Moore Park 19 January
Sydney’s amazing Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, is a very busy woman. (She is also my local representative in the NSW Parliament, and remarkably approachable, as I can testify from experience.)
Her latest email newsletter tells what she is up to now:
MAYORS CALL FOR LOW-CARBON CITIES
The deep greenhouse gas reductions needed to avert dangerous global warming will require low-carbon cities, with urban areas transformed by green technologies that will strengthen our economy, improve living standards and reduce energy costs.
This is the message that I will put to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, together with Mayors from major cities across the globe.
We will tell our national leaders that they can and must go further, forging a binding agreement for emission reductions between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020, with greater reduction likely to be needed and supported by many people.
Cities are home to more than half the world’s population and are responsible for 75 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is in our cities that we can make the biggest difference. Our research shows that Australia’s capital cities could achieve half (41 per cent) of the Federal Government’s guaranteed emissions reduction target if environmental strategies comparable to Sustainable Sydney 2030 were implemented, and that assessment is based only on inner urban areas!
With the right tools and support from national and state governments, cities can go even further to contribute to national target reductions for greenhouse gas emissions.
Our City is implementing Sustainable Sydney 2030 to achieve an ambitious target of 70 per cent reductions on 2006 levels. Our action is focused on the three big causes of emissions in cities:
* Buildings: We promote sustainable design excellence for all new buildings; are reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our own property portfolio by 48 per cent by 2012; and our CitySwitch program enables commercial property owners to improve the energy efficiency
* Transport: We are spending $76 million over four years on a 200km cycle network safe enough for everyone to use; making our city more walkable; expanding car share; and advocating better public transport networks.
* Energy: Former CEO of the London Climate Change Agency, Allan Jones, is working with us on our green energy infrastructure plan that will create a local network of combined cooling, heat and power (trigeneration) and renewable energy, removing our reliance on coal-fired power generation.
At a roundtable discussion at the Copenhagen City Hall next Tuesday, I will join Mayors presenting practical examples from their cities. I will focus on our work to create and implement Sustainable Sydney 2030.
See also Clover’s Copenhagen Diary.
I couldn’t help noting (while tearing my hair out) the abysmal comments on the YouTube; for example: “They have been planning to create a climate crisis and push it with the media so they can set up a one world government as a solution. It’s all a massive fraud.”
I’ll leave the last word, also from the Herald, to 17-year-old Christina Ora:
…In the Solomon Islands, my homeland, communities on low-lying atolls are already being displaced by rising sea levels. Communities have lived on these atolls for generations. Moving from one province to another in the Solomon Islands is not just like moving house. Your land is your identity. It is part of your culture. It is who you are.
I am scared, and so too are the people from these atolls about what this means for our culture, our communities and our identity.
Because of climate change, I am uncertain about what is to come. How can I feel that my future is safe? How can I be sure that my home village won’t disappear in 10 years’ time? How can I be sure that my community won’t have to find a new home? How can I be sure that I will be able to raise my children in the same place that my mother and father raised me? I am not sure. I am scared and worried.
At the global negotiations, many nations, including Australia, have focused on avoiding 2 degrees of global warming. While this may not sound like much, it will threaten the survival of many small island nations.
Sea-level rise and unprecedented storm surges caused by climate change are already affecting communities across the Pacific and are expected to get significantly worse if climate change is not immediately and adequately tackled…
Solomon Islands, as a small island nation, is one of the smallest emitters of greenhouse gas in the world, and yet we are being hit the hardest and the fastest by climate change. I ask Australia, as our closest developed neighbour, to please help us: assist us financially in adapting to climate change and commit to strong mitigation targets to ensure the lowest temperature rise.
This conference has the power to transform the way the world responds to climate change, but only if all countries realise the true urgency of the problem and commit to an ambitious, fair and legally binding agreement now.
For my entire life, world leaders have been negotiating a climate agreement. They cannot tell me they need more time. There is no more time. I hope world leaders realise this week that my generation’s future is in the palm of their hands.
Not quite the last word after all!
Remember John Howard? Well here’s what was really happening in his time, at least until the 2007 election and Malcolm Turnbull brought some degree of sense to bear.
The Federal Government has said it will not pursue carbon trading at this stage. It accepts that global warming is real and poses a threat to the Australian environment, but does not support mandatory targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Dr Pearman, who headed the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research for 10 years until 2002, said he was admonished by his Canberra superiors for “making public expressions of what I believed were scientific views, on the basis that they were deemed to be political views”.
“In 33 years (with CSIRO), I don’t think I had ever felt I was political in that sense. I’ve worked with ministers and prime ministers from both parties over a long period of time, and in all cases I think I’ve tried to draw a line between fearless scientific advice about issues and actual policy development, which I think is in the realm of government,” he said.
Dr Pearman is one of three leading climate experts quoted on the ABC’s Four Corners tonight who say they have been repeatedly gagged in the public debate on greenhouse gas cuts.
Dr Barrie Pittock, who was awarded a Public Service Medal for his climate work, has told Four Corners he was instructed to remove politically sensitive material from a government publication on climate change.
And Barney Foran, a 30-year CSIRO veteran, cited a case in August when CSIRO managers told him they had fielded a call from the Prime Minister’s Department suggesting he should say nothing critical about ethanol as an alternative fuel…
Here is Dr Pearman 2009:
Last of four parts. See Resilient Futures Channel.
** Further to Jim Belshaw’s comment below see The Greenhouse Mafia for Pearman, and John Quiggin at that time. Later in 2006 Four Corners ran What Price Global Warming? which included an interview with John Howard.
You know what? I probably won’t be around to see the outcome of all this, but many of my readers will be. When Thomas, for example, is around the age I am now just how wrong or right we have been will have become indisputable.
Shuffling the years with Bev Hunter
Like old Dan in Judith Wright’s “South of My Days” John and Bev Hunter have seventy years of Darlington memories hived up in them like old honey. “It was a great place. We had the best of it,” Bev recalls. “It was a really safe area. You could leave your key in the door, or leave it open, or the key under the mat. You never got shut out.”
“It was terrible, what happened. ‘Progress’ they call it, but the Town Hall where everyone had their birthday parties, engagement parties, wedding parties – that went. But we did save the old school, which is a music room now, and the gates with the war memorials. How many were affected? You’d have to look at the James Colman Report on the expansion of Sydney University into the Darlington area.” Bev has a copy in front of her; it came out in 1976 and is in Waterloo Library.
There were some, apparently, who helped themselves to people’s property even before they had fully moved out. Some of the local hard men soon dealt with that. “It was pretty tough in those days,” Bev says. “But we did get enough support to stop them crossing Shepherd Street” – referring to the University of Sydney which began encroaching on Darlington in the 1960s and has now swallowed up almost half the suburb.
Not the first time the area was devoured of course. In 1788-9 the “Kangaroo Ground” (as it was then known) was set aside for educational and other purposes, though it would be the 1850s before the University actually appeared just above the swamp and lake that formed one of two sources of Blackwattle Creek. By 1791 most of the Cadigal had succumbed to smallpox and other hazards. In 1835 the botanist Thomas Shepherd had a nursery there named in honour of Governor Ralph Darling; the street names – Ivy, Rose and so on – reflect that origin. By the late 19th century Darlington was well established as the working class suburb John and Bev Hunter were later born into.
One of the attractions for young people in the 40s and 50s of last century was the Surryville. Johnny Devlin & the Devils, from New Zealand, started a permanent Tuesday night dance at the Surryville, but the place had been jumping long before that. St Vincent de Paul’s had an event there: “In the winter of 1903, the Society organized at ‘SurreyVille’ for the’ distressed poor of the parish’ a Bread and Butter Dance which was hailed as ‘a perfect success’. Thirty-three lady parishioners, ranging from Madame Huenerbein to Madame McSweeney furnished a generous table free …Rickett’s string band discoursed the music and Miss May Stanley played the extras’ . G.Smythe provided Arnott biscuits, E. and G.Humphreys the cordials, the chemist Mr. M.H.Limon the programmes, and four local butchers the meat.” Bev remembers the alcohol-free dance nights. “We used to walk up to the Surryville, where the Wentworth Building now is, and walk home again around 11pm – that’s how safe it was then”
But the University did provide work too for local people in the 60s and 70s. Bev herself worked as a cleaner in the Wentworth Building from 5-9am, then worked at a shop on the corner of Calder Road and Shepherd Street, which she eventually owned. Later she was in the hamburger bar upstairs in Wentworth. The Calder Road shop did much business with students from the new Engineering School; among Bev’s customers was Frank Sartor with whom Bev would in time be on Sydney Council. Bev’s activism in that role is local legend now. Her community work was acknowledged by the Council in 1988 with an Australia Day Award for voluntary work. She had also become a JP during those activist days so she could save people having to walk up to Newtown Court to get their documents witnessed. She is still an active JP.
Bev and John raised three children in Darlington. Retired to Long Jetty, she still feels part of the Darlington community. Some of their old neighbours now live not far from their new home, including one who was John’s next-door neighbour in 1939. Bev still has relatives and friends in Darlington and visits quite often. A sister-in-law and her family still live in Calder Road.
Acknowledgement: St. James’ Forest Lodge parish history (online) for the account of the St Vincent de Paul event of 1903
A larger group than usual today at the Bird Cow Fish in Crown Street. Sirdan and I had lamb. Great!
Afterwards Simon H and I dropped into the new Surry Hills Library which he hadn’t seen before. He was impressed.
On my way home I noted good use being made of the new skateboard area in Ward Park.
Good to see.