A Message From Our President:
There are some months between newsletters when events move so quickly I can barely keep up. This has been one of them. As always there is a mix of good and bad news, but I’ll stick to the good – I’m feeling optimistic!
Good news: the Paris agreement has come into force in record time for a global deal. What it means for all developed nations to meet our commitments with a 66% chance of staying below +2°C of global warming is that Australia now must cut 40% by 2018, 70% by 2024 and 90% by 2030, to achieve net zero emissions by 2032. Not much chance, but that is what the science is telling us and that is what we must campaign for.
Good news: to help us get there the Hazelwood brown coal power station is to close next March, removing 3% of emissions from the national inventory. The owners made it clear that no government policy influenced their decision; maybe because there is no policy to retire old polluting coal power stations. An inspiring short video from AYCC shows what can now be achieved:
Good news: the NSW government has announced a climate and energy policy which looks like a big improvement on what it had before. It sets two objectives: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and making NSW more resilient. If you would like to have a closer look, click on this link: NSW Climate Change Policy Framework
Good news: CSIRO and the BoM have released their fourth biennial State of the Climate Report. Why good news when there’s a lot of bad news I hear you ask! I think that clear and informative climate science is worthwhile because it keeps us in touch with a reality we cannot walk away from and armed with that, we can act. Watch the State of the Climate 2016 summary video
If you’ve heard about Energy Forever, but haven’t yet sponsored a panel (or even a part-panel), please do. This is a local initiative ‘walking the talk’ on think global, act local: http://www.pmhsn.org.au/energy-forever/
Finally, I’ve finished reading Laudato Si’, the Pope’s encyclical on ecology and climate. I heard back in May 2015 it would be a powerful document, and it is. The fact is that many of the words he uses could be used by any one of us in the movement. At nearly 200 pages it’s a long read but the good news is that I’ve written a short summary as a 4-page PDF which I’m happy to share. Let me know if you’d like me to email it to you, and/or you can see more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudato_si’
A Message From Our President:
In late September, debate about climate and clean energy was dominated by the South Australia storm and power crisis. I sent letters to editors and wrote a fact sheet for a meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP which I attended with members of the Coffs Coast Climate Action, our sister group in Cowper. Main points are:
Wild weather was to blame. Dramatic pictures of power lines downed by the storm are ‘exhibit A’ (see below.) I keep a list of extreme weather events across the globe and as someone said when I read from it at the AGM, it really puts things into perspective about what is happening.
Renewable Energy Targets. The PM and ministers said that some states’ RETs are unrealistic and called for national standards. The reason some states have ambitious RETs is they understand that to tackle dangerous climate change we must cut carbon emissions and transition to clean energy. The Coalition has no RET beyond 2020, and fiercely resists any talk of this because it would mean an increase in the target, something they fought for two years to reduce. The problem is that the current 23% RET is not nearly enough on its own to meet the emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030.
Carbon budgets. The Paris climate agreement means we have committed to limiting global warming to +2°C, yet most politicians and other leaders are acting as if nothing has changed, as if business-as-usual is still OK. It’s not OK - climate science says that for a 66% chance of staying below +2°C, all developed nations must cut their carbon emissions by 40% by 2018, 70% by 2024, and, 90% by 2030.
A Message From Our President:
This month I am talking about politics, but please don’t switch off. Our group must engage with decision-makers, and that means politics. The recent federal election, CCA visits to two state MPs, and the decision on ARENA make this topical. We must have both the personal and the political on our agenda.
Kerryn Higgs, Ken Aplin & I met with Melinda Pavey MP in Kempsey, and Stuart Watson, Steve Long & I met with Leslie Williams MP in Port Macquarie. I knew that talking about climate change with National Party MPs was not going to be easy. That got me thinking about the conceptual continuum we are all on:
Ø Know about climate science.
Ø Understand climate science.
Ø Accept climate science.
Ø Act on climate science.
Borrowing from the great US national parks interpreter Freeman Tilden: “Through knowledge, understanding; through understanding, acceptance; through acceptance, action.”
Neither federal nor state governments seem to have got past the first stage, even as the climate crisis deepens. Both say they are looking for a balance, but this often means their policies are contradictory, and sometimes even contradict what the other level of government is doing. Plans to make it easier for farmers to clear land, increasing carbon emissions, was the main topic discussed with the 2 MPs. The NSW government has also backed away from 20% of renewable energy by 2020, however the long wait (5 years) for the wind planning framework is nearly over (see under Campaigns below). At federal level, carbon reduction efforts seem to be about paying farmers and ad hoc groups to conserve vegetation and plant more trees, in contradiction to state policy. The claim is to have abated 143mt CO2 at a cost to the taxpayer of $1.7bn, but whose emissions are these? For more information about the ERF, see: www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/ERF Note the most common methods are ‘Avoided Deforestation’ and something called ‘Human Induced Regeneration.’
Governments will never have enough money to fix the climate problem. We must call for stricter regulations and for all major polluters to pay a price for the destruction they are causing to a safe-climate future.