Insanity and treason result in protests and a court case

Madness, insanity, betrayal, treason… death. Strong words come in use in The Sustainable Hour on 30 October 2019 as we talk about the Australian government’s energy and environment policies in a week yet again disrupted by protests in the streets, this time against an international mining conference in Melbourne. Welcome to an hour about climate crime, accountability, honesty, responsibility – and regeneration.

Professor Richard Parncutt from University of New England, Australia, and Graz University in Austria has done the math of an important equation: How many tonnes of emissions from burning coal does it take to kill a human being in the future? The result of his calculations is that one future premature death is caused every time roughly 1,000 tonnes of carbon are burned.

Last year in March, Australia was responsible for 536 million tonnes of carbon emissions, and this year in March, due to the complete lack of control by the authorities in this area, the industries and citizens added another 3 million tonnes to that figure, so that Australia now is emitting 539 million tonnes of carbon annually. Which means that one year rise alone translates to 3,000 future deaths, according to Parncutt’s findings.

This country has a government which has blood on its hands, but no laws to hold it accountable. We talk with Michael Staindl about that. Together with a team of climate activists, he is taking Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to court. Michael lives in Frydenberg’s electorate and wants the minister to tell us all whether or not he is a dual citizen, and consequently whether he is allowed to represent him in parliament – a question which Michael sees as a question of Frydenberg’s integrity and his betrayal on climate action. This week Michael started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a court case against the minister. More about this below.

Former coal executive Ian Dunlop emphasises on the gravity of the climate emergency in Climate News by We Dont Have Time. We play a statement by the editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, about the climate and ecological emergency, while George Monbiot calls for a revolution in Frankie Boyles’ comedy show New World Order.

We also have a report from Rusty about the effect of fortnightly bin collection, we talk about The Regenerative Decade which is coming up in just two months, and we play Larry Pegg‘s song, ‘No More Carbon Crime’, and round the hour off with Artwork and Song’s ‘Her Spirit May Be Spoken’.


“The current Federal Government’s lack of action and betrayal on climate change, for me it is a treasonous behaviour. It is so serious that they are actually committing treason to Australians and the rest of the world, if that concept applies.”
~ Michael Staindl, climate activist, in The Sustainable Hour on 30 October 2019



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“All health professionals have a duty and obligation to engage in all kinds of non-violent social protest to address the climate emergency.”
~ Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet

“Worse is yet to come”

“I’m sitting on my couch now with a video playing over and over on my phone as I write. It shows a scrambled crowd. People running and screaming. A woman is in distress. She calls out, “Stop pepper spraying!” An officer replies, “Piss off, or I’ll fucking pepper spray you too.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has commended Victoria Police for “doing every one of us proud”.

Here’s one thing I keep coming back to – the fossil-fuel industry has already released enough CO2 into the atmosphere, ocean and land biospheres to affect global temperatures for generations to come. The term for this is legacy emissions. It refers to the fact that a substantial portion of the carbon emissions already pushed into the atmosphere will remain there forever. Mining histories have long been altering the planet’s future.

Since the blockade, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to introduce new legislation to “crack down” on the ability of environmental groups to protest. At the same time, an open letter – signed by over 11,000 scientists from 153 nations – has called for swift transitions to the way global society functions. This, they say, is necessary to avoid “untold suffering” as a result of further global heating.

The message from scientists from around the world and the Australian government is – for dangerously contradictory reasons – crystal clear. Worse is yet to come.”
~ Hayley Singer, writer

 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


 #CLIMATEACTION #CROWDFUNDING: 

Questions raised over minister’s citizenship

The Sustainable Hour’s interview with Michael Staindl

Michael Staindl and a team of climate activists are trying to get Josh Frydenberg to tell us all whether or not he is a dual citizen, and consequently whether he is allowed to represent us in parliament. Because of the government’s very narrow majority in parliament, the case could have implications for the entire government’s ability to rule.

“This goes to the heart of the question of his integrity and betrayal on climate action,” says Michael, who has received confirmation from Frydenberg’s lawyers that:

  1. Frydenberg has not suggested that he has renounced Hungarian citizenship.
  2. Frydenberg admitted to the High Court that his mother, Erica, was a citizen of Hungary until 1949.
  3. Frydenberg has stated that his mother ceased to be a citizen and became ‘stateless’ upon emigrating in 1949, but has not articulated how she lost her citizenship. 
On 30 October 2019, $9,202 dollars were raised on the crowdfunding platform chuffed.org

“We believe it is time Frydenberg, as one of Australia’s most senior lawmakers, gave a proper account of his own status.  So far this campaign has been self-funded but now we have to raise about $22,000 over the next month. We have launched a Chuffed crowd-funding campaign, and we are looking for people who would like to support and get involved.”

“This isn’t really about Josh himself, and it isn’t only about Section 44.  It’s about integrity in our politicians, whether simply their right to sit or, infinitely more importantly, their betrayal on the climate crisis.” 

“To make this a success and really hold Josh to account, I need a number of campaigner soldiers who can email the campaign to their own mailing lists and/or 100 or more colleagues within a few days, so I can get more people involved. Can you help?,” asks Michael.

→ Supporting Facebook page



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“Australia needs to wake up!”

“The indigenous communities have been voiceless for the last couple of years. Look, the impact of the water mismanagement and the corruption, and the corporate greed and the capitalism in this country has killed our rivers. They have killed our communities.”

Bruce Shillingsworth, in ABC’s Q&A



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Insanity

Excerpt of a newsletter by Dr Annika Dean, Senior Researcher, Climate Council

“Our CEO had one word for it – insanity. Last week, the NSW Government buckled under pressure from the coal lobby and announced controversial plans that would forbid planning authorities from considering the emissions produced by burning coal (downstream emissions) when assessing new mine proposals (1)

This legislation could enable major coal companies to build new mines without considering their climate risk, and with no responsibility for the downstream emissions or the harm these emissions cause to people and the environment. 

Earlier this year, we celebrated the incredible moment the Rocky Hill coal mine became the first mine in Australia to be rejected on social and climate change grounds (2). We thought the tide was finally turning.

But under this new plan, NSW courts would no longer be able to take those same things into account – so this is a devastating blow.

It seems that for every step forward we take, the fossil fuel industry, with its deep pockets and unparalleled political influence, drags us two steps back. 

Coal corporations can’t keep running the show. That’s why we’re coming out fighting against the coal lobby’s ongoing attempts to sabotage progress. 

Right now, the six biggest coal-mining companies in Australia generate more greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of the Australian economy combined (3).

For every dollar we spend communicating the need for urgent action on climate change, the mining lobby spends much more, distributing pro-coal messages, pressuring governments into advancing their own interests and blocking climate action at every turn.

By effectively communicating the facts about the climate crisis – that burning coal is driving climate change – we strengthen the urgent call for fossil fuel companies to stop profiting at the expense of our health, our environment and our future.

But the decision in NSW to backtrack on downstream emissions demonstrates the political influence of the mining lobby, and clearly underlines what we’re up against. 

For decades, the fossil fuel industry has run a collective campaign to undermine the fact that coal is a major driver of the escalating climate crisis (4)

Meanwhile, Australia continues to be ravaged by ferocious bushfires, longer and more intense heatwaves and devastating droughts. Our Reef is on the brink of destruction and homes are becoming uninsurable.

Climate Council is speaking up against the undue political influence of the coal lobby. Can you chip in now to amplify our message? By chipping in today, you will:

  • Increase our capacity to clap back against misleading pro-coal messages with the truth about coal and climate change;
  • Amplify our targeted media work to combat the political power of the mining lobby; and
  • Make sure all Australians have access to the facts about the subversive influence of big fossil fuel corporations. 

We know that the opportunities in a low-carbon economy are endless, and that reliable, renewable energy can create the jobs of the future.  

It’s time to put people before corporate interests and undue political influence.”

  1. NSW moves to stop mine projects being blocked because of their overseas emissions, The Guardian, 22 Oct 2019
  2. Rocky Hill mine plans quashed in Land and Environment Court, ABC News, 8 Feb 2019
  3. Coal from six biggest miners in Australia produces more emissions than entire economy, The Guardian, 1 Nov 2019 
  4. Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions, The Guardian, 9 Oct 2019



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IMARC: “A festival of extractivism”

“IMARC wasn’t a studious reflection on mining methods and outcomes. It was a festival of extractivism, a gleeful gathering to conspire in our more rapid extinguishment. By the latter part of this century, that whole area of Melbourne will have to be abandoned, put on stilts, or put behind a retaining wall so vast (and probably unfeasible) as to wall us off from the bay entirely.

Contrary to what some blimpish commentators said, the nihilism and anarchy was taking place inside the building, which was being besieged by civilisation. More power to those who turned out for a tough match and put their bodies on the line. The government — especially an ostensibly social democratic one — better decide where it’s going to stand on these things.”
~ Guy Rundle, in Crikey: Protesters win on points at IMARC 

“Indifference is an indicator of a lack of conscience. Indifference has always frightened me. Indifference is a perfect breeding ground for hatred. Indifference allows politics of hate to flourish. And that lays the groundwork for bigotry, racism and hate to seem reasonable to ordinary human beings. The results of politics of hate are always horrifying and inevitably catastrophic.”
~ Lily Brett, grazkunst, March 2017, p. 9



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 #GEELONG #SUSTAINABILITY: 

Barwon Water: “Water for our Future”

Barwon Water:
“Be part of creating our water future”

Our climate is getting hotter and drier. With less rain expected to continue, it’s time to think differently about how we use water and where it comes from.

We are asking our community to help us tackle this challenge and join in creating a new water future for our region. Do you have a view or an idea about our water future? We want to hear from you! Contribute to our Ideas Lab, share your views via our survey or come and talk to us at an event near you.

Your contributions will help us design a sustainable and reliable water future – a future where there is enough water to meet our everyday needs and to support liveable and thriving communities and a healthy environment.

www.waterfuture.barwonwater.vic.gov.au


 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about


https://twitter.com/JulianCribb/status/1189065490255106048



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Podcasts and posts on this website about climate emergency
Latest news on BBC about climate change

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Acknowledgement

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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