by Prime Minister John Key.

» www.nzherald.co.nz

» www.stuff.co.nz


Toowoomba to become home to the biggest solar power plant in Australia

Toowoomba is set to become home to the biggest solar power plant in Australia, if not the world. When finished it could produce two gigawatts of electricity, powering over a million homes.

The Climate Council posted a news-meme about this in February 2015 which has since been shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook:

» Read more on www.reneweconomy.com.au

In 2015 the global wind market reached a new record of activity

New wind turbine installations reached 59 GW in 2015, compared to 52 GW installed in 2014. Total installations between 2015 and 2019 are now expected to reach an impressive 592 GW.

The idea that wind could power the world was conceived by Danish pioneers in the 1970s. At that time, energy experts were laughing at them and calling them dreamers. Those days are over now.

In the United States, wind can now power 19 million homes, or meet the total electricity demand of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.

In Denmark on Christmas Eve, 123 per cent of the country’s electricity energy consumption was covered by wind energy.

» Cleantechnica – 27 October 2015:
Global Wind Energy Market Expected To Reach 59 GW

» The Hill – 21 December 2015:
Wind power installations hit new milestone


Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy supplier ready to go

On 15 December 2015, Enova Community Energy Ltd passed its minimum capital raise milestone, with $3,238,000 raised, which was enough for Enova to commence retail operations and make Australian history by being the first community owned electricity supplier.

Enova also reached another important goal of having majority ownership by the Northern Rivers community members, with nearly 75 per cent of the total of 857 applicants coming from the local community. The remaining 25 per cent of share applicants have come from every state and territory in Australia.

The high ambitions of the Northern Rivers community could lead the way in Australia. Once Enova’s model is proven like-minded communities across Australia can begin to copy the model.

» Enova Energy – 15 December 2015:
Enova Passes Capital Raise Milestone

» How Enova benefits the community

» Video: How Enova provides GreenPower

» Enova Energy on Twitter: @enovaenergy

» #CommunityOwned

» More good news

» #ClimateAction on Facebook

» #ClimateAction on Twitter

» #GreenEnergy on Twitter

» ‪#‎goodnews on Twitter

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  1. G’day Mik,

    My votes are as follows:

    No. 1 – T$90 Energy deal in Paris

    No. 2 – Co. & investors into low carbon

    No. 3 – Deforestation halved

  2. It is very uplifting there are so many stories to choose from. Thank you for reminding us about them.

    I have chosen

    1. The Pope/Islamic declaration. Climate change is about facilitating information for communities.
    2. Netherlands: Promising solar bike path. It showcases ideas outside the box returning more than expected.
    3. Huntlee to become Australia’s first off-grid town. Case study for how a community can translate to a low-carbon future.

Comments are closed.