Compact of Mayors and Zero Emissions Byron

November 5, 2015

Compact of Mayors recognition comes for Zero Emissions Byron

Dirty Exports Lead to $100 Billion Shortfall

Our Fossil Economy research shows that reliance on emissions-intensive exports, such as coal, gas and iron ore, could lead to a $100 billion shortfall annually by 2030.
This could cause a systemic economic crisis.
Contrary to the International Energy Agency's projections, and ignoring the international phase-out of emissions-intensive imports, the government assumes Australian coal exports will increase in both volume and value.

Our Carbon Crisis report shows that Australia has a 50 per cent chance of a systemic economic crisis, caused by ignoring the global shift to clean energy.
Without changing the Australian investment focus towards cleaner energy, the country is on course for “systemic economic decline”; which means high unemployment, high debt, and deep recession.

Fossil Economy

The Dirty Energy Finance Corporation

The Energy White Paper was released on Wednesday (April 8 2015). We can't decide what's worse -  the continued refusal to acknowledge climate change, or the fact that refusal is no longer a surprise.

Zero Carbon in 10 Years

Byron Shire talks zero emissions within 10 years.

Click here to view the Prime Seven News bulletin.

Launched in Brisbane: ZCA Land Use report

The Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry report was launched at the University of Queensland in Brisbane in December 2014. The research report delves into the realm of trees, fires and cattle - the land use sector. This is the only sector that can take us to below zero emissions, through carbon sequestration. 

A keen audience of farmers and cityfolk heard from keynote speaker Senator Larissa Waters. "It's wonderful that we're having a report that is brave enough to raise these sorts of issues and tackle them at their source," said Senator Waters, referring to climate change, future food production, land clearing, biodiversity loss, financial strain for farmers and suicide rates.

Left (L to R): Researcher Andrew Longmire, Senator Larissa Waters, David Hood, Dr Maria Hernadez-Soriano, Dr Shahla Hosseini Bai, farmer Rob McCreath and BZE CEO Stephen Bygrave. 



The future's in clean energy, not dirty coal


The Fossil Economy in a Changing World report shows that the Australian Government is relying on economic projections that ignore international action on climate change.

     Fossil Economy

Land Use report launched in Melbourne

To a packed house,our researchers Andrew Longmire and Dr Chris Taylor explained the findings of the report, which provides a number of ways to bring land use emissions down to zero.

John Pettigrew, former director of SPC Ltd. and current President of the Goulburn Valley Environment Group, gave the keynote address. John had to destroy his 10 000 peach trees due largely to the impacts of climate change.



John pointed out that farmers had adapted to many changes in both technique and technology, and are far more capable of change than they're sometimes considered to be. Change may be met with reluctance, however farmers often came to rely on the new techniques they pioneered - reducing water use is a good example of this.

Land Use Melbourne launch panel

Launch discussion panel L to R: Andrew Longmire, John Pettigrew, Dr Stephen Bygrave, Prof. Craig Pearson, Prof. Kate Auty, Dr Chris Taylor.

A panel of experts including: Professor Craig Pearson (The University of Melbourne), John Pettigrew, Professor Kate Auty (Former Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria), Andrew Longmire and Dr Chris Taylor took questions from the audience.

Some of the points raised were:

  • Native wet forest is vital for carbon storage & as water catchment - plantations don't provide as much water
  • 5 million tonnes of carbon lost to ocean annually in soil. Australian soil found on Heard Island (Antarctica)
  • Many more opportunities on clean & green agriculture, & we're smart enough to do it
  • Climate deniers on the land a tiny minority
  • Australian farmers can enhance value of products with sustainable agriculture and charge a premium
  • You can listen to a podcast of the event here.

    The Land Use report can be ordered at our online shop, or downloaded free here.


    Help fund our High Speed Rail Roadshow!

    A high speed rail network between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will turbocharge regional development, cut emissions and bring Australia into the 21st Century. But after years of discussion, the tracks are still only on paper.

    BZE has developed plans for the high speed rail network, which would be 30 billion dollars cheaper than previous plans and operational within ten years.

    We need your help to make high speed rail a reality for Australia.

    Between now and Christmas, we want to travel to every town along the route – Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, the Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.

    We’ll hold public forums to talk with local mayors and their communities and to build community support to make this happen.

    Please help fund our high speed rail roadshow and let’s start flying by rail.


    Fossil industries skating on thin ice

    Stephen Bygrave, June 2014

    Recent news from the US shows how threadbare the fossil fuel industry is becoming.

    First, the new wave of "unconventional" fossil fuel extraction has had a significant upset, as the previously hyped Californian shale oil field has had its estimated size cut by an incredible 96%, casting doubt on the truth of worldwide unconventional oil and gas reserves, as the creatively named shortlink suggests (click to read the article in The Guardian).

    We've seen this echoed here in Australia with Deutsche Bank and now HSBC deciding not to fund the Abbott Point coal terminal.

    Investment group Barclays have downgraded the entire US electric utility industry. Why? Here's what they had to say:

    "Over the next few years... we believe that a confluence of declining cost trends in distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation and residential-scale power storage is likely to disrupt the status quo... We believe that solar + storage could reconfigure the organization and regulation of the electric power business over the coming decade."

    Audio: Sydney high speed rail launch

    Beyond Zero Emissions has conducted the second launch of its High Speed Rail report, this time on the evening of 30 April in Sydney. The launch was co-hosted by the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) at the University of New South Wales. There were over 200 attendees with a packed lecture theatre, and 12 volunteers from the BZE NSW team did a fantastic job running the event.

    You can download an MP3 audio file of the launch here.

    Sydney high-speed rail launch speakers. L to R: Gerard Drew, Research Director BZE; Philipp Bergeron (DLR); Geoff Kettle (Mayor of Goulburn); Nigel Lake (CEO, Pottinger); Bryan Nye (CEO, Australasian Railway Association); Phil Potterton (GHD, former head of BITRE); Stephen Bygrave, CEO, BZE; Professor Graciela Metternicht, Director IES; Emeritus Professor John Black, IES.

    What renewables target do you want?

    BZE's Stephen Bygrave writes:

    As one of the architects of the Renewable Energy Target in the late 1990s, it is revealing to see yet another government review of one of the most successful climate policies in the past 2 decades. This review follows an earlier one conducted only months ago by the Climate Change Authority.

    So why another? Is it part of a plan to protect the status quo energy companies, and protect their business models that are rapidly becoming outdated?

    The renewable energy target, introduced by the Howard government after the Kyoto negotiations in late 1997, was then a key element of the governments climate change platform to grow the renewable energy sector in Australia. It was arguably the strongest climate change initiative of those introduced by the government at the time, in addition to the establishment of the Australian Greenhouse Office, the world's first government agency dedicated to tackling climate change.

    When climate solutions are seen as a threat not an opportunity

    BZE's CEO, Stephen Bygrave, writes:

    2014 is shaping up to be a big year on a range of fronts. The Renewable Energy Target, which I helped to design in the late 1990s, is under review. The carbon price, which I was also involved with, is under threat. There have been a number of ill-informed statements by the Prime Minister and the government about renewables not being effective unless the "sun is shining and the wind is blowing". Climate change solutions are being viewed as a threat not as an opportunity.

    Bring on the climate solutions!

    After 20 years working on climate change in various roles from research to government to international organisations, my experiences have taught me that to be effective in the change agenda we need to be starting from the point of where we need to be in ten years time, and looking back to the present, to identify a pathway of how to get from here to there.

    BZE is doing just that, from a horizon scanning or futures thinking perspective.

    No more denying we can act on climate

    During the recent Federal election campaign, BZE received a call from a climate skeptic, inviting us to participate in a debate on climate change. The caller was cagey, she wouldn't even give us her name or affiliation. How did we respond? We politely declined: there is no longer a debate to be had on whether climate change is occurring.

    The IPCC report which will be released later this month is expected to bear this out. We hope it will help to focus the community's attention, once again, on what we need to do about the climate emergency. We don't have time to wait if we want to manage the risk responsibly. As Barack Obama put it, “we don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.”

    Is climate action working?


    With the first year of the carbon price just over, we've seen a lot of commentary and hyperbole from all sides.

    Fortunately some facts are also available. Emissions have fallen. Prices have not skyrocketed and the sky has not fallen in. Case closed?

    Jenny Riesz and Roger Dargaville have written an incisive, almost forensic analysis of the first year of the carbon price at The Conversation which provides some clarity, while also demonstrating that it is much more complicated than some would like to think.

    Supporters of BZE can take heart, however, from the analysis. Whatever the future may hold for the carbon price, the real heroes are just what BZE has said they would be: renewable energy — supported in particular by the Renewable Energy Target (RET) — and energy efficiency.

    Film: Generation Green

    Generation Green follows the journey of Patrick Hearps, a young chemical engineer working at an oil refinery, as he becomes increasingly concerned about his companies contribution towards adverse climate change.

    Announcing the 5x4 Hayes Lane project

    Beyond Zero Emissions is proud to be an official Project Supporter of the 5x4 Hayes Lane Project.

    The goal of the development is to be a super energy efficient and zero carbon dwelling in the heart of the City of Melbourne.

    The team are looking to transform an under-used laneway into a demonstration of how to build and operate a sustainable, small footprint, high rise dwelling. It will be zero fossil gas, with a highly insulated and air-tight building envelope, featuring efficient electric heat pump heating and other cutting edge efficient electrical appliances.

    BZE 2011-12 Annual Report now available

    BZE's Annual Report for the financial year 2011-12 (and a bit beyond) is now available. You can download it here.

    A big well done to volunteers Liem and Robin for their work in putting it together!

    (NOTE: Some people have trouble downloading files from our website, with some downloads stopping before completion. If you have this problem then right-click on the link and "save link as" to save the file onto your computer)

    BZE submission to Sydney Trigeneration plan available

    Download full submission here: Trigen_master_plan_BZEsubmission.pdf
    Download accompanying spreadsheet here: BeyondZeroEmissions_Trigen_master_plan_data.xls

    (NOTE: Some people have trouble downloading files from our website, with some downloads stopping before completion. If you have this problem then right-click on the link and "save link as" to save the file onto your computer)

    Trigen: Energy efficiency plus renewables can do it better

    The city of Sydney’s Trigeneration Master Plan, to supply city buildings with electricity, heating and cooling from a decentralised generation network, asks the right questions, but comes up with the wrong answer.

    That’s the conclusion of Beyond Zero Emissions in their submission to the Master Plan.

    Trigeneration uses waste heat from decentralised gas-fired electricity generators in city buildings to drive building heating, and heat-driven absorption chiller building cooling systems.

    In recent years, the energy efficiency attained by electric (heat-pump based) building chillers has risen to a level where trigeneration cannot compete for efficiency in any likely scenario.

    Modern electric-powered systems are also cost-competitive with the absorption chillers used in trigeneration.

    Image: example trigen plant

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