The Garnaut Factor
It’s amazing how quickly things can change in the world of politics. This time last year we were being told that it was economically damaging to reduce emissions. We were told that Kyoto was folly, and that renewable energy would only ever be a peripheral part of the solution in Australia. We were told that long term emissions targets were pointless, and short term targets had to be looked at with great caution.
Now, all sides of politics have supported the ratification of Kyoto. We now understand that it is much cheaper and better for the economy to be proactive about climate change. All sides of politics now finally agree that we need short and long term targets for reducing emissions. How quickly things can change.
The debate is no longer about targets, but how tough they need to be. Professor Ross Garnaut has released a report on the economic impact of climate change. He states that the impact and cost of climate change is going to be much higher than previously thought. It looks like climate change may be heading towards the worst case end of the spectrum. That statement is based on scientefic observation.
Garnaut states that countries like Australia should reduce its emissions by 90% by 2050. Malcolm Turnball, the previops governments Environment Minister believes this target should be 100%. The Rudd government figure is a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050. It’s an incredible change. Prior to the election, the Rudd target seemed pretty tough. 6 months later, that target is looking a little lame. I reckon a 50/50 by 2020 target is right were SE NSW needs to be by 2020. The 50/50 target puts our region into a position of leadership when it comes to tackling climate change, and leadership will attract business and tourists. Whatever target you feel is appropriate, it is clear that we have to get on with it!
In it’s second year, Earth Hour has grown from a Sydney based event into an international extravaganza, with an estimated 30 million people word wide turning off switches. 300 cities around the planet signed up to earth hour, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was dark for the first time in its history. Locally, the Bega Valley Shire council signed up, and turned lights off in council buildings.There was a lantern parade at the Candelo music festival, where several hundred people made a strong statement. 40 people turned up to the Tathra surf club to turn switches off and eat curry by candle light. This was part of a Surf Lifesaving Assoc initiative to try and get a few landmark surf clubs to join up to Earth Hour. The Tathra surf club has become one of SLSA Australia’s beacon clubs in demonstrating their new EcoSurf policy, of which LifeSaving Energy will be an intergral part. Not a bad response, considering that Earth Hour is only a year old. This reflects the growing awareness about climate change, and the need for urgent action. (just last week scientists noted the dramatic collapse of the Wilkes Ice Shelf in Antarctica, similar in magnitude to the rapid collapse of the Larson B ice shelf in 2004. Antarctica has warmed by 3 degrees in the last 50 years.) Clearly we need to get cracking with solutions to climate change. 12 months ago, the Rudd governments target of a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050 seemed challenging. Since then, the Garnaut Report has recommended an emission cut of 90% by 2050, and Malcom Turnball (the Howard Government environment minister) has suggested that a 100% cut in emissions by 2050 is what is required. Suddenly, the Rudd Government target looks pretty luke warm. 50/50 by 2020 looks like the right sort of target, but to get there, we need to get infrastructure on the ground this year. On 17/4, there will be a public meeting in Tathra to discuss a solar farm for the coast. On 20/4 there will be a LifeSaving Energy Big Swim in Narooma, to raise money for renewable energy for the Narooma and Bermagui surf clubs.. On 3/5 renewable energy will be installed on the roof of the Jindabyne surf club. On 10/5 there will be a Moruya LifeSaving Energy Big Swim. On the June long weekend we will hold the Bega River LifeSaving Energy Big Swim to raise money for a wind turbine for the Tathra primary school. By the end of the year, Clean Energy For Eternity hope to have been responsible for installing several hundred thousand dollars worth of renewable energy onto surf club roof tops, turned LifeSaving Energy into a national campaign, and be well underway with setting up a solar farm in SE NSW. This is a make or break it year for Clean Energy For Eternity. Matthew Nott
Potato Point has a say