Ballarat Council election scorecards

Since candidates have started announcing they’d run for Ballarat City Council in October’s elections, BCAN have been sending out a survey designed to gauge how effectively they would lead and support council to reduce the impact of climate change.

The survey consisted of three qualitative questions focusing on priorities and measures of success and ten yes/no/maybe responses with a specific focus on climate change. A reminder email was sent to encourage the highest number of responses.

All of the respondents offered some positive responses to climate change and accordingly the bar for amber and green ratings was set high. There was a great deal of consistency in the responses to the yes/no/maybe questions, but far more variation in the qualitative responses. In determining the scoring, responses have also been compared with those stated by candidates in The Courier on Friday 2nd October and with responses at a number of online candidate forums, especially where brief answers made scoring difficult.

A number of candidates did not respond. This may be because they overlooked the survey, or because they anticipated rating poorly. We have not made assumptions about these candidates. We recommend if you are considering voting for them that you scrutinise them for their “green” credentials.

Candidates that received a red rating, all showed some support for strategies that would reduce the impact of climate change.

Candidates that received an amber rating showed considerable concern about climate change and listed a number of individual initiatives that they would like council to be engaged with.

Candidates that received a green rating, showed considerable concern about climate change and in addition showed understanding of the leadership required for a whole of council approach to tackling climate change, which included such strategies as widespread community engagement, initiatives to link Covid19 recovery with strategies that also reduce the impact of climate change as well as support for a whole of local government response to reducing carbon emissions.

We hope this survey is useful for your decision-making!

If you’d like to share these ratings on social media, you can use the consolidated scorecard at the top of this post, or the individual ward tiles below

Climate Solutions survey launched for the People’s Climate Strategy for Victoria

Exciting news! The Climate Solutions Survey has been launched!

Ballarat Climate Action Network (BCAN) is reaching out to our local community to contribute to the People’s Climate Strategy for Victoria, a project coordinated by Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s Act on Climate collective. The People’s Climate Strategy is a state-wide project, and BCAN is working to ensure the specific challenges and opportunities in the Ballarat region are included. This week the Climate Solutions Survey has been launched and BCAN is aiming to collect ideas from as many people in the community as possible.

Local people are all too aware of the impacts of climate change already being felt across the Ballarat region, the wider Western Victoria and Grampians regions, and across Victoria. Local people are also a deep well of knowledge around all the solutions that can be implemented locally, and across Victoria, to help reduce emissions and mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and to help build community resilience to cope with the climate impacts already being felt. 

Under the Victorian Climate Change Act 2017, the Victorian government is required to prepare a climate strategy for the state and release it within 10 parliamentary sitting days of 31 October 2020. This strategy will set out the state’s plans for cutting emissions and helping communities cope with climate impacts over the next five years. With the government understandably giving the lion’s share of attention to responding to the coronavirus pandemic, we are stepping in to help gather local knowledge to contribute to the People’s Climate Strategy to help them on their way.

The aim of the People’s Climate Strategy project is to capture the knowledge of people from a broad cross-section of the community and to ensure the voices of the people are heard and included in the process of developing a strategy that will be presented to the government.

There has already been one survey to find out people’s concerns about climate impacts, this new survey will shift focus from impacts to solutions – ideas about how our region and the state can reduce emissions, from transport to electricity generation to agriculture and beyond, and build resilience to impacts, from bushfire preparation to flood mitigation, protecting people during heatwaves and more. 

People across the state have already been sharing their “Ideas for Action” in the lead up to the Climate Solutions survey launch this week. Some “Big Ideas” already shared by locals follow.

Find the survey here to share all your ideas. See our previous post or Act on Climate’s website, contact us, or call Liz on 0402 553 181 to find out more.

SS4C Global Day of Action

The Ballarat Action Climate Co-op (BACC) is joining School Strike for Climate’s online Global Day of Action on Friday 25 September, and BCAN is supporting them in fighting for our future. Because COVID prevents us all from taking to the streets, we need to find other creative ways of making their voices heard.

BACC’s four key requests for supporters are:
1. Print the below “Fund our future, not gas!” poster (or make your own!) and put it in your front window to show support
2. Check out the SS4C livestream at 6pm Friday (official RSVP here, Facebook event here)
3. Wear yellow on the day (yellow represents both climate justice and resistance to gas)
4. Post on social media! Share the Facebook event, a photo of yourself in yellow, or whatever else you can do to help amplify the strikers’ voices

See you online on the 25th!

Working on the People’s Climate Strategy

What is the People’s Climate Strategy for Victoria?

The People’s Climate Strategy project is coordinated by Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s Act on Climate collective, and parallels the State Government’s development of the very first Climate Strategy for Victoria. The Victorian Climate Act 2017 requires this to be completed by October this year, though the timeline is likely to be altered due to COVID-19. We know that the government is busy dealing with the response to the pandemic, so we are working to put together a strategy that we can bring to the government, sharing our concerns about climate impacts and ideas for solutions.

Ballarat Climate Action Network are reaching out to our local community to contribute to this process, so that the unique challenges and opportunities of our part of the state are included in the development of the strategy.

Why is this important?

  • Your voice matters. Adding your voice to this project will ensure the Victorian government hears from the people and builds the movement for strong and decisive climate action at a state level.
  • Local people know local matters and local communities build local solutions.
  • We are standing at a crucial point in time and we must do all we can to ensure we head in the right direction from here. The Victorian government needs to hear from the people as well as the voices of the big polluters so that they will make the right decisions about which way we head from here.

How can you get involved?

  • Email us, or call BCAN member Liz Wade on 0402 553 181 to find out more.
  • Register your interest in attending an upcoming Grampians Region working group meeting (online).
  • Fill in the climate impacts survey
  • Send in your big idea for climate action to join the call for solutions and spread the message that we know what we need to do and it is time to get on and do it.
  • Share the climate impacts survey and big ideas action with your friends and networks to help us hear from a wide and diverse range of people across Victoria.
  • Attend one of the upcoming sector forums to hear from experts and have the chance to ask questions about what we can do to reduce emissions across each sector (and catch up on the video of the Energy forum already held on Thursday 20 August here).
  • Register for the project to keep up to date, to receive details of upcoming forums and further future actions, and to be notified when the upcoming climate solutions survey is live.

For more background on the project and to register to take part

See https://www.actonclimate.org.au/pcs for all the info, including a registration form, links to the video of the project launch and a podcast version for listening on the go. Or feel free to get in touch by email or call Liz on 0402 553 181

Media release: BCAN response to Victorian government’s delay to Emission Reduction Targets

In March this year, the Ballarat Climate Action Network sent a statement of community support for strong, bold, ambitious and science-based emissions reduction targets for 2025 and 2030, in line with keeping global warming to less than 1.5°C, to the Victorian Government.

The government was due to announce the targets this August, but just prior to the deadline for the decision, the Victorian Government announced that they would be delaying the decision.

It has been really necessary this year for the Victorian Government to focus first and foremost on the safety, health and wellbeing of Victorians. We began the year with bushfires raging and we’d only just begun to think about recovery from the bushfires when we had a pandemic come upon us.

The climate crisis requires us to continue to focus first on the safety, health and wellbeing of all people, and, inseparably, our environment. We have an absolute need to do all we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly to ensure a safer future for all.

We all need to work together to move us forward in the right direction from this point in time, and we need clear leadership from our state government to provide more certainty in a time of great uncertainty.

We need to know that while the federal government continues to put us in more danger by supporting the fossil fuel industry and increasing emissions, we will have support from the Victorian Government and the resourcing required for the changes that we must undertake at state level to reduce emissions as rapidly as possible for our safety. A gas led recovery currently being planned at a federal level is a waste of public money and misses an opportunity for climate action and an economic recovery. Fossil fuels need to be kept in the ground. We need Victoria to lead the way.

The Ballarat Climate Action Network supports the recent call from seven leading environment and renewable energy organisations for a climate led recovery.

A decision about strong and ambitious emissions reduction targets will provide the community with a clear path forward. Commitments to resourcing the changes needed will support communities to act and give people purpose and fulfilment as we all pitch in together to do what is needed as we work towards a safer future of greater health and wellbeing.

We’re calling for the Andrews Labor Government to continue the leadership for climate they have shown in the past and we’re calling on our local MPs Michaela Settle and Juliana Addison to do Ballarat proud and lead the drive for less than 1.5°C.

Community responds to climate denial on Council

On 11 July 2020, Ballarat Councillor Jim Rinaldi wrote an opinion piece in the Courier talking about recent changes to the Local Government Act. While the piece started out making some reasonable points about the controversial change to single-member wards, it took a sudden turn towards climate denial when Cr Rinaldi raised concerns that the Act “forces councillors to join the cimate debate”. He asked “which scientists are councils believing when we consider the climate? Those who say the sky is falling, or those who argue it hasn’t, and won’t?”

Of course, there really is no climate “debate” – scientists are constantly refining the details, such as how quickly it’s happening, how high the seas will rise, and so on, but the science is very much settled on the basics. It’s warming, it’s us, we’re sure, it’s bad, we can fix it. Pretending there is still a lot of debate among scientists on this point is a common climate denial trope – pretending to “just ask questions” which have already been comprehensively answered, in order to avoid having the conversations we need to have about how to fix it.

The people of Ballarat – including some members of BCAN! – saw right through this tactic, though, leading to a huge number of Letters to the Editor, which the Courier dedicated a whole page to. It was great to see such a firm response to this kind of rhetoric! (Letters also here.)

Unfortunately Councillor Rinaldi’s response to this was to double down on his claims, and conservative Councillor Grant Tillett jumped to his defence on Facebook, while Councillor Samantha McIntosh lent her support in another opinion piece in which she also suggested that refurbishing the Gatekeepers Cottage to provide a venue for kids to learn about how plants grow was “real action on climate change.”

It’s disappointing to see so many of our elected leaders behaving in this way, but fantastic to see the community’s response to it. The local government elections in October are going to be very interesting indeed!

Ballarat leaders, union and environmental movement call for Vic targets of < 1.5°C

Ballarat Climate Action Network sent out a call for support for climate action at the start of March and received rapid responses from community leaders keen to broadcast their support for strong, science-based targets in line with keeping warming to less than 1.5°C by signing on to the following statement. The second oldest Trades and Labour Council in the world, the Ballarat Regional Trades and Labour Council voted unanimously to endorse the statement.

Ballarat 1.5°C Community Statement for a Safe Climate____

We have the support of:

  • The Ballarat Regional Trades and Labour Council
  • Public Transport Users Association (Ballarat Branch)
  • Cr Belinda Coates, Deputy Mayor, City of Ballarat Council, Chair, Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA)
  • Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions Inc (BREAZE)
  • Peter Gell, Bunanyung Landscape Alliance
  • Food Is Free Inc
  • Scott White, Environmental Evolution
  • Ballarat Action Climate Co-op
  • Field Naturalists’ Club of Ballarat
  • Ballarat Cloth Nappy Library
  • Cherie Draper, Silver Swan Nature Services
  • Ray Draper, Central Highlands Environmental Consultancy
  • Deborah Pach, Energy Forum Agency
  • Lucy Bracey, Historian
  • Hamish Molloy, Psychologist

We have sent the statement along with a letter urging action to the Premier Daniel Andrews, the Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio and our local Members of Parliament.

The Courier reported on the support of the Ballarat region for ambitious targets, referencing this statement, the support of local MPs Michaela Settle and Juliana Addison who after meeting with local community members, have committed to “lead the drive for less than 1.5°C,” and comments by Cr Belinda Coates from the City of Ballarat, who also referred to council support for strong targets across Victoria.

It is imperative that the Government knows Victoria is watching, and that the community calls for ambitious targets that will build on the climate leadership the Victorian Government has already shown and drive the action that is needed for a safer climate.

The Victorian Government is currently deciding Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030, to reach the net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 legislated in the Climate Change Act. The government tasked an expert panel to inform the process and found that a carbon budget in line with keeping global warming to less than 1.5°C is possible for Victoria and would help reduce energy prices and create more jobs while reducing emissions. However, the panel recommended targets that are only in line with keeping warming to 2°C. The Government needs to hear from the community that 2°C targets are not enough.

The most recent IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C show that we must have ambition, otherwise the social, environmental and economic costs will be extensive. 2°C of warming reaches another level. It means, according to Garnaut, by 2050 the irrigated agricultural output from the Murray Darling Basin would be halved, and by the end of the century the Basin would no longer be home to agriculture. It means no more Great Barrier Reef. Environment Victoria has a very clear info graphic comparing the impacts of 1.5°C and 2°C, including the loss of plant and insect species, extreme heat exposure and the disappearance of Arctic sea-ice. We are already seeing unprecedented bushfires; droughts and floods will only increase. We must do all we can.

How you can help

  • Call the offices of Premier Daniel Andrews and Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Energy, and leave a message urging them to set science-based Emissions Reduction Targets in line with keeping global warming to less than 1.5 degrees C.
    • The office of Premier Daniel Andrews: 9651 5000
    • The office of Minister Lily D’Ambrosio: 9422 5171
  • Write letters to the Premier and Minister.
    • daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au; Salutation: Dear Premier
    • lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au; Salutation: Dear Minister

Write about why you personally want the Victorian Government to act on climate, and ask for science based <1.5°C targets. Write from your heart about what matters to you.

Sign off with your name, location, postcode, and if you like, your phone number.

Further letter writing tips by the Climate Council at http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/how-to-write-an-effective-letter-to-your-mp.

  • Email us with your name, preferred titles, and if appropriate, your organisation and logo, to add yourself and/or your organisation to the statement of community support.
  • Share this post and the statement with your own networks asking for your contacts to also support this community statement.

The work does not end here. Your support is important. You have will; you have power; you have agency. You have choice, and you have your voice. Make your choices consciously and intentionally, and let your voice be heard. We appreciate the support of our community for climate action towards a safe future for all.

Workshop Dec 7 9.30am

BCA logo

 

A quick reminder to join us on Saturday morning as we workshop our new major project commencing 9.30ish am on Saturday morning at the Ballarat Trades Hall.

If sleeping in and arriving late you are most welcome but be sure and ring 0457463971 to gain entry to the building.

Here’s a quick recap:

We are running an info session about MP meetings, covering everything from how to set up the meeting, getting good press and social media coverage, and, most importantly, having an effective conversation with a politician.

Join us on Saturday 7 December for a workshop to learn how, or contact us to arrange another way to join the campaign.

When: Saturday, 7/12/19, 9:30-10:30am (Join in the Strategy meeting from 9am also if you like and feel free to stick around after the workshop for a coffee and a chat down the road.)

Where: Ballarat Trades Hall, Camp Street

Enquiries and RSVP: By reply email, or contact Elizabeth on 0402 553 181 – it helps to know how many are joining us, but if you don’t get to that, please feel free to turn up anyway.

If you can’t make it on the day, please register your interest and we can either run you through the info individually or make sure to let you know of our next workshop.