News

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MEFL in Malaysia

MEFL CEO Paul Murfitt was invited to Malaysia in September to share the MEFL story at the Penang International Green Carnival.
Paul reports on his experiences:

The Carnival was a smaller version of Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival; a showcase of local sustainable products, services, community groups and projects. Alongside the carnival, a conference program featured a diverse range of speakers from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Japan and Australia (represented by MEFL).  It was great to interact with those working on local sustainability from the Asian region and to create links for future collaboration. 

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Brunswick Communities for Nature continues

Last year MEFL partnered with Adopt-a-Tree for Communities for Nature, an exciting project where residents and schools in Brunswick planted a nature corridor from Merri Creek to Moonee Ponds Creek.

We’re pleased to say this project is continuing through Brunswick Communities for Nature, with support from Moreland City Council and ourselves.

To give you an update on the continuation of the project, Brunswick Communities for Nature has prepared this short Q&A.

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Wrong way go back

Implications of Federal Government carbon emissions policy developments

MEFL considers that the Renewable Energy Target is critical to maintaining our trajectory towards a cleaner energy industry and that moves to abolish it are not founded on reasonable assessment. There are several campaigns underway to advocate for retention of the RET, notably groups such as the Community Power Agency, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth and the Climate Institute. MEFL strongly advocates everyone who is interested in seeing a greener, and prosperous future for Australia to support these initiatives.

There have been substantial shifts in the climate change and carbon emissions policies adopted by the Federal Government over the last few months. Due to independents and minor parties holding the balance in the senate, moves to eliminate ARENA and the CEFC have faltered, and these organisations are continuing to operate (albeit in reduced capacity.) However, the government has successfully repealed legislation on carbon pricing, and current indications are that it may seek to revoke the Renewable Energy Target (RET). 

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Victorian State Election 2014

What are the policy priorities?

This year’s Victorian State Election on 29 November provides opportunities for us to seek commitments from candidates for strengthened and expanded climate policies and actions.  MEFL has identified our key priorities for climate action in Victoria. We have been highlighting these priorities with the relevant MPs in the lead-up to the election:
  • Continuing and expanding support for renewable energy, including support for community-owned solar, and ensuring a fair price for solar-generated electricity
  • Continuing and strengthening the existing Energy Saver Incentive scheme, including specific support and targets for low-income households, rental housing and small-medium businesses.

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Climate change impacts on the Reef

Beautiful setting underlines urgency

To state the obvious: Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef is a beautiful place to spend the weekend. At the end of May, MEFL CEO Paul Murfitt participated in ‘Camp Earth Hour’; a workshop on Heron Island which brought together community representatives from around Australia to build on the “Lights Out for the Reef” campaign from earlier this year.

The workshop was the next stage in the rollout of a new look Earth Hour which will involve year-round community action on climate change. MEFL is one of the community groups working with Earth Hour to (re)build climate change as a major political issue, through community action and alliance building.

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Climate change: global and local

The recently published IPCC report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerabilities, makes for sobering reading. The report says that the impacts of climate change are already being felt all around the globe, and it’s going to get worse. The report warns that it’s time to start adapting to climate change.MEFL and local councils in Melbourne’s north are already taking action. Through the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA), they are collaborating on the Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment
project.The project combines “big-picture” expertise on climate change with local knowledge about who is most vulnerable. This will enable the nine NAGA councils to better understand common needs and how to address them on a joint basis.

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Heatwaves 2: Local action

Climate change is here

Climate change is already making hot days hotter and heatwaves longer and more frequent. Heatwaves pose a risk to the health of everyone, especially the elderly and chronically ill, and increase the demand for health care services. Arecent analysis of the vulnerability of urban populations to extreme heat events found that most of Moreland and particularly Coburg, Coburg North, Hadfield and Glenroy have extremely high vulnerability to heat-related illness and morbidity. This largely reflects the presence of urban heat island effects, higher numbers of older residents, people with disabilities and migrant communities as well as increasing urban density.
MEFL has been active on this issue before, partnering with Merri Community Health Services in 2011 to conduct research and provide free retrofits and advice to vulnerable housholds.

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Darebin Solar $aver

Happy Solar $aver customer Mal Owen

Working with City of Darebin and Energy Matters, MEFL’s Positive Charge program was able to co-ordinate the installation of almost 300 solar PV installations on to the roofs of low income households in Darebin. The program, called Solar $aver, was completed in 2014 and is believed to be an Australian first.

Darebin City Council covered the up-front cost of the solar installations, which households are then paying back through their rates payments over a ten year period. The repayments have been structured so that households will save more each year on their electricity bill than the amount by which their rates are increased, so that they will financially benefit as soon as the installation is complete. This is an innovative financial arrangement known as “Save As You Go”.

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Climate science updated

The IPCC report

On Friday 27 September climate scientists from around the world gathered in Stockholm to launch the latest IPCC report. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest Assessment Reportprovides the world with an authoritative and comprehensive update on the physical science of climate change, the impacts, and mitigation strategies.

Assessment reports are released every 5-7 years; the latest report details with scientific certainty the changing climate, the human causes of this change; and the current and future impacts.  Scientists are now unequivocally pointing to the evidence for the human cause of climate change, the impacts (many of which are already being experienced) and the urgent need for wide-ranging action.

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Putting Energy and Climate back on the agenda

It’s time to ‘up the energy’ of the federal election

Australia is in the “critical decade” – what we do now, including who we vote for, is really important for the future of Australia’s energy and climate.

The critical decade means voting with energy and climate in mind.

We want a safe climate future

Bold climate policy involves transforming our economy and giving greater certainty to individuals, community, business and industry in respect to direct and meaningful action on the challenges posed by climate change.

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