Thursday, October 30, 2014

Australia's Hottest October Day

Monday wasn't just a hot day. It was Australia's hottest ever October day - with an average maximum of 36.39°C (97.5F). And it's not even summer yet!

Australia's hottest ever October Day - the weather map

Some places even passed 42°C!

Of course, last October we had spring bushfire - so I guess we can at least be grateful that hasn't happened again. But it's frightening to think that this is only the start of what climate change will bring unless we act to stop it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Satisfaction at the Bank Branch

Two things happen when you take your money out of a bank that finances fossil fuels. First, the good feeling from knowing that your money is no longer being used by the bank to ruin our planet - and that you've done something to improve life for yourself - and people everywhere.

The second is that you get a chance to tell off your old bank.

Move to a non-coal bank - that's the description on my statement of why i'm withdrawing my money.

As I transferred my money, I entered the description "Move to a non-coal bank". I don't know if anyone reads that, but I feel good when I read it on the statement.

I also took the time to write the bank a short note to say that
  • I'd learnt they were funding fossil fuels,
  • I didn't think that was a responsible use of money, and so
  • I'm taking my money elsewhere.
PS. See whether your bank deserves the same treatment, and perhaps switch banks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tell the Government to Keep Renewable Energy

This is your chance to influence the future of Australia's energy.

Yesterday the government said it wants to reduce the Renewable Energy Target. Now it's negotiating with the opposition to settle on a position. So now is a great time to contact any of the men in the negotiation.

Negotiators of the Renewable Energy Target - MacFarlane, Hunt, Hockey, Butler, Gray and Bowen

Here are their contact details:
Ian MacFarlane - facebook or (02) 6277 7070
Greg Hunt - facebook or (02) 6277 7920
Joe Hockey - facebook or (02) 6277 7340
Mark Butler - facebook or (02) 6277 4089
Gary Gray - facebook or (02) 6277 4913
Chris Bowen - facebook or (02) 6277 4822

This suggested policy, described as a free kick for fossil fuels (which would also increase the price of electricity) would be a 64% cut in future investment, according to the Clean Energy Council.

Already, just a day after this announcement, one wind turbine manufacturer has had to let go of 100 jobs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Dramatic than Terrorism and Ebola

"For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week - terrorism, instability, inequality, disease - there's one issues that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate."
That's how Obama began his address to the UN Climate Summit.

He describes the effects on the USA, recognises that "the climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it", and acknowledges that we have to cut carbon pollution in our own countries and work together as a global community before it is too late.

"We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.

This is the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and last generation that can do something about it.

In the US, there is triple the wind power, and 10 times more solar than when Obama became president. Cars are going to be twice as fuel efficient in the next decade, and every major car maker offers electric vehicles. Over the last 8 years, the USA has reduced carbon pollution by more than any other country - and is well on target to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020.

In Obama's words "the United states of America is stepping up to the plate. We recognise our role in creating this problem. We embrace our responsibility to combat it." He goes on to say that to be successful we must all work together.

Of course, Australia's leader failed to attend the Summit. Our foreign minister attracted a much smaller audience.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop speaking to a very small audience at the UN Climate Summit

Perhaps this not surprising. Australia has no effective climate policy at this time and a much smaller goal of a 5% reduction by 2020. Even as I write this, Australia's 20% renewable energy target (small by world standards) is being further reduced.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Uruguay - You are Great

At the recent UN Summit, Uruguay committed to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 85% by 2030.

Uruguay commits to reducing emissions by 85% by 2030

Of course there are many other nations with admirable and responsible commitments. (Not Australia though. Still just a 5% reduction)

I've been tagging all my posts like this one, about other nations doing great things, with the tag 'the world'.

But the Climate Council has put it all together in a clickable map.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting our money back

On the weekend hundreds of bank customers around Australia took their money back and closed their accounts.

It was an ethical move - to stop the banks using our money to finance fossil fuel burning.

Man with a large novelty cheque to celebrate his divestment from banks investing in fossil fuels

This man with the novelty withdrawal slip was completely serious about taking his quarter of a million dollars elsewhere - for the sake of his kids' future. Others brought their kids along - to feel the experience of taking a moral stand.

father and daughter cancelling the family account with ANZ

A couple of news outlets covered the day. Here's the best tv coverage.

To hear from the people themselves, check out this compilation video.

See Divestment Day Live, for more pictures of the event - from cities and towns around Australia.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebrity Endorsement

Missy Higgins is taking part in, and promoting, this Saturday's Divestment Day.

It's a day to encourage people to move their money from banks that invest in fossil fuels, to banks that don't. (In case the interest rate difference wasn't enough reason).

Missy Higgins endorses Divestment Day

As Missy Higgins wrote on her facebook account:

"... my bank has loaned over $6.5 billion to dirty fossil fuels since 2008. I don't know about you but I don't like my money being used to accelerate climate change, it seems insane in this day and age. I'd much prefer my money to be funding renewable energy projects and development, things that might actually save our planet rather than destroy it. So I've written to my bank and told them that if they keep funding fossil fuels I am going to leave. It's our money, we should be able to decide what it's invested in, don't you think? The big four banks have all lent billions to fossil fuels, so if you bank with ANZ, CommBank, NAB or Westpac, join 'Divestment Day' and tell the banks that, "if you choose fossil fuels, we'll choose another bank."

See how your bank invests your money - and look for a better deal on my bank comparison table.

PS. This comes after Felix Riebl joined a previous divestment event.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Warmest September Ever

Following hot on the heels of the warmest August on record, September 2014 was the warmest September so far.

temperature chart of September 2014 warmest September on record

The way things are going, it looks like 2014 may become the hottest year we've ever experienced.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The "Value" of Coal

I've talked a bit about divestment - the idea of getting money out of fossil fuels.

Part of the reason is to make an ethical stand. But the other part is pure finance - taking money out of something that's losing value.

This chart is an example of what I'm talking about. It shows how Australia's coal companies have been losing value and dropping in share price over the past couple of years.

I'm no financial analyst, but to me they seem to past their 'best before' date.

In related news, this Saturday is Divestment Day - a day for taking money out of banks that still invest in fossil fuels.

(Of course, you could do it any day you like, but it's fun to make a special day.)

PS. I was surprised at how much these companies had collapsed in the past few years, so I checked up each company on the Australian Stock Exchange website. It's shocking stuff.

New Hope Corporation (NHC)
Whitehaven Coal (WHC)
Aquila Resources (delisted) High of $11.07 - Jan 2012 $5.85 - Sold at $3.40
Yancoal (YAL)
Cockatoo Coal (COK)
Bandanna (BND)
Carabella (delisted) High of $2.50 - Jan 2012 $1.10 - Sold at 45c
NuCoal (NCR)
MetroCoal (MTE)
Stanmore (SMR)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Not?

For the recent UN Climate Summit, 8 young people combined to put together the questions Why Not? to the world's leaders.

It's a good video, and it's a very good question.

why not solar power?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Outbreak of church ethics

I've just read that the Canberra division of the Anglican church has decided to divest from coal, oil and gas companies. "The Diocese accepts that it is both ethical and responsible to divest from fossil fuel stocks."

Canberra Anglican church divest from fossil fuels

The comes very soon after the Perth Anglicans and the Uniting Church in Western Australia also decided to stop investing in fossil fuels.

Churches are really starting to catch on - that it's difficult to love one's neighbour while at the same time as funding climate catastrophes.

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