VICTORIA, 15 JUNE 2016: A renewable energy boom is on the horizon for Victoria as the Andrews government today announces state Renewable Energy Targets (VRET). The long-awaited announcement comes after a two-and-a-half year community campaign to grow renewables. "The Andrews government's announcement of Victorian Renewable Energy Targets is a big win for communities who want a pathway to 100 percent," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth spokesperson. "These targets will make Victoria the national leader when it comes to renewable energy, which is good newsfor manufacturing, regional communities, and our climate."
Our food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has misrepresented the findings of two independent reports it commissioned on the safety of nanomaterials in food and food packaging. The reports were supposed to have been completed by June 2015 but were never released. On 27th May 2016 Friends of the Earth submitted an FOI request to FSANZ for these reports and associated documents. Six days after the request was filed FSANZ released the reports – claiming that the reports concluded “none of the nanotechnologies described are of health concern.” This as a deliberate misrepresentation of the reports. In fact, the reports draw attention to the major data gaps regarding the safety of nanoparticles in food and food packaging and raise concerns regarding the potential toxicity of nano-silica, titanium dioxide and silver.
In the lead-up to the Bendigo in a Warming Future forum, which will be held in Bendigo on June 15, a fieldtrip hosted by local ecologists highlighted the impacts of climate change which are already being felt in northern Victoria. Warning on local climate Climate change is already taking its toll locally. During a field trip to Bell Swamp and Mount Alexander on Friday, local ecologists pointed out examples of the impact on the region’s ecology. Examining a large group of dead Grey Box at Bell Swamp, located to the north west of Maldon, Damien Cook, ecologist with Rakali Consulting said, “trees die all the time and it's a natural occurrence, but so many dying at once indicates environmental change. These trees were aged between 300 and 500 years and had lived through countless floods and droughts. They’ve died as a consequence of recent extreme weather events – the millennium drought followed by the massive flood of 2011”.
Wednesday, 18th May 2016Independent testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth US has found risky nanoparticles deemed unsafe for use in toothpaste in baby formula. Six samples of baby formula made by Gerber®, Enfamil®, Similac® and Well Beginnings™ - which are all available online in Australia - were tested. Four of the samples contained nanoparticles of hydroxyapatite. Furthermore, 100 per cent of the hydroxyapatite particles in the samples were nano - demonstrating conclusively that they were intentionally produced (1).The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that the needle-like form of nano-hydroxyapatite found in Gerber® Good Start Gentle®, Well Beginnings™ Advantage®, and Enfamil® formulas, which is similar in shape to asbestos, is potentially toxic and should not be used in toothpastes, tooth whiteners and mouth washes.
Key Australian environment groups today called on the Federal Environment Minister, Mr Greg Hunt, to reject recommendations of a report of an inquiry into the charitable status of environment groups. The CEOs of WWF, The Australian Conservation Society, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Friends of the Earth and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW issued the following statement on behalf of the Places You Love alliance: The Report of the Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations correctly recognises the enormous contribution environment groups have played in safeguarding Australia’s precious yet fragile environment, protecting icons from the Great Barrier Reef to the Franklin River. However, the report contains a number of deeply flawed and dangerous recommendations, including an arbitrary requirement to spend a quarter of donor funds on ‘environmental remediation’ and a draconian attempt to clamp down on the type of work organisations conduct.
The long awaited final report from the House of Representatives Inquiry into environmental organisations has now been released. Many in the community had anticipated that the report would recommend changes that would severely limit the activities of environmental groups. Sadly, this is the case. For background on this report and the political agenda against the environment movement, please check here. The report acknowledges that environment groups are doing an important and necessary job in protecting our precious environment. However, it contains a number of deeply flawed recommendations, which if implemented would profoundly change the environmental protection movement in Australia.
Anyone who had hoped that the Turnbull government would be significantly different to the Abbott government on environmental issues will be very disappointed by the 2016 budget. “Many people had hoped Prime Minister Turnbull would stare down the far Right elements of his government and deliver a fair and reasonable budget that offered meaningful action on the environment. But spending on the environment is forecast to fall by 17% by 2019-20. “Prime Minister Turnbull has missed the opportunity to deliver a budget worthy of the climate and environmental imperatives of the 21st century” said Cam Walker for Friends of the Earth Australia. “Instead he has opted to prop up greenhouse polluters and continue concessions that subsidise the mining and aviation sectors. This is money that would be better spent on education, health and the environment.”
Friends of the Earth Brisbane applauds the federal government decision to drop 5 sites, including one in Queensland, from its list of sites nominated to house national nuclear waste. We now call on the government to remove the final site, Barndioota station, in SA from consideration and to drop the flawed site selection process immediately. After announcing a list of 6 proposed sites in November, 2015, the federal government will reportedly announce that a site in South Australia is the only site short-listed to house a new national nuclear waste repository. The proposed site in Queensland, at OmanAma, near Inglewoood on the Darling Downs, and 4 other nominates sites in NSW, SA and NT are reported to have been dropped from the list.
Calls for international moratorium on underground coal gasification following immediate ban in Queensland, Australia
APRIL 18, 2016: Responding to the breaking news that the State Government of Queensland in Australia has just implemented an immediate ban on all underground coal gasification in that State, Chloe Aldenhoven, Coal and Gas Spokesperson for Friends of the Earth (FoE) Australia said: "These kind of radical and dangerous mining techniques show the desperation of a fossil fuel industry going into decline. “We need an international moratorium on this madman technology before it inflicts any more damage on people and the environment." “As they anticipate the inevitable transition to renewable energy, mining companies are inflicting increasingly reckless and environmentally damaging mining techniques on communities.
Speaking tour on the climate change precipitated relocation of atoll peoples in Papua New Guinea, and the implications for climate justice in an Australian context The visiting speakers will be: Ursula Rakova, director of Tulele Peisa, the Carteret Islands relocation program in Bougainville Pais Taehu, Chairman of the Coalition of the Atolls – Temarai Association – comprising the four atoll groups within the Bougainville political boundary The tour, scheduled from 9 to 22 April, will include speaking events in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.