Adelaide FoE Notes

These posts are to appear in the fortnightly newsletter

Trade deals must not be negotiated in secret

Trade deals affect people’s everyday lives from the food we eat to the energy we use, and should not be discussed in secret, behind closed doors. Yet sadly, this is exactly what is happening at this year’s upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Buenos Aires from 10-13 December.

Friends of the Earth International has been advocating for a fair and sustainable trade agenda for over two decades, yet this is the first time we have been banned from participating in the WTO.

In an unprecedented move, the Argentine government revoked our accreditation, together with 60 individuals from a diverse range of trade unions, farmers’ and consumer rights organisations.

The official reason for our ban is that we have “been making explicate calls for violent protests on social media, desiring to create scenes of chaos and intimidation.” Yet this information can be disproved simply by checking our Twitter account, which has never made incitements to violence.
“Locking people out of the WTO will only further undermine its legitimacy.”

At the same time, we do not shy away disagreeing with many of the pro-corporate policies and deals being pushed by the WTO and the Argentine government, which are often stumbling blocks for action on climate change.

When India’s National Solar Mission, which aims to bring energy to millions of people by building 100 GW of solar energy, was found “guilty” by the WTO of creating local jobs, we spoke up.

We have also protested WTO policies that penalise and prohibit developing countries from undertaking public stockholding programmes. This blocks food sovereignty for the world’s poorest, and livelihoods for peasant, indigenous and small-scale farmers, yet allows the EU and USA to provide massive global market distorting subsidies that beef up agribusiness interests while ruining farmers abroad.

A crackdown on our rights to debate and oppose such trade policies is an attack on our ability to decide what kind of world we want to live in.Read more >>

Are you ready to rally? Don’t Dump on SA! Dec. 2 – 11am – Parliament House

RALLY TIME! DON’T DUMP ON SA.

Saturday Dec 2, 2017, 11 am

Parliament House, North Tce, Adelaide, Kaurna Land.

Family friendly event. Bring your friends!

 

Twelve months ago, the Second Citizen’s Jury on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission soundly rejected a proposal to store nuclear waste in SA.

However, our state still faces nuclear waste dump proposal initiated by the Federal government. In the lead up to the SA state election in March, we need to send a strong message to politicians to make it clear that SA will not be the radioactive dump state. Get inspired by watching the ‘We say NO’ short film if you haven’t already.

 

Get even more inspired by watching this short video of Scott Ludlam (Facebook) explaining the significance of the issue and why you should come to the rally:

The rally is packed with great speakers and entertainment.  We are lucky to have indigenous dancers the Dusty Feet Mob performing as well as the Rise Up Singers.… Read more >>

Social + community licence to operate is a real issue for the mining industry in Australia – BHP opposes changes to DGR regulations

“We do not support changes that limit public advocacy to 10 percent of funds, or requirements to spend 25 percent of funds on environmental remediation.”

Having already rocked the mining industry’s peak lobby, BHP’s determined pursuit of an independent public affairs course in the name of renewing and enhancing corporate social licence has now triggered angry resentment within some powerful pockets of the federal government.

 

The fulcrum of this latest bout of BHP-fuelled anxiety is a letter from the company to a small community of charity organisations in the middle of October and that followed a meeting between management and the lobbies in late September.

In its letter, dated October 16 and written by sustainability and public affairs officer, Tony Cudmore, BHP reiterates that it is actively reviewing membership of the Minerals Council of Australia and other industry lobby memberships and then goes on to announce management’s opposition to flagged government reforms to the tax status of charitable organisations in Australia.

Cudmore opened the October communiqué by restating the breadth and intent of the already-flagged internal review of its associations and its determination to advertise points of policy difference between the company and its lobbies.

“In relation to the MCA, as you are aware we have committed to complete our review of industry association memberships by December 31 this year, including the MCA, and we will make outcomes of that review public,” he said. “This will include a list of any material differences on climate and energy policy.”

The letter was sent following a September meeting with the leadership of four community organisations, two of them leading environmental protection lobbies (the World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Conservation Foundation) and two peak councils (the Australian Council for International Development and the Community Council for Australia).

The meeting was held three days after the abrupt resignation of MCA chief executive Brendan Pearson.… Read more >>

Zombie TPP trade deal threatens climate

Australia/ Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2017: This weekend trade ministers from the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have attempted to salvage the trade deal by suspending a number of controversial provisions. Leaders could not reach a final agreement as predicted yet endorsed the deal in a statement and made a commitment to continue negotiations.

Friends of the Earth International warns that the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership would still threaten people and planet, if approved.

Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Resisting Neo-Liberalism Coordinator, said:

“The zombie TPP deal continues to stagger on terrorizing people across the Asia Pacific. Now is the time to put this deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive deal to rest. Trade can not trump climate action any longer.”

“Over 160 countries are currently taking part in international climate negotiations in Bonn to reduce greenhouse emissions, yet the zombie TPP trade deal would undermine climate action by protecting ‘free trade’ in dirty energy products and lead to an increase in coal, oil and gas exports, fuelling global warming.”

Read more >>

Little storage needed for 35-50% renewables: new Finkel report

A new report commissioned by chief scientist Alan Finkel, The role of Energy Storage in Australia’s Future Energy Supply Mix, says the required investment in energy security and reliability over the next five-10 years will be minimal, even if wind and solar deployment moves far beyond levels contemplated by the Energy Security Board.

“At an aggregated national level, Australia can reach penetrations of 50 per cent renewable energy without a significant requirement for storage to support energy reliability

The contrast with ESB modelling – and the attempts by Coalition parties at state and federal level to dismiss high levels of renewable energy as “reckless” – could not be more pronounced.

While the ESB, in arguing for a National Energy Guarantee, speaks of the system threats and urgency to act with a level of “variable” renewables accounting for between 18 and 24 per cent of total generation, this new report says surprisingly little storage may be needed with 35 per cent to 50 per cent wind and solar.

Even in the 50 per cent variable renewable energy scenario – more than double that contemplated at the high end by the ESB – the new report suggests enough battery storage may be available “behind the meter,” households and businesses, to meet the storage needs.

Pointedly, the study models levels of “variable”renewable energy – wind and solar” that are far higher than that contemplated by the ESB in its argument for an “urgent” reliability option.

The new study’s “low renewable” share – 35 per cent – is twice the amount of wind and solar modeled by the ESB for 2030, at just 18-24 per cent, and yet it sees little need for a lot of added storage.

The study’s medium renewables scenario aims at 50 per cent share of variable renewbles by 2030, while its “high” share models 75 per cent wind and solar penetration.… Read more >>