seminar - climate justice

Date: Saturday 2 August Time: 10.45am-5pm (register from 10.30am ) Venue: Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne (See map attached) Full agenda at: http://climatejusticeseminar.blogspot.com/ Sponsoring organisations: Development Studies Program of the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry (University of Melbourne); Friends of the Earth; Western Region Environment Centre; Socialist Alliance; Your Water Your Say; Resistance; Mothers Against Genetically Engineered Crops (MADGE), Community Radio 3CR.

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The HRL coal fired power station

Check here for our HRL action alert (Sept 2010).

4th August, 2010: HRL proposal tests government resolve on climate. FoE release available here.

What is the HRL proposal?

Dual Gas - a subsidiary of Melbourne company HRL – is planning to build and operate a $750 million, 600MW coal fired power plant in the Latrobe Valley near the Loy Yang B power station.

HRL has been attempting to build a coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley since the project was announced by then Minister for Energy and Resources Candy Broad in 2002, and had promised the power station would be operating in 2008. It has been through a range of investors and management structures since then.

The HRL project has struggled to find any financial backers apart from the State and Federal Government. Last year, Chinese manufacturer Harbin Power withdrew its 50 per cent stake.

The plant was originally intended to be 400MW, and if allowed to proceed  this new coal station will add 4.2 million tonnes of greenhouse polluting emissions to Australia’s atmosphere annually, increasing Victoria's annual emissions by about 3 per cent.

It currently has an approval application with the Victorian Environment Protection Authority. The EPA must deliver a decision on the proposal by Jan 2, 2011.

What are the claims that this will be 'cleaner'

 


The proponent hopes that the plant will produce power with about 30 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than current Victorian 'best practice' in brown coal generation plants.


This is because of new technology, called ‘integrated drying and gasification combined cycle’ or IDGCC. This technology has been developed by the Australian-owned energy, technology and project development company HRL, with more than $140 million research and development investment.

This has been substantially subsidised by the tax payer through state and federal funding.

Who are HRL?

 

HRL was formerly part of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and was known as Herman Research Laboratories, privatised by the Kennett Government in 1995. It is a privately owned, non-listed Australian company of which Kerry Stokes (Channel 7) is a 40% shareholder. HRL owns and operates several coal facilities in the Latrobe Valley and is involved in the development of coal projects across Australia.

How can HRL be called ‘clean coal’?

 


Clean coal is an oxymoron. The HRL coal station will burn brown coal in a process known as Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle (IDGCC). This technology has only been tested in a pilot scale and not commercially proven. If the HRL coal-fired power plant goes ahead it will produce greenhouse emissions at a similar scale to that of a standard black coal fired power station.

How much greenhouse pollution would HRL emit?

 


Emissions from HRL are expected to be up to 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 annually, with an expected expected emissions intensity of between 0.78 and 0.89 tonnes of CO2 per megawatt hour (MW) - roughly the equivilent of a modern black coal power station. HRL is not proposed in order to replace any existing coal power stations, it will add to our annual emissions. HRL cannot be built with carbon capture and storage (CCS) as according the Energy Minister Peter Bachelor “no infrastructure currently exists to store CO2 captured from power stations in the Latrobe Valley.”

HRL and water

 

HRL would consume approximately one tonne of water per MWh, or 3 gigalitres (3 billion litres) a year from an already stressed Latrobe Valley river system.

What about jobs

 

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Gippsland regional organiser Steve Dodd has said he is concerned that most of the construction would take place overseas before the pre-fabricated plant was shipped to Victoria. This would mean there would be far fewer jobs than would be the case with a conventional coal fired power station.

Who is paying for HRL?

 

The Victorian Government has committed $50 million to the project as part of its Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS).

HRL then attracted a further $100 million from the Australian Federal Government’s Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund (LETDF) for the construction of the new power station.

The company is still seeking financing to be able to complete the project.

State of the project

 

The company has attempted to re-brand its stalled coal project as a gas-fired power station after it was realised that the current proposal would not meet the new energy emissions standards outlined in the Victorian governments Climate Change Bill.

It is saying that it hopes to have the project running by 2012 or 2013.

The plant can go ahead only if the Victorian Environment Protection Authority was satisfied it met the emissions limit for new plants - 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted per megawatt hour generated.

In its most recent application posted on the EPA website, HRL estimates its plant would have average emissions between 0.78 and 0.89 tonnes per megawatt hour - roughly equivalent to a modern black-coal power plant.

In August 2010 it withdrew its current application and lodged a very similar proposal in early September.

Our position

 

Friends of the Earth strongly opposes this project, and the building of any new coal fired power stations, as it will lead to an increase in emissions and defer the inevitable transition to a low carbon future.

Australia needs a moratorium on all new coal fired power stations and a rapid and just transition to a renewable energy future.

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Victorian Premier gives go-ahead to first cab off the rank of new generation of coal power stations.

The proposed HRL 400 MW coal fire power station received a push towards construction on July 1, 2008. Victorian government announced its approval of what is being positioned as the first cab off the rank of a new generation of so called 'clean coal' power stations in Australia. Far from being clean the HRL proposal will, if allowed to go ahead, be a disaster for climate change.

The HRL proposal has been beset by financial and siting issues including construction budget blow-out from $500 million to over $750 million dollars. HRL was originally to be located near the Latrobe Valley's Loy Yang 'A' coal facility. As part of the July 1 announcement of state government approval of the proposal, it was announced HRL will now be situated adjacent to the Loy Yang B coal station. Questions of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIS) and other regulatory issues related to changed locations for the project remain unclear. While the timeline for HRL has been continually changing with construction originally set to commence in 2007 and delaying until at least 2009, with an expected timeline for operations 2013 changed from earlier estimates of 2010-11.

The HRL proposal will burn 2.4 million tonnes of brown coal a year emitting 2.4 to  2.7 million tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere annually. HRL has been promoted as one of the new generation of so-called 'clean coal' power stations as it will reduce emissions from burning brown coal by 30%, giving it the emissions standards of a black coal power station, and may be adaptable to carbon capture and storage (CCS) if this technology is ever proven safe and viable.

The Australian Climate Justice Program and Greenpeace took HRL to the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2007 as promoting HRL as 'clean coal' is misleading. Since that complaint to the ACCC HRL have refrained from calling this specific proposal 'clean coal' while supporters are still describing this project as so-called 'clean coal'.

With the Victorian state government giving approval to HRL, and $50 million dollars in taxpayer funded grants (federally HRL has received $100 million in government grants), the need for a strong campaign to stop this coal fire power station and establishing a moratorium on all new coal fire power stations is urgent!

Scientific evidence shows we are on the brink of an age of runaway climate change, fuelled by our reliance on dirty fossil fuels sources such as coal, and especially brown coal; upon which HRL will be reliant. To pull our planet back from the brink of runaway climate change we need to stand up and create real action on climate change; consisting of a moratorium on all new coal fire power stations and a just transition towards a future powered by renewable energy solutions.

Friends of the Earth are leading the campaign to halt the proposed HRL coal fire power station in the Latrobe Valley and bring about a moratorium on all new coal fire power stations. We need your
support to make this happen, as it is on of the most important steps we can make in turning around runaway climate change. By accessing our online campaign tools to stop HRL, becoming a financial supporter of the HRL campaign and joining our campaign for a moratorium on new coal fire power stations we can stop new coal fire power stations like HRL, get a moratorium on new coal fire power stations and take real action on climate change!

For more information on HRL and how you can get involved see the Climate Change pages on this site or go to www.foe.org.au

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Real Food film nights

 

Farming and food production have strong connections to us all. Join us on a journey through three film nights as we explore some of the darker sides of our relationship with food. Issues ranging from industrial factory farming and genetically engineering of food to the loss of food sovereignty and threat to food security will be addressed. Weâ??ll have a short discussion of some of the problems raised and pose solutions and actions we can all take.

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Real Food Film Nights

Wednesday 25th June, 6.30pm

Tuesday 1st July, 6.30pm

Wednesday 9th July, 6.30pm

Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Place Melbourne

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Whatâ??s on the menu?

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Wednesday 25th June, 6.30pm

Entrée: Store Wars â?? Spoof animation comedy (5 min)

Main course: The World According to Monsanto â?? Documentary (100 min)

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Tuesday 1st July, 6.30pm

Entrée: Food not Bombs - Short film documentary (6 min)

Main course: We Feed the World â?? Documentary (95 mni)

Desert: Meatrix - Spoof animation comedy (5 min)

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Wednesday 9th July, 6.30pm

Main course: Lost in Palm Oil - Documentary (63 min)

Desert: Palm Oil & Orangutan Rescue â?? Slide show (5 min)

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Ingredients list

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Wednesday 25th June, 6.30pm

As entrée you can enjoy the spoof Star Wars animation titled â??Store Warsâ?? (5 min) where Cuc Skywalker and Jedi Yoghurt take on Dark Tador in a battle for the Farm. Main course consists of a documentary titled â??The World According to Monsantoâ?? (100 min) which investigates the journey of Monsanto corporation from chemical manufactures to biotechnology giant in its global takeover of our food, farms, and agriculture heritage.

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Tuesday 1st July, 6.30pm

The short documentary on Melbourneâ??s â??Food not Bombsâ?? (6 min) will be followed by a documentary titled â??We feed the worldâ?? (95 min - subtitles) which investigates food and globalisation, fishermen and farmers, drivers and high-powered corporate executives, the flow of goods and cash, a film about scarcity amid plenty. Desert consists of the spoof Matrix animation titled â??Meatrixâ?? (5 min) where Moothius and Leo discover the impacts of factory farming.

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Wednesday 9th July, 6.30pm

The feature documentary â??Lost in Palm Oilâ?? (63 min) investigates the negative impacts that oil palm plantations have on forests, climate change, water pollution, biodiversity, with a focus on Indigenous communities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. How does this relate to food? Palm oil shows us that food issues, forests, people, culture and animals are interconnected. Palm Oil is used in 1 in 10 supermarket products, yet there no requirement for it to be labelled. Guest speaker Jessica McKelson from the Melbourne Zoo Orangutan Sanctuary will present an uplifting slide show of her recent trip to Nyaru Menteng Gunung Leseur National Park in Indonesia where she saw the impacts of Palm Oil on the Orangutan population first hand. The wild organutan population is heading towards extinction, but the rescues and release work witnessed by Jess gives us hope that there is a future for them.

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Free Entry.

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Drinks and food available from the bar.

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Seating is limited and RSVP is preferred.

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For bookings and more information, email realfood@melbourne.foe.org.au

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Organised by: Friends of the Earth Melbourne Real Food group

www.melbourne.foe.org.au

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Supported by: Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Place Melbourne

www.looponline.com.au

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Pesticides in our drinking water?

Image: Wurdee Boluc aquaduct, vulnerable to pollution from 2 4D
and other agricultural chemicals

There is little monitoring of agrochemicals in surface waters in
Victoria. Water authorities have the best set of information in
Victoria about pesticides in drinking water, but in many cases even
this is most likely woefully inadequate.

Pesticides detected in Victorian domestic water supplies included
some such as 2,4-D, which is classified by the IARC (International
Agency for Research on Cancer) as a Class 2B carcinogen - possibly
carcinogenic to humans. 2,4-D is also known as an endocrine disruptor.

The report can be found at: http://www.foe.org.au

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Climate Emergency Rally, July 5

John Brumby and Kevin Rudd say that climate change is the biggest challenge humanity faces and their top priority, but their actions tell a different story.

We are calling for Victorians to join the Climate Emergency Rally on July 5. We want to send a wake-up call to state and federal governments that they are heading in the wrong direction. New coal, new freeways and desalination plants increase our use of and reliance on fossil fuels dramatically at a time when we must be cutting our use even more dramatically. We are calling on
governments to implement sustainable alternatives to these irresponsible and expensive projects. Alternatives such as renewable energy and public transport.

We call on all community groups and individuals to join us to send this important message to the government. We are going to form a 140-metre-long human sign to spell the words "Climate Emergency". Please organise your group to send endorsement, tell everyone you know, and come on the day wearing something red to symbolise emergency.

We are facing a climate emergency, the time for real action is now!

Come for the rally, stay for the giant human sign.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Time 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Location City Square (cnr Swanston & Collins streets)

Endorsed by:

  • Bayside Climate Action Group
  • Climate Emergency Network
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Socialist Alliance
  • Yarra Climate Action Now
  • Your Water Your Say

For further information, see:
http://climaterally.blogspot.com

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Speeding towards dangerous climate change

Hear what the world's leading climate scientists are discovering about the speed of climate change, the potential impacts on our way of life, and what we need to do to safeguard our future.

  • Sir Rod Eddington has recommended we spend $18 billion on transport infrastructure, but says this will have â??minimalâ?? impact on transport emission trends. Meanwhile transport emissions are forecast to grow by more than 60% over 1999 levels by 2020. Can we do better?
  • Government ministers claim freeways offer environmental benefits and getting more â??cleanâ?? cars on the road is the solution, but are they effective?

Guest speakers include:

David Spratt
David Spratt is a climate-policy analyst and co-founder of Carbon Equity. Together with Philip Sutton, David co-authored Climate Code Red which meticulously documents extensive scientific evidence that the global warming crisis is far worse than official reports and national governments have indicated â?? and that weâ??re almost at the point of no return.

Dr Patrick Moriarty
Paddy Moriarty is an Honorary Research Associate at Monash University undertaking research in areas such as urban land use and transport and alternative energy. Paddy is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Australasian Centre for the Governance and Management of Urban Transport (GAMUT) at the University of Melbourne and has published extensively on alternative fuels, energy efficiency and transport systems.

Elliot Fishman
Elliot Fishman is a policy advisor with the Cycling Promotion Fund and Director of the Institute for Sensible Transport. Elliot has recently co-authored a report on the health benefits of cycling and what governments need to do to encourage more people to ride instead of drive.

When: Sunday 15 June 2008, 2.30pm - 5pm
Where: Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins Streets, Melbourne
RSVP: office@ptua.org.au

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