Wednesday, 8 December 2010

5 books on climate change innovation

Roger Pielke, a professor of environmental science at Colorado, posts a list of five books about climate change at the Five books blog. He also gives an interview in which he briefly discusses the books and makes some other comments about the climate change discussion in general. Australia gets a mention, although unfavourably, for introducing cane toads. The context was that one generation's solutions often end up the next generation's problems, and that because we don't know exactly what effects our actions are going to have, we should be advocating a range of initiatives rather than one big one. Thought provoking holiday reading. (The blog itself is really interesting too.)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Candidates Forum - Wednesday November 10

Date: Wednesday November 10 ,
Time: 7 for 7.30 pm start
Where: GuIde Hall, 1 Faversham Rd, Canterbury

Gold coin entry

Lighter Footprints has organised this forum primarily for its members and friends to have the opportunity to listen to their candidates, and to be able to have a conversation with them.

The forum has two elements to it - a panel discussion (focused on Energy, Public Transport and Forests)  and then small groups to discuss a range of issues with candidates.

We are fortunate to have three candidates, Robert Clarke (Liberal) Brian Tee (Labor) and Damian Magner (Greens) who have made themselves available for the night.

This evening will be as good as those who participate in it. Please come, and bring your friends.

Refreshments will be available after the panel and before the small groups.

Contact
Carolyn Ingvarson
Convenor
Lighter Footprints
9836 0925
0411 115 186

Monday, 16 August 2010

The 2010 Walk Against Warming in Deakin

Lighter Footprints members attended the 2010 Walk Against Warming event in Mitcham, in the electorate of Deakin.



The event changed in 2010 from mass rallies to distributed gatherings in selected locations, including several marginal seats in the 2010 Australian federal election.

For more photos and videos of the Deakin event see http://www.greenlivingpedia.org/2010_Walk_Against_Warming

Marginal electorates of Deakin, McEwan and Melbourne were targeted in an attempt to motivate both Labor Government and the Coalition opposition to adopt policies during the final week of the Australian federal election that will result in immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

So far, both the major parties rate a dismal fail on climate change policy and are keeping it off the campaign airwaves for the 2010 federal election, despite it being "the greatest moral challenge of our time" (Kevin Rudd) and "delay being denial" (Julia Gillard).

Labor has refused so far to countenance the carbon tax proposed by their own advisor Ross Garnaut, and Tony Abbott has ruled out putting any price on carbon emissions (by either a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme) if he wins the election and forms the next government.

Some additional information about party policies on climate change can be viewed from the links below

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Public Forum: “Meet the candidates” Community Climate Forum for the Federal election 2010

Lighter Footprints Forum

Citizen’s assembly in Kooyong last night rejected both Labor and Coalition policies

Over 200 people attended a forum to meet the candidates in the federal seat of Kooyong last night.

One question from the audience in the Q&A type forum and hosted by Walkley Award winning Age journalist Liz Minchin asked people to raise their hands if they thought Labor, the Coalition or Greens were doing enough on climate.



While there was a handful of support for Coalition policies, ironically there was not a single supporter among the crowd for the current Labor approach including the proposal on a citizen’s assembly announced by the Prime Minister this week. Around 70% supported the Greens proposals for climate action.

Three candidates for the lower house seat, one Senator and two Senate candidates formed the panel that faced tough questioning from both their host and the audience.

Josh Frydenberg (Liberal candidate for Kooyong), Steve Hurd (ALP candidate), Des Benson (Greens candidate), Scott Ryan (Liberal Senator), Richard Di Natale (Senate candidate for Greens), and Antony Thow (Senate candidate for ALP) attended the forum organised by community group Lighter Footprints.

Carolyn Ingvarson, Convenor of Lighter Footprints, said the response revealed the level of dissatisfaction in the community on the climate proposals from the major parties in the federal election campaign.

“This response supports the findings of our report on community attitudes earlier this year. This showed people are very disillusioned with the quality and nature of the debate in political circles, and the focus on political point-scoring rather than appropriate action. Those who do understand the profound implications indicated by the science want to see action right now,” Ms Ingvarson said.

“It is also interesting to see the direct response of the community to the proposals by the political parties. If these potential politicians take away the knowledge that an open meeting in a conservative area wants much more action on climate change - that can only be good.”

For copies of the report from the Rewrite the Future: Climate Conversations forum, click here.
Media enquiries or for further information, call Carolyn Ingvarson: 0411 115 186.



Videos



Des Benson, Greens candidate for Kooyong



Richard Di Natale, Greens senate candidate



Steve Hurd, Labor candidate for Kooyong



Josh Frydenberg, Liberal candidate for Kooyong



Anthony Thow, Labor senate candidate



Senator Scott Ryan, Liberal


Friday, 16 July 2010

“Meet the candidates” Community Climate Forum for the Federal election 2010

What: “Meet the candidates” Community Climate Forum for the Federal election 2010
When: Wednesday 28 July @ 7.00pm
Where: Chandelier room, Hawthorn town hall, 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn
Who: Candidates for Kooyong and a senator from each major party
Entry: $5 donation.

Age journalist Liz Minchin, a Walkely award winner and co-author of a book on climate change Screw Light Bulbs, will run a Q&A session that will put climate change policies of the major parties under the microscope and allow the public and candidates to quiz one another. This should prove both entertaining and illuminating and we are very pleased to have her services..

The battle for the senate is crucial for passing climate change legislation so we are particularly pleased to have the senate candidates who will be fighting it out for Victorian senate positions in attendance.

Please put this date in your diary and come with friends and neighbours to demonstrate that this electorate does care strongly about climate change and that we want real action.

The Kooyong candidates attending are:
  • Josh Frydenberg (Liberal)
  • Steve Hurd (ALP)
  • Des Benson (Greens)
The three senate candidates attending are:
  • Richard Di Natale (Greens).
  • Antony Thow (ALP)
  • Scott Ryan (Liberal)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Report clears "climategate" scientists

There have been a few blog posts about the report by Sir Muir Russell (.pdf file) into the so-called "climategate" affair. (This controversy has gone over the horizon somewhat; it all happened last November when email messages that were hacked into from the university computer network were released to the media. The messages were supposed to show that scientists at the university had ignored or suppressed data that disproved the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis.)

From Andre Revkin's post on Dot Earth:
"The Independent Climate Change Email Review is finished and, within its constrained mandate, has cleared climate scientists and administrators at the University of East Anglia of claims of malfeasance rising out of the contents of folders of e-mail messages and files extracted from computers there and posted around the Web last November. Two other inquiries with slightly different focal points also cleared the scientists and school."

From Gavin and Mike's post on RealClimate:
"The main issue is that [the report authors] conclude that the rigour and honesty of the Climate Research Unit scientists is not in doubt [ ... ] Secondly, they conclude that none of the emails cast doubt on the integrity and conclusions of the IPCC, again, something we have been saying since the beginning. They also conclude as we did that there was no ‘corruption’ of the peer-review process. Interestingly, they independently analysed the public domain temperature data themselves to ascertain whether the could validate the CRU record. They managed this in two days, somewhat undermining claims that the CRU temperature data was somehow manipulated inappropriately. (Note that this exercise has been undertaken by a number of people since November – all of which show that the CRU results are robust). All in all, none of the various accusations and insinuations that have been floating around the blogosphere have been sustained."

The report has received some coverage in the local media, but with nowhere near the same fervour as the original allegations. Mud sticks.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Co2 and communication

A couple of recent articles:
  • Climate control: is Co2 really in charge? Well-written article from New Scientist takes as its starting point apparent inconsistencies in the relationship shown to exist between atmospheric CO2 levels and warming (i.e. high CO2 leads to high temperatures). Good information about methods to determine previous CO2 levels and climate sensitivity.
  • Scientists from Mars face public from Venus. NYT article about the challenges facing scientists communicating with the public. Will more information alone change people's attitudes? Or do scientists have to bone up on social science to learn about how people form and hold beliefs?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Submission to Boroondara Council on Cycling opportunities for East West link in Boroondara

Further to my address at the Services Special Committee Meeting (Boroondara) on Monday 21 June, the Lighter Footprints group strongly supports the creation of safe East-West cycling routes in Boroondara.

Lighter Footprints suggests that:

  • Council raise the priority of developing a safe East West route (or routes) in light of the significant local demand for safe cycling in Boroondara along this direction.
  • Sections of a safe East West route would be used by families, school and university students and children for both local and transit bicycle and pedestrian trips.
  • Many busy local shopping centres and precincts such as Maling Road, Union Road, Camberwell Junction and Glenferrie Road could all be connected by such a route.
  • The use of the Box Hill railway line easement from the Yarra River to Surrey Hills station be noted by Council for possible cycle route development in a revision of the Boroondara Bicycle Strategy.
  • Council recommend to the Victorian Government Department of Transport and Minister for Roads & Ports and Major Projects Tim Pallas that a study be urgently undertaken to assess East West route options for safe cycling along the Box Hill railway line easement through Hawthorn, Camberwell and Canterbury and adjacent arterial roads such as Burwood Road, Rathmines/Canterbury Road and Riversdale Road.
  • The scope or East West cyling routes not be limited to a single route.  For example, safe cycling lanes (e.g. Copenhagen lanes) along Burwood Road Hawthorn could be supplemented with off road routes along sections of the railway line easement.
  • Several thousands of cyclists could eventually use a safe East-West route daily, with a commensurate decrease in car usage, road congestion and carbon emissions.

The Boroondara Sustainability Network and the Boroondara Bicycle User Group also strongly support development of a safe East-West cycle route through central Boroondara.

Please note that the latest draft Principle Bicycle Network plan recently circulated by VicRoads to Councils for comment shows a priority bicycle route marked along Burwood Road Hawthorn. This a major concern as this road is currently unsafe for bicycles.

Some more information on route options:



Peter Campbell, on behalf of Lighter Footprints

Submission to Boroondara Council on GHG targets and strategies

Further to my address at the Services Special Committee Meeting (Boroondara) on Monday 21 June, the Lighter Footprints group strongly supports Boroondara's  "Our Low Carbon Future" (July 2009)  strategy document.

We support the statement that "Council has committed to stepping up its action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" ( Intro para., page 1) .

Lighter Footprints suggests that:

  • To achieve the "Low Carbon Future" target of 30 - 40% reduction in GHG's by 2020 (Corporate target) , the Council needs to set a Performance target of  3 to 4% reduction each Budget over the 10 years from 2010 to 2020.    (reference page 65 of SSC Agenda 21 June 2010,  and also p.29 of DRAFT Budget 2010-11).
  • Council consider engagement of a consultant to do an extensive energy audit of all Council facilities and one who can work collaboratively with Council stakeholders to develop the required 'Performance target' roadmap. (for example consultants with expertise in Energy Efficiencies Opportunities for major businesses - Federal legislation)
  • Council accelerate its "Buildings Sustainability" program in 2010-11, by adopting specific measures (such as 6-star standards) to provide assets that will be assets rather than legacies, in a  'low carbon', 'low rainfall' future.
  • Council adopt a fiscal approach whereby the additional 10% building cost is seen as an investment. An investment that ensures Council assets will be cheaper to operate for the next 25 years. The 10% capital cost for 6-star assets could be covered by phasing of cashflow in budget cashflow terms of one building 6 months later. For example, Hawthorn Library, Hawthorn Town Hall Arts Precinct and Camberwell Library & Office projects will cost $12.8m.....in order to achieve 6-star with 10% on-cost of $1.2 million, one building would be delayed 6 months.

The GHG target be achieved by  a strategic & systematic approach to :

  • Energy efficiency of buildings, particularly for new and re-development  capital projects ;   
  • roll-out of Cogen projects; 
  • modernize HVAC (heating, ventilating, air-conditioning),  
  • Procurement Policies e.g. Vehicles with low emission (including diesel), bikes, etc;
  •  Eco-buy procurement forum;  
  • T5 street lighting; Behavioural awareness training of all employees; 
  • carbon-storage in form of trees and soil, other generated from comprehensive energy audit.

Michael Nolan, on behalf of Lighter Footprints

Sunday, 20 June 2010

CLIMATE FORUM - meet your Kooyong and Senate candidates July 28

What: “Meet the candidates” Community Climate Forum for the Federal election 2010 
When: Wednesday 28 July @ 7.00pm
Where: Chandelier room, Hawthorn town hall, 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn
Who: Candidates for Kooyong and a senator from each major party
Entry: $5 donation. 

Age journalist Liz Minchin, a Walkely award winner and co-author of a book on climate change Screw Light Bulbs, will run a Q&A session that will put climate change policies of the major parties under the microscope and allow the public and candidates to quiz one another. This should prove both entertaining and illuminating and we are very pleased to have her services..

The battle for the senate is crucial for passing climate change legislation so we are particularly pleased to have the senate candidates who will be fighting it out for Victorian senate positions in attendance.

Please put this date in your diary and come with friends and neighbours to demonstrate that this electorate does care strongly about climate change and that we want real action.

The Kooyong candidates attending are:

  • Josh Frydenberg (Liberal)
  • Steve Hurd (ALP)
  • Des Benson (Greens)
The three senate candidates attending are: 
  • Richard Di Natale (Greens).
  • Antony Thow (ALP)
  • Scott Ryan (Liberal) 

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Risks of carbon-based economy

"Continued reliance on oil is risky and expensive for business, say the authors of a new report from Lloyd's global risk assessment department, 360 Risk Insight, and UK think tank Chatham House.
The way forward for businesses, the report says, is renewable energy - but the chaos and uncertainty following the Copenhagen climate summit has stifled investment."
Read the rest of this report from the New Scientist's Short Sharp Science series.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ready to try doorknocking on climate change?

Lighter Footprints is organising a Doorknocking Day in Boroondara this Sunday 6th June from 2-5pm.

This is an easy and fun way to talk to people in your community about climate change and the opportunities for action.

We will also be promoting our upcoming Meet the Candidates forum at the Hawthorn Town Hall on 28th July (facilitated by Age journalist and author Liz Minchin).

It’s easy! We will be doing it in pairs, you will get a script to help avoid being tongue-tied at the door, you will be provided with materials (brochure/petition), and we will have a short ‘training session’ before you set off. Climate Code Red author and climate campaigner David Spratt will be available to provide some door knocking tips and training to the Lighter Footprints group before we hit the streets.

How it works: We start after lunch and do about an half an hour of training. Then we all get a map with an area to cover, we knock on doors for about two hours and then get together for a coffee or drink and talk about how it went. It's that easy! People are friendly and usually very happy to take some information.

Where we start: We meet at 70 Through Road, Camberwell at 2pm for the training session this Sunday 6th June and to pick up materials (brochures etc). Meet back there again at 4.30-4.45pm for a drink and debrief!

Please RSVP to Fiona Armstrong, 0438 900 005, or fiona-armstrong@bigpond.com

Next doorknocking date: Saturday 19th of June from 2-5pm.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Ethanol Without The Guilt? Nation's First 'Trashanol' Plant Opens In Iowa

Excerpt from this Care2 blog post:
"In a converted corn ethanol plant 25 minutes from Cedar Rapids, four-story tanks of renewable fuel are quietly bubbling away ready for conversion into fuel-grade ethanol. What makes this batch of fuel special is its main ingredient: instead of corn, Fiberight LLC is producing fuel-grade ethanol from International Paper's recycling process organic waste.

Five or six years ago, ethanol was one of the most popular biofuels on the block. But recently, many had given up hope that ethanol could ever become a sustainable, affordable, and accessible gas-alternative, until a Maryland based company found a way to turn one company's organic waste into valuable renewable fuel."

Read the rest of the story at Care2 Global warming channel. Any chance of a Visy initiative along these lines?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth

A lengthy but rewarding article from The New Scientist about the emotional basis for denialism. Why do people deny climagte change? According to the author, "denial is largely a product of the way normal people think. Most denialists are simply ordinary people doing what they believe is right. If this seems discouraging, take heart. There are good reasons for thinking that denialism can be tackled by condemning it a little less and understanding it a little more." She also has some pointers for people presenting on the topic, like use anecdotes! Scientists have traditionally rejected such techniques, relying instead on statistics and accumulation of detail. However, as we have seen, one desn't persuade people with logic alone.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Conservatives won't be nudged into cutting home energy

This story originally had the headline "Republicans won't be nudged into cutting home energy", but I rebadged it for an Australian context. Excertp from the abstract:
"It was hailed as a breakthrough in the fight to cut carbon emissions. In 2007, researchers found that heavy electricity users cut their consumption after being told that they used more energy than their neighbours. Almost a million US households have since received similar feedback and have cut electricity use by an average of 2.5 per cent.

But a new study has identified a wrinkle in the plan: the feedback only seems to work with liberals. Conservatives tend to ignore it. Some even respond by using more energy."

This story from New Scientist is further evidence of a tendency for climate deniers to inhabit the right-wing end of the political spectrum. (I am not, and neither is the story, saying that every conservative is a climate change denier, or vice versa.)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Mobilising for the Climate

UPCOMING EVENT: 7 APRIL 2010

Mobilising for the Climate

Lighter Footprints, First Wednesday Monthly Meeting:
7.30pm, 7 April 2010,
Guides Hall, 1Faversham Road,
Canterbury 3126

GUEST SPEAKER: GISELLE WILKINSON

Giselle Wilkinson is the President of the Sustainable Living Foundation, founder and board member of Safe Climate Australia, and author of The Conscious Cook, the bestselling guide to eating simply and sustainably.

A social and environmental activist for over 30 years, Giselle will talk about her work in developing a model for mobilising whole communities to demand a transition to a safe climate - the “saturation mobilisation” concept.

Join us for the chance to hear from this inspiring speaker AND purchase your own copy of the latest edition of ‘The Conscious Cook’ which will be available on the night.

RSVP: Carolyn Ingvarson 0411 115 186
All welcome
Entry by donation

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Public Forum: Rewrite the Future, Climate Conversations

Lighter Footprints Forum

Rewrite the Future: Climate Communities 2010

18 February 2010, Hawthorn Town Hall, Burwood Road, Hawthorn.

Has the political debate left you unsure about climate change? About your role in responding to it? Do we have the solutions needed? How can we make the necessary changes?

Lighter Footprints held a forum in February 2010 to engage with the community with the aims of: improving climate literacy; enhancing people’s respect for climate science; and encouraging a committment to action on climate change.

This event featured two short presentations from expert climate scientist Professor David Karoly and safe climate campaigner Victorian McKenzie McHarg followed by a session of small group discussions led by experienced facilitators discussing three key themes: climate literacy; available solutions; and the respective responsibilities of various stakeholders in acting on climate change. Participants recorded their responses to these discussions in a Workbook that was collected and used to prepare a Summary Report of the forum.


The Summary Report of the forum
LFP Report - Rewrite the Future


To download this Summary Report document click here.


The following documents formed the package of materials for this forum:

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Australia: 100% renewable energy by 2020

Upcoming event

Lighter Footprints will host environmental engineer Richard Keech from Melbourne consultancy Beyond Zero Emissions who will outline a new report which demonstrates how currently available renewable energy technology could be used to supply 100% of Australia’s energy needs by 2020.

7pm Wednesday 3rd March 2010 Guides Hall, 1 Faversham Road, Canterbury.

Call Carolyn 0411 115 186.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Malcolm Turnbull on the CPRS

Malcolm Turnbull makes the sort of speech all Libs should take lessons from. Note in particular his swift demolition of the sceptics argument on recent temperature rises and his use of Maggie Thatcher as an advocate for the precautionary principle.

http://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/homepage/speech-in-the-house-carbon-pollution-reduction-scheme/

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Safe Climate Bill for Victoria

Lighter Footprints are involved in a collaborative project with Friends of the Earth (Melbourne) and Greenleap Strategic Institute to develop a Safe Climate Bill for Victoria.

The project aims to develop a draft Bill that, if implemented, would establish Victoria’s commitment to climate protection and create a framework to meet Victoria’s share of the global obligation to reduce carbon emissions to address its historical carbon debt and provide for a safe climate future.

This draft Bill will be developed through collaboration between the above parties and other climate action groups, and it is hoped will provide a contrasting and alternative piece of legislation to the draft Climate Change Bill currently being developed by the Victorian Government.

Read the Discussion Paper here

Read the Draft Principles here


For more information about this project, contact Fiona Armstrong, Safe Climate Bill project coordinator: fiona-armstrong@bigpond.com, or phone 0438900005.

Monday, 11 January 2010

REWRITE THE FUTURE: Climate Conversations

Has the political debate left you unsure about climate change? About your role in responding to it? Do we have the solutions needed? How can we make the necessary changes?

Hear from respected climate scientist David Karoly and other experts, then join local residents and community groups for interactive discussion on climate change and our options and priorities for a sustainable future.

This event aims to inform people about the latest climate change science and solutions for effective mitigation as well as facilitate participants’ contributions to a discussion about priorities for action.

It is intended for people who are concerned about climate change but are confused by the current debate; those who wish to know more about the solutions and options for effective mitigation of further climate change; and those who would like to move from interest to action on climate related issues.

This forum is being organised by local climate action group Lighter Footprints, with organic refreshments courtesy of the City of Boroondara's Living for our Future program.

Local community groups are invited to attend and space for a display will be made available.

Details: 18 February 2010, 6 - 9pm, Hawthorn Town Hall, Burwood Road, Hawthorn.


To RSVP call Fiona Armstrong on 0438 900 005 or email fiona-armstrong@bigpond.com