The Sustainable Yes

The Sustainable Hour no. 478 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no 478 are Guyson Baker from Respect Country and Senior Strategic Advisor to the City of Greater Geelong, Julie Saylor-Briggs.

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Guyson Baker is a Torres Strait man as well as the first Indigenous Officer at the Australian Workers Union, AWU. He has been very active in the referendum Vote YES campaign working with a broad coalition of groups eager to see First Nations having their rights protected under the constitution. For more detail on his position, see his statement on Instagram.

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Julie Saylor-Briggs is a Torres Strait islander who joined Geelong’s Council as its first Indigenous Advisor, in effect giving the Wadawwung People a Voice before the referendum came about. She has since been working tirelessly to make sure that happens. In the process she has built many bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

You can find more about City of Greater Geelong’s approach to The Voice here.

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook this week begins in London, where the Daily Telegraph published an extremely well-researched report that detailed just how the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries – better known by its innocent-sounding acronym OPEC – has been misleading the world for years be saying one thing and doing the total opposite.

OPEC is pretty much led by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Its officials have long claimed that world oil demand is on track to keep growing briskly for at least another generation, as if the Paris Accord had never been held and there was no roll-out of electric vehicles. But the new report showed that OPEC had had to slash its output in a series of enormous cuts in order to shore up its prices.

It cut world output last October, again in April, then stunned traders with a unilateral cut of another million barrels a day in June. All told, the OPEC-Saudi-Russia cartel has removed two million barrels a day from consumption at a high point in the economic cycle, after China’s post-COVID reopening and at a time when the US economy has been running hot. That two million barrels a day-figure happens to be more or less the amount of crude currently being displaced by EV sales worldwide, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Yet the mood was all defiance at the 24th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary late last month. There, Saudi Aramco chief, Amin Nasser, predicted that oil consumption would ratchet up from 102 million barrels a day to 110 million by 2030, and rise further until 2035 before stabilising at a high plateau through to mid-century.

This ignored the awkward detail that EVs are already on track to reach 60 per cent of total car sales within two years. China’s EVs sales hit 38 per cent this summer, even though subsidies have mostly been scrapped. This is far ahead of schedule under Beijing’s New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan. China’s Chebai think tank says the emerging consensus is that the nation’s EV sales will hit 90 per cent by 2030.

Li Xiang, founder of the Chinese carmaker Li Auto, thinks EV sales will reach 80 per cent as soon as 2025. Rival BYD is selling over 50,000 EVs a week, including its budget Seagull model which sells for $10,200 in the home market.

Vietnam is a few years behind but it has similar ambitions. Its EV start-up, VinFast Auto, became the world’s third most valuable carmaker after it launched last month. And India is not going to rescue OPEC. EV sales have already surpassed one million so far this year, mostly made in India’s EV capital of Krishnagiri. Figures there show India’s official 2030 target of 30 per cent penetration for private cars and 70 per cent for commercial fleets are easily going to be swamped. Ola Electric thinks the nation’s huge two-wheeler market could be entirely electric by 2025.

To Europe, where a new report tabled to the EU charts a way forward to a carbon-free future. It’s claimed that this will provide the 27 different countries that currently make up the EU with the predictability they need to invest early in the transition. Examples in the report include switching to low carbon energy, decarbonising building stock and developing low carbon materials. 

The report states that investment from businesses would have multiple knock-on benefits, from creating new jobs and generating economic growth, to improving each nation’s general health and well-being.  However, it said that more investment is still needed to decarbonise sectors where solutions are not yet available, such as heavy industry, cement, aviation and shipping. 

Finally, the report lays out a series of principles the EU needs to follow to reach its 2040 targets. These are to: 
• Accelerate electrification, energy efficiency and phase out fossil fuels 
• Ensure that costs and benefits of the transition are equitably distributed 
• Embed the principle of competitive sustainability into the EU’s industrial strategy and climate policies
• Deploy all available means to rapidly reduce emissions from the buildings sector - and to
• Harness circular economy and eco-design solutions for environmental and climate benefits.

The base concept is to  ensure that Europe would remain at the forefront of decarbonisation efforts globally.   
Now to the UN and the International Energy Agency last week updated its landmark Roadmap to Net Zero report. It said that driving greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s energy sector to net zero and limiting global warming to 1.5°C still remains possible due to the record growth of key clean energy technologies. But it warned that the momentum needs to increase rapidly in many areas.

The original Roadmap, published in 2021, set out a global pathway to keep the 1.5°C goal in reach. It has served as an essential benchmark for policy makers, industry, the financial sector and civil society. The 2023 Update notes the significant changes to the energy landscape in the past two years, including the post-pandemic economic rebound and the extraordinary growth in some clean energy technologies – but it also reported increased investment in fossil fuels and stubbornly high emissions. The update says that bolder action is necessary this decade.

In this regard, our final report is from here in Australia, where the Federal government announced that it would rejoin the world’s major global climate finance group, the Green Climate Fund, which the Morrison Government pulled us out from in 2019. Australia will now give what Penny Wong described as ‘a modest contribution’ before the end of the year. This drew a sharp reply from GreenPeace Australia’s Pacific advisor who said rejoining the fund was the right decision, but added “Contributing to the fund without stopping all new coal and gas projects is like showing up at a fire with an extinguisher in one hand and a flame-thrower in the other. And that’s a suitable image to end our roundup for this week.

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The song we play is Paul Kelly‘s ‘If Not Now’. We also play two of Dan Ilic‘s referendum social media campaign videos. ‘Compare the Pair’

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“If we are going to be Australians in the future, Aboriginal and Torres Straight People: we need a Voice to Parliament. If we are to address climate change for my people, Torres Strait people, we need a Voice to Parliament. If we are going to benchmark Caring for Country across this whole continent and protect the rights of Country, we need a Voice to Country. Because each jurisdiction is allowed to make laws from the Native Title Act. To achieve all this, we need to come together on October 14 to give rights to the Voice to Parliament, to the ancient culture that managed this Country.”
~ Julie Saylor-Briggs – First Nations Experience Advisor at the City of Greater Geelong Council

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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 millennia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceded. 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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Bank Australia: Vote Yes

Call out the misinformation

“This climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. It’s not complicated; it’s the burning of oil, gas, and coal, and we need to call that out. For decades the oil industry has been playing each and every one of us for fools.”
~ Gavin Newsom, Governor of California – delivering his contribution to the United Nations’ Climate Ambition Summit

We’ve talked about this in The Sustainable Hour for a full decade, but now we have it from the leader of one of the world’s largest economies, a politician himself, but obviously one who has not been captured by the fossil fuel money, like our pathetic, shortsighted leaders here in Australia have.

We seen a flood of misinformation from the fossil fuel industry, and this could be argued is the underlying reason humanity now has to live with the fires, the floods, the hurricanes, the devastation and destruction of lives and livelihoods – that we now live in world of “bushfires one day, floods the next”, also here in Victoria.

A new study has found extreme weather caused by the climate crisis has cost $16 million an hour for the past 20 years. The damage has taken many lives and destroyed swathes of property, with global heating making events more frequent and intense.

The misery we’re facing is rooted in the lies that make so many people feel it is still okay to be buying the fuel and gas from these companies – and that our governments subsidise them with billions of taxpayer dollars as well.

However the misinformation doesn’t stop there. This week, here in Australia we are voting on whether or not this country’s First People should have a voice in Parliament that could be heard by the parliamentarians. And to this regard, independent senator David Pocock told ABC’s 7:30 viewers: “We’ve seen a flood of misinformation.”

Who is behind the campaign pushing for a No? In The Sustainable Hour today, our guests tell us that they can’t see them. They are “invisible”. There seems to be no real ‘people movement’ behind it, only ads and a few advocates in the media. Not surprisingly, it turns out it is industry lobby groups and think tanks who are behind it and who are financing the advertising campaign – the exact same think tanks that have pushed against climate policy for years now push for a No to The Voice in the referendum.

A year ago, polling suggested the Voice referendum enjoyed bi-partisan support of more than 60 per cent of the population, but since the anti-Voice campaigners began their media offensive in April 2023, that support has plummeted. The Yes vote has declined to 40 per cent, according to polls. 

This article argues the No campaign is being conducted on behalf of fossil-fuel corporations and their allies, whose efforts to mislead the public on life-and-death matters reach back over half a century. Allegedly they fear the Voice might strengthen the capacity of Indigenous communities and Australia’s parliamentary democracy to rein in the polluting industries that are driving us toward climate and ecological collapse – which presents a threat to their business.

Jeremy Walker, senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, discussed his new paper on the subject, “Silencing the Voice”, in the American podcast Drilled.

→ You can listen to Drilled on Apple Podcasts

→ CSSN – 2 October 2023:
Silencing the Voice: the fossil-fuelled Atlas Network’s Campaign against Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australia

“Executives who spread disinformation and blocked climate action for decades should be in prison.”
~ Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist

Saul Griffith from Rewiring Australia wrote on 10 October 2023:
Why I’m voting Yes

At first glance, voting to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution may seem separate from Rewiring Australia’s wheelhouse of research and advocacy on climate and energy solutions. Yet a safe climate future is closely linked to the strength of a First Nations’ voice. 

As a scientist myself, I recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Inslander peoples are the first scientists and leaders in conservation, land management and climate solutions in our country. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are on the frontline of both climate and fossil fuel impacts, as well as renewable energy infrastructure, and we have much to learn from this knowledge, culture, history and languages.  

But it isn’t just about climate and energy. It is about recognition. It is about respect. It is about fairness, compassion and integrity. This referendum means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples get a say in critical aspects of their daily lives, such as how to create better health and education outcomes for their communities. For the rest of us, a Yes vote won’t impact our daily lives, other than knowing we stood together and we used our power in a referendum that is essentially about something very simple – listening. When we listen to the solutions of people most affected, we get better outcomes. It’s time to listen and it’s time to act.

What can you do? Vote Yes this Saturday 14 October.

Pick up the phone. Across Australia, thousands of people are already changing hearts and minds by speaking to their friends, family members, coworkers and neighbours. It’s an easy way to have a lasting impact.

I encourage you to check out this webpage, which has tips on who to start with, scripts, and other resources to support you to make and track phone calls. The target is for 1 million phone calls to be made before Saturday.
There’s only a matter of days to get this right.

~ SaulKristen Mcdonald

Saul Griffith
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
Rewiring Australia

Rewiring Australia is a non-profit, independent, non-partisan organisation dedicated to representing the people, households and communities in the energy system. We’re focussed on electrifying homes, business and industry to deliver concrete climate action and save money for families.

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Excerpt of The Guardian’s newspaper front page on 6 October 2023. Headline: Out of control

“Our hearts go out to the people of NSW and Gippsland threatened by fires. And a huge cheer to the hardworking on-ground fire fighting teams. Time to make the polluters pay: fossil fuel corporations are increasing carbon outputs and raking in profits. Meanwhile the NSW Auditor General warned back in July that “changes to the climate forecast to make extreme weather more frequent and intense” and “research established a need for more funding for the Rural Fire Service.”
~ Extinction Rebellion South Australia

→

Villa Carlos Paz in Argentina on 11 October 2023 – via X

Starvation of more than a billion people = Certain world war

In this talk, Julian Allwood, professor of engineering and the environment at Cambridge University, explains just one of the routes by which more than a billion people look set to be killed.

→ The New Daily – 11 October 2023:
Few Aussies grasp serious, urgent climate threat
“Most respondents – 57 per cent – believe Australia has started to feel the effects of climate change. But only 15 per cent say climate change is an extremely serious problem now.”

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Sustainable House Day this Sunday

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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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