201012

Climate Leadership

A concerted and strategic response to climate change is inevitable. This will happen at a political level in Australia and on a global scale. It will take much longer to happen than it should, but it will happen eventually.

There is a huge economic advantage in showing leadership on climate change. If our national politicians are slow to act, then it will have to be done without them.

Newcastle City Council is not waiting for the federal government to take action on climate change and will start the job of carbon reduction itself, setting an example of what local government can do.

Already, from 2001 to 2008 the Newcastle council?s Greenhouse Action plan reduced its carbon emissions by 13.6% below 1995 levels, despite a population growth of about 10%. They plan to go much further. Newcastle wants to become an international showcase for clean energy technology.

Sydney City council?s goal is to make the city centre carbon neutral by 2050. By embracing clean energy, the council plans to save $200 million in extra costs to upgrade the current electricity network before 2020, rising to savings of $1 billion by 2030.

Clean energy technology makes sense in big cities. In makes even more sense in regional areas. Tathra has a 50/50 by2020 target that we aim to meet.

The Tathra Enduro Mountain Bike race will be raising money for Tathra?s 50/50 by 2020 target. If we can build the race into a big event, it will raise enough funds to get Tathra to its 50/50 by 2020 target. All the early indications are that this will be a big event. The inaugural race will be held on the weekend of 26/27 March 2011.

Entries for the Tathra Enduro are now open. Go to www.mountainbiking.com.au. There will be three events. A Prologue will warm up riders on Saturday 26th March. On Sunday the Goats Knob 50 and King Nelba 100 will test riders of all ability. The 100km course is a torrid affair, with a lot of serious climbing. It should only be attempted by confident riders, but those riders will be rewarded by some of the best scenery the Far South Coast has to offer. Whilst the Goats Knob 50 is no walk in the park, it is a course that is designed to challenge all level of riders.

Come along on race day and help Tathra get to a 50/50 by 2020 target, with or without government help.
Matthew Nott

LifeSaving Energy Big Swim series for 2011

Clean Energy For Eternity?s Big Swim series continues in 2011.

The first of the series will be Jindabyne LifeSaving Energy Big Swim, on Saturday 19th February. This annual event continues to grow in popularity, and attracts swimmers from right across SE NSW. The event will consist of the 7.2km Snowy Mountains Big Swim (the length of Lake Jindabyne), the 1.5km Strezlecki Dash, and the 200m Little Swim.

The Bermagui LifeSaving Energy Big swim will be held in early autumn. This is a beautiful 5km swim through pristine bushland.

The inaugural Merimbula Big Swim will be held in December. This will be an open water swim from the Merimbula Wharf to the Pambula surf club, and will not be for the faint hearted.

At this stage the Bega Big Swim has been put off, as we are focussing on the Tathra Mountain Bike Enduro. If there is enough interest, we may look at running the Bega swim towards the end of the year.

As always, these events will be raising money for renewable energy for community groups in SE NSW. Entries will be opening soon on the CEFE web site. Start training!
Matthew Nott

Mexican Standoff

Cancun was the venue for the latest round of international climate negotiations. With lower expectations and more modest goals then Copenhagen, the Cancun meeting has delivered a successful platform for future global negotiations, but has fallen well short of the sort of action that climate science demands.

The Cancun agreement called for “urgent action” to cap temperature rises at no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial . The proposal says it “recognizes that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to science.”

More than 190 countries meeting in Mexico agreed to seek deep cuts in carbon emission. But negotiators kept ambitions in check and tried to make headway on select areas instead of seeking a treaty.

A final deal, which appears likely to retain the 13-year-old Kyoto Protocol as a linchpin in future talks, included better protection for forests and more clearly defined multibillion-dollar funding for developing nations to combat the effects of climate change. Measures also outlined how to monitor, report and verify emissions reductions by developed countries, as well as climate protection actions taken by poorer ones.

The Cancun agreement set up a “Green Climate Fund” to administer assistance to poor nations, which many experts say are already suffering more floods and drought as temperatures steadily mount. The global fund would become operational in late 2011 and help developing nations deal with climate change.

A broader issue is just how wealthy nations would raise the money, with few governments enthusiastic to commit such large amounts in tough economic times.

But the meeting postponed much of the hardest work — including the determination of emission cuts for all nations — for 2011 talks in South Africa.

Climate science demands legally binding global cuts in greenhouse emissions. That has not yet been achieved. The planet continues to warm at a steady rate of 0.2 degrees per decade.
Matthew Nott