Climate cooling, co-ops and an American chill

The Sustainable Hour no. 489 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 489 are director Luke Taylor from National Sustainability Festival and Antony McMullen, a Melbourne-based co-operative founder from

. . .

Luke Taylor is director of the National Sustainability Festival. 2024 is its 25th year, and Luke is a regular guest at this time of the year as February marks the National Sustainability Festival. This year there are over 150 different events.

→ The full program can be found here: – and the festival’s X-account is here.

Luke’s personal highlights include:

The Climate Cooling – Mini Summit
“The evidence is clear, emission reductions alone will not make our climate safe.”

‘Finding the Money’ Documentary
“An underdog group of economists is on a mission to instigate a paradigm shift by flipping our understanding of the national debt — and the nature of money — upside down.”

Stephanie Kelton: The Deficit Myth
“Stephanie Kelton leads a special post Festival event exploring whether deficits matter and how we think about government spending today and the implications for future generations.”

…and something fun:

The Great Local Picnic
“The huge sustainability and zero waste celebration is back again in 2024.”

. . .

Antony McMullen is a Melbourne-based co-operative founder, developer and advocate for the common good.

He is co-founder of the first co-operative co-working space in Melbourne, 888 Co-operative Causeway. Those wanting more information on this, go to:

Antony has provided support to a range of co-op start-ups in paid and unpaid capacities. He also for a number of years served as Vice-President of the Victoria Day Council that administers the Victorian of the Year award.

Antony is a member of Professionals Australia, and is a former Australian Services Union delegate. He holds Fellowships with the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA, formerly Chartered Secretaries Australia) and RMIT Forward.

→ The co-op website Antony refers to can be found here:

→ You can connect with Antony McMullen’s on X (formerly Twitter) and on Linkedin

. . .

A clip featuring a Donald Trump statement starts us off for 2024: “Drill, baby, drill!” he tells his audience who cheer and applaud loudly, while the rest of us begin to feel a chill down the spine.

Mik Aidt follows by outlining the importance for him of using the summer break to reflect on the current situation. Central to this is his concerns about the above speech, which Donald Trump gave in Las Vegas 10 days ago, as this dangerous 77-year-old fossil and fossil fuel fanatic campaigns – with success – for the next US presidential election.

The scary thing is the following he is gaining for his planet-destroying ideas, and the global impact this will have if he is re-elected. It could shape politics in many other countries around the world. In his speech, Trump tells his followers exactly what his priorities will be on Day One: to use that usurped power to throw us into climate chaos, repeal all of the clean energy progress the Americans made under President Biden, and put his pals from the oil and gas industry into positions of power. He outlines his complete disregard and disrespect of what the science is screaming out to us must happen – which is that all fossil fuels must stay in the ground.

This clip is revisited later in the show, when a longer section is played and discussed. Chilling stuff. We touch on the bottom line as we round the hour off with Taylor Swift‘s ‘Only The Young’: It is time to get involved in politics and support those young new candidates who need our support, because there are a number of elections just around the corner. For instance, you could join the Women Leaders Forum in Geelong on 29 February, or you could join the Voices of Corangamite group, which currently is in the process of identifying a strong female candidate who will run as community independent at the next Federal election.

Audio clips in the Hour today:

• Excerpts from Donald Trump’s speech in Las Vegas 10 days ago. There was a good deal of cheering, but the video shows no images showing the extent of the crowd.

• A collation of clips from DeSmog, a “Shell knew” video on X, focusing on the lies we are being told by the fossil fuel industry and their supporters. This is the information that people really must know. We will never tire in our efforts to counter these lies and mistruths.

. . .

Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook for the week begins in Europe where the EU-backed agency Copernicus stated flatly, categorically and without any doubt that last year, 2023, shattered global annual heat records and on several occasions broke the world’s agreed-on warming threshold of 1.5°C degrees.

The official average of 1.48° degrees above pre-industrial times is just barely below the 1.5°-degree limit set under the 2015 Paris Climate Accord aimed at avoiding the most severe effects of warming, but January 2024 was so warm that it’s almost certain to exceed the 1.5°-degree threshold.

Though actual observations only date back two centuries, several scientists say evidence from tree rings and ice cores suggests this is the warmest the Earth has been in more than 100,000 years.

“It basically means that our cities, our roads, our monuments, our farms – in practice all human activities – never had to cope with the climate this warm,” Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo said. “There were simply no cities, no books, agriculture or domesticated animals on this planet the last time the temperature was so high.”

For the first time, Copernicus recorded a day when the world averaged at least 2° degrees more than pre-industrial times. It happened twice and narrowly missed a third day around Christmas, he said.

Elsewhere, the United States recorded 28 weather disasters last year that caused at least $US1 billion damage, smashing 2020’s previous record of 22, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But listen to the figures. There were an average of three weather disasters a year in the 1980s, just under six a year in the 1990s. Last year’s 28 weather disasters in the US included a drought, four floods, 19 severe storms, two hurricanes, a wildfire and a winter storm. They combined to kill 492 people and caused $US93 billion in damage, the same as close to $143 billion in Australian dollars.

Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice hit record low levels in 2023 and broke eight monthly records for low sea ice, Copernicus also reported.

There were several factors that made 2023 the warmest year on record, but by far the biggest was the ever-increasing amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to Capernicus’s Samantha Burgess. Those gases came only from one source – from the burning of fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas.

While this weekly report usually quotes climate and weather scientists, social scientists warned last week that humanity may be about to sleepwalk into a dangerous new era in human history. Their research is showing the increasing climate shocks could trigger social unrest and political authoritarian, nationalist backlashes.

The warning came from political scientist Dr Reinhard Steurer, a researcher at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. He warned that the mental conflicts of climate change denial against a background of hard scientific evidence was causing mental and social disruptions. “The real danger is that there are so many other crises around us that there is no effort left for the climate crisis,” he said.

“We will find all kinds of reasons not to put more effort into climate protection, because we are overburdened with other things like inflation and wars all around us. We’ll be doing this for a very long time,” he warned, “not accepting climate facts, pretending that we are doing a good job, pretending that it’s not going to be that bad.”

Now the better news.

Last week in London Greta Thunberg and four other protestors were found not guilty of breaking the law when they refused to follow police instructions to move on during a climate protest last year. District Judge John Law threw out the charges due to ‘no evidence of any offence being committed, adding that the police had attempted to impose unlawful conditions.

Also in London, Britain announced that it is the first country in the G20 to halve its carbon emissions. Claire Coutinho, who is Britain’s secretary of state for energy security and net zero, said new data indicating emissions had halved in 50 years showed Britain was a world leader in tackling climate change. Data compiled by the Global Carbon Project, a research partner of the World Climate Research program, shows British CO2 emissions are now down 52 per cent on the peak in the 1970s, she said.

According to the data, updated last month, emissions from fossil energy production were 319 million tonnes in 2022 – down from 660 million tonnes in 1971. As late as 2010, Britain was still emitting more than 500 million tonnes each year.

“Britain is the first country in the G20 to halve its carbon emissions,” she said. “We are world leaders in tackling climate change.”

I’d like to add that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is likely to announce a general election this year. That good news closes our roundup for the week.

. . .

That’s it for our first show for 2024. Once again we featured two interesting guests in Luke and Antony with ideas to motivate and follow. Rest assured that we will return each week this year with that same aim. Working together is becoming a louder and stronger slogan for us through our guests.

“Trump is talking about household budgets, and this is very much a conversation that’s happening in Australia too, particularly around inflation. Really, when you think about the way we live… people feel they are sometimes two or three months away from losing their job. If they lose their job, they lose their home. I actually think that people that are in denial, in their heart of hearts, they believe that something’s up with the environment, but they are scared. Scared of losing their job, scared of destitution.”
~ Antony McMullen, co-operatives expert

Subscribe to The Sustainable Hour podcast via Apple Podcasts

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

German physicist Sabine Hossenfelder explains about something no one wants to hear about but really, which everyone needs to understand. The mess we are in already, with extreme weather events and the rest, is a result of too few people taking interest in learning about what Sabine explains here.

“Scientists are now considering risks that had been unthinkable until recently. 2023 has broken so many records that a number of new hypotheses, including the dawn of a new phase in the global warming rate, have been floated. These hypotheses were not nearly as prevalent a year ago.”

→ The Guardian – 6 February 2024:
World ‘not prepared’ for climate disasters after warmest ever January
“Effect of El Niño phenomenon combined with human-driven global heating is causing increasing alarm among scientists. From deadly floods in California to devastating fires in Chile, scientists say the world is not prepared for the climate disasters that are hitting with increasing frequency as human-driven global heating continues to break records.”

→ Research paper by Johan Rockström, Louis Kotzé, Svetlana Milutinović and Will Steffen, plus 18 other scientists – 20 October 2023:
The planetary commons: A new paradigm for safeguarding Earth-regulating systems in the Anthropocene

→ Michael West Media – 5 January 2024:
Declare a Climate Emergency, or face catastrophic rising temperatures and sea levels
“World governments must declare a Climate Emergency if they are serious about science and the catastrophic effects of rising temperatures and sea levels.” By Colin Hughes

→ Yale Climate Connections – 18 January 2024:
A record 63 billion-dollar weather disasters hit Earth in 2023
“Seven nations had their most expensive weather disaster on record, and the continent of Africa suffered two of its deadliest.”

→ The Honest Sorcerer / Medium – 22 January 2024:
2025: A Civilizational Tipping Point
“There is a growing body of evidence that the 2024–2030 period will present us with a critical juncture, upending a centuries long era of economic growth. It looks increasingly certain that we will run out of resources sooner than the coming deterioration of the climate could put an end to our lifestyle. (And that’s quite a feat, knowing how a growing Earth energy imbalance has accelerated warming recently…)”

“What I find overwhelming and very upsetting is the enormous shock that tens of millions are about to face as they realise the magnitude of the planetary crisis we are in. All we needed was for the media to tell the public the full truth and they would have demanded change. They did not. Instead they presented facts as theory and gave more airtime to deniers and shills. The media still aren’t telling the truth appropriately. I fear for peoples mental health as they wake up.”
~ Matthew Todd, writer

Orderly transition now impossible

“The notion of an orderly transition drives the entire field of climate and sustainability politics and business. In the minds of hundreds of thousands of climate, sustainability, and environmental professionals, an orderly transition and success are synonymous.
An unquestioned belief in continuity allows us to go on doing the same things, in the same ways, avoiding disturbing questions about what we ought to be doing when the natural systems we depend utterly upon begin changing at unprecedented speeds. The orderly transition lets us focus our attention on making money and enjoying our lives while we ignore the news of shattering ice sheets, rising seas, and monster storms.
The only problem is that the orderly transition is now impossible.
When an orderly transition seemed possible, we could imagine climate action and sustainability as correctives to a system which otherwise was working pretty well. We might need to drive electric cars, recycle more or build the river levees a little higher, but basically life in the future would be just a greener version of life as we knew it then. This has changed.” 
~ Alex Steffen, The Snap Forward 

Australian Government: Fossil fuel companies plan 117 new coal and gas projects

Lucy Manne from 350 Australia wrote:

Just two days before Christmas, the Albanese Government quietly released a report revealing fossil fuel companies are planning a terrifying 117 new coal and gas projects across the continent.[1]

This year we saw temperature records smashed. With 2023 set to be by far the hottest year on record, we must call on the Albanese Government to prevent a single one of these projects from proceeding.

Despite the unfolding crisis, the Albanese Government has approved eight fossil fuel projects since taking office.[2] 

Leaked documents show they are planning to hand 3.5 billion dollars to developers to help build the Middle Arm precinct in Darwin, a key step in developing fracking projects in the NT.[3]

We know what is needed to respond to the climate crisis with the urgency it demands: an end to the age of fossil fuels.

As one of the world’s biggest producers of coal and gas, Australia must make a plan for a fossil fuel phaseout and become a leader in clean energy and climate justice. This means ruling out new projects, ending billions in handouts to fossil fuel companies, and making a plan for a fair and fast phaseout.

The Albanese Government is currently reviewing a key climate law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. If this law is strengthened, it could halt carbon bomb projects in their tracks. It’s going to take all of us to ensure they get it right.

[1] Resources and energy major projects: 2023

[2] Ten and rising: Albanese government new fossil fuel approvals unveiled

[3] Darwin Harbour Middle Arm expansion plan slammed by critics as ‘extraordinary fossil fuel subsidy’

American president stops gas export terminals

Biden halts gas export permits  • By Juliana Birnbaum, The Waggle newsletter no. 65

Acknowledging the gravity of the climate emergency, the Biden administration recently froze approvals for new liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminals, a hard-won victory for climate and environmental justice activists. The election-year decision followed a substantial mobilization to pressure the U.S. government on the phaseout of fossil fuels and appeared to recognize the value of the youth-led climate movement to Biden’s voter base. The pause will allow the Department of Energy to review the environmental and economic impacts of LNG development, affecting about a dozen proposed terminals, mainly in Louisiana and Texas. While that may not sound all that significant, officials estimated the planned terminals could create 3.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases yearly – approximately the equivalent of the European Union’s annual emissions. And there are devastating health consequences for the primarily Black residents living close to these pollution-spewing hubs. One stretch along the Mississippi River where communities are interspersed with around 200 fossil fuel and petrochemical plants has been nicknamed “Cancer Alley.” Environmentalist Bill McKibben called the announcement “the biggest check any president has ever applied to the fossil fuel industry and the strongest move against dirty energy in American history.”
The story of what the fossil fuel industry knew about climate change more than four decades ago.

“A handful of coal oil and gas companies are making billions destroying our climate, and our governments are enabling them. While their executives collect huge bonuses, YOU are left to pay the costs. Angry? You should be.”
~ Mark Ogge

How the 2010s became another lost decade in the fight against climate change – as the move to natural gas delayed a transition to more renewable sources of energy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Live-streaming on Wednesdays


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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Podcast archive

Over 500 hours of sustainable podcasts.

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows as well as special Regenerative Hours and Climate Revolution episodes in full length.

→ Archive on – with additional links
Archive on – phone friendly archive

Receive our podcast newsletter in your mailbox

We send a newsletter out approximately six times a year. Email address and surname is mandatory – all other fields are optional. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Find and follow The Sustainable Hour in social media

Facebook: podcast front covers




Great if you’ll share the news about this podcast in social media.

→ Share on X (formerly Twitter)

Podcasts and posts on this website about the climate emergency and the climate revolution

The latest on BBC News about climate change

The Sustainable Hour
The Sustainable Hour

Sharing solutions that make the climate safer and our cities more liveable