Supply risks need to be met with Renewables, not fracking says Friends of the Earth

Seaspray_sign.jpegMEDIA RELEASE Friends of the Earth March 9, 2017

An assessment released this morning by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warns that, without a swift response, Australia could face shortfalls in gas, and potentially in electricity from 2018.

Pro gas interests have seized on this as ‘proof’ that states need to lift moratoriums and open new areas to drilling.

However, this report underscores the need to transition rapidly to renewables, not entrench further gas production.

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We Won! Victoria is Officially Gasfield Free!

we wonWe did it! Today Victoria became the first Australian state to permanently ban the process of fracking to access ‘unconventional’ gas (gases like coal seam gas or CSG, and Shale and Tight gas). We also achieved an extension of the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling until 2020.

This is an amazing day. It is the result of more than five years of hard work and dedication by many thousands of Victorians. 75 regional communities declared themselves gasfield free during this process. By 2012 we had built enough collective power that we were able to stop all development of onshore gas drilling in our state. Today the ban on fracking was made permanent.

This is an incredible win for the communities in regional Victoria who fought for more than five years to gain this ban and their allies in Melbourne (short summary of the campaign available here).

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Gas Ban Win for Victoria! Thank you!

gasbanWe did it! Today Victoria became the first Australian state to permanently ban the process of fracking to access ‘unconventional’ gas (gases like coal seam gas or CSG, and Shale and Tight gas). We also achieved an extension of the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling until 2020.

Thank you to everyone who built and sustained this campaign. In a time of deep cynicism in politics, this shows what communities can achieve when they work together in a strategic and determined way. Drilling would be happening now in a number of places across southern Victoria if we all hadn’t got active.

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Betrayal of farmers a bad move for Coalition

final_vote_March_2017.jpgMedia release March 7, 2017

The announcement this morning that the Victorian Coalition will put forward an amendment which would see the moratorium on conventional gas drilling lifted has been met with anger from farming communities and environmental groups.

“The Coalition put the moratorium in place in 2012. It has constantly berated the ALP for changing it’s position on gas mining, yet has now performed a backflip of huge proportions” said Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigner Ursula Alquier.

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Strengthened climate laws pass Vic parliament: Andrews govt can put a down-payment on climate action in budget

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MEDIA RELEASE: 23 Feb 2017

BREAKING--The Andrews government's push to strengthen Victoria's climate change laws has passed the upper house--winning the support of The Greens and crossbenchers Fiona Patten and James Purcell.

Friends of the Earth welcome the passage of amendments to the Victorian Climate Change Act. That enshrines a zero-net emissions target by 2050 into law. It also requires governments to set five-yearly interim emissions reduction targets and adaptation action plans.

"Community members who are seeing the impacts of climate change will welcome the strengthened climate change laws," said Leigh Ewbank, FoE climate spokesperson.

"We commend the Andrews government and all MPs who supported the bill which will help prevent climate change from worsening and prepare communities for the impacts that are now locked in."

The Climate Change Act was put in place in 2010 but was gutted by the Baillieu government a year later. Victoria lost almost five years in a decade when the world was running out of time to avoid climate catastrophe. 

"With the Act finally re-built to include greenhouse gas reductions, it is essential we get on with the task of rapidly transforming Victoria's economy away from its current reliance on coal. We do not have any more time to waste," said Ewbank.

Friends of the Earth says the Andrews government can make a downpayment in the upcoming state budget.

"The Andrews government can follow through on its commitment to climate change action with strategic budget allocations in May," said Mr Ewbank.

"Victorians overwhelmingly support action on climate change and want to see governments put money where their mouth is." 

Friends of the Earth say the passage of the strengthened climate laws is a positive indication for how legislation on Victoria's Renewable Energy Target will fare.

"Action on climate change means boosting jobs and investment in renewable energy," said Pat Simons, FoE renewable energy spokesperson.

"The Victorian Renewable Energy Target will create climate 10,000 jobs and is something crossbench MPs can support." 

The Matthew Guy opposition voted against moves to strengthen state climate policy, just one week after pledging to scrap the VRET if elected.

"Matthew Guy's decision to vote against climate policy and vow to scrap the renewables target could relegate the Coalition to the political wilderness," said Leigh Ewbank.

"Voters reward political parties that act on climate and grow renewables. It's a reservior of support that the opposition cannot tap with its current platform."

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Libs ideological attack on affordable renewable energy will lead to power price rises

884wind-turbine11.jpgEnvironment group Friends of the Earth reject Matthew Guy Opposition's threat to cut the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, saying the Liberals ideological attack on affordable renewable energy will lead to power price rises.

“Matthew Guy's ideological opposition to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target is a threat to jobs, investment and affordable renewable energy,” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth's renewable energy spokesperson.

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Victoria’s gas ban a win for environment, farmers and democracy

sheep_sign.jpgMedia release February 8, 2017

Today the Lower House of the Victorian parliament is debating the Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016, which will permanently ban fracking in the state.

This debate is unusual, because the ALP, Greens, Coalition and minor parties have all announced their support for the ban. “This highlights the massive community opposition to onshore gas drilling in Victoria” said Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Cam Walker.

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