Speaking up for climate action and renewable energy


The 44th Sustainable Hour on 24 September 2014 reports from two meetings held in Geelong. An information evening about frackingand the People’s Climate March.

Guest in the studio: Chris Johnson, ‘fractivist’ and member of Geelong Sustainability

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 44:

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Content on this page

   • Resolution: “No fracking ever”
   • Geelong: Have your say on fracking
   • Geelong spoke up for climate action
   • The Climate March speeches
   • Energise Geelong – a guide
   • The Global Climate Mobilisation
   • Media coverage
   • Major report: Low-carbon society benefits citizens and business
   • Policy handbook: How to achieve 100% renewable energy
   • Report: Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050
   • Rockefeller goes renewables
   • Record CO2 levels fuel urgent calls for emissions cuts
   • Why we march…


Resolution: “No fracking ever”

At a public information night on Thursday 18 September 2014 a motion was put and debated that Councillor Stretch Kontejl who was present would take to the City of Greater Geelong Council the following short but absolute resolution:

“We, the citizens of City of Greater Geelong, insist that both our local and state government ban onshore gas extraction (fracking) permanently once and for all: No fracking ever.”

A motion to put forward a five year extension to the existing state moratorium was voted down. You can listen to an excerpt of the debate at the meeting here:

The public meeting about onshore gas extraction was held in Manifold Heights Baptist Church on Thursday 18 September 2014 at 7pm. Approximately 80 citizens, candidates, politicians and one councillor from Geelong participated. More information about the program of the evening on www.climatesafety.info/gasrush

The meeting was chaired by Michael Martinez, CEO, Diversitat
The meeting was chaired by Michael Martinez, CEO, Diversitat

» Listen the speakers Dr Rye Senjen and Ben Courtice

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Geelong: Have your say on fracking

The closing date for submissions to Council about fracking is on Friday 26 September. Frack Free Geelong encourages every citizen in Geelong to “have your say” on this matter. Even a sentence or two counts, by email, online or in the mail.

» Submissions can be sent via this webpage:

Geelong spoke up for climate action


On Sunday 21 September 2014, more than 900 residents of Geelong (this was the figure counted by a Geelong Sustainability marshal) gathered at the waterfront to send a visual message to the world leaders who are meeting in New York for a UN Climate Summit on 23 September: ‘Act now or swim later’.

The message, serious as it is, was delivered along with lots of smiles, chanting, juggling, music and speeches. It was a great way to share globally our passion for climate action. The photos on Facebook and media demonstrate the passion and commitment of people in Geelong.


Srechko Kontelj, City of Greater Geelong Councillor

» mp3 audio file


Richard Di Natale, Senator, The Greens

» mp3 audio file


Ben Courtice, Friends of the Earth and Beyond Zero Emissions

» mp3 audio file


Leigh Adamson, local resident

» mp3 audio file


Dan Cowdell, GetUp organiser

» mp3 audio file


‘We Are Geelong’

We are Geelong, the greatest town of all
We are Geelong, clean power is our call
We want to rid the world of dirty coal
Keep it deep underground
It’s such a simple ask, an easy task
To have a safe future

» mp3 audio file


“All that is missing for a prosperous and safe renewable future is political will.”

icon_small-arrow_RIGHT More photos from the Geelong event: on Facebook

$503.10 was collected to the Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Fund – to build solar systems that finance more solar systems. Click on photo to learn more


Get started: Energise Geelong


The People’s Climate March Geelong was organised in collaboration between Geelong Sustainability, GetUp and Centre for Climate Safety. Geelong Sustainability passed a new flyer around, ‘Energise Geelong’, which shows four ways to take concrete climate action at an individual level by investing in or supporting renewable energy.

» www.geelongsustainability.org.au/energise

The Global Climate Mobilisation

In Melbourne, over 30,000 people went to the streets with the same message, and world-wide over 2,500 Climate Mobilisation events were reported to take place on this day.

Official estimates for the march in New York City, USA, were at 310,000 people, including over 50,000 students and young people. The student contingent alone took over 10 city blocks:


Adding the people participating in 2,646 similar events in 156 countries to the count, this weekend saw a total of over half a million citizens worldwide standing up for government action to tackle climate change – a figure several times larger than the previous record that was set in Copenhagen in 2009.

Another 2.1 million people signed Avaaz’s petition for climate action that was handed over to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who joined the march in an activist t-shirt and declared he was now the “Secretary-General of the people”.

» Click on image to see more photos on www.flickr.com/photos/peoplesclimate

“We fight to build the solutions we need and beat the fossil fuel industry which profits off our destruction. The massive showing at the People’s Climate March demonstrates we have all the people power we need to shut down the big polluters. Now it’s time to prove that we will stop at nothing less,” wrote Maura Cowley, executive director of the Energy Action Coalition in an email about the event in New York.

Leaders “gathered in New York to stress the urgent need to control greenhouse gases, but remain mute about the US$1 trillion a year spent bringing yet more fossil fuel reserves into production. In 25 years of negotiations, no measure to control fossil fuel production has ever been discussed. It does not exist anywhere in the official narrative.
For the general public, too, there are gaps and blind spots. Most people have never discussed climate change with anyone outside their immediate family. A third cannot recall having talked about it with anyone at all.”
George Marshall: How your brain is wired to ignore the issue of climate change

“The UN is as enervated by the story of global warming as the public is: protest helps, but we need to reconstruct the narrative,” wrote George Marshall in The Guardian

Fracking issue high on agenda

At the Climate march in Geelong – and in the reporting by the city’s biggest newspaper, Geelong Advertiser – the fracking issue received a lot of exposure.

“This is a very concrete issue where people have an immediate sense of the consequences. There is a very strong connection between fracking and climate change. I believe it comes down to engaging people and if an issue such as fracking does that, then it has to be a positive thing. During the last five years, the climate action campaigners has struggled with getting citizens involved in this issue at a broader level. There is a hurdle which is holding people back. The fracking issue represents a “low hurdle” that people can feel like they can act on and make a difference.  Once this occurs then this sense of enabling will encourage them to engage at a wider level which is the climate change bigger picture. Polar bears drowning seems remote from most people however contaminated drinking water, air and noise pollution on peoples door steps has a sense of immediacy,” explained Chris Johnson, a member of the Geelong Sustainability committee.

“All that is missing for a prosperous and safe renewable future is political will,” Ms Johnson said.

Media coverage in Geelong


» Geelong Advertiser – 22 September 2014:
Climate rally shouts ‘there’s no planet B’
“Geelong residents need to speak up on fracking as city councillors set about shaping policy on the controversial gas extraction process, people at a climate march heard yesterday.” Article by Danny Lannen


» Yes2Renewables – 22 September 2014:
Geelong Climate March urged to vote for renewables at Vic election
“A thousand people marched for climate change action in Geelong on Sunday October 21. The local demonstration was part of a global mobilisation calling on political leaders to take action to address global warming.” Article by Leigh Ewbank

“Apparently people want to vote “no”, but we’re not participating. Why not?
Is it because we think that our responses will be ignored?
Is it because we believe the end decision is out of our hands?
Is it because we don’t trust the process?
Is it because we don’t care and just feel that fracking is no big deal? Nobody can say for sure, but history tells us one thing. Numbers count.
If you want your city to go green and make a statement about the future, get onto the CoGG website and go to the Have Your Say section. Take a leaf from the book of Scottish experience and participate in the process.
We have the right to speak to our council about issues that impact our future and so we should exercise this right as much as possible. Volume is a great indicator of the health of a democracy.”
Ross Mueller

Geelong Advertiser – 24 September 2014:
Speak up and it will set you free
Opinion-piece by Ross Mueller

Media coverage in Australia

Channel 9 News story on the Peoples’ Climate March in Melbourne contains some good footage of the Surf Coast Air Action crew from Anglesea who were out in force, asking for the Anglesea coal power plant to be shut down.

The People’s Climate March makes history. Video by GetUp! Australia

See the photo streams on Twitter:

» Climate events world-wide: #peoplesclimate

» CORENA fundraising: #REALclimateaction

Major report: Low-carbon society benefits citizens and business


“What is needed is strong political leadership and credible, consistent policies…”
The New Climate Economy Report – Better Growth Better Climate

TheNewClimateEcono250pxAustralia fails right at the first summary point in this major report which shows that policies to maintain a safe and secure climate will mean a better quality of life for millions of people around the world.

The study, spearheaded by leading names in finance, business and politics – including feted UK economist Lord Nicholas Stern and Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon – dispels the myth that action on climate change comes at the cost of people’s living standards. Instead it underlines that better jobs, cleaner air, and happier, healthier communities are all consequences of ambitious policies to cut carbon.

“This report lays out how countries across the world can reduce the risks of climate change and achieve high-quality, resilient, and inclusive economic growth.”

Launched at the UN headquarters in New York just one week before the UN Climate Summit, the ‘Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report’ highlights that a major transition is already taking place – boosted by rapid technological innovation and fresh investment in infrastructure.

It offers yet more proof that there are no arguments left in favour of sticking to outdated fossil-fuels and plenty of good reasons for governments and leaders from business and finance to embrace the transition to a cleaner, healthier society run on renewable energy sources.

» Read or download the report from www.static.newclimateeconomy.report (PDF, 72 pages)

» Read more about the report – and see a short video about it:

» Source: treealerts.org

Policy handbook: How to achieve 100% renewable energy

Policy_Handbook_100pct-enerA new handbook shows how forward-looking communities around the world are already moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and generating their own power with 100% renewables − while also becoming more prosperous and creating jobs.

The report, ‘How to Achieve 100% Renewable Energy’, is being released ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York on 23 September 2014, when the UN Secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, will call on world leaders to make new commitments to cut fossil fuel use.

The World Future Council, based in Hamburg, Germany, has issued the report to show that it is only lack of political will that is preventing the world switching away from fossil fuels. It believes that the leaders at the UN summit need to set ambitious targets and timetables to achieve the switch to renewables.

» Download the handbook from www.worldfuturecouncil.org (PDF, 60 pages)

» Read more about the handbook on www.climatenewsnetwork.net


“If this were a bank statement, it would say our credit is running out.”
David Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, UK


Report: Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050

How Australia can prosper in a low carbon world

» Read more on:

» Get the initial report (PDF)

» See infographic

“Imagine a world in 2050. Everyone drives an (electric) car, homes have all the gadgets, appliances and nick-nacks. The public transport system is emissions free. Mining work and transport is electrified, and diesel is dumped. Electrification has taken place in much of the steel industry. And it is all emissions free. It might be powered by 100 per cent renewables – the sun, wind, the sea, and geothermal, hydro and biomass. And the economy is still strong.

Welcome to the zero carbon world awaiting Australia and much of the rest of the world.

Major new analysis – Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation – produced by Australia’s ClimateWorks, along with ANU, shows that 15 of the world’s biggest economies can move to “net carbon zero” by 2050, and it need impose no extra costs over business as usual. In fact, electricity bills will be lower than what they are now. Economic growth will remain more or less the same, and the benefits, in terms of health and the environment, will be enormous.”

» RenewEconomy:
Australia urged to set 50% renewables target by 2030

Rockefeller goes renewables

“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50bn (£31bn) in fossil fuel assets. The announcement was made a day before the UN climate change summit opened on 23 September 2013. Some 650 individuals and 180 institutions have joined the coalition.

It is part of a growing global initiative called Global Divest-Invest, which began on university campuses several years ago, the New York Times reports. Pledges from pension funds, religious groups and big universities have reportedly doubled since the start of 2014.” (…)

“Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes.”

BBC News – 23 September 2014:
Rockefellers to switch investments to ‘clean energy’
Heirs to the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, are to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy, reports say.

“The struggle to respond effectively to global warming is also the struggle to preserve democracy. Neither democracy nor a healthy environment will prevail without a tough, smart, and prolonged effort. In both Canada and Australia that effort will need to be driven not by elites, but by the mass of citizens who demand a better future than the bleak and smouldering one that science currently says is on offer.”
Dr Kevin Taft: Fossil Fuels, Global Warming and Democracy: A Report from a Scene of the Collision, September 2014

The global perspective on climate change

Record CO2 levels fuel urgent calls for emissions cuts

Global carbon dioxide emissions will this year reach a new record as power stations, cars, buses, trains, aircraft, tractors, factories, farms and cement works continue to burn fossil fuels − releasing an estimated 40 billion tonnes of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

The world’s chances of limiting global average surface warming to 2°C – an ambition agreed by the world’s political leaders in Copenhagen in 2009 − are dwindling, according to new studies published just ahead of the United Nations summit on climate change opening in New York.

The alarming message from international scientists to political leaders meeting at tomorrow’s UN climate summit in New York is that record global CO2 emissions this year mean “delaying action is not an option”.

» Continue reading on www.climatenewsnetwork.net

NASA: Hottest August globally since records began in 1880

Last month was the warmest August globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported. The globe just keeps warming.

Significantly, this August record occurred despite the fact we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño.

NASA data shows 2014 year to date (January through August) is the fourth hottest on record. All the hotter years were either El Niño years or had an El Niño preceding them — there is a few-month delay between the peak El Niño temperature and peak global temperature. Because of global warming, all global temperature records will be broken (again and again and again and …).

ClimateProgress – 15 September 2014:
NASA: Hottest August Globally Since Records Began In 1880
Article by Joe Romm


Arctic ice cap in ‘death spiral’

The Arctic ice cap has melted so much that open water is now just 350 miles from the North Pole, the shortest distance recorded, scientists say. The summer ice cap is now so thin it is likely to disappear within five years, possibly as early as 2015.
» The Sunday Times, United Kingdom


Why we march…


“Why we’re going on the biggest climate march in history”

“From Ban Ki-moon to Peter Gabriel and Emma Thompson, 20 leading personalities from across the world talk about why they take to the streets to call for action on climate as world leaders gather for UN climate summit in New York on 23 September.”

» Scroll through the 20 statementsand read more on www.theguardian.com

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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer

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