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Canberra to be emitting 1/5th of 1990 level greenhouse gases by 2050?

johnboy 27 August 2010 42

[First filed: Aug 26, 2010 @ 10:09]

Pretend you had never heard of “NoWaste 2010“, imagine for a moment that “Vision Zero” remained just a twinkle in Jon Stanhope’s eye.

Even then you’d still split your sides laughing at Simon Corbell’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2060.

No seriously. Really, you kids up the back stop sniggering.

A government incapable of organising hard rubbish or green waste collection is going to end greenhouse emissions armed only with:

    — regular reporting to the Legislative Assembly on the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions trends;
    — establishing a Climate Change Council, which will provide independent advice on climate change issues as they effect business and the wider community;
    — encouraging private entities to take action through voluntary sector agreements with Government.

Now before you think Simon’s been into the reindeer wee (comment #3) observe the rat cunning in the statement.

The Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bill 2010 formally set out the Government commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060 and peaking in per capita emissions by 2013.

2013 you say?

So we hit the nominal peak emissions (ie no problem if there have been no results) one year after the 2012 ACT election and then have 3 years to slink away from miserable failure and reframe targets as aspirations before 2016 (at which point hopefully it’s someone else’s problem?).

It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad.

UPDATE: Catallaxy has a blunt assessment of this piece of policy:

Here are the implications of this target:

— it will not be achieved – unless there is a nuclear power station providing energy to the ACT; or if it is achieved
— there will be a dramatic de-industrialisation or depopulation in the ACT.


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42 Responses to Canberra to be emitting 1/5th of 1990 level greenhouse gases by 2050?
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milkman milkman 6:26 pm 11 Aug 13

Deref said :

Noezis said :

Homes in these regions should be built to almost a European standard with thick walls (30 to 45cm thickness just in the bricks), insulation, double to triple glazed windows and positioning homes facing a north aspect.

The current building standards would not be accepted anywhere else in the western world.

Hear, hear.

Seen the price of homes in Europe lately…?

OLydia OLydia 6:07 pm 11 Aug 13

Postalgeek said :

Raaf, sounds like you’re gonna get yourself a 2010 V8 Hummer, hot pink, with whale skin hubcaps and all leather cow interior and make brown baby seal eyes for head lights (yeah)!
And yer gonna drive in that baby at 115 miles per hour, gettin’ 1 mile per gallon, sucking down Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers from McDonalds in the old fashioned non-biodegradable styrofoam containers.
And when yer done sucking down those greeseball burgers yer gonna wipe yer mouth with the Australian flag.
And then yer gonna toss the styrofoam containers right out the side and there aint a goddamn thing any greenie can do about it
You know why, because earth’s got the volcano, thats why.
Two words, plate fucking tectonics, OK?

loved this!

Deref Deref 4:00 pm 11 Aug 13

Noezis said :

Homes in these regions should be built to almost a European standard with thick walls (30 to 45cm thickness just in the bricks), insulation, double to triple glazed windows and positioning homes facing a north aspect.

The current building standards would not be accepted anywhere else in the western world.

Hear, hear.

Masquara Masquara 3:04 pm 11 Aug 13

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but how are we all going with this? 2020 is not so far away!

http://www.environment.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/201122/MIN_131_0810_GHG_Targets_FINAL.pdf

Oscillate Wildly Oscillate Wildly 12:44 pm 29 Aug 10

People aren’t going to change how they live – the answer is population control.

astrojax astrojax 11:56 am 29 Aug 10

big up to postal geek! 🙂

and to housebound and others, 40% reduction means for ‘all of the act in toto, so some people will take on more burden, some less, and the nett result is hoped to be 40%; you needn’t measure your individual percentage savings and stop when you reach ’40’ – nor beat yourself up if you don’t get there…

justin heywood justin heywood 11:15 am 29 Aug 10

Good post there michcon.

housebound housebound 11:00 am 29 Aug 10

It must be great living in Downer. If you live in the outer suburbs, then cycling to work is hard for a 50km round trip (or more), and not all of it flat like the inner areas. That’s a bit too far to walk. The bus doesn’t even go to where my partner works, so it means cycle or drive. And we’re getting on a bit now …

In fact, most of these claims about how easy it is all come from those living in the inner areas, where the buses actually turn up, where everything (schools, jobs and shops) is close, and where the land is flat so cycling is easier. Those older (pre-1970s) houses seem to be a bit better designed too. Like you, we’ve done the household improvement thing, and energy use didn’t go down by 64%. Nothing like it.

Are you willing to pay for more services in the outer areas so people don’t need to rely on cars as much? The required structural adjustments are more than just tweaking. As others have said on this thread, the issue is more about the inherently poor design of our urban landscape. While people living in inner city areas can sneer at the poor westies/southies who are stuck with their crap 3-bedroom brick veneers and reliance on cars, it is a real issue.

And the target is not just for household use for the 30% or so (a wild guess) of Canberrans who live conveniently located in the inner city areas. And it is against 1990 use, not 2010 use (just as well for you – could you cut by another 60%?). So think how you lived in 1990, and how many fewer people there were, and look at your cuts against that.

michcon michcon 8:16 am 29 Aug 10

Housebound,

Thanks for these figures on our carbon habits in the ACT (re-stated below).

– electricity (63%) – residential (26%) and non-residential (37%)
– gas (8%)
– transport (23%) – petrol (19%), other (4%)

Interestingly, I’m very optimistic about how we can go about achieving carbon neutrality, and I will address each one separately below…

Electricity

By implementing some very simple measures around our house I’ve cut our year to year electricity consumption by 64%.

– Changing light globes to CFLs (total payback time of 8 months, and they last longer)
– Solar Hot water system (payback of 5 years, assuming electricity prices stay the same – yeah right)
– Turning off the stereo at the wall when it’s not playing music (saves 175kWh & $27 every year) and purchasing a power board for the computer that automatically cuts stand-by power to all the peripherals when I shutdown (saves 260kWh & $40)

Given that the overall payback period for these measures in total is less than 5 years, once these are paid off I could easily afford the Greenpower surcharge and be electricity carbon-natural by 2015, and it won’t have cost me any extra, or impact on my standard of living.

Gas

I had new heavy curtains put up during autumn (to replace tired ones that came with the house) and with that measure alone our gas bill usage is 12% less, and our house is warmer.

Before next winter I’ll be addressing other places we lose heat (exhaust fans, drafts, etc) and I look forward to realising some additional savings next year.

Currently it would only cost about $11 per year (or $3 each quarterly bill) to offset my gas consumption with a carbon offset provider – I can afford that, as I’m still way in front on my electricity savings.

On matters of transport…

I’m blessed in that living in Downer, I’m not too far away from work (Barton), so a few weeks ago I decided to ride my bike in. Would you believe, it took less than 25mins, which is about the same amount of time it takes to drive in during the peak traffic period.

On the basis that:

1. It wasn’t too hard
2. It didn’t take any longer
3. I got some fitness and fresh air

I’ve decided I’ll do it more often, as weather permits, especially during the warmer months.

I know this doesn’t suit everyone’s situation, I get that, but I’d encourage everyone to examine your own options (think car-pooling, buses, walking, bike/park and ride) and just give it a go!

To offset 20,000kms of carbon emissions from driving our (albeit small) car would cost about $40. If I rode to work on my pushbike only 10 days in a whole year, the savings on petrol alone would pay for the offset. If I worked in Civic and had to pay for parking, make that 3 days on the pushbike per year.

An excellent point raised by Troll-sniffer – it’s nothing short of outrageous that we financially incent people to excessively drive their leased cars. Let’s have a look at some of the basics here.

I used carbon offsets to achieve a carbon neutral territory in above example. I don’t believe that offsets are the solution to the problem, but I do believe it can have a part to play. Consuming less and implementing intelligent responses/alternatives to energy use should be priority one.

Of course, my example above doesn’t consider some of the other large carbon contributors such as production of food, and the consumption of consumer goods, and I couldn’t determine if the ACT Government would measure those against the zero carbon target anyway. But on an energy and transportation level, it is certainly achievable.

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster said :

I will say right now that I WILL NOT change my lifestyle, I WILL NOT accept a lower standard of living, I WILL NOT pay one more cent for electricity and I WILL NOT do one solitary thing to be “environmentally friendly” just to please a bunch of selfish, utopian, moronic greenies. They can go to buggery and take their weird ideas with them.

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but feel you’re just misinformed here. None of the changes I’ve effected have forced me accept a lower standard of living. On a 5 year outlook it won’t have cost me anything extra, and beyond that I’ll actually be saving money. Oh, and my house is actually warmer.

…and I couldn’t help but just laugh at Captain RAAF! Keep it coming I’m most amused!

milkman milkman 12:20 am 29 Aug 10

housebound said :

Hmmm, a more simple life emitting only 40% of 1990 levels, but with only tweaks. Here’s a few ideas for your simpler life:
1. ban airconditioning – the increase in aircon is a big reason for increases in residential and commerical energy use
2. put a cap on car travel (per household) of about 10k a year (about half the average Canberran travel)
3. build an airport just over the border and shift our pollution to NSW
4. go back to neighbourhood planning – local schools, local shops, local jobs, local food production (all aimed to help achieve #2)
5. use trains for all freight, and ban big freight trucks
6. limit appliance ownership to 1 TV, 1 computer per household; ban heating unless it’s snowing
7. mandatory solar panel/wind power to all households.

Any more tweaking ideas?

Other than points 3 and 7, welcome to Australian life before the mid 80’s.

p1 p1 8:59 pm 28 Aug 10

housebound said :

Any more tweaking ideas?

Tell the bogans that releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide is the best way to save the planet.

housebound housebound 4:12 pm 28 Aug 10

Hmmm, a more simple life emitting only 40% of 1990 levels, but with only tweaks. Here’s a few ideas for your simpler life:
1. ban airconditioning – the increase in aircon is a big reason for increases in residential and commerical energy use
2. put a cap on car travel (per household) of about 10k a year (about half the average Canberran travel)
3. build an airport just over the border and shift our pollution to NSW
4. go back to neighbourhood planning – local schools, local shops, local jobs, local food production (all aimed to help achieve #2)
5. use trains for all freight, and ban big freight trucks
6. limit appliance ownership to 1 TV, 1 computer per household; ban heating unless it’s snowing
7. mandatory solar panel/wind power to all households.

Any more tweaking ideas?

Postalgeek Postalgeek 4:07 pm 28 Aug 10

Raaf, sounds like you’re gonna get yourself a 2010 V8 Hummer, hot pink, with whale skin hubcaps and all leather cow interior and make brown baby seal eyes for head lights (yeah)!
And yer gonna drive in that baby at 115 miles per hour, gettin’ 1 mile per gallon, sucking down Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers from McDonalds in the old fashioned non-biodegradable styrofoam containers.
And when yer done sucking down those greeseball burgers yer gonna wipe yer mouth with the Australian flag.
And then yer gonna toss the styrofoam containers right out the side and there aint a goddamn thing any greenie can do about it
You know why, because earth’s got the volcano, thats why.
Two words, plate fucking tectonics, OK?

astrojax astrojax 3:51 pm 28 Aug 10

Thumper said :

i’m sure your grandchildren will sit around parched in their tents out in the deserts [once food bowls], cowering from incessant windstorms

You are kidding aren’t you?

only partly – read james lovelock, for one, on the likely ramifications of unchecked cc and the scenarios are pretty depressing, if not downright petrifying; so alright, maybe great grand kids…

milkman milkman 3:30 pm 28 Aug 10

Rather than crazy targets, it would be good to see lots of small tweaks to the law that over time lead to lower resource consumption. Realistically, major changes like this occur over many years, and we should bear this in mind. Starting a culture change of living more simply, and learning to enjoy the basics more, would be a great start. Right now the lifestyle expectations of many people are wildly unrealistic.

justin heywood justin heywood 2:40 pm 28 Aug 10

Even the most hardened climate-change sceptic would surely accept that we can’t keep consuming the way we do currently. Do you think the environment could cope with the 2 billion Chinese who hope to emulate our lifestyle?

Compared to the rest of the world, we’re rich, stable and technologically smart. If anyone can find smarter ways to live comfortably within our environmental means, it should be us.

When the sh!t hits the fan, as one day it inevitably will, it won’t be much comfort to say to ourselves that at least we weren’t the very worst.

Thumper Thumper 1:43 pm 28 Aug 10

i’m sure your grandchildren will sit around parched in their tents out in the deserts [once food bowls], cowering from incessant windstorms

You are kidding aren’t you?

I-filed I-filed 12:28 pm 28 Aug 10

I’d like to know how they will deal with the massive carbon footprint that is the Canberra Glassworks … handful of moderately good, handblown bits and pieces produced from insane level of gas consumption. Is the Canberra community going to be happy to “carbon subsidise” this folly once we’re asked to tighten our energy belts?

housebound housebound 9:32 am 28 Aug 10

p1 said:

“But I wish people would stop making the above statement. If we were talking about road tolls, would you say “Canberra makes up like 1% on the population, no point making us wear seatbelts….”?

That would be a valid statement if the only way to save lives was for everyone to wear seatbelts. This is not the case: the benefit of wearing a seatbelt goes directly to the wearer (and their family/friends).

In contrast, if any individual cuts their greenhouse emissions to zero (physiologically impossible, but that’s another point entirely), then it benefits no one directly. In fact, it could be a disbenefit to the individual (eg through being very cold in winter). It is only through collective action that any benefits accrue.

So if 1% of the population wears seat belts, that 1% gets a direct benefit. If 1% of the population cuts greenhouse emissions, then the benefit is miniscule.

It’s a variation of a classic tragey of the commons, and it is the reason people have been lobbying for effective collective action on greenhouse emmissions. It has worked : when governments banded together to ban some ozone depleting substances.

This time, with greenhouse gas emissions, a ridiculous ACT target set for less than 1% of the population is unlikely to see real change in behaviour, because the costs to individuals are high, the benefits very low, and all without making any real total difference.

vg vg 10:51 pm 27 Aug 10

“I WILL NOT pay one more cent for electricity”

You won’t have to when they cut it off

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