Tag Archives: copenhagen

Yarra Council Face Off on Copenhagen Lane

Have your final say about the Copenhagen-style bike lane on Wellington Street!

Tuesday 19 February, 6.30pm

Richmond Town Hall, 333 Bridge Rd, Richmond

Wellington St is a popular and well connected route in the inner network. With over 400 riders in the 7-9am peak it provides a major transport function and serves as a viable connection from North Fitzroy through to East Melbourne

YCAN has strongly supported a Copenhagen lane on Wellington St as a part of the Bicycle strategy Yarra Council has adopted. We see it as the missing link in getting more people to ride their bikes.

After a long time it is finally coming to a head and Yarra Council will be giving it the thumbs up or down.

Shockingly some people don’t support a Copenhagen lane on Wellington Street. We are sure that they just don’t understand that the entire city is doomed to grind to a standstill if we fail to make it safe for people to get out of their car and on the their bike. Frequently it is faster to ride across the city of Yarra than to drive, but until people feel it is safe, the large shift out of cars and onto bikes that is council’s policy won’t happen.

So come along, bring some friends and support a sustainable, healthier and more liveable city.


Copenhagen analysis

YCAN brings you the best analysis and reactions of the dismal Copenhagen summit failure.

Press conference with Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein

AYCC Video

Australia bullies Pacific Islands in Copenhagen

Australia has shamefully won the Fossil of the Day Award on day ten of the Copenhagen negotiations for pressuring our neighbours in the Pacific islands, in particular Tuvalu, to water down their demands and accept a 2 degrees and 450 parts per million CO2 agreement, which would all but guarantee that their islands and way of life are completely destroyed and would also result in the deaths of millions of people world-wide!

According to the Prime Minister of Tuvalu,:

“There are some countries like Australia who have been trying to arrange a meeting with us to probably water down our position on 1.5 degrees celsius. We did not attend that meeting, but I heard from other small islands that Australia was trying to tell them if they agree to the 2 degrees limit, money would be on the table for adaptation process. That’s their choice to accept the money and back down. But Tuvalu will not. As I said in my speech, 1.5 degrees celsius is our bottom line…

“I as a human being feel that the leaders that are pushing their countries to adopt this 2 degrees they should know from science that that will be killing a lot of people around the world, that should change their position. I will not sign anything less than 1.5.”

When challenged, Prime Minister Rudd did not deny that Australia had tried to get Pacific Islands to effectively sign a suicide pact, but said it was all part of the conference process.

Greens Senator Bob Brown criticised Mr Rudd for his actions, “Our Prime Minister’s office has undertaken a concerted campaign to bully island nations, in particular the outspoken Tuvalu, into dropping their demand that the world limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

“The proposals championed by Mr Rudd will lead to global warming of almost 4 degrees, breaching the 2 degree limit that he claims they are aimed at.

“This is essentially a nasty political exercise on behalf of the coal industry and other big polluters who are devoid of any consideration for these small island states.”

Rudd says one thing on climate change, but his actions tell a very different story. Australian negotiators have been furiously working behind the scenes to sabotage any meaningful deal. Rudd’s actions in the Copenhagen summit are the same as when Howard was in power – do whatever it takes to avoid any meaningful action on climate change to keep your rich mates in the fossil fuel industries happy.

Kevin Rudd has called climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”. His deeply immoral actions show that he is failing this challenge.

Millions march for strong climate action

Photo: The Age

Millions of people in around 50 countries have marched this weekend to demand a strong, fair and binding deal at the Copenhagen climate talks.

Around 100,000 protested in Copenhagen itself, while Melbourne had the biggest rally in Australia with police estimates putting the crowd at a massive 40,000 people. The Walk Against Warming, which took place in every Australian capital and many regional centres, showed once again that many Australians are deeply worried about what the climate crisis means for them and their children, and that they are prepared to take to the streets to express this.

Meanwhile the Copenhagen negotiations continue to stall, as the rich countries refuse to accept deep emissions cuts (without being able to buy dodgy offsets to buy their way out of it), and the economically poor countries continue to hold out by refusing to take on binding emissions reduction targets.

Photo: Takver

The talks will continue until Friday.

For ABC news coverage of the Walk click here.

For more photos click here and/or here.

Kevin Rudd takes a bath in “clean coal” Photo: Peter Campbell

See the video below of Leah, Tuvalu-born Australian speaking at the Walk:

Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation

The following editorial was published simultaneously by 56 newspapers from all points on the political spectrum, across 45 countries, in 20 languages, in an unprecedented show of unity in the face of the climate crisis and the Copenhagen negotiations:

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June’s UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: “We can go into extra time but we can’t afford a replay.”

At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of “exported emissions” so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than “old Europe”, must not suffer more than their richer partners.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”.

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.

Vote in the Angry Mermaid Award!

Have you voted yet?

The Angry Mermaid Award has been set up to recognise the perverse role of corporate lobbyists, and highlight those business groups and companies that have made the greatest effort to sabotage the climate talks, and other climate measures, while promoting, often profitable, false solutions.

Named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about the destruction being caused by climate change, the Angry Mermaid Award winner will be decided by a public poll.

The eight nominees:

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE)
Nominated for being embroiled in a fake lobbying scandal against the US Climate Bill and for trying to hide the extent of its lobbying activities

American Petroleum Institute (API)
Nominated for organising an “astroturf” campaign against the US Climate Bills. In August 2009, a leaked memo from the API revealed it had invited its membership to attend a series of rallies in 20 key states, in order to give the impression of a groundswell of grassroots opposition to the climate legislation.

European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC)
Nominated for successfully lobbying for free allowances under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and for pushing to weaken EU and international climate policies.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Nominated for leading lobbying efforts by the major airlines against climate legislation and for issuing misleading and “meaningless” pledges on reducing emissions.

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
Nominated for promoting a global market for greenhouse gas emissions, including the use of offsetting through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), even though this currently cannot guarantee emission reductions.

Monsanto and the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
Nominated for lobbying for RoundupReady (RR) soy to be considered a “climate-friendly” crop that is eligible for carbon credits and subsidies under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); and for pushing for meaningless ‘responsible’ label for RoundupReady soy, which could be used to certify ‘sustainable’ agrofuels.

Royal Dutch Shell
Nominated for actively investing in the energy-intensive tar sands, at the same time as pushing unproven Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) technology as a solution to climate change, whilst undermining initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions.

Nominated for its national and international lobbying campaign to promote Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a clean solution to the dirty business of producing liquid fuels from coal and gas.

Click here to vote and for more information. Voting closes 13 December.

Rudd unmasked by Africans

The climate change talks in Barcelona have just wound up. These are the last round of talks before the Copenhagen summit starts in four weeks.

The refusal of the developed countries like Australia to commit to the necessary reductions in global warming pollution resulted in a walk-out by the African delegation, with Kevin Rudd and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown specifically targetted for their hypocrisy. The African delegation accused Kevin Rudd of promising a lot on climate but not delivering real action.

“Tell me of any politician who delivered on his political manifesto. Was it Gordon Brown? Was it Kevin Rudd?”, key African negotiator Lumumba Di-Aping said.

The Africans want the rich world to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2020 on 1990 levels, while Kevin Rudd is offering 5-25% – which would be a death sentence for millions of Africans if adopted globally.

Ironically it now seems that China, India, Brazil and Mexico are on track to reduce their emissions by 25% by 2020 on 1990 levels, according to new reasearch, which puts them well ahead of countries like Australia, the USA and Europe.

Climate Science Updated

The synthesis report from the March 2009 climate change conference has now been released. This is one of the most important publications since the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. Click here to download a copy.

The message from the world’s climate scientists couldn’t be clearer. The Earth is warming at an accelerating rate, and climate change is happening faster than previously predicted. To avoid ecological, social and economic catastrophe, we need to act now to reduce emissions, and that means, primarily, burning less fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy technologies.

The Yarra Valley Climate Action Group has prepared a summary of the synthesis report, available here.

…meanwhile in Copenhagen

Last week, Copenhagen was the set for an extraordinary event. Several thousand scientists gathered for a climate change conference. This isn’t extraordinary in itself, but what made this conference different was that one of the purposes was to influence government policy.

While this doesn’t sound like much, it is almost unprecedented in the history of science. Scientists traditionally shy away from commenting on policy or calling on governments to act a certain way. They believe it is their job to state facts. However, they have become so concerned and disgusted with government failure to act on the climate emergency that they are now overtly engaging in politics.

The conference also updated the current climate science since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2007.

Key messages from the Conference: click here or see below

Media coverage from the conference on:
General messages
Sea level rise
Warming temperatures
Drought in Europe
Ocean acidification

All Scientific Papers and Abstracts available here

Key Messages from the Congress
12 March 2009

Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions attended by more than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries, preliminary messages from the findings were delivered by the Congress’ Scientific Writing Team. The conclusions will be published into a full synthesis report June 2009. The conclusions were handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen today. The Danish Government will host the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 and will hand over the conclusions to the decision makers ahead of the Conference.

The six preliminary key messages are:

Key Message 1: Climatic Trends
Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.

Key Message 2: Social disruption
The research community is providing much more information to support discussions on “dangerous climate change”. Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk. Temperature rises above 2C will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with, and will increase the level of climate disruption through the rest of the century.

Key Message 3: Long-Term Strategy
Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid “dangerous climate change” regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.

Key Message 4 – Equity Dimensions
Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world. An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.

Key Message 5: Inaction is Inexcusable
There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches ? economic, technological, behavioural, management ? to deal effectively with the climate change challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonise economies. A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.

Key Message 6: Meeting the Challenge
To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.