political action commit-tee

Individual and political action on climate change

The issue of human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate change (global warming) is becoming a central focus of the Green movement. As illustrated by the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize being jointly awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the issue is building an increasing level of mainstream interest. Around the world, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of climate change as a factor in a range of issues. Many environmental, economic and social issues find common ground in the form of climate change. Individual and political action on climate change can take many forms, all of which have the ultimate goal of limiting and/or reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (See also business action on climate change.)

Political action

Political action is useful for changing laws and regulations that relate to climate change, such as tax incentives, greenhouse gas emissions limits or establishing a regulatory framework within which carbon trading markets can operate. It can also be useful for gaining media and public attention to climate change. Political action from the community, however, is often challenged by powerful vested interests within the fossil fuel industry.

There are many forms of political action on climate change. These include letter writing, direct lobbying, and public shaming of politicians and political and media organizations. Organising such campaigns requires building a required base of support at local level.

Protest movements

An increasing number of groups from around the world are coming together to work on the common issue of climate change. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from diverse fields of work are finding they have an issue to unite on. A coalition of 50 NGOs called Stop Climate Chaos launched in Britain (September 2005) to highlight the issue of climate change.

Another group, the Campaign against Climate Change was created to focus purely on the issue of climate change and particularly to pressure governments into action by building a protest movement of sufficient magnitude to effect political change.

In New Zealand, a coalition called Climaction adovcates system change, not climate change. They hold mass direct action blockades of major streets in Auckland City to demand free and frequent public transport, and a 90% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2030.

Across the globe Critical Mass is an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in cities around the world where bicyclists and, less frequently, unicyclists, skateboarders, inline skaters, roller skaters and other self-propelled commuters take to the streets en masse. While the ride was originally founded in San Francisco with the idea of drawing attention to how unfriendly the city was to bicyclists, the leaderless structure of Critical Mass makes it impossible to assign it any one specific goal. In fact, the purpose of Critical Mass is not formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city or town streets.

International political frameworks

Kyoto

The primary international policy framework currently in existence is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), specifically the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emissions limits for many of the world's most economically developed nations.

The EU ETS

Under Kyoto, countries with targets can elect to reach these targets in co-operation with other countries. The European Union has decided to work as a unit to meet its emissions targets. The European climate change program attempts to do this by utilising an emissions trading scheme known as the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme. The principle of this scheme is quite simple: in order to make their legally binding commitments under Kyoto, countries can either make these savings within their own country, or they can buy these emissions reductions from other countries. These other countries would still need to meet their Kyoto targets, but the use of a free market system ensures the reductions are made for the least possible costs. Most reductions are made where these reductions are cheapest, and the excess reductions can be sold on to other countries where such cuts would be less economically viable.

Contraction and Convergence

The concept of Cap, Contraction and Convergence, as a replacement to the Kyoto agreement, has been recently gaining ground. The idea here is that the limits to carbon emissions need to be capped at 450 parts per million, currently considered to produce a raise in world temperatures above pre-industrial levels of about 2 degrees Celsius. It is currently believed that further increases would bring about major positive feedbacks (the burning of forests and the loss of carbon from soils and oceans) which currently limit greenhouse gas emissions, and would lead to a run-away global warming similar to the Eocene period, during which there was no ice at the poles.

To sustain this figure, it is proposed that on equity grounds, all people should be allocated an equal carbon footprint (currently about 2 tonnes per person, which by 2050 could fall to 1.5 tonnes per person through population increase). World per capita carbon emissions, currently in excess of 4 tonnes per person needs to contract to those levels, if these targets are to be met. As a result, in the name of global and inter-generational equity, policies needing to be instituted need to converge, over a fixed period towards this figure for every country. A trading regime, whereby which countries in excess of these figures (from example the USA at 20 tonnes per capita), purchase carbon credits from a country using less than its allocation (eg Kenya at 1.3 tonnes per capita), is considered by many as the best way of solving this problem.

For example the Contract and Converge strategy has now been adopted by India, China and many African countries as the basis for future negotiations. The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution said in 2000 "the UK should be prepared to accept the contraction and convergence principle is the basis for international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions".

Sub-national level action

Some states, regions, and cities in the world are taking the lead on developing emissions reduction methods in the absence of federal policy, and may provide models for future national efforts. Their efforts are achieving real measurable emissions reductions and by pursuing policies and programs that have climate benefits, they have promoted state economic development, improved air quality and trimmed their vulnerability to energy price spikes. In the long run, addressing climate change will require comprehensive national policy and international agreements. However, in the absence of federal policy, states and regions are taking the lead on developing policies that may provide models for future national efforts.

What's being done in the United States

Across the country, regional organizations, states, and cities are achieving real emissions reductions and gaining valuable policy experience as they take action on climate change. These actions include increasing renewable energy generation, selling agricultural carbon sequestration credits, and encouraging efficient energy use. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program is a joint program of over twenty U.S. cabinet departments and federal agencies, all working together to investigate climate change. In June 2008, a report issued by the program stated that weather would become more extreme, due to climate change.

States and municipalities often function as "policy laboratories", developing intiatives that serve as models for federal action. This has been especially true with environmental regulation--most federal environmental laws have been based on state models. In addition, state actions can have a significant impact on emissions, because many individual states emit high levels of greenhouse gases. Texas, for example, emits more than France, while California's emissions exceed those of Brazil. State actions are also important because states have primary jurisdiction over many areas--such as electric generation, agriculture, and land use--that are critical to addressing climate change.

It is important to understand that states have limited resources to devote to the climate issue, and their strict budget requirements can put long-term climate policies in jeopardy. States also lack certain powers that would be crucial to a comprehensive climate change policy, such as the authority to enter into international agreements. Finally, when states take individual approaches on the issue, a "patchwork quilt" of policies can result across the nation. This patchwork of policies may be inefficient for complying business and may result in some states duplicating the work done in other states. While some states are delivering real reductions of GHG emissions only in a few cases do the reduction targets commensurate with what will be needed on a global scale.

Comprehensive climate plans combined with enforecable GHG emissions targets provide the highest certainty of significant emission reductions. Twenty-eight states have climate action plans and nine have state-wide emission targets. The states of California and New Mexico have committed most recently to emission reductions targets, joining New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Washington and Oregon.

California

California has long been seen as the state-level pioneer in environmental issues related to global warming and has shown some impressive leadership in the last four years. On July 22 2002, Governor Gray Davis approved AB 1493, a bill directing the California Air Resources Board to develop standards to achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. Now the California Vehicle Global Warming law, it requires automakers to reduce emissions by 30% by 2016. Although it has been challenged in the courts by the automakers, support for the law is growing as other states have adopted similar legislation. On September 7 2002 Governor Davis approved a bill requiring the California Climate Action Registry to adopt procedures and protocols for project reporting and carbon sequestration in forests. (SB 812. Approved by Governor Davis on September 7 2002) California has convened an interagency task force, housed at the California Energy Commission, to develop these procedures and protocols. Staff are currently seeking input on a host of technical questions.

On June 2005 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an executive order calling for the following reductions in state greenhouse gas emissions: 11 percent by 2010, 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Most recently, on August 30,2006, Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature reached an agreement on AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and on September 27 2006, signed it into law at an official ceremony. The Act caps California's greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020. This agreement represents the first enforceable state-wide program in the U.S. to cap all GHG emissions from major industries that includes penalties for non-compliance. This requires the State Air Resources Board to establish a program for statewide greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. The bill authorizes the state board to adopt market-based compliance mechanisms including cap-and-trade, and allows a one-year extension of the targets under extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, on September 26th Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 107, which requires California's three major biggest utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to produce at least 20% of their electricity using renewable sources by 2010. This shortens the time span originally enacted by Gov. Davis in September 2002 to increase utility renewable energy sales 1% annually to 20% by 2017.

Connecticut

The state of Connecticut passed a number of bills on global warming in the early to mid 1990s, including -- in 1990 -- the first state global warming law to require specific actions for reducing CO2. Connecticut is one of the states that agreed, under the auspices of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP), to a voluntary short-term goal of reducing regional greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and by 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The NEG/ECP long-term goal is to reduce emissions to a level that eliminates any dangerous threats to the climate -- a goal scientists suggest will require reductions 75 to 85 percent below current levels These goals were announced in August 2001. The state has also acted to require incremental additions in renewable electric generation by 2009.

Regional initiatives

Regional initiatives can be more efficient than programs at the state level, as they encompass a broader geographical area, eliminate duplication of work, and create more uniform regulatory environments. Over the past few years, a number of regional initiatives have begun developing systems to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, increase renewable energy generation, track renewable energy credits, and research and establish baselines for carbon sequestration.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

In December 2005, the governors of seven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states agreed to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade system covering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from regional power plants. Currently (at the time of this edit), Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont have signed, and Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich signed legislation in March 2006 that commits Maryland to join RGGI by 2007. To facilitate compliance with reduction targets, RGGI will provide flexibility mechanisms that include credits for emissions reductions achieved outside of the electricity sector. The successful implementation of the RGGI model will set the stage for other states to join or form their own regional cap and trade systems and may encourage the program to expand to other greenhouse gases and other sectors. RGGI states, along with Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, are also developing a GHG registry called the Eastern Climate Registry.

The Western Governors' Association

The Western Governors' Association (WGA) Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative, including 18 western states, has begun investigating strategies to increase efficiency and renewable energy sources in their electricity systems. Governors Richardson (NM), Schwarzenegger (CA), Freudenthal (WY) & Hoeven (ND) serve as lead Governors on this initiative. To meet its goals, the Initiative's advisory committee (CDEAC) appointed eight technical task forces to develop recommendations based on reviews of specific clean energy and efficiency options. The CDEAC made final recommendations to the Western Governors' Association on June 11 2006. Additionally, the WGA and the California Energy Commission are creating the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information State (WREGIS). WREGIS is a voluntary system for renewable energy credits and tracks renewable energy credits (RECs) across 11 western states in order to facilitate trading to meet renewable energy portfolio standards.
Other regional initiatives
The governors of Arizona and New Mexico signed an agreement to create the Southwest Climate Change Initiative in February 2006. The two states collaborated to assess greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change in the Southwest and on September 8 2006, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano issued an executive order to implement recommendations included in the Climate Change Advisory Group's Climate Action Plan. The West Coast states--Washington, Oregon, and California--are cooperating on a strategy to reduce GHG emissions, known as the Western Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative. Finally, on February 26 2007, these five Western states (Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico) agreed to combine their efforts to develop regional targets for reducing greenhouse emissions, creating the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative.

In 2001 six New England states committed to the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP) climate action plan, including short and long-term GHG emission reduction goals. Powering the Plains, launched in 2002, is a regional effort involving participants from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Canadian Province of Manitoba. This initiative aims to develop strategies, policies, and demonstration projects for alternative energy sources and technology and climate-friendly agricultural development.

Local governments

Local governments have many approaches and motives for undertaking and achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and each is governed by a variety of philosophies and ideals. Jurisdictions participating in reducing global warming pollution more often than not are motivated by the desire to simply cut traffic, save tax money, clean the air, and improve quality of life in their communities. In seeking to embrace a process that is compatible with their own jurisdiction, local governments occasionally develop collaborative agreements with organizations that advocate for a specific approach in order to simplify access to mechanisms for achieving results. There is no single approach that can be universally applied at this level effectively, but the inherent diversity of communities in themselves has sparked many creative approaches that can be further developed and applied on a larger level.
ICLEI
In 1993, at the invitation of ICLEI, municipal leaders met at the United Nations in New York and adopted a declaration that called for the establishment of a worldwide movement of local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and enhance urban sustainability. The result was the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign. Since its inception, the CCP Campaign has grown to involve more than 650 local governments worldwide that are integrating climate change mitigation into their decision-making processes.
U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement
On February 16 2005 Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels launched an initiative to advance the goals of the Kyoto Protocol through leadership and action by at least 141 American cities, and currently as of October, 2006, 319 mayors representing over 51.4 million Americans have accepted the challenge. Under the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, cities must commit to three actions in striving to meet the Kyoto Protocol in their own communities. These actions include:

  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system

Campus-level action

Many colleges and universities have taken steps in recent years to offset or curb their greenhouse gas emissions in relation to campus activities. On October 5 2006, New York University announced that it plans to purchase 118 million kilowatt hours of wind power, more wind power than any college or university in the country. Later in the same month, the small campus of College of the Atlantic in Maine became the first to vow to offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions by cutting GHG emissions and investing in emissions-cutting projects elsewhere. In May 2007, the trustees of Middlebury College voted in support of a student-written proposal to reduce campus emissions as much as possible, and then offset the rest such that the campus is carbon neutral by 2016. As of November 2007, 434 campuses have institutionalized their commitment to climate neutrality by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. On November 2nd-5th, 2007, thousands of young adults converged at Washington D.C. for Power Shift 2007, the first national youth summit to solve the climate crisis.

What is being done in the United Kingdom

The town of Totnes in Devon through its "Transition Town Totnes" Project has adopted an Energy Descent Plan, as a response in answer to the twin problems of greenhouse gas emissions and peak oil. As a result of a series of large, well attended public gatherings with key experts from around the world, and the organisation of a number of special interest groups, the community has come together with lecturers and trainers shared with Schumacher College, through a process of participative strategic planning, to hone their skills in project development. As a result of the initiatives in Totnes, a large number of other communities have started "Transition Town" projects.

The concepts of including "food miles" or "carbon neutral" labels on packaging has been gaining interest in the UK.

What's being done in Australia

Climate change featured strongly in the November 2007 Australian federal election in which John Howard was replaced by Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. The first official act of the new Australian Government was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

The new Department of Climate Change under Minister Penny Wong is coordinating and leading climate policy in the Australian Government and aims to have a national emissions trading scheme operating by 2010. The new government has committed to reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050, based on year 2000 levels but is awaiting a report from Professor Ross Garnaut, the Garnaut Climate Change Review, in mid-2008 before setting interim emission reduction targets for 2020.

Climate change is on the agenda for most environmental and social justice non-government organisations (NGOs) in Australia. There has also been significant action at a State Government level, although the Federal government was slow to act under the former prime minister, John Howard.

Local and State government in Australia

State government of Victoria
The state of Victoria, in particular, has been proactive in pursuing reductions in GHG through a range of initiatives. Other states have also taken a more proactive stance than the federal government. One such initiative undertaken by the Victorian Government is the Greenhouse Challenge for Energy Policy package, which aims to reduce Victorian emissions through a mandated renewable energy target. Initially, it aimed to have a 10 per cent share of Victoria’s energy consumption being produced by renewable technologies by 2010, with 1000 MWh being produced by wind energy by 2006; this target was not met. The government recently legislated to ensure that by 2016 electricity retailers in Victoria purchase 10 per cent of their energy from renewables. The State Government also made an election promise, at the 2006 election, to increase this to 20 per cent by 2020. By providing a market incentive for the development of renewables, the government helps foster the development of the renewable energy sector.
State government of Western Australia
On May 6, 2007, the Premier of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter announced the formation of a new Climate Change Office responsible to a Minister, with a plan that included:

  • a target to reduce emissions by at least 60% below 2000 levels by 2050
  • a $36.5 million Low Emission Energy Development Fund
  • a target to increase renewable energy generation on the South West Interconnected System to 15% by 2020 and 20% by 2025
  • a clean energy target of 50% by 2010 and 60% by 2020
  • State Government purchase of 20% renewable energy by 2010
  • a mandatory energy efficiency program that will require large and medium energy users to invest in cost effective energy efficiency measures
  • tripling the successful solar schools program so that over 350 schools will be using renewable energy by 2010
  • a new $1.5 million Household Sustainability Audit and Education program that will provide practical information to households about how they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • investing 8.625 million to help businesses and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • the development of new climate change legislation
  • a commitment to establishment of a national emissions trading scheme

This plan has been criticised by Greens MP Paul Llewellyn who stated that short-term programmatic targets rather than aspirational targets to greenhouse gas emissions were needed, and that renewable energy growth in the state was still being driven entirely by federal government policy and incentives, not by measures being made by the state government.

Youth Climate Movement

Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) was founded in November 2006 by over 35 youth organisations including the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) , GetUp! , the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) and OzGreen The founding summit involved 65 young people aged 15-30 representing 30 different youth and youth-friendly organisations. The AYCC is a non-partisan, non-profit coalition with the aim of informing, inspiring and mobilising an entire generation in the struggle for climate justice and a clean energy future. The coalition emerged to hold those in power to account by challenging the acutely poor leadership shown by the Australian government and the private sector to stop climate change. In February 2007, the AYCC organised its official launch where AYCC members delivered their declaration on climate change to members of the Australian Parliament around the country.

  • Adopt a Politician

The Coalition supports numerous projects by harnessing the knowledge, skills and experience of its coalition member groups. In August 2007 the AYCC launched their federal election campaign "Adopt a Politician" providing young voters and non-voters a platform on which to engage with their local community on the issue and pressure their federal candidates to save their future by committing to better policies.

  • Switched On

In October 2007 the AYCC and ASEN organised the largest gathering of young climate activists from around the country at the conference "Switched On" in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The conferenced aimed to facilitate critical thinking on climate change and its solutions, share knowledge and skills for organising around climate change and provide support and networking opportunities for the growing youth climate movement in Australia.

  • Kyoto

In November 2007, youth delegates from the AYCC attended the Kyoto negotiations in Bali where they collaborated with other national youth networks and young climate activists from around the world.

Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN)

ASEN is a non-profit, grassroots network of student activists from universities, tafes and secondary schools across Australia. The network aims to create a generation of change-agents actively working to achieve environmental and social justice within the Australian and world context. The network has a strong focus on equipping young people with organising and facilitation skills and provides first-hand campaigning experience in environmental advocacy and grassroots organising. Annually, the ASEN summer training camp brings together students for one week of facilitated skill sharing, workshopping, campaign planning and strategising. ASEN's Charter , organisational structure and organising processes illustrates the ethos underpinning the networks approach to change. The youth who constitute the network actively work to address issues of class, ethnicity, gender and age.

ASEN has multiple campaign foci including climate change, coal mining, green jobs, campus sustainability (energy/emissions & recycled paper), nuclear power, Gold and Uranium mining and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. In addition, the network builds and lives-out alternative ideas and lifestyles through community projects such as Co-operatives (food, housing and transport), on-campus permaculture gardens and by investing in community supported agriculture.

National campaigns

  • Climate Change
  • Clean Energy on Campus
  • Nuclear no solution
  • Deforestation/Recycled paper
  • Indigenous Solidarity

The network's primary emailing list is the national Enviro People e-list

Students of Sustainability conference
Each July ASEN facilitates the Students of Sustainability (SoS) , the largest student-run conference in Australia. Each year a campus-based Environment Collective is elected to host the conference and performs the extraordinary task of organising the week-long ensemble of speakers, researchers, activists, organisers, musicians, artists and concerned locals. The conference attracts hundreds of local and inter-state participants and plays an important role in sustaining the youth environment movement in Australia primarily via the extensive networking that takes place. It is a key opportuntiy for young people to meet others from the network face to face and participate in ASEN's Annual General Meeting (AGM).
ASEN Training Camp
Annually, the network organises a week-long training camp for new campus collective convenors and student activists every 21st - 26th January. The 2008 training camp marked the beginning of a new chapter within the network by incorporating the additional "Educate the Educators" stream. The additional stream provides students an opportunity to co-facilitate numerous workshops throughout the camp and deepen their theoretical and practical understanding of Activist Education.

The training camp aims to share and expand upon skills that the network believes are crucial to the areas of grassroots organising, advocacy and campaigning includin facilitation, group decision making processes, building and maintaining collectives, sustainable activism, non-violent direct action, campaign strategy, conflict resolution, media and messaging, lobbying and negotiation, exploring theories of change and social movement building and analysis.

ASEN holds an annual day of planning for the network to map strategy, goals and priorities for the coming year. The camp deliberately coincides with the Invasion Day Corroboree at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra on 25th January.

ASEN Training Camps

  • 2008 - Calloola Farm, Canberra
  • 2007 - Australian National University (ANU), Canberra
  • 2006 - Northern NSW

Community organising

  • In the Hunter Valley, alliances are being developed between unionists, environmentalists and other stakeholders
  • The Anvil Hill Alliance includes community and environment groups in NSW opposed to the expansion of coal mines in his high conservation value region. Their ‘statement’ has been endorsed by 28 groups.

Community engagement

Initiatives

  • WWF has recruited companies to participate in Australia's first Earth Hour on March 31 2007. Participating companies turned off their lights for one hour from 7.30pm. Cities across Europe turned off lights on public buildings including the Eiffel Tower and Colloseum during January 2007 to mark the release of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report Householders were also encouraged to switch off electrical appliances.
  • Another WWF initiative called Climate Witness recruits indiviudals who can share their stories of climate change impacts and their efforts to adapt to those changes.
  • With support from the Uniting Church and Catholic Earthcare, ACF and the National Council of Churches Australia have produced a brochure, Changing Climate, Changing Creation, which is being distributed to churches across the country. The brochure encourages Australian Christians to: write to or visit their federal MP and ask what they are doing to address the threat of climate change; find out more about reducing energy and water usage and waste at home; and take action on climate change within churches and small groups.
  • Ipswich Green was formed by an automotive dealer to provide like minded businesses a way of engaging the community regarding carbon emissions.

Literature

  • Janette Hartz-Karp writes that "to deal with the complexity of climate change and oil dependency, we need a radical rethink of how to engage citizens in meaningful, influential dialogue"

Deliberative democracy presents a wide range of strategies to involve communities in these important decisions.

Legal action

  • Groups including Rising Tide and Queensland Conservation have initiated legal challenges to coal mines under the Commonwealth EPBC legislation. In late 2006, Queensland Conservation lodged an objection to the greenhouse gas emissions from a large coal mine expansion proposed by Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd. QC's action aimed to have the true costs of the greenhouse gas emissions from coal mining recognised. The Newlands Coal Mine Expansion will produce 28.5 million tonnes of coal over its fifteen years of operation. The mining, transport and use of this coal will emit 84 million tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere. Queensland Conservation aims to have reasonable and practical measures imposed on new mines to avoid, reduce or offset the emissions from the mining, transport and use of their coal. The Land and Resources Tribunal ruled against the case.
  • Peter Gray’s win in the NSW Planning and Environment Court pushing the state government to consider climate change impacts in its assessment of new developments – in particular in relation to its failure to do so with Centennial Coal’s proposed Anvil Hill mine.

Movement building

Coalitions and Alliances

  • The Climate Action Network of Australia (CANA) coordinate communication and collaboration between 38 Australian NGOs campaigning around climate change.
  • ClimateMovement.org.au is an initiative of the Nature Conservation Council. The web site includes is a hub for Climate Action Groups around Australia to connect with each other, access resources, share success stories and collaborate. It is structured around a collective blog for Climate Action Groups as well as a directory and mapping of all the community climate groups in Australia, a community events calendar and a resources section. The project encourages people to start and register new climate action groups.
  • Friends of the Earth’s Climate Justice campaign and work with Pacific Island and faith-based communities.

Key events

  • Walk Against Warming: annual community event supported by several NGOs and Australian Conservation Councils. Drew 40,000 in Sydney in November 2006 and 2007
  • Sustainability Convergence - a joint project based in Melbourne, Australia that involves a range of individuals and community groups from cross movements and sectors aiming to harness the momentum for action on climate change. The Sustainable Living Foundation provides the basic platform of the event and works with a range of groups to co-host the activities.
  • The Rainforest Information Centre plans a road show of Eastern states in the first half of 2007. The workshops will comprise a brief summary of the problem and forty minute presentation on despair and empowerment before encouraging participants to consider how to get active at a neighbourhood or community level. The intention is to establish new climate action groups and, where they exist already, to provide support, direction and connections.
  • The Gaia Foundation in Western Australia has been running a series of "Climate Change: Be the Change" workshops around Perth, aimed at getting individuals to undertake personal projects to limit their greenhouse gas emissions

Online organising

  • GetUp! Organised online action around nine key campaigns, including climate action. Promoting five policy asks. Regular email updates to subscribers.

Direct Action

  • Rising Tide, a Newcastle-based crew, have organised some excellent actions to build pressure for a shift from coal dependence. In February 2007, more than 100 small and medium craft, including swimmers and people on surfboards, gathered in the harbour as well as on its shores as part of the peaceful demonstration. No-one was arrested even though the group attempted to surround a large freight ship as it entered the port.
  • In 2005, Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a loader in a Gippsland power station's coal pit.
  • Young people from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) shut down two coal fired power stations in October 2007.

Policy advocacy

  • WWF Australia's 'Clean Energy Future for Australia' outlines a range of policy recommendations for meeting electricity needs sustainably.
  • The Climate Institute of Australia is a policy think tank and advocacy NGO.

Social justice groups

  • TEAR Australia has joined with other aid and development organisations on the Climate Change and Development NGO Roundtable.

What is being done in Japan

Tokyo

On June 25, 2008, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly approved bylaw for reduction program of CO2 emission start from 2010. Approx. 1,300 large offices and factories in Tokyo that consume electric power equivalent to 1,500 kilo-litre of crude oil annually must reduce CO2 emission 15-20% of average volume in last three years before this bylaw. Even with emissions trading or cap and trade but targeting reduction not is achieved by 2020, the penalty up to JPY 500,000 shall be charged. This penalty chargeable regulation is first one in Japan.

Individual action

Making various personal choices can be an effective method of fighting climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Personal Emissions Calculator is a tool for measuring the impact that individual choices (often money saving) can have.

Lifestyle

  • A Carbon Diet is an effective way to understand the amount of impact on the environment and how to make meaningful changes.
  • A Low Carbon Diet is a way to reduce your impact by choosing food that causes much less polluion.
  • Walking is the least impactful mode of transportation, followed by the bicycle, whose usage produces no carbon emissions. (The manufacturing of bicycles does emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants.)
  • Trees: Protecting forests and planting new trees contributes to the absorption of carbon dioxide from the air. There are many opportunities to plant trees in the yard, along roads, in parks, and in public gardens. In addition, some charities plant fast-growing trees -- for as little as $US0.10 per tree -- to help people in tropical developing countries restore the productivity of their lands Conversely, clearing old-growth forests adds to the carbon in the atmosphere, so buying non-old-growth paper is good for the climate as well as the forest.
  • Labels: The Energy Star label can be seen on many household appliances, home electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment, windows, residential light fixtures, and other products. Energy Star products use less energy.
  • Green Electricity Watch is an independent ranking of GreenPower electricity products offered by Australian electricity retailers, providing consumers with a simple guide to all the GreenPower products available and which ones make a real difference in reducing global warming. It is an initiative of The Total Environment Centre, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF Australia
  • Cars: Purchasing a vehicle which gets high gas mileage helps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • The wind energy produced in Denmark, for example, provides about 20 percent of the country's total electricity needs. These methods of energy production emit no greenhouse gases once they are up and running. Many energy suppliers in various countries worldwide have options to purchase part or pure "green energy."
  • Carbon offsets: The principle of carbon offset is thus: one decides that they don't want to be responsible for accelerating climate change, and they've already made efforts to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, so they decide to pay someone else to further reduce their net emissions by planting trees or by taking up low-carbon technologies. Every unit of carbon that is absorbed by trees -- or not emitted due to your funding of renewable energy deployment -- offsets the emissions from their fossil fuel use. In many cases, funding of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or tree planting -- particularly in developing nations -- can be a relatively cheap way of making an individual "carbon neutral". Carbon offset providers -- some as inexpensive as US$0.11 per metric ton (US$0.10 per US ton) of carbon dioxide -- are referenced below under Lifestyle Action.
  • Using less animal products: The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reports that rearing livestock contributes more greenhouse gases than all fossil fuel burning combined. A 2006 study from the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago found the difference between a vegan diet and red meat diet is equivalent to driving a sedan compared to a sport utility vehicle.

See also

References

External links

Climate change science

Protest and direct action groups

International political action

Sub-national action

Lifestyle action

Search another word or see political action commit-teeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature