Political Action to Government
Think Global, Act Local
What is your local council doing to make your suburb ecologically sustainable? A pipe dream? Check out Mosman Council and then go and get your local Council on board.
Join other Voices
* Environment Victoria organises campaigns to help you get your voice heard
* Sign the Channel 7 Sunrise Petition to support Solar Subsidy Rebates
* Join the Climatez campaign to share your thoughts with your politicians.
Think of others such as Talkback radio and letters to the newspapers.
For political and legislative decisions
These are among the most important aspects of a viable national greenhouse strategy.
- Establish a carbon price to support immediate emission reductions.
- Supplant coal with gas, solar, wind, geothermal, agricultural biomass and ocean tides.
- Encourage local manufacture of electricity to reduce transmission costs.
- Cut subsidies for dirty and uneconomic energy use.
- Tax environmentally irresponsible behaviour .
- End logging of old-growth forests and wood chipping, and rationalise the industry.
- Encourage the invention, manufacture and use of efficient technologies .
- School education that supports ecological awareness and environmental efficiency.
- Mandate best performance standards for buildings, vehicles and appliances.
- Encourage recycling and reduce packaging.
- Retro-fit efficient motors into household and commercial appliances.
- Disconnect stand-by equipment in homes and offices.
- Eliminate wastage in commercial power use and air conditioning.
- Encourage people to work from home or from suburban commercial modules.
- Reduce road construction and replace vehicular traffic with public transport.
- Support hybrid cars and trucks for local as well as long-distance driving.
- Campaign for consumer awareness and changing attitudes.
- Develop a national resilience to the adverse affects of a changing climate.
Though it may take some time to put into place many of these goals could be implemented at once. It is the will of the people armed by the urgency of the situation that will overcome the inevitable resistance.
Scientists and industry groups (including insurance companies and major banks) have been urging the Federal and State Governments to plan for climate change. Labor governments in the Australian States have made some small moves. The Federal Liberal government remains adamant that little needs to be done.
Though the Kyoto agreement has been producing results - by committing 34 countries to reduce greenhouse emissions by 5.2% - this is only delaying the inevitable. Sadly, it is a compromise game to keep the peace - not a solution.
Kyoto is not enough, not by any means.
We have to cut emissions very rapidly by 80% over the next ten to fifteen years!
and even then there will be consequences.
Heat-trapping emissions take time to build up their full effect as the cooler oceans are slow to catch up with the atmosphere. The vertical lines in the graph show the difference between earth temperatures and sea. The best estimate is that there is a 25- to 30-year time lag between greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere and their full heat-trapping potential taking effect. That wipes out any feeling of comfort. It means that most of the increase of 0.8˚C during the last century is not caused by current level of carbon dioxide but by what was in the atmosphere at the end of the 1970s.
Worse, in the last three decades the rate of emissions have increased dramatically with the largest increase in industrial activity, vehicular traffic and mass destruction of rainforests in history. So - on top of the extra heat we are already experiencing there is another 30 years of ever-accelerating warming built into the climate system.
This is why action is now so urgent.
Only governments - Municipal, State and Federal - can take the actions that are required. Only you and I will compel them to do so. Here is how to contact politicians.
The GOOD news is that we can make a difference if we do so NOW.
The BAD news is that we have only a few years to do so.
Lets look at what can be done. In a report to a number of Australia’s leading Companies in 2003 the Allen Consulting Group concluded in Deep Cuts in Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts for Australia that by early action there would be no loss in GDP with the creation of over 3½ million jobs, and that within 40 years Australia would be about three times wealthier than it is today.
This assumed that within a few years government would encourage business - through subsidies, incentives and penalties - to invest in a wide range of low and zero emission technologies, that would lead to reduced running costs and use of electricity.
Were we to delay for even ten years and then try to reach the same target the economy would be disrupted as electricity prices would have to rise three times to meet the demands of a more urgent situation.
We are now at the moment of greatest "unstable equilibrium" at the top of the curve. Business as usual (the lower blue line) shows how quickly we destroy ourselves. The Current Kyoto strategy leads to the same place, only a little less quickly.
If we act NOW by reducing emissions by 90% over 5 years with draconian legislation we could follow the survival pathway, level off our emissions and the begin to gradually reduce them. Acting now we could reduce emissions while retaining a strong economy.
Each country that can mobilise its politicians should cut emissions to its uttermost. At least then that country will remain prepared and more able to deal with the worst even if the rest sink and fight themselves out of existence.
Before we list the major recommendations prepared from studies in many countries look at Australia's enormous natural advantages. Australia has more natural sources for renewable power than any other country on earth - and most are virtually zero carbon emitters.
- The highest solar radiation.
- the sugar industry could provide 5% of our energy needs. Farming waste could treble that.
- Geothermal sources could supply 800 years of current power use.
- Our extensive coastline is ideal for wave and tidal power.
- Exceptional wind resources.
- Salt-ridden lands can grow plants to regenerate the soil while being used for bio fuels.
Source: Powering Australia’s Future by Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
The ABCSE strategy for a soft landing with deep cuts in carbon emissions is available here. It and the rest of their report may be downloaded from their site. All we have to do is get the Federal Government to implement these ideas. What is surprising is that a sensible program that is being supported by leaders in banking, insurance and industry is opposed only by those making gross profits at this time, being principally the coal, oil and aluminium producers. Do we have to pay them off to get them on side??
Dealing with the short-term problems coming from global warming must be addressed immediately. These cannot wait. Long-term there are a myriad of issues including hunger, poverty, restoration of the lands, water and so on. For the moment saving the planet takes precedence over all of these.
We can do this, and we MUST, if only for the sake of our children.
Click here for what we can do in our personal lives.
Clean coal is far more costly than dirty coal. Wind is also twice the cost. But when we factor in green-house costs from black coal the differences disappear. It is more instructive to examine the previous graph that compares cost of generation against greenhouse emissions for black coal (left) to renewable's (olive) and nuclear (right).