Climate

The NSW department of planning released a set of new guidelines for wind farm developments in December last year. The department is seeking submissions from the public commenting on the new guidelines until March 14. The new guidelines include the most stringent noise regulation in the world, with turbine noise not allowed to exceed 35 decibels. The limit is 50 decibels or more in much of Europe, and 40 decibels elsewhere in Australia.
Powerful US free-market think tank The Heartland Institute is reeling after leaked internal documents were posted on the Desmogblog website on February 14 showing the powerful corporate interests behind its well-known campaign against climate science. Desmogblog said the leaked documents “expose the heart of the climate denial machine”, which “relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from US businesses”.
Friends of the Earth Australia released the statement below on February 16. * * * The draft planning guidelines for wind farms in NSW, which are now open for public comment, have been labelled by environment group Friends of the Earth as inconsistent, too restrictive and politically motivated. “These guidelines talk about NSW planning to help Australia meet its 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target, but at the same time could pose severe restrictions on the options available to achieve that,” said Ben Courtice, renewable energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
Campaign group 100% Renewable Energy's key message for this year is “Let’s build big solar”. On its website, the group says: “In 2012, [we’ll] be focussing our efforts on finally doing what Australia should already be doing — building big solar!”   100% Renewable Energy ran a packed two-day activist training “Boot Camp" in Port Hacking, New South Wales, over the weekend of February 11 and 12. The Boot Camp attracted about 120 members of community and climate action groups from around the country.  
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Melbourne-based activist collective Quit Coal released the statement below on its website on February 6. * * * One Quit Coal activist has been released pending summons for “interfering with a motor vehicle” today after stopping drilling in Bacchus Marsh. Paul Connor locked himself to the top of Mantle Mining’s 8.5 metre-tall drill rig while hanging a banner that read “No New Coal Bacchus Marsh”.
In a big win for environmentalists and the planet, the administration of United States President Barack Obama announced on January 20 that it would deny a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada. Anti-tar sands activists in the US and Canada have been seeking to stop the pipeline, planned to transport oil from the Athabasca tar sands in north-east Alberta to refineries in the United States. Mining the Athabasca tar sands is one of the most environmentally destructive practices on the planet.
Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism ― On the Road to Economic, Social & Ecological Decay By Bianca Mugenyi & Yves Engler RED Publishing & Fernwood Publishing 2011, 259 pages, $27.95 (pb) The car, say Canadian authors Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, who took a bus ride across the United States, is a doomed jalopy going nowhere. It fails, especially in the “home of the car”, on every green count. Cars are the single largest contributor to US noise pollution and 40,000 people in the US die from car accidents each year (one million across the globe).
The small town of Kerry, located on the Scenic Rim in Queensland's Beaudesert, is a prime food-producing area one hour from Brisbane. The land is now the site of a coal seam gas (CSG) exploration well. The community hasn't let this happen quietly. The property on which the drilling occurred has also been the site of a significant protest. A community blockade against foreign-owned CSG company Arrow Energy stopped work on the site for almost 10 days, until the company's trucks broke through by driving over dozens of hats laid down in protest on January 21.
Wind farms might appear controversial in the media, but they enjoy an overwhelming 83% support in affected communities, say several recent reports. The only noise worth worrying about is that from the small minority who vocally oppose them. Unfortunately, that noise is drowning out other voices in the public arena.

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