The Sustainable Hour’s presentation to the Gashub Inquiry Committee

We played this video for the Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee on 21 July 2022. Transcript below.

→ If you agree with us that this gas terminal should not be allowed to go ahead, you can add your name to this petition:

→ Also, Greenpeace runs a petition to stop Woodside’s 2070 climate disaster:
Tell Environment Ministers: don’t extend gas to 2070. URGENT: Ends today, 21 July 2022.

→ No gas bailouts: Stop our public money being used to bail out polluting oil and gas companies!

. . .


Viva Energy, storm-lashed disaster zones are trying to tell us something. Mega-bushfires so big that they create their own weather systems are trying to tell us, too. Relentless, repeated heat waves have a message. Hundred-year-floods, repeated twice a month, and then again, they have too.

How often do we hear on the news that “People are watching the waters rise with anxiety”?
Six million under water in Bangladesh.
Droughts, crop failures, food crises. 28 million people about to die from starvation in the Sudan.
Collapsing ice sheets, weird hail storms and flash flooding – that’s here in Geelong,
All of these are trying to get through to us. [1]

What they’re saying is simple: The reckless burning of gas, oil and coal has reached that point now that scientists warned the American president about in 1977. [2]

The fire season lengthens across Australia – with doubling over the last four decades according to the CSIRO.

The ice sheet at the North Pole is melting 55 per cent faster now than ten years ago. And as the consequence of all this unstoppable melting, the oceans will keep rising now, for centuries. That shift is irreversible. It is locked in. The death of the Great Barrier Reef: irreversible now.

The shifts that we are seeing in our climate and biosphere is freaking normally sensible scientists out. They are scared – and they are getting so desperate that they are taking to the streets, just like the young climate activsts. We interviewed some of them in The Sustainable Hour the other week.

“It might be radical. Definitely radical. But if go and break the window at Santos, or somewhere, have I hurt anybody? No I haven’t. It is non-violent. But it really makes the point.”
~ Ian Fox, Scientist Rebellion in Adelaide, in The Sustainable Hour no. 415

“The first thing that we need to do in order to get ourselves out of this situation is stop all new fossil fuel licences. And we are so far away from that.”
~ Scientist Rebellion in London, interviewed by Tell The Truth Media

And this is just the beginning. Scientists are urging that the world must cut emissions at roughly the same rate it did during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to keep climate change within limits we can reasonably adapt to. [3]

The IPCC puts it like this:

“Global warming, reaching 1.5°C in the near-term, [will] cause unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans.” [4]

So the United Nations, and also the International Energy Agency, are saying “No new fossil fuel projects all together”. This is the elephant in this zoom room.

The IPCC have reported:

“It’s now or never. If we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C, without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” [5]

We’re going to hit somewhere between 1.5°C degrees of global warming in the coming years making it difficult for humans and other species to cope. For some people, it will be impossible to cope – they’ll have to move, or die. The plants… they can’t move. They’ll just die. Like the Great Barrier Reef is dying now. Half of it gone already – and who cares, right?

The IPCC writes:

“Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during this century unless immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions occur now.” [6]

So what is the IPCC? Viva Energy obviously doesn’t have a clue, because if they knew – and if they had read the latest IPCC reports, they would not be planning to build something as morally and economically mad as a gashub – and we wouldn’t have to be sitting here having to spend time telling you commissioners that their gashub project is exactly what the United Nations’ Secretary-General has classified as “madness”:

“Investing in new fossil fuel projects is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets. A blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios.”
~ António Guterres, United Nations General-Secretary [7]

António Guterres is the UN boss. You could say he is probably the closest that the tribe of humanity has got to a global chief.

“We need a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030. Yet a recent UN report made clear that with present national climate commitments, emissions will go up by 16 per cent by 2030. That would condemn us to a hellscape of temperature rises of at least 2.7°C degrees above pre-industrial levels. A catastrophe.”
~ António Guterres, United Nations General-Secretary

So the IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the United Nations, and in short it is the world’s highest authority on the questions about climate science. That means they should NOT be ignored when they say something like this about what we are currently on track to, [once we reach the average global temperature of 1.5° degrees Celsius]:

“Multiple climate hazards will occur simultaneously, and multiple climatic and non-climatic risks will interact, resulting in compounding overall risk and risks cascading across sectors and regions … causing economic and societal impacts across national boundaries through supply-chains, markets, and natural resource flows.” [8]

In other words, climate risks causing economic and societal collapse are increasing because of Viva Energy’s business – their irresponsibility and their inability to see the harm that they are doing. People are dying because of their business. They are the merchants selling us stuff that kills Australians by the thousands every year – not just because of flooding and fires, but from petrol and gas pollution. [9]

And while the world is now busy with finding the fastest possible ways we can decarbonise and clean our atmosphere, they want to build more of it?

To them, ecological destruction and wild weather catastrophes are “externalities”. Currently they are being allowed by our state and federal governments to inflict harm without cost.

So they are planning to reap what they can – as long as they can. Why wouldn’t they if making a profit, or getting a return for shareholders is the only thing that matters to them?

I can tell you why they shouldn’t: because it is wrong. It is simply outright wrong!

It is not just the UN Chief who can see that. The young people can see that too. They get it. It is their future which is at stake. They are going to live with the mess that companies like Viva Energy are going to leave behind to them. And when those young people who can see how criminally wrong this is, when in the next years they come out as young lawyers and politicians, you wait and see: There’ll come a day when inflicting harm and using the atmosphere as an open sewer will be criminalised.

I hope we’ll still be alive by then, so I will live to see Viva Energy convicted for their crimes against humanity and all life on this planet.

Their business model is based on denying externalities and ignoring risks. They are trying to delay the transformation we all know is coming, simply because they hope to get some extra profit from it.

Meanwhile, people and businesses have understood what is going on [10], and we are getting OFF of gas. And sooner than you think, people will want get rid off those politicians who think they can keep us tied to the old gas infrastructure.

Because we – we “the people” – who vote in the governments that make the rules, we are no longer happy to bear the costs while we watch Viva Energy, and Shell, and Woodside, and all the other fossil fuel companies reap their last profits before closing time.

They are putting their money on that nothing will change, but the way things are changing already, really, I don’t think it is difficult to foresee that within just a few years, there’ll be a shift in thinking – and a shift in governments – and those climate-destructive costs that Viva Energy are not paying for today, they are going to be recognised, and priced back into the economy – and they will hit Viva Energy’s gas and petrol with carbon taxes, pollution fees and CO2 restrictions – all those rules that the fossil fuel lobby has managed to keep out of legislation for decades, they are coming, and they are coming fast.

Because what we want, all we want is a world that is safe. A world where the climate is not changing and causing havoc. A world where animals and plants are not going to be extinct by the thousands every year. A world where we respect nature and our right to live healthy lives without fossil pollution.

We know this is not utopia. It is absolutely doable with today’s renewable energy generation methods – and with politicians who understand and value the transformation, putting laws in place that protect us: No more fossil fuel subsidies. Fossil fuel corporations being required to pay the full costs of their deadly and climate-destructive pollution and greenhouse gasses.

“The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastophe. Fossil fuels are a dead end – environmentally and economically. Every country, city and citizen, every financial institution, company and civil society organisation has a role to play. But most of all, it is time for leaders – public and private alike – to stop talking about renewables as a distant project of the future, because without renewables there can be no future.”
~ António Guterres speaking at the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s report ‘State of the Climate 2022on 17 May 2022 [11]

No way will the Australian home owners and businesses be mad enough to keep buying Viva Energy’s gas, when so many other options are coming out now that are cheaper, healthier, better and simply more modern and smart – the smart things to do.

“A very very large advertising builder is now advertising homes as gas free, solar powered, energy efficient. So the market has literally now moving ahead of our government, which is promoting gas extraction, wanting to maintain the gas systems. But the people want it. And whether it is for climate reasons or it is for economic savings for their home – both probably in many cases – people are trying to get off gas.”
~ Adrian Whitehead, climate campaigner from Darebin, interviewed in The Sustainable Hour no 421

The days of old fossil fuels are over. So goodbye gashub. Let’s not waste any more time talking about fossil fuels. We’ve got work to do. And its all about how fast we can transition to the new clean energy – and how much we can save in the process while we do it.

“Fossil fuels are a dead end – for our planet, for humanity, and yes, for economies.”
~ António Guterres, speaking at the launch of the IPCC report ‘Climate Change 2022’ on 3 March 2022 [12]

Fossil fuels are a dead end. Consequently, we ask this Enquiry Committee to reject Viva Energy’s gashub proposal.

Kind regards, The Sustainable Hour team

. . .

This video was produced and presented by The Sustainable Hour’s team of co-hosts: Anthony Gleeson, Mike Lawrence, Colin Mockett and Mik Aidt.

[1] Thank you and credits to Alex Steffen for the inspiration to the introduction words about what the wild weather events are trying to tell us.

[2] In 1977, a distinguished American geophysicist named Frank Press sent this letter to the White House warning of catastrophic climate change. “…once the climatic effects become evident not long after the year 2000; the situation could grow out of control…” Frank Press served a four year term as science advisor to President Jimmy Carter and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Offices of the White House. Read more

[3] ABC News on 1 July 2022: Climate change targets achievable by keeping global emissions to COVID levels, scientists say. “To keep climate change within limits that we can reasonably adapt to, the world needs to cut emissions at nearly the same rate it did during the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, scientists say.”

[4] IPCC: Summary for Policymakers – AR6 – PDF – launch event on Youtube

[5] The Guardian on 4 April 2022: IPCC report: Now or never if world to stave off climate disaster

[6] IPCC: Special Report – Global Warming of 1.5C, Summary for Policymakers

[7] United Nations General-Secretary António Guterres speaking on 5 April 2022 at the launch event for the IPCC report ‘Mitigation of Climate Change 2022’ – calling it “a litany of broken climate promises” – on Youtube

[8] IPCC: ‘IPCC Sixth Assessment Report – Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ Summary for Policymakers Headline Statements

[9] The Australian Government’s Institute of Health and Welfare: Natural environment and health, 7 July 2022

[10] Annual national survey by the Lowy Institute of 2,006 Australians: 90% of Australians support federal government subsidies for renewable energy technology, 77% support a more ambitious emissions target for 2030, and 75% back Australia hosting a United Nations Climate Conference. 60% say ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem’ about which ‘we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’

[11] United Nations General-Secretary António Guterres speaking at the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s report ‘State of the Climate 2022’ on 17 May 2022 – from United Nations Newsroom.

The Independent on 18 May 2022: Alarming new records set for four indicators showing humans making ‘planetary-scale changes’ – “The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe,” said Secretary-General António Guterres.

[12] United Nations General-Secretary António Guterres speaking at the launch of the IPCC report ‘Climate Change 2022’ on 3 March 2022 – on Youtube

Mik Aidt & Torsten Myhre Jensen: The Sustainable Hour signature music
Twin Musicom: A Dream Within a Dream
Wayne Jones: Resolution
Alex Aidt: Hello

. . .

The Sustainable Hour’s introduction to the Committee
“The last nine years, we have been running this weekly radio show and podcast called The Sustainable Hour. Yesterday, we published Hour no. 421.

We’d like to thank the Committee for giving us this opportunity to have a say.

We’ve been listening to the many speakers in this public hearing, and we feel there is STILL one aspect that has been missing, kind of like “the elephant in the room”, so we felt we had to put a video together to be able to express what we mean – and to see if we could get our message across to you.

The core of the message is: We must listen to the IPCC, UN Chief António Guterres and the International Energy Agency when they all say: No new fossil fuel projects any longer. It has got to end – now!”

. . .

→ More information about the community campaign to stop Viva Energy’s mad gas project:

→ Info about the Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee, which is collecting submissions to consider the environmental effects of the proposed Viva Energy Gas Terminal Project:

. . .

#GasFreeGeelong #GasFreeVictoria #NoNewFossilFuels #RenewablesNotGas

“At some point in the next few years governments around the world will hit the panic button – the weather extremes will be too terrible to ignore any longer and laws will be passed to force the end of fossil fuels. It would be better if a decent start had been made when the global panic button is hit.”
~ Alan Kohler, editor-in-chief of Eureka Report and finance presenter on ABC News, in The New Daily on 21 July 2022

“So called “targets” set far off in the future allow fossil fuel companies to continue making profits while the public is lulled into a false sense of security that the government is “taking action” on the climate crisis. This is insanity. We must decarbonise as fast as possible.”
~ Dan Bleakley

The Climate Council writes: “As a highly polluting and fossil-fuel export country, Australia is contributing to the severe changes in our climate system and, soon, the new Federal Government will decide whether it’ll make things worse by approving up to 27 new coal and gas projects.

The longer we keep digging up and burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, the more our environment will suffer. That’s why the Climate Council is supporting a legal intervention by the Environment Council of Central Queensland and their lawyers, Environmental Justice Australia. This challenge focuses on Australia’s main environmental law, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act – and calls for the Environment Minister to consider climate impacts when assessing coal and gas projects.”