State's top doctor says we should consider banning wood fire heaters

Posted by on July 5, 2014 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

by Heath Gilmore

The NSW government is considering banning wood fire heaters following a call from the state's top doctor.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant says the heaters are so detrimental to the health she supported banning and phasing out the heaters in built-up urban areas as an option to control wood smoke.

NSW Health has advocated the government give councils greater regulatory powers to impose controls in their area, taking into account topography, population density, socio-economic status and the availability of alternative heating options.

On Friday night, Environment Minister Rob Stokes said he would consider all options to reduce the impact of wood smoke emissions.

Dr Chant said the use of of wood burning heaters inside homes should be avoided.



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Wood fire heaters: the hidden killer

Posted by on June 27, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Heath Gilmore, 27 June 2014

The air pollution from wood fire heaters now poses a bigger immediate health danger to Sydneysiders than cars or cigarettes.

Health experts say the growth in wood fire heaters and the resulting smoke accounts for more than 60 per cent of Sydney's winter air pollution, triggering complications among asthmatics, emphysema and chronic bronchitis sufferers.

In July, an estimated 83,000 heaters are responsible for up to 75 per cent of fine particle pollution in Sydney's basin, according to the NSW EPA. Known as the new asbestos, fine particulate matter is a key component of smog, which can penetrate deep into the lungs.

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Australia's Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared

Posted by on June 18, 2014 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Climate Council Report

Internationally, the energy sector accounts for the largest proportion of greenhouse gas (gHg) emissions, which are the main drivers of climate change. Limiting temperature rise to a global average of 2 °C, the internationally agreed level that may avoid dangerous climate change, requires large scale changes in the electricity sector and a tripling of low-carbon energy by 2050.


Yet, australia’s electricity is largely generated by ageing, inefficient coal-fired power plants and there are currently no plans, nor a national discussion on the future of the electricity sector and options to significantly reduce its emissions. Delaying the shift to a low carbon future increases the likely risks and costs of transition to a low carbon future in the electricity sector, where it typically takes a decade or more to plan, permit, finance and build major new power infrastructure.

For the full report, click here

For 3 minute video summary

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Bank won't fund port expansion due to reef fears

Posted by on May 23, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)


AAP, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May

A major German bank won't consider funding a controversial Queensland coal port expansion because it says there isn't consensus over how it will impact the Great Barrier Reef.

Deutsche Bank confirmed its position on Wednesday night (Australian time) at its AGM in Germany in front of environmentalists and tour operators.

"As there is clearly no consensus between the Australian government and UNESCO regarding the impacts of the Abbot Point expansion on the reef we will not consider financial applications of an expansion," meeting co-chair Juergen Fitschen said.

The expansion involves dumping three million tonnes of dredge spoil within the marine park.

A bank spokesman confirmed to AAP that Deutsche wouldn't consider any request to finance the expansion unless it was assured the project wouldn't adversely affect the reef.

The United Nation's environment arm, which has said it is considering listing the reef as a World Heritage site in danger, said earlier this month it regretted the federal government's decision to approve the dredging project without properly assessing alternatives.

Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society are hopeful the move will put pressure on international and Australian banks to reject investment in developments that may impact the reef.

The green groups say Deutsche Bank has bowed to public pressure after 180,000 Germans signed a petition urging the bank not to fund the expansion.

Environmentalists claim dumping the spoil offshore will damage marine life and expanding the port will turn the reef into a shipping super-highway.

The dredge spoil will be dumped 40 kilometres from the nearest coral reef.

The expansion, which has been given approval on all levels, will turn Abbot Point into one of the world's largest coal ports.

The federal government has said the expansion was approved with some of the strictest environmental conditions ever imposed, while developers have said the dredge spoil will have little impact on marine life.

Deutsche Bank was one of three banks that last year helped Abbot Point leaseholders refinance leases on the existing 30-year-old terminal at Abbot Point.



Australia's road to a low carbon economy

Posted by on May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

JEFFREY SACHS: Well I think the Government is right now afraid of this topic and it's a huge mistake because Australia is the fourth-largest coal reserve country in the world. It's a major coal exporter. It is the eighth-largest CO2 emitting economy in the world. Australia can't say: sorry, we're just not interested.


Australia can provide true global leadership right now and that is to mobilise, together with the other major coal economies, a massive effort on testing - and hopefully proving - the carbon capture and sequestration technology, because that is the only way that Australia is going to be able to use its coal at a large scale in the years and decades to come.


Put in real money, probably $20 to $30 billion I would say, minimum, to get scaled, serious demonstration programs working in China, in India, in Australia, in Canada, in the United States and to test the geology and the engineering of this technology.

Read the full article

(Don't forget Sachs' recommendations destroyed the Russian economy)


Abbott out of step on climate change, says Professor Jeffrey Sachs

Posted by on May 21, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

(as if we did not know this!!)

by Tom Arup, SMH, 21 May 2014

Australia's reversal on climate change action will ultimately not stick because the rest of the world will make clear that it is unacceptable, globally renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs says.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Professor Sachs said the extreme shocks and pain of climate change were now being felt across the planet and governments acting in an ''anti-scientific perspective or an extraordinarily short-term perspective'' will be surprised by the response from other countries.

''This government was surprised this week with the reception to the budget,'' Professor Sachs said. ''And I think it is going to be surprised by the global reception of its climate policies as well unless it begins to understand the real situation in the world and what's really expected of a country like Australia.''



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Coal, climate change collide as customers query banks' green credentials

Posted by on May 20, 2014 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2014

After 35 years of banking with big Australian banks like National Australia Bank, Paula and Peter Samson closed their accounts to protest the lenders' exposure to the polluting fossil fuel industry.

The Samsons, who live in Perth and drive an electric car, are part of a hundreds-strong, environmentally-driven movement that is taking hold in Australia after sweeping through the United States over the past year or so.

Protesters like the Samsons have withdrawn about $200 million worth of deposits from the "Big Four" banks - NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ - since the divestment campaign began last year, according to data from Market Forces, an independent environmental group that tracks the operations and investments of banks and their effects on the environment.



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Tasmanian forests: Coalition rebuffed over proposal to cut world heritage area.

Posted by on May 17, 2014 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)
Photo - Matthew Newton/AAP,   Article - Oliver Millman, Guardian 

Recommendation to World Heritage Committee flatly rejects government's bid to excise 74,000 hectares.:)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has recommended against removing vast swathes of Tasmanian forest from world heritage protection, in an embarrassing setback for the Australian government.


The IUCN, the world’s largest conservation organisation, said overnight in Paris there was no ecological justification for the removal of 74,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest from the world heritage zone.

Bank accounts closed in fossil fuels protest

Posted by on May 2, 2014 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sydney Morning Herald, 2nd May 2014

By Angela Macdonald-Smith


The growing trend away from fossil fuel investments has taken a local twist, with hundreds of customers of Australia's four major banks said to be set to close their accounts in protest against funding of coal and gas projects in an action organisers say threaten up to $120 million in investment.

The initiative, organised by activist investment group Market Forces and climate campaigner, represents an extension of the fossil fuel divestment movement that has taken hold in northern Europe and threatens to remove major investors from the share registers of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other major Australian-listed companies.

While the origins of the movement are rooted with ethical investors, it is increasingly taking hold among mainstream investors, with Norway's huge pension fund in the process of considering a fossil fuel divestment strategy.

In a further sign of the trend, London Stock Exchange-owned FTSE Group and the world's largest fund manager BlackRock earlier this week announced plans to launch an index that tracks the performance of stocks specifically excluding those linked with fossil fuels.



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ANU Climate Change Institute Forum 29 April

Posted by on April 13, 2014 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Climate Change Colloquium to Discuss Australia's Targets and Progress

11am to 1pm, Tuesday 29 April 

Innovations Building Lecture Theatre, Innovations Building [124], ANU.

Registration is essential, please do so at