September 12, 2018

Low-carbon economy growing despite Federal Government’s efforts to stop it: 350.org report

ARENA Musselroe wind farm

 

SYDNEY, September 12, 2018: Australian investors, project developers communities and businesses have been named as low-carbon “heroes” in a new report by 350.org released today. As global leaders meet in California for the Global  Climate Action Summit, more than 40 Australian entities or people have been named as leading the charge to reduce emissions and accelerate renewable energy despite federal government’s efforts to hamper their progress.

The 350.org report Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy, shows that Australia’s renewable sector is rapidly expanding but the vacuum of federal action on climate change and energy risks the Australian economic benefits and jobs linked to the clean energy transition already underway internationally.

“Those named in 350.org’s Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy report are to be applauded for stepping into the climate change leadership void and seeing the opportunities in being part of the low carbon economy,” said 350.org Australia CEO Ms Blair Palese. “If our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor aren’t prepared to actively support renewable energy, we urge them to get out of the way and let these leaders get on with the job of transitioning Australia to a sustainable, affordable future.”

“Abandoning our Paris commitments is bad for the climate and puts at risk the achievements of those named in 350’s Heroes report, who are already leading the charge away from fossil fuels and toward new, clean energy technologies,” Palese said.

Heroes in the report range from Bluescope Steel, with the biggest solar power purchasing agreement (PPA) nationally, to Totally Renewable Yackandandah, a Victorian community initiative providing solar installations on local public buildings, and Andy Vesey, former CEO of AGL, who refused to sell or extend the life of the aging Liddell coal-fired power plant. International companies Tesla, GFG Alliance, Mars, and Neoen Energy, and local companies  Bank Australia, Future Super, Local Government Super and community groups and organisations including Enova Community Energy and Solar My School are among those included. State Government initiatives in South Australia, Victoria and the ACT have also been recognised.

See a full list of the Heroes Building the Low-Carbon Economy here. 

350.org globally has announced  that a new report by Arabella* shows that close to 1000 institutional investors with $6.24 trillion in assets have committed to divest from coal, oil and gas. At Global Climate Action Summit in California this week, the mayors of New York and London challenged all cities internationally to join them in divesting from fossil fuels.

“Fossil fuel divestment and investment into low carbon solutions collectively are having a global impact and helping to overcome government inaction in countries like Australia and the United States — a critical part of speeding up efforts to address climate change,” Palese said.

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Simon Sheikh, CEO of FutureSuper, which was selected as the best best superannuation fund, said:

“It is such an honour to be recognised by 350.org. In the face of inaction by our federal politicians it’s up to the rest of us to step up and drive the clean energy revolution.”

Simon Corbell, the first Renewable Energy Advocate appointed by Victoria and an honourable mention in the report, said:

“Policy action by subnational governments, like Victoria and the ACT, is making a big difference to renewable energy development.   State and Territory governments are delivering the ambition we need to continue to drive down costs and increase the level of renewable energy in our electricity sector.  While federal politics continues to fail our climate and community, innovations like reverse auctions and strong renewable energy targets are showing what’s possible, politically and economically. “

Tony Pfeiffer, managing director of Enova Community Energy, which was selected as the most successful medium sized business said:

“Appetite to take charge of renewable energy is definitely growing rapidly at both a consumer and retail investor level. Our customers and our shareholders want to be part of a vibrant, renewable energy sector and all the benefits that flow from that at an individual, community and national level. Australia is not alone in this – around the world people are taking back their energy sources and stepping up to create the future.”

“In just two years since obtaining a licence and starting in NSW’s Northern Rivers, funded by individuals, families and community organisations, Enova has achieved its initial target of 5000 customers, including 300 local businesses and reached $5.2 million in annual revenues.

“Enova is currently equity crowdfunding to support expansion into more communities across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia and allow as many Australians as possible to be part of its community-led energy transition from a minimum investment of just $100.”

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Information:

For interview: Blair Palese, 350.org Australia CEO, on 0414 659 511

For media assistance or to arrange interviews with report Heroes, contact: Lou Fraser, 350.org Australia communications on 0438 993 068.

Arabella fossil fuel divestment report: https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Global-Divestment-Report-2018.pdf.

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