The Climate Action Summit took place in Canberra last weekend. Prior to the summit the Climate Action Centre prepared a climate action reader, Talk Climate, for the Summit. In this election year with the stakes higher than ever, it is a particularly thought provoking read. Included in the reader is a piece penned by Damien Lawson from the Climate Action Centre and Taegen Edwards from Yarra Climate Action Now dealing with the upcoming campaign currently to be driven by a coalition of Victorian climate action and environmental groups to replace Hazelwood power station with a mix of less polluting or non polluting electricity generating capacity.
Hazelwood is of course Victoria’s oldest, least efficient, largest and dirtiest, brown coal fired, power generating facility. Hazelwood was due to be closed in 2005. Unfortunately, and against the advice of a raft of environmental groups, the State Government decided to extend the operating license of this obsolete facility until 2031. Alone it is responsible for 15% of Victorian annual green house gas pollution and 3% of the Australian total.
The summit reaffirmed the climate movement’s opposition to the government’s trading scheme and set out key policy goals for clean renewable energy, green jobs and the need for an immediate carbon levy. The coal industry was made a key target. Among the agreed goals of the summit was the replacement of Hazelwood, with clean energy by 2012.
As Yarra Climate Action Now is one of the groups supporting this campaign you can expect to hear much more about this as the year passes. Watch this space.
Yesterday’s National Climate Emergency Rally saw thousands of Australians take to the streets to demand the Rudd Government recognise climate change for the emergency it is, take the Carbon Pollution Rewards Scheme back to the drawing board, and take much stronger action to create green jobs and a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2020.
Rallies were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart and Wollongong.
6 months to Copenhagen and a crucial vote on the terrible Carbon Pollution Law in the Senate. Now is the time to show you care.
National Climate Emergency Rally 1pm, Saturday June 13, State Library, Melbourne
If you have thought of taking action on climate change, now is the time. Drought, bushfires, floods and rising seas are already hitting hard. It’s an emergency and we need emergency action.
In December 2009, governments of the world will meet in Copenhagen to create a new global climate agreement. Australia must support, not stop, strong global action.
We can tackle the recession and climate change together. Direct investment in renewable energy will create jobs, stimulate the economy and begin to create the carbon-free economy of the future.
100% renewable energy by 2020 Australia must make the shift from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy from wind, solar and other available technologies.
Green collar jobs not job cuts We can renew our economy by creating hundreds of thousands of ‘green jobs’ and supporting workers to make a fair and just transition to sustainable industries.
Strong international action with climate justice Australia must take the lead in global climate talks, not undermine them with an ineffective 5%-25% target. Globally, we must to listen those who are most affected by climate change and least responsible for it.
Don’t pass the Carbon Pollution law We need climate policies that make the big polluters pay and not allow big companies to go on polluting. The CPRS won’t reduce Australia’s greenhouse pollution.
Protect Australia’s Forests Logging and clearing vegetation are major contributors to climate change as forests and woodlands are essential carbon stores.
1pm Saturday, June 13, State Library Only a strong and growing movement for change will make a difference. Come with your friends and family to the Rally. Help promote the rally in your community.
Speakers and entertainment includes: Peter Marshall – United Firefighters Union, Emeretta Cross -Tuvaluan climate activist, David Spratt – author Climate Code Red, Greens leader Senator Bob Brown, Rod Quantock – Melbourne comedian and Taegen Edwards – Yarra Climate Action Now. Music by Melting Pot.
Weldon, first published in The Big Issue
* Heather Ridout is the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group. She has lobbied successfully against meaningful climate change action by the Rudd Government. She doesn’t care how badly climate change will affect the world’s people and species, as long as her members keep making massive profits.
The letter below was sent to Kevin Rudd today and signed by 66 climate action groups, including Yarra Climate Action Now.
RE: PROPOSED CHANGES TO AUSTRALIA’S TARGET AND CPRS
Dear Prime Minister,
The 66 Climate Action Groups signing this letter are completely shocked by your decision yesterday to further weaken Australia’s position on climate change.
We believe that you have abandoned your duty of care to protect the Australian people as well as our species and habitats from dangerous climate change.
Groups strongly oppose your new 2020 emissions reduction target band of 5-25% below 2000 levels:
We have consistently called for targets based on the best available climate science, which calls for reductions of at least 40 – 50% by developed countries by 2020.
The 5% unconditional target would, according to the world’s top scientists, commit us to catastrophic climate change and the IPCC’s worst-case scenarios.
The 25% upper target, if applied globally, would lead to at least 2°C of warming and the loss of the Great Barrier Reef. This is an untenable position and we cannot accept it.
These targets also remain out of step with the unconditional targets agreed to by other developed nations (the UK, US and EU have agreed to cut emissions by 34-46%, 20% and 20-30% from 1990 levels respectively).
Groups also assert that a global agreement based on 450ppm CO2e will not protect the Great Barrier Reef, as you suggested yesterday. International scientists estimate that atmospheric CO2 needs to be no more than 350ppm, but preferably closer to 300ppm, to avoid dangerous climate change.
Your decision to further weaken the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) by increasing the number of free permits, delaying the Scheme by a year and introducing a $10 price cap in the first year, completely flies in the face of the thousands of submissions that were lodged by concerned communities, scientists and individuals.
Groups, once again, recommend you urgently fix the fundamental flaws in the CPRS:
Urgently exclude international permits from the CPRS so that actual emissions in Australia will begin to fall from 2010 onwards, rather than reductions only taking place from 2035 onwards (as forecast by the Federal Treasury).
Remove the emission floor in the CPRS (which prevents emissions from falling below the 5% target), to ensure that individual action can contribute to additional emissions abatement over and above the 5-25% emissions reduction target band.
The proposed ‘Australian Carbon Trust’ does not address our concerns on the need for individual action to be additional to the 5% target. The Trust simply formalises what individuals were always able to do anyway. Nomatter what individuals do to reduce emissions we can never go beyond the 5% target.
Exclude both reforestation and deforestation from the Scheme – Groups note the current treatment creates a market distortion in favour of increasing native forest logging. This requires urgent rectification.
Replace ALL free-permits in the CPRS with a system of Border Adjustments, to ensure that these sectors transition to a lower emissions intensity without being unduly disadvantaged in the international market.
Change the requirements for the $3.9 billion of assistance to coal-fired generators under the CPRS to be conditional upon a phase-out plan for these generators.
Yesterday’s announcement has confirmed to us that you have not been able to stand up to the immense pressure exerted upon you by industry.
Your election promises to the Australian people on climate change were clear and unequivocal. Despite all of this, you have chosen to put industry interests above the national interest.
We stand by our comments to the Senate last month – we believe that your climate change ‘spin’ is deceptive and misleading to both the Australian public and the international community.
The 66 Climate Action Groups signing this letter urge you to treat climate change as the emergency it is, and broker an ambitious new climate deal for Australia that truly addresses the needs of future generations, builds new jobs in ecologically sustainable industries and protects our precious species and habitats. Yours sincerely,
Yarra Climate Action Now and 65 other climate action groups
“Please be aware, the police have informed us that we are not allowed to move beyond the north face of Parliament House. If you do decide to leave this area and form a ring around parliament, the police may ask you to move on, and if you don’t, they may arrest you.”
Despite that warning, on the morning of February third, over two thousand people formed a human ring all the way around the Australian Parliament House in Canberra. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, students, scientists, people from all walks of life and from all over Australia, committed what for some was their first act of civil disobedience.
We were dressed in red to symbolise the climate emergency that the world is facing. This colour also symbolised anger, anger at the inadequate response to climate change from our Federal Government, and anger at the extreme danger this inadequate response puts us in.
This action was the last official event of Australia’s first Climate Action Summit. This summit brought together over 500 people representing about 150 climate action groups from all over Australia, for three days of discussion, skills sharing, network and policy development and campaign strategising. Yarra Climate Action Now had four delegates in attendance. It was an exhausting, educational, sometimes frustrating, and inspiring experience.
By the end of the three day summit, we were well on the way to establishing a national community level climate action network, which would enable all the groups to work together and coordinate our activities. We had also set our overarching campaign objectives and key dates for nationally coordinated actions. We took part in discussions on key policy issues and skill-share workshops.
The key campaign objectives for 2009 are:
1. Prevent the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) from becoming law.
2. Build community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition and 100% renewable energy by 2020.
3. Build community support for a goal of stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 in the atmosphere and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands. Communicate this position to the Copenhagen Conference of Parties and advocate for the Australian government to adopt this position.
These objectives are consistent with the climate science as it currently stands, and mean that the grass-roots movement, together with a few larger environment groups such as Greenpeace, are setting the agenda for the development of sensible climate change policy. No other groups, or government for that matter, are yet to base their climate change policies on climate science. Please contact us if you would like further information on these objectives.