President's August Report

Climate developments globally over the last month have seen 'the biggest climate package in US history' passed by US Congress have narrowly been passed 51:50 by the Senate.

MDThe legislation includes $369bn in funds aimed at expanding renewable energy sources and lowering planet-heating emissions. Experts have estimated the bill could reduce America’s emissions by about 40% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. Joan E Greve, The Guardian


While across Europe temperatures have soared over 40C awhich along with prolonged drought in some parts such as SW France have driven wild fires of an intensity never before experienced.

On the domestic front we are beginning to see long awaited progress on climate action at the federal level, with the increased 43% emissions reductions target for 2030 passed by the lower house.

It's much lower than the 75% by 2030 recommended by the Climate Council, and of course many issues remain – not least being on-going resistance to saying no to new fossil fuel projects, and to locking in a use-by date for coal and gas plants. 

The long-awaited release of the State of the Environment Report by new Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek in late July brought a lot of bad news, particularly regarding the number of endangered species, but as detailed in this article in The Conversation  follow up announcements of marine sanctuaries and other proposals such as investment in blue carbon projects indicate a new proactive approach. 

Energy Minister, Chris Bowen's recent announcement that emissions reductions are to be included in the National Energy Objective – which instructs the National Energy Market – is another welcome development, directing market operators at taking climate action as this article in The Guardian outlines. This should help Australia to meet its new 43% emissions reductions target, which as Giles Parkinson and Sophie Vorrath, writing in Renew Economy, point out, our current trajectory will not. The proposal is likely to be controversial. AEMO is to be given increased powers to manage the shift.

MEMBER ACTIVITIES

Smart Living Ballarat

Hosted by Ellen Burns on Wednesday 17 August from 12:30-1:30,  this month's online talk will be a discussion of the ambitious plan to make Ballarat a net zero city by 2030.

Hear from Fiona Stevenson (City of Ballarat Coordinator Sustainable Environment), Mary Debrett (BREAZE President) and Belinda Coates (CoB councillor) about how the plan was formed and how we can all work together as a community to see this ambitious target become a reality. Join live via Zoom to contribute and take part in live discussion, Q+A and polls. Your opinion is important!  Register here via SLB Facebook  If you miss it, you can still catch it on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. Please also note public feedback is currently invited on the Draft Zero Emissions Ballarat 2030 Plan via the MySay Ballarat website - invitation ends 28 August.

Ballarat Green Drinks

Our August 18 speaker for Green Drinks is former BREAZE president, Ian Rossiter whose talk is titled 'Getting off Gas'. Ian recently managed an energy efficiency retro-fit on his own home, so has up to date info to share on the important issue of costs. And he is also of course very well informed about the climate action we all need to be taking and the energy market – and why we should all be doing this.

Ian's talk will begin at 7:00pm  but we suggest you arrive at 6:30pm to grab a drink and bite to eat and join us for dinner. Ian will talk for about 30 minutes leaving another 30 minutes for Q&A, finishing at 8pm.

The Ballarat Green Drinks 
alks schedule for the rest of 2023 will be up on the Facebook site shortly. 

BOARD ACTIVITIES

G-CPH Wrap-Up

The BREAZE-led Grampians Community Power Hub (G-CPH) held a Wrap-Up event on 21 July in Daylesford with Board members from BREAZE and Hepburn Wind , members of the Hub's Roundtable Advisory Committee, members of the Project Control Group and the former and current Regional Grampians Leads with Sustainability Victoria. Hepburn Wind Manager – and Hepburn branch partner in the G-CPH – Taryn Lane gave everyone a guided tour of Hepburn Wind Farm, on what was fortunately an ideal day weather-wise. This was followed by short presentations and refreshments at the Daylesford hotel.Screen Shot 2022 08 13 at 11.47.51 am

Despite the disappointment of the State Government's decision not to extend the Community Power Hub program we are very proud of the achievements of the G-CPH.

The G-CPH has engaged extensively across the 11 LGAs of the Grampians region in seeking to identify community energy projects in order to advance the clean energy transition and drive the Victorian State Government's emissions reductions target. The subsequent pipeline of fully implemented and shovel-ready projects has greatly exceeded our expectations. This is largely due to: the hard work of our staff, the experience and knowledge of our Hepburn Branch partner, the efficiency of the Project Control Group (PCG), dedication of our BREAZE volunteers who committed a $242,200 in-kind contribution, the enthusiasm and dedication of our community partners, and the contributions of those who participated in the Roundtable Advisory Group.

While the task of engaging with the 11 shires of the Grampians - Moorabool, Golden Plains, Ballarat, Hepburn, Pyrenees, Ararat, Northern Grampians, Horsham, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and West Wimmera – was initially a daunting one, we did largely achieve this, thanks to the commitment of our staff and volunteers and to our systematic Community Engagement Plan. We know anecdotally that there are many other communities in the region, particularly across the Wimmera, who have pressing ene
gy needs and would greatly benefit from being able access renewable energy expertise. We hope a future extension of the CPH program might enable us to engage with and offer help to these communities.

BREAZE Inc volunteers will continue to work with the Grampians Community Power Hub Project  Manager, Sowmya Nagaraj on final reporting for Sustainability Victoria and finalising feasibility studies on projects across the Grampians Region. Please consider signing our petition seeking an extension of the CPH program funding -  if you have not already done so.

Environmentally Sustainable Design Forum

Board members Sally Missing, Pat Hockey and Sue Broadway are continuing with planning for a forum on Environmentally Sustainable Design to be held in October. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates.

From Garden to Kitchen

BREAZE will also be participating in 'From Garden to Kitchen', at  Ballarat Central Library, presenting a 'lightening talk' at 12.30pm with a stall throughout the event. Please come and chat with us about what we do and upcoming activities if you are in the vicinity

This is a one-off event intended to showcase local organisations and businesses, and provide information to the community about sustainable practices in the garden and the kitchen.

Guest speaker, Jaclyn Crupi, the author of Garden like a Nonno, and will be speaking about all things gardening- including saving seeds, worm farms, fertilizers and soil health. For further information contact: Eleanor Wight, Community Programming Librarian, Ballarat Central Library.

Board Meetings

If you like what we do and think you might like to join in some of our projects, whether for advocacy or practical action or have perhaps have ideas about how you can help BREAZE achieve its mission, please note BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending should email me – 

All the best

Mary

Dr Mary Debrett
President, Aug 2022