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 ‘politics’

Join us for a Cuppa Sunshine

Katoomba Cuppa Sunshine PromoYou are invited to join us for a Cuppa Sunshine this Saturday 23 August to celebrate solar and ensure it has a bright future.

When: 3pm, Saturday 23 August
Where: St Hilda’s church hall, 68a Katoomba St, Katoomba.
What: a cuppa and chat, writing a letter to our cross bench senators about solar power.
RSVP: On Facebook or below

Climate Action Blue Mountains is hosting a Cuppa Sunshine afternoon tea because Australia’s best solar policy, the Renewable Energy Target, is under threat right now and ensuring the cross-bench senators don’t allow it to be cut is one of the best ways we can secure a renewable energy future.

Cuppa Sunshine is an initiative of Solar Citizens, an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia.

This week, hundreds of people are gathering all around Australia to put ol’ fashioned pen to paper and show our cross bench senators just how deeply Australians care about a strong solar future.

There’s no question that the future of solar in Australia hangs in the balance – at the whims of a handful of politicians in the Senate. It’s up to us to make sure those senators stay strong and protect the most important policy for the solar in Australia, the Renewable Energy Target.

RSVP for the Katoomba Cuppa Sunshine

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

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

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.

 

Cartoon Gallery

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

Click on an image for a larger view.

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.