Climate in the Pub -  7pm August 9th, Three Weeds
Not another Carbon Tax? how to price carbon and win!

price on carbonHow soon will the Australian government move back to some form of carbon pricing to control greenhouse gas emissions?

We welcome Adrian Enright of WWF, and Howard Witt of Citizens' Climate Lobby, to explore the alternatives.

Adrian Enright is WWF's Climate Change Policy Manager. Adrian coordinates WWFs policy engagement on major climate change policies, including carbon pricing, renewable energy incentives and forest carbon mechanisms. He will review the toxic history of the Gillard "Carbon Tax" and describe various proposed cap-and-trade mechanisms in an Australian and international context.

Howard Witt is a retired engineer and grandfather, now a full time Volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby (Australia). He will expand on James Hansen's proposal for a Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend model, espoused by the Citizens' Climate Lobby in the North America and increasingly Internationally, including Australia.
We can look forward to an informative evening and a lively discussion afterwards.


PREVIOUS MEETINGS . . .


Let's be straight - climate change is a political problem

Tues 14th June 7pm: Three Weeds, Evans Street, Rozelle

 The speaker was Andrew Bradley, Australian chairman of 350.org, and MD of Holdfast Communications, which consults on climate change and renewable energy.

Andrew argued "Let's be straight - climate change is a political problem". Here are his main points . . . .

  1. We are running out of time. 97% of Great Barrier Reef has bleached.
  2. 2016 is already breaking temperature records.
  3. Reading of 400ppm CO2 taken recently at Cape Grim.
  4. More floods: ice caps etc. melting all over the world. The science is clear about all this. Even more intense and severe weather is occurring than previously predicted.
  5. Cost of inaction is greater than cost of action now.
  6. Climate change has become a purely political problem.
  7. Coal industry has reigned supreme for past two centuries- so it is a question of politics and power.
  8. Clarity of responsibility is essential. Must have a study of whom and what is boiling the planet.
  9. Continuance of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry is utter madness. The performance of the fossil fuel industry is no different to asbestos industry or firearms industry.
  10. When subsidies are taken away from the coal/gas/oil industries the majority of companies become insolvent. (e.g. Peabody Coal)
  11. Projects such as Adani and deep sea oil are all uneconomic. They all need subsidies if they are to survive.
  12. Paris was better than anything than could have been hoped for by the climate change believers.
  13. We now have 190 countries that can be beaten with a stick. It is a good start, but will not solve the problem.
  14. To beat the arguments put forward by the fossil fuel industries new voices are being raised - for example John Hewson.
  15. Must look at what suits OUR cause. Good example is ex-military top brass who are now talking about the threats to security issues from climate change.
  16. Imperative we upskill and empower.
  17. Focus must be on dealing with and removing the problem. Not arguing the issues with the powers that be.

Andrew Bradley is the current Chair of 350.org Australia, and a specialist in climate and energy communications. His Australian and international perspective includes an insider's view of last year's Paris conference, the European Climate Foundation, and the International Panel on Climate Change and G20 talks. Andrew is a resident of Annandale.


$7bn in fossil fuel subsidies - couldn't we spend it better?

Tues 12th April 7pm: Three Weeds, Evans Street, Rozelle

Climate in the Pub's guest speaker in April was Reece Proudfoot, Climate Change campaigner at WWF, and lead organiser in Sydney for last November's People's Climate March.

Reece explained that the People's Climate March had been led by a wide range of groups and organisations - health professionals, indigenous groups, faith groups, young people, as well as the traditionally involved environmental groups, resulting in 140,000 people across Australia gathering to demand more action on climate: the largest numbers ever on this issue.

He went on to discuss campaigns that grew out of this mobilisation. Currently the fossil fuel industry benefits from upwards of $7 billion dollars of government (i.e. taxpayer) money: a rebate on diesel fuel tax, direct funding of mineral exploration, and accelerated depreciation of assets. This support goes to an industry that is damaging the climate and our future. Reece argued that the money should rather be used to increase expenditure on health, education (including retraining for jobs in a sustainable economy) and encouraging renewable energy.

Audience discussion noted that agriculture, for example, also benefited from the diesel fuel tax rebate where it was not seen as harmful. Reece replied that the focus was on fossil fuel mining, and would allow agriculture to continue to benefit. We also suggested that "subsidy" could be seen as a benign word, whereas describing the financial benefits as "tax avoidance" or "tax loopholes" was more accurate for many of the benefits, and fitted much better with the current popular sentiment against tax-dodgers.

In passing, Reece also noted that the Federal seat of Grayndler, which now includes most of Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle's home turf, with a strong Greens presence, was more likely to see climate change as a dominant issue in the forthcoming election than most other areas. A clear call to action for CCBR!


Community Renewable Energy

Tues 9th Feb 7pm: Three Weeds, Evans Street, Rozelle

Tom Nockolds of the Community Power Agency, spoke of the aims, challenges and prospects for community based renewable energy projects, especially the importance of delivering the energy transition in a way that is socially equitable.

He described the economic 'death spiral' process of the existing grid, the threat it poses to the poorest families, and how community renewables might play a part in the solution.

Louise Fitzgerald, a volunteer with Pingala, outlined the group's current projects, including rooftop solar at young Henry's brewery in Newtown and in a remote Indigenous community.

 

Oscar McLaren of Sydney Renewable Power Company explained his group's progress with providing solar PV for the new Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.  They hope to start taking investments later this year.


Climate in the Pub - Christmas Drinks

Tues 8 Dec 7pm: Three Weeds, Evans Street, Rozelle

This meeting followed after the AGM, at which the committee was re-elected, and reports given. CCBR President Dominic Case started the ball rolling by presenting his annual report on CCBR activities, describing the most active year for a long time. (A summary of the report is here.)

Following this there was general conversation about the state of the climate change debate in Australia; the Paris talks; and of course the People's Climate March held a few days previously.


Climate in the Pub - How to Win Friends and Influence Policy

13th October 2015, at The Three Weeds, Rozelle 

Numbers continue to grow for our meetings, and this was a record turn-out. The panel comprised

Ella Weisbrot, Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)  

Phil Bradley, Climate Action Working Group, Greens NSW 

Erin Watt, Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN)

 

and from their various contributions, and discussion afterwards, we learnt that a successful community group needed to:
    • Focus on solutions
    • In our case, focus on renewables
    • Be a grass roots organisation
    • Talk to people, one-on-one, and do it again and again
    • At eco festivals, have models for people to play with so you can engage them in unthreatening conversations
    • work hard and just keep going
    • Form alliances with others
    • Run specific campaigns - project focused work really attracts people.

Climate in the Pub - Climate and Human Health

11th August 2015, at The Three Weeds, Rozelle 

stethoscope on the world

Three leading doctors spoke persuasively on the threats from climate change and fossil fuel use.

Dr Peter Sainsbury points out that air pollution kills more people than the road toll in Australia: think asthma, emphysema, chronic lung and heart disease. An excellent report on coal and health in the Hunter released in February describes the effects of coal mining, transport and burning. "We don't need to be passive victims," observes Dr Sainsbury, "We need to fight in the Hunter, and elsewhere, to maintain jobs in agriculture and to create new ones in renewables."

Dr Sujata Allan lists among direct effects of climate change a rise in extreme weather events such as heat waves, "a 'silent killer', already causing 1100 deaths per year in Australia." Indirectly, climate change affects food security and disease distribution. Ross River and dengue fevers are moving south as the climate changes. "Children are particularly vulnerable - the early effects on their immune systems of exposure to pollutants can affect their lifetime health, and they are more at risk from extreme heat, infectious diseases and water shortages"

Dr Helen Redmond notes that behaviours which create high greenhouse gas emissions are also bad for health directly - lots of driving of fossil-fueled vehicles, air travel, and a diet high in fat and processed foods.  "The stomach has a big footprint. A low carbon lifestyle, including active transport, is both healthier and more sustainable."

 


Climate in the Pub - Solar Citizens

9th June 2015, at The Three Weeds, Rozelle 

Climate in the PubAt our first Climate in the Pub meeting, we welcomed about 29 people, and introduced Jason Lyddieth and Alex Soderlund from the Solar Citizens organisation.

Jason and Alex talked about their organisation and campaign Solar Citizens - an opportunity for those with solar, or who want to install solar, to join together to ensure that the rights of solar owners are protected from attack either by governments or by the established fossil fuel energy companies. They mentioned several instances of how the united voice of many thousands of solar owners had pushed state governments on particular points.

While Australia's large-scale solar capacity is very low in international terms, it has quite a high domestic rooftop solar profile, and it is still growing fast, despite the federal government efforts to wind back renewable energy.

They talked about their efforts in promoting solar on private residences. We were told the take-up on private residences, whilst slowing, is still growing. In particular, Solar Citizens had argued strongly for the domestic part of the Renewable Energy Target (S-RET) to be preserved at full strength, which the Federal Government has agreed to.

They invited attendees to visit their website standupforsolar.org.au and sign the pledge as a Solar Citizen, or to go a stage further and become a Solar Neighbour (signing up friends and family) or a Solar Champion (contacting or meeting the local MP).

Jason also spoke of Solar Citizens' next big activity - a nationwide series of "Solar Shindigs", to take place in neighbourhoods in the 2nd last week of July). There will be more information about organising an event or joining one, on the Solar Citizens website very soon.

There was general discussion around the issues of solar panel financial viability (getting better all the time) and installing batteries (will be extremely viable within a year).

Other sources of information mentioned were the Alternative Technology Association and Our Solar Future.


What About Paris 

30th April 2015 at Balmain Town Hall 

John ConnorCCBR and Balmain Institute's joint meeting with The Climate Institute's John Connor was a great success with a packed meeting room, a lively introduction by John Doyle, and a very informative talk by John Connor, tracing the path of international climate negotiations up to and including the Paris talks due at the end of this year.

audienceJohn Connor pointed out that Australia was well-placed to take an influential role as Chair of the UNFCCC Umbrella Group. (Although there is no formal list, the Group is usually made up of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the US.)

We are really grateful to John for giving his time to us for this talk - immediately after a full day in a round table meeting with Climate Minister Greg Hunt and other leaders.


Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle - PO Box 890 Rozelle, NSW 2039