The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released its annual gas market statement on March 9th, this time telling us that we're facing a looming gas shortage that could mean interruptions of supply of gas and electricity in the coming years. They're saying that as a result of the new demands of the export market and the closing of coal fired power stations, there won't be enough gas to run the gas fired power stations that provide energy during usage peaks. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has used the announcement to call for "urgent crisis talks" with east coast gas companies, blaming the restrictions on unconventional and onshore gas developments for potential future supply problems.
We did it! On March 7 Victoria became the first Australian state to permanently ban the process of fracking to access ‘unconventional’ gas (gases like coal seam gas or CSG, and Shale and Tight gas). We also achieved an extension of the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling until 2020. This is an amazing day. It is the result of more than five years of hard work and dedication by many thousands of Victorians. 75 regional communities declared themselves gasfield free during this process. By 2012 we had built enough collective power that we were able to stop all development of onshore gas drilling in our state. Today the ban on fracking was made permanent. This is an incredible win for the communities in regional Victoria who fought for more than five years to gain this ban and their allies in Melbourne (short summary of the campaign available here).
This month marks the one year anniversary of Berta Cáceres death. In solidarity for all indigenous communities around the world fighting to protect their land and water rights, and in remembrance of the life and achievements of Berta we have put a banner up on the front of our Melbourne headquarters. We demand justice for Berta and for an end to the repression of COPINH Honduras.
After the huge achievement of the #VicGasBan campaign that has seen the permanent ban of fracking in Victoria, Friends of the Earth Melbourne joined with Seed and Arid Land Environment Centre to hold an information night in relation the Northern Territory Gas Pipeline, the #NoNTPL campaign and how we could make this a national campaign.
Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the majority report finalising the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Whilst we concur with the Australian Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon that the recommendations are lacking in strength, the report nevertheless spells the final death knell of the TPP. As the committee states, “Given the clear position of the Trump administration, it is apparent the TPP will not enter into force in its current form”.
Yesterday over 100 people joined speakers from Friends of the Earth affiliate Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and also The Wilderness Society Victoria in a snap rally to condemn the Daniel Andrews government's decision to extend the 'regional forest agreement' which expired on the 3 February this year. Since the late 1990s the logging industry in Victoria has been exempt from adhering to federal environment laws that protect our nationally threatened wildlife. Only native forest logging gets this special exemption known as a 'regional forest agreement' (RFA).
After six years of campaigning by grassroots groups across 12 countries, US President Donald Trump has formally begun the process to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Friends of the Earth Australia says the withdrawal of United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership is the final nail in the coffin of the deeply flawed trade deal and has implications for the Turnbull government's policy.
The notion of the Climate Change Hoax has recently been promoted by President-Elect Donald Trump, conservative politicians around the world, business leaders tied to the fossil fuel industry, and conservatives generally both in the USA and other Western nations. Populist and nationalist politicians have attempted to exploit the claim that climate change is just a hoax in order to gain support from farmers, the religious Right, conspiracy theorists, the disenfranchised, and low-socio-economic sectors of society to bolster their polling numbers, particularly close to Federal and State elections.
Last year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - declared glyphosate – the main ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp – a probable carcinogen. We hoped that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) – would intervene to protect our health. It hasn’t. The APVMA has decided not to review its current approval for glyphosate because it claims to know better than the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organisation. Why so? Because it has access to unpublished industry data that has never been subject to peer review and that regulators refuse to make public!
Australia’s gene technology regulator is proposing changes to its gene technology regulations that would allow products derived from genetically modified (GM) plants, animals and microbes untested and unlabelled into our food. If the OGTR deregulates these new GM techniques there will be no monitoring or surveillance. Anyone from amateur biohackers - to industry - to terror groups would be free to use them to genetically modify plants, animals and microbes. Entirely new diseases and poisons could be made. And they could enter our food chain and our environment with no safety testing and no labelling. The results could be catastrophic.