Further privatisation unlikely to save money, benefit environment

Infrastructure Australia has announced that it wants state governments to hand the operation of their public transport systems over to private operators, arguing that they could cut costs and improve service quality by doing so.

Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) strongly opposes any move to further privatise public transport systems:

“Infrastructure Australia was designed to be an independent statutory body so as to be able to provide the best possible recommendations to government” said FoEA campaigner Cam Walker. “But further privatisation sounds more like an extension of failed neo-liberal politics and less like sound public policy”.

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Carbon Capture and Storage

CCS_April_2017.pngCarbon capture and storage (CCS) is an unproven, risky and expensive technology. State and federal governments have put huge amounts of public funds into CCS research for years, in the hope it will provide the solution to the greenhouse pollution generated by coal fired power stations.

Here in Victoria, where we have three remaining coal fired power stations, some are hoping these plants can be retrofitted to use CCS technology.

There are also a number of companies pursuing ‘new coal’ initiatives which will be reliant on CCS to be viable. Most notable of these is probably the Kawasaki Heavy Industry ‘coal to hydrogen’ project planned for the Latrobe Valley

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, it would appear that we are still not close to even knowing if or when CCS might be commercially viable at any kind of scale. It is also not clear whether CCS will be able to safely contain greenhouse emissions from coal power stations for an indefinite period of time.

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Longford gas plant locks in further global warming

Longford_meme2.jpgESSO has officially opened its new gas conditioning plant at Longford in Gippsland, promoting it as the largest domestic gas project on Australia's eastern seaboard, and one that will give certainty to the state's gas supplies for about 40 years.

The development will supply 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas to eastern Australia, which Esso says is enough to power a city of one million people for 35 years.

The conditioning plant represents the completion of the $5.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum project in Bass Strait, which has resulted in the development of two new gas fields and the upgrade of a third. The plant will remove excess carbon dioxide and mercury from the gas taken from the offshore gas fields, which will then be processed at Longford.

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The case for modernising the Victorian budget

The Federal Coalition’s refusal to tackle climate change means we need to see more political leadership from state governments such as Victoria.

Despite alarming melting of the polar icecaps and unprecedented bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison didn’t event mention climate change in his 2017 Budget address.

While it’s convenient for the Liberal and National parties to ignore the problem, their inaction leaves communities exposed to climate impacts.

In contrast to his Federal counterpart, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas noted in his budget speech that “climate change is a genuine threat.” It is.

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Friends of the Earth state budget response

state_budget_2017_FoE_meme.pngModest allocations for climate change make budget 2018-19 a ‘litmus test’ for action: Strong climate focus needed to prepare Victorian communities for the future

Friends of the Earth say the Andrews government's 2017-18 budget investment in climate change has been modest and that next year’s budget has emerged as a litmus test on the issue.

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Strengthened climate laws pass Vic parliament: Andrews govt can put a down-payment on climate action in budget


BREAKING--The Andrews government's push to strengthen Victoria's climate change laws has passed the upper house--winning the support of The Greens and crossbenchers Fiona Patten and James Purcell.

Friends of the Earth welcome the passage of amendments to the Victorian Climate Change Act. That enshrines a zero-net emissions target by 2050 into law. It also requires governments to set five-yearly interim emissions reduction targets and adaptation action plans.

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Approval for coal expansion at odds with Andrews govt ambition to lead climate fight

Approval for coal expansion at odds with Andrews govt ambition to lead climate fight

Approval of an expansion to the Loy Yang B coal power plant has been met with criticism from Victoria's environment groups and is at odds with the Andrews government's ambition to lead on climate change.

In a case of embarrassing timing, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority approved the coal project just a day after the Daniel Andrews government claimed a national leadership position on climate change--committing to emissions reductions of up to 20 percent by 2020.

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Emergency Management Vic's climate impacts program underscores need to restore state climate act

Emergency Management Victoria, the body responsible for our state's emergency management system, has launched a new program to help Victoria prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said climate change presents a challenge to the sector in Victoria.

"As the emergency management sector, we must acknowledge and prepare for the impact of climate change, on all aspects of emergency preparedness, response and recovery," said Commissioner Lapsley. 

"Responding to the impacts of climate change, and helping communities be better prepared for the risks and affects, is at the heart of our shared responsibility and is essential to building resilience." 

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Record global warming in 2016 as Matthew Guy opposition block Vic govt moves to strengthen Climate Change Act

New analysis released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over night has found record global warming in 2016 as the Matthew Guy opposition block the Andrews government's moves to strengthen the Victorian Climate Change Act

The NASA/NOAA analysis once again confirms the longterm warming trend and found "Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880."  

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Friends of the Earth welcome Andrews govt plan to strengthen the EPA

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the Andrews government's plans to modernise and strengthen the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority in response to an extensive review of the body - the first since 1971. 

"We welcome the Andrews government’s moves to strengthen the EPA," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth campaign coordinator. 

"These reforms will help bring the EPA into the 21st Century and equip it to protect communities and environment from emerging issues such as decommissioning coal mines and power plants."

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