The good, the bad and the utterly disgusting climatic news


In The Sustainable Hour on 16 November 2016, we look at the variety of campaign solutions which are at offer when it comes to solving the the most important challenge humankind has ever had to face, climate change. One direction of campaigning rings the climate emergency alarm bells and calls for a society-wide mobilisation at emergency speed and level, a second says that more people will get engaged with the action when we focus on what gives us hope and optimism, and a third focuses specifically on what we can do as individuals to make a CO2-reducing difference.

Interviews with Elizabeth Woodworth, co-author of the new book ‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization’, Meg Argyriou from ClimateWorks, Mark Pershin from Less Meat Less Heat. More info below.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 148 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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The biggest problem humanity is facing at the moment is essentially a communication problem. The understanding of how we solve the climate crisis is treated almost as if it was a taboo in mainstream media – it keeps falling between the cracks. The recent election in the United States showed this, and the election outcome is likely to make this disconnect even worse. Which is why, among other things, we started this petition calling on the ABC and SBS to begin to lift this very important communicative task at a whole new level.

However, in the meantime lots of great initiatives are buzzing at ground level locally, nationally and globally. Today in The Sustainable Hour we take a look at some of them. At the national level in Australia, there is ClimateWork’s new Generation Yes campaign, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Energy Transition Leadership Forum, Friends of the Earth’s Move on Climate petition, the Climate Emergency Declaration petition, Less Meat Less Heat’s Climatarian Challenge, at Victorian level there is the state government’s Take2 pledge, in the US the constitutional climate lawsuit against the US Government, the new book ‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization’, globally the Interfaith Statement… Whoa! And these are just some of the things going on right at this moment.

Locally, in Geelong, a new Draft Greenhouse Strategy has been developed and Geelong Council is now seeking community feedback. This paper is more significant than it looks like, and if you care about climate change, this is an opportunity for you to do your bit for future generations: just five minutes of your time can make a real difference. Show Council that they can count on you for your support – that you actually care about this issue and want to see them to act on it. Read more


“The climate crisis is real. Human culpability is clear and plausible deniability of this, the refuge of climate change sceptics, is not tenable. The Pope has called for urgent action. Even recalcitrant Australian politicians are getting nervous.”
David Hirsch barrister and Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation

Absurd parliamentarian theatre

In the Australian Parliament’s Question Time, The Greens’ deputy leader Adam Bandt asked Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg whether his government would legislate a plan for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations. His response? To accuse those of us who want a clean energy future of being “hypocrites” and “ideologues”!

The same day, 7 November 2016, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts proposed an inquiry to question climate science, the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. This would be laughable if it were not for the fact that the government increasingly appears to be taking their cues from One Nation.

Also on 7 November, Liberal MP and chair of the Coalition’s Committee on the Environment and Energy Craig Kelly managed to link renewable energy to the tragedy of child drownings. His false logic was, hold on: Renewable energy pushes electricity prices up, which means pools charge more money for swimming lessons, meaning less parents pay for lessons and more children will drown.

Craig Kelly also had another extraordinary intervention on climate change policy. Just after Trump had won in the US, he posted: “Paris is cactus” on social media. This was just before the Australian Government announced it had ratified the Paris Agreement.

So at a time when we seriously need to stop all burning of coal, we are now seeing the Australian government lobbying for coal expansion at the United Nations climate negotiations in Morocco – “an ugly, ugly thing to be doing,” as it was noted by activists at the summit.

The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull thought he’d like us to know that he thinks Americans made a ‘great’ and ‘momentous’ choice when electing Trump as their new president. Meanwhile, reporters and scientists around the world have expressed fears that Trump could go down in history as the man who pulled the plug on a liveable climate. “The fate of humanity is in the hands of a denier who pledged to kill domestic and global climate action and all clean energy research,” wrote Joe Romm for instance.


Friends of Science billboard in Calgary in 2014. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace
Friends of Science billboard in Calgary in 2014. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

Even the opposition doesn’t get it – as SBS reported on 14 November: Coal power has a future, says Shorten. Opposition leader Bill Shorten “insists he’s not a ‘rampant greenie’ and believes coal has a place in Australia’s future.”

Oil and gas exploration could be allowed in some of the Kimberley’s best-loved national parks after the Department of Mines and Petroleum gave the green light for petroleum exploration in four of them, wrote the ABC on 8 November 2016: Oil and gas exploration tenement declared over Kimberley national parks.

“We have to spend the resources that we need to keep our nation secure.”
~ Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister
– talking about the nation’s defence budget, which is two per cent of GDP, while deliberately ignoring the immense insecurity and high costs which he is passing on to future generations as a consequence of his government’s scandalous inaction on carbon emissions.

Two reports place Australia near the bottom of the league for emissions level, use of renewables and action to combat global warming, reported The Guardian on 17 November 2016: Australia ranked among worst developed countries for climate change action.

Australia’s stated goal is to reduce net GHG emissions 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Under these current targets, Australia’s per capita emissions in 2030 would be twice as high as the average for other developed countries.

Similar kind of madhouse governance happening in Canada where the ‘act on climate’ rhetorics of the country’s young prime minister Justin Trudeau are undermined by $3.3 billion in government subsidies flowing to oil and gas producers in the country every year, according to Climate Action Network Canada.

In summary: 2016 in Australian and global politics is an absurd theatre – all happening at a time when we can see the rising temperature and ppm graphs and we can hear our scientists tell us that the only thing our leaders should be concerned about now is how we immediately mobilise resources to transition to a zero carbon society at the massive scale and speed that we know is possible when lives are at stake.

Scientists are stressing that the evidence for the reality of climate change is getting stronger all the time. The record high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

“I’ve often thought politicians inhabit a parallel universe. Maybe it’s just widespread cognitive dissonance, coupled with a lack of imagination, that compels them to engage in so much contradictory behaviour. Trying to appease so many varying interests isn’t easy. Rather than focusing on short-term economic and corporate priorities, though, politicians should first consider the long-term health and well-being of the people they’re elected to represent.”
David Suzuki

» The Indian Economist – 20 November 2016:
A 1.5°C rise in global warming will bring climate chaos. Is the government helping?
“When conserving energy and switching to cleaner alternatives is an option, why do governments get lured by short term benefits?” By David Suzuki

“Most people would be skeptical of a tobacco company that simultaneously claimed it supported efforts to curb smoking while building a new cigarette factory. Yet Australia’s politicians say they want to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while planning to build new coal mines — and they go largely unchallenged.”
Richard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute

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So this was a bit about the utterly offensive and ugly part of this week’s climate change news, politics, continued procrastination and lack of leadership. In comes Geoff Cousins, president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, with some great news about a group of Australian leaders who are speaking up about the big polluters, the coal charlatans, the subsidised destruction and the politicians who forget they represent the people…

Energy Transition Leadership Forum

“Thinking that business must destroy life just to sell more stuff is a failure of imagination. Business leaders can be a powerful force for change.”

Prominent Australia tell of why they have come together in an unusual alliance to move the country towards cleaner energy.

Geoff Cousins, president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, wrote:

“Right now, we are living with the consequences of bad decisions, discredited ideas and short-term thinking. The big polluters. The coal charlatans. The subsidised destruction. The politicians who forget they represent the people.

But we don’t accept the story we must sacrifice nature for a quick buck. We can make different choices.

Bound by our concern for Australia’s future, yesterday I stood with an unlikely coalition of 17 influential people. Together, we handed the Minister for Energy and the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, a copy of our new blueprint, ‘Our energy future – a plan to transition Australia to clean energy’

ACF brought together these 17 people – CEOs of energy companies, scientists, academics, economists, bankers, lawyers, broadcasters and a former Governor General of Australia – because now more than ever, Australians need leadership and representation. 

The blueprint is all over the media – in the Guardian, SBS news, It was debated in Parliament.

And now the 17 people from the Energy Transition Leadership Forum will share the blueprint with their industries and discuss it with politicians.

This is not a matter of ‘we should do this’ or ‘we’d be wise to.’ It’s simpler. We must. And we can.

The naysayers say people don’t care. Or if they do, it’s too late. We’re calling them out. People right across our wide, brown land care deeply – and they want to come together to create a brighter future.

Everywhere and every day, people are willing to transform inertia into action, isolation into connection and destruction into beauty.

Like the 6436 people from the ACF community who wrote 7365 heartfelt personal letters to Minister Frydenberg asking him to step up and lead on clean energy. (Yes that’s right, 929 people felt so strongly they wrote twice.)

Like the the citizen’s jury who said no thanks to a scheme to ship, store and bury the world’s radioactive waste in South Australia. They know the future for energy is renewable, not radioactive.

And like the 17 eminent leaders – also parents and grandparents, sons and daughters – who will all ask Minister Frydenberg, again and again and as representatives of widely different fields, where’s the plan?
The energy we use to power our lives must change, fast. We cannot pretend otherwise. We have no choice but to cut pollution and shift to energy sources that do not damage our world.
So let’s get on with it. 

Geoff Cousins

“It’s simple and achievable. It gives direction and purpose to anyone working to change climate change, with a goal of zero net emissions by 2050 from four clear steps:

Step One: Reduce Energy Use
Step Two: Produce Cleaner Electricity
Step Three: Switch to Cleaner Fuels
Step Four: Sort Out And Store The Rest”

» Read more:

» Download the report: ‘Our Energy Future – A plan to transition Australia to clean energy’ (PDF, 52 pages)

“We can be left behind, like the decayed whaling cities of the 19th century, or we can lead the way to a new prosperity: an innovative, controlled transition to a clean energy future.”

These are all fine words coming from Geoff Cousins and ACF, and from influential business leaders of this country such as Andrew Vesey, AGL Energy’s CEO. Along with presidents of conservation organisations, scientists, economists, leaders of professions, bankers, lawyers, broadcasters and a former Governor General of Australia.

An excerpt from the report:

“The Victorian government has a renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025.
Queensland has a 50 per cent target by 2030.
By 2020, the ACT aims to have 100 per cent renewable energy.
South Australia and Victoria have committed to reach zero net emissions by 2050.

Visionaries in academia, business and civil society have taken the lead, laying out the next steps in our energy transition. Groups such as ‘We Mean Business’ gives the world’s most influential businesses and investors a common platform to embrace the opportunities while the Australian Climate Roundtable brings together business, community groups and unions to work through the challenges and logistics.

We are progressing and the transition is unstoppable. Yet it can be slowed, stalled, and bungled. There is all the difference in the world between seizing this opportunity to lead, and stumbling behind, tripped up by muddled plans and lukewarm, contradictory policies.

Australia remains one of the world’s worst climate polluters per capita and our climate pollution is still rising. In 2014-15, Australia’s energy emissions increased by just over one per cent while global energy emissions remained flat.”

So, sure! The plan is good – and all the arguments are there. The only problem is that ACF’s plan is much too slow. Ambitions are to low.

“The plan should drive a transition to clean energy by 2050,” writes ACF – but really, the way things are going on this planet, we don’t have some 30-40 years to fiddle about until we eventually are able to stop burning fossil fuels. More and more worrying climate and global warming news come out every week, and every month – like this one from last week:

“Temperature rise of more than 7°C”

“New research suggests the Earth’s climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an ‘apocalyptic side of bad’ temperature rise of more than 7°C within a lifetime”

» The Independent – 11 November 2016:
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be ‘game over’, scientists warn

» Science Advances – 9 November 2016:
Nonlinear climate sensitivity and its implications for future greenhouse warming

    » See ‘game over’ video

“We have 30 years more warming locked in. The global plan is to keep adding large amounts of CO2 for decades on top of this… Seriously after 50 years more increasing impacts what is left? Are we kidding ourselves?

This year we lost a big chunk of the Great Barrier Reef, we lost hast areas of Mangroves in the Gull, in both WA and Tasmania we lost vast Kelp forests, Ancient forests in Tasmania burned for the first time. If we don’t have a plan that recognises how serious the problem is then we don’t have a plan.

The ice in the Arctic is disappearing, the arctic amplification will increase as this continues, the failure of ice to reform in the Arctic this year is frightening, yet most people wouldn’t even know it’s happening. A plan that thinks that we can take until 2050 to get to zero emissions certainly in my opinion shies away from the gravity of what has happened over the last year.

I still support a lot of stuff that I don’t think goes anywhere near far enough. Regardless of how dire things may look I will not give up the fight. No one wants to be without hope. I will be optimistic about global warming when I see something to be optimistic about. Right now there is a 6°C temperature anomaly in the Arctic and this heat has persisted for weeks,” wrote Shihan-Malcolm Ayles on Facebook and posted this video along with his comment:

There has been some worrying messages about the state of our climate this week:

“Have we already blown it? Scientists are now saying it might already be too late to avoid a temperature rise of up to 7.36 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.”
David Nield

» ScienceAlert – 11 November 2016:
Scientists say it could already be “game over” for climate change

“Widespread suffering and misery from climate change are now effectively inevitable.”
David Roberts

» Vox – 9 November 2016:
Trump’s election marks the end of any serious hope of limiting climate change to 2 degrees

“Climate models may be underestimating how sensitive the planet is to rising greenhouse gas levels, with new research suggesting the pace of global warming is about to quicken.”
Peter Hannam

» The Age – 13 November 2016:
Warming up: new research points to a more sensitive climate to rising CO2

And in Australia barely a single week goes by without concrete local or regional news stories about the impact of climate change such as these ticking in:

» ABC – 15 November 2016:
Freak storm wipes out crops at hundreds of north west Victorian farms
“Authorities say they’re assessing damage to at least 450 farms after the weather ripped crops from vines, knocked over trees and flattened cereal paddocks.”

» ABC – 14 November 2016:
Freak storm destroys horticulture and cereal crops, leaving farmers with no income for next 18 months
“More than 12 months’ production and the livelihoods of some producers across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales has been lost after a freak storm and a ‘mini tornado’ struck on Friday night.”

» ABC Rural – 14 October 2016:
Avocado grower says loss of crops to heat stress highlights effects of climate change
“Steve Marshall normally picks about half a million avocados a year from his Mornington Peninsula orchards. But Mr Marshall said he will not pick a single piece of fruit this season after a heatwave wiped out his entire crop last summer.”

The ACF report cites research from ClimateWorks and University Technology of Sydney that shows the transition can be done over the next 34 years. But Beyond Zero Emissions and many others have shown that this transition can be done in the next 10-15 years, if only we set our mind – and finances – to it. Even the Australian Energy Market Operator has looked into transitioning Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and stated that “operational issues appear manageable.”

Call from emergency services worker

The Sustainable Hour supports the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition which calls on local, state and federal governments in Australia to declare a climate emergency and immediately mobilise resources at the massive scale and speed that we know is possible when lives are at stake. We’ve done that in wartime and can do it again now to tackle the climate emergency and protect everything we love.

Why be advocating for less?, we ask.

» If you haven’t already, sign the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition at


This week, Brent Hoare stood up to show his support for the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation campaign. Mr Hoare is a Blue Mountains Ward 2 Councillor for the Blue Mountains City Council, a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service Hazelbrook Brigade since 2013 and also the State Emergency Service since 1999. He says:

“I was originally motivated to volunteer as an emergency services worker in response to predictions by climate scientists of increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events, and feel it is important to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’.”

The photo is taken at the Jamison lookout at Wentworth Falls.

» Share Brent’s photo on Facebook

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Interview with Elizabeth Woodworth

Via (an unfortunately somewhat unstable) Skype-connection to Morocco, we talked with author Elizabeth Woodworth on 16 November 2016 about what is happening at the COP22 United Nations climate summit, and about the new book, ‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization’, which she has co-written together with professor David Ray Griffin.

Elizabeth Woodworth is a writer on climate change science and activism publishing on Global Research, and co-producer of the COP21 video “A Climate Revolution For All.” She is author of the popular handbook on nuclear weapons activism, “What Can I Do?” and the novel, ‘The November Deep’. For 25 years, she served as head medical librarian for the BC Government. She holds a BA from Queen’s and a Library Sciences Degree from UBC.


New book: Unprecedented Climate Mobilization

It is now widely recognised that global warming poses an existential threat to the world as serious as nuclear war. And yet, despite the urgency, despite UN engagement, governments have not stepped up to the plate. The world desperately needs a deeply committed leadership and program of action to deal with climate change. The global public’s growing presentiment of the horrific impact of global warming has enormous potential to shift it into “emergency mode.”

In this context, pointing to America’s World War II mobilisation to battle the Fascist threat, the new book ‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization’ urges and informs a full WWII-style climate mobilisation, suggesting ways in which the United States can exercise leadership.

The book shows how the American people have historically risen and adapted to “long emergencies”, demonstrated in particular by President Roosevelt’s ability to mobilise Americans a full two years before the United States declared war on Japan and Germany in December, 1941.

Then, as an example of what is possible, US automakers became a cornerstone of the war effort; having built three million cars in 1941 they quickly converted their factories to making tanks and airplanes, producing only 139 passenger vehicles until the war ended in 1945.

Today, a similar sweeping conversion of America’s outdated energy system to clean energy could take place, if the political will were there.

‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization’ offers a comprehensive guide to citizens and governments on the scope of that engagement and how to generate that will. As in the WWII effort, it advocates that all sectors of society be engaged: media, business, labor, religious groups, government—national, state and local, and the public at large. This handbook suggests constructive leadership strategies for every sector of civil society, along with networking opportunities and information resources to help build the climate effort.

This handbook also surveys the arts of civil disobedience and nonviolent action to assemble the effective tools that civil society will need — the kinds of tools that won civil rights, brought an end to the Vietnam War, served in anti-nuclear campaigns — and that have been updated by more recent movements such as Occupy. Not least, it suggests ways in which activists can maximise personal influence by using Twitter, Facebook and other social media — tools now so powerful that governments and news agencies monitor and carefully analyze their posts and tweet streams.

In a time of unprecedented crisis, it’s time for an unprecedented popular movement to solve it. Against the incredible odds we face, Woodworth and Griffin outline what it would look like for people in key sectors of civil society to shift into “emergency mode” and unleash the transformative power of climate truth by leading us toward the WWII-scale effort we need to secure our future. We have the tools — now it’s up to us to mobilise.

Book recommendations
“This powerful book by Woodworth and Griffin is an inspiring rallying cry, a call to action grounded in the truth. It can, and must, spur a massive people-led climate insurgency… Like Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’, this book will be a guide for activists for many years to come.”
~ Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States

“We face a brand new type of World War, one in which our opponent is ourselves—and our profligate burning of fossil fuels and the dangerous climate change it is causing. Like World Wars past, our only option is to mobilise and draw upon every tool at our disposal—in this case, to achieve no less than the decarbonisation of the global economy. If you want to understand the challenge we face and what you yourself can do to help ensure a victorious outcome, read ‘Unprecedented Climate Mobilization: A Handbook for Citizens and Their Governments’.”
~ Dr. Michael Mann, professor of Meteorology, director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University, USA

“The climate emergency is unprecedented so we don’t have well-proven protocols for handling it. We owe Woodworth and Griffin a debt of gratitude for being the first to step in with their Handbook to fill the gaping ‘how to’ gap. As the climate movement transforms itself to become the climate emergency movement, we will find the task much easier for being able to draw on this handbook.”
~ Philip Sutton, co-author of the book ‘Climate Code Red’, member of The Climate Mobilization Advisory Board

“In a time of unprecedented crisis, it’s time for an unprecedented popular movement to solve it. Against the incredible odds we face, Woodworth and Griffin outline what it would look like for people in key sectors of civil society to shift into “emergency mode” and unleash the transformative power of climate truth by leading us toward the WWII-scale effort we need to secure our future. We have the tools — now it’s up to us to mobilize.”
~ Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, founder and director of The Climate Mobilization, USA

» Read more or buy the book on (142 pages, US$14.00)

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COP22: Global climate negotiations in Morocco

This has gone completely under most people’s radar, but right now Morocco is the place where something happens that affects all of us, regardless of whether we are musicians, journalists, human rights defenders, or what else we keep ourselves so busy being.

How are people able to pretend that these things that already have serious consequences and impacts across the globe, are just something which “somebody else will have to care of”?

What are the artists doing? What are the authors, writers, bloggers and journalists doing? A well known singer or writer could make a huge difference in this field. Because as we started saying on the top of this page, the biggest problem humanity faces at the moment is, in fact, a communication problem.

A lot of young filmmakers around the world have done their bit recently. More than 860 videos have been submitted from 155 countries to the Film4Climate Global Youth Competition – it depicts the global youth call for climate action.

Young people around the world show that climate change is real and personal. The videos are emotionally invested, powerful, solutions-orientated narratives that will inspire leaders around the world to take action. Melting glaciers, rising sea-levels, warming and acidifying oceans, extreme weather events and shifting climatic seasons are having an impact today and will continue to affect this generation.

The submissions highlight that it is possible to come together and tackle climate change, by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, promoting sustainable land management, addressing consumption, building low-carbon and resilient cities and putting a price on carbon pollution.

» Find out more at

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Generation Yes

» Share this video on Facebook


Interview with Meg Argyriou

Interview with Meg Argyriou from ClimateWorks in The Sustainable Hour on 16 November 2016.

She explains that social studies have shown that people generally turn off when they hear about the various problems associated with climate change. So rather than talking about the climate emergency, as we just did above, ClimateWorks has launched a new ‘Generation Yes’ project, which focuses on solutions and benefits.

Here is how they describe the project in a media release:

New project targets ‘Generation Yes’ to address climate change

A new project designed to encourage all Australians to sign up to supporting action on climate change was launched today by ClimateWorks Australia.

ClimateWorks Head of Engagement, Meg Argyriou said the public engagement campaign called Generation Yes wanted to highlight the efforts being made to reduce emissions as well as focus on all the benefits associated with solving climate change.

The Generation Yes project has been developed by ClimateWorks with support from a number of founding partners which include the City of Melbourne, The Carbon Market Institute, Council of the Aging, Sustainability Victoria, United Nation Association of Australia, ClimArte, Lord Mayors Charitable Fund, Cool Australia, Mullum Trust, Future Crunch, Robert Hicks Foundation and the Banksia Foundation.

Ms Argyriou said the project was based on ClimateWorks research that showed Australia can achieve net zero emissions by 2050 while still enjoying economic prosperity.

“Our research shows that reducing Australia’s emissions to net zero by mid-century is achievable, affordable and it won’t hurt the economy,” she said.

“Our report has been used by the Australian Government in developing the national emissions reduction post-2020 target as well as by State Governments to set their own net zero emissions targets.

“Now we want to spread the word beyond the policy makers and big business to ensure all Australians – householders, businesses, communities and governments – know there is a detailed plan to address climate change and together its possible.

“Whether you are a baby boomer, Gen X or Gen Y we want everyone to join ‘Generation Yes’ and be the generation that changes climate change.”

Ms Argyriou said the project involves sharing knowledge, increasing access to experts via webinars or live events as well as an online and social media component.

“We have developed a video which taps into the ‘can do’ attitude of Australians and invites them to participate in the program. A second video provides a simple explanation of our Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Report and how Australia can get to net zero emissions,” she said.

“The program website will feature case studies of organisations taking action on climate change as well as practical information that can be shared with family and friends, and social media content designed to engage new audiences around climate solutions.

“The City of Melbourne has joined the program and provides details on how it aims to get to zero net emissions by 2020. The case study shows the city taking action on reducing emissions through building retrofits, improving waste recycling, purchasing more renewable energy and increasing green spaces.”


ClimateWorks Australia is an independent not-for-profit organisation, founded by the Myer Foundation and Monash University. Its mission is to catalyse action to substantially reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions, through research and collaboration to drive implementation.

» More information – view the videos on

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How do we solve complex problems? Matthew Taylor’s talk about the three sources of social power, and how we pursue change.

Published on on 19 September 2012.

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The Climatarian Challenge

A free app that challenges you to eat in a more sustainable way for 30 days. Available on Android and iOS.


Mark Pershin
Mark Pershin

“I think we should rebrand the climate movement as ‘an insurance policy for humanity’.”

Radio interview with Mark Pershin

Mark Pershin is founder and pro-bono director of Less Meat Less Heat

In the radio interview, Mark Pershin talks about leading environmentalist and social activist Paul Hawken’s book ‘Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming’ (352 pages, Hardcover, Viking Press New York) – an examination of the worldwide movement for social and environmental change which he wrote to “inspire and delight any and all who despair of the world’s fate. Fundamentally, it is a description of humanity’s collective genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the environment and one another.”

» Read more about the book here:


Last time Mark Pershin was guest in The Sustainable Hour:

» The Sustainable Hour on 10 April 2016:
Transition towards climate-friendly energy AND diet

Reclaim Our Future with the Climatarian Diet

TEDx talk by Mark Pershin published on on 26 October 2016.

» Tripple J Hack – 16 November 2016:
‘Less Meat, Less Heat’: could your diet save the planet from climate change?

» The Sydney Morning Herald – 4 November 2016:
Why we can’t afford our addiction to meat

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Are you ready to move on climate?

Friends of the Earth Melbourne is collecting signatures and gathering support for setting the expectation that the Victorian government will use the coal policy and Climate Change Act to start the transition from coal to a future based on energy efficiency and 100% renewable energy. #ActOnClimateVic

» You can sign the petition here:

» More climate change related petitions

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Geelong | Call for submissions:

Your opinion is needed


A new draft ‘Greenhouse Strategy’ has been developed and Geelong Council is now seeking community feedback. That means they would like to hear from you and me what we think about it.

This paper is more significant than it may look. If you care about climate change, this is an opportunity for you to do your bit: just five minutes of your time can make a real difference here!

Go to this page …and tell Council what you think about their draft paper. Before Sunday 20 November at 5pm!

What to write?
Five major points you may wish to include in your response (or copy-paste, if you like):

• I strongly support the City’s goal to reduce Council’s greenhouse emissions by 50% from 2014-15 levels by 2020.

• While it is good that the City’s intends working towards becoming a ‘Zero Carbon’ Council, I urge the City to adopt Victoria’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. (Or even sooner)

• Given the urgent need for all of us to rapidly reduce our emissions*, I encourage the City to have more initiatives aimed at reducing emissions in the whole community, not just in Council’s buildings and fleet.

• Given the current ‘Our Future’ visioning process being run by the City, I suggest the Greenhouse reduction strategy needs to be more outward rather than inward looking.

• I recommend that the Draft Greenhouse Strategy be merged with Environment Management Strategy and Low Carbon Growth Plan as soon as possible.

* The record high global temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization, and scientists are stressing that the evidence for the reality of a climate emergency is getting stronger all the time. See also

Geelong Sustainability’s submission
Geelong Sustainability has submitted a response, and we wrote, among other things:

. . . . .

We congratulate Council on its goal to achieve 50% emissions reduction from Council’s buildings and vehicle fleet from 2014-15 levels by 2020, and we commend the City’s intention to work towards becoming a ‘Zero Carbon’ Council.

One general comment (and shortcoming) arises from the current ‘Our Future’ visioning process, but also from the urgent need for rapid action to mitigate the effects of climate change. We believe the strategy is focused too much on Council operations. We would suggest that it should offer leadership to the whole municipality by displaying a more ‘outward’ (i.e. ‘community’) focus.

We would recommend the next version should be merged with the ‘Environment Management Strategy’ document and the ClimateWorks ‘Low Carbon Growth Plan’, which have clearly identified many carbon reduction opportunities for businesses and households.

We think the vision statement should be an unambiguous picture of our city in the carbon-constrained mid-century world, rather than a statement of the process of getting there (which could perhaps be described as the strategy’s mission). In this regard, we would strongly suggest committing the City to the Victorian Government’s greenhouse gas emissions target of zero by 2050 as a clear vision for all sectors in Greater Geelong. This headline outcome needs to be front and centre in this document.

. . . .

Submissions close at 5pm on Sunday 20 November

» Read Council’s draft strategy paper

» Geelong Sustainability’s submission

» Share on Facebook

» Have your say: Submit your comment to Geelong Council

» Listen to a radio interview about the Greenhouse Strategy: On 2 November 2016 The Sustainable Hour focused on greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions and how we will reduce them. Rodney Thomas, manager of the Environment Department at City of Greater Geelong, was guest in the studio, and he explained in detail about Council’s new Greenhouse Strategy and the aims with it. Listen here

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Good news from 21 young American climate heroes

21 kids from across the United States, ages 9-20, have taken their government to federal court, demanding science-based action on climate change. On 10 November 2016, the federal court in Eugene, Oregon, decided in favour of the 21 youth plaintiffs in their “groundbreaking” constitutional climate lawsuit against President Obama, numerous federal agencies, and the fossil fuel industry.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completely rejected all arguments to dismiss raised by the federal government and fossil fuel industry, determining that the young plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust claims could proceed. Now, the 21 plaintiffs are preparing for trial in what is believed to be a turning point in United States constitutional history.

» Media release 10 November 2016:
Victory for America’s Youth – Constitutional Climate Lawsuit against U.S. to Proceed
Federal Judge Ann Aiken rejects U.S. government and fossil fuel industries motions to dismiss

“Every person, regardless of age, race, gender or religion has the right to a clean environment and a safe future – and the U.S. government’s continued acts that prevent meaningful climate recovery undermine that right,” they argue.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Victoria Barrett talk about their landmark federal climate lawsuit

“It gives me great pleasure to say ‘we will see you in court’ to the federal government,” Daniel Jubelirer told reporters.
Jubelirer is a youth delegate from SustainUS and a member of Earth Guardians, a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“President Obama is currently named; but now we will be directly suing Donald Trump for climate inaction.” A broad grin spread across his face at that sentence. “This trial is going to be the trial of our generation. We are going to trial in a case that everyone told us was impossible…. I’m really stoked,” Jubelirer said.

Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a senior advisor to the United Nations Secretary General — not to mention one of the most knowledgeable Americans about the economics of climate policy — spoke with emotion about the importance of the news.
Sachs seemed more concerned than stoked, and warned that the U.S. is on track to be a global outcast. “The U.S. would be a country completely standing on its own if it tried anything so unwise as to unravel [the Paris Agreement],” Sachs said. “I do not believe the American people want to stand alone against the other 95.5 percent of the world’s population, and become a pariah nation.”

Excerpt from Pacific Standard’s article Can a Surprise Lawsuit in Oregon Save American Climate Policy?

“This action is of a different order than the typical environmental case. It alleges that defendants’ actions and inactions—whether or not they violate any specific statutory duty—have so profoundly damaged our home planet that they threaten plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life and liberty.”
Ann Aiken, US District Judge

Support the kids in their lawsuit to get the U.S. Government to take climate change seriously

» Petition: Kids vs. U.S. Government & Big Oil: Adopt A Climate Recovery Plan Now

» Moyers – 11 November 2016:
The Lawsuit That Could Save the Planet

» Pacific Standard – 11 November 2016:
Can a Surprise Lawsuit in Oregon Save American Climate Policy?
“A group of young Americans is suing the government for inaction on climate change. As of yesterday, the suit cleared a major hurdle, and, at COP22 in Marrakech, a lot of people are celebrating.” By Ted Scheinman

» Motherboard – 11 November 2016:
Kids Win the Right to Sue the US Government Over Climate Change

» Sydney Morning Herald – 11 November 2016:
Donald Trump may face young people suing over global warming

“This, maybe more than Paris Agreement, could be the best way to protect people and the planet.”
» CarbonBrief: Climate change before the court, 21 December 2015


Solidarity action and rally: We stand with standing rock
14 November 2016 at 9:15pm, Cosy Corner, The Esplanade, Torquay

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Legal action for neglecting climate

Directors of an Australian company will one day face legal action for neglecting climate, wrote Jessica Irvine in Sydney Morning Herald:

“Any Australian business leaders who think they got away with sticking their heads in the sand should think again. New legal advice by senior Sydney silk Noel Hutley suggests it is almost certain that directors of an Australian company will one day face legal action for neglecting to properly account for the potential impact of climate change on their business.

“It is likely to be only a matter of time before we see litigation against a director who has failed to perceive, disclose or take steps in relation to a foreseeable climate-related risk that can be demonstrated to have caused harm to a company (including, perhaps, reputational harm),” the advice, commissioned by the Centre for Policy Development and the Future Business Forum, titled ‘Climate Change and Directors Duties’ concludes.”

» Sydney Morning Herald – 31 October 2016:
Company directors to face penalties for ignoring climate change

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DIVESTMENT | Faith leaders challenge governments:

Sever US$19 trillion in fossil fuel investments

Leaders from global faith groups, financial institutions and foundations made the moral and financial case for divestment from fossil fuels and investments in renewable energy and climate solutions at an official COP 22 side event on 10 November 2016.

A global interfaith statement released at the meeting, drafted in collaboration with more than thirty faith groups globally, challenges all sovereign wealth funds and state pension funds – collectively worth more than $19 trillion – to divest from fossil fuels and invest in the green economy and in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

This builds on the Interfaith Climate Change Statement presented to the President of the UN General Assembly in April 2016 in New York.


“It is naive to expect world leaders to put aside their countries’ self-interest for the good of the planet. It is also fantasy to expect technology to save us in the nick of time. As Klein says, the climate crisis “changes everything” and this must include our expectations of passive salvation. Only if we stand up and stand together can we save the planet for our children, do justice to our neighbours, and elevate our better selves.”
David Hirsch barrister and Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation

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Care, Connection and Compassion Workshop

Psychology for a Safe Climate has arranged a second follow up workshop to the Climate Grief workshop held in Melbourne in August 2016. This is in response to the requests for more opportunity for people to have time together with like minded others, where feelings can be openly expressed, and where time can be given to care for oneself as a climate activist.

It is held on Saturday 26 November 2016 at 2.45pm for 3pm start to 5.30pm.

Who can come: These workshops are open to any other members of the climate movement, whether or not you have attended previous workshops. There is only room for 30 participants, however, so it is important to make sure you book a place.

Psychology for a Safe Climate asks for a donation of $3 to $5 to help cover rent expenses, please.

Climate Grief Workshop next year: Psychology for a Safe Climate plans to run another Climate Grief workshop in the new year, following a number of requests.

» RSVP essential

» More information on

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Climate Change and Health – a position statement from physicians

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has released some new position statements on climate change – three new evidence-based position statements. One on “Climate Change and Health”, one on the health co-benefits of mitigating climate change and one on greening the health sector. They’re all available via this page.

“The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is committed to the following actions in response to the global climate health emergency:

• Raise professional awareness of the health impacts of climate change
• Advocate for national climate change and health strategies in Australia and New Zealand, including meaningful mitigation and adaptation targets, effective governance arrangements, professional and community education, effective intergovernmental collaboration, and a strong research capacity
• Reduce the RACP carbon footprint and improve the sustainability of health services
• Establish an enduring RACP climate change advocacy and engagement capability”

» Read more: (PDF)

“The public health impacts of climate change are playing out in Australia while politicians ignore the evidence. Two reports out this week should change that”
Michael Marmot, former president of the World Medical Association

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“Who in Australia actually does enjoy cheap energy? Households and most business consumers don’t: they face the some of the highest electricity costs in the world, thanks to the imposts put upon them by network operators and the oligopoly of fossil fuel generators.”

» RenewEconomy:
The myth around Australia’s “cheap” energy

» Canberra Times – 1 June 2016:
Another Labor MP breaks ranks with Bill Shorten on fossil fuel subsidies and mining donations
Lisa Singh, Tasmanian senator and shadow parliamentary secretary for the environment, has signed the “pollution free politics pledge”, forcing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to restate that Labor was not considering ending the diesel fuel rebate available to miners and farmers.

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Al Gore: The case for optimism on climate change

Global battery boom

“Trump could be a win for battery storage – and renewables,” writes Sophie Vorrath in RenewEconomy, after having read a new report from the global banking group Deutsche Bank.

“In Australia, the report offers by way of example, “it is estimated that buying power from the grid can be three times more expensive than the value of locally generated solar power exported to the grid.”

This is good news for Australian consumers, offering yet another reason to believe that our market will be a global leader in affordable battery storage.”


» Quick Fact: The city of Los Angeles is now saving 63% in their energy bills thanks to LEDs
The Southern California city has replaced over 140,000 fixtures with LEDs, reducing emissions by over 47,000 tons CO2 per year

» South China Morning Post – 23 June 2016:
Mayors from 7,100 cities forge world’s largest alliance to curb climate change

» World Economic Forum – 7 November 2016:
Indigenous peoples are the real climate experts. So why aren’t we listening to them?

15-minute video report from COP22 in Morocco. How important is political leadership?

Game over kind of stuff…

US presidential election: reactions

“It is hard to find words to capture the fact that humans are facing the most important question in their history — whether organized human life will survive in anything like the form we know — and are answering it by accelerating the race to disaster.”
Noam Chomsky

“This is not about the planet. This is about people. People will be hurt because of this. People will die because of this. No hyperbole.
Trump has (…) pledged to resuscitate the coal industry, which will cost lives without saving jobs. It’s notable that the only stocks that soared on news of a Trump win were coal companies and private prisons,” wrote Scott Dodd, Executive Editor of Grist Magazine.

And this goes to show how bad people believe Trump will be for our climate: Even the World Coal Association issued a plea to the soon-to-be 45th US President to try to reduce greenhouse gases. Benjamin Sporton, the WCA’s chief executive, said: “We will encourage the Trump administration to collaborate with international development partners to work together to increase funding for low emission coal technologies.”

“8 November could be the day when tens of millions of people were condemned to an unlivable environment,” wrote Oliver Milman, the Guardian’s US environment correspondent.

At the same time, regardless of all the damage Trump and his allies now are able to do, the business world in general keeps stepping up to the challenge of climate change. Illustrating the importance of the private sector in the coming Trump era, Microsoft just made its biggest purchase of wind power ever to run a cloud computing data center in Wyoming, part of a trend of big companies investing in their own clean energy sources.

Tesla made more money last quarter than the entire US oil industry made last year, wrote Electrek on 11 November 2016.

Trump’s mission can be compared with the efforts of the Horse Wagon Union back in the early 1900s when it tried to stop the transitioning away from horses and over to automobiles, motor vehicles, cars. Trump will eventually find himself isolated and ridiculed if he continues out that path.

“Not the first time we’ve heard this story, but I’ve actually thought this could be the “best hope” for climate change awareness in a pro-military country, is if the military says it’s important…”
Tim Boucher

» Medium – 16 November 2016:
Scientific American: Military leaders urge President-Elect to see Climate Change as Security Threat

“The fate of humanity is in the hands of a denier who pledged to kill domestic and global climate action and all clean energy research.”
Joe Romm

» ThinkProgress – 9 November 2016:
Will Trump go down in history as the man who pulled the plug on a livable climate?

“UK Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Mr Trump was ‘frankly is a disaster for our future’, particularly as Congress is controlled by the Republicans. ‘He has talked about ripping our climate change agreements, rolling back green energy schemes and downsizing the Environment Protection Agency. He is not only mad and bad but he’s also dangerous and this is exhibit A.’ ”

» ThinkProgress – 17 November 2016:
Business community to climate denier Donald Trump: Climate action is an economic imperative
“The report comes as the business community urges Trump to act on climate.”

» The West Australian – 14 November 2016:
Sarkozy wants tax on US products if Trump scraps Paris climate pact

» The Independent – 11 November 2016:
Environmentalists launch ’emergency’ campaign to persuade Trump climate change is real amid fears of ‘planetary disaster’

» The New Daily – 11 November 2016:
Call for sanctions on USA if Trump reneges on Paris accord

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Charlie Wood wrote:
“If anyone anywhere needs a listening ear tonight or tmrw or the day after that, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Times like these challenge us to shine our light more than ever, to reach out, not pull in, to keep growing communities of compassion and to spread love not hate and despair. An eye for for an eye and the whole world goes blind. Difficult times ahead. Important to acknowledge that, express the sadness it brings up and then remember the many millions of kind, caring, brilliant people (yourself included) who are fighting back this culture of hate and fear.”
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Vox wrote:
“There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet. | This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown to hell.”

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Graham Readfearn wrote:
“In short, Tump’s energy policy boils down to “drill, baby drill”. Elsewhere, Trump has said he’ll basically cut all climate-related Federal spending. He would also rescind the UN international climate agreement, invite TransCanada to resubmit an application for the Keystone XL pipeline and pull all US dollars out of UN climate programs.

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Rebecca Leber wrote:
“He is going to appoint a known climate denier, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team.”

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David Remnick, The Newyorker, wrote:
“The electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness.”
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Ole Kassow wrote:
“Donald Trump is demagogue by every definition of the word – and very sadly he just won the US election.
Now is the time for all good, kind and visionary people of this world to come together. To remember that life goes on. That it’s still a beautiful world.
Let’s prove that hate achieves nothing. That vilification gets us nowhere.
To paraphrase Michelle Obama: When they go low, we go high: Let’s flood the world with kindness. Hug the first person you see this morning. Help your elderly neighbour with her groceries this afternoon. And smile to a stranger looking lost tonight.
Our kindness, determination and resolve is needed now more than ever.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ellen Sandell wrote:
“Friends: you may be like me and feeling sad, angry and dismayed tonight. But as Dr King said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Now more than ever we must unite to support all those who will be affected by Trump’s policies, and redouble our efforts to create a more humane, kind and loving world.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal wrote:
“It’s democracy, get on with it. In a world without political vision. With failing institutions from a different era that doesn’t make sense, with a mass media model on it’s last stretch and an elite out of touch. Let’s reinvent and lead.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tosh Szatow wrote:
“Before you book flights to mars or cry in despair over a bottle (or two), bear in mind that Trump just gave a more gracious Victory speech than Malcolm #falsehope Turnbull, and clearly has a penchant for making outrageous claims and falsehoods to win attention and affection – i.e. take everything he has said to date with a grain of salt. In the spirit of making contrarian calls on politics, I’m backing Trump to “surprise on the upside” as they say. He will be harsh, but not as harsh as promised on immigration and trade, will follow through on major infrastructure spending, tax cuts and may have a crack at debt restructuring, weakening the USD. The US will regress on climate and social policy nationally, but the States will pick up some of the slack and minimise the damage. And in four years, when his plan isn’t working, a democrat will come along, in the mould of Bernie Sanders, and the US may well be great again. There is no doubt Trump is an unpredictable, seriously flawed and potentially dangerous character, but like the naughty kid that is given some responsibility, I expect him to surprise us.
He is clearly way way out there, mostly in a bad way, but we’ve only really seen him as a caricature painted by the media. Its going to be fascinating to see what he actually does. And if it really does all go to shit, well these things a temporary and create space for positive change.”
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Andrew MacLeod wrote:
“America, it’s been nice knowing you” (…) “China is returning to a position of dominance in the world it last held around the year 1500 when Europe slowly woke from its ‘Dark Ages’ slumber.
The truth is this election should show Australia quite clearly that we are now living through one of those great epochal shifts in power that come over the world every 500-800 years.
And this shift will happen fast indeed – probably only a decade or two to complete.
For Australia, if we want to position our country for the future, it is time we thanked America for its service, and figure out just how we are going to link to the new world that is coming.
That is how big this election is for Australia. It should mark our turning point as a nation too.”

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Andrew Thaler wrote:
“The night is always darker before the dawn.”

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#NoMoreBadInvestments  #NoMoreExcuses  #ClimateEmergency  #ClimateEmergencyDeclaration  #ClimateSolutions 


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We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…

The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?

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  1. Big sting in Marrakech

    Just in case it’s not been exciting enough, for big news attention, this draws attention that Australia is world’s worst country for greenhouse gas emissions, per person. Even more exciting, government insists reduction targets will be easily met; except they hold back that result depends on population growth, big time! Targets measured in tonnes per person, so keep emissions the same, divided by more people, means fewer tonnes per person, no need to reduce emissions at all! All we need is 50% more people by 2030. Do shock jocks know about this? Big sting is needed to sneak it past IPCC, already having ruled against such smoke and mirrors.

    Other big result, from back in 2012, at end of Kyoto, all other countries had targets to reduce emissions but Australia got increase, of 8%, special allowance to gradually reduce emissions from large scale land clearing. All of 8% not used is claimed as credit, reductions we don’t need to make. Again, this is smoke and mirrors, “carry over” not adopted by any other country and disallowed by IPCC ruling already. So another sting needed.

    Will Ministers Julie and Josh be able to pull off one, or other, or even both of stings above? Or go down like Bonny and Clyde, in Sting the movie, guns blazing to defend our high emission economy, competitive and safe, from perception by vested interest fossil fuel jocks, that extortion is dictated by IPCC bureaucracy? Unfortunately, IPCC is anything but big bureaucracy, just 20 or so clerical staff, to coordinate and distribute reports. Decisions are made by representatives appointed by each country.

    And will Godfather PM expect us to still love him, even with such fatuous, denialist sting tactics, in the cool, clear morning after? Or is real reform possible, to help minimise climate change, by actually reducing emissions, not just pretending, and stopping land clearing?

    Bernie McComb
    Phillip Island

    1. Thank you for this comment, Bernie McComb. Great insight into Australia’s luke-warm response to now what is now demonstrable climate change and to the 2015 Paris Accord.

      I agree completely with your expressed need to use per capita targets and progress measures, rather than absolute ones. The June 2015 Climate Change Authority (the Mark 1 body, i.e. prior to it being stacked with government policy supporters) focused strongly on CO2e, on per capita targets and on a fair national emissions reduction profile that recognised the different historical emissions and financial / technological capacities of the signatory countries.

      The ‘Mark 2’ Authority effectively rejected that earlier report, and it has totally ignored the dissenting report put out by highly qualified Authority members David Karoly and Clive Hamilton. This courageous action was in response to the new Authority’s report that represented the Commonwealth Government’s ineffectual ‘Direct Action Plan’ as a sufficient response to what is now a climate emergency.

      Geelong Sustainability has, as described above, recently presented detailed per capita targets over time for Greater Geelong (and for Victoria and Australia): we await a response. ( )

      Your point about Australia’s ongoing land-clearing con is also well made. The only remedy is intensified public agitation – which the ascendency of Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson makes more difficult than it was.

      Alan Barlee

Comments are closed.