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Climate Action

Your guide to climate news and action in under two minutes

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Climate News Update 

Climate for Change have compiled some of the most important climate news and inspiration, told in five parts, to help you join the dots and understand the full story of climate change. They have given permission for Openground to publish their materials.

RECENT NEWS

“The [UK] Court of Appeal has ruled that the government acted illegally in their plans to expand Heathrow airport. ... In particular, that the Secretary of State chose not to factor in the Paris Agreement, nor the full scale of climate impacts aviation would create.” Congratulations to the hard working activists at Friends of the Earth and other organisations who brought this case to court.

This shows how important it is for all of us to do what we can. At the end of this update are always a number of climate actions you can take. If you don’t have time to do them now, we suggest taking a moment now & putting aside time in your diary over the weekend to action them. If you haven’t already, make sure you add your name in support of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill headed for parliament in a few week’s time. Your MPs – Labor, Liberal, Green or Indy – need to know this bill is worth considering, and could be a great first step towards meaningful climate action by the federal government.

Being informed about climate change is important, and sharing what you know with others is even more powerful. Share the articles that move you on social media and make a point of talking about the things you learn in this update, even if just a passing comment. Every conversation matters. You can also like our Facebook page and make a point of sharing something from it regularly.

1. Our climate is changing, with devastating consequences now and in the immediate future.

  • Scientists confirmed Australia’s summer bushfires are our biggest on record and – frighteningly – that fire activity this summer went beyond projections from climate models. 
  • In Antarctica the record for highest temperature lasted only a few days as a heatwave swept the continent. As the temperature hit 20.3 degrees (!) satellite imagery showed extraordinary ice melt.
  • Boston City will have to spend 10% of its capital works budget to defend itself against rising sea levels.
  • And to finish, economists at JP Morgan warn that we are on an unsustainable trajectory, and that “something will have to change...if the human race is going to survive”.

2. Solutions are available and affordable – many are already being rolled out around the world.

  • South Australia ran itself on renewables and minimal gas for nearly three weeks after storms knocked out key transmission lines at the end of January! There were zero issues, and the state even managed to supply continuous, reliable power to the Portland aluminum smelter while lines were being repaired.
  • And the German coal industry is beginning the long process of shutting down and transitioning its workers into new industries, with the aim of not sacking one single worker.

3. But people with the power to make the changes we need aren’t acting fast enough – in fact, some are actively holding us back.

  • Liberal moderates have taken a disappointing stance on Zali Stegall’s Climate Change Bill, with Tim Wilson & Jason Falinski calling the bill “politics as usual”.
  • As debate over Labour’s net-zero policy reached truly bizarre levels in Canberra, it’s worth reminding ourselves that “what scientists say about net-zero should not be drowned out by what Parliament yells about”.
  • Senior Nationals MPs Michael McCormack and Matt Canavan attacked the net-zero aspirations of the National Farmers Federation in Parliament this week.
  • A Royal Commission into the bushfires has been announced, but it will only investigate the mitigation of natural disasters, not the climate drivers behind them.
  • And finally, one of California’s biggest oil companies has spent over $800,000 influencing local government elections...in a bid to scrap minimum drilling distances from schools and homes!

4. All over the world, people from all walks of life are building a movement for the changes we need.

  • It’s about time we celebrated some big wins!
    • Citing the conflict between resource development and climate action, Canadian mining giant Teck Resources has walked away from its controversial tar sands project just days before the Trudeau government was due to give the go-ahead.
    • Indigenous Brazilians led a fierce campaign against a proposal for Latin America’s largest open-pit coal mine and won! The Guaíba mine has been halted by federal judges, who ruled the government failed to properly consult indigenous communities.
    • And the Business Council of Australia quietly threw their support behind net-zero emissions by 2050 this fortnight. Pressure on BCA members like Coles and Wooloworths to dump their memberships over the Council’s obstructive behaviour on climate policy really paid off.
  • Even coal miners are joining the movement for climate action:
  • Worried about a public backlash and the health impacts of coal, Wyong Hospital in NSW has rejected a big donation from a local coal company.
  • Russell Crowe has recorded a superb call to action on the climate crisis that was screened at the recent bushfire fundraiser concert in Sydney: watch the vid here.
  • And finally, last weekend’s human sign in Melbourne made it onto network news. Community members are calling on Premier Dan Andrews to lift Victoria’s climate ambitions this March when emission targets are revisited.

5. But it's a race against time. We need everyone. Here's what you can do to join them:

  • STAND UP:
    • Zali Steggall’s new Climate Bill will hit Canberra in a few week’s time. Sign the official petition, and then email your MP to urge them to help bring the bill to the House floor for debate. There’s even some resources and discussion points to back you up!  You can use a template or send your own – our MPEG Coordinator Sue Dwyer wrote this template on our website. 
    • Sydnesiders! A big rally is planned this Sunday 1 March to say Yes! to the new Climate Change Bill. St Leonard’s Park Music Shell in North Sydney @ 11AM, event details and RSVP here. 
    • Our public MPEG meeting is next Wednesday 4 March – head along to discuss next steps and get some new ideas for effective dialogue with your MP. The “Autumn Letter Storm” will be held at C4C’s office in Brunswick @ 6:30PM, more details and register here
    • A big climate decision faces Victoria this year: the fate of the moratorium on onshore gas exploration. Friends of the Earth are running a great pressure campaign on premier Dan Andrews – make sure you’ve taken a minute to call for the moratorium to be extendedindefinitely.
  • REACH OUT:
    • ACF hosts Activate training workshops for potential activists and community leaders around the country this autumn. Brisbane’s training will be held over two Saturdays: 14 and 21 March (location TBA), more details and register interest here. Melbourne’s turn comes the weekend 21-22 March and will be held at the 60L building in Carlton, more details and purchase tickets here.  
  • GET INFORMED:
    • C4Cer and MPEG leader Sue Dwyer will present at Lighter Footprint’s April meeting: “Meeting with politicians - what does it take?” Come along to hear as Sue and Katherine Barraclough (Victorian chair for Doctors for the Environment) gives some tips & tricks for effective communication with political decision makers. RSVP here
    • Before Sue & Katherine enlighten us on MP engagement, Lighter Footprints will host Pablo Brit & Rachel Deans from Market Forces in March. Head along and hear some advice on making your money work for good & learn what strategies are shifting the finance sector become part of the climate solution. Wednesday 25 March, Canterbury @ 7PM, RSVP here.

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
(Hillel the Elder, 1st Century AD)

On behalf of the team at Climate for Change and Openground

http://www.climateforchange.org.au/

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