A Successful Lobby Month, a Lagging Coalition, and New Emissions Targets.

A Successful Lobby Month, a Lagging Coalition, and New Emissions Targets.

 


Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the country across Australia, respecting their connection to sea, land and community. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


Notes from the Chair

At this month’s Monthly Meeting, we hosted the Australian Financial Review’s Press Gallery journalist Tom McIlroy to analyse the implications of the Biden-inspired Leaders’ Summit on Climate for Australia; very useful and worth a look. We are now passing through the Budget towards the June meeting of the G7 in England, where our PM will be called on to further lift our ambition and choose between pricing carbon ourselves or having others add a carbon price to our exports.

Our call on governments for a legislated NetZero target, supported by the Australian Climate Dividend, is becoming both more urgent and relevant as the rest of the world moves ahead with targets and solutions to drive them.

Our Grasstops meetings with influential people and organisations, combined with grassroots people beginning to ‘demand their dividend’, are an important way to ensure that governments are at least aware of the ‘fee and dividend’ as they become more serious about finding real solutions that are capable of creating the sort of fundamental change needed to reach zero.

So, enjoy the buzz as we roll out our strategies and structures to make all this happen in your local chapters, regional groups and national teams—there are so many opportunities!

Rod Mitchell

 


Upcoming Events

By Lisha Chaves, CCL Australia Volunteer
Co-written by Peter Todd, CCL Australia Volunteer

Australian National Conversation Online: Thursday, 20/5, 8 pm NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, TAS | 730 pm SA, NT | 6 pm WA

The National Conversation will be held on Thursday, 20th May at 8PM AEST. This month we will be learning about the new “Dashboard” that we are developing. This Dashboard will be used to record and share the progress that our Action Teams are making in their work to create the political will for a liveable world. This is a crucial piece of the organisational structure that arose from last year’s planning, and is laying the foundation for achieving our goal of having an active group in every federal electorate. Our Team Leaders are making great progress in forming and organising their teams, and this session on the Dashboard will be very useful to all active members of CCL Australia. Hosted by our National Coordinator Rod Mitchell, join CCL members from around Australia to share your thoughts and opinions. Join us on Zoom at: https://zoom.us/j/7868786878

National Volunteer Week – 17th-23rd May 2021

National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of volunteers in Australia. It is a time to celebrate US! We sometimes need to stop and acknowledge the amazing work that we, as volunteers, contribute to our society, our country and our earth. A big thank you to each and every one of our volunteers for all their efforts in helping to build political will for a liveable world.

 

Images by Lily Aika O’Toole

For more information on upcoming events, please see https://au.citizensclimatelobby.org/upcoming-events/

Former Liberal Party Leader John Hewson to be June Guest Speaker (6/6)

Tom Hunt has secured John Hewson as Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia’s next guest speaker. Tom shared his thoughts with us on Hewson’s outstanding career and remarkable knowledge;

“With a lifetime of experience and learning in Australian economics, business and government, John has a very clear understanding of the world and its problems. He is prolific with his sensible and valued commentary. No longer beholding to the political bubble or constrained by the strings that lead our government, he is able to speak freely and clearly about Australia’s problems and its opportunities.

Professor Hewson shares my passion for solutions to the looming climate crisis. While humanity has developed all the technologies we will need to solve the problem, profits and politics hold us back. I look to John as an inspiration for everyone including the current government who can’t even bring themselves to put a price on the pollution that is killing us. Even fossil fuel companies are asking for that.”

Monthly Guest Speaker (online)

Sunday 6th June 4.30 pm NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, TAS | 4 pm SA, NT | 2.30 pm WA

John Hewson is a former Australian politician who served as leader of the Liberal Party from 1990 to 1994. Since leaving politics, Hewson has demonstrated an increasing focus on corporate social and environmental responsibility. He has been involved in a range of non-profit organisations, including the Arthritis Foundation of Australia and KidsXpress, a charity providing expressive for children, as well as the Stop Adani movement. He has criticised various Liberal Party members, including Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison for their poor record on climate action, and has publicly campaigned for a price on carbon. On Sunday 6th he will discuss “the Federal Government’s budget and climate response” and putting this in light of the forthcoming G7 meeting that Scott Morrison will be attending on 10-13 June, as well as COP26 in November. Following the talk we will break out and chat about the implications for ourselves and where we can go from here. Come on to Zoom and join us, all welcome. At 4:30pm AEST on Sunday 6th click the link: https://zoom.us/j/7868786878 

 

Tom Hunt’s portrait of John Hewson. While sitting for the portrait, John stressed that his daughters’ placards, with words they had chosen to use in the worldwide children’s ‘strike for climate’, “really said it all.”

 


Lobby Month in Review

Written by Lisha Chaves, CCL Australia Volunteer.

Forum with Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy

On April 28th, several CCL members attended a forum arranged by Member for Adelaide Steve Georganas MP, chairs of the Labour Caucus sustainability committee, with Labor’s new Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen. We, and like-minded groups like Doctors for the Environment Australia, were invited to learn more about Labor’s climate Change and energy agenda and share our thoughts.

We heard from Chris that he believes good climate policies deliver jobs. He confidently predicted that Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill would not be debated, as the Government would not allow it. However, as Minister in a future Labor government, he would introduce legislation to formalise a 2050 net-zero carbon target. He agreed it is important to draw on independent expert advice and supported resurrecting the role of the Australian Government’s Climate Change Authority.

His remarks reflected Labor’s caution about being drawn into a climate conversation about anything beyond emissions reduction technology, jobs, and several policy announcements it has already made. He was supportive of electrification as a decarbonisation path while also supporting electricity grid upgrade, hydrogen and green manufacturing.

Chris mentioned that he is committed to talking directly and specifically with workers in carbon-intensive industries about their fears and concerns, and finding replacement jobs in the energy sector is a priority.

Jim Allen, CCL Volunteer

/media/1059/chris_bowen.jpg

Chris Bowen, Member for McMahon, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Source: https://www.alp.org.au/our-people/our-people/chris-bowen/

Emma McBride MP Praises Bowen’s Job-focused Approach to Climate Policy

The most recent NSW meeting was with Emma McBride MP from the Central Coast Dobell electorate. The meeting was led by CCL’s very enthusiastic Dobell constituent, Howard Bell. The other members of the lobby team were Richard Weller, Bill Shute and Peter Todd. As Dobell is a marginal electorate, Emma’s focus is strongly on delivering for her electorates constituents and was very enthusiastic about Chris Bowen, Labor’s new shadow Climate and Energy Minister whose strong focus is on delivering jobs through strong climate action. It was a very enjoyable meeting.

Peter Todd, CCL Australia Volunteer

Peter, Emma, Richard, Bill and Howard (Left to right)

Meeting with Tom Mooney

On April 21st Jim Allen led a CCL Australia meeting with Tom Mooney in Adelaide. Mooney is the Chief of Staff for Senator Penny Wong – the leader of the opposition in the Senate.

Praise for Constructive Conversation with Leader of Opposition and MP Anthony Albanese’s

On April 27th, the Grayndler group had a great meeting with Skye Laris, Senior Policy Advisor to our MP Anthony Albanese. We discussed Australian Climate Dividend as a powerful tool to help Australia achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050, the Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Million Jobs Plan and the Climate Change Bill proposed by Zali Steggall. We also discussed some of Labor’s recent policy announcements such as Rewiring The Nation to modernise the grid to cater for renewables, as well as a plan to build new industries as well as boost existing industries in Australia. We also found out Anthony is currently installing solar panels on the roof of his house! As we ended the meeting Sue, the MP office manager commented “we love CCL Australia because you are so sensible and want to have an intelligent and constructive discussion on policy”. It was a genuine and heartwarming statement and made me feel we are building something meaningful that will have a positive impact on climate change policy in Australia.

Andrew Brown, CCL Australia Volunteer

Ross McKinlay, Christine Simmons, Paul Alves, Andrew Brown, Erfan Norozi, Emma Storey and Anam Tahir pictured with Skye Laris.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Delegation Meets With Queensland Senator for the Greens, Larissa Waters

Our meeting with Senator Larissa Waters went very well. It was arranged by our intern Alyssa, and Regional Coordinator Hari took up the opportunity to organize a team to attend. Larissa was very curious about the Australian Climate Dividend and asked lots of questions of us. We also talked about BZE’s Million Jobs Plan and Zali Steggall’s Climate Action Bill. It was interesting to note that the ACD spoke to many of the Principles and Aims outlined in The Greens Climate Change policy, in particular, Aim 17: “The pricing of electricity and fossil fuels to reflect their true cost, including externalities such as their impacts on health, water resources, ecosystems, agricultural production, air pollution and climate crisis”.  Many prominent economists and CEOs agree that the failure to factor in all of the costs of our dependence on fossil fuels can be corrected with the introduction of a carbon price.

Joyce Erceg, CCL Australia Volunteer

Volunteers Howard Witt, Harikrishnan, Sarina Bakker, Joyce Erceg and Garry Reed (top left to bottom right) discussing the ACD with Greens Senator Larissa Waters

 

 

To see more meetings from Lobby Month, check out our April newsletter.


News from the Board

Women Wanted on Board

Written by Meredith Kraina, CCL Australia Volunteer

We are calling for CCL Australia’s female members to consider nomination to the Board for the upcoming AGM. We are encouraging interested women to contact The Chair – Rod, Cathy or a Board member to discuss roles and responsibilities.

 

Image by Lily Aika O’Toole

 

Share our New Flyer

Written by Joyce Erceg & Maree Nut, CCL Australia Volunteers. 

Have you seen our new graphics to explain the Australian Climate dividend (ACD)? The ACD is the solution CCL recommends for Australia to quadruple the rate of emissions reductions required in order to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050. The graphics make it easy for both our supporters and members of the public to understand and explain the concept of a fee on carbon being returned as a dividend to households. Great work Strategy and Marketing Teams.

Image by Melissa Leggett and  Tahnee McAlphine, CCL Australia Volunteers.


Chapter Training and Education

Written by Meredith Kraina, CCL Australia Volunteer 

The Training & Education Team was there when Eliza’s Goldstein Group had gotten to the stage they wanted to know a little more detail about Australia’s emissions and how the Carbon Fee and Dividend model could help to address the problem. Luckily, Jeff Wilson from Burt in WA could provide that information, so he delivered a 15-minute presentation to the group, holding a Q&A session at the end. If other groups would like to do the same, just let Joyce know at joyce@ccl.org.au


Get Chuffed!

We have set up a donation portal on Chuffed.org. If you haven’t yet donated please consider doing so here. Donations enable us to appoint the staff we need to support you, our valued supporters, to create the political will for a liveable world

Image source: https://www.contactspace.com/blog/university-fundraising-best-practice


Letter to the Editor of the month

Written by Trent Whitehand-Willick, CCL Australia Volunteer.

 

May’s Letter to the Editor of the Month goes to Corinne Ang, for her letter submitted to the Wagga Daily Advertiser on the 6th of May. Corinne’s letter stood out to me due to its robust and logical appeal to the reader’s emotions, informed by the most recent science with a strong sense of intergenerational justice and sustainability.
Well done, Corinne.


2021 Federal Budget: Climate Resilience a Glaring Omission

Taxpayers continue to carry the can

By CCL volunteers Maree Nutt & Rod Mitchell, contributions from Gaynor Mitchell, Rachel Neely and Tom Hunt

The 2021 Federal Budget again misses a critical opportunity to build climate resilience into the Australian economy and create sustainable long-term jobs in the industries of the future. It continues to make taxpayers pay for climate mitigation while handing responsibility to the States, corporations and other nations. More importantly, it leaves the problem for our young people to deal with.

As Deloitte Australia chief economist Chris Richardson said last year: “If you think COVID is awful, then you should be prepared to fight against an even bigger threat. COVID shows the cost of overlooking catastrophic risks. So, it’s an urgent wake-up call for us to get ahead of that other big risk – climate change.”

This Budget stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration’s spending on climate mitigation measures and the many other countries actively investing in reducing emissions towards Net Zero. This contrast will be very obvious at the G7 Summit in England next month. Whilst the Morrison Government is investing in some promising technologies of the future, it is also giving further support to fossil fuels that will bake in extra emissions for decades. The $279.9m being paid over 10 long years to major industrial emitters to reduce their emissions continues the government’s practice of requiring taxpayers to pay all the costs of climate change, as well as paying for the emission reductions that should be driven by a carbon price. A resilient economy means no longer allowing fossil fuels to pollute for free.

As long as carbon fuels are artificially cheap, they will work against all other efforts to reduce our emissions. “Our preferred carbon price – the Australian Climate Dividend (ACD) – efficiently phases out these hidden subsidies through a steadily-rising price on carbon that turns these emissions into ‘climate income’ for households to spend on low and zero carbon activities. ” said Citizens’ Climate Australia Chair, Rod Mitchell. “Support for low carbon technologies of the future is a step in the right direction. Australia risks international head-winds and inefficient outcomes without pricing carbon. A well-designed carbon price would give us a competitive edge and more flexibility to prosper, while rewarding citizens fairly, on the path to net-zero carbon-emissions” he said.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a bipartisan and federally legislated target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (preferably sooner). Its analysis shows that in order to achieve this, Australia’s emissions reduction rate must quadruple, starting immediately. “We believe the ACD’s steadily rising fee that pays a dividend evenly to all households is the fairest and most efficient way to achieve Net Zero. The dividend gives citizens an active role in decarbonising the economy, while the carbon fee drives down emissions across most industries. “It’s an elegant solution to our climate and energy policy muddle that is currently making all Australians pay the costs of climate change.” Mr Mitchell said.

 

Image by Melisha Legget.

 


The Climate Monthly

A synthesis of Jenny Goldie’s recent “The Climate This Week” articles by Akshay Vallam 

South Australia power prices plunge

Widespread installation and use of rooftop solar have sent average South Australian daytime power prices below zero. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the typical cost of wholesale power in South Australia (between 10 am and 3.30 pm) was minus $12 per megawatt-hour, during the three months from January to March 31st, 2021, which is causing significant disapproval towards the AEMO as it tries to keep the main grid stable. The negative rates and the rising share of wind and solar have had a flow-on effect on average spot rates and futures rates, with South Australia now enjoying the lowest prices in the primary grid based on a future. These plunges in wholesale costs are now pouring through to customer bills, or at least they should be.

Federal Government Punching Below Its Weight

As the US leads …

On Earth Day (April 22) at US President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate Climate, the world saw a substantial rise in ambition. The focus was less on zero net emissions by 2050 and more on the all-essential provisional objectives, particularly 2030. The Americans led the way, pledging a 50% cut in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.

Aus lags…

As usual, Australia was found wanting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison exaggerating the figures and offering no commitment regarding mid-century carbon neutrality. Prime Minister Morrison assumes that promising to spend a quarter billion dollars on Carbon, Capture, and Storage (CCS) and another quarter-billion on the hydrogen economy (not all of it green hydrogen) would be enough to silence critics. Though the two proposals were worthy recipients of his generosity, they pale into irrelevance alongside President Biden’s promised US$2.3 trillion for climate action.

2050 Targets No Longer Optimal

The Climate Council has released a report entitled, “Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet This Decade”, that concluded, “the physical science shows us that to limit warming to well below 2°C, global emissions will need to be at least halved over the coming decade and reach net zero by around 2040”.  This may effectively render the 2050 targets of the Paris Agreement obsolete.
The report found, “Australia should aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2035, and reduce emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030” to avoid the catastrophic consequences of a 2°C warmer planet. The report recommended reducing emissions by 75 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero by 2035.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said it was his preference for Australia to reach net-zero by 2050 but has not yet committed to the target. That position has isolated Australia on the world stage, where more than 100 countries have pledged carbon neutrality by the middle of this century. The government has a goal of cutting emissions by 26-28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 – well below the level the Climate Council’s report advocates.

Labor has pledged net-zero by 2050, but so far has resisted calls to set interim targets. Professor Will Steffen from the Australian National University said in order to meet the targets recommended in the report, there could be no expansion of the fossil fuel industry – including gas projects. The report warns the transition will not be “smooth”, pointing to political and technological hurdles. The report also indicates that the alternative solution- “a decision to not do enough or to delay – will lead to massive climate disruption. Catastrophic outcomes for humanity cannot be ruled out if we fail to meet the climate challenge this decade.”

The US takes a tougher line on carbon border tax

Australian exporters face growing scrutiny and financial costs under a potential US border adjustment scheme that Joe Biden has indicated as central to his fight against climate change. Washington’s hardening line on fossil-fuel-based imposts – which echo similar moves by the European Union – puts the Morrison government under greater pressure to accelerate its shift towards adopting a policy of net zero emissions by 2050. For Scott Morrison, who received a frosty reception from the Whitehouse during the Leaders Summit on Climate, there has also been a global recognition that he is seeking political room to upgrade Australia’s target from the current 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in 2005 levels by 2030.

Mixed signals by the NSW government

Recently, people felt favourably towards the NSW Government after it bought out the Shenhua coal mine on the Liverpool Plains near Tamworth, and ruled out open-cut mining at Dartbrook in the Hunter Valley. Regrettably, the State Government canceled out all this excellent work by inviting companies to tender for coal mining licences in the Wollar district, northeast of Mudgee. Resources Minister John Barilaro could perhaps talk to the NSW Treasury, which projects that the coal industry will decline over the next 40 years. New South Wales’ Treasury could also speak to the seven pro-coal candidates in the state Hunter by-election scheduled for May 22. Only two candidates, Independent Tracy Norman and Greens Sue Abbott are anti-coal. It is not surprising that we are talking about the heart of coal country. Conversely, The NSW government has previously signaled it might propose an electric vehicle tax (to help pay for roads) but wants the industry to get established more robustly, first. We may soon have electric trucks plying the Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane in a great move under a project aimed at using exchangeable batteries that can be exchanged in only 3 minutes, removing the need for trucks to plug in and charge for up to 12 hours.

Victoria leads

The Andrews’ government has announced Victoria’s climate strategy. Primarily, it includes a 2025 emissions reduction target of 28-33% over 2005 levels and a 2030 emissions reduction target of 45-50% over 2005 levels. Such ambition should be applauded. After all, US President Joe Biden was lauded for proposing a 50% reduction by 2030 for the US. Let’s not forget that Australia’s target is still a wholly inadequate 26-28% reduction by 2030 (over 2005 levels).

Preparing for Disaster

The Morrison government is establishing a $600 million national recovery and resilience agency and creating a new climate service aimed at managing the risk of natural disasters. Several projects like bushfire and cyclone-proofing houses, building levees for flood control and improving telecommunications’ resilience, and essential supplies will be funded.

Protests Against Adani Ongoing

The battle against the Adani mine grows endlessly, though the war is not yet won. However, there are small victories along the way. The latest one is that Arch Insurance has publicly confirmed that they will never provide insurance for Adani’s coal mine.

‘Smoke and flames in Australia’ by the European Space Agency, using modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019)

Climate Monthly is based on Jenny Goldie’s recent Jottings from her “The Climate This Week” articles.

 


Koala Restoration Event

Written by Jason Am—CCL Australia Volunteer.

Recently, I had the pleasure to be invited to join the Queensland Trust for Nature’s (QTFN), Koala Habitat Restoration Partnership Project located at Mount Tamborine, Woodstock. Queensland Trust for Nature has done tremendous work in restoring up to 250 hectares of koala habitats in South East Queensland, playing an essential role in implementing the Queensland State Government’s Koala Conservation Strategy. Our goal for the day was to establish a corridor by planting an assortment of endemic native plants, totalling over 1000. This is an essential project to connect the riparian vegetation between the Albert River and Mount Tamborine, allowing koalas easier means to traverse the landscape.

The day was expected to be extraordinary. As I arrived at the familiar sights of the gates of Woodstock property, I was welcomed by the beauty of the Australian wilderness and greeted by the scent of eucalyptus enhanced air and the presence of the everlasting Lantana camara. It’s always a privilege to work here, more so when accompanied by my dear friends from Bush-care, and Conservation Volunteers Australia as well as members of the World as I Am, Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN), Belong, and the Queensland Department of Environment. Knowing you are being involved in rehabilitating environmental projects is a surreal feeling. In 30 odd years, with hope, these young trees will have reached adulthood; towering the skies, sheltering the remaining koala populations in that region.

For those new to planting, the sheer volume of 1000 plants may seem like a lot and this could be daunting. Planting is a meticulous process, to ensure plants have the greatest odds of survival, they must carefully be removed from their casing to ensure there is minimal disturbance to the roots. Then, they need to be carefully placed in their holes to the correct depth with the soil compacted releasing any air. Lastly, watered and guarded (prevent those pesky Roos from eating them). While the purpose of this blog isn’t to present an in-depth guide on planting, each step is fundamental in ensuring each tree has the greatest odds of survival. Important processes during uncertain environmental periods. Nonetheless, we achieved our goal in a mere 3 hours

For my readers: if you have the time to be involved in any local community planting projects, I implore you to go out there and get dirty. Your local council should have bush-care groups, which include 1 or 2 planting events annually. Otherwise, check out Conservation Volunteer Australia to view if they have any projects local to you. It’s a great opportunity for yourself or your children, to learn the values that underscore stewardship and connect with the land.

Before paying thanks to those involved, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, the Yuggera people. Much appreciation to Paul, and Doug for inviting me to participate in this project. It’s always a pleasure to work at Woodstock and be part of the Conservation Volunteers Australia crew again. Sue, and Pam, thanks for joining me in witnessing the beauty that is Woodstock. I hope you two enjoyed your time out here as much as I did. John (el presidente), Joe (Mr Miyagi), and Jeff, it was great to see you lot again. As usual, it’s never a dull day with you three. To everyone else I met on that day; it was a pleasure meeting you all.

For more information about Woodstock, Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN) and Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) please view the links below.

YET Foundation

Queensland Trust For Nature – Queensland Trust For Nature (qtfn.org.au)

Nature back in balance – Conservation Volunteers Australia

 

Bush in Waiting


The Pros and Cons of an Electric Vehicle

Tom steers us through the strengths and weaknesses of owning an electric vehicle.

Written by Tom Hunt, CCL Australia Volunteer.

As retirees my wife and I are lucky to be the owners now of two electric cars, although it has taken a while since 2009 when we first jumped in, buying a Toyota Prius to start us on this journey. Since then have come a second Prius, a battery conversion of one Prius to make it a ‘plug-in’, and a BMW i3 before our current Holden Volt and Hyundai Kona. It might sound like we are made of money, but except for the Kona every one of these cars was bought secondhand and we have since sold them at good prices without trouble.

Modern electric vehicles (EVs) have been around for over a decade but Australia hasn’t seen many of them. Most of the action has been overseas where governments have been actively encouraging and sponsoring their introduction.

In the past, EVs have not been the cheapest option and, just like most people, we have always tended toward more cost-effective purchases. Prices are still a little higher up front but there are some advantages (and a few disadvantages) to EVs that aren’t that obvious until you own one. I thought I might share a few of our findings with you:

You never need to go to the service station as you can recharge at home. It’s easy to plug the car in when you get home and disconnect before you leave again (the car won’t let you drive out with the cord connected). However, if you live anywhere without a fixed parking space, you will need to rely on shared or public charging facilities.

A standard power point will give you about a 15 km range per hour of charging. You can triple that speed by installing a special power point at home or where you park, but if you desperately need a quick charge, you will need to visit one of the public direct-current charging stations which are still fairly rare but are growing (see the Plug Share app). Direct-current charging stations can charge around 20 to 50 times faster than a standard power point. You can stop worrying about which service station has the cheapest fuel. Electricity works out to be much cheaper per kilometre than petrol, diesel or gas. It can even be free if you have solar panels on your roof at home. But the range you get per ‘tank’ can be somewhat shorter with an EV, and the time to refill is slower.

Electric vehicles cost less to maintain. There is no oil to change, no filters or spark plugs to replace or injectors to clean. Electric motors need virtually no maintenance. Taking into account the fuel and maintenance costs, compared with the cars we used to own, we save $1500-$2000 per year per car with our EVs. Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures show that the average Australian car uses around 1,850 litres of fuel per year, costing around $2,300 and producing 4.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) for petrol or 5 tonnes of CO2 for diesel. With the nine-kilowatts (9kWs) of solar panels on our roof, we produce more power than we use for the house and cars. We have not paid anything for power for the last decade, and virtually nothing for ‘fuel’ either for the 2 years since we bought the Kona. Electric vehicles are more expensive up front but more efficient.

There is no need to ship fuel halfway around the world to put into our car. Power points are everywhere and safe to use and though there aren’t many DC stations yet, they are there on the major routes and more are coming. And after all, it’s only when you go for a long trip away from home that you really need them. Conventional motors do a great job of converting millions of little explosions into mechanical energy but, let’s face it, with all those moving parts that type of motor is not terribly efficient. And every time the brakes are used energy is wasted. According to the US Department of Energy, “EVs convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.” Electric vehicles produce no poisonous gases and avoid all greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, all cars currently have CO2 emissions associated with their manufacture (that needs to change too), but only EVs and hydrogen vehicles produce no CO2 or other greenhouse gases when driven.  The efficiency of electric vehicles is such that even if charged using power generated only by coal, gas, or oil, they have been shown to emit a little less greenhouse gases than their internal combustion-engine equivalents. Australia’s electricity is now 28% sourced from renewables, and that will only grow, but it will be good if we can charge our EV’s in the middle of the day or at off-peak times to balance grid supply.

Electric motors make virtually no noise. Imagine having quiet streets, suburbs undisturbed by noisy mufflers. Some may consider having no noise from the motor a disadvantage. However, most EVs now have built-in pedestrian warning sounds to avoid any real issues.

Hybrids are designed to be fuel-efficient rather than powerful. The Prius was a great car that literally took us anywhere we wanted to go, right across Australia, and it easily met the speed limits and more, but it could not be classed as powerful. Plug-in electric vehicles however tend to be a different story. Electric vehicles s are generally more powerful than their conventional equivalent, especially quick off the mark, and are fun to drive. Having the batteries very low and central in the car gives them remarkable stability and cornering.  Most people now recognise the fast acceleration achieved by the Tesla models, but I was surprised to find out that our Kona is apparently also able to out-perform many high-performance sports cars. Search for “Kona EV Noosa Hillclimb” on Youtube to see for yourself.

There are benefits too for Australia with the move to EVs. Our current fuel supplies are virtually all imported and we have only a few weeks supply on hand should international strife ever cut off our sources. It makes far more sense to get our transport energy from within Australia. The large batteries that cars have are also an ideal store for soaking up spare electricity from the grid when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing more than we need.  Having EVs hasn’t limited us. We’ve traveled up to Cairns and back while towing our sailing kayak with the Kona. Charging stations were mostly free of charge and easy enough to find. Accommodation sites were more than happy to let us charge overnight too.

I must admit I was never a rev-head but I have enjoyed driving the Kona, BMW and even the Volt, in comparison to the cars we have had in the past (and the Tesla S test drive was a real blast). But my biggest like is the fact that our cars are now driven by the sun. I no longer feel the guilt of added emissions for every kilometer I drive. It’s a good feeling.

Tom’s Kona charging up on the way to Cairns


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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia acknowledges
the Traditional Custodians of the Lands
on which we live, lobby, advocate, and educate.
We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Appreciation to Megan, Karen, Akshay, Sierra, Lisha, Jason and Meredith for forming this newsletter.
Thank you to all who contributed writing.
Edited by Trent Whitehand-Willick.