Finding the money for sustainability

The Sustainable Hour no. 492 | Podcast notes

Our guests in The Sustainable Hour no. 492 are Steven Hail and Gabi Bond from Modern Monetary Laboratory and Mark Tilly from Carbon Pulse.

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Steven Hail is Academic Director of the not-for-profit Modern Money Laboratory and adjunct associate professor at Torrens University.

He runs a global online Masters degree in the economics of sustainability, based on ecological economics and modern monetary theory. This is the only such course anywhere in the world.

Gabi Bond is an organiser who works very closely with Steven, both at the Modern Monetary Laboratory and in the online courses he is running.

At the moment, he and Gabi are touring Australia with film-maker Maren Poitras and economist Stephanie Kelton showing and discussing the documentary ‘Finding the Money’, which is aimed at changing the economic policy narrative in Australia and around the world.

→ More information on and

→ A preview of ‘Finding the Money’ can be found here. The film will be shown in Melbourne tonight. At the time of writing, tickets of $10 or $15 were still available here.

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Mark Tilly is Senior Reporter with “Carbon Pulse”, a newsletter on carbon markets, greenhouse gas pricing and climate policy. “Carbon Pulse” is an independent UK-based subscription news service dedicated to providing in-depth news and intelligence about climate change policies and carbon pricing initiatives around the world.

Its coverage focuses mainly on emissions trading markets and other methods of using taxes and market-based mechanisms to cut greenhouse gas output.

Their team has a strong track record of breaking stories that move markets and inform policy developments worldwide.

→ To find out more, see – or find Carbon Pulse on

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This episode discusses various topics related to sustainability, climate action, and the economy. The conversation begins with an acknowledgment of the First Nations people and the importance of climate justice. The hosts then discuss the idea of investing in communities rather than focusing solely on economic growth. They also highlight the work of local climate action leaders.

The episode features Steven Hail and Gabi Bond, who discuss the role of money and economy at the National Sustainability Festival. They emphasise the need to understand the monetary system and challenge traditional beliefs about government spending.

The episode also features Mark Tilly, a writer for the Carbon Pulse publication. He talks about its role in providing information on carbon pricing and related topics. The conversation explores the topic of carbon pricing and its implementation in the Asia Pacific region. It discusses the existence of carbon taxes in countries like New Zealand, Indonesia, and Singapore, as well as the challenges and limitations of such policies.

This conversation delves into the political dynamics surrounding carbon pricing, including the removal of carbon pricing in Australia and the reluctance of fossil fuel producers to transition to cleaner energy sources. The concept of ecocide as a means of holding polluters accountable is also touched upon. The conversation concludes with a discussion on the effectiveness of the COP talks and the global outlook on taxing fossil fuels.

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We start today with UN Head Antonio Guterres saying: “Our world cannot afford to wait. We are at a moment of truth. But we have a breakdown of trust.” This is an excerpt from a speech he held at a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters.

To start this episode, which focuses on the problems with our current economic system and the role that its profit at all costs mantra plays in the climate crisis we face, Mik Aidt asks the following insightful questions to promote thought: How about if we invested less in trying to grow our economies, and instead invested more in trying to grow our communities? Could that lead to make the world a better place?

Greenpeace International is saying “Plastics are polluting our planet”. What is the corporate world’s reply? We play a short video which Greenpeace produced and posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, containing a list of the corporate leaders’ many excuses for continuing to pollute and destroy our world with plastic.

We round off the Hour with Baba Brinkman‘s ‘Makin’ Waves’ (feat. Gaia’s Eye) from the album ‘The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos’ – starting with a quote from a speech held by Greta Thunberg in 2018. It can be found here.

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Tomorrow night at the city hall in Geelong, there’s an interesting and important meeting lined up: “The Climate Crisis at Home – What Council and Communities are Doing”. Meet 12 local climate action leaders who’ll be talking about their local climate change challenges and actions. MC for the event is Loretta Hart from 94.7 The Pulse.
Starts at 5:30pm tomorrow afternoon at the city hall in Geelong.
It is important to register for this event, which can be done here:

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Independent Senator David Pocock has suggested a Bill to enshrine in Parliament a Climate Change “duty of care” for children. But.. not surprisingly, both the two major parties are apparently set to block Pocock’s bill. Why don’t they think they have a duty to ensure a safe future from climate change for our kids and country? After all isn’t that why they were elected to represent their constituents and their electorates.
At the next election, The Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the National Party will have to explain that to us.

At a hearing last week we heard doctors, nurses, students, scientists, emergency services workers and lawyers from across Australia voice their support for legislating a Duty of Care to young people and future generations. You can add your voice by signing the petition on

Also, March month’s letition – which starts later this week using the letter-sending system on – will be about contacting your local member and tell them to support the Pocock’s Duty of Care Bill.

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Colin Mockett OAM‘s Global Outlook begins today in Belgium, where the nation’s Parliament last week voted in favour of a new penal code for the country, which, for the first time in Europe, includes recognition of the new crime of ecocide. The law is aimed at preventing and punishing severe cases of environmental degradation, such as extensive oil spills. It will apply to both corporations and decision-making individuals in high positions. The punishment for individuals goes up to 20 years in prison, while corporations could face fines of up to 1.6 million euros.

The scope of this new law covers areas of the North Sea and also nuclear waste management. The driver behind the bill, Patricia Willocq, who is director of Stop Ecocide Belgium, said that Belgium’s law was likely to be the first of many, because now ‘all 27 member states are tasked with aligning their domestic penal codes with it.’

Further news from Europe is that the continent’s coal industry is closing at a faster rate than the United States. A projection released last week showed that 20 per cent of EU’s coal-fired generators will close in next two years, with coal generation falling below 100GW. Germany is leading the closures, while Greece has joined the 50 per cent renewables club, meaning wind, solar and hydro now contributes to 54 per cent of its power generation.

In comparison, the US still generates 180GW of its power from coal, having closed 22.3GW in the last two years.

All this comes at a time when one of Australia’s leading climate scientists reported that the world is warming much faster than any previous models have predicted.

After the world recorded its hottest year in history last year, global temperature records have been shattered over recent weeks, causing concern among climate scientists at the speed at which temperature records keep falling.

“It looks to me that warming is happening faster than it should be, faster than the models are projecting,” said Dr Bill Hare, founder and CEO of Climate Analytics. “On Sunday last week, 12 of the hottest temperatures recorded on Earth were in Western Australia. By Wednesday, the hot air mass had crossed the country, accelerating fires in Victoria and storms and floods in NSW. And we’re not alone. Last month was the warmest January on record globally, with surface air temperatures 0.12 degrees warmer than the previous record set in 2020.”

The six weeks of 2024 figures follow eight months of record-breaking heat. Climatologist and weather historian Maximiliano Herrera, who tracks extreme weather, identified record high temperatures across the Americas and parts of Asia so far this year.

“In Japan, 480 records fell over three days, some by up to 6°C degrees. This is the most extreme event in 150 years of Japanese climatic history,” he said. “And It is not just the atmosphere that is cooking. Sea surface temperatures have been exceptionally high for this time of year, with the average January temperature this year 0.66 degrees above average. At the bottom of the world the high temperatures have led to a dramatic loss of sea ice in Antarctica, where record low coverage was recorded last year”.

Finally, a new biography was launched this week on China’s leader Xi Jinping. What concerns us here is that it shows Xi was green long before it became fashionable, and it turns out that he was crucial to the Paris Accord.

Some 20 years ago, when he was a regional party chief in Zhejiang he wrote a weekly column warning that China’s ‘‘energy-intensive and high-polluting’ ’ economic model was unsustainable. This completely defied the communist party policy of break-neck industrialisation, with chasing a higher GDP the nation’s only target.

From his position of regional leader, in 2004 Xi launched a radical ‘green GDP’ program in Zhejiang. It called on local governments to subtract ecological damage from their raw GDP figures. He was defeated at the time by what was termed ‘vested interests’ – which is code for China’s powerful coal lobby. Today although Xi is the nation’s virtual dictator, he is still wary of this Coal group and careful not to force a showdown with them. Instead, he circumvents them by giving renewable companies priority access to cheap credit from his state-controlled banks.

The brains behind the original Green GDP movement was Xie Zhenhua, who is today China’s climate negotiator and the man who paved the way for the Paris climate accord. He helped Xi overcome entrenched opposition from China’s old guard by showing that climate ‘concessions’ wouldn’t restrain China’s development. This led to Xi’s Yingtai evening chat with Barack Obama and the deal that made the Paris agreement possible. That, in turn, led to China becoming the world’s leading manufacturer of environmental industries from solar panels to wind turbines.

And that small piece of surprise history closes our planetary outlook for this week.

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The first item in Colin’s report this week warrants further comment. Now that Belgium has legislated the crime of ‘ecocide’, there is yet another incentive for fossil fuel executives to stop exploring for, digging up, transporting and burning their climate crisis causing toxic products. This will mean that they and any other company or individual can be held to account for destroying the environment and can be subjected to long prison terms or fined huge amounts for the damage they cause, if found guilty. Prior to this, they have become experts at prolonging their demise. We can only ask: #WhenInOz?

Next week will see a show dedicated to International Women’s Day. It will be hosted by local sustainability leaders and will involve discussion with a panel of women from Women For Local Democracy (WILD). We look forward to listen and to put that episode out in the podcast stream.

Until then, #BetheChange #BeAware #BeInformed #BeTogether #BeDisruptive!

“The film ‘Finding The Money’ basically follows the story of modern monetary theory, and in particular follows Stephanie Kelton as she goes and talks to all sorts of people, leaders explaining about the idea that the deficit is not something to be scared of, and it’s actually finding the money that’s the easy part. It’s finding the real resources and the political will to make change.

We have Stephanie Kelton here much of the next month. She was the chief economic advisor to Bernie Sanders on both his presidential campaigns and has been the chief economist on the Democrat side on the Senate Budget Committee in Washington DC. Some people might be familiar with her 2020 book ‘The Deficit Myth’, which I think is the best-selling economics book in the world in recent years”
~ Steven Hail, Modern Monetary Laboratory, in The Sustainable Hour no 492

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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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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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