Politics and activism on and off line

Guests and speakers in The Sustainable Hour no 360 on 28 April 2021:

[08:00 – 16:00] Adrian Whitehead from the Climate Emergency Action Alliance and voteplanet.net.
[17:25 – 35:45] and [42:50 – 45:18] Glenn Todd and Hayley Sestokis, founders of Action Skills.
[37:27 – 42:45] Ian Dunlop, an Australian engineer, writer, energy expert and former coal executive, speaking at the Geelong community event last week about a proposed gas terminal.
[45:25 – 49:20] New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern‘s speaking at Joe Biden’s Climate Leaders’ Summit.

In the tunnel this week we firstly have Adrian Whitehead, the founder of the political party Save the Planet which since has merged with the One Planet party and taken the new name Climate Emergency Action Alliance. We learn what they will campaign on – definitely no greenwashing with this determined party: telling it like it is, both in terms of the climate crisis we face plus the solutions we have to deal with it.

As a perfect complement to Adrian, we hear from Glenn Todd and Hayley Sestokas from the newly formed Action Skills team. Both Glenn and Hayley are very enthusiastic about the need for activists to engage with digital media to expand their reach, harnessing the power of technology with the aim of empowering people to create change.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week is dominated by the outcome from last weekend’s Climate Leaders’ Summit, with Colin listing the countries which have pledged to increase their targets and efforts, starting with the US and Europe and including Japan, Brazil and Canada. Those significantly not pledging to advance were three – Russia, Australia and India – with India forgiven for its present precarious Covid situation. This was followed by the news that US president Biden is considering a ‘carbon border tariff’ – essentially a tax on high-emitting nations – a move similar to the EU. A very thinly veiled warning yet again to countries who aren’t pulling their weight.

Find links and video recordings in the notes below on this page.

We wish both the digital activist team and Adrian’s political party all the best as we tackle the climate emergency head on. We all share the same atmosphere, so we all need to protect it together. Until we return next, we hope you all find a way to join us in the quest for a safer, more just, inclusive and healthy world: Viva la revolución climática!

“Is it enough? No. But it is the best we can do, and it is something we can work on.”
~ John Kerry, new climate czar of the United States

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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 the climate emergency 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’re fast approaching the point of no return on climate change. We must pressure governments and financial institutions to do what is right.”
~ Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, Greenfaith.org

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→ Adrian Whitehead on Twitter

→ Climate Emergency Action Alliance Party on Twitter

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The Geelong Energy Futures Forum – #RenewablesNotGas:

Geelong agrees on need to fast track for renewable energy

Attendees at a sold-out forum this week on Geelong’s energy needs were unanimous in calling for an urgent transition to renewable energy sources.

The Geelong Energy Futures Forum was held in response to proposals to build floating gas terminals in the Geelong area.

Viva Energy and Dutch company Vopak, base their proposals for terminals in Corio Bay and nearby Avalon Beach on a supposed shortfall in gas supplies for Victoria.

State Government initiatives to replace old gas heaters with more efficient reverse cycle electric heaters, together with the rapid uptake of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power raise questions about whether a gas import terminal will be required.

Respondents to a survey held after the Forum were also 100 percent behind wanting all levels of government to prioritise the transition to renewable energy sources.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio, who opened the forum, said “renewable energy is the bedrock of our move to decarbonise Victoria.”

Evidence of this is the growth in renewable energy output and jobs in the renewable energy sector she said. Last year 30 percent of all such jobs nationally were in Victoria. The Big Battery to be commissioned by year-end in the Moorabool Valley near Geelong will be the largest renewables battery in the Southern Hemisphere.

As backdrop to the Minister’s comments and those of other speakers, independent energy consultant Ian Dunlop said that a 1.5 degree C global temperature rise will occur before 2030, and a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is totally inadequate.

“We have the technology and solutions (to move to renewable energy) which now offer enormous social and economic benefits,” he said.

Simon Holmes a Court, senior advisor at Energy Transition Hub, Melbourne University recommended a two-step plan which called for the electrification of everything followed by the decarbonisation of the generation of electricity. This would account for 80 percent of the country’s present emissions which, since 1990 have increased by 40 percent.

Addressing concerns about the impact on jobs of a move to renewable energy in Geelong, Ms Imogen Jubb of Beyond Zero Emissions drew on data from 130 member communities across Australia, to say that 1.8 million jobs would be needed in the foreseeable future to enable a transition to renewable energy. 

She said between 16000 and 20000 jobs would be created in the Geelong region in the transition to clean energy.

Additionally households can save between 50 and 80 percent of their energy costs be retrofitting home s to improve energy efficiency (annual saving of $1500-$2480 per household), whilst also creating local jobs to undertake this work.  This money can then be spent in the wider economy, boosting economic activity.

Colin Long of the Victorian Trades Hall Council called on employers not to pretend to workers that there was a future in fossil fuels and to engage with workers in the transition process to renewables.

On the ground 19 percent of Geelong dwellings now have solar and of these about 25 percent also have batteries said Dan Cowell of Mondo Energy. These domestic initiatives are complemented in the corporate world by Deakin University with its 7 megawatt solar farm and Barwon Water’s target of 100 percent renewables. 

There was consensus among the Forum speakers that there were many renewable energy initiatives underway but that they needed to be part of a larger plan.

Speaking for the panellists Simon Holmes a Court said “it’s time for the community to get political about the move to renewable energy.”

→ Live video streaming of the event: on Facebook

→ Source of this article: Mirage News

→ Mitchell’s Front Page on 94.7 The Pulse – 26 April 2021:
The Geelong Energy Futures Forum (audio 6:09 min)
Spokesperson for Geelong Sustainability Sally Fisher spoke to the program about the group’s recent Geelong Energy Futures Forum.

→ Mitchell’s Front Page on 94.7 The Pulse – 25 April 2021:
Climate Change Commentator Ian Dunlop (audio 9:38 min)
Climate Change CommenIan Dunlop joined the program ahead of the Geelong Sustainability Forum. His will speak on the issues around energy transition.


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Frightening report from meteorologists

“This is a frightening report. It needs to be read by all leaders and decision-makers in the world. This report shows that 2020 was also another unprecedented year of extreme weather and climate disasters. The cause is clear. Anthropogenic climate change — climate disruption caused by human activities, human decisions and human folly.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General at the launch of WMO’s report on the State of the Global Climate 2020 

Carbon emissions are forecast to soar in 2021 by the second highest rate in history. This happens at a time when the climate has never been worse off – and it goes downhill faster than ever. 

The streak of miserable climate records continued last year, and this year, emissions are set to rise, almost as fast as covid-19 caused them to fall. The number of hurricanes also broke the record last year.

For the climate and nature, there is no encouragement to be found in recent reports. Admittedly, CO2 emissions fell by 5.8 percent last year, a historically large drop caused by the covid pandemic, but the World Meteorological Organization WMO lists a horror cabinet for the climate in its annual report.

The pandemic called every aspect of our lives into question, and climate change is set to do the same. The choices societies make starting now will determine whether climatisation — defined as “the process by which climate change will transform society” — leads to a clean energy future and greater resilience or to a world in which human suffering, inequality, conflict, and the loss of plant and animal species are all amplified.

→ Time – 15 April 2021:
The Pandemic Remade Every Corner of Society. Now It’s the Climate’s Turn

“This is shocking and very disturbing. On the one hand, governments today are saying climate change is their priority. But on the other hand, we are seeing the second biggest emissions rise in history. It is really disappointing.”
~ Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency

“Government COVID recovery packages have poured far more support into fossil fuels than renewable energy, even though renewables create more jobs and are usually less costly. Major banks have provided runaway funding for new fossil fuel infrastructure and deforestation. These misguided commitments, this misuse of precious resources, is morally bankrupt.This is our collective moment of truth.”
~ Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, Greenfaith.org

“Everyone needs to be educated on climate change because climate change and our response to it is going to change the world over the next 25 years as much as the Internet did in the last 25 years.”
~ Joe Romm, American climate news editor

Climate clock

Climate Clock — a multimedia experience by activist and musician David Usher and Concordia researcher Damon Matthews

“We have been given a very short window of opportunity by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — that’s why the Climate Clock is so important. The clock is ticking and we need to be reminded of how little time we have left to act.” 
~ David Suzuki, Canadian environmentalist

→ The Guardian – 20 April 2021:
Carbon emissions to soar in 2021 by second highest rate in history
“Global economies forecast to pour stimulus money into fossil fuels as part of Covid recovery.”

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Climate Leaders’ Summit

Hosted by American president Joe Biden

Jacinda ArdernPope Francis – Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

The Telegraph’s 7 hour excerpt:

Reuters’ 4 hours excerpt:

President Biden’s climate summit last week brought a host of new climate action commitments from world leaders. “The commitments we make must be real. I know we can do this,” Biden told the 40 attending leaders.

Charlie Prell, Chair of Farmers for Climate Action, wrote:

“Australia’s inaction on climate change hit the world stage last week at US President Joe Biden’s virtual Global Climate Summit. 

The US plans to halve emissions on 2005 levels by 2030, while the European Union is aiming for a reduction of 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2035. The most striking part of our contribution to the Summit’s agenda? Our general failure to commit to the emissions reductions the world, not to mention our economy, so clearly needs. 

What’s incredibly clear is that Australia needs to deliver a credible target of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the very least, or we risk being stuck in a global backwater. 

What the federal government seems to be missing is that farmers and rural Australians are in the box seat to benefit from the global transition to net zero, but we’ll lose this position if we don’t stand up and act. 

The future of Australia’s farming communities rests on the decisions we make now: wasting time pitting urban and regional communities against one another is doing none of us any favours. We’re all in this together!

We need a net zero emissions target and strong interim targets for 2030, which will save us money and also help avert catastrophic climate change.”

– US climate target:   50% on 2005 levels by 2030

– UK target: 78% on 1990 levels by 2035

– South Korea: end state-funding of coal projects, ban on overseas coal funding and further plans on its climate target update

– Japan: new UN climate target: reduce emissions by 46%

– Canada: raised its fossil fuel emissions reduction target from 30 to 40%

– EU: details on new climate law and finance taxonomy

– China: made an economic case for fast climate action

– Australia: a poor net zero target and something dubious on CCS / hydrogen

President Biden made a commitment to cut US emissions in half by 2030. That’s not good enough. According to Climate Action Tracker, that would put the US – historically the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – on pass to not only miss the 1.5°C goal enshrined in Paris, but 2°C as well. The scale of action we need to meet this moment is at least five times larger than Biden’s climate plan. He must do more.

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The Climate Emergency Unit in Canada

The Climate Emergency Unit is a project of the David Suzuki Institute, which works with all sectors to find solutions to the climate crisis. They seek to move governments and leaders in Canada into true climate emergency mode, pressing them to adopt ambitious policies that align with what science says must be done:

  • Engaging with leaders from all levels of civil society to develop bold climate emergency plans.
  • Convening organisations that want to work together on a climate emergency agenda.
  • Training others in how to build for genuine climate emergency solutions.
  • Promoting the need for ambitious climate emergency solutions across Canada.

“The time is short. The task is great. Join us in pressing our leaders into service.”

→ Learn more about the Climate Emergency Unit’s work in Canada on www.climateemergencyunit.ca.

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ABC 7.30

“This is a climate damn emergency”

Part 1: Climate Emergency: Australia on the frontline of climate change

Part 2: Climate Emergency: How disasters could become serious national security challenges

Part 3: Climate Emergency: Is carbon neutrality an economic reality?

Part 4: Climate Emergency: Mounting global pressure on Australia to do more

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→ Mitchell’s Front Page on 94.7 The Pulse – 25 April 2021:
How the planet reacted to lockdown (audio 7:06 min)
Jaynie Morris discusses David Attenborough’s new documentary ‘The Year Earth Changed’. “David Attenborough’s new documentary ‘The Year Earth Changed’ highlights lockdown’s positive effect on the natural world,” she said. “The question now is will we learn from the experience?”

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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.


8,400 Australians have sent an email to AGL’s new acting CEO Graeme Hunt via Greenpeace’s website, asking him to listen to the scientists: Coal must be gone by 2030.


List of petitions where you can 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 www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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