Energy reality check, gas resistance and ecorestoration

The Sustainable Hour no 344

On 9 December 2020 in The Tunnel we have tree guests:

[08:30] David Spratt, who co-wrote ‘Climate Code Red – The Case for Emergency Action‘ with Philip Sutton 12 years ago, takes us through the latest Breakthrough publication, Climate Reality Check 2020, and how we are what he calls “blowing up the climate system.”

[27:00] Geelong Sustainability’s Sal Fisher explains her strong concerns about Viva Refinery’s plans for a floating gas hub in Corio Bay. She counters each advantage that Viva has been mentioning in our local media and gives an alternative vision that won’t cost us the Earth (literally). She leaves us with the strong impression that fossil gas can’t play any part in the transition away from fossil fuel.

[43:00] After hearing from our first two speakers on the problems associated with our continued use of fossil fuels, our third guest, Elly Tucker, changes the tone and talks about a climate solution about which she is very enthusiastic. She introduces the concept of an Ecosystem Restoration Camp, the first of which they recently started in the beautiful Thora Valley near Bellingen in Northern NSW. Now Elly and her team are actively looking for other sites to regenerate. The big question we have at the end is: Will one of these be around Geelong?

[03:30] In Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook today, we firstly hear about the times that various countries have set for phasing out their petrol driven vehicles. He then brings us back home and tells us about still more hot temperature records that have been set in Australia. Next he takes us to Brazil with some very sobering figures about the rate of deforestation in the Amazon. Finally he brings a very stern warning to the Australian government because of its lack of real action to address the climate crisis from none other than Christiana Figueres, the former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change who was the architect of the global Paris Agreement on Climate in 2015.

That’s all we could fit in for this week’s show. We’ll be back next week, to shine extra lumens on people working on solutions or warning us of the problem. Until then: Live the difference.

“The climate wars that have been going on in Australia for over a decade now are just… honestly, they are such a suicidal situation because Australia, of all the countries in the world, Australia holds such promise with renewable energy. There is no other country that has as much sun potential as Australia.”
~ Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

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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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→ Climate Code Red – 16 April 2020:
Fatal calculations: How bad economics encouraged climate inaction
“The climate emergency requires actions at emergency speed for a rapid transition to a post-carbon, safe-climate …”

→ The New Daily – 8 December 2020:
Report: Health sector must prepare for climate change, like it did with COVID-19

→ ABC News – 7 December 2020:
Heat is the ‘silent killer’ of Australia’s bushfire season and experts say climate change is the root cause

→ Greenpeace – 3 December 2020:
Australia must commit to net-zero by 2040 or risk catastrophic damage to the Pacific: Greenpeace report
“Australia’s inadequate climate policies could see the world heat by almost four degrees by 2100 but the worst can be avoided for parts of the Pacific if Australia and other major emitters adopt a net-zero emissions by 2040 target, according to a new report by Greenpeace.”

→ UN Environment – 2 December 2020:
Report: ‘The Production Gap’, 2020
“Countries aim to produce 120% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.”

→ UN News – 2 December 2020:
Climate Action: It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urges
“The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate, uncompromising speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York.”

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Gas Free Geelong

Viva Energy is pushing ahead with plans to build an LNG regasification terminal at its Geelong refinery.

ABC News reported:

“• Viva has signed a memorandum of understanding with four major energy and investment companies

• They will work together on plans for an LNG terminal and future energy hub to be built at Viva’s oil refinery in Geelong

• If the project goes ahead it could help underpin the future of the refinery, which employs about 700 people but has faced significant financial difficulties”

Meanwhile, no one at Viva Energy appears to care much about the measurable fact that in Australia, November’s maximums came in at 2.9˚C above the 1961-90 average, or that a new report suggests 2020 is on track to be among the top three hottest years on record.

One major contributor to the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, which results in rising temperatures, is the use of fossil fuels. How is it even possible that the executives at Viva and their investors show so little care about that their fossil fuel products represent an escalating threat to life on our entire planet?

A comprehensive report released by the World Meteorological Organisation revealed the global mean temperature was about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1850 to 1900) between January and October 2020. The data places 2020 in second place for the title of hottest year on record, following 2016 and ahead of 2019.

A consortium of researchers led by the Stockholm Environment Institute have calculated that to meet the temperature targets set in the Paris accord, “the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2020 and 2030. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.” Their UN-backed report urges the world to decrease production of coal, oil and gas by 6 per cent per year this decade, if we are to avert “catastrophic” global temperature rise. Yet the report finds that the “production gap” remains large: countries plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with a 1.5-degree Celsius temperature limit.

Denmark, on the contrary, cut its energy-related CO2 emissions by more than 9 per cent in 2019 compared to the year before – mainly due to a lower consumption of fossil fuels, the country’s annual “Energy Statistics” show. Consumption of coal in Denmark dropped by whopping 44 per cent. Conversely, renewable energy consumption increased by 4.9 per cent. More than two thirds of Danish electricity consumption is now covered by renewable sources.

Just yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international scientists released the 2020 Arctic Report Card, and their diagnosis was predictably grim, confirming that the Arctic is continuing its transformation, at an alarming rate, to a warmer and less-frozen region, a fact with enormous consequences for the rest of the planet. More in Inside Climate News

The American author Bill McKibben described in his weekly newsletter precisely where we are at. “We’ve already put so much carbon into the air,” he wrote.

Viva Energy and the company’s investors pretend to be blind to all of this, and are seemingly in denial about the way consumers and businesses inevitably will be responding to this slowly developing catastrophe in the coming years: by turning off gas and petrol.

Pushing ahead with irresponsible and shortsighted plans to build a new climate-wrecking gas terminal is for some strange – or maybe not so strange – reason supported by the local newspaper Geelong Advertiser, heavily spruiking Viva’s gas “dream”. The paper has been publishing one article after anoter with headlines such as “Bay gas dream growing”.

“A plan to create a floating gas processing plant at the Geelong refinery is powering forward, with Viva Energy signing two international consortiums to join the project. The deals are expected to help fast-track the gas project announced in June while giving Viva Energy additional scope to develop a multipronged energy hub at the battling Corio refinery. Viva Energy will now start work on detailed engineering design work for the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal at Refinery Pier and has put the floating storage regasification unit to tender,” wrote Geelong Advertiser.

Viva CEO Scott Wyatt told the newspaper that the gas project was on track for a final investment decision by the middle of 2022 with a view to having gas in the market by 2024 in time to meet forecast domestic gas shortfalls.

“The only things that Viva’s proposed floating methane terminal will achieve are the termination of Gelong’s aspirations as a UNESCO City of Design and the community’s vision for a clever and creative future! The demand for gas is falling and this terminal would become a redundant blight on our beautiful bay and city.”
~ John

“Is it just me – or is the PARIS AGREEMENT just not going to be enough??? 30 years is a bloody long time to keep destroying the earth as we know it!! For those who ARE doing their best to get the job done way earlier, keep up the good work.”
~ Erik Thorup

The Climate Planet film is a scientific “tour-de-force” in an easily accessible and engaging format. Going back to the very beginnings of the creation of our planet, the film shows how our climate relies on a complex balance. A balance that humans are now effectively upsetting.

From PPM concentrations, Keeling curves, gulf streams, methane gasses, PH values, IPCC and the Rio convention, the film is a condensed encyclopedia into all you need to know about our climate and what it takes to help stabilize it.

The film is mainly intended for information and educational purposes. To make it easier for teachers, students, or others to integrate the film into their curriculums, the film has been divided into 16 chapters.

→

The Climate Planet film on YouTube

Denmark set to end all new oil and gas extraction in the North Sea by 2050
As part of Denmark’s ambitious plan to become independent of fossil fuels by 2050, the Danish government has agreed to cancel its ongoing 8th licensing round and all future rounds to extract oil and gas. The deal also establishes a final phase-out date of fossil extraction by 2050 and lays out plans for a just transition of impacted workers. 
Read more

Grattan Report release:

Climate change and health: preparing for the next disaster

Australia is getting hotter, and that is harming Australians’ health, according to a new Grattan Institute report.
Climate change and health: preparing for the next disaster warns that last summer’s devastating bushfires are a portent of things to come as global warming increases the severity and frequency of natural disasters in Australia.
Thirty-three people were killed directly by the 2019-20 bushfires. Thousands lost their homes or their livelihoods. Those who fought the fires, or who live in hard-hit areas, will suffer the mental health consequences for decades to come.
Millions of Australians, including in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, were affected by bushfire smoke. The smoke alone caused more than 400 additional deaths and sent thousands of people to hospital emergency departments with respiratory and heart problems.
Australia is already about 1.5 degrees warmer than it was a hundred years ago. We’ve just recorded our hottest November. And there is worse to come.
Climate change will cause harsher heatwaves and more severe storms. In the far north of Australia, cyclones will be more intense, causing floods that will destroy homes, businesses, and public buildings. Further south, droughts will be longer, creating still more hardship for farmers and regional towns and cities.
The health sector must adapt to the reality of a warming Australia.
It must develop plans and protocols to minimise the harm caused by climate disasters. It must ensure people can continue to get healthcare services and medications when disaster strikes. And it must provide mental health support, not just during a crisis but for decades after.
Although we are too late to prevent climate change from harming our health, we can act now to prevent greater damage. The health sector should set an example by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to help minimise further damage. State and territory public health sectors should have net-zero emissions plans in place by the end of 2023.
For health departments, hospitals, and local healthcare networks, responding to climate change is not an optional extra, it is core business.
Climate change is damaging Australians’ health and wellbeing right now, and things are only going to get worse. Unfortunately, the black summer of 2019-20 won’t be a one-off.
In 2020, Australia listened to the science and acted on the health advice to prevent some of the catastrophic health consequences of COVID-19. Now we must do it again.

Read the report

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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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Live-streaming on pause


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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One comment

  1. Great Sustanable Hour. Encourage you to refer to Fossil Gas – that’s what Tim Forcey got me doing. 🙂 Jim

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