June 2016 Update

FoE's Yes 2 Renewables campaign secures Vic Renewable Energy Targets

IMG_7402.jpgWe're winning: After Friends of the Earth's community campaign lasting nearly two-and-a-half years, the Victorian government announced state Renewable Energy Targets of 25 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.
 
The Victorian Renewable Energy Targets will double wind energy capacity in the state by 2020 and triple renewable energy capacity by 2025–creating 10,000 jobs and unlocking a $2.5 billion investment opportunity in the process. 
 
Analysis from University of Melbourne Energy Institute finds that Australia now has an implicit national Renewable Energy Target of 30-35% by 2030 due to Victoria’s targets. Competitive pressure in the electricity market from new renewable energy capacity will see the closure of polluting coal power plants like Hazelwood. 
 
The Yes 2 Renewables team and our community and union allies are wrapped with the outcome. We put together this overview of the long road to VRET: https://yes2renewables.org/2016/06/22/the-long-road-to-vret-foes-campaign-for-a-vic-renewable-energy-target/.
 
FoE's renewable team are ready for the next big campaign, but need your help to stay in the game. Please make a donation today: https://friendsofearthmelbourne.nationbuilder.com/together_we_can_secure_the_vret.

 

Decision on gas drilling deferred until August

Ute-Muster-June_2016.jpgAs we reported in the last newsletter, we have been waiting months for the government’s decision on onshore gas. We helped secure a moratorium on all onshore gas drilling in the state back in 2010 and the energy minister was due to decide whether to extend or lift the ban in early June.

However, an unexpected re-shuffle of the Victorian Cabinet threw everything into disarray. The new resources minister, Wade Noonan, decided he needed more time to consider the issue and so has put off the final announcement until August.

This is incredibly frustrating for the tens of thousands of Victorians living in areas under exploration license for gas. It's distressing for us, as it gives the gas industry another two months to try and convince the government to open the door to fracking. So the struggle endures, and we know that the rural people of Victoria will fight on determinedly, as they have since 2012, and Quit Coal and Friends of the Earth will continue to support their cause.

We aim to win this campaign and will be working hard over the next two months. But you, too, can take action - send a message to the Premier, Treasurer and Deputy Premier. It will only take a few minutes, but it will have an impact. Some ideas for action are posted at www.melbourne.foe.org.au/final_push. Help us to keep up our push in the final two months to Keep Victoria Gasfield Free - donate to our fighting fund here: https://friendsofearthmelbourne.nationbuilder.com/cagfv_monthly_donate.

For more information on the campaign visit www.melbourne.foe.org.au/coal_and_gas and www.coalandgasfreevic.org.


Victoria to re-build the Climate Change Act

Premier_leadership_banner_June_2016.jpgThe Coalition gutted the Climate Change Act (CCA) while it was in power in Victoria. Tragically, our state lost four years of action on climate change at a time when we simply didn’t have time to waste.

Now the Andrews government has announced how it will rebuild the CCA (our response is here). We are encouraged that the government is linking its policy efforts to the international agreement reached in Paris last December.

The government will now re-write the CCA and bring it back to parliament for ratification later in the year. This is the best chance we will have to drive the transition away from our current reliance on coal for our energy needs. The Act will set the emissions reduction targets that will influence energy policy in the state.

We are working hard to lobby government on the Act and will need your help in coming months to voice a strong message that the community wants a transition to 100% renewables, a full transition from coal, and a just transition for communities in the Latrobe Valley.


Rally Against the Housing Crisis

No homelessness! No evictions! No forced removals! No waiting lists! It's time for safe, free, universally accessible long term housing, NOW!

Join in on the rally to fight the housing crisis! Organised by the Bendigo Street Community, this is an afternoon of action against a societal issue that affects an overwhelmingly large percent of the Australian population. 

When: Saturday 26 June, 3:00pm
Where: State Library of Victoria 

For more information on the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/985294568256363/
Election 2016 Scorecard

TPP_Scorecard_Election_2016.jpgThe Economic Justice Collective, as a member of the TPP Unions and Community Roundtable, has released an Election 2016 Scorecard ranking all currently sitting parties and independents on two key commitments to stopping the TPP.
We asked the questions: If Elected, will you

1: Vote against the enabling legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership? 
2: Introduce or support legislation to ban ISDS in all trade agreements?

We will be distributing the scorecard in a number of electorates around Melbourne, and encourage you to print out some copies and do the same, or alternatively join us at the Northcote Baptist Church on Saturday 25th. If you come along, find the people with the TPP scorecards, or email Kat at kat.moore@foe.org.au. At this stage we will be there between 9am-2pm, but it would be great to have an arvo shift.

Check out the full scorecard and share it round your networks.


Anti-nuclear & Clean Energy (ACE) campaign

ACE.jpgFoE Melbourne Anti-nuclear & Clean Energy (ACE) activists have been incredibly busy. We held four events in 'Atomic April' including events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

The South Australian government's Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission released its final report in May. Given that the Royal Commission was stacked with nuclear advocates, the report is remarkably downbeat about the prospects for a nuclear industry. It rejected ‒ on economic grounds ‒ uranium conversion and enrichment, fuel fabrication, conventional nuclear power, 'Generation 4' nuclear power concepts including thorium, 'small modular' nuclear power concepts, and spent nuclear fuel reprocessing.

The Royal Commission is, however, promoting a plan for South Australia to offer itself as the world's high level nuclear waste dump. FoE made detailed submissions to the Royal Commission, and also wrote a detailed critique of the Royal Commission ‒ these reports are posted at: www.foe.org.au/royal-commission. FoE Adelaide ‒ with support from FoE Melbourne and FoE Australia ‒ have been (and will continue to be) heavily involved in building opposition to the nuclear push in SA.

FoE anti-nuclear campaigners have also been working with communities in several states and territories who are targeted by the Turnbull government for a national nuclear waste dump. In April, the federal government stated that just one of the sites remain under consideration ‒ Aboriginal land in the Flinders Ranges of SA. FoE Melbourne ACE activists have been working closely with Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners who are united in their opposition to the proposed dump, and we have made numerous trips to the Flinders Ranges as well as hosting a Melbourne visit by Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners Regina and Vivianne McKenzie to raise awareness about their struggle (the responsible minister is Kooyong MP Josh Frydenberg). FoE has also been deeply engaged with the broader policy debates about responsible radioactive waste management policies. More information is posted at www.foe.org.au/waste

From July 1‒3, FoE activists will participate in the 'Lizard Bites Back' protest at the Olympic Dam uranium mine near Roxby Downs in South Australia. The protest was organised by the Desert Liberation Front as a follow-up to the very successful 2012 Lizards Revenge protest. See here for more info and for how to get involved: http://lizardbitesback.net/; Facebook: Lizard Bites Back; Information on the 2012 protest: www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/u/roxby.

We're in great need of funds to support our work, with the working trips to SA depleting our funds. If you can donate to support our work, please visit www.foe.org.au/donate and select the Anti-nuclear & Clean Energy campaign.


Climate Guardians Escape Conviction 

Pilliga_Series_-_Carey.jpgAfter three years of peacefully protest-performing without any significant personal risks, a flock of Climate Guardians was finally arrested and criminally charged on 9 February 2016 in the Pilliga State Forest in Northern New South Wales. Given the long history of connivance between destructive industries and decision makers—and the sharp rise in draconian laws to restrict protesting—we’re pleased to share some important lessons from our brush with the law.

What did Angels do to receive criminal charges ?

Starting before dawn—a flock of seven Climate Guardians blockaded a road leading to Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project. Involving the construction of 850 coal seam gas (CSG) wells in the Pilliga State Forest, the project is highly controversial because: 1) the area sits above a critically important ‘recharge zone’ supporting the crucial pressure head enabling ground water from the Great Artesian Basin to flow to the surfaces of the massive expanse of farmlands dependent on it, 2) gas rigs leak methane (aka ‘fugitive emissions’) which is around 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, over a 20-year time span, and 3) the project’s waste water treatment plant is currently the subject of a legal challenge regarding the validity of its permit.

As was explained at every stage of the blockade, the Climate Guardians sole aim was to prevent Santos drillers from getting through to the gas project site in the Pilliga Forest. In fact on several occasions security guards working at the site passed through the blockade. Had any general public appeared there would have been no question as to their rights to pass through to the forest. Read more: https://climacts.org.au/2016/06/14/climate-guardians-escape-convictions/.


Walk With the Valley

13422428_986264124826491_5966252215383600616_o.jpgJoin the walk to Morwell for a Just Transition in the Latrobe Valley from July 20-27, 2016!

We are walking in solidarity with people in the Valley, and calling on our government to commit to concrete plans to support sustainable livelihoods and the environment. The health of our climate and our communities depends on swift and drastic action.

We are calling for the government to:

  • Follow through on practical solutions that will ensure dignified and sustainable jobs in the Valley, both now and for future generations.
  • Support Eathworker to establish the first worker-owned green manufacturing cooperative, Eureka's Future Workers Cooperative, in Morwell. 

You'll be able to sign up for part of the walk, or go for the whole 100km from Pakenham to Morwell over 7 days. Register here: http://earthworkercooperative.com.au/walk-with-the-valley/.

Get sponsors and help build the road to green jobs in the Valley. All walkers will be able to set up a page to collect donations to sponsor their walk. Proceeds will help Eureka's Future Workers Cooperative establish their new premises in Morwell, creating the first of hopefully many worker-owned green businesses in the Valley.

Also - 

Walk With the Valley Banner and Sign Making Day

When: Sunday 10th of July, 9am - 3pm. 
Where: Baw Baw Sustainability Network office, 79 Princes Hwy, Yarragon VIC 3823
To enter, walk down a brick pathway alongside the Fozzigobble cafe out the back, to where the garden is. It is the building located there. Get in touch with Kate if you're keen (kate.wattchow@foe.org.au).

Australian Photography Awards


APA_image_June_2016.jpgWe are proud to be a social partner with the Australian Photography Awards.

The awards promote social understanding and diversity through a celebration of the great photography this country has to offer. There are five categories including: travel & documentary, people & culture and landscape & environment. Entries are accepted until September 16. 

Full details available here.


Climate change impacts already being felt in regional Victoria

IMAG1535.jpgLast week, FoE co-hosted a public forum called ‘the future of Bendigo in a warming climate’.

We had three great speakers who outlined what climate change means for central and northern Victoria: climate scientists David Karoly and Penny Whetton, and ecologist Damien Cook.

The event was well attended and we received great feedback on the event.

For details on our work on climate change in central Victoria please check here.