March Dispatch

Welcome to the March edition of the DCAN Dispatch. According to Environment Victoria, gas could be biggest source of climate pollution in Victoria by 2035. Read on to find out what we're working on in our mission to get off gas, community roadmaps, energy savings, and more.

DCAN joins with other groups to meet with Ms. Ged Kearney, Federal Member for Cooper, about the Safeguards Mechanism

Representatives of several groups including Climate for Change, Friends of the Earth, Neighbours United for Climate Action, Newlands Parents for Climate Action, as well as DCAN, met with Ms. Kearney on Monday February 27th. The focus of the meeting was on strengthening Labor’s Climate Safeguard Mechanism policy. 

Ms. Kearney was responsive to our personal concerns and we were impressed that, before the meeting, she had consulted with Minister Chris Bowen about our four key ‘asks’. Their responses to these ‘asks’ were:

  1. ‘Polluters should not be able to purchase carbon credits unless they first invest in genuine emission cuts at their facilities’. They agreed that this was desirable, and Minister Bowen stated that modelling indicated that the Safeguard Mechanism would lead to emissions targets being met by 2030. He is also keen to use green hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.
  2. ‘Polluters must prioritise the purchase of carbon credits created when other facilities in the Safeguard Mechanism reduce their emissions below their baselines (SMCs) before they are allowed to use Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).’ Minister Bowen agrees in principle but is still unsure how to ensure this in practice.
  3. 'Polluters should be required to phase out their reliance on Australian Carbon Credit Units’. Minister Bowen agrees but believes that this may not be possible before 2030 and is ‘technology dependent’.
  4. ‘Ban new coal and gas facilities bringing their enormous pollution into the Safeguard Mechanism and purchasing carbon credits to cover it.’ It is difficult politically to commit to no new coal and gas projects but the government is 100% committed to targets and the
    net zero pledge. Their focus will be on electrification.

Ms. Kearney also emphasised other initiatives such as Star of the South off-shore wind farm, community batteries and big plans for agriculture. She is eager to meet with us again, and for this group to meet with Minister Bowen. 

Please join us in our campaign to push Labor to strengthen the Climate Safeguard Mechanism.

Actions to Safeguard Our Climate

Jane Morton, representing Extinction Rebellion, also met with Ms. Ged Kearney and pushed strongly for Labor to agree to no new coal or gas. Jane pointed out that a reasonable compromise with the Greens would be to include climate as a consideration when the EPBC Act is revised later this year, as this would effectively stop new coal and gas indirectly. 80% of Australians think that climate impacts should be considered when new fossil fuel projects seek environmental approvals so it would be a popular move. Anthony Albanese himself was pushing for a climate trigger in the EPBC act back in 2005.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! There’s a national day of action today (Friday 10th March) about the Safeguards Mechanism on social media that involves the simple act of posting a selfie. All you need to do is print out a poster or make a handmade message, take a photo of yourself, and post it on social media with the hashtags #SafeguardOurClimate, #auspol and #ClimateEmergency. More instructions here

Join Extinction Rebellion and other climate groups at a call party at the Extinction Rebellion headquarters in Richmond (and on Zoom) on Tuesday 14th March from 10am - noon, phoning politicians and journalists about the Safeguards Mechanism. 

There's also a rally and march organised by the National Union of Students on Friday 17th March. Join the Extinction Rebellion contingent at 1pm at the eight-hour day memorial or come to the rally and march at 2pm at the State Library. 

Gas submission welcomed

Over the last few years, DCAN member and environmental economist Jim Crosthwaite has developed a strong understanding of how the gas system works, from extraction through to sale to households and businesses, and has been writing a number of submissions on gas on behalf of DCAN. He hopes that, even if they do not lead directly to policy change, these submissions give courage to sympathetic government insiders, and also inform gas campaigners of options for applying pressure on the gas industry and government.

At a recent meeting, DCAN gave his latest submission to Ms. Ged Kearney’s adviser. Indicating the value of these submissions, Jim received an email from the adviser thanking him for the submission with an invitation to provide a briefing in the near future. Jim was also advised that the submission had been forwarded to Minister Bowen's office.

Click here to read the submission. Email Jim to find out more about the DCAN gas group.

Community Gas Retirement Roadmap 

In response to the Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap which charts a slow and partial transition off gas, the No More Gas collective in Friends of the Earth Melbourne has written another ‘roadmap’ called the called Community Gas Retirement Roadmap. This crowd-sourced contribution to a clean energy future has lots of information about gas production and use, along with tips for the state Government - and householders – on how to switch off gas by 2035.

According to Environment Victoria, gas could be biggest source of climate pollution in Victoria by 2035. Click here to read their latest report.

The stories that gas companies tell us, or don't tell us 

RenewEconomy is a fantastic source of information on the fossil fuel industry and the alternatives. Follow these links to learn more about how gas companies are misleading the public:

Michael West Media also takes a deep dive into fossil fuels.  

Improve the energy efficiency of your home

Friday 17 March, 4–5pm @ Preston Library, 266 Gower St Preston

Are you looking for ways to save $$ by lowering your energy bills? Whether you rent or own, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your energy use – and the library is here to help! Did you know that household energy efficiency toolkits and thermal imaging camera kits are available to borrow from the library?

Join subject matter experts Elizabeth Wheeler and Katy Daily as they step you through how to improve energy efficiency in your home. There’ll also be plenty of time for all your questions. Click here to register.

$250 Power Savings Bonus - new round March 24

Have you claimed your $250 Power Saving Bonus from the Victorian government yet? Get in before 23 March – and then take advantage of the new round to apply for another $250 from 24 March.

All Victorian households are eligible to claim this government rebate designed to help you manage rising gas and electricity bills and make sure you’re getting the best energy deal. The application process will take five to ten minutes of your time, and you will need to have a recent electricity bill with you. You can apply directly here.

Unlocking Sustainable Strata

Join the Yarra City Council from 6:30pm - 8pm on Tuesday 28 March at the Fitzroy Town Hall Reading Room for an evening of inspiration, practical advice, and community, to learn about Unlocking Sustainable Strata. They've teamed up as a community partner of Sustainable House Day to bring you this event.

Hear practical advice from the new guides for Unlocking Sustainable Strata and Electrifying Apartments developed by Yarra City Council, Merri-bek City Council, and environmentally sustainable design experts at Hip v Hype. Get inspired by local residents who’ve made their apartments more sustainable. Meet other apartment owners and residents making their buildings more sustainable, over nibbles.

Click here to register for this free event.

Listen: ABC's Democracy & Dissent: The future of environmental protest in Australia

In case you missed it, here's ABC Radio National's Big Ideas Festival broadcast of Democracy & Dissent: The future of environmental protest in Australia. Featuring Jacqui Katona, Clive Hamilton, Violet CoCo, and David Mejia-Canales. 
Click here to listen.

That's all for this month - thanks for reading! If you have any feedback on this newsletter, please let us know.

For more information on events across Victoria, visit the Victorian Climate Action Network events page here.


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