The Budget – how much money for action on climate change and the protection of the environment was promised? Not enough if we wanted real funding for what needs to be done. The Climate Council has an excellent summary of the hits and misses in the budget. https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/the-federal-budget-whats-in-it-for-climate
Below is what we’ve noticed.
- $1bn in low-cost loans for double glazing, solar panels and other energy improvements for about 110,000 households (Saul Griffiths has suggested a lot more is required to electrify all aspects of households in Australia)
- PRRT (Petroleum Resources Rent Tax) The federal government’s tax on fossil fuel companies is way too little, way too late and won’t be for long and will certainly not affect the excessive profits of the fossil fuel industry. https://michaelwest.com.au/fake-reform-jim-chalmers-itsy-bitsy-tax-hit-is-a-gift-for-foreign-fossil-fuel-giants/ It is worth noting that tobacco excise, visa application charges and beer excise all bring in more revenue than the changes to the PRRT. It is also worth noting that Qatar which mines less gas than Australia collects 20 times more tax on gas than us.
- More public money for fossil fuel industry – now up to $41bn over the next 4 years – more than all climate funding combined
- Funding for green hydrogen (but the world is way ahead of us already)
- $18m to reform management of Australia’s contentious carbon offsets scheme.
- $5.9m to audit forest regeneration projects, which some experts say are not leading to real emissions cuts on the scale promised
- $10 billion for Capacity Investment Scheme to roll out big batteries and large-scale storage
- Money for studies/research (not actually any action) into Fuel Efficiency Standard, decarbonising transport and infrastructure, EV charging point installations in households, battery recycling systems
- No new money for wildlife protection or species recovery. If the Stage 3 tax cuts were ditched, every threatened species could be saved (and much more!) https://theconversation.com/if-the-budget-ditched-the-stage-3-tax-cuts-australia-could-save-every-threatened-species-and-lots-more-205305
- No new money for recycling or addressing plastics problem
- $7.7m to help implement the government’s “nature repair market”. (Scientists have estimated about $1.7bn a year is needed to fix Australia’s degraded ecosystems and wild places)
- $121m over four years to establish the EPA, and $51.5m for another new body, Environment Information Australia, to provide data on the threatened species and ecosystems
And now to other news:
As at 30 May 2023 CO2 reading was 418.9 parts per million. Source NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Safe level is 350 parts per million.
SOME GOOD THINGS HAVE HAPPENED Bango Wind Farm (30km N of Yass) now fully operational providing electricity to 144,000 homes; Victoria will ban native forest logging from the end of this year; a report from the IEA has found that clean energy investment is on track to reach $1.7tn this year (fossil fuels $1tn); Australian Government will create the new Macquarie Island Marine Park, the majority of which will be a sanctuary (highest level of protection)
WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING
Met with Jerome Laxale regarding the assessment regarding national security risks associated with the climate emergency that Labor made as an election promise to undertake and make public. The assessment was completed by the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and has been seen by some senior members of Cabinet – but not released more widely. We raised our concerns that Labor was not fulfilling its election promise. He agreed to meeting with David Spratt, Research Direction National Centre for Climate Restoration for a briefing on climate science and national security climate risks.
We also raised concerns about the support the government is giving to the Beetaloo Basin project.
Have your say on food scraps Ryde Council is looking for feedback on a proposed food scraps recycling scheme. Do the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FoodScrapsRecycling Closing date is 8 June
How to save water and energy Ryde Council is running a webinar on 8 June 12.30-1.30pm. Free but you need to book on https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/infocus-webinar-ewon-presents-how-to-save-water-and-energy-tickets-633842268287
Electrify Bennelong Community Expo is being organised by Bennelong MP Jerome Laxale and will be held on 18 June 9.30am-1.30pm at the Boronia Grove Community Centre, Epping to discuss the importance of electrification and its impact on the environment. There will be stallholders from a wide range of backgrounds, including Electric Vehicle Advocates and Solar Panel Specialists. There will also be two panel discussions – 10am: Electrifying Homes and High Density – with the Hon Senator Jenny McAlister, Federal Assistant Minister for Climate Change. 12pm: Electrifying our Vehicles – with the Hon Chris Bowen MP, Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy.
Meet the federal environment minister Nature Conservation Council (NCC) is running a Zoom meeting on 26 June at 6.30pm. Topics that could be covered include Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), Climate approvals, deforestation and the Murray Darling Basin. To book go to https://www.nature.org.au/evening_with_the_environment_minister
Big Sky Country Podcasts this is a series of podcasts done by Bush Heritage that looks at habitats in Australia and what needs to be done to protect them. https://www.bushheritage.org.au/news/audio/big-sky-country
EnergyNext conference will be held at the ICC in Darling Harbour on 18-19 July where you can learn about the future of energy and storage. The event is free but you need to register at https://www.energynext.com.au/en-gb/register.html
NEWS AND EVENTS
We’ve almost heated up by 1.5 degrees A UN report says we’re headed towards this in the next few years. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-17/98pc-chance-one-of-the-next-five-years-will-be-the-hottest-ever/102357690
Beetaloo If the Beetaloo project goes ahead, about 700,000 square kilometres of the territory will be opened up to gas exploration, with exemptions for “national parks, conservation areas, Indigenous protected areas, towns, residential and strategic assets, and areas of high cultural, environmental or tourism value”. According to Reputex research (work commissioned by Lock the Gate), if full production is reached, it could lead to 1.4bn tonnes of emissions over the next two decades.
NT government this month claimed it would meet a key inquiry recommendation of no net increase in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions when it approved Beetaloo Basin gas extraction. But information from a Freedom of Information request shows that in late 2022 the NT government knew it had not met that recommendation and wrote to Chris Bowen for help.
Chris Bowen has said other states may have to help NT offset emissions from this project https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-19/chris-bowen-commits-to-beetaloo-basin-emissions-offsets/102368224
Here’s another letter to sign to a number of federal Labor cabinet ministers asking they not allow this project to proceed. https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/gas-and-fracking/protect-water-cultural-heritage-and-consent/demand-the-alp-protect-water-cultural-heritage-and-consent
Middle Arm Gas hub in Darwin Harbour could fast track fracking in the NT, including Beetaloo. The federal government has committed $1.5 billion in public funds to this project which could result in the destruction of important aboriginal cultural sites. Sign these petitions opposing this project https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-justice/middle-arm-petition/disarm-middle-arm and https://act.350.org/sign/no-middle-arm-gas-hub/
Oh dear! Tanya Plibersek has approved her first coal mine the Isaac River Coal mine in Queensland. She has also dismissed the Living Wonders reconsideration request relating to the Narrabri Coal mine expansion by Whitehaven Coal, the Mount Pleasant open cut coal mine by MACH Energy Australia in NSW, and the Ensham coal mine life extension in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The Narrabri extension would make it the dirtiest thermal coal mine in Australia. We encourage you to phone her office and voice your disappointment at her decision. Her number is (02) 6277 7920
Climate Change Authority is headed by Grant King, a gas executive who headed Morrison’s Covid Recovery advisory group. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2023/05/19/the-grant-king There are calls for an investigation into the commercial interests of the Climate Change Authority amid growing concerns about the Albanese government’s ongoing support for fossil fuel extraction.
No new gas and coal in NSW sign the petition to the NSW government asking it not approve new fossil fuel projects. https://www.catefaehrmann.org/nonewcoalandgas
Save our forests Sign the parliamentary petition asking for a halt to logging and to extend National Parks. Closing date 6 August https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/Pages/ePetition-details.aspx?q=TZcGdIIbZdMYLd03EzI1hw
Methane emissions Watch this video explaining what they are and then sign the letter to your NSW local MP calling for a moratorium on new coal project approvals and a crack-down on methane emissions from coal mines. https://lockthegate.good.do/coal_emissions/mps/
Our rivers are dying because of nutrients from fertilisers and waste water. Could offsetting save them? https://theconversation.com/floods-of-nutrients-from-fertilisers-and-wastewater-trash-our-rivers-could-offsetting-help-203235
Restoring forests here’s how it could be done. https://theconversation.com/restoring-forests-often-falls-to-landholders-heres-how-to-do-it-cheaply-and-well-204123
Green ammonia is not as green as we’re led to believe https://theconversation.com/why-green-ammonia-may-not-be-that-green-204363
Santos is a sponsor of the bicycle event Tour Down Under. Sign the petition asking the organisers to find another sponsor. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tour-down-under-breakaway-from-gas
Traditional owners have lodged a human rights complaint against Santos https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-26/tiwi-traditional-owners-human-rights-complaint-superfunds-santos/102263366
Lobbyists have unfettered access to our politicians because of our weak integrity laws. And many politicians are joining those ranks very soon after leaving parliament. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/corporations-exploiting-weak-integrity-laws-to-influence-government-report-20230501-p5d4o3.html
Adani continues its relationship with the Myanmar military. Sign the letter asking Adani’s investors to discontinue their funding of the company. https://www.stopadani.com/adani-investors
Air pollution how bad is it in your area? Have a look on this interactive map. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2023/may/04/air-pollution-in-australia-interactive-map-pm25-polluted-hotspots-search-postcode-suburb-where-i-live
Net Zero Authority The federal government has recently announced this authority. What is it and what should its priorities be? https://theconversation.com/australia-finally-has-a-net-zero-authority-heres-what-should-top-its-agenda-205029
Turkmenistan has huge methane emissions from its fossil fuel mining. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/09/mind-boggling-methane-emissions-from-turkmenistan-revealed
What caused the all that rain we had? Not only did the smoke from the 2019/20 bushfires affect the amount of rain we had but also destroyed some of our precious ozone layer. https://theconversation.com/smoke-from-the-black-summer-fires-could-have-made-the-triple-la-nina-more-likely-205292
The fossil fuel industry owes $209bn each year in reparations for the damage done to communities https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/19/fossil-fuel-firms-owe-climate-reparations-of-209bn-a-year-says-study
NSW Renewables auction New South Wales state government has secured low prices for major wind and solar projects https://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-gets-stunning-low-price-for-wind-and-solar-in-biggest-renewables-auction/
Renewables Feeling despondent about climate change? The continuing growth of renewables may help you feel a little more positive. https://theconversation.com/despairing-about-climate-change-these-4-charts-on-the-unstoppable-growth-of-solar-may-change-your-mind-204901
RECYCLING AND SUSTAINABILITY
Take-away coffee cups These can’t be recycled in our yellow recycling bins. There are special drop off points (there are a number of these at Macquarie Shopping Centre) so they can be recycled. https://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/content/waste/news/paper-cups-recognised-as-recyclable-59020723
Recycling solar panels There’s a lot of materials that can be salvaged from PVs and reused. https://theconversation.com/australia-is-facing-a-450-000-tonne-mountain-of-used-solar-panels-heres-how-to-turn-it-into-a-valuable-asset-204792
Supermarket plastics The Total Environment Centre is asking you to do a short survey on how supermarkets can reduce their use of plastics. https://form.jotform.com/231228656864060
Making houses from recycled nappies yes, it’s possible! https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2023-05-19/would-you-live-in-a-house-made-from-recycled-nappies-/102361182
Moving towards electric appliances Recent research shows the majority of Australians are keen to make the move. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/24/majority-of-australians-keen-to-switch-from-gas-to-electric-to-lower-emissions-survey-finds
EV charges in multistorey buildings here’s how it could be done. https://issuu.com/westwick-farrowmedia/docs/sustainability_matters_apr_may_2023/s/23354327
Electric road trains one mining company is trialling these in SA https://thedriven.io/2023/04/18/australian-miner-to-trial-worlds-first-electric-triple-road-train-with-swappable-battery/