The wider Uniting Church is joining youth climate leaders calling for action on climate change, and to build a better future
The Uniting Church in Australia has a long history of caring for creation. There is hope in our stories of putting faith into action, hope in our strategies to adapt, and hope in the mobilisation of large groups of people for political change and the building of strong communities. As Covid-19 has been disrupting the world, we have been able to enjoy a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine and create a safe and better future
Right now, we stand at a critical juncture, as a leaked draft of the Morrison government’s Technology Investment Roadmap confirms that it is looking to redirect funding earmarked for clean energy projects into support for gas and carbon capture and storage projects.
Schools Strike for Climate is a movement led by school-aged students who are concerned about climate change. Last year, they led thousands strong strikes and marches through major cities across Australia. Many Uniting leaders marched with them. This year, they are calling on students and other supporters to take action in a national day of action on September 25, calling on the government to “fund our future not gas”.
Hear our leaders
On the 15th and 16th the Uniting Youth Action Climate taskgroup was proud to host an important gathering, facilitate discussion, training and inspire people to get involved. The following speakers shared insights, stories and guidance about the following;
What is the problem? Why is there a day of action? What is our national energy use and why we need to accelerate the switch to renewable energy
Stories from Uniting Church leaders about their climate concerns and how action on climate change is part of the Uniting Church’s mission and faith
Rev Dr Chris Walker & Rev Alimoni Taumoepeau
How to get involved on the 25th! ;
Raul Sugunananthan & Shane Slade ( Christian Students Uniting), Miriam Pepper, Jon O’Brien ( Youth Action Task Group)
How to plan or join an action
How to engage your MP
Some public commitments for actions
Read the slides here: UC briefing_how to get involved 160920
Ways to get involved!
2020 has been a year of disasters – bushfires, COVID-19 pandemic and economic disruption. While the government has an opportunity to create jobs and reboot the economy by investing in clean affordable renewable energy projects, they are instead deciding to fund fossil fuels that will likely make matters worse.
Why do you care? What gives you hope? Whatever your faith journey and motivation, climate change intensifies our shared responsibility to use our words and actions to support solutions and inspire people around us. There are many ways to get involved
Get in touch ( [email protected]) if you have any questions, or want to talk about what the first step is for you
Join the Common Grace online prayer vigil
Participate in the Common Grace online prayer vigil in support of the day of action via Zoom, on Thursday September 24, at 7pm. More info at: www.commongrace.org.au
Write a letter to your Federal MP
Our decision makers need to hear from ordinary people about our desire for an economic recovery based on renewable energy – one that will create jobs and a liveable planet. A short personal letter to your local Federal MP to share your concerns can make a difference. Why not organise one or two others to write letters with you? For some inspiration- Check out this messaging guide, and report from The Australia Institute on reasons to support a renewables-led recovery, not gas
Checkout out tip sheet on how to Write to your MP
Take a photo- post it online!
In certain locations where Covid-19 restrictions allow, larger groups of people are coming together and spelling out the message Fund Our Future Not Gas in a human sign and getting a photo with a drone! In other locations they are spelling out the message using shoes or placards.
Here are some examples of human signs with three people or 100s of people!
Capturing the fact that there have been actions in every corner of Australia is essential for flooding social media and sending a clear message to the government. So make sure to use this guide, and get a great photo, ideally get some great video, and send it to SS4C immediately after the action.
If you are in lockdown and can’t join with others then you will be able to take part by taking a photograph inside your home with the key message and posting it on social media (taking a ‘selfie’).
Here are some examples of the kinds of signs you can make! And how to add it on social media. Don’t forget 1) what church/group you are part of 2) #fundourfuturenotgas and #uniting4climate 3) you can tag your local MP
Attend an action happening near you!
Plan your own September 25 Build Our Future local action
Because of Covid19 restrictions, it’s not about turning out big numbers. Instead it’s about the sheer number of actions of 10-20 people in small Covidsafe gatherings in every town, suburb, and community in Australia
- Register on the map: It doesn’t matter if your action is online or offline, public or private, register it to the map on http://ss4c.info/sept25. This is so politicians can see how many actions are happening on the big day!
- Recruit your friends, family, church group or colleagues: We’re living in a pandemic, so it’s not about turnout, it’s about the sheer number of actions! So recruit 10-20 of your mates to be a part of your action on September 25th.
- Ideally organise it for the morning: If you can’t organise your action for the morning, no worries! However, the media will want to get photos and videos as early as possible so they can use them throughout the day.
- Choose somewhere iconic or eye-catching: Help your photo stand out by having your action at a local icon (eg The Big Banana) or somewhere eye catching (eg out the front of a school, on a farm, on a hospital ward, etc).
- Make a banner: The message of the day is Fund Our Future Not Gas! It’s essential to have this message clearly visible as part of your action, ideally as a banner that everyone can stand behind for a photo. You can also add a personal message, and add the name of your church or Unitng4Climate
- Wear yellow: To show that we are acting together, we’re asking everyone to make yellow a strong theme of all the actions where possible.
- Get a great photo: On the day, we’ll flood social media with beautiful pictures showing the reach and diversity of our powerful movement. Use the Photo and Video guide to learn more.
- Contact local media: On the day, we’ll flood local media with powerful stories. Use the local media guide to learn more.
More info can be found here
Host an Online Action
For people in concerned about being anywhere in public, this is the preferred option for an action!
Choose a platform eg Zoom, creatively work out a way of creating the words Fund Our Future Not Gas across your screens, make yellow a strong theme, recruit 10-20 of your mates to be a part of your action, and get a great screen photo! Even if your action is online, please register it: http://ss4c.info/sept25
The School Strike 4 Climate team will also be creating a runsheet of activities that you can do at your online action to put direct pressure on Scott Morrison. Register your online action and they will send this activities runsheet to you ahead of time.
Order a church banner!
As part of the Synod Climate Action Strategy* Uniting Mission and Education and Uniting have joined forces to offer a free climate action themed banner to lucky congregations.
Displaying a banner is a simple way for congregations to express their concerns and values into the public square and to show support for the Synod Climate Action Strategy.
There are three banner messages to choose from:
- Climate Emergency: God didn’t create a Planet B
- Killing the Planet is Against Our Religion
- Act on Climate! Leave no one behind
There are some free banners remaining. To order, simply email Jon O’Brien at Uniting [email protected] with a contact name and delivery address and the banner you prefer. Banners will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Please contact Jon O’Brien on 9407 3225 if you have any questions or would like more information.
There is a lot of information out there! Here are some good videos and places to get engaged and learn about emerging solutions
Beyond Zero Emissions ‘Million Jobs Plan’ is a great example of what a climate-smart recovery could look like. Listen to BZE’s Principle Researcher, Dr Dominique Hes (Bio here) on how the Million Jobs Plan aims to find and deliver one million new, good, secure, well-paying jobs, to help rebuild our economy after the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and secure a strong future for all Australians. Dominique is joined by BZE Hunter region volunteer, Dr Natasha Deen speaking on how local communities are getting involved.
The Climate Council was founded in 2013 by tens of thousands of Australians to create a new, an independent and 100% community-funded organisation in response to the abolition of the Australian Climate Commission.. They get climate stories into the media, produce hard-hitting reports, call out misinformation as we see it and promote climate solutions such as the transition to renewables.
Based in Canberra, it conducts research on a broad range of economic, social, transparency and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process;
- Climate and Energy program;
- Gas and coal watch
- National energy emissions audit
- Climate and Energy program;
Taking a deep dive into the politics- What is this all about?
- Energy Minister Angus Taylor plans to broaden the scope of Australia’s clean energy agencies to make them “technology neutral” and encourage the funding of carbon capture and storage and gas projects, according to a draft of the government’s Technology Investment Road Map
- The “road map” is designed to help Australia cut its carbon emissions while helping boost the post-pandemic economic recovery, and was announced earlier this year but did not contain any detail. A draft document seen by newspapers such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age suggests the government will alter the remit of both the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
- In August Mr Taylor lodged a bill to change investment rules to enable the CEFC to use its $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund for gas power and infrastructure projects, and remove a rule that prevents it from investing in loss-making projects.
- The plan’s first action is to develop “immediate measures to ensure reliability and security of the electricity grid ahead of the 2020-21 summer”. Yet, the electricity energy market operator AEMO, in its latest outlook of supply adequacy, sees no impending reliability problem for the coming summer. Against that background, new reliability measures would be a puzzling initiative that would impose unjustified cost on consumers.
- According to the draft road map, the government will also pursue deals with state and territory governments similar to the one it signed with NSW in January under which the state government agreed to contribute 70 petajoules more gas to the grid each year in return for federal government funding for new power transmission lines.
- The funding for ARENA which has been researching the viability of renewable energy sources, finishes this year. The road map shows how the Morrison government could expand its plans under the Grid Reliability Fund by using recommendations from the King Review which in May advised the CEFC, along with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency be opened up to consider gas projects, while the $2 billion Emissions Reduction Fund be changed to “enable a method to be developed for carbon capture and storage
- Angus Taylor suggested first that the Government is bent on investing in gas projects to provide more “cheap energy” to the market to help lead recovery from COVID-19; and then that the falling price of gas during COVID-19 could be used to support fast-start gas plants that help bring more renewable energy into the grid.
- Clean hydrogen from off-grid gas with CCS [carbon capture and storage], and coal gasification with CCS is likely to be the lowest-cost clean production method in the near-term, although other renewable production methods will also come down in cost as clean hydrogen demand grows,” says the draft. The government’s support for CCS and gas has proved controversial, with critics saying that CCS technology is costly and unproven and that gas is a fossil fuel that can be as damaging to the climate as coal once leaks are taken into account.
- While there is broad support for the government’s plans to develop a hydrogen energy industry, there is debate over whether the government should support so-called blue-hydrogen which is produced using gas coupled with CCS, rather than green hydrogen, which uses only renewable energy
Why are people talking about ARENA?
- While the government can legislate to expand the remit of energy agencies it remains to be seen what technologies are favoured by the boards which manage them. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation must comply with investment rules that require them to not only fund new technology but also deliver value for taxpayers’ money.
- The draft notes that the government has proposed a bill to establish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund, which includes an underwriting scheme to encourage private companies to build new power supply. The underwriting program, which is open to all energy sources, is currently considering five gas, one coal and six renewable energy projects. The CEFC must invest at least 50 per cent of its funds in renewable energy. Mr Taylor’s bill would remove these restrictions for the $1 billion in the Grid Reliability Fund
- State energy ministers have expressed their support for funding to extended to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, arguing that support is still needed for emerging clean energy innovations, and as the energy market shifts its focus to renewable hydrogen and energy storage options.
- More info on the role of ARENA can be found here- https://reneweconomy.com.au/arena-makes-case-for-more-funding-points-to-jobs-costs-and-investment-gains-78722/
The School Strike 4 Climate is talking about expanded public ownership- what is that?
Queensland is an example of a state whose electricity assets are still publicly owned, and dividends are have been used to fund access and affordability programs under an Affordable Energy plan, and subsidising household energy bills.
Just last week, Queensland announced a $500 m renewable energy fund to build publicly owned wind and solar projects as a centrepiece of its post pandemic economic recovery plan.
The recovery funds are more referring to money being allocated to stimulate the economy due to impacts from Covid.
Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, recently suggested that while COVID-19 has had deep economic and health impacts, it could also be an opportune time to inject funds from global economic stimulus packages’ into the development and manufacturing of renewables, saying:
“Large-scale investment to boost the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies – such as solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture (CCUS) – should be a central part of governments’ plans because it will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions. The progress this will achieve in transforming countries’ energy infrastructure won’t be temporary – it can make a lasting difference to our future.
A recent Price Waterhouse Cooper report looked at the impact COVID-19 on Australia’s renewables sector, and found the virus will impact manufacturing and delay the supply of equipment and materials used in the construction of solar energy facilities, along with short term price increases.
However some believe that Australia could use this time to rebuild and respond with a considered plan to create “jobs-rich economic benefits” – and it’s argued that investment in the renewables sector could provide some substantial inroads. The clean energy sector has argued that a pipeline of wind and solar projects could be brought forward.
Read about WWF’s work in how Australia can develop a renewable export industry