Tag Archives: federal government

Gillard Government already disappoints on climate

Unfortunately, the Gillard Prime Ministership has gotten off to a very bad start.

Within 24 hours of her swearing in, the Federal Government was signing a deal to export brown coal – the world’s dirtiest, most greenhouse gas intensive fuel – to Vietnam.

The greenwash was coming in thick and fast from the Trade Minister Simon Crean, who said the technology used in this export deal would clean up the brown coal – when in fact it will make it as polluting as black coal – still a disaster in terms of emissions produced.

So far, Victoria has avoided the coal export curse, with all its associated health and environment impacts, which affects NSW and QLD. This deal is a step in the wrong direction. Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and this makes us one of the biggest pushers of the fossil fuel drug which is causing global warming.

We must stop exporting coal as well as burning it within our own shores. Not only will this help avoid catastrophic climate change, a transition to renewable energy will create more jobs than it destroys and in the medium and long term provide a massive boost to the Australian economy.

Luckily this grubby deal did not go unnoticed. A group of people gathered at the Southbank hotel where the deal was signed, after being given only a few hours notice. The media coverage can be see here – The Age, ABC

It is crucial that the Australian public cuts through the spin coming from the Labor Party and judges Julia Gillard on her policies.

The children of the Khapi Community in Bolivia, where glacier retreat has robbed the community of its water and its livelihood.

Federal Budget funds fossil fuels more than renewables


The Federal Budget, handed down yesterday by Treasurer Wayne Swan, contains no significant climate change initiatives, and reduces funding for several existing programs such as the water tank and greywater system rebates, water recycling and stormwater harvesting programs, Landcare and the Natural Heritage Trust.

The much reported $652 million for renewable energy represents a tiny proportion of Australia’s electricity consumption. This is so low as to be almost insignificant and pales in comparison with the call by over 40 organisations, including YCAN, for renewable energy funding at least as high as the national broadband network of $22 to $42 billion.

Funding for the fossil fuel industry is still higher under this budget than funding for renewable energy.

Below is a press release from the Victorian Climate Action Centre with some further information.

MEDIA RELEASE

Kevin Rudd’s back flip on climate has not been addressed by Wayne Swan’s Budget, the Climate Action Centre said today.

“Australian’s angry and disappointed by Kevin Rudd’s recent back flip on climate change will not be mollified by this Budget,” said Damien Lawson, coordinator, Climate Action Centre.

“Labor has again failed to take an opportunity to make polluters accountable by putting a price on carbon and cutting subsidies to the coal industry.”

“While there is some new money for energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Budget, it is only $652.5 million over four years, well short of what is needed.”

“The money does not really start to flow until 2012 and there is little detail on how it will be spent.”

“And there is still more money in the Budget for the fossil industry than for climate change, in fact those chasing the clean coal pipe dream still get about as much as the renewable energy sector.”

“Elsewhere the government has slashed $200 million from its Green Car Fund, and failed to put any money into the electric vehicle revolution this country needs.”

“There is no vision for a zero carbon economy in this Budget just more of the same quarry vision that we had under the Howard government.”

“The public will see through this attempt to green wash the Labor government after a hit in the polls because of its climate back flips.”

Five things the government doesn’t want you to know about climate change

The following text is from a flyer that Yarra Climate Action Now has produced. For electronic or hard copies of the flyer contact us on YarraCAN@gmail.com.

The world’s scientists are telling us that we are facing a climate emergency. We are running out of time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and need to act urgently. The effects of runaway climate change are unthinkable and must be avoided at all costs. However, our governments are beholden to vested interests in the fossil fuel and other dirty industry lobbies and are not dealing with this issue adequately. This is what you need to know:

1. The Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is worse than nothing.
The scheme will:
– Lock in inadequate emissions reduction targets of 5-25% by 2020 on 2000 levels – completely out of touch with what the scientists are calling for.
– Undermine international negotiations on a global emissions agreement by showing Australia is not willing to pull its weight.
– Expose taxpayers to possible compensation claims when we have a government that will actually take climate change seriously by giving pollution property rights to polluters.
– Result in a massive transfer of wealth from all of us to already rich, polluting companies, through free permits and other “compensation” giveaways.
– Disenfranchise voluntary action by households and communities, by ensuring their efforts do nothing to reduce emissions and only free up more permits for polluters.

It needs to be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board. Even without a scheme Australia must participate in international negotiations and so will be forced to reduce emissions in any case.

2. Climate science (it’s worse than you think)
As climate scientists study our climate system, they are discovering that they initially underestimated the effects of carbon pollution. Global warming is happening faster than previously stated, and most governments are basing their policies on outdated science. See key outcomes from the March 2009 gathering of climate scientists in Copenhagen.

3. Climate change is bad for the economy, fighting climate change creates jobs!
Climate change will cause progressively worsening economic shocks, which we are already witnessing, such as prolonged drought and extreme events (bushfire, heatwaves and windstorms). It will do the same to our trading partners. As climate change worsens, it has the capacity to cause recessions and depressions. Fighting climate change on the other hand, is likely to stimulate the economy and create jobs, since it will require a large investment to install renewable energy technologies and these technologies are more labour intensive than the old-fashioned dirty ones. See: www.unep.org/greeneconomy

4. Individual action is not enough
Governments like to talk about black balloons and changing light bulbs, but the truth is to stop climate change we will need significant change to business and politics as usual. This will require not only individual, but collective action that shifts the power balance in this country away from the big polluters and towards the Australian public.

5. The necessary technologies already exist
The technologies required to shift our economy to 100% renewable energy already exist. We do not need to wait for unproven technologies that are decades away like carbon capture and storage (clean coal). We can make the change now while leaving the coal in the ground. See: www.beyondzeroemissions.org and www.wecansolveit.org

UK Government Shames Australia on Emissions Reductions

Faced with a much worse recession than we are facing here, the UK Labour Government has pledged to cut Britain’s emissions unconditionally by 34% on 1990 levels by 2020, with this to increase under an international deal.

The UK Government aims to do this without importing international credits, which have been heavily criticised by scientists and environment groups.

While these cuts are still not what climate scientists are saying the rich world needs to cut emissions by in order to avoid runaway climate change (well over 40% by 2020), compare it to the measly 5% by 2020 Kevin Rudd has offered for Australia – complete with importing of international permits.

If the UK can do this, why can’t Australia do even better with our abundant renewable energy resources?

To read further on these policies click here.

Yarra Climate Action Now Meets Lindsay Tanner

While in Canberra for the Climate Action Summit, one of our members was able to attend a meeting with the federal member for Melbourne and Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner.

Four delegates from the Summit went along to the meeting, YCAN was the only group represented in the Melbourne electorate, with other people there from Darebin Climate Action Now, Moreland Climate Group and Rising Tide from Newcastle.

The discussion ranged over a number of topics, including the recent Climate Action Summit (see blog post below) and YCAN’s activities in the seat of Melbourne. Mr Tanner discussed the difficult political nature of the climate change issue, where on one side you have people and businesses directly and immediately affected by policies to stop climate change, while on the other you have the science and general public concern over an issue that is diffuse and will impact progressively over time. The discussion also touched on the government’s funding for carbon capture and storage (clean coal), and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which has been incorporated into the atrocious Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

The minister seemed to be aware of the recent climate change science, although it is unclear whether he understood the implications of runaway climate change.

The YCAN delegate summed up the main conclusions from the meeting:

“While Lindsay Tanner may be aware of the seriousness of climate change, and the threat is poses to humanity’s survival, it is clear that the Federal Government will not show leadership on this issue until it is forced to by the Australian people. Politicians will only respond to political pressure. This means that every single Australian who cares about climate change has to start doing something POLITICAL about it. This can range from writing letters, joining your local climate action group, attending rallies and changing your vote, to non-violent direct action, such as the blockading of coal infrastructure.

“The point is the government won’t act until everyone else does.”