Saturday, February 20, 2016

Storify: Beyond Paris: Wonthaggi forum on climate change



The recent Paris United Nations Conference on Climate Change resulted in a world agreement to attempt to limit global warming to 1.5°C, but is Australia doing enough? Then again, is limiting global warming to 1.5°C feasible? And what must we do to limit global warming both as a nation and individually?

I travelled the 150km from Melbourne to South Gippsland to guage the debate and discussion on climate change, organised by local group Groundswell Bass Coast. I found a community already actively discussing the issue and also taking action.


The Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd was formally registered as trading Co-operative in August 2009. It now has over 300 members, has raised significant money for solar PV systems and also successful bulk buy program.

The Wonthaggi base hospital has recently installed solar panels with money raised by the local community, so the hospital can spend more on medical supplies and patient services than on electricity.

Update: This was the text of the motion that passed on a show of hands at the end of the meeting, estimated to be 110 people.

This meeting of Wonthaggi people understands that climate change presents a threat to the life and natural systems of our Gippsland and our planet.

We demand our governments take immediate, measurable, substantive action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and adopt with urgency policies that will ensure a rapid transition to zero emissions. Australia must be carbon neutral by 2040 to help limit global warming to no more than 1.5C.

This includes:
    A price on pollution
  • ending government subsidies to fossil fuel industries
  • facilitating rapid and widespread installation of currently available solar and wind technology
  • financially supporting innovation and new jobs in renewables
  • providing financial certainty for potential investors in large scale renewable energy projects. There are currently no such investments

We demand that these policies and related actions, and a timetable for implementing them, be outlined in a public document available to all.



After Paris, Climate change is far more than an urban or niche issue. People are realizing that action needs to be taken at multiple levels, including strong policy action by our Federal Government. Direct Action subsidies to polluters is far from sufficient.

So here are my tweets from the evening of the main speakers.