Jenny’s Jottings 9 June 2020

Photo c/o  Energy Source & Distribution

Jenny’s Jottings

Jenny Goldie, CCL member from Cooma NSW, in the Eden-Monaro electorate, sums up her views and news on Australia’s week in climate change action*

Our hard-working committee member Jo Oddie has managed to organise a webinar featuring Independent MP and climate campaigner Zali Steggall for Tuesday 23 June from 7 to 8pm. Zoom details next week but save the date in the meantime! Zali will be talking about climate in the context of the forth-coming Eden-Monaro by-election.

There are now 12 candidates for the by-election and I am reliably informed that the Liberals are spending $800,000 to have their candidate Fiona Kotvojs elected. As I explained last week, she is now toeing the party line on climate and energy – after a denialist history – but the Liberal/National party policy is very weak, even more so since its Covid Commission recommended that virtually all stimulus-package eggs go into the one basket (gas). Gas was once regarded as a better alternative to coal, but is now regarded as almost equally as bad because of its fugitive emissions. See IEFFA’s latest report on gas.

A leaked report said the Covid Commission wanted not only gas to lead the post-Covid recovery, but that it should be subsidised as well. This was denied, however, by CEO Nev Powers who told the Covid-19 senate inquiry that “the commission is not recommending any subsidised delivery of gas or any other energy system”, and was forced to distance himself from the leaked report.

Further to that, the strange bedfellows of Labor, Greens, Farmers Shooters and Fishers, and Animal Justice combined to pass a bill in the Upper House of NSW Parliament on Wednesday calling for a moratorium on gas production and for stopping the Narrabri project. Unfortunately, it was narrowly defeated the next day (38 to 36) in the Lower House.

The good news is, however, that yesterday the High Court of Australia agreed to hear the case of the Darling Downs’ farmers who oppose the Acland coalmine that has steadily encroached on their town. They claim the project threatens their community and water supply. Most people have already upped and left, the community having imploded.

As for other coalmines, there is evidence that the Tahmoor Colliery in NSW is releasing a “cocktail of metals” into the Bargo and Nepean Rivers, as well as causing geological damage. And the news this morning is that Adani has finished it’s Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) airport at the Carmichael Mine site. Construction can now ramp up. Galilee Blockade asks you to join their campaign against the Adani mine on their Facebook page here.

More happily, however, up on the Pilbara, the oil and gas giant Chevron could be facing penalties worth $100m. The Western Australian government, who had approved its Gorgon gas field on the condition that Chevron bury 80 per cent of emissions from the project, found that the company had not buried any emissions in its first three years of operation.

Rather weirdly, given that they never seemed sympathetic when in Parliament, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne have launched a thinktank made up of former Ministerial advisors and ex-politicians, called the Blueprint Institute.  It is calling on the national cabinet (that will continue in place of COAG) to more closely align emissions and energy-reduction policy.

Speaking of energy policy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has called for submissions to its Bioenergy Roadmap proposal. CAM has signed on to the attached submission to ARENA by the Australian Forest and Climate Alliance (AFCA) that argues forest derived bioenergy be excluded from the Bioenergy Roadmap. They want an end to all logging native forests.

Coming events:

Reminder: Nature Conservation Council (of which CAM is a member) is holding its regional meeting on-line this year. It’s a week away – Saturday 13 June. The agenda can be found here (climate and energy will be discussed in the session between 3.15 and 5pm) and if you want to register (it’s cheap!) you can do so here.

The ANU Energy Change Institute and Climate Change Institute will present an open public forum on Friday 12 June at midday on the Australian Government’s recently released 2020 Technology Investment Roadmap discussion paper. You can register here.

Here’s a webinar if you’re interested in the concept of a ‘just transition’: Public renewables and a climate jobs transition, hosted by Workers for Climate Action on 10 June from 6 to 8pm.

All the best, Jenny

Jenny Goldie
President CAM. and a Member of CCL Aust (Eden-Monaro)


Other news highlights

Sixth mass extinction of wildlife accelerating, scientists warn   The Guardian

The sixth mass extinction of wildlife on Earth is accelerating, according to an analysis by scientists who warn it may be a tipping point for the collapse of civilisation.

Finally there is real movement on Australia’s climate policy but time isn’t on our side.  Anna Skarbek

If speed weren’t a factor, we could rely on the market to incentivise green technology at its own pace – but the clock is ticking

Why it’s time to get moving on decarbonising Australia’s transport    Ketan Joshi

One of the simplest ways to reduce transport emissions is converting machines that run on the combustion of fossil fuels to machines that run on green electricity.

ARENA flooded with applications for green hydrogen project funding

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency says it has received an overwhelming response from prospective hydrogen projects, with expressions of interest from dozens of projects wanting a slice of $70 million in grant funding.

Hopes microgrid funds will help Indigenous communities move to renewables

The federal government has announced funding for a series of microgrid projects, including studies to help Indigenous communities transition to renewables.

Banking on gas will leave us stranded   John Hewson

When I proposed gas as a transition fuel 30 years ago, the numbers stacked up. Now the numbers back renewables.

Covid Commission ignores conflict of interest issues of pro-gas taskforce

Covid Commission chair Nev Power reveals body did not assess potential conflicts of interest in taskforce recommending expansion of gas industry.

Atmospheric CO2 levels rise sharply despite Covid-19 lockdowns

Scientists find coronavirus crisis has had little impact on overall concentration trend

If clean energy is to drive Australia’s economic recovery, let’s keep it local

Simon Corbell

If we still rely on international supply chains for wind, solar and other projects, Australian jobs will be foregone

Solar and wind’s stunning cost advantage sparks call for mass coal closure

A new global study has highlighted the growing advantage of wind and solar costs over new and even existing coal generators, so much so that a decision to replace 500GW (gigawatts) of old coal plant with new renewables would deliver annual savings of $23 billion ($A34 billion) and a timely $A1.4 trillion economic boost.

Why Australia’s vast coastline could become the next big renewable energy resource

A new Australian-developed system is to begin generating electricity from ocean waves later this year, with a report showing three-quarters of Australia’s energy needs could be met by renewables by 2025.

* Note that the views and wishes expressed in these blogs are not necessarily those of Citizens Climate Lobby Australia.
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