The green wave

The Sustainable Hour no. 410 | Podcast notes

Today in The Sustainable Hour we address this important question, which we have received from several listeners: “Who do I vote for if I’m climate-concerned?”

While mainstream journalists are reinforcing business-as-usual labelling this election the ‘Cost of Living Election’, today’s Sustainable Hour reinforces the importance of making the 21 May federal election ‘The Climate Election’.

Our guest in The Sustainable Hour on 4 May 2022 is Newcastle surgeon Dr Robert Eisenberg. We had Robert on in August last year talking about his pet project called Vote Earth Now – a website devoted to informing climate-concerned voters on how their candidates rate on their attitudes to the climate emergency we face.

Rob takes us through how the website has evolved into a database and an election guide with climate-relevant rankings of every single candidate in every federal electorate – including the Senate candidates as well.

“This is the one thing all of us can do,” says Rob: “Vote correctly” – and by that he also means: according to the climate science.

We learn how Rob has managed to get a very talented and committed team together to develop this invaluable resource. Rob also talks about how they are gaining traction all over the country. This is the sort of thing our mainstream journalists should be writing about, but in the absence of this, we feel duty bound to promote Vote Earth Now at every possible opportunity.

Following Rob we have our favourite satirists Juice Media with the last of their second series of ‘Honest Government Ads’. As always our current government, especially our Prime Minister, bears the the brunt of their incredibly sharp wit as they expose what they see as deliberate measures brought in to disadvantage ‘ordinary Australians’.

We discuss who to vote for in our local electorates, Corio and Corangamite, especially asking: who can a climate-concerned Liberal-National supporter vote for? The ‘teal independents’ and ‘Voices of’ candidates provide the answer to that question, where they are standing. However no ‘teal independents’ are standing in Corio or Corangamite, leaving ‘blue segment’ voters with the choice between the Greens or the Animal Justice Party as options for a climate-friendly vote for the House of Representatives candidates. The Senate-voting on the ballot card provides several climate-friendly options, such as putting the Fusion party first. More below.

To avert climate catastrophe, the main emitters must drastically cut emissions starting THIS YEAR.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations general-secretary

United Nations leader Antonio Guterres starts us off today followed by comments from a couple of green politicians decrying our current government’s lack of real action on the climate emergency we face.

We also hear short statements from Marine Young, interviewed in ABC The Drum, and Greens Senator Janet Rice talking in Parliament about the climate emergency.

“The IPCC report is a file of shame cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world.”
~ Antonio Guterres, United Nations general-secretary

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins this week in the United States where a new three-part documentary series titled ‘The Power of Big Oil’, is currently airing on PBS Frontline. It’s already been sold to the BBC – but unlikely to air here in Australia – and it’s causing major friction and court actions around climate change. The series outlines the collusion between the big oil companies and US tobacco industry to share how to dispute proven science. It goes back to 2015 when they found documents showing that Exxon scientists met with Tobacco companies to learn how to adapt their strategies. The documentary follows a key scientist currently disputing climate change who had previously received $45 million from tobacco companies for creating research that cast doubt on smoking’s health impacts. In the wake of the series, US State governments in New York and Massachusetts are now suing ExxonMobil for its climate lies and other jurisdictions throughout the US have filed similar lawsuits.

Also in the US, Wynn Bruce, a 50-year-old climate activist from Colorado, set himself on fire outside of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC. This happened last week on Earth Day, as a protest against the United States’ lack of action on climate change. He died from the injuries sustained.

At the United Nations, the latest findings show that the pace of what are termed “natural disasters’ is accelerating due to climate change and “inadequate risk management,” and that by 2030, the world is predicted to experience 560 disasters a year. That’s almost two a day.

Also at the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ new non-government climate action group met for the first time under the chair of former Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna. Its initial task, set by the Secretary-General, is to target and call out ‘greenwashing’ by world businesses, name and shame and put them on the right track.

Then to India where the nation is experiencing an unrelenting heatwave with record-high temperatures that have scorched throughout their country. They recorded the warmest February and March on record, and their records go back 122 years. The reporting notes dryly say ‘India is experiencing the climate emergency in real-time.’

Finally: our favourites the Forest Green Rovers, the world’s only vegan carbon-neutral football club, at the weekend played Harrogate Town in its last home game of the season. The match was sold out a week ahead – but the green Rovers lost 1 – 3. They’re now second on the ladder 1 point behind Exeter City, but are certain of promotion to the English Division One because the Top 2 teams automatically go up. They can still win the championship with one more game to go against Mansfield Town Sunday 8 May 2022.

We’ll be back next week imploring our listeners to #VoteTheDifference.

“The thing is that the ONE thing that is so powerful, and that all of us can do when we are feeling disempowered in the face of this climate catastrophe, is… vote correctly.”
~ Dr Rob Eisenberg, Vote Earth Now founder

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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 disrespectful and unfair is that?

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How to vote for the Senate

This how to vote card is for Victoria.

Here’s the cards for New South WalesTasmaniaSouth AustraliaWestern Australia

The minimum number is 12 below the line. But for the most effective vote you need to number ALL the not so bad candidates and parties. It’s easy to make a mistake if you are trying to number 50 or so (which is what you would need to do to number all the good and ‘less bad’ options). Thirteen (or more) above the line is by far an easier option for an effective Senate vote.
ARRCC: “Being spiritual people and #VoteClimate scorecard”

→ Brisbane Times – 3 May 2022:
Voters believe they’re doing their bit on climate but want government to do more
“About half the electorate is willing to pay a personal cost to reduce carbon emissions, according to an exclusive survey conducted when Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese argued last week over the economic impact of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”
Sydney Morning Herald poll:
Voters want the government to do more to tackle climate change
The majority of Australians believe they are personally playing their part in combatting climate change, but many say governments and businesses should be doing more. Amid an ongoing election fight over the cost of reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Herald’s Resolve Political Monitor reveals 73 per cent of voters surveyed think they are doing their fair share. Only 13 per cent say they are doing less than their fair share and another 13 per cent are unsure.

Yet voters had less faith in other sectors. Only 39 per cent said the mining industry was doing its part and 43 per cent said business was doing enough. Asked about the federal government, voters were evenly split: 42 per cent said it was doing its fair share and 42 per cent said it was not, with 16 per cent unsure. Labor’s policy to force big emitters to reduce emissions or buy carbon credits – which the Coalition has labelled a carbon tax – was backed by 45 per cent of voters and rejected by 30 per cent, while 25 per cent were undecided. 

The survey also shows 50 per cent of voters would be willing to accept a personal cost in order to fight climate change. But a new study released today by the Climate Council is bad news for the 40 per cent of voters who are unwilling to accept a personal cost – it shows one in 25 properties in Australia will be effectively uninsurable by 2030 due to extreme weather caused by climate change. On a brighter note, another research paper has found the closure of the world’s largest woodchip mill in Tasmania 11 years ago led the state to become one of the world’s first carbon-negative jurisdictions.

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Climate risk map of Australia

Want to find out how climate change will impact homes in your area? Check out Climate Council’s new, interactive Climate Risk Map of Australia, then use their quick, easy tool to share it with your federal candidates.

The Climate Council wrote in their newsletter on 4 May 2022:

“Did you know that by 2030, one in every 25 Australian homes will be effectively uninsurable, due to rising risks of extreme weather and climate change? (1)

Australian homes are highly vulnerable to climate impacts. And it’s costing us: general insurers in Australia paid out $5.47 billion from more than 300,000 claims related to the bushfires, floods and hailstorms in the 2019-20 summer (2), while insurance claims related to the 2022 flooding emergency are now estimated at $3.35 billion – making it Australia’s costliest flood ever (3).

The decisions made in the next term of the Federal Government will influence how dangerous our world becomes. 

That’s why the Climate Council has launched a new, interactive Climate Risk Map of Australia, which shows the risk of climate-fuelled extreme weather events, such as bushfires and floods, to properties in electorates, local government areas (LGAs), and suburbs all around the country. And we need your help to get this information in front of candidates in the next federal election.

Is your suburb at risk? Click here to look up your address, then use our simple tool to contact your federal candidates and push them to adopt strong climate policies to get emissions plummeting this decade.

Check out the map – then send it to your federal candidates

Our map makes data about climate risks to properties in Australia from extreme weather publicly and freely available (4). This is based on the probability of property damage from various hazards, such as riverine flooding, coastal inundation and bushfires.

You can search the map by location, such as your suburb, and toggle between emissions reduction scenarios (5) and different timeframes, to understand just how critical it is that we get greenhouse gas emissions plummeting this decade.

We think this information is critically important, and should be accessible to everyone. By making this data publicly and freely available in a visual, interactive way, our aim is to deepen understanding among politicians of all persuasions, the public, and the media – about the link between climate change and all extreme weather events, and what is at stake. 

Click here to check out the map, then send it to your federal candidates to put the spotlight on climate action into the next election.

No matter who’s in power – Australia needs urgent action on emissions now.
Let’s show current and future elected representatives just how badly we want it.

Nathan Hart
Climate Council

P.S. Check out our latest report ‘Uninsurable Nation: Australia’s most climate-vulnerable places’ to learn more about Australia’s insurability crisis, and the areas most at risk from climate change-related extreme weather events.

(1) Uninsurable Nation: Australia’s most climate-vulnerable places, Climate Council, 3 May 2022
(2) Insurance Catastrophe Resilience Report 2020-21, ICA (Insurance Council of Australia), 2021
(3) ICA confirms recent flood is Australia’s costliest at $3.4 billion, Insurance News, 3 May 2022
(4) Data made available through Climate Valuation.
(5) The map allows you to explore extreme weather impacts under three different emissions scenarios. 
Low: This scenario shows extreme weather impacts under a scenario of much stronger global emissions reductions than we are currently seeing. This scenario would likely limit the global average temperature rise to around 1.8ºC in 2100. (The available data did not allow us to model a scenario that sees the global average temperature rise limited to 1.5ºC.) Medium: This scenario shows extreme weather impacts under a scenario in which all countries implement their existing emission reduction policies, leading to a likely global average temperature rise of around 2.7ºC by 2100. High: This scenario shows extreme weather impacts in a high emissions scenario, in which the world fails categorically to address the climate crisis. It corresponds with a likely temperature range of around 4.4ºC by 2100. These scenarios are based on ‘Representative Concentration Pathways’ or ‘RCPs’ used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The low, medium and high scenarios correspond with RCP 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5 respectively.

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Inspiring stories from April 

\\\ Other important news

Excerpt from Better Futures Australia‘s newsletter

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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 running petitions where we encourage you to add your name

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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet and broadcasted on FM airwaves in the Geelong region every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

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