Real sustainability arrives in Canberra
A wonderful sign of things to come.
A wonderful sign of things to come.
It is going to take a lot for people today to give up there cars.
There’s many debates about lowering our use of cars.
Again George has taken aim at one of the fictions of the modern economy. His article is headed: Consume more, conserve more: sorry, but we just can’t do both. Click here.
A couple of key articles online worth reading…
The scandal around the use of diesel in vehicles has been coming for years. There have been numerous articles recently about the research on what the dangers there are to the environment and to our health from having diesel vehicles on the roads.
And now for something really silly – or maybe just naive.
How many time have heard people (motorists) complain about any change to the traffic infrastructure to encourage more people to get on your bike.
The Australian governments have consistently hidden behind the argument that Australia cannot cut back on its emissions because it would be of no effect given the amount of carbon emissions being pumped out by China.
With reports about the coming of much improved batteries by which households will be able to store their solar power, the concept of whole suburbs going off the grid is starting to be discussed.
Many national governments, including Australia, persist in allowing Big Coal to influence its environmental and energy policies. However there is hope as a world-wide trend continues as corporations start to divest themselves of investments in the Big Coal companies.
In Australia the government has completely messed up any opportunity to gain long-term economic sustainability for the country. We have just witnessed the current government do a dirty deal with another party led by a mining millionaire to do away with an opportunity for a just tax on the miners.
Yet again there’s a nice piece on The Conversation about how we need to be far more serious about carbon. It also points towards the use of Green-Wash by corporations to allow them to continue with business as usual. The author, Sharon Beder, says “Carbon offsets are a greenwashing mechanism that enables individuals to buy themselves green credentials without actually changing their consumption habits, and nations to avoid the more difficult structural and regulatory change necessary to prevent further global warming.” I could not agree more and could name some very dubious lobby groups that are assisting in the processes of green washing by corporations and developers.
Sharon Beder has written some informative pieces previously and has her own website – click here – definitely worth a look
Paul Costigan, 29 May 2014
From the Ministry of Energy
Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation.
The Thunder Bay Generating Station, Ontario’s last remaining coal-fired facility, has burned its last supply of coal.
Operated by Ontario Power Generation, Thunder Bay Generating Station was the oldest coal-fired station in the province. The plant is scheduled to be converted to burn advanced biomass, a renewable fuel source.
The Huffington Post presents a wonderfully optimistic report about a city that is often regarded as being a terrible example of urban development. I disagree. It has many things wrong with it but if you spend time there you can see that there are some really great things happening. All cities have their problems and many do not much to boast about.
At a conference organized by the National Council on Science and the Environment (NCSE) in Washington, D.C., Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, director of the Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy at Central European University, said “spreading today’s best building practices could hold energy costs steady,” but the big question is “how to get the public and private sectors to work together to make transformational change.”
The session then outlined some more problems limiting action on climate change, and the transformational solutions needed to solve them. Interestingly one of the problems first identified was to do with higher education. Another was the decision making processes. There were others such as water and energy wisdom. See the report on this session on The Dirt (ASLA) – click here
Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation should assist anyone with their advocacy for Revitalizing Cities with Parks. In these times of reactionary governments and tight budgets, it is important to maintain efforts to introduce the simple idea to create more parks.
Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation will assist advocacy for more resource allocation for urban forests. Governments need to deal with climate change in the urban areas, and dealing with urban forests is a good place to concentrate some resources. The urban forest issues are linked to the population’s health and wellbeing and avoiding heat island effects.
Couple of articles about Big Coal and its attitude to the truth:
When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.
As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.
more from the original NY Times – hopefully the link is working
From the Guardian (Friday 24 January): This Australia day, us underdogs will fight Big Coal to save Maules Creek. In the battle that is gripping my community, my fifth generation farming family and I are siding with traditional owners and environmentalists against miners to save the land we love; an article by Phil Laird.
This Australia Day, many of us will gather to reflect on and celebrate what’s great about our democracy. It’s our good fortune as a nation to be blessed with abundant natural resources that are our common wealth. Our fertile land, clean air and water underpin our country’s agricultural heritage, which has fed and clothed us. Australia’s native wildlife is unique, and the bush where Australians walk, fish, hunt and camp is habitat for the animals that are emblems of the country itself. Traditional owners of the country have the longest continuing culture in the world, and a connection to the bush that goes back tens of thousands of years. click here for the Guardian Article
Reporting on research being undertaken
You are urged to ‘watch this space’ for research and reports by scientists who have been carrying out research on Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health. To quote from their website:
Safeguarding future health in Australian cities, The CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship has funded scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines to develop adaptation strategies which will improve the health of urban populations in the face of a variable and changing climate.
The Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health Cluster was established in 2010 and officially launched in March 2011 at a Conference in Cairns, bringing together nine different partner organisations focusing on 7 major research projects.
(Taken from a media release)
The Productivity Commission this week released a staff working paper that examines methods available for assessing costs and benefits for environmental values.
re-post from the ABC
The link below takes you to an article by the ABC. While you’re sweating it out, you’re paying for your neighbour’s air-conditioning to be running. How? It’s because the electricity market in Australia needs changing. CSIRO published a post yesterday about some demand management ideas that have been given a run. It includes an idea they call ‘cost reflective pricing’, which is also known as ‘time of use pricing’ or ‘flexible pricing’. In essence, your electricity company charges you more for electricity at peak times of demand, thereby encouraging you to save your energy-intensive activities for a cheaper time of day. Some energy retailers in Australia offer such a service, but it tends to be something that customers need to ring up and request, rather than being automatic read electricity and air conditioners on the ABC article here and through the link to the CSIRO post on electricity and air conditioners
How will your energy get greener? Depends where you live, Peter Newman and Peter Newton
In Australia’s middle and outer suburbs, rooftop solar power technology provides a clear way to reduce the emissions from the energy our houses use. But higher density housing types (apartments and medium density housing) do not lend themselves to rooftop solar power at the scale needed to make a difference to household energy and carbon budgets. So how will those people living in inner suburbs make the change to lower-carbon energy? We believe the urban fabric will shape the transition to low carbon futures in both transport fuel and renewable energy (see Figure 1 below). The approach we suggest makes a distinction between relatively easy technological changes and more difficult structural changes. Read the article here