World history is changed by small groups of determined people and Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle is a tenacious collective of Inner Westies determined to rapidly decarbonise Australia.
It’s hard to remember – but seven years ago, when a group of local residents formed Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle, few people thought about climate change. Scientists were sounding alarm bells but few listened. There was no Minister for Climate Change, little question about how we generate electricity and no price on carbon. It didn’t seem important.
How things have changed!
Today, no-one can deny that climate change is real. Co2 levels are at 400 ppm – the highest for millions of years. Floods, heat waves and storms are increasing around the globe. The Arctic icecap is melting faster than most scientists predicted. Resulting shifts in ocean and air currents have consequences for crops and fisheries, raising political tensions as countries struggle for resources.
Yet, even now, the newly restored Rudd government continues to subsidise mining and may lower the carbon price to match the over-supplied and under-effective European carbon market. The Coalition is determined to abolish the carbon price completely and plans to fast-track approval of new coal mine projects.
Australia is responsible for more emissions, per person, than any other country: 78 per cent of our electricity comes from coal. Australia is also the world’s biggest coal exporter.
Now that we know the damage fossil fuels cause, it’s time to stop. The federal Climate Commission’s newly released Critical Decade report says: “It is clear that global society must virtually decarbonise in the next 30-35 years. This means that most of the fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.” There are easy alternatives: sun and wind are plentiful in Australia,
and the technology to harness them for 24×7 power is well developed.
But the coal and gas industry doesn’t agree. Naturally, they prefer making every last dollar from their investments. They have a well-funded lobbying presence in Canberra that bangs the drum about jobs and export dollars but the truth is that there are more jobs per kWh in renewables. Coal costs taxpayers billions in subsidies, ill-health and environmental damage and much of the profit goes offshore. Meanwhile, China and India are working hard to move away from coal, making further investment unwise.
CCBR is determined to counter the big business lobby. We inform people about climate change, speak out against the ongoing use of fossil fuels and champion renewable energy sources. We take our supporters’ views to local politicians, enabling them to influence policy. You’ll see us from time to time at local events like Leichhardt Council’s upcoming Footprints EcoFestival in Annandale on 25th August. We also collaborate in campaigns such as Solar Citizens, which champions householders who install their own rooftop solar arrays, and Beyond Zero Emissions, whose detailed strategy shows how Australia could switch to 100 per cent renewable energy in 10 years.