Archive for the ‘Express 89’ Category

Efficient Ways to Cut Energy Costs

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Efficient Ways to Cut Energy Costs

Australians will have to pay up to an extra $1000 over the next three years for power, with about a third directly attributable to the proposed CPRS. But Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has raised serious questions over whether electricity prices should rise and also points to energy efficiency measures to reduce costs to the consumer.

Andrew Fraser in The Australian (16 December 2009):

AUSTRALIANS will have to pay up to an extra $1000 over the next three years for power, with about a third of the extra cost directly attributable to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

The NSW regulator yesterday issued a draft ruling allowing the state’s three electricity companies to raise their charges over the next three years, and it is the first such ruling where the cost of a CPRS can be exactly determined.

The federal government has estimated that an ETS would add $1100 a year to the average family’s bills, with gas, fuel and groceries set to rise along with electricity.

Power prices in Australia are set by each state within a national framework, and the Australian Energy Regulator recently issued guidelines for South Australia and Queensland, with those for Victoria due to be released in the new year.

But these rulings allow only for increased charges for network costs and not a CPRS, making yesterday’s ruling by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal the first on what it sees as the potential cost to consumers of a CPRS.

While NSW is the first state to make such a call, its figures would be a guide for other state regulatory bodies when they issue their rulings for possible rises.

Under the NSW body’s draft ruling issued yesterday, the three main energy companies would be able to start charging for a CPRS from the middle of next year, even though the scheme was not due to start until the middle of 2011.

Notes issued with the ruling show that customers of Energy Australia would pay an extra $288 over three years for a CPRS, while those with Integral Energy would pay an extra $314, and those with Country Energy an extra $302.

This represents a rise in cost between now and 2012-13 of 23 per cent for Energy Australia, 25 per cent for Integral Energy, and 21 per cent for Country Energy.

In the case of all three distributors, the cost of a CPRS is about half the overall increase recommended by the independent regulator, with most of the extra cost to consumers coming from the need to replace ageing infrastructure.

The overall costs allowed by the NSW pricing tribunal would see rises over three years of $554, or 44 per cent, for customers of Integral Energy, $727, or 58 per cent, for those of Energy Australia, and $893, or 62 per cent, for those signed to Country Energy.

Tony Abbott seized on the last figure as evidence of how the CPRS would hit ordinary consumers.

He claimed that “those massive increases are due in significant measure to Mr Rudd’s emissions tax”. “There is a real problem here. Mr Rudd is trying to tell us that there is a painless way to tackle climate change,” the Opposition Leader said. “There isn’t. And we have learnt today from the NSW authorities that Mr Rudd’s emissions tax is likely to impact massively on Australian families.”

But the federal government planned to allow full or partial compensation for electricity consumers who earned less than $160,000.

The NSW opposition said the planned increases showed the extent that basic infrastructure such as powerlines had been allowed to run down under the Labor government.



Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has today raised serious questions over the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) draft determination on electricity price increases, to apply from 1 July 2010.

“I am concerned about the assumptions being used within the QCA draft determination,” Mr Robertson said.

“The QCA draft determination gives a significantly higher price rise than Government and members of the public would consider reasonable,” he said.

“I have directed my Department and Treasury to carry out a rigorous analysis of the QCA’s methodology.

“For instance, I fail to understand how New South Wales’ independent tribunal has this week assumed a zero per cent increase in the cost of energy, while the QCA today assumes it is rising at 10.7 per cent, and passed on a significant increase as a result,” Mr Robertson said.

The QCA today released a draft decision on the Benchmark Retail Cost Index (BRCI), recommending the maximum price of electricity should rise by 13.8 per cent from 1 July, for twelve months. The BRCI is used to adjust regulated electricity prices each year.

“I am concerned about the impact this will have on low-income earners and pensioners, which is why we will be closely scrutinising this draft decision. I will also be looking at the financial assistance programs available for people who are doing it tough.”

The Queensland Government knows some electricity consumers will find it hard to meet the price increase and provides help through:

•    a $3 million hardship scheme, with up to $720/year for households struggling to pay their electricity bills

•    the pensioner’s and senior’s electricity rebate, increased 15 per cent to $190.85 a year

•    $100 solar hot water systems for pensioners ($500 for non-pensioners) available through the Queensland Solar Hot Water program

•    The Low-Carbon Diet, promoting energy-efficient lifestyles through community groups

•    The ClimateSmart Home Service, giving energy efficiency advice to more than 120,000 home-owners.

“The QCA decision means households with an electricity bill of about $350 a quarter using approximately 8,130 kilowatt hours of electricity a year will pay an extra $194 on their bill in 2010-11, ” Mr Robertson said.

“Smaller households with power bills of $150 a quarter would face an increase of around $80 per year.

“If our analysis shows the QCA’s price rises are not supported by facts, or if there are ways to lessen the increases, we will raise this with the QCA in the months ahead.”

Mr Robertson said the QCA’s final price decision would be announced by 31 May and come into effect on 1 July 2010.

“The Queensland Government will make a strong submission in response to this draft determination. I urge Queenslanders to provide feedback during the public consultation, which runs until February next year,” he said.

Mr Robertson said although electricity prices were rising across Australia, until now Queenslanders had enjoyed below average charges.

An annual comparison of residential electricity bills in July this year showed that despite the price rises of recent years, Queenslanders had the third cheapest electricity in the country.


Yes to Renewables, Not Sure on Nuclear

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Yes to Renewables, Not Sure on Nuclear

A Newspoll survey commissioned by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has shown overwhelming public support for the government to focus its support on renewable energy – such as solar and wind – over nuclear power, while the Australian Government is providing a grant to support Queensland research into plastic solar panels.

Renewables trounce nuclear in Newspoll (15 December 2009):

NATIONAL: A Newspoll survey commissioned by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has shown overwhelming public support for the government to focus its support on renewable energy – such as solar and wind – over nuclear power.

Given a choice between supporting the development of renewable energy sources and nuclear power, four out of every five people polled favoured the government giving greater priority to the development of renewables. 

CEC chief executive Matthew Warren said the results show Australians want to see the development of renewable energy ahead of contentious options like nuclear. 

“This confirms what we have thought for some time – you need to exhaust every other alternative before talking about nuclear energy as a climate change solution for Australia.

“The answers in this poll show that some people may express support for nuclear power in principle, but four out of every five people would prefer to see an effective renewable energy strategy as a priority.

“We need to see what renewable technologies can achieve over the next decade.  Renewables have enormous potential, but we still have a lot of work to do to find out how much energy they can deliver and at what cost,” he said.

Respondents were asked two questions. The first was to baseline their support for each energy source individually and the second to gauge whether they thought the government should give a greater priority to the support of renewable energy or nuclear power.

Baseline support

There appears to be broad acceptance for developing alternative energy sources:

The baseline results for nuclear power mirrored a Nielson poll from the last couple of months.  93 per cent of those polled favoured the Federal Government supporting the development of renewable energy.

Just under half (49 per cent) also showed support for the development of nuclear sources 

Greater priority for government

There is a clear preference for giving priority to developing alternatives to nuclear energy

On the matter of which approach should receive the greater priority, the vast majority (80 per cent) said that the government should give priority to renewables while only 15 per cent favoured priority being given to developing nuclear energy sources.

 Males, 22 per cent, were significantly more likely than women, 8%, to believe greater priority should be given to nuclear energy.

Those aged under 50, 86 per cent, were significantly more likely to prefer renewables over nuclear, than those aged over 50, 71 per cent.


Federal Funding Boost for Queensland Solar Research (18 December 2009):

Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson today welcomed the Australian Government’s $945,000 grant to support Queensland research into plastic solar panels.

“Queensland is the solar state and it’s only fitting that our researchers are recognised as being at the forefront of developing affordable solar technologies.

“The University of Queensland’s $1.945 million research project led by Professors Paul Meredith and Paul Burn looks at improving the efficiency of plastic photovoltaic cells to potentially deliver a low-cost, flexible solar cell that could be integrated into buildings and other consumer products.

“The UQ Centre for Organic Photonics and Electronics project was one of only five selected to receive funding under the Australian Solar Institute’s competitive solar energy grants program.

“This important research project was selected from among 87 proposals.

“It’s just another example of the research and development expertise we are building right here in Queensland to deliver a cleaner energy future for all,” said Mr Robertson.

University of Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu also welcomed the funding, which builds on almost $2 million in Queensland Government support this year for research into plastic photovoltaic cells delivered under the National and International Research Alliances Program.

“The project has the potential to expand Queensland’s high-tech industry base and create new jobs and new skills”, said Mr Lu.

The grant is being delivered by the Australian Solar Institute, a $100 million program under the Australian Government’s $4.5 billion Clean Energy initiative.

Minister Robertson said the Queensland Government was committed to harnessing the natural energy of the sun to lower our carbon footprint through solar mapping, large-scale solar plants and solar hot water.

“Solar will play a leading role in our energy future supporting other renewable resources like geothermal energy and wind,” said Mr Robertson.


Taking Flight with a New Tax?

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89


In the same week that Boeing’s most fuel efficient Dreamliner 787 took to the skies for the first time, a new aviation tax plan surfaced as a way to break the deadlock at the Copenhagen talks by raising billions of dollars to help poor countries cope with climate change.

Wall Street Journal’s Peter Sanders reports:

EVERETT, Wash.—Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday made its first flight, marking a success for the company after two years of delays but setting up an equally challenging drive to churn out large numbers of the cutting-edge aircraft.

Thousands of spectators gathered under cloudy skies at Paine Field here, cheering as the blue-and-white-striped jet lifted off the runway for its maiden flight. “It’s great to finally get the plane in the air,” said Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney.

But the repeated setbacks have pushed the company into a tight spot: Now it must quickly turn a cutting-edge prototype into a mass-produced money maker.

“Ramping up production certainly will be a challenge,” said Mr. McNerney. Boeing hopes to produce seven Dreamliners a month by 2011, increasing to 10 a month by 2013.

The company’s ability to achieve that goal will have a huge impact on the commercial-aviation industry world-wide.

The Dreamliner’s more than 300 global suppliers won’t begin to fully recoup their money until the planes are delivered to customers.

Many suppliers have already been squeezed by past delays. And airlines and leasing firms, which have ordered 865 of the aircraft, are counting on Boeing to make its new production target so they can plan routes and service.

The delays have already caused Boeing—the single largest exporter from the U.S. and long a symbol of American engineering prowess—to bleed cash. The Chicago-based aerospace giant swung to a $1.6 billion third-quarter loss after posting a $3.5 billion write-down attributed to problems with the Dreamliner and another jetliner program. The missed delivery dates have set off payments of millions in penalties and dented the company’s credibility with customers and investors.

More interactive graphics and photos Boeing has staked much of its future on the pioneering aircraft. It is the first-ever commercial jet to be built half out of strong-but-lightweight carbon-fiber composite material, which the company promises will make the Dreamliner more fuel-efficient and durable than current models. That prospect played well with customers.

The plane, with a list price of more than $160 million, has received more orders ahead of its first flight than for any jetliner in history.

By any measure, even Boeing’s seven-planes-a-month production target is ambitious. After 14 years of producing the larger, aluminum-shelled 777 model, Boeing only this year got on track to deliver more than seven of that aircraft a month.

On top of that, the 787 marks the first time that Boeing is trying to manufacture an aircraft made largely out of composite material, the novelty of which has already led to glitches. Boeing in June abruptly postponed what was supposed to be the first flight, disclosing that composites around where the wings meet the main fuselage were damaged. It took nearly six months to fix the problem.

The Dreamliner also must run through an elaborate test-flight program before the Federal Aviation Administration will clear the aircraft to carry passengers. In a sign of the challenges involved, Boeing shortened the planned four-hour flight by an hour because of bad weather.

From the Dreamliner’s conception early this decade, Boeing planned to keep customization to a minimum “to make sure it wasn’t a boutique plane,” said James Albaugh, the head of the company’s commercial-aircraft unit. The company now is intensely focused on “what it’s going to take to ramp our production up.”

When Boeing set out to build the Dreamliner, it chose to outsource much of the production to firms based as far away as Italy and Japan.

But Boeing had a hard time keeping on top of such a vast network of suppliers. In addition, the many delays strained its relations with some key suppliers.

“The critical issue is not that Boeing isn’t going to have a successful flight test,” Marshall Larsen, CEO of supplier Goodrich Corp., said earlier this year. “It’s that the Goodriches of the world successfully support Boeing in getting the aircraft into service.” Goodrich, based in Charlotte, N.C., produces major elements of the Dreamliner and the A380, including the 787′s brakes and thrust reversers.

“We really have to focus on making sure we have a supply chain that delivers on what we promised,” Mr. Albaugh said. “We know there are going to be changes along the way, and we just have to make sure we minimize disruptions on the factory floor.”

One of Boeing’s key 787 suppliers, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. of Wichita, Kan., said it is eager finally to increase production after years of fits and starts.

“We’re really excited to get past first flight and get to the next phase and really get into production,” said Spirit spokeswoman Deborah Gann. “We’re looking forward to getting more regularity with the 787 and think there are lots of improvements on that process that we can continue to make.”



Lenore Taylor and Peter Wilson From: The Australian December 17, 2009

AFRICAN nations, led by Ethiopia and backed by France and Britain, have presented a plan to break the deadlock at the Copenhagen talks by raising billions of dollars to help poor countries cope with climate change through levies on international aviation and shipping and possibly even a controversial global financial tax.

Kevin Rudd discussed the plan with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown soon after his arrival in Copenhagen. Mr Brown, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is backing the Ethiopian scheme, although the financial tax proposal was last night meeting resistance from other developed countries.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said London supported the Ethiopian proposal and hoped it could “provide a way forward” for the struggling climate change talks.

British Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change Ed Miliband told The Australian that much would depend on how the Ethiopian proposal was received in Copenhagen today. “It’s important to see its reception today,” Mr Miliband said.

World Vision chief executive the Reverend Tim Costello said it was “the first serious breakthrough from the entrenched blocs and set positions”.

“This is the first time a country from the north and a country from the south have shown a way to address financing, which is a showstopper here in Copenhagen, especially if developed-nation emission-reduction commitments remain weak,” Mr Costello said.

Signs of a breakthrough came as the Australian government’s project of trying to make coal less polluting by capturing and storing its carbon emissions was dealt an expensive blow at the climate summit.

The UN conference refused to include clean coal technology in its main program for channelling money to clean fuel projects, locking carbon capture and storage out of potentially billions of dollars of funding.

The Copenhagen talks are in need of a breakthrough, with formal official-level negotiations ending in confusion and anger late yesterday when a final text was pushed through, despite objections from both the US and developing countries.

More than 100 arrests were made last night (AEDT) as about 3000 protesters massed outside the conference centre.

The Prime Minister warned there were “no guarantees of success” and that getting rich and poor nations to sign on to agreements was the key. “In the past, this has primarily been a debate about what happens with the developed world,” Mr Rudd said.

“We know that the developed world is responsible for the largest slice of accumulated greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere . . . the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the future will be the major developing countries, led by China.

“China already – as of today – is the world’s largest polluter. It’s now bigger than the United States. For the first time in history, there is the prospect of an agreement which brings in the developing countries, for the first time.”

Developing countries are demanding more than $100 billion a year to help cope with the effects of global warming and reduce their own emissions but the UN has so far only secured informal backing for an initial $10bn-a-year “start- up” fund for the next three years and has received firm pledges for only a fraction of that amount.

The financing plan proposes to raise $80bn a year after the three-year “fast-start” program expires, rising to $160bn a year by 2020, through levies on international shipping and aviation and possibly a financial transaction tax such as the Tobin tax on global financial transactions, although the Tobin tax idea has been rejected by the US, Canada, Russia and the International Monetary Fund.

The broad plan was also discussed at a special summit of European Union leaders over the weekend, but the fact that it is being presented by Ethiopia could help overcome developing-nation suspicions and encourage major developing-country emitters such as China and India to promise internationally binding emission reductions. Mr Meles announced his proposal at the high-level segment of yesterday’s meeting, saying he knew its funding was not as ambitious as some African countries would have liked.

“I know my proposal will disappoint some Africans . . . It scales back the ambition in return for more reliable funding and a seat at the table in the management of any such funding,” he said. “Because we have more to lose than others, we have to be more flexible than others and go the extra mile . . . Such flexibility should not be confused with desperation.”

Mr Brown said Mr Meles’s proposals were a “framework within which developed and developing countries can work together”.

So far, Japan has reportedly offered $11bn a year for the “fast-start” financing fund, and the EU about $10.5bn. The US and Australia have promised to contribute their “fair share”, without specifying amounts.

Under the Ethiopian and French plan, 40 per cent of the fast-start money would go to Africa and 20 per cent would be used to stop deforestation in developing countries. Details would be worked out by a group of developed and developing countries to report to the next G20 meeting. The fund would concentrate on “poor and vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa, least developed countries, small island states and other developing countries with a low per-capita income”.

The chief executive of Australian think tank the Climate Institute, John Connor, said last night it was good the negotiations were being handed over to politicians. He attacked some negotiators for their criticism of Australia and other countries. “While there are some legitimate concerns for developing countries, some of the negotiators are using a tax on Australia and other developed countries to avoid scrutiny of their own actions,” he said.


Greenhouse at Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Greenhouse at Woodford Folk Festival

The Greenhouse program at Woodford Folk Festival from 27 December to 1 January includes scientists, authors, intellectuals, environmentalists, inventors and a senator/spokesperson on Climate Change. Ken Hickson joins Dr Mike Smith and Ulrike Schuermann to discuss Business’s Role in the Future on 31 December. 

Here are all the speakers for the Greenhouse program at Woodford Folk Festival appearing from 27 December to 1 January. For the full program go to

Anna Keenan

Anna is a leading international youth climate activist. She is currently based in Bonn and Copenhagen where she coordinates youth advocacy at the intersessional meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change. Anna will be seen at the GREENhouse via video footage.

Barbara Ford

Barb is an ex-bush GP and international aid worker who would rather see healthy people than sick ones. She teaches permaculture and has a passion for solar cooking and simple technologies that improve the health of people and the planet.

Ben Kele

Ben Kele is a water scientist with Midell Water and CQ University. Midell Water has designed, built, and is operating the wastewater treatment and water recycling system used at the Woodfordia site. Ben will be discussing the Woodfordia wastewater treatment facility.

Bill Hoffmann

Bill Hoffman is Editor at Large, Sunshine Coast Daily. Whether taking on developers hell-bent on destroying the Coast’s natural appeal, state governments hell-bent on facilitating that outcome or a Prime Minister indifferent to the plight of the poor he has never been one to mince his words

Bob Abbot

The Sunshine Coast’s larger than life Mayor, Bob Abbot, has been in local government for 27 years. Bob’s ultimate goal is for the Sunshine Coast to become Australia’s most sustainable region. He is also passionate about protecting its unique and diverse character as a community of communities.

Clive Hamilton

After many years at The Australia Institute, Clive is now professor of public ethics, based at the ANU. His books include Growth Fetish, Affluenza (with Richard Denniss) and The Freedom Paradox: Towards a post-secular ethics.

Daryl Taylor

Daryl is director of integralevolution – a personal, team, organisational and community development coaching consultancy. Lucy Filor is a teacher, puppet-maker and performer, specialising in social and environmental justice community performance making. With their daughter Maggie, they survived the Black Saturday firestorm.

Dr. Allan Dale

An Adjunct Professor at James Cook University, Allan worked with CSIRO and lead the State’s natural resource management policy agenda. He now heads Terrain NRM focused on building a sound foundation for an ecosystem services economy for the Wet Tropics and northern Australia.

Dr. Chris Pettit

Chris is a principal research scientist within the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and Associate Professor – Geomatics, University of Melbourne. He has over 10 years experience in developing and applying geographical technology tools for envisioning sustainable landscape futures.

Dr. David Wyatt

Chairman of ASX-listed banana veneer company, Papyrus Australia Ltd and Adjunct Professor at UQ Business School, David bridges the world’s of social and environmental entreprise and activism.

Dr. Hans Baer

Dr. Hans Baer is a world leader in global warming research and the political ecology of health, healing and happiness. In 2008, he published ‘Global Warming and the Political Ecology of Health-Emerging Crises and Systemic Solutions’ . Join Dr. Baer for his interpretation of the heath effects that we will experience with the increased development of global warming.

Dr. Linda Selvey

Linda is CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.  Until recently, she was Executive Director of Population Health Queensland also a former chair of Queensland Conservation Council. She is interested in preventing chronic disease, through improving nutrition, and is also a supporter of QCC’s ‘grow local’ campaign.

Dr. Michael H Smith

Michael Smith is Research Director of The Natural Edge Project, a solutions-orientated Sustainability Think Tank based at Griffith University and ANU. Michael and his TNEP colleagues have developed a wide range of climate change and sustainability books, manuals and online training packages.

Dr. Patricia Kelly

An education consultant at several Australian universities Patricia’s background includes teaching, drama, media, education and cross-cultural education. She is interested in transformative education and the qualities needed to create futures we would be happy for our grandchildren to live in. Her book Towards Globo Sapiens: was published in 2008.

Dr. Matthew Gray

Matthew has over ten years experience as a researcher and teacher in environmental studies, sustainability, and systems thinking. In 2006 he became a sustainable transport campaigner with the Queensland Conservation Council, the State’s peak environmental non-government organisation.

Dr. Wendy Sarkissian

Nimbin-based social planner Wendy Sarkissian PhD seeks spirited ways to nurture an engaged citizenry. She has co-authored three new Earthscan books: Kitchen Table Sustainability: Practical Recipes for Community Engagement with Sustainability (2008). SpeakOut (2009) and Creative Community Planning (January 2010).

Faith Thomas.

Faith, founder of the ‘Living Schools’ project in NSW, works with ‘Growing Communities’ in Brisbane, and is their Communications coordinator. She has extensive experience in sustainability education with schools and local authorities.

Fiona Scott-Norman

Fiona is a writer, satirist, broadcaster and columnist who contributes to The Age, The Australian, ABC Radio 774 am, and The Big Issue. She is currently touring her hilarious comedy show The Needle and the Damage (about her terrible record collection, not her raging heroin habit).

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth-Brisbane Co-op is a community based social change cooperative working on local, regional, national and international issues. We are working towards the creation of an ecologically sustainable and socially just society through community action. Current campaigns include Coal, Climate Justice and Nuclear.

Gabe Anderson

Gabe parents took him to forest blockades in a backpack: studied Resource and Environmental Management at ANU, joined OzGREEN and worked across Australia. Now based in Newcastle Gabe is OzGREEN facilitator for a biodiversity corridor project – Snowy Mountains to Atherton Tablelands.

Gary Burke

Gary, Rich’n’Famous Double Bass player; now finishing PhD at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, believes we can make a re-configured economic framework to help us decide what needs doing, how to do it well, and in what sequence.

Gary Kane

Gary is a specialist emergency coordinator at the Department of Environment and Resource Management (previously EPA). He springs in to action to handle oil spills, toxic leaks and explosions.

Giselle Wilkinson

Giselle is President of the Sustainable Living Foundation which she co-founded in 1999, also a foundation member of Safe Climate Australia recently launched by Al Gore. Author The Conscious Cook, innovator of social change she is currently undertaking a doctorate focusing on collaborative strategies for rapidly mobilising whole communities.

Graeme Taylor

Author of ‘Evolution’s Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World’, which won the Independent Publisher’s 2009 Gold Medal for the book “most likely to save the planet” Graeme is also the coordinator of BEST Futures a project using evolutionary systems theory to model societal change, analyse global problems and develop viable solutions.

Hugh Duffie

Hugh leads the Environment Club at Toowoomba Grammar School. In July Hugh attended ‘Power Shift’, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s first national youth climate summit in Sydney. In September he was awarded – Keep Australia Beautiful QLD’s “Green and Healthy Schools – Young Legend” Award.

Ian Mackay

Debater, poet, keen conservationist and friend of lungfish. A witty wordsmith whether it be debating or rhyming verse.

Ian Dearden

Ian Dearden is a former criminal defence and anti-discrimination lawyer. Since 2005 he has been a Qld District Court judge.

Ian Golding

Ian was a pioneer of the Horticulture Industry in tropical Northern Australia and has been farming and marketing fruit and vegetables there for over 25 years. He has recently settled in Maleny to establish the collaborative business network called Beyond Organic.

Imogen Zethoven

Imogen Zethovan AO, formerly QCC and WWF is currently employed by the Pew Environment Group – Australia, of the Pew Charitable Trusts. She leads a campaign to establish the world’s largest highly protected area to the east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the Coral Sea.

Janet Millington

Janet Millington; teacher, author, permaculture educator and communitarian in 2007 helped establish ‘Transition Sunshine Coast’ – moving from oil dependency to local resilience and addressing climate and energy uncertainty. She recently co-authored the book Outdoor Classrooms: a handbook for school gardens.

John Morahan

A co-founder of Northey Street City Farm 15 years ago,  John coordinates the implementation, design and networking of community gardens across SE Queensland through the ‘Growing Communities’ organisation. He has designed gardens for over 20 schools.

Jo Bragg

Jo Bragg is an experienced public interest environmental lawyer at Environmental Defenders Office. She has worked on environmental test case litigation and has successfully advocated for increased community enforcement rights in Queensland legislation.

Julie Shelton

Julie Shelton is an organic farmer, distributor, retailer, writer, gastronome, Churchill Fellow and passionate supporter of small-scale local food producers.  In 2009, she founded Slow Food Sunshine Coast Hinterland to promote food that is good, clean and fair.

Justin Sawell

An accountant, consultant and speaker, Justin is passionate about electric cars. He is a member of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, the founder of the Brisbane Electric Vehicle Association and has been instrumental in promoting the Better Place electric vehicle program in SEQ

Kenny Walpole

Kenny is an engineer who joined ‘Engineers Without Borders’ to work in remote mountainous regions of Nepal. Kenny installed solar-powered lighting with the aim of relieving some of the extreme poverty in the province of Humla.

Ken Hickson

Ken had 47 years working as a journalist in newspapers, magazines, radio and television, as a consultant to organisations throughout the Asia Pacific and is a Governor of WWF Australia. He is the author and publisher of The ABC of Carbon and also produces the weekly e-newsletter abc carbon express.

Leonie Shanahan

Leonie works for ‘Edible School Gardens’ through Permaculture Noosa. She is an experienced and passionate gardener, currently working across 14 local schools on the Sunshine Coast.

Louise Orr

Louise lives and works as a committed environmentalist. She is passionate about food and the challenges and risks presented in feeding the Earth’s people. She is a committed local food advocate, who understands how cultural, ecological and economically healthy food systems create resilient, inclusive communities.

Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor is co-director of the Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF). SLF seeks to help foster the rapid adoption of ways of living that will make it possible to sustain the community of life locally and globally. Luke has been the Director of Australia’s foremost sustainability event the Sustainable Living Festival for the past 8 years.

Mark O’Connor

Mark is a well known environmental poet and activist. Mark’s latest book is Overloading Australia: How governments and media dither and deny on population.

Maryella Hatfield

Maryella Hatfield is the director and co-producer of The Future Makers documentary, exploring some of the world leading technologies in renewable energy coming from Australia. In her travels researching the film, she encountered many fabulous innovators. ‘The Green Inventors’ forum explores some of them.

Mathew Dick

Mathew is a passionate nutritionist with an interest in making it easier for all Queenslanders to eat well. He coordinates statewide food supply projects for Queensland Health and has over 15 years experience working on statewide, regional and local nutrition projects.

Nadja Kunz

Nadja is a member of the Queensland Youth Environment Council and a PhD scholar at the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry.  She previously worked as an engineer, and last year volunteered at an indigenous school in Central Australia.

Nick Heath

An accountant, then political advisor Nick is now defending the planet with the World Wildlife Fund. Recently WWF has successfully convinced Federal and State Governments to invest $375m to cut farm pollution of the Great Barrier Reef by 50%, and to further reform land clearing laws.

Northey Street City Farm

Volunteer gardeners from this well-established Brisbane community garden present practical Permaculture workshops to help you garden and live sustainably in the city. NSCF itself provides a model for applying these ideas to all aspects of life for individuals, families and organizations.

Professor Andrew Wilford

Now an Associate Professor from Bond University’s School of Sustainable Development Wilf was a senior manager at Boeing Australia and ran their F-111 program. This prior experience enabled him to deal with large scale complexity and engage with “Safe Climate Australia” and “Transition Town” movement.

Professor Ian Lowe

Pre-eminent scientist and environmentalist Professor Ian Lowe AO, is President of Australian Conservation Foundation. He is recipient of many awards and has authored many publications. Recently an expanded and revised edition of one of his books A Big Fix has been published.

Professor Sohail Inayatullah

Sohail is a political scientist associated with Tamkang University, Taiwan and the University of the Sunshine Coast.  He is the author/editor of twenty books/cdroms.  He has recently presented to Queensland Nurses, Singapore Defense, Australia Federal Police, and the Organization of Islamic Conference.

Rebel Star

Rebel Star was the face of school students for the 2009 World Environment Day Festival held at the University of the Sunshine Coast.  She is an active member of her school’s Environment Portfolio and sends her message through song.

Richard Sanders

Richard is an ecological economist, environmental scientist and futurist and the founder of Quest 2025. Trained as a transdisciplinary thinker, Richard has spent the past 20 years grappling with the problem of ecological sustainability and what it means for our society and economy.

Roger Currie

Roger Currie is a Land for Wildlife Blocky who runs a biodiversity and GIS consultancy in the Fraser Coast. He is also Vice President and Water Policy Officer at the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council.

Robert Pekin

Robert is founder and CEO of Food Connect (putting the culture back into Agriculture). A former organic dairy farmer, market gardener and agriculture advisor he has developed Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs (CSAs) across Australia – Food Connect being the largest of these.

Russell Austerberry

Russell integrates experiences in ways which lead to personal peace as well as community health. Driving a council bus provides a base from which to advocate sustainable communities, become involved in Transition Town work, and foster the uptake of electric car conversions.

Sandy McCutcheon

Sandy is a playwright and best selling author. He is currently working on his 13th novel.

Senator Christine Milne

Senator Christine Milne, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson on climate change, was elected to represent Tasmania in 2004. She served as Leader of the Tasmanian Greens from 1993-1998. Christine was appointed to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1990.

Simon Baltais

An active environmental campaigner, Simon holds positions on Queensland Conservation Council, Vice President of SEQ Sustainable Population Australia, Ambassador for LifeLine and more. Son of a migrant and father of one child, his broad experiences make him ideal to discuss population issues.”

Steph Zannakis

Healing self/societal and human/nature relationships is central to Steph’s journey, in particular his practice of architecture. An ethical practice of being in the world of climate change, peak oil, resource consumption and a meaningful collaborative sustaining lifestyle is the path Steph is seeking to walk.

Sonya Wallace

Sonya is a permaculture teacher/designer and co-founder of Transition Sunshine Coast – preparing communities for future climate and energy uncertainty. Creating resilient food, energy and transport systems and much more she travels Australia supporting councils and communities in doing the same.

Steve Campbell

Head of Campaigns and key spokesperson at Greenpeace Australia-Pacific Steve also holds an Honours degree in Law from Macquarie University. Before joining Greenpeace he was a researcher, writer and trainer, working on youth justice and policing issues. He plays with ‘Genevieve Maynard and the Tallboys’.

Steve and Sheila Davis

Steve and Sheila are prominent Gold Coast environmentalists and regular Woodford presenters.  Their talks are always entertaining and informative as Steve is a professional comedian and an Al Gore Climate Messenger and Sheila is an environmental educator.

Tim Winton

Tim Winton, founder of the Permaforest Trust, is a sustainability educator and consultant who regularly speaks and writes about issues ranging from peak oil and climate change to permaculture, PatternDynamics and Integral Sustainability.

Tristan Peach

Tristan is a town planner and community activist with interests in sustainable transport and community engagement. His masters thesis analysing people’s attitudes to public transport was awarded the 2008 Minister’s Town Planning prize.

Vivien Griffin and Dennis Etheridge

A Himalayas Trek alerted Vivien to the hardships faced by Nepalese villagers in meeting their energy needs.  She and partner Dennis explored opportunities for volunteering in renewable energy projects in Nepal, and signed up to SWOGUN Nepal’s Solar Aid program, providing renewable energy to remote rural villages.

Ulrike Schuermann

Ulrike runs Momentum International Partnership, a sustainability and corporate social responsibility firm specialising in strategy, education and people engagement. She works with civil society and business and is passionate about bringing people together to create solutions to social and environmental challenges.


Your Chance to Express Yourself

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Your Chance to Express Yourself

In this the final issue of abc carbon express for the year, we not only review Copenhagen and what’s past, we ask you the reader for your honest feedback in our first ever reader survey. Please click on the link –  – and get the chance to win one of three books (“The ABC of Carbon”, of course) on offer.

Ken Hickson sets out his highlights for the year past and his hope for the next decade, but first he asks all abc carbon express readers to give their feedback on this weekly newsletter and what they would like to see in the future. Go to the survey –

Highlights of 2009 through the eyes of abc carbon express:


We featured movers and shakers in the world of climate change at home and abroad, some very familiar to our readers no doubt and others lesser known mortals, even though just as important. Denmark’s Climate Change Minister Connie Hedgegaard took her place, along with the new US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. We profiled an amazing young African William Kamkwamba with his innovative wind power inventions and Charles Darwin’s great, great grandson Chris Darwin. Australians making their mark included Anne-Maree Huxley, Michael Ottaviano and Dr Heinz Schandl. We also made a point of occasionally profiling a subject other than a human! Therefore CPRS and GECO left into prominence.


As you would expect we drew articles and ideas from sources far and wide, both the established daily news media, as well as NGOs (like WWF), online newsletters, and direct from companies and organisations. We have tried to be as comprehensive and as current as possible, but admittedly we have shown some favouritism. Those who have supported us – like Carnegie and ZeroGen – get covered, but we also welcome news and announcements from small companies and large if they have something significant to report. We have not ignored community organisations we recognise as doing great things – like Sustainable Jamboree – or individuals who have a valuable point of view, like Bjorn Lomborg or Tim Flannery. While the majority of our reports favour Australia, but do try to give every issue an international flavour as well.


We not only reported on important events around the nation, we attended them. In the past12 months such events visited have included the Moss/Sustainability Challenge workshop in Sydney, Carbon Trading Expo in Melbourne, Greenfest in Brisbane, the Earth Building Conference in Victoria, Climate Change & Business in Melbourne, Going Green Expo in Brisbane, Carbon Market Expo on the Gold Coast, and the Electric Vehicle Conference in Brisbane. We meet lots of wonderful people at these events, who in turn inspire us and equip us with more material and ideas for the newsletter. Keep inviting us to attend and we’ll be there if at all possible. We haven’t ventured overseas in the past year – though we have virtually though the newsletter – but we hope to take flight in coming months.

ABC Carbon 50

We decided to launch this novel list, to coincide with World Environment Day, of the 50 most influential people in Australia who are committed to the environment, the planet and for the future of life on earth. We compiled the list from nominations received. Cate Blanchett came out on top – a popular choice. All who made it were (still are) advocates for climate change awareness and action at home and abroad, as well as campaigners for sustainability, clean energy and energy efficiency. Some were very well known. Some were new discoveries. We’ll be doing another ABC Carbon 50 for 2010. Nominations are welcome.

Book launch

Our own big event of the year was the launch of “The ABC of Carbon”, a book that was two years in the making. Launches were held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in August. We have written about it and talked about it in Express, as well as on radio, Tv, online and in papers. We don’t hesitate to blatantly promote the book through the newsletter, because we believe it has some important messages. We also started the weekly e-newsletter to supplement the book. To provide regular updates. The book has been purchased by many companies and organisations, it is selling through bookstores around the country as well as online. See the special offer through

Media is the Message

While we see Express as a medium in its own right, we both draw on material from other media and we provide story ideas and content for other media, online and print. Many journalists around the country and overseas have tapped into our content, as we have used theirs. We have also written regular articles for the likes of Eco Voice and Be the Change. We have appeared on Sky News Eco Report three times. We get invited to attend events – even Government meetings – as “media” and take that responsibility seriously. We also make every attempt to get our point of view out to the mainstream media as much as we can by writing letters to the editor and articles. We will continue to do that.

Next issue

We will take a little break, but be back with the first issue of Express for a new decade in the first week of January 2010. We hope to get plenty of feedback from our first reader survey and hope it helps determine which day of the week you would prefer to receive the newsletter. In the meantime compliments of the season where-ever you are. Have a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a fruitful and profitable 2010.

Ken Hickson