April 2016 Newsletter

Coral Bleaching As you have heard on the news, there is now widespread bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.  The need for a move to 100% renewable energy is more urgent than ever before. See http://www.aycc.org.au/r?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smh.com.au%2Ffederal-politics%2Fpolitical-news%2Fnext-few-weeks-critical-as-great-barrier-reef-suffers-tragic-coral-bleaching-event-20160301gn7l0f.html
You can sign a petition organised by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (ACMS) asking the government to move away from coal by going to http://www.marineconservation.org.au/petitions/75/dear-pm-choose-coral-not-coal
You can also donate to either ACMS  http://www.marineconservation.org.au or Greenpeace https://www.greenpeace.org.au/donate to fund their efforts to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Best Minister in the world? Believe it or not Greg Hunt has been named the best minister in the world.  Sign the Wilderness Society petition to ask him to stop the mass land clearing currently happening (and have a look at the portrait done of him at the same time).https://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/greg-our-man

He has also claimed that Australia’s emissions peaked a decade ago.  They are, in fact, going up. Maybe you’d like to donate to the Climate Council to help it counter such misleading and wrong information https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/donate/

AGL – Australia’s biggest polluter AGL is trying to convince the public it is going green but don’t be fooled. Look at their greenwash http://dirtyagl.com/?akid=11459.759317.6PwL6B&rd=1&t=1 and then sign the letter to ask AGL (which is increasingly sensitive to public opinion) to get out of the fossil fuel industry in years not decades. http://dirtyagl.com/take-action/

End Polluted Politics   The fossil fuel industry has donated over $3.7 million dollars to the Liberal, Labor and National parties since the last federal election and has received over $7.7 billion dollars in subsidies and tax deductions every year. That is over $2000 for every $1 donated.  The Greens have launched a campaign calling on a ban on political donations from the fossil fuel industry. To find out more about the campaign go to pollutedpolitics.org  and sign the petition asking the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to pass the Greens Bill and stop taking donations from the mining sector.

Meeting with John Alexander Three members of our group had a meeting with Mr Alexander at the beginning of March. We had an hour to tell him of our concerns about the government’s lack of action on climate change and the ongoing payment of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.  He was willing to listen to us, but the question is will our concerns be passed on?

Anthony Roberts Unfortunately Mr Roberts continues to make himself unavailable to us and has not responded to a letter sent to him last month requesting a meeting.

CSIRO gutted The Federal Government in February cut 350 jobs to the CSIRO and the Climate Science department which means that we basically have no scientists who can study the effects of climate change and will severely limit Australia’s ability to meet its targets agreed to at Paris. It received wide press and has been condemned by thousands of international climate scientists. The Climate Council has written a report that details how significant and damaging the cuts are.  It is called ‘Flying Blind: Navigating Climate Change without the CSIRO’. Find it athttps://www.climatecouncil.org.au/csiro-report

NERA National Energy Resources Australia is a new authority set up by the Federal Government and headed by Ken Fitzpatrick, who has had a long association with the fossil fuel industry. Its purpose is to drive innovation, competitiveness and productivity across the oil, gas resources coal and uranium sectors. No mention of renewable energy at all in its brief. It would seem the Federal Government is still unconvinced by the need to move away from fossil fuels.  https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/portal/news/new-growth-centre-drive-energy-sector-innovation-and-productivity

Australia’s 10 biggest polluters The Australian Conservation Fund (ACF) has released a report of the 10 biggest polluters in Australia with AGL at the top.  https://www.acfonline.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/ACF%20big%20polluters%20report%202016.pdf

Oil drilling in Great Australian Bight BP is one of several companies proposing to drill for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight.  Six years ago BP was responsible for the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico that was an environmental catastrophe.  Sign the petition http://www.marineconservation.org.au/petitions/78/great-australian-bight

Port Augusta The project to Repower Port Augusta moved closer to reality with the announcement that the Clean Energy Innovation Fund could be used to build solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta.  Share this huge news with your friends on Facebook and Twitter to show your support for solar thermal in Port Augusta.

Clean Energy Innovation Fund The Federal Government has announced it will not axe ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) which was set up to fund research and development into new technologies or Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) which was a clean energy bank to loan money for projects.  However, while that might sound good, the Clean Energy Innovation Fund of $1billion (newly set up) will only give money for projects already allocated to CEFC and will remove ARENA’s ability to award grants. For more information https://medium.com/@GetUp/one-step-forward-one-step-back-what-s-actually-going-on-with-cefc-and-this-new-1-billion-eeb9c1b9922f#.s75wqqtwt

Canberra and Longreach airports See how they’ve reduced their emissions. http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/content/energy/case-study/eyes-on-efficiency-at-canberra-airport-1452126467  and http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/content/energy/case-study/longreach-airport-goes-solar-1398288431

Adani The Government is considering using money from Australia’s Future Fund to finance Adani’s Carmichael Mine.  Sign the petition to say no http://www.aycc.org.au/future_fund

Bank Australia If you’ve got a home loan and want a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, then Bank Australia may be what you’re looking for.  If you refinance your loan, you will also be helping the work of Solar Citizens. For details go to https://bankaust.com.au/solarcitizens

Cash for containers scheme The NSW Government is still evaluating what scheme to have for containers such as bottles and cans.  Send a message to your local MP saying you want the world class version, not Coca Cola’s. https://supportcashforcontainers.good.do/supportcashforcontainersinnsw/callyourlocalmpandaskthemtosupportcashforcontainers/

Marine sanctuaries The Turnbull Government says it supports our national network but we’re yet to see any action. Sign the petition to put our sanctuaries back in the Budget today.

What’s On

Work with Nature Nature Conservancy has a new campaign for you to spend swap your desk for an hour’s work outside in nature in the week 18-24 April and enjoy the beauty and benefits of doing so.  Register at https://workwithnaturetnc.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home

Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, will be doing a presentation on 21 April 6.30-8.30pm at the Paddington town hall.  Purchase tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/bill-mckibben-the-hottest-year-the-hottest-fight-tickets-23874452129?

Newcastle protest Come and join a demonstration on 7-8 May at the world’s largest coal port to call for the move away from fossil fuels. It is part of a campaign by 350.org called Break Free from Fossil Fuels.  There will be other events organised for 4-15 May.  For information and how you can be involved go to http://australia.breakfree2016.org/

Film screening We are organising a screening of the highly acclaimed documentary “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein in the Wallumetta room at Ryde Library Pope Street on Thursday 26 May from 6.30 to 9pm. It is about climate change and what needs to be done to move towards a healthier planet. All welcome.