Green Building Council - Not so green

IMG_6894.JPGFoE's forest campaign collective visited the Green Building Council event "Pillars of Change" today. 

We were raising awareness about their endorsement of Australian Forestry Standard certification which certifies timber from environmentally destructive logging operations.

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A renewable energy park for Point Henry?

Alcoa_Point_Henry_aluminium_smelter.jpgThe Point Henry aluminium smelter was located near Geelong and operated for many decades prior to its closure in 2014.  

Since then, both Alcoa (who operated the smelter) and the state government have been considering what to do with the site. It is a sprawling and heavily contaminated industrial site, situated on land of cultural significance, plus conservation areas and other industries.

Friends of the Earth believes that the old smelter site would make an ideal location for a renewable energy park. The smelter used a lot of electricity, which was transmitted by a high voltage connection to the grid, which could be utilised if power was generated on site. A wind and solar energy park could be combined with a range of other uses including eco tourism.

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Further privatisation unlikely to save money, benefit environment

tram.JPGMedia release. 26 May 2017. Friends of the Earth

Infrastructure Australia has announced that it wants state governments to hand the operation of their public transport systems over to private operators, arguing that they could cut costs and improve service quality by doing so.

Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) strongly opposes any move to further privatise public transport systems:

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Carbon Capture and Storage

CCS_April_2017.pngCarbon capture and storage (CCS) is an unproven, risky and expensive technology. State and federal governments have put huge amounts of public funds into CCS research for years, in the hope it will provide the solution to the greenhouse pollution generated by coal fired power stations.

Here in Victoria, where we have three remaining coal fired power stations, some are hoping these plants can be retrofitted to use CCS technology.

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Longford gas plant locks in further global warming

Longford_meme2.jpgESSO has officially opened its new gas conditioning plant at Longford in Gippsland, promoting it as the largest domestic gas project on Australia's eastern seaboard, and one that will give certainty to the state's gas supplies for about 40 years.

The development will supply 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas to eastern Australia, which Esso says is enough to power a city of one million people for 35 years.

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Bringing the VRET home

Feb_9_rally.jpgFoE launched a campaign calling for a state renewable energy target (VRET) in early 2014. In August 2015, the Andrews government committed to VRETs for 2020 and 2025 in its Renewable Energy Roadmap

We're getting close to a vote on the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) in state parliament. Now is the time to bring it home!

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Organising in a time of the New Right

green-jobs.jpgThe election of Donald Trump, the Brexit vote in the UK, and the continued rise of Right wing populist parties across western Europe is a huge concern for anyone who wants to see action on climate change and protection of the environment. Closer to home, the election of similar parties – notably Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – underscores how this worldview is gaining acceptance in the mainstream.

This requires progressive organisations to think about how they campaign.

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NEW JOB AVAILABLE: Sustainable Cities Campaigner

new-job.jpgWould you like to work with Friends of the Earth? Are you passionate about public transport and city planning policy?

The Sustainable Cities Campaigner will work to build political power in the lead up to the 2018 Victorian state election, to influence key transport and planning policies. After the electricity sector, transport is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Victoria, and it is essential that our state radically reduces emissions from transport. Making our transport system more focused on public transport, walking, cycling and building for proximity will also bring a range of social and public health benefits.

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Friends of the Earth state budget response

state_budget_2017_FoE_meme.pngMay 2 2017

Modest allocations for climate change make budget 2018-19 a ‘litmus test’ for action: Strong climate focus needed to prepare Victorian communities for the future

Friends of the Earth say the Andrews government's 2017-18 budget investment in climate change has been modest and that next year’s budget has emerged as a litmus test on the issue.

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Victorian coal policy to be released soon


Coal_Policy_image_(3).jpgThe Victorian government is currently drafting a policy which will outline whether coal has a future in Victoria.

This is significant as it will outline the current government's attitude to previous support for experimental coal technologies (which are often held out as the 'saviour' for the coal industry as the power stations start to close, but which is based on untested and potentially unviable technology). Coal to gas proposals are one example of this type of technology.

We assume it will also outline the government's approach to carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology which has not proven to be commercially viable at scale, but which is often suggested will provide a lifeline to the brown coal industry in Victoria.

The policy is due to be released shortly.

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