BZE’s new CEO Dr Stephen Bygrave writes
From the CEO, Dr Stephen Bygrave
Having been at BZE for nearly a month now, I want to say how excited I am to be working with such a dedicated group of individuals to address the most wicked problem humanity and the planet are facing today.
After 20 years working on climate change in various roles from research to government to international organisations, it’s great to be able to contribute in such an important way. My various experiences have taught me that to be effective in the change agenda we need to be starting from the point of where we need to be in ten years time, and looking back to the present to present a pathway of how to get from here to there. BZE is doing just that, from a horizon scanning or futures thinking perspective.
I contacted a former colleague from the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week and was interested to hear that the IEA and OECD are also now doing work on decarbonisation of the energy system. So BZE is certainly not alone in this space, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and showing what can be done to meaningfully address climate change. BZE however is unique in examining individual sectors of the economy, looking beyond the horizon and helping to set the agenda for change.
However overwhelming the challenges may seem, and many may be dispirited by the new government’s moves on climate policy, it is heartening to hear of the great work that increasing numbers of people are doing around the world. The IPCC’s latest report, just released last week, again demonstrates the urgency of the issue, and I will be working to ensure that the BZE voice is out there to be heard.
In my first weeks in the role I have been meeting with as many of you as possible. I have now met with the Melbourne and Sydney branches of BZE, and will be meeting with people from the Brisbane and Canberra branches over the next couple of weeks. I plan to listen to your perspectives on our organisation as well as share some of my ideas for the future.
It is an exciting time to also be gathering the support to implement many of the ideas for change that are outlined in our reports. In the pages that follow you will hear about some of the great work we have been up to.
Bring on the climate solutions,
Dr Stephen Bygrave
Beyond Zero Emissions
This newsletter has been sporadic for the last few months. We apologise and hope to reinstate the monthly schedule. Stephen has also begun a more frequent blog on issues of the day – the first is entitled No more denying we can act on climate.
Volunteer of the month: Grace Stevens
I started my work placement at BZE during the Buildings Plan Launch in Melbourne 2013. I am currently in my final semester of a Bachelor of International Relations at La Trobe University which requires me to undertake a work placement in an organization of my choice.
I was inspired to apply to work at BZE after a presentation by one of their representatives was given during a second year lecture for a subject called Global Environmental Politics. This presentation spoke of BZE’s strong position on renewable energy for Australia. I was particularly impressed by the practical planning evident in Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan. My key passions within the realm of International Relations are Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, I aim to strive for ambitious mitigative action on Australian soil and to forward the International efforts of vulnerable states in the Pacific Region. Given these interests BZE seemed a perfect fit to explore the possibilities for Green House Gas mitigation in Australia and beyond.
So far I have been working in the Melbourne office coordinating the production of the Annual Report. This role has proven to be extremely helpful in equipping me with skills for the workplace and providing invaluable experience for my future career. The placement has also motivated me to finally get involved with BZE and I am sure I will be around long after my degree is finished.
Research and campaign reports
We are very happy to report that our Buildings Planlaunches around the country have gone very well, and we are developing a public presentation strategy for follow up actions to take the message further. Some of our media coverage from the Buildings Plan launches are listed below.
The kind of impact our plan is having can perhaps be illustrated with the following kind note we received from a supporter, Michael, in Melbourne:
Having been an avid follower of yours for some time, I recently read your new Buildings Plan. As a solar panel enthusiast, I was greatly pleased to read that I was on the right track. However, when I read about your stance on gas, I was a bit shocked. Having cooked with electricity and gas for many years, I have always preferred gas. From my experience, it’s far superior to the electricity stoves I’d used before. However, after reading through much of your material I embarked on a little soul searching. Could I still care for the environment by digging up gas? Both our cars run on LPG. For nearly 20 years I’ve never owned a non-LPG car. I always saw it as the better choice, in terms of environmental/emissions impact and price. When compared to other car fuels, it probably still is.
In the home though, if you can get your power from sun when it shines, or the wind when it blows, why wouldn’t I use it? I know that this clearly makes sense now – which may seem a bit obvious when I consider it, but the point is I’d never really considered it in greater detail before.
I have now come around to the realisation of where my gas comes from, and the impact that my preference for gas has. I’d never considered this before your report. Thank you for the work you’ve done. You’ve encouraged me to reassess my choices and hopefully make more informed choices in the future, so that our planet can have a healthier future.
Meanwhile our ZCA Land Use Plan research is being feverishly written up for publication next year, and our Transport team are also gearing up for their first report publication, High Speed Rail. Just how close it is may be gauged by how pained is the expression on researcher Gerard Drew’s face as he negotiates the last mile — the layout issues!
Laurent Michaille, who has been researching urban transport, has just finished paid work with BZE — but is generously contributing a couple of extra weeks as a volunteer. A big thankyou to Laurent from all the rest of us! He has been modelling the change in mode share (public and private transport options) that our Transport Plan would result in, with Melbourne as the case study. This will be an essential component of the final report when we complete it.
In the public sphere, the graph below, which originated in our research, has been causing a stir in Melbourne’s debate on the East-West Link tollway proposal.
This graph has been circulated by Trains Not Toll Roads. We’re currently putting together an explanation of how we arrived at these (perhaps surprising) cost figures, which we hope to make available on our website later this week.
Buildings Plan researcher Phuong Le went from Sydney up to Townsville and Cairns and launched the Buildings Plan at James Cook Uni on the 9th and 10th of September and met with volunteers and supporters there (pictured, with Phuong at left). Meanwhile, QLD co-ordinator Emma Bosworth has been on a well deserved break, explaining the lack of detail in this month’s newsletter edition on QLD matters! Emma will return later in October.
We had a record turnout for the last branch meeting, with new CEO Stephen Bygrave introducing himself, and Communications Director James Bramwell leading a discussion on the strategy for carrying forward the research from the Buildings Plan.
Festivals season is about to start, and we are registering to have info stalls around them – so if you want to help out, now would be a great time to volunteer! Come along to our next campaign meeting to find out more: Monday 21st October, details to be announced by email.
There have been a lot of developments within the NSW branch over the past few weeks.
In August we launched the hotly anticipated Buildings Plan to a receptive and excited 300-strong audience in Sydney and have since received much interest from industry and home-owners in making the Buildings Plan a reality. Pictured are BZE volunteers at the launch.
We’ve continued with our public engagement program with stalls being run by our dedicated and tireless volunteers at the Paddington Markets, the Clearsky Solar Investment launch, EcoXpo, and Australian Museum Science Festival, to name a few.
Finally, we bid farewell to Monique Unger who valiantly took on the reins as NSW Manager and helped us organise a fabulous Buildings Plan launch. Thank you to Monique from all at BZE for her wonderful efforts. Phuong Le, Research Coordinator on the ZCA Buildings Plan, will be taking on the role as interim NSW Manager working on Mondays and Thursdays of each week for the time being.
Comings and goings
We have already introduced Stephen to you. More on Stephen’s background is available in our media release. And of course, thanks to Hugh Wareham who filled in as interim CEO for many months until Stephen was recruited.
With the completion of the Buildings Plan, several staff have finished their paid work with BZE: Richard Keech, Dominic Eales and Dylan McConnell (all of whom have been perennial contributors at BZE, so we hope to see them back before too long!).
Monique Unger, as mentioned above, has moved on after great work organising the Buildings Plan launch in Sydney. Thanks Monique! Buildings Plan research co-ordinator Phuong Le was to leave following the completion of the Plan – but ended up staying on in the short term to fill in as NSW co-ordinator!
Likewise, we mentioned above that Laurent Michaille has finished paid work but is still here too, doing some more work voluntarily. Is BZE the “Hotel California” of the environment movement? Just kidding, it’s great to have so many committed people helping us!
Beyond Zero Emissions Radio
For those who have not yet listed to our radio shows, Vivien Clerc explains the Monday show, which she co-presents. The show “reports on climate solutions emerging from the community, from activists and campaigners and politicians — from Bill McKibben on divestment and Drew Hutton on Locking the Gate, to Jonathan Moylan on the local and global effects of mining at Maules Creek.”
“Many of these activists are inspired by Beyond zero Emissions plans which gives them a blue print for the decarbonised future. We bring you the voices and strategies of these courageous activists so our audience will lend them a hand,” Vivien said.
In the lead up to the 2013 election, Oliver Yates from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation spoke to usabout what will be lost if it is dismantled. Greg Hunt, Christine Milne and Yvette D’Ath let us see to what extent each of their parties are prepared to take vigorous climate action.
Vivien took a holiday on the Great Barrier Reef, but couldn’t help herself and recorded a show about the reef while she was there.
Our Friday show focuses on technology research and solutions. We spoke to Mara Bun of Green Cross Australia, about their “Every Rooftop” program which aims to make solar power more accessible via a leasing scheme. On a similar theme, the team interviewed the CEO of Vector, New Zealand’s largest distributor of electricity and gas, on their scheme for leasing rooftop solar with lithium-ion batteries and control devices.
You can listen to all of our podcasts, including these, on our web page.
BZE in the news
The first media (not news media) we want to mention is a fantastic new online resource: the Beyond Coal and Gas Image Library recently launched by the Sunrise Project. It’s “a collection of high-quality photographs, infographics and cartoons, tailored for the needs of those working to protect land, water, health, community and climate from the impacts of coal and gas, and hasten the inevitable transition to a clean energy future.” And our regular news coverage follows:
Living Green: Power in Renewables Dr Jenny Riesz, Newcastle Herald
Energy efficiency ‘cheaper than renewables’ Sapoty Brook, Echonet Daily
Time to ditch the redundant gas network Ben Courtice, RenewEconomy
How to have zero emissions housing — and tiny power bills — in ten years Dominique Hes, The Conversation
Buildings can be net zero in 10 years — plan: cut energy use in half, no gas Cameron Jewell, The Fifth Estate
Australia maps out smart energy plans Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon, Asian Correspondent
A building plan that does more with less Robin Mellon, ABC Environment
Big emissions cuts possible at home, study finds Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald
Obama is leading the world to climate hell Helen Grant, Counterpunch
Aust buildings could halve energy use in decade — gas free Sophie Vorrath, RenewEconomy
Zeroing emissions from Australian buildings Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator
What’s on in QLD?
Wednesday 16th October
Meeting new CEO Stephen Bygrave Centre for Social Change
969 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
RSVP: email amanda.cahill ATbze.org.au
Beyond Zero Emissions Kindness House, Suite 10, Level 1, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia
Beyond Zero Emissions
288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Beyond Zero Emissions
288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065