Gas: no longer needed

The Sustainable Hour no. 424 | Podcast notes

Our guest in The Sustainable Hour on 10 August 2022 is Freja Leonard, an eager and skilled ‘No More Gas’ campaigner from Friends of The Earth Naarm/Melbourne.

Freja explains why we need to get off gas very quickly now. She is scathing in her condemnation of gas companies who are trying to convince us that we need to use gas as we transition away from coal. The proposed toxic floating gashub in Corio Bay doesn’t escape her scrutiny on a number of fronts. She also covers the Victorian State Government’s “Gas Substitution Roadmap”, giving both its pro’s and con’s.

Freja instigates an interesting discussion around the urgency of the situation. She is very knowledgeable on this topic and makes the issue of whether getting off gas or not into a no-brainer, no matter how you look at it: health, economic and safety issues are addressed. Freja confirms what we have been talking about for a long time in The Sustainable Hour: we have to transition away from fossil fuels – and strangely, the only thing in the way for doing this is the political will – AND as for hydrogen: “Don’t!”, Freja says, because it is just another example of an industry trying to prolong their demise.

Freya is glowing in her praise of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) and 24 of their member councils who recently lodged a a planning scheme with the State Government seeking to introduce a planning policy that elevates sustainability sustainability requirements for new buildings and encourages a move towards net zero carbon development.

→ For more information about the No More Gas campaign, go to:

→ Tabled documents for the inquiry committee are available on Engage Victoria

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Mik Aidt start today’s show with yet another plea from the UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who warns that humanity faces ‘collective suicide’ over the climate crisis. Guterres’ one-minute speech, which he delivered at the 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue conference, can be found here:

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For the rest of the show we continue to focus on gas via presentations to the committee of enquiry into Viva Energy’s proposed floating gashub’s Environmental Effects Statement. We play an excerpt of the one hour long presentation by Simon Reeves from Norlane Community Initiatives as well as Geelong Renewables Not Gas campaign leader Sal Fisher‘s and Year 12 student Lauren Dillon’s contributions.

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Songs we played today: “Gasoline, Gasoline” and Baba Brinkman sings about ‘Solar panels on my Tesla’.

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Our first stopover in Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week is Fiji with news of the recent Pacific Island Forum. There, a group of former heads of state and ministers called ‘The Pacific Elders’ emerged. They released a report aimed at the biggest emitters that left no doubt as to what they needed to do for their islands to live secure and safe lives.

We then zoom to Helsinki where they have unveiled a revolutionary energy storage battery that has a very common substance as the main ingredient. It’s only early days for this process. So far the results are promising.

Over to China where there’s an online campaign initiated by youth aimed at their contemporaries to reduce their waste. This campaign has set very ambitious targets.

Finally for today Colin takes us to Singapore where they are making a beer using water is the result of an usual processin the brewery’s quest for sustainable products.

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That’s all we could fit into this week’s show. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more inspirational guests as we continue to ask you, our listeners, to find a way to join the climate revolution and be active participants in the solutions that are available to us. Be the difference – get off gas.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how a really heavy gas-using jurisdiction can leave it behind and embrace renewables. If we are able to make that point in Victoria where our houses are plumbed to gas – we have gas central heating, gas stoves, gas hot water – if we are able to make these really revolutionary changes to the way we use energy in Victoria, we are signalling to our export countries that they don’t need to use it either. They don’t need to buy our gas, and they can also use renewables…”
~ Freja Leonard, ‘No More Gas’ lead at Friends of the Earth Naarm / Melbourne

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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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26 July 2022

Freja Leonard wrote in a Friends of the Earth newsletter:

The hearings for the Viva Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee concluded on 5 August following seven weeks of input from various concerned individuals, businesses, energy experts and stakeholder groups. 

Friends of the Earth Melbourne submitted to the state parliamentary inquiry (submission 1889) and I presented to the hearings (from 1:15ish) raising concerns about the health of Corio Bay including recently seeded fisheries, community amenity, proximity of the FSRU to populated areas, the decline of gas demand, and climate impacts, amongst other issues.

With the overwhelming majority speaking out against the floating storage and regasification unit proposed for Corio Bay, we wait to see whether the Advisory Committee and panel recommend for or against the project and what conditions they might put forward for approval. We anticipate their report by the end of the month so will be waiting with bated breath.

We are also preparing to fight back against the next (!) floating gas import terminal project proposed by Vopak for location in Port Phillip Bay near Avalon.

Sign the parliamentary petition by Geelong Renewables Not Gas opposing the project here (petition closes 1/9).

No More Gas News – July 2022

By Liz Wade, No More Gas, Friends of the Earth Melbourne
The Energy crisis, the State of the Environment Report released, the Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap published and Parliamentary hearings into the Viva Floating Gas Terminals – and that’s all just in the last month! It feels like a powerful moment, a turning of the tide against gas, so there’s no better time for us all to put our shoulders to the wheel and give it that extra push into a gas free Victoria. Because you can be sure that the gas industry are pushing back as hard as they can to postpone the inevitable day when they are consigned – finally – to the dustbin of history. So grab yourself a cuppa, check out how you can get in amongst it and help us move collectively towards a cleaner, smarter future with No More Gas!  

When the Victorian Government said they were seeking public consultation on a gas substitution roadmap it was an impressive moment. The VGSR frames the problems of gas in a way that no state, territory or federal government has before. It begins to outline some steps in the right direction. But it falls short of delivering a critically needed fully comprehensive and solid solution. Read more here  

The Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap is an important first step in recognising the climate and economic problems with gas. The only problem is that it stops short of fully charting the path into a future without gas for Victoria. If we want to meet our emissions reductions targets we need stronger commitments. Please send an email to the Environment, Resources and Planning Ministers – and the Premier – calling for practical steps to deliver a real pathway out of Victoria’s heavy gas use. Send email now  

The past fortnight has seen the launch of:
The Gas Substitution Roadmap, which can be understood to be the Victorian Labor Government’s policy on gas into the next Parliament
The Liberal Party gas policy
The Victorian Greens gas policy
Clearly gas is shaping up to be a hot topic for this state election.

Check out Friends of the Earth’s response to the Liberal Party Climate and Energy Policy, and our media release on the Gas Substitution Roadmap with our own Freja Leonard quoted here in The Age.We will soon be releasing our own Community Gas Retirement Roadmap. If you like what we’re doing please consider making a donation to support our work in resisting any plans by state politicians to keep gas in our energy system.  

Friends of the Earth Australia have launched the Climate and Energy Policy Platform 2022, noting that this was a climate election which saw an unprecedented electoral result for candidates with strong climate policies. Click here to read the top 5 priorities of FOEA and specific policy proposals.
Friends of the Earth Australia are calling on the Albanese government to task the restored Climate Change Authority with recommending a 2030 climate target that aligns with the most up-to-date climate science. You can add your name to the call and email the PM and key ministers to listen to the science and set deeper targets.
Email the PM  

In late breaking good news, today 24 Councils have lodged a planning scheme amendment with the Planning Minister, “seeking to introduce planning policy that elevates sustainability requirements for new buildings and encourages a move towards net zero carbon development.” See more on the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) website.  

Friends of the Earth runs on on the Collective energy of passionate people keen to do what they can to make change for good happen for people and our planet. Everyone’s input is valued, and everyone is supported to gain skills along the way, so there is a way for anyone to get involved. Register your interest in getting amongst the passionate work of our No More Gas Collective by filling out this survey here.

You can let us know your interests and skills, tell us what you’d like to learn more about and help boost our capacity to push back against the might of the gas industry. The survey should only take about 5 minutes and we very much appreciate any time you might have to pitch into our efforts towards No More Gas! 🙂
Fill in the survey  

Viva Floating Gas Terminal Inquiry public hearings
Hearings have been underway since 20 June into the integrity of the EES and overall proposal for a floating gas terminal in Corio Bay. Myriad concerns have been raised and serious questions levelled about the robustness of the EES submitted by Viva for this project. Thanks to our supporters who wrote submissions.On Tuesday 26 July at 11:30am No More Gas campaign coordinator Freja Leonard will represent Friends of the Earth’s concerns about the Viva gas terminal. Feel free to tune in! 

United Climate Rally – 1pm 30 July at the State Library
Europe, the UK and the US are experiencing unprecedented heatwaves. Parts of NSW and Queensland have been smashed repeatedly by record flooding. Alaska has experienced more than 400 forest fires since April and the Tundra is burning. We are in a climate emergency while our new Federal Government refuses to shut the door on over 100 fossil fuel projects nationally that combined could contribute around 5% of global industrial emissions.A coalition of groups including Friends of the Earth, School Strike for Climate and Victorian Forest Alliance are pulling together for this landmark rally. It will be a sunny day (we think) No More Gas convenor Freja Leonard will be amongst the speakers and the rally will end with live music – see you there! Facebook event here for RSVPs and sharing

OMG HOW CAN I HELP you might be asking? There’s a request for Marshalls to keep things on track on the day so please click here if this sounds like you.  

Book Club – Climate Leviathan
Need some big picture and thought-provoking reading on climate politics? You are welcome to read Climate Leviathan with the NIBS Book Club, co-sponsored by our own No More Gas Collective. We have members in common! Book club meets every second Friday at the New International Book Shop, Trades Hall, Melbourne and the likely starting date for Climate Leviathan is 12th August. For more information about the book club, and to join, please email volunteer book club coordinator Lucy at or see more info on the NIBS website. For the book, contact the bookshop or ask Lucy. NIBS is non-profit with 50+ volunteers.  

We are delighted to share that the No More Gas campaign has been successful in securing a grant from the good voting membership of CoPower, not for profit community owned energy retailer. This will help us push our alternative roadmap document out into the community and ramp up gas as a primary state election issue (as well as telling the politicians what we need to be doing to help Victoria off gas).
Big thanks to CoPower for the support, and to the members who voted for our work. We very much appreciate all the support we have to continue to do this work! Get in touch any time by email or on 0402 553 181 if you fancy a gasbag. We’d love to hear from you. Take care,
Liz Wade and the No More Gas Collective
Support our work to boost our No More Gas efforts

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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.


No gas bailouts  | Australia
Stop our public money being used to bail out polluting oil and gas companies! 

100% Renewables by 2030, No More Gas
| Friends of the Earth Melbourne
Big energy companies are fuelling the climate crisis, driving up power prices for profit, and threatening communities with plans for new gas extraction.


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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