New plans for solar thermal at Port Augusta

On 7th June 2016 another important step was taken towards decarbonising the South Australian economy. Solastor Australia announced detailed plans to build a solar thermal power station at Port Augusta.
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Technology as if people mattered

A few months ago, new friends of ours came to visit for dinner. So shocked were they by the squat television in our living room that they insisted we accept a flat-screen version they had going spare.

Now, I’m usually of the ‘use it until it wears out’ school when it comes to my possessions and I was quite fond of the old box we had – its colours were still fine, it did its job. It was far from obsolete.

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On wings of hope: Interfaith global call to action on climate change

I’m aboard QF11 from Australia to JFK Airport New York via Los Angeles.

For the past few weeks I have worked with a tireless and committed group of people to gather high level faith signatures for an Interfaith Climate Change Statement.

Thankfully, amazingly, over 250 senior faith leaders across the world have added their names to this combined call for urgent action on climate change. I’m flying to New York for 50 hours on the ground to witness the formal handover of this joint statement to the current President of the United Nations General Assembly.

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Combat Climate Change? There’s an App for That.

Fed up of folks Instagramming their dinners?

A new app from Melbourne-based climate action group Less Meat Less Heat will have you craning your neck to see what’s on other people’s plates.

Used to having control at the swipe of a touchscreen, millenials are turning to their devices for everything from financial management to weight loss to language learning. Now there’s an app for monitoring the carbon footprint of our food choices.

The aptly named Climatarian Challenge app is scheduled for launch on 1st July, and will be free to download, thanks to a bold crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of production.

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Last stand: saving the world’s forests

One of my vivid boyhood memories is of scrambling amongst granite outcrops of the Canadian Shield in the shimmering heat of a July afternoon.

I emerged from the forest into mottled sunshine and stretched out on flat, lichen-covered rocks, high above the black waters of a quiet lake. Stately white pines touched the sky. Underfoot was a cushion of sharply perfumed pine needles. The air was calm.

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Saudia Arabia – making friends, making enemies

The Saudi regime won’t like this magazine. Nor will the Western governments who kowtow to it while exploiting its wealth and paranoia – which have been on full show recently.

The Saudi justice ministry threatened to sue a Twitter user who compared the regime with ISIS after poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death ‘for spreading atheism and disrespecting the prophet’. This was met with an international #SueMeSaudi campaign.

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Tigray, Ethiopia: a gift of water is a gift of life

Graham Romanes has had a deep connection with the people of Ethiopia over many decades and now leads the NGO WellWishers. He writes:

“I was very privileged to visit Tigray at the end of November to inspect 10 of the well sites in our 64 wells program for 2015.  The program is on target to finish construction of the 64 wells by the end of January 2016. The number of Ethiopian villagers who will now have fresh, clean, safe and accessible drinking water for the first time is over 17,800. A fabulous contribution made by WellWishers supporters to the lives of so many people.

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The COP-out we cannot afford

One week on from COP21, Mark Pershin and Kari McGregor weigh in on the false promises of a flaccid agreement that leaves behind the innocent and most vulnerable.

Paris was a world-first: all of the major emitters huddled around the negotiating table, ready to write the script for a new era of climate action. No absences. No excuses.

It took 21 years of bureaucratic wrangling to transcend tactical boycotts and get everyone to the starting blocks. If nothing else, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) twenty-first conference of parties (COP21) can take credit for a full house.

Talks have often been fraught with tension: negotiations at COP6 at The Hague in 2000 broke down and talks were rescheduled for 2001 in Bonn; COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 collapsed in disarray without agreement.

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Looking forward from COP21 Paris to COP22 Marrakech

What was unthinkable is now unstoppable – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General

His quote resonated among the many speeches that followed French President Francois Hollande’s announcement that we now have a new global understanding on climate – the legally binding Paris Agreement.

Following Copenhagen 2006, it was unthinkable 196 nations would voluntarily sign up to the world’s first global agreement to work together on climate change in good faith, with 189 lodging Intended Nationally Determined Contributions INDCs before Paris.

Yet it’s important to state plainly that the net contribution of all INDCs now in hand still commit the world to 2.7-3 of warming, so we are not out of the woods yet, but at least we are starting to take it all seriously…

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COP21 – Eavesdropping on an old family argument

I stayed up until 3am this morning, listening to every speech made on the new draft text delivered by the French Presidency and prepared during the first gruelling 10 days of discussions.

I wanted to hear, firsthand, the voices of all those sent to represent us, the people of the world.  A few voices stood out for me:

  • Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Peter Woolcott, disappointed but resilient on behalf of the Umbrella Group
  • Egypt speaking for Africa, the reality of the urgency facing the continent
  • Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) approving acknowledgement of 1.5°C target but calling for action on mitigation and adaptation to reach it.
  • Angola speaking for the LDCs, registering a proposal for unblocking political issues of finance and mitigation
  • Ramos Horta for East Timor, suggesting that Hollande will deserve a Nobel Peace Prize if he delivers a strong binding global agreement …

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