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News & Events, 15th September

September 20, 2010

 Climate Action Canberra
News & Events, 15th September 

Vision statement of Climate Action Canberra

We face a climate emergency.

Our vision is to work together at emergency speed to restore in a just way a safe climate

 in time for all people, all species and all generations.

At our next meeting on Monday night Climate Action Canberra will be brain storming strategies for the coming months. Let us know what you think the group should be doing next. Is there something you would like to work on with Climate Action Canberra? Come to the meeting or email: rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com Send your nominations for the CAC convener position and an executive officer to Walter walterjehne at yahoo.com.au . We will vote them in on on Sept 20th.

With new projects in the pipeline this is the time to get involved at the start.

Please read Phoebes letter below about the need for strong voices to keep the ACT government energy policy on track toward its new emissions target of 40% by 2020. I encourage you to think how your skills might help with the continuing Love 40% ACT emissions reductions campaign. [See:  http://love40percent.org/contact/]. Contact: info at love40percent.org to get involved.

ACT Environment Minster Simon Corbell said last Monday the Government would legislate for two new categories to its existing solar feed-in tariff scheme, allowing medium-scale generation of between 30 kilowatts and 200kW and large-scale generation of more than 200kW. The Canberra Times article about this is in the NEWS section below along with Ren Webs response. We also have there a Climate Action Canberra opinion piece about the current political scenario from Geoff Lazerous.

Have you checked out the website of the lively local movement SEE-CHANGE? This community group helps us help ourselves by bringing practical climate friendly solutions to our homes and a lot more. Perhaps you would like to join one of the several Canberra area SEE-CHANGE groups. [http://www.see-change.org.au/?q=node].

The ACT government is ever more involved in seeking local solutions to the climate crisis. The government now wants to know what your vision of Canberra’s future at Time to Talk- Canberra 2030 workshops next week. This is an opportunity to tell the government that we want our city to be a world leader in cutting edge climate policy implementation. Now we have to work out what that is! Book to attend a workshop today [see Events below] or join in through the online survey and discussion forums [ http://canberra2030.org.au/contact/ ].

 If you want to learn organic gardening at the Environment Centre….book now, some workshops are coming up this weekend [see events].

The next Climate Action Canberra Newsletter deadline is Wednesday, September 29. Please send letters, events, notices, articles, ideas, pics to rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com

Meetings

Climate Climate Action Canberra

Next Climate Action Canberra Action Meeting, Tuesday, 5th October, 2010, 6pm-7.30pm, at the ACT Conservation Council, 17 Childers St Acton. Please send agenda items to leon-arundell at grapevine.net.au 

Next Climate Action Canberra General Meeting, Tuesday, 19th October, 2010, 6pm-7.30pm, at the ACT Conservation Council, 17 Childers St Acton. Please send agenda items to leon-arundell at grapevine.net.au 

Canberra  40% 
Meeting Teusday  28 September at 6.30pm. ANU Moran Building Room G08.  at the Australian National University. 
You can reach this building by walking past the Street Theatre from Childers street along the University Avenue footpath, it is the large quandrangle 
behind the theatre.  The Moran building is in the far north corner of the quandrangle, the Room numbers are obvious as you walk along.  
People can email Phoebe: info at love40percent.org  for details.

Campaigns 

Canberra 40%

News from Phoebe on the Love 40% campaign

The future for Love 40% and climate change action in the ACT

This week, the Canberra Loves 40% campaign met to discuss our next steps, and we had a big surprise in store. We were joined by a representative from the Legislative Assembly who told us the next big decisions coming up that will influence how we will get to the 40% target. The legislation around the 40% target provides us with a strong guiding ideal for action in the ACT, it now requires strong implementation policies to make sure it can be met. The two big concerns that the community need to keep an eye on are the Energy Policy, and the creation of the Minister’s Advisory Council on Climate Change.

The first concern is that it’s happening fast. In the next month, the Government will be tabling its Energy Policy to the Assembly. Many of us in the ACT will be familiar with this document, having entered submissions. However, the Government is using this document as our guiding framework for the entire strategy for how we will achieve the 40% target. It will outline the key areas that the Government will focus on. These look to be renewable energy generation and some efforts at building energy efficiency. However, the Energy Policy was created before the 40% target was secured- we wonder how this old policy covers the new and transformative direction for the ACT.

The Government is also closing this policy to further consultation; so we will be locked in. The policy that the Government constructs to get us to 40% must be strong. This target is going to mean big debates within our community, about urban infill, public transport, planning. It will mean bringing very hot debates into the arena about what we want for our city, and what is best for residents, communities and small businesses, not just the major industries like building. We need to know that the Government is forming policy that will allow us to properly address these questions, rather than rushing through poor policies that may simply not work at reducing our emissions. Love 40% will be focussing on the Energy Policy over the next three months, creating our own public consultation.

We are planning another large public forum to let our representatives know that we are aware and involved in their policy choices, and we need them to be sufficient. This energy policy has the potential to be a fantastic driver of real change in the ACT, we need to make sure it fulfils that potential.

The Minister’s advisory council will also be set up as soon as the Climate Change Legislation is formally passed; this could be next week. This council also has fantastic potential; community, business and science representatives will advise the Minister directly on policy ideas and the impacts on our community. However, it is also a forum that could favour industry voices. We need to be certain that the interests of the community are being heard, and that all sectors are bringing creative, innovative ideas that will create a modern and beautiful city directly to the Minister.

These decisions and policies will direct heavily the pace and direction of action to combat climate change and transform the ACT over the next ten years. This will affect the work of all of us, especially community groups. This is a great time for all of us to be taking notice, and letting our Government know the best way to get to 40%. Canberra Loves 40% will remain as a partner to all groups working toward sustainability and taking on climate change, and we’d like to work with you.

With the win, we’ve started thinking about the future.

Now is the time for you, your organisation, and that interesting guy you met who’s in to solar power to get involved. This campaign can be yours, in lots of possible ways.

We need to get some ideas flowing – it’s not necessary to find the solution just yet – the most important thing in a campaign is the people involved. If you have been thinking about an issue that is central to your concerns, but haven’t found a way to link it in, now’s the time to think about it.  If you know your group might benefit from linking into the campaign, now’s the time to think how that could happen. The most that I’ve got out of this campaign is working with fantastic individuals, and now we have a long term goal that can keep bringing new individuals together with new ideas for more change.  The biggest lesson of the campaign is don’t underestimate the power of a small focussed group – and you can be a part of it.

We have a successful brand and momentum that can be used by the Canberra community, so get thinking, and be inspired!

To help the process, I’ve attached a rough representation of some ideas that have been floating around. Take a look, see what works for you and what might not.  Think about what our focus could be, and what a campaign might look like into the future.  Large or small?  Long or short?  One issue, or a range? Just questions to get you started.

Come along to our next meeting, get discussing on our discussion board, or send me an email to share your ideas. Canberra Loves 40% will continue into the future, shaped and reshaped by those of us who get involved. I hope you can be a part of it.

Best wishes,
Phoebe Howe
info at love40percent.org               See http://love40percent.org for all background to the Canberra 40%campaign

Global Work Party

New SEE-CHANGE Project

Vision 2020

SEE-Change has been successful in receiving ACT Government funding to run a series of competitions in 2011 that will encourage kids of all ages to develop their own vision for Canberra in the next ten years.

We are hopeful that a SEE-Change team of volunteers will help undertake detailed planning for the project during this second half of 2010 including developing three separate “road shows” for presentation by recent school leavers at ACT school assemblies during 2011.

Recent school leavers, parents, grandparents and retired and current school and college teachers particularly welcome to volunteer for this effort. If you would like to be involved in this exciting project and want to learn more please contact Naomi Wynd, Executive Officer See-Change
Email:
office at see-change.org.au
Telephone: 02 6162 2320

Talk Change with SEE-Change at Floriade

SEE-Change will be holding 6 presentations at Floriade this year!
Along with our SEE-Change stall at Floriade this year, we will also be presenting 6 different seminars throughout the week starting on the 20th of September. Each presentation covers a specific topic and will run for around half an hour. This is a great opportunity to support SEE-Change and learn about some interesting ways to reduce your environmental impact. The presentations are as follows: 
Monday 20th September
11:30am – 12:00pm: Lish Fejer from ABC TV’s Carbon Cops and Green it Yourself (GIY) will present “Global Worming”. 
Imagine a pet that you don’t have to take for walks, doesn’t annoy the neighbours, eats almost all your food scraps and organic rubbish, and whose poo you actually want all through the garden.  Enter, slowly, the worm.
Join Lish Fejer (ABC TV’s Carbon Cops, GIY Green It Yourself) for a workshop on how to set up your own worm farm (or salvage a smelly slimy one) and microbe-munching unit  that will turn your kitchen scraps into delicious nutritious garden fertilizer.
Worms and microbes can be a lean, green, small-space-occupying, green-waste devouring machines …you just gotta treat them right. Find out how at the GIY Green It Yourself workshop.
12:00pm – 12:30pm: Shirley Pipitone from Designing Bush will be presenting “Good Morning Sunshine – My Retrofitting Experience”.
Shirley Pipitone is an old greenie who is actually doing what most people are just talking about. She has almost completed retrofitted her house for sustainability. Ticked off the list are solar panels, rainwater tank and southern reflectors for morning sun on the south. Soon to be done are shade panels and roof ventilation to reduce summer heat. Shirley’s southern reflectors, the biggest in the world, were designed by Derek Wrigley OAM, solar architect. Shirley will speak about her retrofitting experience.
 Wednesday 22nd September
11:30am – 12:00pm: Jane Cottee, Education Manager, Building and Environment Centre, CIT will be presenting “Drought Tolerant Gardens”.
Jane will be speaking about how to create drought tolerant gardens in Canberra’s climate inlcuding plant selection and water saving strategies.
12:00pm – 12:30pm: Leigh Duxson from the Home Energy Advice Team will be presenting My World in 2030“.
Leigh will be speaking about how we can envisage Canberra in the year 2030.

Thursday 23rd September
10:30am – 11:00am: Simon Gemmell from Capital Aquaponics will be presenting Aquaponics – growing vegetables and fish!”. 
 Aquaponics is the production of fish and vegetables. These live in a symbiotic relationship. The simplest explanation is that the fish provide the fertiliser for the plants to grow, and the plants clean the water for the fish.
Simon will present on the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. He will talk about how to grow your own fish and vegetables for your own consumption in your own back yard. It is organic and has been around for centuries.
11:30 – 12:00pm: Jeff Knowles from ECO-Footprint Solutions will be presenting “Sustainable Homes”.
Jeff will be speaking about how to build sustainable homes within the ACT. 

Sustainability Challenge: a competition from the Canberra Environment and Sustainability Centre

Get a team together and join the 30 day sustainability challenge! You can do it with your housemates, your gym buddies, your classroom or your self.

Have a quick think about your everyday life.  Would you prefer not to drive to work every day? Like locally grown and produced food but never get around to buying it? Think you could put on a jumper and turn down the heating? Can’t remember to turn off appliances at the wall and save on stand-by power? Always wanted to make friends in your course and think car-pooling would be a good way to do it?

There are hundreds of ways we can lessen our impact on the environment. The Sustainability Challenge helps you to choose 5 things you can do for 30 days. 
Put the poster up on your fridge, write in the 5 things you’ve chosen for a more sustainable life, and track how you’re going over the 30 days of the Challenge.

There’s a spot for you to write in how you’re going, what’s worked really well, and what hasn’t worked at all. At the end of the 30 days, send it back to us and we can find out the best ways for people to reduce their impact on the environment and help more people do the same!
See the website http://www.ecoaction.com.au/category.php?id=101

Sign me up! Ecsustainabilitychallenge at gmail.com

Knit Against Climate Change Calling all woollen artists. We need your help to make a giant woollen banner for an upcoming event we have planned. If lots of people make a few small squares then we can sew it all together into something huge and wonderful. Email info at love40percent.org please drop off knitted squares at the conservation council at 17 Childers St, Acton and/or mail them to “Love 40% c-/ ACT Conservation Council, GPO Box 544, Canberra ACT 2601″. If you are particularly keen you could try knitting some patterns or messages Go to .http://love40percent.org/2010/05/knit-against-climate-change/ for a heart shaped pattern to get you started and a discussion forum.

Working Groups

Climate Climate Action Canberra

  1. 100% Renewables by 2020: See these wonderful websites for more info: http://www.100percent.org.au and http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org
    Contact: Valerie: 048 899 1074,
    swheatst at cyberone.com.au

Beyond Zero emissions has released their plan for 100 per cent renewables in 10 years. The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, showing the feasibility and affordability of 100% renewable energy for Australia is now out and popping up all over the place. Help it go viral by getting yourself an electronic (free) or hard-copy ($30) and sending it to family, friends and colleagues. We can only shift the debate on energy and climate in this country by breaking the many myths that the public holds true about renewable energy and fossil fuels.

  1. .ACT campaign for 40%+ Emissions Reductions by 2020.
    Canberra 40% is the group of community organisations and concerned Canberra residents who have encouraged the ACT government in its new policy to cut 40% in our greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT by %40 by 2020. http://love40percent.org .
  2. Price on Carbon Working Group: contact rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com
  3. Forests for Climate: rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com

EVENTS

These events are also listed on climateXchange http://canberra.climatexchange.org.au

 Every Friday: 9.30-11.00, 2XXfm   98.3,  BEHIND THE LINES: Activist news and views.

Wednesday, September 22, World Car-free Day
We don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.

World Carfree Day is the perfect time to act, and send a message to Big Oil that it is time to give

priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

Get out of your car on Wednesday.

Join or start a local world Carfree Day event near you:
http://bikingrevolutionnews.media-toolbar.com/

20th -22nd September, Time to Talk- Canberra 2030

Time to talk is an opportunity for all Canberrans to have a conversation on the future look and operation of our city. It is about planning together for how we want the city to function. Its overall aim is to encourage as many people as possible to tell us what they love about Canberra now, and what they would like Canberra to be in 20 years time.

The ACT Government is seeking the early involvement of the community in shaping the future of the city. Your suggestions, ideas and comments will be used to inform more detailed work in a range of policy areas in the future. In other words YOU the COMMUNTY are helping plan for the future of Canberra!

The topics that will be the focus for discussion are: Population; Environmental Sustainability; Water; Housing; Getting Around; Land Use and Planning; Liveability and Wellbeing; City Form; Living in the Nation’s Capital; and ‘Who Pays’?.

You can become involved through the website, in the community and by attending forums. For more information about how to get involved check the website. www.canberra2030.org.au

If you require more information on Canberra 2030 call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81. You can also contact the Time to talk Team directly on 6205 8618 or 6207 6457

For information about venues and to RSVP please contact Colette Torrance on 6205 8618.

Time to Talk : Workshop one
When: Monday 20 September 2010 (5.30pm for  6.00pm start)
Where: Central Canberra
Please RSVP by Wednesday 15 September 2010.
OR
Workshop two
When: Wednesday 22 September 2010 (10.00am for  10.30am start)
Where: Woden
Please RSVP by Friday 17 September 2010.
OR
Workshop three
When: Wednesday 22 September 2010 (5.30pm for  6.00pm start)
Where: Belconnen

Please RSVP by Friday 17 September 2010.

Saturday,  25 September, Greenhouse Emporium Fyshwick Sustainable Lifestyle Solutions Grand Opening!!

277 Canberra Avenue Fyshwick
Greenhouse Emporium is the new and exciting “one stop shop” for all of your environmentally friendly living needs. Our vision is to assist in making Canberra “Australia’s Greenest City”.
We stock everything from enviro-friendly laundry supplies through to building material, lighting and lawn products. We are also working with the latest in cutting edge, pesticide free pest control for your garden. Just in time for Spring!!!! You will be amazed.
We will be offering some fantastic specials on purchases made during the day ranging from:
·        An extra 20% off already discounted Composite decking (comes with 15 year warranty)
·        50% off synthetic grass (12year warranty)
·        20% off LED lights
·        A free pump with any Perma Plas water tank
·        Sign up for a FREE Home Energy Audit
·        Kids colouring in competition with great prizes.
·        All the Reps from all our suppliers will be here.
·        Black Thunder will be here handing our freebies
·        AFL Grand Final Shown on the big screen
·        And Lots More!

Sunday, October 10 at 12:00 am until Monday, October 11 at 12:00 am

Global Work Party: A global action organised by 350.org

Where: Everywhere!
When: Sunday, October 10 at 12:00 am until Monday, October 11 at 12:00 am

Watch this space to see what Climate Action Canberra will do on 10/10/10.

 

18-Sep-2010 and 25-Sep-2010 : Grow Your Own Organic Backyard Food

Learn how to grow your own organic food, just in time for spring!

Spring is here, it’s time join the increasing number of people who are ‘growing their own’ organic

fruit and vegetables. This short Course will teach you how to get started without having to spend

lots of time and money! Topics covered are based on permaculture principles and include: planning

, soil, composting, water, ‘where and when to grow what’ and finally ….harvesting !

Time: 10.00-2.30pm Teacher: Barbara Schreiner Where: Canberra Environment and Sustainability

Resource Centre, Cnr Lawson Circuit and Lennox Crossing, Acton
Cost: $110 Bring: A light lunch…tea/coffee provided. Bookings: info at )ecoaction.com.au

Payment: In advance by Direct Fund Transfer, cheque or cash
 

29 September, Wednesday:  Politics in the Pub and book launch
The Australia Institute and UnionsACT are delighted to invite you to a post-election Politics in the Pub and book launch: Where now for people power after the election?
Speakers are Simon Sheikh, National Director GetUp.org.au and Amanda Tattersall author of Power in Coalition: strategies for strong unions and social change (and union and community organiser). The MC is Charles Firth from The Chaser.

The ball is now in our court as to whether we can turn the opportunity of a hung parliament into social change.” Amanda Tattersall

See this link for background article. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/a-shot-at-real-people-power-20100831-14dl5.html
TIME: Drinks from 5:30pm, starts at 6pm
WHERE: The Lounge Bar, Level 3, Uni Pub, 17 London Circuit, Canberra
 
October 7th, 2010 7:00 PM through 9:30 PM: Clothes Swap: Glamorama Fashion Swap Meet

Get those neglected garments out of the corner of your wardrobe, and bring them along for a swap-meet with other SEE-Change members.

Entry fee is $5.00, which includes a drink and delicious home-made snack.

Location Main Hall, St James Church, 40 Gillies St, Curtin
  Phone: 0403 243 156 Email: woden.seechange at gmail.com

7 and 8 October Community Gardening Conference

“The Canberra Organic Growers Society in conjunction with the University of Canberra will be holding a community gardening conference on 7 and 8 October at the University of Canberra.  The theme of the conference will be Promoting Sustainability, Health and Inclusion in the city.  The conference will bring together representatives of different forms of community gardening practices, academics, policy makers and urban planners to share knowledge, promote dialogue and assess best practice to promote more productive and sustainable engagement with local food systems. There will be contributions from participants involved in community gardening from a wide geographical area – from the UK, from around Australia and from ACT community gardens.  For more information on the program and registration see www.canberra.edu.au/communitygardens or contact Keith Colls on 62545038
 

27 October, Wednesday, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Seminar: Asia climate change policy forum.

What are India, China, Korea, Japan and Indonesia doing to reduce emissions?
Who is following and who is leading?
After Copenhagen, what are the prospects for an international agreement?
To understand where Asia is going on climate change, come to the Asia climate change policy forum on 27 October 2010.

Leading researchers, analysts and advisers from across Asia will be joined by prominent Australian participants in the climate change debate to discuss domestic policy initiatives and international issues in this unique event.

Crawford School of Economics and Government, Molonglo Theatre, Lvl 2, JG Crawford Building (Bildg #132), Lennox Crossing, Australian National University
Website:http://crawford/accpforum/ Enquiries: Cleo Fleming on 6125 6411
 

You are invited to the ‘Camp for Climate Action Australia 2010’

Put it in  your diaries, register on-line   Less than three months to go! 

When: 1st – 5th December 2010, with the mass action at Bayswater power station on Sunday 5th.

What: A five day program of climate change issues and solutions, planning, networking and one huge day of peaceful direct action targeting Australia’s equal largest source of C02 emissions – Bayswater power station.

Where: Lake Liddell Recreation Area, The Hunter Valley, NSW: 16km East of  Muswellbrook, 1 ½ hrs. West of Newcastle, 3 hrs. North-West of Sydney

Who: You, your friends and family!

Contact rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com if you want to join people from Climate Action Canberra arranging transport and camping together at Climate Camp.

If you’re concerned about the future and want to do something about it Climate Camp is for you! Come for a workshop, the mass action or the whole five days!

Go to http://www.climatecamp.org.au/ for all the information you need to come along or to get involved.
 
News

Corbell powers ahead on solar

BY NOEL TOWELL, CHIEF ASSEMBLY REPORTER, The Canberra Times

14 Sep, 2010 08:48 AM

The ACT Government has unveiled its scheme to turn Canberra into the nation’s solar power leader in a radical departure from its previous renewable energy plan.
If the new feed-in tariff proposals announced yesterday are successful, up to 25 per cent of the city’s power would be generated within a few years by solar farms dotted around the territory and by vast photovoltaic panels on shopping centre and warehouse roofs.
Solar power lobbyists have hailed the plan as a game-changer for Australia, but not everyone is convinced the territory Opposition called it a recipe for higher household power bills.
Environment Minster Simon Corbell said yesterday that the Government would legislate for two new categories to its existing solar feed-in tariff scheme, allowing medium-scale generation of between 30 kilowatts and 200kW and large-scale generation of more than 200kW.
The medium category will allow businesses to produce their own power using panels on their roof spaces and to feed surplus electricity back into the grid, while the large-scale category paves the way for private players to build solar farms for the territory’s first effort at large-scale renewable electricity generation.
The firm to run the first solar farm, generating about 40kW, will be chosen by auction. The company offering the lowest-priced power will win the contract and further schemes will be announced after the effectiveness of the auction model has been assessed.

This announcement differs from the previous model, in which the ACT Government was to fund a single solar farm with a $30 million grant.

You can leave comments at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/corbell-powers-ahead-on-solar/1940670.aspx.

Here is the response of Renn Web from Love 40% campaign group.:

It is fantastic to see the ACT is not mucking around in getting on with implementing projects to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions after recently committing to the ambitious and nation leading 40% target. Expanding the solar feedin tariff is a great step towards increasing our use of renewable energy and reducing our emissions from electricity. These solar projects will create many green jobs and will be great for the burgeoning solar industry.

Unfortunately as part of the plan to extend the feed in tariff to large scale projects the Government is considering abandoning the tariff for the household scale scheme (for new installations). The ongoing chopping and changing of policies both at the Federal and State and Territory level with no consultation is terrible for a vital new industry that is trying to grow. If supporting large scale solar projects is a cheaper and more equitable way to reduce our emissions than supporting household scales schemes then this may be good policy, but there should be proper consultation and perhaps a transition period with a reduced feed in tariff.

To really make solar power work in the ACT the Government should introduce an energy efficiency target similar to those operating in other states as soon as possible. Reducing energy use through energy efficiency and smarter behaviour is crucial as it can offset the cost of increasing electricity prices. This means we can use clean electricity produced without polluting our environment such as solar power, and not have increased electricity bills.

Ren Webb

Canberra 40%

A BRAVE NEW WORLD OF CLIMATE POLICY?

Geoff Lazarus

 One of the keys to success of our new minority Government will be its ability to deliver a range of policies required to reduce our very high carbon emissions. If the election showed anything, it was the desire of voters for real action on climate change, and our political leaders must be mindful that failure to deliver on this crucial policy front contributed to the down fall of Howard, Turnbull and Rudd.

It also nearly cost Gillard her job and may well do so if she fails to work with most of the Independents and Greens who hold the balance of power in both Houses of Parliament. They have considerable understanding of climate change science and therefore the scope of policy measures needed to significently reduce emissions.

Gillard and new Minister Combet rather than giving into the coal industry, the Australian Industry Group, and pressure from News Limited papers as they did last year, need to recognize that the new political context as well as climate science requires immediate and resolute action. Labor will no longer be able to get away with spin doctored nonsense climate policy as it nearly did with the CPRS- a scheme would have locked in major Co2 increases till 2035 and made consumers, rather than the big polluters pay.

The Labor/Greens agreement to set up a special climate change committee, hopefully it will include Ross Garnet, as well independents such as Rob Oakeshott, and Greens Senator Christine Milne. They will press to ensure its proposals are more science rather than politically based, and therefore provide some real and badly overdue leadership on the ‘great moral challenge of our time.’ The Government needs to ignore all the political posturing of the Coalition about the implausibility of Greens/Independents capacity to co-operate. The good relationship of the Independents and Greens and similarity of views around the climate change issue and with their centrality to the survival of the Government will hopefully ensure that Labor changes its ways on climate change.

It is interesting to note that Rob Oakeshott approached the Greens in 2008 to discuss renewable energy policy and very soon introduced mirror legislation to Christine Milne’s feed-in tariff bill into the House. This existing relationship and demonstrated commitment to ambitious renewable energy policy bodes very well indeed. In addition, he has made numerous comments since the election to the effect that renewable energy is central to what he wants for his electorate.

Tony Windsor in his press conference last week announcing his support for Labor said that climate change and renewable energy policy were his second top priority after the national broadband network. Most importantly, Windsor said that done appropriately, climate and renewables policies are beneficial to the economy. Tony Windsor introduced as a Private Member’s Bill the Climate Action Bill developed by a number of Climate Action Groups which, amongst other things, called for 30% cuts below 1990 levels by 2020.

Andrew Wilkie, the ex-Green independent member for Denison in central Hobart, has a policy platform largely in line with the Greens. He will also need to follow through with this to show to his voters he supports sound climate change policies in order to ensure holding his seat next election.

The Greens, as well as having a crucial House of Representatives vote in Adam Bandt, will also hold the Senate balance of power, probably for the next six years, and will be as influential as the Independents in the outcomes of the climate change committee. They will push hard for a carbon tax, an explicit commitment to 100% renewable energy, a comprehensive feed-in tariff for all forms of renewable energy, loan guarantees for industrial-scale baseload renewable energy power plants, an increased renewable energy target, pre-planning processes to create renewable energy parks, a national roll-out of the smart grid and much more.

It’s quite possible that Parliament could deliver the most exciting and ambitious renewable energy policies Australia has ever seen. But even with the best will of key parliamentary participants in climate change decision making, it will be a very challenging task to match what climate science is telling us to do.

Co2 levels have risen from 250 parts per million in the 1750s to the current level of 390ppm. Even if we had achieved the best of all possible outcomes from Copenhagen the planet is likely to reach 500ppm or around a three degrees rise in temperatures. At 450ppm its estimated we have a 50% chance of runaway and ultimately catastrophic global warming- a situation whereby carbon continues to thicken the atmosphere and thereby contain rather than release the sun’s heat which then pushes temperatures higher, thus releasing more carbon that further intensifies heating of the planet.

While making times based predictions with certainty is nearly impossible, it’s at least conceivable, according to former NASA scientist James Lovelock, that we may reach a tipping point of runaway warming within twenty years.

According to Dr Clive Hamilton, even based on optimistic assumptions about global emissions, the world could warm by around 4°C by the 2070s. The planet would be hotter than at any time for the last 15 million years. Temperatures will continue to rise because feedback effects will have taken control of the Earth’s climate out of our hands.

The conditions of life will be wholly transformed with massive damage to biodiversity through the remaking of ecosystems and humanity will be retreating to the poles. All this may occur within the life-times of most children born this century.

We must therefore immediately move to the goal of a 100% reduction of Co2 emissions within ten years- a massive but not impossible task. We must create and expand renewable energy industries that will create thousands of new jobs. Coal based electricity must be phased out as soon as practically possible.

Whether Labor lifts its game on climate change may come down to the performance of Greg Combet. He represents a coal producing seat and played a very negative role last year in defending and promoting the CPRS. His recent statement saying he’ll fight for coal jobs is hardly ‘common sense’ and bodes badly for the critical need to reduce carbon emissions. Is he set to repeat Labor’s mistakes of failing to grasp just how critical the situation is for the planet’s future?

He must devote his considerable political skills to taking Labor in a new direction based on what climate science is telling us, rather than continuing with the practice of playing politics with our children’s future.

Whether he and Labor are able to grasp the historic opportunity to lead desperately needed change remains to be seen. The opportunity to do so however, has never been better.

Geoff Lazarus,

THE LATEST CLIMATE/ENERGY NEWS LINKS

Ambre coal plan still under consideration
Ambre Energy says increasing government regulation is affecting its coal project on Queensland’s

A bumper season for crops

Melting sea ice forces walruses ashore in Alaska
Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in north-west Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/melting-sea-ice-forces-walruses-ashore-in-alaska-20100914-15aml.html

Garnaut calls for deferral of mining tax
THE author of the Rudd government’s climate change report, Ross Garnaut, has called for the mining tax to be deferred.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/ross-garnaut-calls-for-deferral-of-mining-tax/story-fn59niix-1225922988037

Our robust stance on Greens defended
SENIOR media professionals have defended as free speech and opinion The Australian’s stance on the Greens.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/our-robust-stance-on-greens-defended/story-fn59niix-1225922999721

Walruses beached as Arctic ice melts
TENS of thousands of walruses have come ashore in northwest Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/stampede-fears-for-young-as-walruses-pack-alaska-beach-because-ice-has-melted/story-e6frg6so-1225922693878

Warming Arctic pushes wildlife to the edge
The Arctic is warming at a rate almost twice the global average, triggering mass starvation of wildlife and a doubling of coastal erosion in some areas, a new report says.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/warming-arctic-pushes-wildlife-to-the-edge/1940663.aspx

Taking stock of climate change — what now?
Greg Combet’s arrival as Climate Change Minister provides the opportunity to rethink where we go from here, given Labor has so badly botched the issue in its first term.
http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/14/taking-stock-of-climate-change-what-now/

Fourth Hottest Summer on Record for the United States in 2010
As September begins to bring cooler temperatures, Americans can look back objectively at the past summer (June-August). The above average temperatures in the contiguous states combined to make it the fourth warmest ever. Only seven of the lower 48 states had normal temperatures, and 29 were much above normal. This news is detailed in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) State of the Climate report issued on September 8, 2010.

Why Tidal Power is Europes Best Near-Term Ocean Energy Technology
Primitive tidal mills operated in the England date back to the 11th century. During the 18th century, several tidal mills popped up in Western Europe. The news that the world’s largest tidal turbine 1 MW in size will be installed off the coast of Scotland near Orkney should come as no surprise.

China says rich-poor divide still dogs climate pact talks
The prospects of a new global climate change pact still hinge on resolving the divisions between rich nations and the developing world, a top Chinese climate negotiator said in remarks published on Monday. “Right now there are still huge differences between developed and developing countries in the negotiations on climate change problems,” said Su Wei, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission.

Computer in wrapping-paper form
Investigators in New York are giving factory production of solar energy cells a modern makeover. Their new approach, described in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, includes the use of “continuous electronic sheets,” something like a computer flattened into wrapping paper.

Women More Likely Than Men to Accept Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
Women tend to believe the scientific consensus on global warming more than men, according to a new …
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914115238htm

Why ‘Scientific Consensus’ Fails to Persuade
A recent study sought to understand why members of the public are sharply and persistently divided on matters on which expert scientists largely agree. How would you determine whether or not a …
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914102114htm

Why BP’s failure to mention safety culture is problem
BP’s investigation into the causes of the Gulf blowout focuses on technical problems. It may have missed a key factor
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19446-why-bps-failure-to-mention-safety-culture-is-problem.html

Gulf Oil Spill Energizes Foes Of NY Shale Drilling
Critics of natural gas drilling in New York on Monday urged U.S. regulators to enact tougher regulations, saying the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico proves the industry cannot be trusted.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/59512

TEPCO To Boost Renewable Energy, Expand Overseas
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Asia’s biggest utility, plans to bolster its renewable and nuclear energy operations and to expand its business in Asia, as it faces rising pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and shrinking demand at home.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/59511

Greece Unblocks 2 Billion Euro Renewable Energy Projects
Greece unblocked renewable energy projects worth 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion) as the cash-strapped country struggles to attract new investments to boost its ailing economy, the energy regulator said on Monday.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/59510

Norway Says Green Taxes Can Help Jobs And Economic Growth
Green taxes are among ways to spur jobs and economic revival despite less focus on environmental solutions since the U.N.’s Copenhagen summit in 2009, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/59509

China Says Rich-Poor Divide Still Dogs Climate Pact Talks
The prospects of a new global climate change pact still hinge on resolving the divisions between rich nations and the developing world, a top Chinese climate negotiator said in remarks published on Monday.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/59506

Palau Adopts National Energy Policy
Targets conservation to reduce consumption
http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2010/September/09-14-17.htm

PNG Labor Force Unprepared For Huge Gas Project
http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2010/September/09-14-ed1.htm

Notes

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Email rebeccahorridge at hotmail.com to join the group.

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