Dirty coal

Australia’s coal and gas exports are being left stranded

By Stephen Bygrave, The Conversation, November 21 2014

Australia’s official forecasts for expanding fossil fuel exports don’t match up with what’s needed to avoid severe climate change. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr, CC BY

In the last week the US and China announced goals to reduce emissions by 26-28% and cap emissions by 2030 respectively. India also signalled its aim to end coal imports within 2-3 years.

These are telling signs of a move away from fossil fuels by some of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, including countries that are key importers of Australia’s coal and gas.

Dr Sara Bice

Dr Sara Bice, Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, talks about her new book "Responsible Mining".

"Responsible Mining " - Is it an oxymoron or is it possible?

Hannah Aulby

Transition from Coal

Hannah Aulby grew up in Tasmania and she said she had an "environmentally aware youth" and her family were interested in environment matters .Since then she has travelled extensively globally, worked with Nick McKim, been Fundraising manager for BZE, Lock the Gate to mention a few. She is now Clean Energy Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

She mentioned the problem of mine rehabilitation where there is a big need for money to be available for mines at the end of their use. For example Hazelwood (Australia's dirtiest coal fired power station) whose owners are "considering" closure with insufficient funds to so. But there are many who merely desert mines and just leave without legal redress. So it seems then the taxpayer would have to foot the bill. There is also a need too for the communities to plan and have some alternative transition to alternative employment. There is of course too much coal in the system at present.

Hannah concluded by reminding listeners of the Forum - Coral, Coal and Climate Change forum on 16th June at Box Hill Town Hall with Lighter Footprints and  ECAM ( Eastern Climate Action Melb.) as joint hosts. Local candidates and politicians to attend with Rod Quantock as M.C. One can only wonder how/if he can make an endangered Great Barrier Reef light hearted!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave on "Empowering Local Communities" 

BZE radio's Laura, Kay and Michael talked to Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO Beyond Zero Emissions, who described Australia as a "solar paradise" and rated as third globally on the availability of renewable resources but of course rated most extreme when it comes to emissions per capita. Yet as Stephen says the coal industry is "static" and the COALition is "stuck in the old ways". 

This writer is often inclined to feel depressed at the criminal lack of progress and disinterest displayed in the development of renewables so Stephen feels like a breath of fresh air - somewhat equivalent to that of Tasmanian air being sold to China in tins! Travelling widely it seems, Stephen's plans include developing blueprints for  change  across different states and sectors. Addressing the welcome drop in the cost of batteries he says not to forget the importance of agricultural emissions frequently not so recognised, but no less important than renewables (which he described as "more sexy"). The agricultural sector of course includes land use, land clearing, production and wastage of food, water, transport etc. all of which mainly driven by local communities as it seems are most such progressive movements.

On closing Michael mentioned the Newcastle demonstration. which was held the previous weekend where they were watching some of the coal ships depart and estimating each ship to be the equivalent to 100, 000 cars on the road!  So much for Adani v the Great Barrier Reef!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Mark Watts C40

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in London, joins us on his recent visit to Australia. His C40 network supports cities to share knowledge and drive measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

Dr Ian Wright

Beyond Zero speaks to Dr Ian Wright, Lecturer in Environmental Science at Western Sydney University, about recent cuts to science staff and the effect of upstream coalmines on Sydney’s water network.

Forther reading:

The Conversation: Cuts to WaterNSW’s science staff will put Sydney’s water quality at risk


GreenSync's software platform

Beyond Zero's Anthony and Matt are joined in the studio by GreensSync's founder and Managing Director Dr Phil Blythe and Project Manager Kate O'Carroll to talk about the company's software platform allowing utilities and customers to better forecast and predict their energy loads, and to optimally schedule distributed resources such as solar and storage.

Lord Deben calls on Australia to join the global partnership on climate solutions

Cohesive Politics Are Possible

Cohesive politicians reducing environmental harm; cohesive politicians choreographing a united front; cohesive politicians able to withstand cooperate lobby groups; to an Australian audience all this may sound too good to be true but we invite you to listen to our interview with Lord Deben from The United Kingdom.  Lord Deben retains a central role in both British and international climate politics.  

Lord Deben previously prioritised environmental security within the agriculture portfolio of a conservative government as a Tory politician under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prime Minister John Major and moreover Lord Deben still works far and wide to advocate and implement environmental harm reduction policies.  Our Beyond Zero radio show was fortunate to interview Lord Deben about British, European and Australian climate politics.  Lord Deben gave generously with his time, expertise and authority.  

During the interview Lord Deben discredited Australia’s official platform of amplifying a so called moral case for coal and also highlighted the diplomatic legacy Australia forgoes while we shun climate leadership.  Lord Deben discredited this so called moral case for coal by citing a higher probability of Prime Minister Modi accepting renewable electricity while forgoing dependence upon imported coal.  Lord Deben also discredited this so called moral case for coal by citing a lower probability of big business providing moral guidance.  Lord Deben clearly warned against the evermore expansion of Australian coal mining and export capacity as a most foolish commercial investment.

Lord Deben warns Australia must realise that the age of coal is over!

Lord Deben is a hardworking and effective climate politician.  Our Beyond Zero radio show is grateful he shared persuasive insights for our audience.  Once again we invite you to listen to a recognised authority on both environmental harm reduction and cohesive politics.  

Demian Natakhan - Victorian Renewable Energy Roadmap

Demian Natakhan is founder and co-director of Enhar, a renewable energy consultancy in Melbourne. He joins us today to talk about his response to the Victorian Government consultation on Victoria’s Renewable Energy Roadmap, following a workshop Enhar held to discuss the Goals for the Victorian Renewable Energy.

Public consultation on the Roadmap will feed into the development of the Victorian Renewable Energy Action Plan, which will set long-term actions to drive renewable energy investment in Victoria. Victoria's energy mix is currently 14% renewable energy, made up of mostly wind and hydro and smaller contributions from rooftop solar. New rooftop solar in Victoria is booming, being added at a rate of ~200MW/year. The CEC highlighted the major Victorian wind farm pipeline in their 2014 clean energy report, focussing on wind farms where the developer has done all the preparatory work to be ready for financial close, now just needing sufficient LGC pricing and certainty.  There is around 930MW of wind farms in Victoria with this advanced status, which could be readily unlocked through additional state-driven incentives. This would deliver a further 5% of total Victorian generation. There are a further ~1,570MW of wind farms already with planning approval in Victoria, bringing the total of mature wind prospects to around 2,500MW.

Additionally, Demian Natakhan recently presented on Local government solar leadership at All Energy 2015, discussing emission reduction and renewable energy progress and targets at federal, state and local government levels.

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