Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Thousands Rally in Hobart for Climate Action

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Thousands of Tasmanians who travelled from all corners of the State rallied in Hobart for climate action in the lead up to this week’s Climate Summit in Paris.

This should be a wake up call for the Hodgman government which has ripped up Tasmania’s ClimateSmart strategy and continues to subsidise the emissions-intensive native forest logging industry.

The science tells us that protecting the vast stores of carbon in Tasmania’s forests must be part of our response to climate disruption.

Tasmania is uniquely placed to be a world leader in responding to global warming, but the state government seems happy to keep its head in the sand and ignore the enormous opportunities that exist to create jobs and prosperity in low carbon industries.

Every responsible government has a climate plan. Even war-torn South Sudan has acknowledged its civil responsibility and prepared a comprehensive climate plan.

Where is the Tasmanian Government’s plan? Nearly two years after taking office, we still have heard nothing on climate mitigation, adaptation and the economic opportunities presented to a small, renewable-powered island in a time of climate disruption.

The Peoples Climate Rally shows that many Tasmanians are way ahead of their government on the need for action.

• Chris Harries in Comments: It was a lovely day and lots of great company but those speeches went on for too long. They guy from Bonorong Park is a gem. No airs and graces, just says what need to be said. Of late it’s become a tradition to not allow politicians to speak at these rallies. Not having high profile names makes it hard to promote the event well, but at least we hear from a wider sector of the community. Would have been good to have at least one speaker who has the ability to rouse up a lot of passionate energy, like Richard Flanagan or Bob Brown can. But thanks to the hard working organisers all over the world who have worked to organise this worldwide display of solidarity and hope.

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Chris Harries

    December 6, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Carol (#36), thanks for that insight and the link.

    I think it’s good to point out particular behaviours that have a high impact on carbon pollution, but to preach environmentalism with any attitude of smugness, piety or guilt tends is met with resentment and so tends to backfire.

    I know environmentally minded people who eat meat, but who fly around the world without a thought. I know some who have decided not to have children, because that’s the worst thing we can do. I know some who deliberately don’t own a car. Some who decline to own pets. Some who grow as much of their own food as they can. Some who fill their days campaigning for renewable energy, others for wilderness… so they have no time left to grow vegetables.

    Most of us do some of all of these things. But thinking about the activists I know most enter the arena of environmentalism from a particular standpoint that strikes them between the eyes and this becomes their personal beacon. For them it’s the most important, centre-of-the-universe thing. In time they will most likely think about other behaviours that are not being attended to.

    The fact is that we were all born into a society where absolutely everything – even the education system – is grossly skewed to a dominant paradigm that is grossly unsustainable. All of our habits, the infrastructure that’s available to us, wall to wall advertising, crammed supermarkets, dirt cheap jet flights…. We are soaked in it all. Caught in a web.

    Within that mind boggling situation, how does a person start to change their life and the society around them? I think everyone picks their own starting point and their own priority.

    When talking behaviour change its best to argue for moderation of all behaviours, rather than damning a person for not going cold turkey on one. For those who like to travel around the world that they love, do it sparingly. For those who eat meat, eat a bit less and prefer non red meats. For those who have a pet dog, learn about low-impact feeding. For those who buy all their food, make practical choices on food miles, and try to buy from farmers markets. And so on and so on.

    Above all, enjoy the learning experience and the huge adventure that’s presented to us. Treat it as an adventure, not as a guilt trip, and people will much more likely get on board.

  2. Carol Rea

    December 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    While I totally agree with Ted at #33 a combined approach is the only way to tackle climate change.
    This thought provoking piece recently hit my inbox. I think it captures the meat/heat discussion really well.
    https://medium.com/@CamFenton/notallvegans-af89826d821f#.mqc20ds5g

  3. Chris Harries

    December 6, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Good, Trevor. That means a price on carbon essentially. There is a small problem in that this comes back to the consumer. The Australian population was persuaded to vote the carbon price down. Doesn’t matter what formula for carbon pricing is enacted, the same political power play would react against it.

    Now Trevor: given that you and I may choose to make living choices that have a lower carbon footprint, a problem here is that the majority of the population choose to live in large houses, drive large cars, eat plenty of meat and fly in jets. It is the combined behaviours of 23 million Australians that defines our national footprint. Removing any of those choices or making them more expensive is political dynamite.

    So, how do we make the economy change those behaviours? A blanket carbon price generally does it at a base level, otherwise it is possible to enact discrete economic policies that make some behaviours exorbitantly expensive. They did it for cigarettes and and they could do the same for red meat – to use Teds example.

    But – this is the crux of the problem – climate change policy making is the easy part. Anyone could quickly devise a policy platform that would reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. The hard part is political acceptance. Any price regime or legal apparatus that is implemented to change behaviours, or that costs the taxpayer money, or that negatively impacts on corporations, will immediately be exploited for political gain – and the population made to feel outraged. Any government that took really decisive action wold be bundled out at the next election.

    Going right back to the start, that’s why it is important for concerned people to lobby governments to do the right thing. They are not going to do so willingly.

  4. TGC

    December 4, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    #22 I am fully in favour of making every effort to reduce energy consumption- whilst still maintaining a perfectly reasonable-and comfortable-domestic environment.
    It’s not that difficult-even at the simple end of being suitably clothed-even when inside- according to the time of year- and not burning energy when it’s not being beneficially used-“turn that light off”
    I am sure many will have comparable-or even better outcomes- but our household-‘the two of us’ – always rates well below the recognised energy consumption for that category-(Aurora guidelines) “it’s the economy (economics) stupid” that governs the process.

  5. Ted Mead

    December 4, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Here’s a few facts to support my claim on human red-meat eating diet effect on the planet –

    70% of global fresh water supplies used for agriculture.
    45% of global land occupied by the livestock system.
    33% of global arable land devoted to livestock feed.
    14.5% of global greenhouse emissions produced by livestock.

  6. David Obendorf

    December 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    [i]We[/i] are the change, [i]we[/i] want to see.

    If not [i]me[/i], then [b]who[/b]?

    [i]On your bike Laddie![/i];-)

  7. Chris Harries

    December 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks David, have to agree with you (#30).

    Political momentum and behaviour change are far too slow and we have locked in too many negative feedback cycles to go into reverse even with the best of will. We have to live with the fact that there’s no turning back, a significant level of catastrophic climate change is inevitable.

    All the same do we just watch the planet burn because there’s no other way forward? May as well live it up whilst we can. Many of the climate change denialists switch to that approach, having reluctantly accepted the fact that we are the cause of the problem. By dealing with climate change the economy as we know it collapses and for many, that drastic medicine is not worth it for saving the patient.

  8. David Obendorf

    December 4, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Regrettably significant Climate Change is now inevitable. That is the ‘inconvenient truth’, Al Gore delivered over a decade ago. There are so many humans now aiming for first-world lifestyles that we are rapidly replacing all non-essential biodiversity on the planet; the other forms of life that don’t support our human existence. Cutting back on greenhouse gases is only a part of what is required by the next generations to cope with.

    Will future generation seriously consider how much of the Earth’s land mass is ours to conquer and alienate?

    “Any species on Earth that persists with changes to the environment that lessen survival of its progeny is doomed to extinction”. James Lovelock (2006) – [b]The Revenge of Gaia[/b]

  9. mike seabrook

    December 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Stop supplying the aluminium smelter and the zinc works at give away prices for electricity

  10. Chris Harries

    December 3, 2015 at 10:19 am

    (#27) And the best energy of all is the energy we don’t need to produce. There’s far to much focus on the supply side of the energy equation.

    For all of the massive world focus on wind and solar energy production, these two technologies provide just 3 percent of world energy at present. How much less work and less resources would it have taken to reduce world energy consumption by that same amount through efficiency measures and behaviour change?

    (Not arguing against wind and solar here, just pointing to where our priorities ought to sit.)

  11. Ted Mead

    December 3, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Alternate energy sources is only one of the solutions to C02 issues of our atmosphere.

    In fact coal fired power generation is minimal in the contribution to climatic effects.
    Fossil fuel driven vehicles and ships are greater culprits to greenhouse gases.

    The earth’s vegetation loss is the primary negative factor in controlling C02
    It is land clearing and forest burning that is the greatest problem, which is mostly converted to provide habitat for livestock .

    If you really want to change the world then you need to convince everyone to stop eating red meat!!!!!!!!!

    But that’s a fact many Greenies don’t understand or will never accept.
    And convincing the rest of the world to do also will be a monumental task.

  12. Karl Stevens

    December 2, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    mike seabrook 23. So how do we re-fill the hydro dams?

  13. Chris Harries

    December 2, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Well Mike,

    In El Nino drought situation GbF scheme is almost a dead duck. And besides dam compensation money was used to build the King and Henty-Anthony schemes and that money would gave to be returned to the feds. Besides this, if El Nino patterns become repetitive wind energy is much more valuable in adding security to our very vulnerable hydro system.

    As for subsidised power provided for the three main bulk power smelters, the argument about tariff fairness is a valid one. However, closing them down means that the aluminium, zinc and ferrosilicon are smelted elsewhere in the world – in which case we lower our carbon footprint while someone else takes it up.

    Climate policies need to be viewed globally. But I wouldn’t discourage sensible discussion on these subjects.

  14. JDN

    December 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    With Tasmania now sourcing up to 50% of its power from coal sources via the basslink due to low hydro dam levls, maybe the UTAS climate researchers had a helping hand in predicting higher short term demand for coal…

  15. mike seabrook

    December 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    wanna slow greenhouse gasses

    stop massively subsidising the electricity prices to the bell bay aluminium smelter (this will help make the tamar valley pristine), the hobart zinc works and shut down the fingal coal-railton cement works business. and under no circumstances give them relief from carbon emission costs or future taxes

    wanna do something positive to save the planet and for tassie jobs
    recommence construction of the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme

  16. Chris Harries

    December 2, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Trevor, (#17) then it’s a darned good thing for concerned citizens to come out and put pressure on decision makers to manage climate change well. You should have joined in.

    Trevor (#21) one thing I think Cassie O’Connor did really well as a state government Minister was the program to improve the energy performance of low income dwellings, both Housing Tasmania stock and private homeowners. You could just regard this as a health and social benefit by lowering heating bills, but it also delivered better energy saving dividends than if that money had been allocated to solar rooftop installations, for instance.

  17. TGC

    December 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    #18 isn’t seriously suggesting that Tasmanians would vote in as government a “Cassie” led Party on the basis that they would tackle (stop!) climate change?
    “Cassie” has no more idea how to “stop” climate change than has any other politician.
    Indeed- if some procedures were put into place to “stop” climate change- in the sense of ‘de-heating the planet’-and the planet ‘de-heated’- that’d still be “climate-change” but no-one could be certain how it came about!
    You are ‘all’ tilting at windmills. Adapt!

  18. Chris Harries

    December 1, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Yes, good on you Hans.

    By the way, the South Australian government just released its new climate change strategy this week. At face value they and A.C.T. seem to be miles ahead of Tassie in climate change planning, despite our early hydro advantage.

  19. TGC

    December 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    #17 of course I believe in climate change- but I stry to steer clear of hysteia and veer towards-“we will manage it”!
    Inoted MT even suggested that!

  20. Hans Sipsma

    December 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I won’t try to answer those comments by those who introduce all kinds of issues that have nothing to do with action on Climate Change here in Tasmania.
    One cannot use logic with illogical people.

    I would like to say however that the numbers at the climate rally are only a small representation of the huge numbers, probably the majority of people in Tasmania,who want something to be done about climate change.
    This is not guesswork, but I know that I was representing at least 20 people who were not able to make it and I bet the majority of activists there on the day would be representing a similar number from their social circle.
    That would take the number of Tasmanians represented by this manifestation up to 80,000.

    To take part in a demonstration is often a life changing experience for anyone who has not done so before. It is a turning point from private to public demonstration of your opinions and cares.
    There are a huge number of people who are not able to take this step, we activists take those steps for them.
    If you add this silent majority to those who could not make it in practical terms [you cannot possibly think that a coachload of people from Launceston are the sum total of Northern Tasmanians who care about this issue, their pulp mill demos were every bit as large as this one, and they succeeded]you could well have a majority of voters who will vote for a Tasmanian Government on the issue of Climate Change. Go Cassie!

  21. Chris Harries

    December 1, 2015 at 9:26 am

    (#16) If you don’t believe climate change is a problem then you would think that, Trevor.

  22. TGC

    November 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    The Climate Rally (ies) achieve absolutely nothing and make no sensible suggestions.

  23. Carol Rea

    November 30, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    #14 mike the platypus is not a sea-dwelling creature. Maybe drought!!!

  24. mike seabrook

    November 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    love the pic of the platypus – does not want to be left high and dry

    better do something to make the sea level rise and save the platapus

  25. mike seabrook

    November 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    wonder what the rally size would be if tassie were 2-4 degrees celsius warmer and the sea level were 0.5 – 1.0 metres higher

    my kids who fled tassie some years ago to be somewhere warmer where they can afford to heat their houses in the winter and to have jobs and an economic future, will likely flee back to tassie and find house prices unaffordable and the tassie economy booming.

    will these demonstrators still be insisting that tassie battlers taxes go up so as to massively subsidise solar heating, solar power, wind power (mostly made in china), wood trash and forest residue burning power and electric cars(none made in tassie or the mainland).

    they will still no doubt be demanding that the gordon -below- franklin hydro scheme not be built and that the planet be saved.

    some mathematical illiterates in wilkies electorate (still pouring $2million every month into peter garrets and the lab-greens beloved pokies in his electorate).

  26. Chris Harries

    November 30, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Hi Carol (#10),

    I wasn’t arguing one way or the other. Just noting.

  27. Carol Rea

    November 30, 2015 at 3:02 am

    #1 Eddie you need to read this about carbon storage. This is the science. https://theconversation.com/big-old-trees-grow-faster-making-them-vital-carbon-absorbers-22104

  28. Carol Rea

    November 30, 2015 at 2:57 am

    #8 Chris Harries a People’s March doesn’t need celebrities… the whole point is to show that people are standing up for change. The turn-out without celebrity patronage showed this.

  29. Helen Hutchinson

    November 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    4000 people on the Parliament lawns was the number estimated by the organisers. It certainly looked like one of the biggest rallies organised there.
    The speakers emphasised the reality of climate change and the impacts already apparent in Tasmania; the land, the vegetation, the animals, our food.
    We have just a small chance, right now, to halt the growing emissions. It’s a chance which we must take if any species are to survive the continuing stupidity of our addiction to fossil fuel energy. Then we can decide if we can adapt to living with the damage that already exists.

    Tasmania has the unique opportunity to go 100% renewable, using solar and hydro energy, which, as Cassy says, would provide an example for other countries to follow. Let’s do it.

  30. Chris Harries

    November 29, 2015 at 10:18 am

    It was a lovely day and lots of great company but those speeches went on for too long. They guy from Bonorong Park is a gem. No airs and graces, just says what need to be said.

    Of late it’s become a tradition to not allow politicians to speak at these rallies. Not having high profile names makes it hard to promote the event well, but at least we hear from a wider sector of the community.

    Would have been good to have at least one speaker who has the ability to rouse up a lot of passionate energy, like Richard Flanagan or Bob Brown can.

    But thanks to the hard working organisers all over the world who have worked to organise this worldwide display of solidarity and hope.

  31. Ben Peelman

    November 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hopefully some other strategy than the myth of effective mitigation was suggested at this rally. Like adaptation perhaps – the strategy that all the less egotistical species are already employing?

    Environmentalists would do well to separate the issues of climate change and environmental protection (e.g. recycling will not stop climate change) but it is in the interests of groups benefiting from climate change, to continue to confuse climate change and environmental conservation.

  32. Barbara

    November 29, 2015 at 12:58 am

    I visited your beautiful island earlier this year. I speak from from a place which has trident nuclear missiles just 20 miles down the road and where traffic emissions just failed EU targets yet again. The UK is about to spend £35 billion on updating these weapons while claiming that we are too poor to pay for measures which would reduce poverty, climate change and pollution.
    This march and the pictures of people determined to protect Tasmania and the earth, is truly inspiring. Please ignore the bitter comments posted by those who sit on their arses endlessly polluting the air with whining at people who are doing something positive. More power to you.

  33. Factfinder

    November 29, 2015 at 12:08 am

    In the meantime:
    CICCA Climate Smart Farming Story: Adaptation and Agriculture
    Various New York farmers and Cornell University researchers discuss observed changes in extreme weather and climate variability on their farms and what can be done to adapt.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6FMbB6Vh1c&list=PL7zpN03P4NU_fc4UorX3LXluZunOrpbnS

  34. mark h

    November 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Serious question I challenge you to answer Cassy. Was it natural climate variability or human activity that caused extreme drought 125 years ago?

    ‘The historical 1888/89 famine is considered to have been the worst in Sudan’s history, and was associated with two consecutive years of severe drought.’

    And please, what is this claim based on? I ask as after you make this claim, you then suggest the Government does not even have a plan.

    “Tasmania is uniquely placed to be a world leader in responding to global warming”

  35. john hayward

    November 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    The bad news is that it’s already too late to avoid a two degree C rise.

    The good news is that , for once, the LibLabs won’t be able to escape the consequences.

    John Hayward

  36. Hans Sipsma

    November 28, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    And don’t forget the Tasmanian Government’s investments in fossil fuel, and their eagerness to expand coalmining and fracking on our beautiful island.

  37. eddie taylor

    November 28, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    “Thousands of Tasmanians ..” How many? “A thousand Tasmanians..” Ummm how many? “Hundreds of Tasmanians..”

    ‘The science tells us that protecting the vast stores of carbon in Tasmania’s forests must be part of our response to climate disruption.’

    What about the science that says – Use more timber. Use and re-plant, use and re-plant and on it goes …

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