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Well, it took a long time to get to this point but I’ve finally finished – and submitted the report from my research trip. It’s pretty long, but it’s terribly juicy and the appendices are all lovely news stories. Please share – it’s really important this information finds its way into the hands of law-makers.

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts, positive or negative.

Eve Fisher MAV fellowship report

GREAT report. Such fantastic information.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PM Click here for the report.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) have released a new report detailing the economic and environmental costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws to Victoria.

The analysis shows that anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu has hit the wind energy sector hard, costing jobs and investment opportunities for regional Victoria.

The findings of the report – The Biggest Losers

  1. Jobs and regional economies – an estimated loss of 490 construction and 64 ongoing jobs (for the life of the wind farm), as well as the numerous flow-on effects lost to these vacancies (an estimated $10.5m worth of economic activity to rural economies).
    Projects worth over $864million in the past three years alone have either been lost or scrapped due to these laws.
  2. Climate change action – 438MW of wind energy generation capacity scrapped or stalled thanks to the TB laws, designating a loss…

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Naturally at the start of a new year every man and his dog takes the opportunity to reflect on what was, is and could have been. It’s great to take stock; great to reflect on the journey and hopefully look upon the experience with gratitude. 2013 afforded me the opportunity to explore far-flung places and learn about an avenue of environmental protectionism that has been revealing itself as my passion. Renewable energy is the “easiest” way we can combat the effects of climate change, save money, make money and live a sustainable existence. I read a great quote yesterday – “if you really think the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money”. Nothing speaks more clearly than those few words. Nothing expresses the sheer madness more … the madness of the coal, oil and the epitome of hell, the nuclear industry.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a tendency to hold the human race in contempt. The bleakness that prevails as I watch Earth’s billions coat the land in the concrete and fill the sky with poison is relieved only by the realisation that while the world is indeed populated by the ignorant  – who don’t care – and the marginalised – who haven’t the energy nor resources to care – it is also filled with those shining lights who know the power of change lies in their hands. It takes just 10 per cent of the population to create a revolution, to build the momentum that institutes change.

In my world, 2014 will be a defining year. After meeting such an impressive array of environmentalists during my journey for the past two months, I know I enter the new year armed with the buds of knowledge those people are keen to pass on. Hour-long interviews with 27 people have not only filled my notebook and sound recorder, but have filled my mind with hope. I’m still to tackle Denmark, the most environmentally sound country on the planet and, according to a poll published just last week, the happiest nation for 2013!

By no means do I think I have even remotely scratched the surface of what I need to know. I have merely started my campaign to collect ideas that can be implemented and adapted within communities. I’m collecting ideas, so everyday people who want to institute change can look at what is out there and have something to work with. Germany has around 800 community organisations devoted to bringing clean energy to their homes. Australia has just a handful of organisations attempting to make the switch to local, clean energy and, to my knowledge, Hepburn Wind in Victoria is the only co-op actually producing energy anywhere in Australia. Just before new year I traversed a large swathe of Germany by train and I passed a town where wind turbines were located quite near houses. Perhaps some hate it but you know what, I bet most love it. And I bet you those turbines were community owned.

I’ve made a pledge to a few people that I’m really going to focus on the positive work being done by our environmental warriors. It’s too tiring and demoralising to constantly focus on the power the coal and oil industries have over our politicians and, in turn, the voters. If people are so foolish that they actually think it makes economic sense to ignore the signals of doom, then so be it. When people like the oil tycoon Koch brothers in Texas can force the withdrawal of a nominee for the role of chief US energy regulator because he is biased towards clean energy, then there is little to be done but continue to spread the message of people power and hopefully, one day, that message will get through. If we want to stop oil and coal being our dominant fossil fuel, then we need to stem the flow of demand.

TED Blog

Holiday-books-mainPacking up for your holiday trip home? For the downtime from eggnog, food and family, consider bringing a couple of these excellent novels from TED speakers whose talks were published this year.

  1. Karen Thompson Walker’sdebut novel, The Age of Miracles, quickly took off when it was published last year. Walker imagines a world in which the rotation of the earth progressively slows down, with serious consequences. In her TED Talk, Walker discusses the creative potential that fear holds. After all, what is The Age of Miracles if not a beautifully written nightmare?
  2. Babyji, by Abha Dawesar, is a coming-of-age story that follows Anamika Sharma, a student in 1980s Delhi. The 2005 novel, which won the Barbara Gittings Prize in Literature/Stonewall Award from the American Library Association and a Lambda Literary Prize, “achieves an impressive balance between moral inquiry and decadent pleasure,” Publisher’s Weeklydeclared

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Published by View original article.

FRANCE RENEWABLE ENERGYSECURING AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE: As the Commission of Audit reviews government activity and spending, The Conversation’s experts take a closer look at key policy areas tied to this funding – what’s working, what’s not and where current funds are best spent.

What does it mean to cut “waste” and “excess” in government climate change programs?

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I’ve always loved this guy but now he has really taken the cake in terms of gazillionaire who knows what is important.

ImageEnvironment group Friends of the Earth say there’s no need for Alcoa to be granted a license to generate electricity at their Anglesea coal power plant. Rather, the plant that came online in the 1960s should be retired—delivering public health and climate change benefits for Victorians.

The current state of the energy market makes the retirement of the coal power plant possible. There’s now an oversupply of fossil fuel generators in the energy system.

The oversupply is due to decreasing electricity demand from increased energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar and wind farms coming online.

In its application, Alcoa says the impacts of not granting the license on electricity prices and reliability must be considered. Removing 150 megawatts of polluting coal power is really a drop in the ocean in terms of power prices. The impact of rejecting Alcoa’s generation license on electricity prices would be virtually undetectable.

Retiring the Alcoa…

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So I just read this …

… and now I feel like some kind of hapless fool scurrying around the world looking for renewable energy solutions when I live in a country with a government that clearly, unashamedly doesn’t look for clean solutions at all.

In approving a coal terminal on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef – and dredging and dumping soil in the reef – as well as a coal seam gas project on a nearby island, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has clearly shown that the federal government will stop at nothing to secure big business.

Despite the obvious environmental benefits of renewable energy, my government (I say my loosely because I sure as hell didn’t vote for Tony Abbott) fails to see that environmental protectionism, particularly in the area of renewable energy, is the answer when it comes to saving AND making money. Not only does clean energy make good environmental sense, the industry creates three times as many jobs as the fossil fuel industry.

Right now I am in Germany where for years this right-wing government has made the country into a world leader for environmental policy and clean energy. And the country is nestled among other countries who are working towards stringent targets and carbon neutrality, namely Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Even across the world Columbia, and even Cuba, are making waves in being green. What are we doing? Removing old growth forests from the world heritage list, failing to attend the UN Climate Convention and repealing our carbon tax. All while aiming for a reduction of 5 per cent by 2020. 5 per cent. FIVE per cent?????? All the money in the pockets of Abbott, Rinehart and Murdoch won’t save them from the cataclysmic events that are scheduled once we hit a one-degree rise, let alone, two, three or four.

I feel like I am in some kind of a state of shock. I have never felt more powerless or ashamed. How does one solve such a problem when these cowboys are involved? I am at a loss. Research feels fruitless when the powers that be are so intent of destroying everything we are trying to protect.

Please sign this petition …



Published in The Conversation by Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist and Chair of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol. These views are his own. View original article.

The sky is falling! Oh wait, no: it’s just the clouds moving… Sarah Smith


Several Australian corporate figures have recently disparaged climate scientists.

First, former banker David Murray questioned the integrity of climate scientists on national TV. Casting such aspersions on scientists follows the precedent set by the tobacco industry, which referred to medical researchers as an “oligopolistic cartel” that “manufactures alleged evidence.”

Attacks on scientists proceed according to the same playbook and regardless of discipline. If there is any novelty in Murray’s slur, it is that until recently he led the Future Fund, a body that is legally tasked with delivering risk-adjusted returns on the Australian Government’s budget surpluses. The adjustment of a risk by denying or ignoring it is…

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Have just rejigged my trip and am now heading to Germany a week earlier than planned. Someone put me on to Josef Pesch and then I found this video completely by accident. He’s the subject of what is a simple yet informative 5 min video. He’s a straight shooter and I can’t wait to meet him.
I’ve got interviews lined up with industry professionals, media folk, council energy experts, citizens’ groups and residents. I’m so excited. I fly out of New York on Monday afternoon – first interview is Tuesday night!