It was a dramatic night at Northcote Town Hall – not least because news of the Labor leadership spill came via text message towards the end of the highly successful Truth & Lies event.
With the room well filled, David Spratt – co-author of Climate Code Red, Jenny McCracken, Beyond Zero Emissions’ Mark Ogge and Jane Morton presented a tour de force of climate science, climate solutions and climate action to an enthusiastic crowd determined to carry their new knowledge into the forthcoming State and Federal election campaigns. Climate action will be on the political agenda in the State seat of Northcote and the Federal seat of Batman this year.
David Spratt started the proceedings with a broad and clearly communicated survey of recent climate science, including the alarming insight that promises on the table at Copenhagen are pointing the world towards four degrees of warming, heightened at the poles where it threatens to unleash vast stores of frozen methane, a greenhouse gas more short-lived than carbon dioxide, but with many times its warming capacity.
Jenny McCracken outlined the dietary changes that could drastically curtail methane production from our current meat-rich diets – action that does not require international or even national agreement to help curb global warming right now.
Fresh from a presentation in Canberra, Mark Ogge from Beyond Zero Emissions painted a grim picture of the influence of the Greenhouse Mafia, challenging the climate movement to be more effective than the opposing lobbyists’ “Can’t Do” mantra via a “Can Do” campaign based around the group’s rigorous and convincing renewables plan for the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 project. The plan, which has been receiving strong media coverage, shows solar and wind can meet our energy needs over a transition period of just ten years.
In that time Australia can halve its energy use courtesy of the massively superior energy efficiency of renewables. Mark pointed out, for example, that much of the energy from burning coal serves only to heat the air above the Latrobe valley and contribute to our spiralling carbon emissions. The solar energy not captured by the mirrors of concentrated solar thermal plants, on the other hand, produces no emissions and merely hits the ground. A mirror of just one square metre was equivalent in the energy it could capture to 20 tons of coal over a mirror’s typical lifetime of around 30 years. In devising the plan, Mark explained that the group had used only proven technologies that could be readily implemented given the political commitment.
Jane Morton capped off the evening with a colourful parade of examples of successful – and local – climate campaigns – campaigns which occasioned the odd visit to the electorate office of energy and resources minister (and local Batman MP), Martin Ferguson. The idea of “rebranding” politicians was a novel but powerful concept presented to an audience generating lots of good ideas for climate action in their own local areas. Reflecting the wide promotion and broad appeal of the event, however, a sign for “Other” was called into service alongside those used to rally small groups for local campaigns in Alphington, Fairfield, Northcote, Preston and Thornbury.
DarebinCAN Convenor, Carol Ride said, “The great attendance of over 80 people to the Truth & Lies event proves how interested people are in knowing the facts about climate change. Their commitment to stay right to the end and participate in follow-up action is a testament to the strong community will for strong action now”.
Here are the presentations available for viewing in PDF format. Click the links below for each of the four presentations:
- David Spratt – Truth and Lies and the Science
- Jane Morton – Taking Action
- Jenny McCrackon – Climate change and a vegetarian diet
- Mark Ogge – Renewable Energy Solutions – BZE
From David’s presentation:
A great presentation from Associate Professor John Abraham of the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. Abraham dismantles the climate denialist arguments put forward by Christopher Monckton in his presentations around the world.
An excellent article by Guy Pearse writing in the May 2010 issue of The Monthly. This must-read highlights not only our dependence on coal, but the fact that we are on track to become the world’s largest exporter of carbon.
Mark Ogge’s presentation was based on a recent Geelong presentation by Pat Hearps. Press “play” to listen while the slides transition automatically.
A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables, Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucci, Scientific American, November 2009. You can preview the article, or subscribe for the full version. However, there’s a free Scientific American multimedia presentation here: