Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour 'with' Martin Ferguson

Update: for an extended version of my Crikey article about the meeting with Ferguson that followed this event, see 'Ferguson the real face of Rudd on climate'.

Last night, Darebin Climate Action Now organised a great local Earth Hour event at the electoral office of Martin Ferguson AM MP, local member for the Victorian federal seat of Batman, and the resources and energy minister in the Australian Government.

A staunch advocate for "clean" coal through carbon capture and storage, Ferguson was called on to turn away from coal and towards renewables - afterall, a safe climate is much more important than preserving the export dollars of the world's biggest coal exporter. Coal companies get to keep their profits, but the world shares the climate impacts from our most emissions-intensive energy source.

The event follows a recent visit to Australia by Dr James Hansen, the world's foremost climate scientist, who says that leaving coal in the ground is a pre-condition for bringing the earth's atmosphere back to safe levels of carbon dioxide. In his latest book, Storms of my Grandchildren, Hansen states:
The clean-coal concept, at least so far, has been an illusion, a diversion that the coal industry and its government supporters employ to allow dirty-coal uses to continue.
His comments follow a report by ABC TV's Four Corners program in September last year ("The Coal Nightmare") seriously undermining any prospect that carbon capture and storage will be a viable climate change solution for coal in the timeframe necessary to avoid dangerous climate impacts.

Last night's event connected Ferguson's role as local MP and his broader role as federal minister for coal - in essence, he's our local member for global climate damage. Naturally, Martin wasn't there, even though the external lights of his office were left blazing. Somehow, though, I think he'll get the message.

Not captured in the video were presentations by Carol Ride, Convenor of DarebinCAN and other local climate luminaries. Radio 3CR was there, however, and interviewed a few people for their Beyond Zero Emissions program.

Well done to DarebinCAN!

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