Media Release, 23 May 2011
Swansea Climate Forum
The Swansea Climate Forum organized by Climate Future was well attended on Saturday. A large number of local Swansea community members were joined by others from around Lake Macquarie and further afield.
Dr Mark Diesendorf spoke on the options for replacement of our fossil fuel energy with renewable sources. He described the various types of renewable energy and the possible relative costs.
“We need to replace our fossil fuel power stations so that we can leave the coal we currently burn in the ground.” said John Wiggin. The recommended target to avoid 2 degrees global temperature rise is currently 40% reduction in emissions by 2020 and 80% to 90% by 2050. The UK recently announced that they were setting a target of 50% reduction in emissions by 2023 to 2027. This is considerable increase in their current targets (as part of the EU) of 20% by 2020 and will require stronger policy settings to be legislated.
“The issue of Climate Change is an ethical one – we are currently living at the expense of our descendants. The science is telling us that the changes will be slow initially but will accelerate and that the decisions taken today will significantly affect the future outcome.” said Richard Weller.
Any plan for renewable energy would require an improved network of transmission lines. Such a low carbon energy system is practical and feasible when it includes a mix of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave, etc.
A workshop was held to collect the opinions of the attendees. People were asked what would you say on the issue to your political representatives. Comments received included:
“This is the most urgent issue of our times.”
“Re-introduce solar incentives.”
“Let’s cut carbon emissions – let’s switch to renewable energies – let’s give disincentives to those who are using coal and those who are clearing native forests.”
“This is serious – let’s treat it as such.”
“It’s time to act—put a strong case for climate change, e.g. extreme weather events – Queensland floods, cyclones and that we need to act now as the rest of the world is.”
“We need to change our energy to renewable energy as soon as possible as a community.”
“As a community, we need to change to renewable energy as soon as possible.”
“Plan for the long term future. Plan for green jobs.”
“We need:- carbon price; feed in tariffs for solar; no new coal fired power stations. There are more jobs per kilowatt in renewable than in coal power.”
“It is insanity NOT to do everything possible to increase renewables use, prevent opening and subsidizing dirty coal fired power stations. We don’t want to go down the path of nuclear power stations either – far too dangerous.”
“Put the interests of the people of Australia ahead of those of politicians, reduce our emissions.”
“Listen to scientific opinion on climate change.”
“Do more to stop exporting coal.”
“Re-instate the feed-in tariff to 40c/kWh.”
“Government leadership is needed in setting a price on carbon and/or a carbon trading scheme. Australia needs to catch up with Europe, UK and China on driving the take up of renewable energy. Climate change skeptics funded by fossil fuel industry have too much influence in government (NSW and Federal).”
“We need to act now.”
“Working now towards affordable renewable cleaner energy and accelerating when we have it right.”
“Climate change is still the greatest moral challenge of our age. The time to act is now!”
“Do it now.”
“Develop a clear strategy for electorate based on climate change predictions. Develop strategies – short, medium and long term. Do this without reverting to “toe party lines” viz, be objective, consider the best scientific advice. Needs to be done now – not 2 weeks before the next election or 2 years before 2020. We are one of the most vulnerable areas of the state.”
“State Government – all members of both houses attend a 2-3 day workshop on climate change. Develop bilateral strategies.”
“Human caused climate change in the biggest challenge of the century.”
“Whether you believe in global warming of not, there is no need to keep polluting the earth. We can build renewable energy now! The people want it, businesses want it. Its just you and your polluting mates that don’t.”
The event was held with the support of Lake Macquarie City Council and Lake Macquarie Climate Action.