News Ferbruary 2017
A Message from our President:
As members of a climate action group, we know that global warming is real, and dangerous, and happening now. We can see the effects and we’re suffering from the heat. Last Saturday NSW was the hottest place on the planet.
The government claims it is ‘meeting and beating’ its emission reduction targets to combat climate change, and goes on to claim that burning coal will bring us lower electricity prices, secure generation and a stable grid. But what if we turn these claims on their head?
An angry summer has delivered record-breaking heat to eastern Australia and damaging high rainfall in the west - extreme weather typical of an atmosphere now being super-charged by global warming. And Australia’s contribution to the problem is getting worse - emissions are rising, not falling.
We currently have a 76.5% fossil fuel energy target (met by burning coal and gas), but that’s not working to provide a secure and stable supply of electricity. We’ve spent $40 billion in the past decade gold-plating the poles and wires but that’s not given us a reliable electricity grid.
We were promised lower electricity prices once the carbon tax was scrapped, but that’s not happening, with more price hikes to come from the heatwaves (Queensland, with a tiny amount of renewable energy, has been forced to pay an astounding $1bn extra in wholesale power prices just since the beginning of the year!)
Conclusion – current policies, endorsed by the Coalition government, are not working. Writing in the Guardian, Lenore Taylor calls it an ‘omni-failure’: "It would seem obvious - the answer is not to abandon renewable energy but to fix the market and the rules. Cars got bogged when they started driving on roads designed for horses and buggies, but (we didn’t) stop the roll-out of automobiles." Read more at:
We need to change the way we do things and you are part of that change. In 2017, we will be asking you to become involved with campaigns and activities such as those agreed at the recent Climate Justice Convergence, attended by Kerri-ann and me (see sections below.) I hope you will be able to say yes, to a safe climate and lots more clean energy.
One of the small-group activities at the Climate Justice Convergence - can you spot Harry & Kerri-ann?
Climate Emergency Declaration:
Steve Posselt has finished his long paddle down the NSW coast and has started the trek across to Canberra, dragging his kayak (on wheels) with him. More signatures are still needed on the Climate Emergency Declaration petition, so if you haven’t already signed it you can do so at: http://climateemergencydeclaration.org/petition1/
CCA had an impromptu stall in Horton St, Port Macquarie, for a couple of hours last week and we collected several more pages of signatures for the petition.
Drusi, Michael & Mick in Horton Street. Also present on the day were Angela & Kerri-ann.
Watch Season 1 of Years of Living Dangerously, free: The entire first season is now available on YouTube. Click here to Watch it and please share the link with your friends and family.
ABC Radio National – Law Report – Tuesday 14/2/17: A group of 21 young people from across the US, including sixteen-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, are suing the US government for failing to protect them from human-created climate change. In Juliana et al v United States, the plaintiffs will seek to uphold their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, including a claim that the US administration has failed to protect natural resources for future generations. It’s at: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/us-climate-change-case/8248068
ABC TV 7.30 ran a long story on the current energy crisis on Monday 13/2/17. Watch it on iView here: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/7-30/NC1705H031S00
Former US Republican congressman Bob Inglis is a convert to action on climate change, including a price on carbon. He thinks conservatives can lead the way. He will be speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday 22/2/17 around noon, broadcast live on ABC 24 TV.
Campaign & Petitions:
SumOfUs, a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations, currently are running several campaigns with petitions. Here are some that relate to climate change:
Campaign against Westpac:
Adani's proposed mega mine will ship millions of tonnes of coal through the Great Barrier Reef. It will be an absolute disaster for the World Heritage Area, with coal spillages already being reported. Yet Westpac still won’t rule out bankrolling a huge coal mine right next to our spectacular Great Barrier Reef. You can put pressure on Westpac to not give Adani a single dollar. You can help by watching and sharing their video now: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/darth-vader-dr-evil-and-westpac/?akid=27658.991675.BpBBro&rd=1&source=fwd&t=1
Stop Australian government support for a coal mine in South Africa:
An Australian Government agency is about to decide whether to bankroll a massive coal mine in a small community in South Africa, putting local communities, women’s rights, and the environment at risk. Right now, brave women from the Limpopo province are banding together to oppose it. They need our help. Let’s stand with them and make sure the Australian government does not fund this project: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-the-australian-government-from-bankrolling-a-devastating-coal-mine-in-south-africa?sp_ref=269973939.99.178542.e.0.2&referrer_id=14036045&source=mlt
Change the broken mining royalties system:
Gas giants like Shell, Chevron, and BP are cheating Australians out of billions of dollars by exploiting an outdated, broken mining royalties’ system. The Government is feeling the pressure to fix this, but it's also being fiercely lobbied by fossil fuel giants. Your voice will help make sure the government fixes this broken tax system: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/tell-scott-morrison-to-stop-the-gas-industry-from-cheating-us-out-of-billions?sp_ref=269193354.99.178464.e.0.3&referrer_id=14036045&source=mlt
Climate Justice Convergence:
As mentioned above, CCA was represented at the Convergence by Harry & Kerri-ann. Approximately 190 climate activists from around Australia attended, including a contingent of our colleagues from the Coffs Harbour Climate Action group. It was possibly the first large-scale gathering held in Australia to focus on building a more escalatory, disruptive, and powerful climate movement. The Convergence was themed around the concept of civil resistance, which is the use of sustained, loosely organised, non-violent, often disobedient action in pursuit of social, economic, and political justice.
The attached paper, Civil Resistance and the Australian Climate Movement, was written by a couple of the Convergence organisers and was used to kick start many great discussions. You may find it interesting reading.
During the Convergence, we also spent time exploring the idea of 'Pillars of Power'. This view shows that power ultimately rests not in the grip of our parliamentary leaders, fossil fuel magnates or billionaires, but in the hands of millions of ordinary people who keep society running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, and who can shut it down should they so choose. This short piece on Pillars of Support by Eric Stoner is worth reading.
A hand-crafted representation of the pillars, used at the Convergence.
Other Readings used at the Convergence:
This is an uprising by Mark and Paul Engler contains incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven. The authors show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics. For those short on time -- listen to this podcast of an interview with the authors.
Here’s a link to the excellent NetChange report by Jason Mogus and Tom Liacas. Their analysis of powerful movement-based campaigns highlighted four attributes of winning campaigns: (1) openness to grassroots power; (2) cross-movement network hubs; (3) framing a compelling cause; and (4) focus and discipline. In Australia, these four elements are guiding plans for collaborative climate movement initiatives in 2017. A summary version is available here.
Also, check out Why Civil Resistance Works. The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. This article by Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth clearly illustrates the role of nonviolent tactics and resistance campaigns with lots of interesting examples.
Outcomes of the Convergence:
We can’t go into too much detail here, but several groups of attendees formed and developed action plans around a number of events/acts. Some of these include:
- Training in non-violent direct action civil resistance;
- a Galilee ‘blockade’;
- Actions against banks considering funding Adani;
- ARRCC vigils at MP’s offices;
- Electricity bill boycotts;
- Newcastle coal port actions;
- a Brisbane flotilla;
- Campus training for Uni students, and so on.
You should start to hear more about these as the year progresses.
Around 190 attendees were at the Climate Justice Convergence held at Murrumbateman in NSW.
Our new website is still under development, but it’s coming along well thanks to CCA member John Tennock. It contains lots of information, resources, photos etc. The membership form is also there, so feel free to share the link with your family & friends who may be interested: http://climatechangehastings.org.au/
The Wilderness Society national fundraising event - What's it Worth.