Notice: Climate Action Blue Mountains is no longer an incorporated association, as of 1 April 2016. The committee took the difficult decision in 2015 to disband the formal organisation and pursue local climate action initiatives through other existing bodies, in particular the Blue Mountains Conservation Society. We encourage all existing supporters and interested individuals to join with the Consveration Society, Transition Blue Mountains and other local groups to pursue local action for a safe climate. We plan to maintain our Facebook page as a means of sharing information and promoting local climate action initiatives.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Climate Action BM (aka Katoomba Climate Action Now) over the years and helped make our campaigns, initiatives and events a success.

Thank you for your understanding.

Energy White Paper Ignores Renewables: Make a Submission

Ferguson “the fossil fool” faces protestThe Federal Department of Resources, Energy & Tourism, under pro-fossil fuels Minister Martin Ferguson, released a draft Energy White Paper in December last year after a lengthy consultation process which commenced with a draft Green Paper three years ago. The White Paper reviews Australia”s energy needs to 2030 and provides a policy framework for future energy development.

Unfortunately, the government has largely ignored the advantages and strong public support for renewable energy while failing to address the urgency of the transition away from fossil fuels. Read a critique by Friends of the Earth here and you can find the draft White Paper itself, including an executive summary here.

It”s not too late to have your say on Australia”s energy future. Submissions are due by 4pm 16 March 2012. Writing your own submission will have more impact – we have prepared some points to use below – but if you really don”t have time, click the blue button to use a ready-made template.

TAKE ACTION: Write a submission OR TAKE ACTION: Use a template

Key points to use in your submission

The Bad

  • Assumes a continued reliance on fossil fuels (supplying a min. 2/3 of Australia’s total energy consumption), thus locking Australia into escalating electricity prices as global demand for coal & gas rises
  • Places too much emphasis on promoting the discovery and exploitation of new fossil fuel energy resources (for domestic use & export), rather than facilitating the development and expansion of renewable energy sources
  • Uses outdated data for renewable energy costs and understates the potential for renewable energy to rapidly become cheaper than fossil fuels as the RE industry expands both in Australia and globally
  • Substantially understates the potential for escalating oil prices in the face of peak oil (prices increased almost 3-fold between 2004 and 2011, yet the White Paper suggests less than a further doubling in price by 2035 and states peak oil is “unlikely to be reached before 2035”); assumes “oil will remain the primary energy source for the transport sector to 2035” (p.31)
  • Ignores the scientific evidence that global greenhouse emissions need to peak before the end of this decade if global warming is to be held below 2 degrees
  • Proposes continued export of Australia”s greenhouse gas emissions via a massive increase in our exports of coal and gas (note also massive increase in uranium exports p. 35); i.e. gas is NOT replacing existing coal-fired electricity, it”s simply adding to total fossil fuel consumption (both in Aust & elsewhere) and making it increasingly unlikely that the agreed max. 2 degree global warming target can be achieved
  • Assumes the availability of carbon capture & storage for continued use & expansion of coal-fired electricity, despite lack of evidence to support Money found the credit card loans IOU and canceled it. its feasibility or cost effectiveness at a national or global scale within the necessary timeframe
  • Assumes substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions for gas compared with coal, despite uncertainty about fugitive emissions and lack of adequate data on life cycle emissions for coal seam gas
  • Does little to change the dominant energy paradigm of over-reliance on large, centralised power stations at the expense of potentially more efficient, reliable & cheaper decentralised smaller-scale energy generation (according to a report by the University of Technology Sydney)
  • Expansion of fossil fuel developments will result in increased water use, with electricity generators able to outbid agricultural users on the open water market (pp. 239-240)
  • Over-reliance on (often flawed) market mechanisms to determine Australia’s electricity generation mix, rather than a more comprehensive and forward-thinking approach which facilitates a rapid transition to renewable energy technologies
  • Dismisses proven, effective renewable energy policies (such as feed-in tariffs and Renewable Energy Targets) as “market distortions”
  • Makes only vague commitments to “investigate possibility of a national energy savings initiative” and “progress work to look at energy efficiency governance structures” rather than giving these issues the clear commitment and priority that is required to reduce overall energy demand.

The Good

  • Acknowledges the importance of existing programs aimed at improving energy efficiency (p.199)
  • Community consultation plans will be required as a condition of grants under the Solar Flagships Program and Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program
  • Energy policy settings will be actively monitored and refined as necessary to meet community requirements, and emphasis will be placed on raising energy literacy amongst consumers.

Useful References

Video: The Power to Change to Renewables Forum

Late last month, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, Permaculture Blue Mountains and Transition Blue Mountains hosted a great forum on renewable energy. If you missed it, watch the video below – a set of three clear, informative presentations on renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Forum with Dr Mark Diesendorf (University of NSW) John Kaye (NSW MP) and Sue Morrison (Katoomba Area Climate Action Now); talking on the technology, politics and grassroots aspects of investing in renewable energy.

Newsletter 12 Aug: Carbon price, coal seam gas & door-knocking

  1. Help needed: Door-knocking in Penrith next weekend
  2. Event: Defend our Water
  3. Event: Environment & Spirituality, what’s the connection?
  4. Event: A price on carbon: beyond the media hype
  5. Meeting: Local branch of Alternative Technology Association

KACAN surveying Springwood residents, May 2011

The KACAN committee meets monthly (2nd Tue of the month) and you are very welcome to attend a meeting, make suggestions and take part in discussion. Our sister group Transition Blue Mountains has other events you may wish to put in your diary. Please feel free to get in touch for meeting details or any other matter.

1. Door-knocking in Penrith
10am Sun 21 August

100% Renewable and the Say Yes campaign together with Sheryl Vine from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union invite you and your friends to get out and talk to community members, friends and neighbors about the carbon price next weekend.

10am-2.30pm Sunday August 21st at Tench Reserve, Penrith (click here for directions)

This year, our politicians need to stop saying no or maybe, they need to say YES. We know they listen to their communities, but we’re concerned the benefits of a price on pollution haven’t been communicated clearly – that’s why we need to get out and talk to our friends and neighbours.

Already over 20 people have said they will join so come along on Sunday August 21st and have an impact on the future of action on climate and renewable energy in Australia. Plus, there’ll be a barbecue afterwards!

RSVP here or on the Facebook event page

We’ll provide all training and materials. You just need to bring a smile, bottle of water, sunscreen or umbrella, smart casual attire, and comfy shoes.

2. Event: Defend our Water Tour by Lock the Gate

Members of the Lock the Gate Alliance are travelling round the state to inform people about coal seam gas and its implications for local communities. There are two public meetings:

7pm Monday 15 August at the Conservation Hut, Fletcher St, Wentworth Falls

7pm Tuesday 16 August at Springwood Community Centre

3. Event: Environment & Spirituality – What’s the Connection?

2pm – 4.30pm, Sat 20 August, Mavis Wood Hall, Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre, New Street, Lawson


Entry: gold coin (includes refreshments)

Come along to a forum that examines the connections and responsibilities between spiritual traditions and environmental issues. Consider the question – what changes do we need to make as individuals and as a community to achieve understanding, cooperation and action? Hosted by the Blue Mountains Interfaith Group, comprising the Christian, Buddhist, Sufi, Quakers and Brahma Kumaris traditions.

Speakers:

  • Aunty Lyn Stanger – Welcome to country. Discussing Indigenous spiritual connections to land.
  • Professor Mark Diesendorf – UNSW Institute of Environmental Studies. Discussing scientific and ethical perspectives.
  • John Seed – Founder and Director the Rainforest Information Centre. Discussing spirituality and practical environmentalism.

Don’t miss it – there will be an open discussion and cups of tea. For more information, contact Alison Croft 4757 4394 or Jessica Yuille 4757 3686.

4. Event: A Price on Carbon: beyond the media hype

3pm – 5pm Saturday 27 August at the Masonic Hall, Station St, Katoomba

Neil Perry, Margaret Moussa and Edward Mariyani-Squire, economists from University of Western Sydney share their perspectives on some of the broader issues and concepts involved in the carbon pricing debate in Australia, including:

  • What are the economic assumptions behind pricing carbon?
  • Claims made by government, media & interest groups – true or false?
  • A price on carbon – reducing emissions or redistributing income (or both)?
  • Is industry compensation necessary?

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in in-depth discussion with these independent experts. Entry by donation. Enquiries ph. Clare 4782 4897 or info@transitionbluemountains.org.au

5. Meeting: Local branch of the Alternative Technology Association (ATA)

7pm, last Wednesday of the month at Varuna, 141 Cascade St, Katoomba

There will be a variety of guest speakers and film screenings on all matters related to sustainable technologies. Watch out for any special events in Community Happenings in the Blue Mountains Gazette. All welcome – come along and contribute ideas! Tea/coffee supplied – donations requested to cover meeting expenses. More info: Garry (garrybarbuto@hotmail.com) or about the ATA, visit: www.ata.org.au

Blue Mountains residents want plan for renewable energy

KACAN ask Louise Markus to unlock renewable energyUpdate: Our media release, below, has prompted a story in this week’s Blue Mountains Gazette, including a response from Louise Markus:

But Louise Markus said the coalition was “absolutely committed to action” on climate change.

“A coalition government will implement a climate change strategy based on direct action to reduce emissions by five per cent by 2020 and improve the environment.

“Direct action on soil carbons is a major part of our strategy supported by other measures such as planting 20 million trees in available public spaces and supporting emerging technologies such as solar fields, geothermal projects or tidal and wave projects that will reduce CO2 emissions and deliver significant environmental outcomes without a new tax burdening everyday Australians.”


Media Release

On Thursday, members of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now handed over the results of over 300 conversations with local people around renewable energy to Louise Markus, Member for Macquarie.

“Today we handed Ms Markus, our local MP, the results of our 304 conversations with people about renewable energy.” said Sue Morrison, spokesperson for Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

“Over the past 3 months, volunteers from our group held street stalls, visited markets, knocked on doors and approached people in towns from Springwood to Blackheath to talk, listen to and record what they think about renewable energy.”

“96% of the people we spoke to want strong policies to support new jobs and investment in renewable energy and a remarkable 88% want Australia to develop a plan to move to 100% renewable energy.

“We did this as part of the nationwide 100% renewable energy campaign, joining with over 72 community groups in every state and territory to record the thoughts and comments of over 14,000 people.

“What we find when we talk to people and share information is that Blue Mountains residents overwhelmingly want to talk about solutions. They want to get behind a positive vision.

“They are tired of the negativity and bickering by politicians and just want our elected representatives to get on and do something.”

“The coalition seems to keep just saying no to action on climate change and renewable energy. They seem more interested in blocking things than pushing for the investment in renewable energy that people in our area are calling for” said Erland Howden, another volunteer organiser with Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

So we are asking Louise Markus to tell us what her plan is for how we can get serious renewable energy investment flowing into our area and make it more affordable for all Australians. We want to report back to the people we spoke to telling them what Ms Markus said.”

“We know people are worried about rising energy prices and that renewable energy is the only source of power right now that gets cheaper the more we install it. If Louise Markus was serious about rising energy prices she’d be coming out strongly in favour of renewable energy.”

“It’s time we got on with it and unlocked the potential of renewable energy like solar and wind in our area and we will keep working to see that happen,” concluded Erland Howden.

Download Media Release as PDF  Download the Blue Mountains Report

Winter Magic Festival 2011

Our spectacular, sunny renewable energy contingent in this year’s Winter Magic Festival was one of the brightest.

We teamed up with Transition Blue Mountains and the Blue Mountains Conservation Society to create a series of renewable-energy themed props that added a glow to the mid-winter day. Many supporters cheered us on from the crowd of thousands of onlookers lining Katoomba St.

100pc Renewable Energy in the Winter Magic Parade

We also held a stall just near the station where we completed the last of our 100% renewable energy campaign conversations.

Here’s a few more photos from the day. Click the thumbnails for larger versions.

Katoomba Area Climate Action Now & AYCC in the Winter Magic Parade 100% Renewable Energy - Winter Magic Festival Solar Power: 100% Renewables in the Winter Magic Parade Tall Poppies: Solar Power Parade at Winter Magic 2011 Cool Sun - Renewable Energy in Winter Magic Parade 2011 Turn on the Sun

Cartoon Gallery

A selection of cartoons by Climate Action Blue Mountains member Phil Somerville.

Click on an image for a larger view.

Climate Camp 2010

Climate Camp 2010

The Camp for Climate Action is on 1st – 5th December, 2010.

The main action is between 10am and 3pm on Sunday 5th at Lake Liddell Recreation Area.

This is the camp’s finale, the big day when we will take peaceful mass action together at Australia’s equal single biggest source of C02 pollution, sending the message to state and federal Governments that we cannot accept the massive expansion of coal power they are currently planning.

The larger and more diverse we are, the louder our message will be. From little kids to grandparents, the mass action will be safe for everyone to take part in, as everyone will choose their own limits.

The day will start with a colourful and creative rally. People are encouraged to bring their own placards and props, costumes, music and noise makers! Police approval has been granted for the rally and the point where we assemble outside the boundary of Bayswater power station, where there will be speeches and other activities.

For instructions on how to get there see: www.climatecamp.org.au/how-do-i-get-climate-camp

General information can be found at www.climatecamp.org.au

I will be there on the Saturday and Sunday and will have the Katoomba Area Climate Action Now banner. I hope you can join me and help carry a placard or banner to show you care.

Winter Magic Festival 2010

KACAN at Winter Magic Festival 2008The Winter Magic Festival will be held in Katoomba on 19 June 2010.

Please join us for the grand parade and look for our information stall, together with Transition Blue Mountains, in Katoomba St.

We will also be surveying community attitudes to current Government policies on renewable energy and Transition Blue Mountains will be screening short films at the back of the Paragon Cafe in Katoomba St.

Can you help?

If you want to participate in the parade, make wind or solar props, help on our stall or help with setting up and packing away please email laurie@kncinc.org.au

Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

Members of the climate action movement, including Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, have been highly critical of the Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme.

By the Government’s own admission, the CPRS will do little to reduce Australia’s actual emissions over the next two decades, relying heavily on purchase of overseas carbon offsets to meet its emissions reduction target.Australian Greens Logo

The Greens played a key role in voting down the relevant legislation in 2009.

Since then they have made repeated attempts to negotiate an alternative solution with the Rudd Government, to no avail.

They have now proposed an alternative two year carbon levy to break the deadlock on this issue.

While we have no political affiliation with The Greens, this link provides a useful summary of what is wrong with the Rudd Government’s proposal for an emissions trading scheme and how it might be improved.

While The Greens have been criticised by the Rudd Government for voting against the CPRS, many others agree with their concerns about the CPRS. A report by the Grattan Institute concluded:

Grattan Institute Logo“much of the protection proposed for the major emissions-intensive industries is unnecessary or poorly targeted. It would delay the structural adjustment required to move to a lower carbon economy.”

Download a copy of the Grattan Institute report at the Institute’s website.

Australian Financial Review LogoEven the Australian Financial Review in its editorial on 2 December 2009, said:

“The CPRS is so riddled with concessions and handouts that it will struggle to achieve the underlying goal of transforming the fossil-fuel-dependent Australian economy into a low-carbon economy while maintaining our prosperity.”

In April 2010 the Government admitted it now has little chance of its proposed emissions trading scheme passing through Parliament and has “deferred” the scheme until 2013.

Although a suite of other Government initiatives on climate change are being implemented, these policies still need to be supported by a price on carbon.

The only way the Government will rethink its inadequate climate change policies is if ordinary citizens demand urgent and real action on climate change.

Walk Against Warming 2008Personal letters, phone calls and meetings with your local MP are the best way to influence Government policy.

Click here for links to groups who can provide campaign ideas and resources.

For a general overview of the problems with a cap and trade system, see this short film on Story of Stuff website.

Members of the climate action movement, including Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, have been highly critical of the Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme.By the Government’s own admission, the CPRS will do little to reduce Australia’s actual emissions over the next two decades, relying heavily on purchase of overseas carbon offsets to meet its emissions reduction target.
Greens Logo

The Greens played a key role in voting down the relevant legislation in 2009.

Since then they have made repeated attempts to negotiate an alternative solution with the Rudd Government, to no avail.

They have now proposed an alternative two year carbon levy to break the deadlock on this issue.

While we have no political affiliation with The Greens, this link provides a useful summary of what is wrong with the Rudd Government’s proposal for an emissions trading scheme and how it might be improved.
Grattan Institute Logo

While The Greens have been criticised by the Rudd Government for voting against the CPRS, many others agree with their concerns about the CPRS. A report by the Grattan Institute concluded:

“much of the protection proposed for the major emissions-intensive industries
is unnecessary or poorly targeted. It would delay the structural adjustment
required to move to a lower carbon economy.”

Download a copy of the Grattan Institute report at the Institute’s website.

Australian Financial Review Logo

Even the Australian Financial Review in its editorial
on 2 December 2009, said:

“The CPRS is so riddled with concessions and handouts that it will struggle
to achieve the underlying goal of transforming the fossil-fuel-dependent
Australian economy into a low-carbon economy while maintaining our prosperity.”

In April 2010 the Government admitted it now has little chance of its proposed emissions trading scheme passing through Parliament and has “deferred” the scheme until 2013.

Although a suite of other Government initiatives on climate change are being implemented, these policies still need to be supported by a price on carbon.

The only way the Government will rethink its inadequate climate change policies is if ordinary citizens demand urgent and real action on climate change.
Walk Against Warming 2008

Personal letters, phone calls and meetings with your local MP are the best way to influence Government policy.

Click here for links to groups who can provide campaign ideas and resources.

For a general overview of the problems with a cap and trade system, see this short film on Story of Stuff website.

Thoughts on Copenhagen

Feeling despondent about the weak outcome from Copenhagen?

Of all the words written post-Copenhagen, these are perhaps the most constructive in finding a way forward:

“Maybe the solution never was a deal at Copenhagen – who really thinks that climate change has just one big answer? What we need are a billion different solutions, perhaps billions of little revolutions in thinking and acting all over the world.

The good news is that such things do not depend on a handful of negotiators sitting around a table. What matters are people like you and me who see the world for what it is and do something about it.

There’s room for a little hope still, the hope that even though our leaders fail to do the right thing, the rest of us will either push them into action or get on with it without them.”

– James Garvey, Secretary of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and author of The Ethics of Climate Change.

This quote was from “We’re All Eco-Warriors Now” in The Guardian 21 December, 2009

Download the article as a PDF if the link above has been archived.