MEFL is working with Moreland City Council on achieving its goal of zero carbon emissions in the municipality by 2040. Achieving such an ambitious target requires collaborative action across many sectors, including all levels of government, transport, waste and stationary energy. On 17 November we gathered over 60 representatives across these sectors for an intensive 3-hour workshop titled ‘Pathways to Zero Carbon’.
The federal Election is in a few weeks so we thought we’d have a look at the policies (if any) that the major parties have in place regarding climate change.
The Coalition on climate change
The 2016 Budget provides no vision to transition away from coal to the renewable economy of the future. Emphasised by the refusal of a price on carbon and the announcement last week that, more than half a billion dollars has been spent on planting trees under the Turnbull governments Direct Action Plan, while nothing has been done to tighten the relaxed laws on land clearing in NSW and QLD. The Sydney Morning Herald discusses how this policy is illogical and unable to achieve desired emissions reduction while safeguarding the big polluters.
The budget will see fuel tax credits cost Australians almost $26.5 billion over the next four years as they pay 40 cents in tax on every litre of fuel they buy while some of the world’s largest mining companies will not pay tax on the fuel they use, says the CEO of Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Kelly O’Shanassy in an interview with VICE.
MEFL’s CEO Paul Murfitt is currently in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
He sent this report late in the evening on Monday 7 December (our time).
While the draft agreement reached in Paris over the last week has some promising elements, particularly the momentum for limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees, many big issues remain to be resolved in the upcoming second week of negotiations. Elements such as target review processes, the legal status of country commitments, paying for action and compensation for loss and damage, amongst other issues, will be exercising and testing our collective ability to reach a meaningful international agreement on climate action. For some great analysis and commentary on progress, have a look at this blog from the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at Melbourne University.
Academy of Science clears up any confusion
There’s no longer any excuse for anyone to be confused about climate change! The Australian Academy of Science has produced an excellent report titled The Science of Climate Change.
No, not another long obscure report with words and graphs you can’t understand. This report is written in everyday language and is broken down into nine “question and answer’ sections. There’s a choice of a downloadable PDF or an online version.This is a great resource to fill in the gaps in your knowledge of the issue, or to refer to if you find yourself debating the issue with ‘climate change sceptics’.
The introduction to the report reads:
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.
What are the policy priorities?
- 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.
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.
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
So, after all the waiting, we now have the carbon price package laid out before us. In short, MEFL believes that the policy is an excellent start to reducing Australia’s emissions, and to transforming Australia’s economy to take advantage of clean energy opportunities. See ourmedia release for our full response.
Over the next few weeks, we will post updates on this blog, with detailed analysis of each element of the package. But for starters, here’s a quick rundown of the basics.
Climate action in Australia depends on Federal MPs, who will be watching carefully over the next few months to see where public opinion is heading.
If you’re one of the majority of Australians who support climate action, contact your Federal Member of Parliament and/or the members of the Multi-party Committee on Climate Change (MPCCC) to tell them you support putting a price on carbon pollution.