Monthly Archives: March 2007

Get Heard By Labor on Climate Change!

GetUp! is running a campaign to have your voice heard at the National Climate Change Summit being organised by Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Canberra on Saturday 31 March.

Click on the link below to send in your proposals to your Labor MP or Senator about the climate future you want, the actions you want to see taken, your ideas for combating global warming and creating a more sustainable future.

www.getup.org.au/campaign/YourMessagetoLabor

UK first to set legally-binding carbon targets

From The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 14 March 2007

Britain has become the first country to propose legislation setting binding limits on greenhouse gases as it stepped up its campaign for a new global warming pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

In its draft Climate Change Bill, the government said carbon dioxide emissions had to be cut by at least 60 per cent by 2050, set out five-year carbon budgets to reach the target and created an independent monitoring committee to check annual progress.

Prime Minister Tony Blair put climate change at the top of the international agenda when Britain was head of the Group of Eight industrialised nations in 2005 and it could now become the first nation to limit emissions by statute.

“This bill is an international landmark,” Environment Minister David Miliband told a news conference.

“It is the first time any country has set itself legally-binding carbon targets. It is an environmental contract for future generations.”

The draft bill also sets a legally-binding interim target for carbon cuts of 26 to 32 per cent by 2020.

Miliband said failure to meet targets could land governments in court. “Governments that fail to meet the stipulations of the bill will be subject to judicial review. It will be for the courts to decide what sanctions to apply,” he said.

Environmentalists welcomed the carbon cut budgets, which require any overshoot in a given year to be recouped later.

The draft bill will go to three months of public and parliamentary consultation before becoming law next year, but green campaigners want to raise the 2050 target to 80 per cent and set annual three per cent cut targets to ensure compliance.

The UK government rejects annual targets as being too rigid to make allowances for climate variations from year to year.

Andrew Pendleton, senior climate policy officer at charity Christian Aid, praised the bill but said: “If the final legislation is not significantly stronger, the process would represent a massive lost opportunity. It is the first step on a long journey.”

Edward Hanna, senior lecturer in Climate Change at the University of Sheffield was also unimpressed: “(It) doesn’t go far enough, fast enough, to confidently combat the significant threats posed by human-induced global warming. I fear that as we are closing the stable door, the horse has already bolted.”

The Kyoto Protocol is a global pact on tackling carbon gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport that scientists say will boost average temperatures by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century. It runs out in 2012.

Britain and Germany are leading the charge to extend Kyoto and expand its scope to bring in Australia and the United States which rejected it in 2001, and boom economies such as China and India, which – although signatories – are not bound by it.

The British draft bill comes after European Union leaders agreed last week to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

The government stressed individual behaviour needed to change and people needed incentives to reduce carbon footprints and become energy producers as well as consumers.

Reuters

Earth Hour, 7.30pm-8.30pm, Sat March 31, 2007

Earth Hour - Saturday 31 March 2007, 7:30pm-8:30pm

Earth Hour is a fabulous opportunity for you and your family to do something about climate change. On one night, in one hour, more will be done, more will be demonstrated, and more will be learned than through a hundred ‘talk-fests’.

And you can help make it happen.

What is Earth Hour?

It sounds simple, but it is very, very dramatic. At 7.30pm on March 31st 2007, we will be encouraging companies, government departments, individuals and families to turn off their lights for just one hour.

If we meet our objectives during the first Earth Hour, the savings in green house gas emissions will be the equivalent of taking 75,000 medium sized cars off the road for one whole year! Now that’s something worth doing. Why?

The facts are alarmingly clear:

  • The climate is changing! The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1990. In fact 2005 was the hottest year since record keeping began. (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)
  • Almost 70% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production. (ABS)
  • More than 95% of the Great Barrier Reef will have been destroyed by 2050 if carbon dioxide emissions aren’t reduced. (WWF-International)
  • One million species worldwide are facing extinction due to climate change. (University of Leeds)

But not everybody listens to the facts. Earth Hour is your opportunity to demonstrate how a simple change in our way of life could change, and help save, our planet.

The goals of Earth Hour.

Households: Most of us use unnecessary electricity. Appliances on standby, old style light bulbs, lights left on when we’re not using them. Earth Hour will help us all to realise just how simply we can make a dramatic impact upon global warming (and our own power bills). We will see it in action.

Companies: We want companies to be involved. If every company in Australia turned off its lights when the buildings weren’t in use, and combined it with energy saving technology, we would save between 2 and 4 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses every year. Earth Hour will show companies just how easy that is.

Power Companies: We will be asking power companies to provide special deals for companies and households to switch to Green Power.

To make it an annual event: Out of the 8,766 hours in a year, let’s give one back to the earth.

What you can do?

Sign up to Earth Hour and Pledge to turn off your lights on March 31st from 7.30pm to 8.30pm by logging on to www.earthhour.org. You will receive all the information you need to make Earth Hour a great success (and to cut your own energy bills in the long term). Pledging is free.

Get off standby: Turn off all the electronic equipment and appliances in your home that are not being used or are on tandby. Computers, televisions, stereo equipment, phone chargers, DVD or video equipment – you can find out more about this from WWF at www.wwf.org.au.

Tell a friend: Spread the word about earth Hour by involving your friends, family and workmates. Get them to pledge at www.earthhour.org.

And most importantly, turn off the lights at 7.30pm Saturday 31 March 2007.

Another thing you can do before the event is switch to Green Power: Contact your electricity provider today. If all Australians switched to Green Power the saving in CO 2 emissions would be the equivalent of what is pumped out of 40 million cars! That’s like taking every car in Australia off the road four times over.

Spread the word: Once you have signed up for Earth Hour tell a friend; spread the word at work; tell your boss; mention it at school, at your local sports club or society group, you can even run it past your neighbours!

Make it an event. Get the neighbours to switch off their lights and head out into the park for the hour; take some binoculars and look at the stars; sit and talk; explore your backyard by torchlight; have fun with sparklers; or just go for a stroll. Do something non-electric as a family e.g. make some candles, read by their light; have a picnic-at-dusk; pretend you are camping; have a candlelight dinner.

For more info on Earth Hour, check out www.earthhour.org

EARTH HOUR. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Earth Hour - Saturday 31 March 2007, 7:30pm-8:30pm

‘An Inconvenient Truth’ receives Oscars nod

‘An Inconvenient Truth’ – a film that aims to heighten awareness about global warming just won an Oscar for the best documentary. The film’s spokesperson Al Gore presented an award on the night and the Oscars were reportedly a ‘green’ event this year, to allay any scepticism you may have over this claim check out their website at http://www.oscars.com/oscarnight/?pn=green).

2007 ‘Walk against Warming’ protest

The Australian Conservation Foundation has just announced they will hold another ‘walk against warming’ rally two weeks before the next federal election to ensure that environmental issues are on the election agenda.

For more information, or to sign up for an email alert to ensure you know where your closest walk is, check out http://www.walkagainstwarming.org/

ACT Government seeks to reduce ACT car use

Check out this link for an article in the Canberra times about the ACT governments plans to reduce car reliance in the city centre over the next few years.