» Please note: When you sign the petition letter, it is important that you also contribute with a small text about why you think this is important. Geelong citizen’s personal comments to the Council will most likely have a greater influence on the mayor and councillors than just the number of signatures.
“Geelong wants climate action!” – “Renewables are doable!” – “Common sense now!” – “Fossil fuels – no thanks!”… Slogans hear on the ‘National Day of Climate Action’ in Australia, and in Geelong, on 17 November 2013.
We are close to running out of time if we are to prevent catastrophic climate change, unless we take extraordinarily strong action as individuals, and as communities. Our elected representatives have shown us by now that they are not going to do their job: they will not do what is necessary to protect our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ future from the climate catastrophe.
It would be a relatively simple thing to do: transition to renewable energy sources over a 10-20 year period, and inspire others around the world to do the same, and then the problem would be more or less solved. But shamefully, politicians and the media in countries such as Australia and Canada have turned out to be too entangled in the power and finances of the fossil fuel industry.
On 16 November 2013, more than 130 communities in Canada took part in the ‘Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities’ national day of action. Same day in Warsaw, over 2,000 people took to the streets in a collective effort to tell negotiators meeting in the city that they must take bold steps forward at this week’s UN Climate conference. The day after, more than 60,000 Australians went to the streets in 130 different places around the nation – from big cities to rural towns, from the west to the north, east and south.
What’s bringing so many people together and out in the streets? The frustration of their government’s anti-democratic addiction to dirty fossil fuels. The absurd and in many cases industry-financed ‘denial’ and ignorance among government leaders and media houses. The sickening consequences of the CO2 pollution, health-wise as well as climate-wise – a pollution which politicians continue to subsidise instead of restricting.
Irresponsible and dangerous leadership
At the climate action day rally in Melbourne, Australia, on 17 November 2013, The Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt told the crowd:
“Tony Abbott is a climate change Chamberlain when we need a Churchill.” The signs of a warming planet are evident and the science clear, but it is on the political stage where leadership is needed, he said.
Professor Tim Flannery from the Climate Council said there was signs of improvement: six years ago Australia had 3,000 solar panels connected to homes. That number has risen to more than a million, or 10 percent of households. He said together people could make a difference.
“We can’t leave a matter as important as climate change to Australian politicians. We must stand up and be counted.”
» Report from the rally in Melbourne by The Age
At the climate action event in Geelong, Greens candidate Lloyd Davies similarly highlighted in his speech that everything is in place for a transistion to 100% renewables. The only thing missing… is political will.
» You can listen to Lloyd Davies’ speech here.
Renewable energy reform
A ‘climate revolution’ has started, and if you haven’t done it already, then it is time for you to join it now. You can help transitioning our society to run on 100% clean and safe renewable energy. You can be part of creating an economy which is built to last with local resilience and ‘democracised’ energy production.
The reform will make an end to the empire of the immensely rich and politically powerful fossil fuel industry which currently holds sway over our governments, but that is not the purpose of it. The purpose is, first of all: to create climate safety for our families and the generations to come.
Just like the record companies back in the 1990s failed to understand that unless they quickly moved over to digital distribution of music then their business would be doomed, the world’s energy companies are right now making that same mistake. On a yearly basis they spend around 600-700 billion dollars on exploring for new fossil fuels in the ground, instead of simply investing that amount of money into the development of clean energy technologies.
Too bad – they will miss out, and we will gain not only a safe climate but also cheaper and sustainable energy for a healthy and prosperous future.
On this page, as you read on, you will learn more about The Big How. But first, here is a little local report from the Climate Action Day in Geelong:
You can listen to an excerpt of Lloyd Davies’ speech at the Day of Climate Action event here:
» Listen online by starting the player above
» Download the audio-file and listen later: Right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)
You can listen to an excerpt of Stacey Koole’s speech at the Day of Climate Action event here:
» Listen online by starting the player above
» Download the audio-file and listen later: Right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)
“Polling clearly demonstrates that the majority of Australian voters – no matter what their politial views are – want stronger action on climate change. Strong, meaningful action requires a commitment to cut Australia’s pollution by at least 25 percent by 2020, our fair share and what was recommended by the independent Climate Change Authority. It also requires a price and a limit on carbon emissions that can achieve stronger pollution cuts, and a commitment to move Australia beyond coal and gas by shifting investment away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy. We demand that our government respects the science and aims higher on climate. We’re asking for strong, meaningful climate action, which is in the national and global interest.”
» See more photos from the Geelong event on Facebook
» Victorian petition: You can sign the Climate Action Petition by sending a text message containing your email address and postcode to 0402 662662
Climate scientist: Prepare for the catastrophe
“We are already planning for a 4°C world because that is where we are heading. I do not know of any scientists who do not believe that. We are just not tackling the enormity of the task we face to keep it below the agreed 2°C danger threshold,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College in London.
“If we had the kind of politicians we really need we could still put in place policies that can save the planet from going over the danger level. But there is no evidence at the moment that we have that quality of politicians, so we all have to be prepared for the most likely scenario, which is a 4°C rise in temperature. If we do not prepare to adapt we simply won’t be able to.”
Professor Maslin said that scientists were in a Catch 22 situation. They wanted to tell politicians that it was still possible to save the planet and had shown how to do it in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released in September. At the same time scientists were aware that there was not the political appetite to deal with the problem.
He said all UN bodies were now being advised to prepare for a rise of 4°C, because there is no evidence to show that the world is prepared to turn away from the present pathway of rising carbon emissions.
» Continue reading: climatenewsnetwork.net
Help make our region fossil fuel free
We are basically saying: “Help make our planet fossil fuel free”, because the climate change problems are global – the atmosphere and the oceans don’t really care about our national borders – but to stop the burning of fossil fuels globally, each of us need to start locally, right where we live, and with our own households.
Which is why this particular blogpost focuses on Geelong in southern Australia, where it’s authors are based. The ideas and arguments, the links, logos and videos, however, can be copy-pasted and used almost anywhere else on this planet.
Coal plan fuels alarm
While Geelong’s acting mayor — our elected representive in local government — appears to be positioning us to accept an expanded Geelong port to facilitate the export of fossil fuels, we would like to propose an alternative vision.
Letter to the Editor of Geelong Independent • By Anthony Gleeson and Mik Aidt
Posted to the newspaper by e-mail on 9 August 2013
“Plans to use Geelong’s port as a major clean coal exporter are on council’s radar, according to acting mayor Bruce Harwood,” reported the local paper Geelong Independent on 9 August 2013.
$250 million dollars are about to be invested in a new so-called ‘clean coal’ export project in the region, and Bruce Harwood sees this project as something the council should invest in to increase capacity in the city’s harbour and improve the transport infrastructure around it.
“We have to do the work so industry has confidence in Geelong as an export point. Mineral sands, brown coal, black coal are all huge opportunities for us,” he told Geelong Independent’s journalist, John van Klaveren.
A major Chinese power company is reportedly among several companies vying for the funding from a $90 million dollars grant, funded by state and federal governments, to establish a demonstration plant which can “upgrade” Victoria’s brown coal reserves. ‘Upgrading’ means converting the brown coal into black coal, oil, fertiliser or briquettes.
No more fossil fuels, thanks
To put it straight: If we have to rely on fossil fuels for Geelong to thrive, we are in trouble. We have to look at a future that doesn’t contain toxic fossil fuels if we value our kids, and if we value the future of the planet, effectively.
So why waste money on investing in fossil fuels? The age of dirty fossil fuels is over. The last thing we need is more fossil fuels. Cr Harwood’s plan is an expensive distraction that creates completely wrong signals. It takes away the focus from the direction in which Geelong needs to be heading, namely the transition to renewable energy.
Both peer-reviewed climate science and the United Nations warn us that we are not doing enough to phase out CO2 emissions and that this will lead to catastrophic consequences for the climate.
Australia’s per capita CO2 emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world average.
Our moral responsibility to our children and grandchildren doesn’t even give us a choice: we must wholeheartedly put all our stakes on renewable energy now. The development of renewable energy technology is gaining momentum, and prices have been reduced dramatically in recent years. This development will continue as our demand for renewables increases.
Future Proofing Geelong which is financed by the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, and a number of state authorities, has even even put forward a goal for Geelong to become “internationally recognised as one of the world’s most sustainable cities” by 2030, a “productive, vibrant and liveable city.”
It is one or the other, guys! This has to be more than just words. It must be followed by action. Not the wasteful, short-sighted kind of action proposed here.
The One Percent Pledge
Why we must get off fossil fuels, beginning now
The global cost of oil is more than five times the cost to abandon it. And this figure does not even begin to look at the costs of coal – or all the hidden costs of fossil fuels.
Those who say it is naive to be talking about the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy are either not well informed or deliberately lying. With all the money there is in the fossil fuel industry, you can’t blame them for trying to protect their profitable business.
According to professor James M. Byrne, Chair of Geography at University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, who produced the video below, ‘Climate Change – Do the Math!’, the world is currently spending 5.5 times more on fossil fuels, year by year, than it would have to if we instead got started with investing wholeheartedly in the transition to renewables, creating the infrastructure and capacity to decrease emissions and increase efficiency:
This video is worth spending 11 minutes on. James Byrne gives you a very clear idea about why it is we must get off fossil fuels, beginning n o w. The video it is based in part on the Rolling Stone opinion editorial by Bill McKibben, ‘Global Warming’s Terryfying New Math’ (which is explained during the first six minutes of the video), but in the second half of the video, it gets really interesting in our context because here, Byrne adds a new and extra key number to Bill McKibben’s maths: the one percent.
The one percent
A married couple were told that their house had a serious problem with fungus, and if they didn’t do anything about it, their house would soon have to be torn down. They were also informed that they could fix the problem, but… it would cost them somewhere around $1,000 a year for a number of years.
Together they had a yearly income around $100,000.
So: one percent off: Would they invest that money, get the problem fixed, and save their house?
Or would they countinue doing nothing about it?
This is an allegory of our current situation. The choice which appears to be so difficult. According to the Cambridge University Global Review, Economics of Climate Change, the cost of fixing the climate change problem is one percent of global GDP.
That is it. The equivalent of $1,000 a year in a household that has an income of $100,000.
Suppose we turned this ‘one percent’ into a campaign for action:
One percent of the time you are awake is 10 minutes a day. On a weekly basis, dedicating one percent of your time on climate change means dedicating one hour and 10 minutes per week. Could you manage that?
If you’d be wiling to invest one percent of your working hours on climate change, it would mean spending four-five minutes per day on it – or a little over 20 minutes per week.
If you’d like to invest one percent of the time when you are not at work or in school or university, it adds up to around half an hour a week.
Business as usual: 5.5 times more expensive
What James Byrne tells us is mind-blowing: The cost to make a smooth transition to a clean economy — one no longer tied to fossil fuels — is $790 billion a year which is 5.5 times less than what we currently are paying to maintain the oil energy regime.
“Who says we cannot afford to change when the numbers tell us it is 5.5 times more expensive to continue business as usual? Switching off fossil fuels doesn’t just make sense for your children who want a healthy planet to raise their children on. It makes economic sense. And if you don’t know that, remember who is making sure you don’t know that and why it is in their financial and political interests for you to be confused. Climate change kills 400,000 people a year? And why don’t we know that?,” commented Climate of Change blogger Doug Craig.
If all the public subsidies in the fossil fuel industry were moved to subsidise renewable energy, we’d have solved a large part of the global problem with carbon emissions, according to a UN report from February 2013. So, considering the serious security issues involved, can anyone explain why this isn’t happening?
Watch the video, and study the facts. If you have trouble believing what you see and hear, do your own research. These are not made up numbers, and you can check out the references if you are interested in learning more. Or continue here.
This is a good interview to learn from:
Climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf explains why we have very little time to get off fossil fuels and why investing wholeheartedly in renewable energy makes so much common sense, also economically. Published on youtube.com on 10 October 2013.
Only $1 Trillion: Annual Investment Goal Puts Climate Solutions Within Reach
IEA pegs cost of addressing climate change at 1.3 percent of global output of goods and services. The investment would also stoke a clean economy.
Only $1 trillion: Annual investment goal for climate solutions. A two-year-old number is changing the way governments, companies and investors approach the fight against climate change: $1 trillion. That is roughly the amount of additional investment needed worldwide each year for the next 36 years to stave off the worst effects of global warming.
Major new report: Low-carbon society benefits citizens and business
A major report shows that policies to maintain a safe and secure climate will mean a better quality of life for millions of people around the world. The study, spearheaded by leading names in finance, business and politics – including feted UK economist Lord Nicholas Stern and Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon – dispels the myth that action on climate change comes at the cost of people’s living standards. Instead it underlines that better jobs, cleaner air, and happier, healthier communities are all consequences of ambitious policies to cut carbon.
“This report lays out how countries across the world can reduce the risks of climate change and achieve high-quality, resilient, and inclusive economic growth.”
Launched at the UN headquarters in New York just one week before the UN Climate Summit, the ‘Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report’ highlights that a major transition is already taking place – boosted by rapid technological innovation and fresh investment in infrastructure.
It offers yet more proof that there are no arguments left in favour of sticking to outdated fossil-fuels and plenty of good reasons for governments and leaders from business and finance to embrace the transition to a cleaner, healthier society run on renewable energy sources.
The report and a video about the report:
Cut the carbon, save lives and save money
A new study broke the potential lives saved from reducing carbon emissions into increments:
• in 2030, aggressive carbon cuts would save 300,000-700,000 premature deaths a year, jumping to
• between 800,000 and 1.8 million in 2050 and
• 1.4 million to 3 million in 2100.
The study also found another surprising co-benefit of reducing emissions: By cutting each ton of CO2, the associated cost savings of were $50 to $380, based on a cost-benefit analysis that associates saving lives with saving money — more, the study found, than the estimated cost of cutting carbon in the next few decades.
“It is pretty striking that you can make an argument purely on health grounds to control climate change.”
Jason West, one of the study’s lead authors
ThinkProgress / ClimateProgress – 23 September 2013:
Cutting Carbon Emissions Could Save 3 Million Lives Per Year By 2100, Study Finds
Article by Katie Valentine
“A 100% renewable economy is 100% guaranteed to pay for itself over time.”
Simon Butler, in a talk presented at the conference ‘Climate Change Social Change’ in Sydney, Australia, on 11 May 2013
Read the Science – 23 August 2013:
100% Australian Renewable
What does 100% renewable electricity for the whole of Australia look like? Australian Energy Market Operator, commissioned by the Australian Federal Government, has been modelling for what a 100% renewable national electricity grid for Australia would look like.
The Age – 24 August 2013:
Renewable energy study tips viable reality by 2030
“Renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydro power could supply electricity at prices comparable to fossil fuels by 2030, according to a study commissioned by the federal government. Modelling by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that 100 per cent of power from clean energy would be technically viable by 2030 – although with a price tag ranging from $219 billion to $252 billion.” By Peter Hannam, carbon economy editor
Dig deeper into the energy transition question
Is an energy transformation realistic? Here is a list of articles we recommend you to read, if you’d like to dig deeper into these questions about the transition to 100% renewables.
A vision for how grassroots can take action, formulated in the shape of a video
Something important is taking place in Boulder in Colorado, USA. Something truly inspirational to anyone who agree that we need to quickly transition to a fossil fuel free future.
This video is about local power. About where the real change begins.
“This is a story about (…) our planet and health versus corporate greed. This is a story that might just be the shot across the bow for how our society finally addresses climate change.”
Spread the word: share this video. Replicate this spirit around the planet. We need to be bolder now — we all need to be Boulder.
Published on youtube.com on 1 September 2013.
The activist group in Boulder set out to crowdfund $40,000 at indiegogo.com. It looks like they’ll pass the $100,000 mark. More information here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/campaign-for-local-power
Comments to Geelong’s mayor and councillors
An excerpt — See more at the petition site
“I am the Green’s endorsed candidate for the division of Corio. I care deeply about the long-term future of Geelong and its surrounding area, especially in terms of energy security. Secure, clean energy will be the driving force behind the transition to a modern industrial sector in Geelong.”
Greg Lacey, AUSTRALIA
“Mining is destructive to the health of future generations — all for profiteering by overseas shareholders.”
Tony Grgurevic, GEELONG, AUSTRALIA
“A sustainable future for Geelong, my children and grandchildren.”
Sam Smith, AUSTRALIA
“This is not the direction to head in. We need to be focusing on expanding sustainable options, not continuing the blinkered pillaging of the little left of resources which took thousands of years to create — basic common sense tells us that won’t work.”
Trish Jardine, AUSTRALIA
“As a long term resident of geelong with 2 young children, I can’t understand why this short sighted plan to make Geelong even more reliant on ever dwindling resources is even being considered. We have a responcibility to the next generation in our community to create a city that is sustainable and has reliable jobs not just for the next 10 years but for the next 50+ years. Increasing our funding in renewable energy technologies and infrastructure is the best way to do this. Make the sensible decision for the long term and don’t be swayed by the potential short term gains.”
Sincerely Alex Bourne, GEELONG, AUSTRALIA
“ Well said. This is a crucial moment for a firm decision to be made to be part of the solution. Any other decision is condemning ourselves, other humans and other species to death. Let choose life!”
Monica Winston, BELMONT, AUSTRALIA
“The preamble to this petition says it all. If we want our kids & their kids to have any sort of decent life, we don’t have a choice. Time for Geelong to show its ‘future proofing’ talk does have an action plan which involves more than picking the low hanging fruit.”
Anthony Gleeson, GEELONG, AUSTRALIA
Citizens of Geelong have been asked
The citizens of Geelong do speak with quite a loud and clear voice, according to a new community engagement report published by Cr Harwood’s own council, and it is a voice which speaks about sustainability and renewable energy. So how come the Deputy Mayor and his colleagues are not listening?
Under the headline ‘Voice of the people’, the Geelong magazine The Weekly Review published a spread on 4 July 2013 with comments and suggestions to a new four-year City Plan for Geelong, which were submitted by citizens in surveys and online forums as well as at a series of community workshops, and then published in a community engagement report, ‘Geelong Your City Your Say — Summary of Community Engagement’. It summarises the outcomes of the community engagement process, describing the range of opportunities made available to contribute and the key outputs of this process.
“Developing green, sustainable practices and industries and encouraging renewable energy within homes and businesses are seen as important to Geelong’s future,” observed The Weekly Review’s Sarah Marinos.
“The city is emerging as a leader in several dynamic industries such as knowledge, innovation and research, advanced manufacturing, health, tourism, food and horticulture,” the community engagement feedback said. “It is important that we continue to take advantage and attract business in these growth sectors.”
“‘Active living’ is seen as an important foundation of a healthy community — encouraged by increased walking and cycling opportunities.”
Citizens’ comments which were highlighted in the article were for instance:
“Green jobs! Get local renewable-energy industry going. Encourage energy efficiency and sustainability in local industry.”
“Ensure all new developments are sustainable; rainwater tanks and solar for all.”
Not one citizen appear to have mentioned a wish for the city to invest millions of taxpayers’ dollars into becoming a fossil fuel export hub. Explain then how elected representives in the council can come up with such plans — if not simply because they are seeing an opportunity to make some short-sighted business profits?
The article ‘Voice of the people’ can be read on page 8 in this issue of The Weekly Review:
Letter to the editor:
More ships, more scum
Under the headline ‘More ships, more scum’, The Weekly Review published a letter by Tom Rossi in its 15 August 2013 issue, commenting on the expansion plans for the Port of Geelong:
“The downside will be the environmental impact the massive cargo ships heading our way will have on Corio Bay. Digging deeper shipping channels to handle these monsters will be a foregane conclusion, but more ships in the bay means more pollution,” wrote Tom Rossi.
“Even now, whenever ships are waiting their turn to load, inevitably a brown, oily scum washes up on Western Beach. You can only imagine what will happen if shipping traffic dramatically increases.”
In-between fossil fuels and renewables
So, taking this into consideration, could it be that time is up to discuss in public and with the public whether there are other things in life that are more important to us — the citizens, the parents of Geelong — than short-sighted business profits?
Could it be that Cr Harwood’s proposal is destined to damage Geelong’s image so much that it actually destroys that dream of turning Geelong into a “smarter Geelong” and a “thriving regional city sustained by locals, promoting local goods and services” (quotes from the community engagement report) which is quite the opposite of what he calls ‘huge opportunities’?
Cr Harwood and councillors of Geelong, how about starting a discussion in line with Future Proofing Geelong’s vision of having a consistent focus on transitioning away from toxic fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy?
Investing in fossil fuels is such a short-sigthed “opportunity” to make some money, and it disregards the consequences that fossil fuels have on our climate. How come it isn’t clear to everyone, including Geelong’s councillors, that fossil fuels are going to get increasingly unpopular in the years to come, which will then make the city’s million-dollar investment expanding Geelong’s port a complete waste of money?
» Geelong is going to have a mayoral election soon.
» The next local government election will be in October 2016.
» The next Victoria State election will be held on 29 November 2014.
Clive Palmer wants to expand coal mining in Victoria
The moment the Coalition Government gets rid of the carbon tax, Victoria’s dirtiest power stations will become more profitable. Clive Palmer wants to take advantage of that: reopen coal power stations, and encourage more mining.
On 13 September 2013, Geelong Advertiser published a short note entitled ‘Palmer power for Vic’ which stated that Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party will run candidates in Victoria’s November 2014 state election with policies to tackle high energy costs, reopen coal power stations, and encourage more mining.
His party received 5.5 percent of the national votes on 7 September 2013. Clive Palmer allegedly thinks that mines and power stations in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley shouldn’t have been closed.
“We’re importing electricity now from New South Wales to Melbourne. We can’t produce enough in Victoria, yet Victoria’s got the biggest brown coal deposits in the world,” he has been quoted as saying.
The story was published on Channel 9 News on 12 September under the headline ‘PUP to run at Vic state election’, and on the same day in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald with the warning: ‘Look out Victoria, it’s Palmer time’.
These different headlines to the same story – ranging from ‘Palmer power for Vic’ to ‘Look out Victoria, it’s Palmer time’ – indirectly tell their own story about the newspapers editors’ view on Palmer and his ideas.
Update: Victoria state finances expansion of Port of Geelong
On 28 August 2013, Premier Denis Napthine announced that the Port of Geelong will be widened and deepened in a bid to cater for bigger ships and more traffic. The shipping channel will be dredged in 2014, removing about 130,000 cubic metres of clay and mud at a cost of at least $5 million.
Geelong Advertiser wrote that the project is “the first step in a plan to establish the Port of Geelong as the premier bulk goods port in south-eastern Australia,” and that the Environment Protection Authority has approved the project.
The newspaper talked to representatives from Corio Bay Action Group and Committee for Geelong who expressed their support and said this was an important first step. The size of the port would also have to increase and better road and rail services would be needed to improve the flow of goods, mentioned the member of Committee for Geelong.
The article mentions wood chips and grain as examples of goods, but the word coal has for some reason slipped the article.
One week earlier, on 21 August 2013, Cr Bruce Harwood had a ‘Mayor’s View’ column in the Geelong News where he did mention the black coal export prospects along with a number of other ones, such as mineral sands, woodchips and copper concentrate, and he also informed that the freight infrastructure plan had been adopted by the council in mid-August. Now it is sent to Infrastructure Australia as well as federal and state government politicians to “secure increased investment” in the port.
“This plan will play an important role in the positioning of Geelong as a key important hub for Victoria,” he wrote in the column. “Growth of the port would also create additional job opportunities, which would be great for our community”
In its editorial on 30 August 2013, the local paper Geelong Advertiser praises the decision and the concept of creating growth: “Few people could argue with the importance of Geelong’s port to this city’s future. It holds a proud place in our history and is seen by many as one of the few strategic drivers of growth heading forward,” the editor writes.
Well, I guess we are among those “few people” which Geelong Advertiser refer to: people who can see that this expansion, even though it is not mentioned, is primarily about increasing fossil fuels export, ignoring the threats of climate change, polluting the waterfront of the city, and basically supporting an unsustainable concept of growth at a time when we need to look for new models, and to come up with alternatives to the blind and old-fashioned belief in growth as the only way to create a better society.
About Cr Bruce Harwood and Australian New Energy
Why is Cr Bruce Harwood so keen on advocating for the investments in fossil fuels? According to the Council’s website, Bruce Harwood actually is supposed to have “had a very strong focus on the environment,” so – what has happened all of a sudden?
We are hoping to provide an answer to that question before too long. Bruce Harwood is currently employed as a Company Secretary and Director of Australian New Energy — a company which is “Building Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions for a Better Future”.
The company’s carbon-neautral energy solution primarily is wood waste. Australian New Energy seeks to become a major energy supplier from wood residues and fibre for the production of renewable energy. The company is also exploring the potential for syngas, synthetic gas, which can be produced from a variety of different materials that contain carbon, and which to some extent reduces carbon emissions when compared to normal gas.
“Part of what is going on is an information war. $8 trillion can buy you a lot of information, and can help you spread a lot of misinformation.”
Tony Seba, an energy expert from Stanford University, author of ‘Solar Trillions’
Take part: Let’s create ‘fossil free future streets’ in Geelong
Help us by going door to door with this message. For a start, we can all talk with our neighbours and street by street investigate whether we already have consensus among the citizens of Geelong on declaring our city ready for the fossil fuel free future – which includes a fracking-free future.
Make an impact in your local area by collecting as many signatures and comments as you can from the neighbours in your street. You will meet some who don’t agree with you, and this gives you an excellent opportunity to take a discussion with them by word of mouth, personally and face to face. Some people will never be convinced by what they read in the paper or see in tv. We need to speak with each one another about these matters.
When more than 50 percent of the residents in your street have signed, we can declare the street part of the new “fossil fuel free Geelong” and in this way begin to draw the map of a new and increasingly more sustainable city. Just like Future Proofing Geelong write that they’d like it to be.
Then, encourage your friends to do the same in their streets.
Public event in Geelong: for renewables
In order to put this ‘alternative’ vision on the agenda of the City Council of Geelong, we believe this petition needs to be backed up by an event in the streets of the city. Something positive and optimistic like the ‘CO2-walk’ which Transition East Geelong organised on 21 April in central Geelong, and which is going to be repeated next year on Earth Day in April as well.
» If you’d like to take part in organising such a demonstration, let us know.
Creative commons licence: Feel free to copy, edit and reuse any part of this text or logos if you are starting a similar campaign in your city or region. Not for commercial use.
If you agree that fossil fuels should be phased out in Victoria, you should also consider signing these petitions:
Petition: Protect Victoria: no coal exports
Environment Victoria is trying to focus resistance on the overall State Government push to expand coal exports. “Protect Victoria from coal export nightmare,” they write in their campaign.
Their main focus is on Gippsland, although they do also mention Bacchus Marsh in some of their literature.
Environment Victoria writes:
“Right now, the Napthine Government is charging forward with plans to develop a major new brown coal export industry from Victoria.
If these plans go ahead, up to 41 billion tonnes of brown coal could be handed over to coal companies to be dug up, hauled across the state, and shipped to China and India for burning.
The devastating impact would stretch from fertile farmland in Gippsland where the coal is buried, to protected marine zones beside Wilsons Promontory or Philip Island where it would be shipped from major new ports.
And the massive pollution from burning all that coal would tear away our hopes of stopping runaway climate change.
We must act to protect Victoria from this disaster before it’s too late. The first stage of the plans – the $90 million cash and free coal giveaway – is just around the corner.
Please, sign this petition now and help us protect Victoria’s future. Say no to brown coal exports.”
Dear Premier Napthine and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan,
I want to protect Victoria’s fresh air, productive farmland, and precious ecosystems to secure a safe future for my family.
But your plans to industrialise Victoria’s national places for major coal export developments threaten this. These plans will destroy swaths of productive farmland and require billions in taxpayer subsidies. Port developments in protected marine zones around Wilson’s Promontory will threaten precious ecosystems and major new roads and freight trains will spread dangerous air pollutants across Victorian communities.
And if your plan to ship brown coal to China and India goes ahead, it will result in billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution, derailing hopes of containing runaway climate change.
Victoria can do better. Our excellent clean energy resources can power our state, attract billions of dollars of investment and cut pollution. Our farmers can produce food to feed not just ourselves, but the world.
I call on you to reject coal exports, and protect Victoria’s future for us all.
Petition: Drop regressive anti-wind farm laws and exploration for fossil fuels in Victoria
Petitioning The Honourable Dr Denis Napthine:
The Honourable Premier Dr Denis Napthine: Let’s get Victoria back on track: clean energy, protect our farms
Petition by Friends of the Earth Australia. 2,991 supporters on 10 August 2013
Ted Baillieu’s resignation presents the Coalition with the opportunity to dump the former-Premiers regressive anti-wind farm laws (called VC82).
Research by Friends of the Earth estimates that the wind policy championed by Ted Baillieu has cost Victoria around $887 million in lost or stalled investment.
Meanwhile, much of our best farmland is under exploration for coal or gas. Gippsland produces food worth $1.3 billion each year, yet the fossil fuel industry is hoping to greatly expand mining operations across this region.
The new Premier must show he is listening to community concerns about new coal and gas.
Update about ‘The Honourable Premier Dr Denis Napthine: Let’s get Victoria back on track: clean energy, protect our farms’ on Change.org
23 July 2013 @ 9:56am from Cam Walker
As more and more communities get organised against new coal and gas, the state government is under huge pressure to maintain the current moratorium on fracking. We are having great impact – please help us to keep building pressure on the Premier and regional MPs. There are 2 really important events coming up soon, I hope you can make it along to them:
This Sunday, July 28, the town of Seaspray will declare itself Gasfield Free. Please come along and join the celebration – and bring your friends and family.
And on Sunday August 18, the Gippsland campaign comes to Melbourne.
We need a huge and vibrant presence – please see below for full details.
We will be handing in our petition on the 18th, please help us build signatures before then.
Thanks for all your efforts.
Victoria is the first state to get organised before the unconventional gas industry has been unleashed. If we keep going, we will succeed in locking this industry out of the state.
Friends of the Earth
Gasfield Free Seaspray – Sunday July 28
Communities such as Yarragon South, Allambee, Kongwak, Wattlebank, Mirboo North, Newry, Maffra, and Boolarra are all surveying residents to determine whether there is support for a coal and gas free declaration. Seaspray has finished their survey, with an overwhelming response of 98% of locals saying no to unconventional gas, and they will be having a big celebration and human sign this Sunday to declare themselves CSG and Tight Gas free. 12 noon, Seaspray Beach, Gippsland Please wear yellow, red or green. Music, BBQ & face-painting!
Full details here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gasfield-Free-Seaspray/104837963057793
Farmers against fracking – Sunday August 18 at 1pm
The campaign comes to Melbourne, City Square. A peaceful gathering showcasing what’s at risk from the planned expansion of Victoria’s coal and unconventional gas industries. We will be handing over our 10,000 strong petition to Greg Barber who will table it in parliament the following week. Come and show your support for farmers and communities who will be most affected by the expansion of coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas.
Full details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/356287357833632/
Petition: Renew Geelong’s air, spirit and economy with renewables
Petitioning The Board of Hydro Tasmania:
Renew Geelong’s air, spirit and economy with renewable energy
Petition by Parents for Climate Safety. 76 supporters on 10 August 2013.
More information about this petition:
Climatesafety.info – 22 June 2013:
Renew Geelong’s air, spirit and economy with renewables
Positive initiatives in Geelong
City of Greater Geelong – 14 August 2013:
Geelong Trades Hall takes action to improve energy efficiency
Geelong Trades Hall will lead by example with some simple but important energy saving changes planned for their Unions building in Myers Street.
Climate change to be taken seriously
“It’s official: global warming could get worse – almost unimaginably worse. Conditions on planet Earth mean that in theory, at least, there could be a runaway greenhouse effect.”
Tim Radford, Climate News Network
Climate scientists are telling us that currently we are flooding the atmosphere with so much carbon – over 30,000,000,000 tonnes every year, and rising – that the world will be over 4°C warmer before the end of this century.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ‘Climate Change 2007’, warns us that if increases in global average warming exceed between 1.5 and 2.5°C, one-third of all animal species are at risk of extinction by 2050. As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5°C, model projections suggest significant extinctions around the globe, 40–70 percent of species assessed.
This report is the largest and most detailed summary of the climate change situation ever undertaken, produced by thousands of authors, editors, and reviewers from dozens of countries. A Fifth Assessment Report is due to be published in September 2013.
Bill Nye: Firebrand for Science – Aims to Change the World. Published on youtube.com on 17 June 2013.
“If climate change goes bad, you could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.”
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander, US Pacific Command
Learn more about fossil fuels
Related articles, news stories, and research about this topic
About the plans to start fracking in Geelong Region: Why you should be concerned about ‘fracking’
About how our governments choose to subsidise the fossil fuel industry: Crowdfunding to cancel fossil fuel subsidies
About the just as absurd anti-wind farm laws in Victoria: Demand an end to double standards on energy
Geelong Independent – 15 June 2012:
Plans for city to be mine hub
“Geelong could share in Australia’s mining boom if a parliamentary committee report is adopted.” By John Van Klaveren
The Guardian – 8 August 2013:
Senate panel warns over climate change
Bipartisan report highlights scientific link between severe weather events and dangerous global warming. By Oliver Milman
“The real reason conservatives don’t believe in climate science is they can’t stand the solution.”
Chris Hayes, producer of the climate documentary ‘The Politics of Power’
“Let’s say goodbye to oil…”
On 29 June 2013, thousands of people from across six continents took a stand to #EndCoal: End the Age of Coal.
Published on youtube.com on 1 July 2013.
New reports you could take a look at to learn more:
Parliament of Australia, Senate Committees:
Recent trends in and preparedness for extreme weather events
Download the full report document: report.pdf (PDF, 2 MB)
The Climate Institute:
Dangerous Degrees: Risking Australians’ prosperity, security and health
Download the full report document: TCI_DangerousDegrees.pdf (PDF, 7 MB)
“With solar panels on the roof, the three passenger Antro Solo can run up to 20 km per day on solar energy alone. Although Hungary is not particularly known for its automobile production, the country is taking a stab at the electric vehicle market with a futuristic new solar-electric car. Founded by auto enthusiasts and backed by local investors, the Hungarian company Antro is working on a prototype for a modular car that is capable of splitting into two separate vehicles.”
Inhabitat – 26 February 2010:
Antro Unveils a Solar Car That Splits into Two Vehicles!
By Bridgette Meinhold
ThinkProgress – 21 August 2013:
How Climate Change Will Affect Australia’s Upcoming Election
It’s election season in Australia and, unlike in the U.S., climate change is a major issue. By Ari Phillips
The Guardian – 13 August 2013:
Doctors warn of health consequences of NSW mine planning changes
Environmental lobby group says state government plan to put economic benefits first could result in unsafe air pollution. By Bridie Jabour
CommonDreams.org – 8 August 2013:
How to Fry a Planet
“The Third Carbon Age: Don’t for a second imagine we’re heading for an Era of Renewable Energy.” By Michael T. Klare
ThinkProgress – 9 August 2013:
16 of your favorite things that climate change is totally screwing up
A list of things of things that will be negatively affected by climate change that may not immediately come to mind when someone says “the greenhouse effect”. By Ryan Koronowski
Inspirational stories of resistance
“Yes, we want to declare Poowong coalmine and gasfield free.”
Agreement of an overwhelming 550 of the 600 landholders in Poowong in Australia.
In the northern part of the Australian state New South Wales, communities have set up months-long blockades, refusing to allow mining company trucks, machinery and gas drills on to properties.
Occupying carbon polluters
In December 2012, the Australian activist group ‘Quit Coal’ wanted to put a giant banner saying ‘Government Funded Global Warming’ on a cooling tower at Yallourn Power Station, protesting government support for brown-coal power generators.
Here is their story. And here is what The Australian wrote.
USA: Marching to make coal history
Starting on 28 August 2013, the organisation 350 Massachusetts in the U.S. will set out on an epic journey, traveling from a climate injustice towards climate solutions. They will be marching for six days, from New England’s biggest coal plant, Brayton Point, to Cape Wind, which could provide clean energy for thousands of Bay Staters.
» Read more: energyexodus.org