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.

Posts Tagged ‘policy’

Federal Election 2013: Macquarie Candidates Survey

With the Federal Election just over a week away, (some) responses are in to a survey of all the candidates standing in the seat of Macquarie, covering the Blue Mountains and parts of the Hawkesbury. The full results and our media release are below.

The survey was conducted by Climate Action Blue Mountains (the new name for Katoomba Area Climate Action Now), Stop CSG Blue Mountains and Permaculture Blue Mountains.

Responses by Danielle Wheeler (Greens) and Susan Templeman (ALP) are shown below. Sitting Liberal member, Louise Markus, did not respond despite numerous efforts to prompt a response.

Attempts were made to survey all candidates standing in Macquarie but, of the minor parties, a response was received from only the Sex Party’s candidate, Mark Littlejohn who was sympathetic to the aims of the survey but said the Party did not yet have specific policies on these issues. He added:

The Sex Party believes that independent, peer-reviewed scientific research is essential to inform the broad spectrum of knowledge and debate in our 21st century world.

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society also conducted a survey of Macquarie candidates on environmental issues – you can find the results here.

Responses to Climate Action Blue Mountains questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1The International Energy Agency, Australia's Climate Commission and others agree we need to keep the majority of remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground to have a better than even chance of limiting average global temperature to a maximum 2 degrees centigrade.
1aDo you have proposed economic policies (e.g. transfer of fossil fuel subsidies to the renewable energy industry) that aim to rapidly restructure the Australian economy away from its current dependence on the use and export of fossil fuels in order to achieve this? Why? Please give an example(s) of relevant policy.Yes.
Greens' Renewable Energy Policy requires 90% renewable by 2030. The Greens believe strongly that remaining fossil fuels must remain in the ground. On 21 August the Greens launched their Community Renewable Energy Policy pledging $100 m. over 5 years for locally owned and operated clean energy projects. See www.greens.org.au/community-energy
Yes.
Signing the Kyoto Protocol was a first step. Putting a price on carbon was the next step to be able to tackle climate change. And now we need to ensure that the clean energy fund is directed to develop renewables and reduce energy consumption.
2According to consultancy Green Energy Markets, Australia is on track to surpass its renewable energy target by deriving 22.5% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
2aDo you support the retention of the renewable energy target for large scale renewable generation of 41,000GWh by 2020 despite this amount exceeding the 20% target?Yes. This is consistent with our clean energy policy of 90% renewable by 2030.Yes
2bGiven the important role of the renewable energy target in meeting Australia's emissions reduction target, would you support raising the renewable energy target beyond 2020 to a minimum of 90% by 2030? Why?Yes.
90% renewable by 2030 is Greens' policy.
No.
I support the intent and would work with industry to determine the most ambitious but achievable targets in the appropriate timeframe.
3Would you support the building of a concentrated solar thermal power station (with molten salt storage) as has been suggested for Port Augusta as part of a renewable energy plan to begin replacing Australia's existing brown-coal fired power stations? Why?Yes.
Solar thermal power forms part of the Greens 90% renewable by 2030 package in conjunction with wind and rooftop solar. The Greens also allowed funding for the community solar package.
Don't know.
I don't know enough detail about this project at this stage, but would be happy to be taken through the detail at a later date.

Responses to Stop CSG Blue Mountains Questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1Would you support a parliamentary motion to use the Commonwealth corporations powers under the Constitution to legislate:
1aLandholders' rights to refuse an access agreement with mining companies seeking to explore or mine on their property? Why?Yes.
People buy land in good faith thinking they own all of it, not just the bit on the top. Experience with CSG exploration shows it has a huge negative impact on quality of life and destroys communities. People have the right to say no.
Yes
No further information provided.
1bNo-go zones in relation to coal seam gas exploration and extraction in drinking water catchments? Why?Yes.
This is a no brainer. Australia is the driest continent on earth. Our water is incredibly precious. There is no room for extractive industries in drinking water catchments.
Yes.
No further information provided.
1cNo-go zones in relation to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on land primarily used for food production? Why?Yes.
Food security is a huge issue for Australia and inextricably linked to water security. Agricultural land must be protected from both development and extractive industries right through the 21st century.
Yes.
No further information provided.

Responses to Permaculture Blue Mountains Questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1Food security will be an ever increasing issue in Australia. Who do you believe should own the technology used to grow food, including GM food?No one should own the technology to grow food. Farmers should be able to save seed as they have always done and select characteristics best adapted to their area without corporate and legal interference.Our system allows for plant variety rights. However, I am more concerned that no matter who the owner, there is reasonable access to the seeds, at fair and reasonable prices, particularly in developing countries.
2Would you support the introduction of planning legislation to permanently preserve prime agricultural land on the urban/rural fringe of our cities for farming?Yes.
This is urgent. Agricultural land is vital for cities especially as fuel prices rise. Agricultural land in the Hawkesbury and Macarthur must be preserved. We can grow houses anywhere. Good food needs good land.
Yes.
No further information provided.
3Again in relation to food security do you support the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance Peoples' Food Plan which prioritizes the interests of Australian farmers, consumers, community organizations, and food related industries. Why?
More information: www.australianfoodsovereigntyalliance.org/peoples-food-plan/
Yes.
As a permaculturist I am very familiar with this plan. We have a small window to act while fuel prices are low. Land is still available and small farmers still exist. I am part of a working group at Permaculture Sydney West devising a local food plan for Western Sydney provided by the Peoples' Food Plan.
Not at this stage. I don't have familiarity with this site, and unfortunately in the middle of an election campaign I don't have the time to really unpack and consider the content.
Download our media release: Candidates Weigh in on Environment

Big Solar Campaign Launched at Echo Point

KatoombaCAN Launches Big Solar campaign at Echo PtMedia Release: Big Solar Campaign Launched at Echo Point

KATOOMBA, Sat 3 Mar: While recent drizzle at Echo Point slowed production of electricity from the visitor centre’s 10kW solar PV system, a group of hardy local residents braved the weather to launch a campaign promoting large scale solar electricity generation.

Local environment groups are calling on Federal MP, Louise Markus, to get behind the Let’s Build Big Solar campaign as well as supporting the government’s proposed $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will provide loan guarantees necessary to get large scale solar power up and running in Australia.

“Australia is the sunniest continent on earth, so it makes sense that we use this vast resource to provide us with large amounts of safe, clean, renewable electricity,” said Sue Morrison, President of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

“The installation of more than 1,000 megawatts of solar PV on household, school and commercial rooftops across Australia has delayed the need for new polluting power stations, but we need large scale solar electricity generation with storage if we want to avoid continuing reliance on polluting fossil fuels”.

Australia’s largest solar power facility is the 3 MW solar thermal concentrator attached to Liddell coal-fired power station near Singleton, where construction is underway to double its solar capacity, but this is tiny compared to concentrating solar power stations in Spain, Germany and California, where molten salt is used to store heat for power production throughout the night.

“We are way behind other countries in taking advantage of our abundant renewable energy sources,” said Ms Morrison.

“Spain’s 20MW Gemasolar concentrating solar power station is already generating 24 hour power for 25,000 households, with construction underway to power a further 70,000 households, creating thousands of local jobs.

“Germany installed more than 7,500MW of solar PV last year alone – equivalent to 50 Moree Solar farms, one of the large scale projects proposed for funding under the government’s Solar Flagships program.

“While the cost of polluting fossil fuels will only rise as global demand increases, renewable electricity gets cheaper as the industry expands – California is already buying solar power at prices which compare favourably with coal and wind.”

Together with similar groups across Australia, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now will be polling local residents over the next two months to gauge the level of support for big solar. Poll results will be presented to local MPs in their electorates and in Canberra.

More information is available from http://100percent.org.au/bigsolar

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

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

Political Action

We believe our political representatives have a responsibility to take urgent action on climate change. We support legislation that cuts Australia”s carbon pollution, supports clean renewable energy, transitions away from fossil fuels and fulfils our obligations to help poorer nations adapt to climate impacts and pay for low-carbon technology.

Katoomba Area Climate Action Now engages in lobbying and pressures local politicians on these issues and more, representing our members and the majority of Blue Mountains residents who want action on climate change.

We broadly support the recently announced “Clean Energy Future” package agreed by Labor, the Greens and Independents that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, establishing a $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation and investigating how a 100% renewable energy grid could work. We recognise that much more needs to be done and that this must be a platform for further action. In particular, the starting price for the carbon tax of $23 is too low to drive the rapid transformation of the economy we need and we are disappointed at the level of handouts to big polluting companies.

Read about recent political actions and analysis: click here.

 

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.