Surfing a new wave of energy and action

The Sustainable Hour no 343

In The Tunnel on 2 December 2020, our special guest is Adrian (Ace) Buchan. Adrian continues the series we have been running of talking to climate concerned elite sports people. His sport being surfing. We learn why he has decided to speak up about his concerns and the extent of the love for, and commitment to his children, his sport and the natural environment. He is one of the rapidly increasing number of elite sports people who are prepared to use their position of influence in our sports crazy country to effect change.

Janine Duffy, the latest member of The Sustainable Hour team, gives us her monthly update of the world of koalas. She firstly rejoices in the news that the Federal Government plan to further weaken environmental protection laws were overturned in the senate. Next she celebrates Australia’s achievement in winning a major international travel award for the way we responded to the destructive fires of last summer. Finally, we hear of work to engage communities on the Mornington Peninsula in building koala habitat.

In Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week we stick fairly close to home. His first item features the huge amount of money that the Victorian government has committed to a green recovery to the economic ravages of COVID19. Next we hear about Brett Sutton, the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s attitude to climate change. He then intrigues us with news of an ex-Federal government Finance Minister’s apparent change of heart on climate as he campaigns to get the head position of an important European economic organisation. Finally we hear about the World Meteorological Organization‘s assessment of carbon emissions during the pandemic.

We also play an excerpt of a Facebook video reality check about White America’s identity crisis by Matthew Cooke.

We hope that you enjoy listening to this week’s show as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. 

We’ll be back in seven days with our focus on solutions to the climate crisis we face. Until then: Live the difference.

“When a child makes a mess, who cleans it up? The adults clean it up. A culture producing messes without cleaning them up is a culture at a child-level responsibility. The modern consumer society makes messes with no intention of cleaning them up. It is a society at a child-level responsibility”
~ Clinton Callahan, management consultant

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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 land. They nurtured it and thrived in often harsh conditions for millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. It is becoming more and more obvious that, if we are to survive the climate emergency we are facing, we have much to learn from their land management practices.

Our battle for climate justice won’t be won until our First Nations brothers and sisters have their true justice. 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…

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”

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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“We need to be positive and grasp the opportunities presented to us by this pandemic, opportunities like the pursuit of an inclusive and future-focussed recovery, including a green recovery, with an increased reliance on renewables, improved energy efficiency, addressing climate change and accelerating the transition to a lower emissions future.”
~ Mathias Cormann, former Federal Finance Minister 

When words such as these come from none other than our former Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, it is both a sign that the story is changing and that our politicians are playing an incredible game of weasel words and lies with us. While in parliament Cormann did not vote in favour of any motion supporting real action on climate change or the just transition for workers to a renewable energy powered future. And in numerous live interviews on the ABC and Sky News he spoke as an outright climate denier.

The context of these words is important to notice in order to understand where he is coming from and give us further insight into the true nature of this man – and of many of our politicians whose values are for sale to the highest bidder.

Cormann’s big change is that now that he is out of politics and campaigning to become the head of the Europe-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD. And to be considered a serious candidate for a position like that, this is how you need to speak, because this is the new mindset of the world outside of Australia.

Will the OECD be fooled by his apparent change of heart? Watch this space. Or read more about it in The Guardian. This is what American author Bill McKibben had to say about it:

Everyone’s after Joe Biden for a job, including the Australian former finance minister Mathias Cormann, who wants Biden’s support to become the next secretary-general of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Environmentalists down under are opposed: Cormann has been an apologist for Australia’s truly dismal climate action and took the stage at Davos this year to explain that “not every coal mine is a bad thing for the environment.”

Bill McKibben

Meanwhile, the Victorian government has announced it throws $1.6 billion into renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives – but also introduces a new tax that will cost owners of an electric vehicle some extra $500 a year.

And Holland introduces a new tax system that does the complete opposite: they make it cheaper to be an EV owner – like many other European countries are going it – but Holland takes it much further, they are introducing a new carbon tax, and they do it with pride and positivity – under the headline ‘Taxes for the Climate’.

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→ SBS – 27 November 2020:
New Zealand’s government will declare a climate emergency, pledging ‘immediate action’
“New Zealand will put forward a motion to declare a climate emergency, something Jacinda Ardern wasn’t able to do in her first term.”

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Charged for not polluting…?

All around the world countries are encouraging the uptake of cleaner electric vehicles – but here in Australia we’re about to become one of the first places to whack electric vehicle owners with a new tax.

South Australia and Victoria are charging ahead with plans to introduce a new tax on electric vehicles (EVs) and NSW’s Treasurer has said they plan to follow suit [1]. 

Why is this bad news? Australia is already an electric transport laggard and this new tax will discourage the uptake of EVs and keep polluting cars on the road for longer [2]. We should be incentivising cleaner cars that can run on solar energy, not making them even less affordable!

Ministers from the ACT and Queensland have come out against this backwards idea – but that won’t stop other states and territories from taxing cleaner transport [3]. 

Keeping polluting cars on the road for longer is bad news for Australians’ health, hip pocket and the climate.

Transport emissions are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of pollution in Australia so now, more than ever, we need to be supporting our electric vehicle industry. But this tax sends a signal to EV manufacturers and suppliers that Australia is closed for business. 

A thriving electric vehicle market would be good news for all Australians. We should be encouraging the local EV market, so the prices come down and all Australians can access cleaner cars with lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Can you email your Treasurer, asking them to make electric vehicles more affordable for Australians, not less? We’ve made it easy!

Australians are world leaders in rooftop solar because pumping out cheap and clean energy from the roof is a no-brainer. If the cost of electric vehicles came down, many more of Australia’s quiet clean energy achievers would leap at the chance to drive smarter. 

We can’t let state and territory governments slow innovation. Email them today.

Warm regards,
Ellen for the Solar Citizens team
Ellen Roberts

P.S. Want to know more about this proposed EV tax and why the idea is being considered? Read our blog post here.

[1] “Shameful”: Victoria follows South Australia and imposes electric car road tax, the Driven, 21 November 2020.
[2] Driver taxes will put Australia even further behind in electric vehicle market, research finds, ABC, December 2020.
[3] Qld says Vic, SA jumping the gun on electric vehicle tax, Brisbane Times, 27 November 2020.

Solar Citizens

Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Events in Victoria

The following is a collation of Victorian climate change events, activities, seminars, exhibitions, meetings and protests. Most are free, many ask for RSVP (which lets the organising group know how many to expect), some ask for donations to cover expenses, and a few require registration and fees. This calendar is provided as a free service by volunteers of the Victorian Climate Action Network. Information is as accurate as possible, but changes may occur.



List of petitions where you could add your name

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The Sustainable Hour is normally streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time), but due to the corona lockdown, the radio station has been closed.

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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