The bloody-minded Banjos keepin' carbon in our air

Stephen Bygrave, Climate Spectator

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics about average household expenditure show how repeal of the carbon price cannot save households very much.

Why not? Because households don't spend very much on power.

For a house that is struggling to pay all its bills, that may not sound like much comfort, but the amount we're talking about is relatively tiny.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for 2009-2010 show that houses spend an average 2.63 per cent on 'domestic fuel and power'. That includes electricity, gas, bottled LPG and even firewood. It also includes those houses that pay an extra premium to buy GreenPower, to get 100 per cent renewable electricity.

High-speed rail network $30 billion cheaper than first thought: study

ABC Lateline - by environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer

A comprehensive new study investigating east coast high-speed rail argues that it could be $30 billion cheaper than first thought and pay itself off entirely within 40 years.

The rail debate is back on track, with the Federal Government vowing to speak to the states about the project and to protect a future corridor for the network.

The Melbourne-Sydney flight route is the fifth busiest in the world and for decades governments have been discussing high-speed rail as a solution to ease the pressure on airports.

Clean energy group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and the German aerospace centre came up with a model of a 1,799-kilometre route, linking Brisbane with Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Video: click to watch news story at ABC website

What price the carbon price?

By Stephen Bygrave. Climate Spectator, November 21

We all know that the act of 'putting a price on carbon' has contributed to the downfall of three Australian prime ministers and two opposition leaders.

What might not be as well known is that carbon pricing has gone relatively unnoticed in other countries, particularly in Europe, but also in our close neighbour New Zealand.

When I was working in the OECD on emissions trading from 2002-2004, the European Commission was designing and implementing an emissions trading scheme with little attention from anyone in the community. This followed schemes that had been implemented in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and the UK, with no outcry from the general populace.

So why all the fuss in Australia? Is carbon pricing just another political football?

Abbott at protest against carbon price

Regular investment key to upgrading PT and curing Melbourne transport woes

Media release, 20 November 2013

A budgeted annual investment of $1.74 billion would build the comprehensive rail network upgrade and expansion proposed by Public Transport Victoria, according to a study released today by environmental think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

“To deliver the PTV rail upgrade requires structured and ongoing infrastructure investment” said researcher Gerard Drew. “The major parties are yet to show that they can deliver the long term network this city needs to deal with growing population pressure.”

The BZE study and appendix can be downloaded from the following locations:

The metropolitan rail Network Development Plan released by PTV in March this year is a systematic plan to upgrade and expand the network, delivering better than 5 minute peak frequencies for much of the network, metro style interchanges throughout the CBD area and connecting areas of Melbourne that have been promised a train line for decades – such as Doncaster, Roweville, Mernda and Melbourne Airport.

 

Image: Melbourne's rail network after the NDP is completed, from PTV

Cut emissions and save on household bills

From BEAM blog

 Seymour and surrounds can reduce their carbon emissions to zero with four simple steps.

Trent Hawkins, Project Director of the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, will talk about how this can be done at the Energy Futures Forum in Seymour on November 16.

Energy Futures Forum: Victorian Railways Institute Hall (near Seymour Station Bus Terminal), Seymour, Saturday 16 Nov, 2-5pm. Entry by gold coin.

The four steps are going gas free, fixing the building envelopes, installing energy efficient appliances and lighting, and rooftop solar to power every home.

Energy freedom on or off the grid?

By Ben Courtice. Chain Reaction #119, Nov 2013

It's long been a favoured wish of many environmentalists to go off the grid, to be self-sufficient in energy and other services, and avoid the corporate utilities and their coal-powered electricity. The ambition for freedom from energy bills and fossil-fuel electricity is understandable.

I was born and lived until the age of eight in an off-grid Queenslander farmhouse. We didn't even have a telephone. The most energy intensive technology we had was a kerosene-powered refrigerator which we ran some of the time. Of course, living far from the city, we were able to use wood for heating and cooking. Living off-grid was easy enough if you didn't mind the low-tech lifestyle.

And now in the age of relatively cheap solar panels (which weren't around in the 1970s), you can live off the grid and use a huge battery attached to a large array of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, to maintain a hi-tech lifestyle on clean solar energy.

Cooking without gas

A zero carbon future means ditching gas for solar power.

By Michael Green. From The Age, November 3, 2013

Together, Australia's houses could produce more electricity than they use, according to think tank Beyond Zero Emissions. And the transition need not take long.

The analysis, released recently in its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, shows that comprehensively retrofitting our buildings with insulation, double-glazing and efficient lighting and appliances could more than halve their energy use.

On our rooftops, we have space to accommodate enough solar panels so that our homes would collectively produce more energy than they consume, averaged over a year.

Methane matters: Is the future electric?

Richard Keech critically examines the sustainability of gas.

From Renew, magazine of the Alternative Technology Association, issue 125

I’VE heard it said that 50% of what we’ve learnt is probably wrong; the trick is knowing which 50%. I submit that the received wisdom that gas is a clean fuel is probably wrong.

Consider more generally the burning of materials for their direct energy content. The use of wood, then coal, then oil and gas has underpinned the entire arc of human progress and achievement. But the advent of electricity meant much of that combustion no longer took place with the end user. At a time when renewable energy sources such as solar thermal, solar PV and wind can displace increasingly large amounts of that burning, why are we still persisting with policies that favour the burning of gas?

Abbott's action - direct hit or direct flop?

By Stephen Bygrave. Published in Climate Spectator, 21 Oct 2013

With the Abbott government pinning all its hopes on its 'direct action' scheme to meet its stated commitment to a 5 per cent emissions reduction by 2020, it is worth exploring the past failures and lessons arising from direct action approaches.

Because Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, a failure by the government on direct action would not only be failure for the Australian people, but a national failure as well as a failure to meet our international emissions reduction commitments.

To put direct action in context, it is important to examine past approaches to direct action in Australia and internationally, and lessons from that experience.

Fossil fuel billions better invested in zero emissions alternatives

MEDIA RELEASE, Beyond Zero Emissions, 16 October 2013

Billions of dollars currently invested in fossil fuel industries can and should be withdrawn and re-invested in zero emissions technology immediately. This is the message Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO of climate solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions will deliver to a Brisbane audience tomorrow.

“Beyond Zero Emissions' research is demonstrating that zero emissions technologies can be implemented in Australia across all sectors of the economy right now,” said Dr Bygrave.

“Investment in these technologies is already a reality at a large scale around the world. Divestment from dirty technologies is inevitable, and for investors, every day is a day's missed investment opportunity. There's no reason to wait and every reason to act.”

Image: Grasmere windfarm, Albany WA (from http://www.ausenco.com/)

Syndicate content