Climate Change Forum Series

Climate Forum Series, Forum 1-1: Heat, Pollution and Health  –  first of the series of Forums to be held monthly.

11th Aug 2019, 1:30pm to 3pm, Anglican Church, 3 Mann St, Gosford

A Forum on Heat, Pollution and Health is to be held on Sunday the 11th August, 1:30pm at the Gosford Anglican Church. This is the first of a monthly series of Forums at the Church that will deal with a range of subjects related to Climate Change. The aim of this series is to provide opportunities for the community to learn from the experts about some of the impacts of climate change and the background science. Positive pathways will also be outlined that take us towards a zero carbon future.

Doctor Kim Loo is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She has extensive experience as a GP and will present the impacts on her patients resulting from our heating world.

The world is heating up and we need to cut our use of fossil fuels. The health crisis we will be discussing provides reasons to respond to both of these issues. The air-borne pollutants from our coal fired power stations drift across the Central Coast threatening our health and that of our children and the aged.

Studies have shown that ground level ozone combined with additional heat stress, fine particulate matter and other air borne pollutants are combining to increase the risk of many diseases. Increased deaths have been directly attributed to air pollution for some very common diseases. The situation is compounded by the extreme heatwaves we have been seeing this last 20 years and which are expected to be worse this coming decade. Increased heat is encouraging diseases to move south from the tropics. These trends could well affect someone you know as the heat intensifies.

Dr Kim Loo will be joined by her colleagues to provide guidance on what to do to avoid the worst of the heat. There will be time for questions and discussion after the presentations. The Forum is free but booking is essential so that we can plan for numbers.

visit   cen.org.au/events

Further forums planned so far include:

Forum 1-2:   Energy Alternatives,   8 Sept 2019, Gosford Anglican Church  –  will cover household solar PV and the transition of Australia’s electricity network to renewables.

Forum 1-3:   The Threat – The urgency, tipping points and the science,   13 Oct 2019, Gosford Anglican Church 

Forum 1-4:   Food & Water,   10 Nov 2019, Gosford Anglican Church 

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Council’s Climate Change Policy

The Council’s Climate Change Policy was passed by Council on the 8th July. Given the overwhelming public support for action on climate change, this is as it should be.

This policy is an overarching policy that provides for Council to begin the process of planning for the myriad different impacts of global warming.

Council will collect data on their own emissions and those of the community and to plan to reduce these.

Council will prepare, in consultation with the community, a set of plans including:

  • Climate Change Action Plan
    Disaster Resilience Strategy
    Energy & Emissions Reduction Policy
    Biodiversity Strategy
    Sustainability Strategy
    Greener Places Strategy
    Sea Level Rise Policy

The first one must be developed as quickly as possible as the response to climate change is now a matter of urgency. A period of 2 months for a draft should by targeted with public exhibition to follow ASAP after that.

It should set the targets for emissions reductions based on the practicality of eliminating emissions (depending on what parts of the Council’s operations they originate from and how quickly measures can be put in place – some measures are likely to be savings for Council’s budget).

It should state the most likely planning scenario, RCP 8.5 to provide Council to make plans for its operations.

It should provide a schedule for reduction of emissions consistent with the warnings of urgency of the IPCC SR15 and the Paris Agreement.

A schedule of the production of the other plans required under the CCP should also be included. The most urgent being the Energy & Emissions Reduction Policy and the Disaster Resilience Strategy.

Owners of property that is vulnerable to sea level rise are rightly concerned that their property will reduce in value.

Unfortunately, this would not be the fault of anything Council would or could do! It comes from the fact that the seas are rising. Continued avoidance of this fact does not remove the hazard. If we don’t plan for rising sea levels, we suffer the consequences of being un-prepared.

We have a moral responsibility to help people whose properties are threatened by sea level rise. It is not clear what we should be doing for them, that would be a discussion we need to have as a community, but its seems unfair to leave them to bear a burden that we are all responsible for. If we are to survive the climate challenge, our best bet is to work together to support those who are most vulnerable, or we lose the moral battle.

The residents of these properties need to work out what they want based on an acceptance of the problem and an understanding of the scientific projections. Any practical solution that is appropriate for each situation may well be different. Simply denying that the ocean is rising is not an option. This would result in either no plan at all or an in-appropriate one.

One suggestion could be a change to the way we view the value of vulnerable property. Some form of recognition of the loss, perhaps set out in the tax system or in some other way, would enable people to enjoy the property for the time they have it. This could be for decades as sea level rise is currently understood to be slow and steady.

Whatever plans are produced under the Climate Change Policy, they must be the outcome of considered discussion with the community and based on the recognized carefully prepared science of thousands of scientists, peer reviewed by their colleagues and supported by their country’s governments.

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CEN Annual Forum 2019

Climate Future attended the CEN Annual Forum: “Positive Pathways for Climate Action”, on 2nd June 2019. A short presentation was made by Richard Weller. Jo Muller also reported on the activities of Central Coast Community Energy Association.

The forum was attended by more than 120 people and included a packed schedule including a very interesting presentation by guest speaker Vanessa McCann (from Council) on Tuggerah Lakes Estuary and its water quality issues. Reports from leaders of various programs included Waterwatch, Land for Wildlife, Habitat for Wildlife, Bush Regeneration Team, Marine Discovery Centre, Seismic Testing for PEP11 (offshore gas), Mangrove Mountain Landfill, Wallarah II, COSS Lands (Council Open Space System), NCC Air Quality campaign (Coal Ash Community Alliance), Porters Creek Wetland, monitoring of Dora Creek biodiversity (by Terry Annables) etc.

Further presentations were made on Plant Based Alternatives, Food networks (PEG and FIG) Central Coast Community Energy, Take 3 for the Sea, Australian Seabird Rescue (ASRCC), CC Marine Debris Campaign (Sea Shepard), Greening of the Central Coast (Council program – Chris McLean) and Grow Urban Shade Trees.

A copy of Richard’s presentation can be accessed here:   20190602–CFv1–PosPathwys-pdf-version

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Climate Crisis Forum

The Climate Crisis Forum was successfully held on Monday 13th May 2019 at the Gosford Uniting Church. This was held in the run-up to the Federal Election and more than 40 people attended. Richard Weller opened the proceedings and set out the seriousness of the subject and then introduced Dr. Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor at the UNSW Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets.

Dr. Diesendorf is well known for his expertise in the development of renewable energy and its implementation in Australia’s economy. He and presented on the need to reduce emissions, the easy implementation and cheapness of renewables and the policies proposed by the various parties during the election campaign. It appeared from the information presented that the Coalition Govt has essentially no plan to effectively cut emissions. Labor would need additional policies to push Australia towards effective cuts.

A target of around 65% cut below 1990 emissions levels was needed to meet the aspirations of the Paris agreement to keep the warming below a dangerous level. The Climate Change Authority had issued similar recommended levels of cuts in its 2015 report. Many questions were answered by Dr. Diesendorf following the presentations.

The presentations are available below.

Dr. Diesendorf:   Diesendorf_Gosford_13May2019

Richard Weller:   20190513–CFv3–ClCrisis-pdf-version

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The Uninhabitable Earth

“If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible.”

This is the opening line of a 2017 article by David Wallace-Wells published in New York magazine where he sets out his understanding of what is coming (http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans-annotated.html?gtm=bottom&gtm=bottom ).

He paints a very murky view of the threats facing us. Now he has followed his original article up with a book.

“The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” by David Wallace-Wells (Tim Duggan Books, to be released 19 Feb 2019)

In an interview with the author:

(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/03/david-wallace-wells-on-climate-people-should-be-scared-im-scared )

” It … means we are engineering our own devastation practically in real time. How much will depend on how we act, how we behave, how we respond.   ” and ” … climate change is obviously an existential threat and it is naive to imagine we could respond to it without some people being scared. ”

Hard words indeed.

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Draft Climate Change Policy (CCC)

Draft Climate Change Policy (Central Coast Council)

The Central Coast Council, NSW has a proposed Draft Climate Change Policy. Council has issued the draft for exhibition and to raise awareness of the issue across the community. There are some workshops being held over the next few weeks. See Councils website https://www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/climatechange for the information pack (which includes the policy and workshop agenda) and follow the links to register).

Wednesday 20 February 2019, Mingara Recreation Club 6pm – 8:30pm
Tuesday 26 February 2019, Erina Centre, Erina Fair 6pm – 8:30pm
Wednesday 27 February 2019, Mantra Ettalong, 6pm – 8:30pm
Thursday 7 March 2019, Camp Breakaway, San Remo 6pm – 8:30pm
Wednesday 13 March 2019, Wyong Civic Centre 6pm – 8:30pm

The policy itself is critical to bring consideration of mitigation (the reduction of emissions) and adaptation (preparing for the impacts) into all activities of Council.

Increasing heat and other affects of Climate Change will impact on all Council’s infrastructure including roads, sewage and water, transport, buildings, parks, etc. Impacts on Council’s regulatory controls such as planning are also occurring. For example, provision of land zoned for business has traditionally been sited on flat, low-lying land. Such land is often more likely to be flood prone than residential areas. Increasing rainfall intensity (e.g. the Townsville flooding currently underway) is likely to impact more heavily on our business parks and therefore ultimately on our economic activity. Council’s responsibility to provide suitable land for business and commercial activity requires them to consider increasing flooding over time due to Climate Change. This policy is critical to supporting planning for an efficient and functional regional economy into the future.

While there are those who are concerned about the presence of one phrase in the policy (planned retreat) and regardless of how waterfront property might be protected, the broad scale of climate change demands a community wide response at all levels of government.

Central Coast Council must have an effective and broad-ranging Climate Change Policy that allows for flexibility in design of responses to impacts as well as for the rapid reduction of emissions. The draft policy does provide an effective step in the right direction.

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A Powerfull Message

A truly powerful argument from Marnie Cotton who travelled to Canberra to talk to pollies. Our leaders are letting us down on emissions reductions with Australia’s emissions rising again in 2017 following increases in 2015 and 2016.
Demand that your politicians take action.
 
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