Feb. 21, 2022

Spark of the climate revolution

Spark of the climate revolution

The Sustainable Hour no 400 with Luke Taylor, director of the National Sustainable Living Festival, and Elena Gonzalez Egea and Kyle Topfer from the group Scientist Rebellion.


The Sustainable Hour no 400

The science that is screaming out to us that we must stop burning fossil fuels. The scientists report that the destruction of Earth’s eco-systems and climate is reaching a point of no return. But do we listen? Or rather, why don’t we listen? Increasing amounts of CO2 emissions are still going into our atmosphere each year. When we started The Sustainable Hour in 2013, the world had just passed the 400 mark for how carbon we have burned and dumped in the atmosphere – 400 parts per million, ppm. We’re now at 419 ppm.

This is the background scenery for The Sustainable Hour no 400 where we are joined by Luke Taylor, who is director of the Sustainable Living Festival and a regular on our show at his time of the year, February being the month dedicated to the National Sustainable Living Festival.

Luke muses about the success and otherwise of both the Sustainable Living Festival and the climate movement in general. We learn about the impact that Covid has had on the last two festivals, and Luke informs us that another important festival anniversary will be achieved next February.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm bells on environmental breakdown for over 40 years, yet emissions and environmental degradation have continued to rise during this time. We talk with two scientists who believe it’s now of paramount importance that scientists demonstrate the severity of the crisis by organising and engaging in civil disobedience: Elena Gonzalez Egea and Kyle Topfer from the group Scientist Rebellion – a group of academics, researchers and scientists across all disciplines determined to engage in peaceful civil disobedience using non-violent direct action tactics to highlight government inaction on the climate and ecological crisis.

Elena from Scientist Rebellion Spain has a PhD in Astrophysics. She joined Scientist Rebellion at the end of 2020. Since then she has been arrested three times in climate actions.

Kyle Topfer from Scientist Rebellion Germany is an environmental scientist who specialises in environmental assessment for air, noise, contaminated land and renewable energy. He joined Scientist Rebellion at the beginning of 2021. Since then he has been arrested in climate actions twice.

In April 2022, as the IPCC global panel of climate scientists publish their next report, Scientist Rebellion aims to mobilise thousands of scientists worldwide to strike in order to highlight the severity of the present situation. A summary of the new IPCC report has been leaked, and you can see Scientist Rebellion’s analysis of it further down on this page.

The group has organised a series of online talks throughout February and March 2022: The Role of Scientists on a Planet in Crisis – these talks are dedicated to the climate and ecological emergency and what we can do about it.

In the last couple of weeks, news of Scientist Rebellion’s mobilisation and strikes in April has reached our shores and an Scientist Rebellion Australia has formed as a result. If anyone reading this knows of a scientist who they think may be interested in getting involved, you can refer them to www.scientistrebellion.com/how-tojoin

“If not those most informed about the collapse of our life-support systems then who? And if not now, then when?”

Scientist Rebellion


Our musical interlude today is from the iconic Aussie band Midnight Oil with their latest song, aptly named ‘We Resist‘. Interestingly the film clip they have released with it features many individuals and groups doing exactly that, resisting. Included in it are a number of Melbourne Extinction Rebellion activists doing what they do best: resisting.


Our youth reporter, 13-year-old Ben Pocock, focusses on COP26 and the Paris Agreement in his report today. We value Ben’s contributions and look forward to hearing what his interesting research and important youth perspective sends our way. A global ‘youthquake’ in shape of a climate strike is scheduled to take place in about a month from now. More info about this below on this page.


We play a short advertisement for Voices of Corangamite, who are on the lookout for an independent candidate from Geelong, Bellarine or the Surf Coast who will run in the federal election in support of Climate200’s agenda for clean energy and clean government.

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook begins in Brazil where new reports based on satellite images have found that the number of trees cut down in the Brazilian Amazon in January far exceeded deforestation for the same month last year. The area destroyed in January was five times larger than 2021, which was itself the highest January total since records began in 2015.

Environmentalists accuse Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro of allowing deforestation to accelerate, despite his pledge at COP26 to do the opposite. Amazon trees are felled for their wood as well as to clear spaces to plant crops to supply global food companies. The latest satellite data from Brazil’s space agency INPE again calls into question the Brazilian government’s commitment to protecting its huge rainforest, say environmentalists.

We zoom to northern Europe where deadly storm Eunice and other extreme storms has brought a deal of controversy in the press as to whether they were linked to climate change or not. Eunice followed three days after tropical storm Dudley, and the two are reckoned to have caused 10 deaths in United Kingdom, as well as affecting the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. Much of the media argument revolves around political parties and their policies because the UK, like Australia, has key elections in counties and local authorities coming up. But the definitive voice was Dr Friederike Otto, from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London. He said “in the case of storm Eunice, the high-speed winds are unlikely to have been caused by climate change. But the rainfall and storm surge aspects of these storms are worse because of climate change.”

Then to California, where a new report said that the current prolonged severe drought which affects most of western United States is set to continue for at least another year. The drought began in 2000 and if the forecast is correct, the continuous 23 years of drought and wildfires will become a new record. Scientists who study past climate in the region said that the current mega-drought is now the driest two-decade period in at least 1,200 years. Their simulations and models also linked the pattern, without any doubt to man-made climate change.

An investigation by the BBC has found that a group of world banks including HSBC, Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are still backing new oil and gas despite being part of a so called ‘green banking group’ – still more greenwashing. A new group called ‘Share Action’ called for investors to force banks to demand green plans from fossil fuel firms before funding them. They said that banks tend to say one thing and do another.

And finally to the UK where the bad news continued… Forest Green Rovers lost at home 1 – 0 to Walsall. This was the Rovers’s first defeat since October, and only their 3rd defeat in 31 games. Despite the loss, FGR are still 10 points clear at the top of Division two.


That’s it for episode number 400. As always, we hope that you find something in it to encourage you to be an active participant in the climate revolution. We’ll be back again next week doing our best to turn any despair that people feel into action that will make a difference.

Each and every one of us have a role to play. We must resist, persist – and at the same time make the climate revolution irresistible. To do that, we will need you and many many others to join us. As Missy Higgins’ grandmother wisely told her, we can all be the difference!


“1.5 is dead. Climate revolution now! We want to be the spark of the climate revolution. We want to do with the scientists what Greta did with the youth.”
~ Elena Gonzalez Egea, astrophysicist and a member of Scientist Rebellion


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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the land. They nurtured it and thrived in often harsh conditions for millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. It is becoming more and more obvious that, if we are to survive the climate emergency we are facing, we have much to learn from their land management practices.

Our battle for climate justice won’t be won until our First Nations brothers and sisters have their true justice. When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”

The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore the climate emergency are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How disrespectful and unfair is that?



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Governments agree that the science is settled but scientists are compelled to do more research
despite inadequate government action and worsening climate change.

→ The Conversation – 15 November 2021:
Where to find courage and defiant hope when our fragile, dewdrop world seems beyond saving
“Where might we find sources of wisdom, hope and courage in this world of rapidly intensifying climate consequences? Honesty with ourselves and others about the scale and consequences of the crisis we now face. Scientific rigour, evidence and ingenuity. Working together, shoulder to shoulder to ignite and accelerate emergency speed action. Justice and care, respect and reciprocity. Thankfulness, kindness and compassion. Beauty, creativity and imagination.”

→ The Conversation – 11 January 2022:
Scientists call for a moratorium on climate change research until governments take real action
“Decades of scientific evidence demonstrate unequivocally that human activities jeopardise life on Earth. Governments concur: the science is settled. But governments have failed to act at the scale and pace required. What should climate change scientists do?”



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Climate Strike on 25 March 2022

Are you ready to strike with us again?

From Friday March 25th, through to Monday March 28th, Naarm [Melbourne] strikers, together with Castlemaine and other Rural/Regional Vic teams, are undertaking a 4-day action in the Naarm CBD. Save the dates in your calendar!

Four Days for Future is our way of showing the government that our future is far more important than funding fossil fuel-giants for profit.The Morrison Government is showing little interest in the ongoing climate crisis and because the next federal election is looming, now is the time to act! That’s where YOU come in. With your help, we will have the chance to show the government that we take climate action seriously and will fight for the future that we deserve.

This movement needs YOU now. Show up to our event and bring your friends along.

RSVP: www.facebook.com/events/363931075292661 #PeopleNotProfit.

More details to come – follow us on instagram @schoolstrike4climatemelb to stay up to date.

In Solidarity,
Grace, 15, Wurundjeri Country
On behalf of the SS4C Naarm Team

P.S. We need help marshalling our event! If you’re keen, fill out this sign-up form and please share around.



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IPCC AR6 WGIII LEAKED DRAFT

Leaked by Scientist Rebellion AUGUST 2021 | Report due for release APRIL 2022

KEY PHRASES IN IPCC REPORT

“Some scientists stress that climate change is caused by industrial development, and more specifically, by the nature of social and economic development produced by the nature of capitalist society, which they therefore consider ultimately unsustainable.”

  • “Mitigation and development goals cannot be met through incremental change. Transition pathways entail distributional consequences such as changes in employment and economic structure.”
  • “Equity and justice are important enabling conditions for effective climate mitigation. Institutions and governance that address equity and supporting narratives that promote just transitions can build broader support for climate policymaking.”

“Collective action through formal social movements and informal lifestyle movements expands the potential for climate policy and supports system change.”

  • “The top 10% of emitters globally, who are the wealthiest 10%, contribute between 36% and 45% of emissions, which is 10-times as much as the poorest 10%. […] If 10-30% of the population were to demonstrate commitment to low-carbon technologies, behaviours and lifestyles, new social norms would be established.”
  • “Lifestyle changes that will be necessary, particularly in rich countries and among the wealthy globally. Refraining from over-heating or over-cooling homes, walking and cycling, cutting air travel, and using energy- consuming appliances less can all contribute significantly to the reductions in emissions needed.”
  • “Individuals can contribute to overcoming barriers and enable climate change mitigation. Individual behavioural change in isolation cannot reduce GHG emissions significantly.”
  • “Estimates of committed CO2 emissions from current fossil energy infrastructure are 658 GtCO2 […] nearly double the remaining carbon budget.”
  • “A shift to diets with a higher share of plant-based protein in regions with excess consumption of calories and animal-source food can lead to substantial reductions in emissions, while also providing health benefits… Plant-based diets can reduce emissions by up to 50% compared to the average emission intensive western diet.”
  • “Delayed action increases challenges to both economic and societal feasibility after 2030.”

SCIENTIST REBELLION’S COMMENTS & NOTES

  • While the report makes clear that wealthy people must reduce emissions to save lives, it also advocates for meeting the needs of the world’s 800 million people who lack access to electricity: “It is not incompatible to struggle against energy poverty and climate change simultaneously”. Changing the behaviour of the top 10% is more consequential, while “increasing the consumption of the poorest to basic subsistence levels would not increase emissions much.” New research in Nature shows “lifting more than one billion people out of poverty, leads to only small relative increases in global carbon emissions of 1.6–2.1% or less. To ensure global progress on poverty alleviation without overshooting climate targets, high-emitting countries need to reduce their emissions substantially.”
  • An extremely conservative appraisal is emissions of greenhouse gasses must peak by 2025 and be halved by 2030, and in line with IEA findings, all coal & gas power plants must be shut down within 9-12 years with no new fossil infrastructure constructed. Existing assets will need to be retired early, (Report states: “Estimates of committed CO2 emissions from current fossil energy infrastructure are 658 GtCO2 […] nearly double the remaining carbon budget”. Exploration for new sources must be halted without delay, existing licenses revoked.
  • The level of risk assessment by IPCC in their budgets and emissions pathways are completely unacceptable, and incredibly reliant on speculative negative emissions while not leaving appropriate leeway for feedbacks. Chatham House wrote in their 2021 Report: “If policy ambition, low-carbon technology deployment and investment follow current trends, 2.7°C of warming by the end of the century is the central estimate, relative to preindustrial levels, but there is a 10 per cent chance of warming of 3.5°C.” We would not accept these risks in any other part of our lives.
  • There is no way to countenance the required reductions in emissions and the pace they need to occur while still meeting the insane demands of profit-maximising multinational companies or the consumption demands of the rich. Gas, companies and coal companies and finance groups – these are political and social structures: they hold an authoritative, privatising, exploitative dominion over the speed and scale of extraction of fossil fuel production, and therefore dominate a large portion of global emissions. These emissions, and subsequent changes to the human habitability of our planet they create, are not social/political structures – they have no notion of the difference between public and private cause and effect, of our border policies, of our UN designated human rights and the right to basic resources, water and air. Since at least the 1970s, private extractive firms have deliberately and carelessly hidden their role in destroying effective democratically- backed political and structural action on their destruction of environments and position in driving the climate crisis – they’re still engaging in this activity while claiming to act in the ultimate betrayal and display of greenwashing.
  • The report shows that current yearly investment in cutting greenhouse gasses and adaptation to climate breakdown falls below what is needed by a factor of five, even to hold warming to the higher limit of 2°C. Governments are discounting the future of billions of people to fire-sale the global commons now. Environmentally harmful subsidies are over $1.8 trillion US – $640b fossil fuels air/water pollution, greenhouse gases; $675b harmful agriculture + forestry soil erosion, water contamination, deforestation, GHGs, biodiversity loss; $400b fisheries + water management marine ecosystem destruction/contamination/overexploitation.
  • Despite major drivers and indicators of being at record highs, accelerating and tracking worst-case scenarios, the framing of IPCC reports is still alarmingly reserved, docile and conservative.

    A summary:
    • All Greenhouse Gas emissions (CO2-equivalent) are accelerating on worst-case scenario trends.
    • Cumulative CO2 and CH4 concentrations are accelerating on worst-case scenario trends.
    • Radiative Forcing accelerated from 1900 with major increase from 1960; tracking worst- case scenario.
    • Global Surface Warming is accelerating on worst-case scenario. Warming from human emissions only (global warming index) accelerating with big rate increase from 1960.
    • Ocean Heat is accelerating towards worst-case scenario.
    • Ocean Acidification is accelerating tracking worst-case scenario.
    • Ocean Deoxygenation is accelerating tracking worst-case scenario.
    • Sea Level Rise is accelerating on worst-case scenario.
    • Arctic Heating is becoming abrupt & appears to track worst-case scenario. Arctic sea ice pack loss at greatest level in 10,000s+ years.
    • Ice Melt in Glaciers, Greenland & Antarctic ice mass loss accelerating on worst-case scenario (2022 Antarctic ice on-track for the worst recorded ice melt).
  • Decarbonisation cannot be accomplished fast enough to reach zero emissions in time to stay under 1.5°C (or likely even 2°C) if high-income nations continue to pursue GDP growth at usual rates. Whilst the criticism of growth-focused decarbonisation policy in IPCC AR6 WGIII is welcome, it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough – the evidence is clear that wealthy nations must scale down socially unnecessary production (eg. SUVs, fast fashion, meat-centric diets, advertising, finance, planned obsolescence) AND resource use (material footprint) to enable a just transition fast enough to low-emission economies whilst improving social outcomes (tools to do this include shortening the working week, introducing living wages with the backing of climate job guarantees, ensuring universal access to high-quality public services and housing, effective redistribution of income and wealth) and leaving economic and ecological space to enable Global South nations to transition whilst staying within planetary boundaries.



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Midnight Oil – We Resist – Full album



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Decade Zero
The 2022 theme of the National Sustainable Living Festival is ‘Decade Zero’: “As climate change continues to threaten the security and well-being of people and the planet, the action we take this decade is set to define the fate of our future. To achieve a safe climate we will need to decarbonise as fast as humanly possible. This is the decade to rapidly shift to a zero-emissions Australia.”
www.slf.org.au

The Canopy
When it comes to the transition from coal and gas to clean energy, the Morrison Government has shown its priority is protecting the big polluters in the fossil fuel industry from market forces rather than protecting Australians from the impacts of climate change. But despite the Federal Government’s desire to keep coal power stations, like AGL’s, pumping out pollution as long as possible, commentators say that Australia will ditch coal power regardless of whether Mike Cannon-Brookes’ bid to turn the country’s biggest emitter into a renewables company is successful.

The prediction comes amid warnings that Australia could be left with $26 billion worth of stranded gas pipelines, according to a report that calls the country’s investment in costly new assets “incompatible” with efforts to wean economies off fossil fuels.  

Morrison digs in for last-ditch battle to protect coal generators
The federal Coalition government is giving every indication it will do everything it can to oppose the early closure of Australia’s ageing coal-fired generators, in a last-ditch attempt to protect its mates, and donors, in the fossil fuel industry.

‘World is waking up’: ex-energy boss Kerry Schott says AGL bid a sign of big changes ahead
The $8bn dollar takeover bid for AGL Energy is a sign the “world is waking up” to the rapid shifts in electricity generation and demand with the surprise only in its timing, Kerry Schott, the former chair of Australia’s Energy Security Board, has said.

Coal will exit Australia’s power market despite AGL’s recalcitrance: Russell
The bid by a green billionaire to buy Australia’s most polluting company may have stumbled at the first hurdle, but it’s likely the race is far from over.

Warnings that Australia risks $26b worth of stranded new gas pipelines
Australia could be left with $26 billion worth of stranded gas pipelines, according to a report that calls the country’s investment in costly new assets “incompatible” with efforts to wean economies off fossil fuels.

Endangered hammerhead sharks migrating to waters as far south as Perth, study finds
An endangered species of hammerhead shark, typically found in tropical waters, is moving into waters as far south as Perth, a new study has found.

Want more news?
The Canopy is prepared each weekday morning by our communications team at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. For more news and blogs, head to our website.
Greenpeace
→ Share the word on Facebook or Twitter.  

The Canopy is a weekday morning email newsletter provided by the team at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Our priority is bringing you the important stories of the day, regardless of which media outlet publishes them. Inclusion of stories in this newsletter does not constitute endorsement of the media outlet or the views and statements contained within them.

[ENDS]



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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Events in Victoria

The following is a collation of Victorian climate change events, activities, seminars, exhibitions, meetings and protests. Most are free, many ask for RSVP (which lets the organising group know how many to expect), some ask for donations to cover expenses, and a few require registration and fees. This calendar is provided as a free service by volunteers of the Victorian Climate Action Network. Information is as accurate as possible, but changes may occur.

Petitions

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List of running petitions where we encourage you to add your name

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The Sustainable Hour is streamed live on the Internet and broadcasted on FM airwaves in the Geelong region every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time).

» To listen to the program on your computer or phone, click here – or go to www.947thepulse.com where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.



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