beyond zero emissions

This Autumn heat wave across the eastern states should remind us that we have less and less time to deal with the catastrophic consequences of an unscientific energy policy.

We live in an era of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change and yet horse-and-buggy politicians, such as Tony Abbott MP and PM Malcolm Turnbull, continue to insist that we still need coal-fired power.

In the three months to June, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions reached a record level, with the annual emissions on track to surpass the previous peak in 2009, according to the latest National Energy Emissions Audit published by The Australia Institute.

About 100 people attended a community celebration in Port Augusta on September 2 to mark a huge win for the local community: the state government’s support for Australia’s first solar thermal power plant with storage in Port Augusta.

This was the culmination of a seven-year campaign and it will have a far-reaching impact on the future of renewable energy in this country. US company SolarReserve will begin construction of the 150MW plant in 2018. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

Community campaigners rallied in Port Augusta on April 30 to make a final call for the South Australian government to build a new solar thermal power plant in the town.

The May budget is just days away at time of writing, so while I don't know its exact details, I feel I can safely take an educated guess and suggest it probably won't include a fully-costed plan for a rapid transition to a post-carbon, zero emissions economy based on 100% renewable energy.
Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis as drought reduces output from its hydro-electric dams and the undersea power cable — which had been providing up to 40% of its power needs from Victoria — is shut down. Basslink is planning a major operation to repair its undersea power cable, which was shut down after a fault was discovered about 100 kilometres off the Tasmanian coast.
Ahead of the climate talks in Paris in December, it is important that people mobilise and demand strong action on climate change. Without a clear message from ordinary people, the demands that business and polluting industries make of governments are more likely to dilute the outcomes. Remember Rio? Kyoto? Copenhagen? At the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 conference in Paris, our leaders need to do more, and fast.
The Zero Carbon Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower report published by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is now available. Author Gerard Drew and a brigade of contributors provide much detailed technical evidence that demonstrates the potential for Australia in a global transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.
This week Canadian author Naomi Klein is visiting Australia to speak about why capitalism is incompatible with action on climate change. Her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate encourages everyone already involved in fighting for social justice and equality to see climate change as the “best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world”.
The township of Camberwell in the Hunter Valley and Camberwell coalmine in the background. Early this month, Beyond Zero Emissions published a report called Fossil Economy, which highlighted the potential economic risks to Australia because of its heavy dependence on fossil fuel exports.
Matthew Wright and Patrick Hearps from Beyond Zero Emissions outlined their plan to switch Australia to 100% renewable stationary energy by 2020 to 150 people in Hobart on November 11. Local speakers Todd Houstein from Sustainable Living Tasmania and Peter Rae from the International Renewable Energy Alliance, spoke about how the plan could apply to Tasmania.
More than 1000 people packed into Sydney Town Hall on August 12 for the Sydney launch of the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Stationary Energy Plan. The plan outlines how Australia could meet all its energy needs from renewables within 10 years. The successful event followed the well-attended Melbourne launch, which attracted about 700 people in July. The plan is the product of a collaboration between the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute and the non-profit climate advocacy group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).
This federal election both Labor and the Coalition have failed to present any serious policies to address climate change. The Greens on the other hand have a plan to cut emissions, but does it go far enough? The Coalition’s Tony Abbott rose to the leadership with the backing of a hardcore group of climate denier MPs. His “direct action” policy on climate change has two big problems: it’s not direct and it’s not much action.
On July 17, the Adelaide-based Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN SA) hosted a forum in Port Augusta detailing the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan recently launched by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).
On July 12, state environment minister Donna Faragher approved an additional three coal-fired power stations in Western Australia. These power stations will contribute to a 75% increase in the state’s greenhouse emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Authority. Of the three power stations, one is a brand new private sector development. The other two are older power stations that were built in the 1960s and have not been in use for some time, which will be expanded and refurbished. This will more than double the number of coal-fired power stations in Collie.
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