Do we deserve this?

The Sustainable Hour no. 439 | Podcast notes

Vote Climate in the Victorian Climate Election

Our guest in The Sustainable Hour no. 439 on 23 November 2022, three days before the Victorian State Election, is ‘Australia’s first climate refugee’ Rod Simpson.

Rod Simpson has been referred to as ‘Australia’s first climate refugee’ after he lost everything as his home and property were completely destroyed near Drake in Northern New South Wales. He speaks of the shouting match from both sides of the climate debate which he feels is getting us nowhere and stopping us from getting real action on climate. “We need to grow up,” Rod says.

Mike Lawrence – who started off The Sustainable Hour together with Mik Aidt in 2013 – returns today to talk about the Victorian election and who a climate-conscious voter should vote for. He has stood as both a Greens and an independent candidate in previous elections. He speaks of his dismay at the current political system as well as his strong belief in the need for political reform. His first recommendation is to vote for a climate-conscious independent candidate, that is if there is one in your electorate.

By far the best outcome for strong climate action at the Victorian election 2022 is a hung parliament with the small Climate Emergency parties and independents in the balance of power in both lower and upper houses. More about the Victorian Climate Election below.

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Weather extremes are playing out across Australia’s east coast. Flooding has devastated entire communities, and now the bushfire-threat is back. Mik kicks us off today with a question this week: Do you think we Australians deserve this? This came out of a discussion he had with a Danish friend about the tragedies unfolding here, where his friend said: “The Australians fully deserve this. Did they really think they could ignore the warnings from climate scientists and just go on consuming [Chinese goods] and digging up and burning coal and gas without at some point having to face the consequences of this behaviour? What Australians are experiencing now is just the beginning, unfortunately. It will keep getting worse, and what is Australia doing to stop it?” This started a spirited chat about whether we do or not. The comments-field below is open for a few days, if you’d like to add your opinion on this question.

On election night in May, Labor’s Penny Wong promised Australia that we now have “a government that will act on climate change”. Shame on her for lying straight out in our faces like that. What we got is a government which proudly has announced that it is throwing $1.6 billion dollars in subsidies after a gas project in the Northern Territories and has more than a hundred other gas and coal mining projects in the pipeline. This is how the government speaks, now that it is elected. In Victoria, at the same time as the Labor government is announcing big investments in renewables, it is also opening up for new drilling for gas. The Labor government speaks with two tongues.

We hear a short excerpt of an interview with Dean and professor Elizabeth Mossop from UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building in ABC’s 4Corners. “It seems crazy to me that we would not take this into account in every decision. Everything has to change, right now,” she told ABC’s viewers.

Towards the end we also play a short statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “We have a choice. Collective action, or collective suicide,” he said when he spoke at the 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue in July.

The music we play: Rod Simpson‘s ‘The Fire Song’ and Julia Stone‘s version of Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’, ending with an excerpt from Missy Higgin‘s ‘The Difference’. We also play a song from the May election which we apologise for not having been able to find the source of.

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Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week begins for the last time at COP27 in Egypt which – as it does every year – went over time and still was unable to come to an agreement. This year most of the debate was about setting up a compensation fund for poorer nations affected by climate change, paid for by rich nations who essentially caused it. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but it essentially had the world arguing for more than two weeks with the rich nations opposing every point.

Front and centre among these was Australia. As Bill McKibben of the New Yorker wryly pointed out, “It’s hard to get an agreement when the polluters have got all the money.” Despite our media concentrating on Pacific Island nations, he named Africa as the best example of the world’s economic gulf. Though it has produced just a tiny percentage of the greenhouse gases now warming the Earth, it is experiencing almost unimaginable floods and droughts.

In South Sudan, for instance, so-called ‘once-in-a-century rains’ fell in 2019 and again in 2020. Then, in August, 2021, with the land saturated even after average rainfall, the White Nile flooded. The Lol River was stopped by the weight of the waters. It began to flow backwards and burst its banks – the worst flooding in 60 years. There were some one million people now permanently displaced by climate change. Meanwhile, a thousand kilometres away, in Somalia, the fifth straight rainy season without much rain is currently underway; scientists are now predicting a sixth and attributing the resulting severe drought to climate change.

That was the main reason for COP27 being dominated by claims for compensation, and it’s likely to be ongoing from here – through COP28 in Dubai up to COP31, which Australia wants to host.

One of the features of the COP conferences is the annual release of the independent ranking of each nation’s climate change efforts by a panel of independent scientists who go under the collective name ‘GermanWatch.’ If you remember, last year’s list didn’t have a nation in the first two positions because the panel didn’t rate any nation’s performance as good enough, so it had no nation in the first two positions and placed Sweden at number three. Australia was ranked close to the bottom at number 60 along with Russia and Saudi Arabia.

This year, given that we’ve elected a new government and they’ve released new climate change policies, Australia has moved up to 55th place between Poland and Malaysia. China stands at 51, with the United States one place behind at 52.

Iran was bottom in 63rd place, with Saudi Arabia at 62 and Kazakhstan 61. At the top, the committee this year again left the first three positions empty, with Denmark earning the best ranking in fourth position, with Sweden (5th), Chile (6th), Morocco (7th) and India (8th).

The United Kingdom is in 11th place while collectively, the European Union sits in 19th spot. Quite clearly, though we have moved up five places, there’s still a very long way for us to go.

In regards to the United Kingdom, The Economist had a report at the weekend detailing how the UK had managed to cut its emissions faster than any other rich nation. In the past two years their emissions are down by 44 per cent. In comparison Germany’s are down by 29 per cent, and the US is up by a slight amount. The UK’s success was achieved essentially by eliminating coal burning from its electricity generation, with now off-shore wind generation handling the nation’s baseload provider. But as The Economist pointed out – this was probably the easiest part. Now the nation has to tackle the less obvious emissions from transport, forestry, land use and agriculture.

Finally, our carbon-free sports team, Forest Green Rovers, drew 1-1 with Oxford United at the weekend. This leaves them still at the bottom of the table with 14 points. However the bottom four clubs all have 14, six points behind the rest of the league.

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That’s it from us for another week. We’ll be back next week with more guests who are making a difference in the work that they do. We continually hope that they help giving you, our listeners, hope and energy to step up the action. We commit to telling the truth about climate as well as shining extra lumens on people who have joined the climate revolution to be the difference.

“What I saw was a glimpse of the future. The firies of 30 or 40 years experience that I hung out with for the next couple of weeks candidly spoke of pissing their pants thinking they were going to die. We don’t have the equipment to put this out, they said. The fire was doing things they’d never seen before. We called it “The Beast” – that aspect of the fire is the norm now, and that aspect is climate change.”
~ Rod Simpson, Australia’s First Climate Refugee, displaced by a raging fire in 2019

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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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Victorian state election


Lara: Labor 19% margin
Bellarine: Labor 11% margin
Geelong: Labor 10% margin
South Barwon: Labor 3% margin
Polwarth: Liberal 2% margin

The Liberals
• Emission reduction target: 50% by 2030 
 and they have committed to putting a billion dollars into hydrogen.
• Net-zero by 2050

recently announced new targets for renewable energy in Victoria’s electricity supply, so when we power our cars and our houses, in 13 years from now, 95% of that electricity will be coming from clean energy sources like solar and wind. (The greens want that to happen five years earlier)
• Emissions reduction target: at least 75% by 2035
• Net-zero by 2045

The Greens 
• 100% renewable energy powering the state by 2030, powering our state fully by solar and wind in 8 years 
• Emissions reduction target: 75% by 2030
• Net-zero by 2035

• The net-zero by 2035 target is matched by all Teal independent candidates.

“In terms of its prominence, Geelong’s had a really flat campaign.”
~ Dr Zareh Ghazarian, politics lecturer at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences

Candidate search on

Independents overview in Geelong region

Lower House candidates:

√ Sarah Hathway, Lara (previously Socialist Alliance)
√ Sarah Fenton, Bellarine (community organiser, business woman)
√ Angela Carr, Geelong (previously Socialist Alliance, community services worker, union delegate)

– Denes C Borsos, Polwarth (antivax suspended doctor)
– Stephen Juhasz, Geelong (previously Australian Federation Party, not committed to timely action)

Upper House candidates in Western Victoria:

√ Storm Hellmuth (got a green tick from the Vote Climate One Team)

The Labor Party is defending two seats, however incumbent Labor MLC Jaala Pulford retired close to the election. The Liberal/National Coalition is defending one seat. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is defending one seat. The Animal Justice Party is defending one seat.

How-to-vote cards
The Greens have set up an all-female team of candidates:

The Greens: How to vote | GeelongBellarineLaraSouth BarwonPolwarth

The Animal Justice Party: How to vote | GeelongBellarineLaraSouth BarwonPolwarth

Gen Z Victorians are now making up 10 per cent of the state’s voter base, with over 435,000 people between the ages of 18-24 registered to vote. This is the largest number of all age demographics in Victoria. Because of this, political parties have turned to newer, youth-oriented platforms like TikTok to campaign.

ABC – 23 November 2022:
Victoria’s youngest voters share what will swing their vote ahead of the state election
“21-year-old Amy Wooller listed climate change and education as two key issues, and believed her friends were “definitely more engaged this time round”.”

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Write to the minister: No more new coal and gas

There’s just 2 days left to make submissions calling on Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to consider the climate impacts that every new coal and gas proposal will have on our precious environment and wildlife. Can you join the final-sprint ONLINE submission writing party, happening Wednesday 23 November at 7pm AEDT?

Right now, climate impacts aren’t being taken into consideration when the federal government assesses new coal and gas proposals, but together we can change this. Minister Plibersek has agreed to reconsider whether climate impacts on Australia’s iconic environments — like the Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island, Kakadu — and species — such as koalas, greater gliders, platypus and more — need to be part of the assessment process for 18 new coal and gas proposals.

Each new coal or gas proposal risks more climate impacts, more floods and fires, and more damage to our precious natural environment and wildlife. 

Two of the 18 new coal and gas proposals are Whitehaven Coal projects – the Narrabri Coal Project and the Winchester South Coal Mine. Together, our movement has been calling on one of Whitehaven Coal’s major funders – NAB – to end their support for Whitehaven’s reckless coal expansion plans.This bold legal intervention, led by our friends at Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) on behalf of the Environment Council of Central Queensland (EcoCeQ) is a tangible opportunity to stop Whitehaven Coal’s reckless coal expansion plans.

Will you join us at the final submission writing party tomorrow and be a part of one of the biggest climate legal interventions in Australian history?

It’s time for the government and the Environment Minister to step up and protect our nationally significant animals, plants, ecosystems and environments, by accurately assessing new coal and gas proposals based on their devastating climate impacts.

In solidarity, 
Patti on behalf of Move Beyond Coal 

PS. Can’t make the submission writing party this evening? You can still make a public comment before Thursday 24 November by using this step-by-step guide

Please note: if you follow the guide’s instructions, the comment you write will be effective for and can be submitted to all 18 proposals. The Living Wonders site has also put together a searchable database of Australian places and species impacted by climate change – and any of those can be included in a submission on any of the mines. You don’t have to be an expert to care about greater gliders, koalas or the Great Barrier Reef – and those can be included on any mine submission or all of them. 
Move Beyond Coal · Australia

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“Here is your regular reminder that we do not have the time for passive despair. We can grieve, yes. But every tonne of carbon counts. Every project, every pipeline, every drill site. Every tenth of a degree matters. So get to work.”
~ Brynn Obrien

New books

‘The Climate Book’ created by Greta Thunberg and written by more than one hundred experts and writers to equip us all with an understanding of the crises we face. Greta shares her own stories of learning, demonstrating, and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing the extent to which we have been kept in the dark. Once we are given the full picture, we will be able to act – and if a schoolchild’s strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried? The Climate Book shows that we all have the responsibility of being alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity, and that, together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now. Booktopia

‘Living Democracy – An ecological manifesto for the end of the world as we know it’ by Tim Hollo offers bold ideas and a positive vision. It’s the end of the world as we know it, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, around the globe, people and communities are beginning an exciting new journey. This book will inspire you, inform you, and get you fired up to co-create our common future. A living democracy. Booktopia

‘Together We Can’ by Claire O’Rourke is an invitation to anyone worried about what climate change means in uncertain times and a challenge to take action that reconnects our communities, transforms our country and is hopeful and empowering. Claire tells stories of people all around Australia who are making a difference, and they come from every walk of life: food producers, sportspeople, financiers, psychologists, First Nations people, entrepreneurs, public servants, scientists, teachers, actors, farmers, students and retirees. Booktopia

“Renewable energy is cheap enough that we could plausibly roll it out with real speed, but vested interest stands in the way, and without endless pressure we’ll never build up the necessary head of steam. The tactic of the bad guys is delay, and delay is incredibly easy to achieve; a body at rest stays at rest. Our job is acceleration, and that’s not happening, at least at the pace that’s required. We’re starting to run out of years, so we best make the next one count.”
~ Bill McKibben, American author and co-founder of

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Australia now in climate’s firing line

The Guardian – 23 November 2022:
Australia faces worsening extreme weather events latest BoM and CSIRO climate report finds
“The continent is now 1.47C hotter than it was in 1910 and sea levels around the coastline are rising at an accelerating rate.”

The New Daily – 23 November 2022:
Report details Australia’s hotter, rainier and more dramatic climate
“CSIRO report paints bleak picture of Australia’s ‘dramatic’ climate future.”

9 News Australia: Weather ‘extremes’ to play out across Australia’s east coast

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So, what happened at COP27?

“One step forward and one step back,” said some. Others said: “World still on brink of climate catastrophe after COP27 deal.”

In a newsletter from Egypt, Climate Reality concluded: “What was perhaps the most important COP since Paris in 2015 led to a historic breakthrough: the creation of a loss and damage fund to support the most vulnerable countries before, during, and after climate-related disasters. But the conference also saw a major setback, as nations stalled on committing to phasing out fossil fuels and reducing emissions, as we need to in order to keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

The rich world’s governments arrived at the conference in Egypt saying “it’s now or never”. They left saying “how about never?”. We sail through every target and objective, red line and promised restraint towards a future in which the possibility of anyone’s existence starts to dwindle towards zero. Every life is a madly improbable gift. For how much longer will we sit and watch while our governments throw it all away?

George Monbiot

The Guardian – 19 November 2022:
Our leaders had a final chance to halt climate breakdown. They failed each and every one of us
“It’s a miracle that any one of us is alive today. Those with the power to grant that miracle to future generations chose not to.” By George Monbiot

The Conversation – 22 November 2022:
COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong
“So why did COP27 fail? And what can be done before the next summit – COP28 in Dubai – to ensure progress?”

BQ Prime – 23 November 2022:
COP27 Tackled The Consequences Of Climate Change, But Not The Cause – Fossil Fuels
“Both the cause and the consequence of climate change could never make it to the talks agenda for the past three decades.”

Garry Cooper on Linkedin – 23 November 2022:
Doomsday vs brighter days: how we think about our climate fight at COP27
““Moral cowardice.” “Highway to hell.” “Cooperate or perish.” “You might as well bomb us.” These were phrases not-so-loosely tossed around at COP27.”

Alexander Verbeek on Medium – 22 November 2022:
COP27: Is a step forward on climate justice worth the price of zero progress at emission reductions?
“Every COP sends the delegations back home with homework for the next one. This time it’s not different, and much attention will go to the loss and damage fund. Next year, when the 1.5C target of Paris will get uncomfortably close to our rapidly warming planet, the COP will meet the United Arab Emirates in November 2023. An oil-producing state with one of the highest carbon footprints in the world.”

“The COP conferences have failed to protect the world from climate change. It is already happening and already causing misery. The conferences are not driving change at the pace or scale needed to meet the crisis in which we find ourselves.”

~ Nick O’Malley, Environment and Climate Editor, The Age

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From the Twitterstream


The Teals



Fossil fuel criminals

Planetary emergency

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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).

» 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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