Sustainable Bathurst

BCCAN submits a regular column to the printed version of our local daily newspaper, the Western Advocate (the column does not appear in the online version). We also publish the columns here on our website.

Moving roos


By Tracy Sorensen

It's Spring, a time when yellow daffodils and wattles are joined by the pink blossoms of the plum trees. Magpies are swooping, other birds are feathering their nests. On the human front, there's the build-up to the annual car race, where the local mountain plays host to thousands of people and buzzing cars.

Rising Sea Levels and Ocean Pollution

By Laurana Smith

Farewell, sounds of silence

By Tracy Sorensen

Last Saturday I watched as a group of residents from Napoleon Reef tied strips of red, white, blue, black and yellow fabric to old gum trees. It was an exquisite sunny winter day that brought out the colours lifting in the gentle breeze.

Wild storms give a picture of the future

By Tracey Carpenter

BCCAN is part of a nationwide network of people engaged on the frontline of climate impacts and the push for action to make our communities safe from extreme weather.

Mid north coast climate action group, CCA, president Harry Creamer had this to say about the horrifying east coast storms this week.

Successful farming and biodiversity go together

Farmers and environmentalists were once seen as sitting on opposite sides of the barbed wire fence, but that is rapidly changing.

The campaign against coal seam gas, or fracking, has seen so called “greenies” and farmers sitting side by side at the barricades trying to hold off mining interests that would alienate prime agricultural land.

Water is wiser than gold


Why BCCAN joined the people's Climate March

By Tracey Carpenter

Herding cats to climate action

Placards for the People's Climate March



How do you herd cats? Unlike dogs, they're not pack animals. Each cat has a mind of its own.

As the world goes into crucial climate talks at the end of this month, the United Nations will be playing host to 196 parties, many of whom are hissing and spitting at each other. Somehow, out of all that, we need to get a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

On science vs wishful thinking

Where is Belle Gibson now? Hiding out with the Internet switched off, probably. Where is Jessica Ainscough now? Sadly, she has died.

A few weeks ago, Belle and Jessica had a lot in common. Both had opened up to the world about their life-threatening cancers. Both were advocating the use of alternative therapies rather than mainstream medicine to beat it. Both were being lionised by a media hungry for stories of triumph against the odds.

Sustainable Bathurst column - Dec 2014

Whose interests are really being served by the party you vote for?

Is it local people and businesses, schools and hospitals, farms and local producers?

Maybe the best way to answer that question is to look at water, our most valuable resource. And whilst the people of our towns are paying more and more for it our farmers are getting less and less of it. Why? Well there is less falling and more being evaporated. But the biggest users of water are the mines and coal fired power stations. Do the big users pay for the huge roll out of water infrastructure that is now being required in regional NSW?

Column 20 Nov, 2014

BY: Tracey Carpenter

Potentially another blow to the local coal industry came this week when, India’s Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal announced an ambitious target that could see India cease thermal coal imports within two to three years.

After China recently announced a major city ban on coal followed by a coal tariff on imports, the Indian market for coal had been touted as the saviour for Australia’s coal exports. India now looks set to follow China, America, Japan and the European Union to limit their reliance on imported fossil fuels. This also came in the week that China and the US launched their historic agreement to address climate change and move towards a low carbon future.

Meanwhile the oversupply of coal internationally and depressed prices are hitting local workers hard with more lay offs, closures and work suspensions with little to no warning from companies and even less response from Government. Glencore this week announced that it would suspend operations at Ulan for three weeks next month. Mooralben mine has cut 25 fulltime workers adding to the losses from Centennial mine last month of 100 jobs.

Time is not on our side

BY: Tracey Carpenter

It’s Time” – the slogan that ushered in Gough Whitlam’s nation building government was rekindled last week but not only in relation to the great Australian passing. Echoing Whitlam’s call to reform last week Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged that "Leaders must act. Time is not on our side". He was responding to a new and this time global challenge presented by the latest IPCC report on climate change. The report authored by 830 top scientists draws a line in the sand that political leaders must act now to prevent catastrophic climate change. Global CO2 emissions will have to peak by and begin falling from 2020 for the planet to remain below two degrees of warming - the scientific upper limit of what can be considered ‘safe’. That means keeping two thirds of the planets fossil fuel reserves in the ground - never to be burned. Australia’s goal however is to become the world's largest coal exporter. We already export 400 million tonnes of coal annually sending more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than Europe's ambitious reductions targets will prevent. The Pentagon are now treating climate change as an "immediate risk" to national security in the United States, saying that a failure to act on climate change will create violent conflicts by amplifying well-documented drivers of conflict such as poverty and economic shocks.

Instead locally we’re hearing how coal is good for humanity and fighting poverty. As world prices for coal fall and mines close the government continues to hand out tax breaks for exploration and subsidies for clean coal research all the while plotting to pull the rug out from under the renewable energy sector. Unfortunately clean coal isn’t so much in the pipeline as a pipedream. Meanwhile global investment in renewables surges making renewable energy more and more efficient and competitive.

Thanks for the Memery

BY: Tracy Sorensen

Goodbye fossil fuels. It was an exciting ride. You gave us so much. But here's your gold watch and a card signed by all of us.

The farewell party for fossil fuels isn't here yet, but it's coming. According energy expert Craig Memery, the fossil fuel industry is already on its way out – for economic reasons. Speaking at the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network Annual General Meeting on October 29, Memery said Australia currently had a massive over-investment in generation capacity with three gigawatts of generation capacity mothballed over the past few years. He said the average price for energy was “not high enough or volatile enough” to be profitable. “I expect there won’t be any more new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

Memery is the consumer advocate for the Alternative Technology Association (ATA). He explained that the problem for the coal-fired power stations is that demand is dwindling. While there are a range of reasons for this, one is that people have been voting with their feet and going solar. They’re not necessarily using less energy; it’s just that they are no longer getting it all from coal. Through an accounting quirk, our agencies don’t actually record power from solar panels as an input into the system – they just write it off as less demand.

Fossil Fuels Risk

BY: Tracey Carpenter

This week is the anniversary of superstorms Sandy in the US and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; a sobering reminder of the devastating consequences of climate change.

Meanwhile, at home, the Australian parliament chose this week to take yet another step backwards on the global challenge of tackling the not-so-small problem that Australia has the dirtiest economy in the world. The Coalition has added to its policy list of ‘un’-doings to push through Direct Action (or potentially climate ‘in’ action). So instead of paying penalties for planet-threatening pollution big businesses will be offered taxpayers money for projects that absorb carbon dioxide. Not only expensive ($2.5 billion), the scheme is predicted to be open to rorting and cumbersome to police. We’ve already seen the post carbon ‘tax’ cut to power bills fail to materialise once the political bandwagon moved on. Now the climate witch-hunt is trying to un-do the renewable energy target with claims it is driving up electricity prices. Cutting the legislated 41,000GWh renewable energy target is designed to protect coal-fired generators and kill competition in the energy market which will increase prices further.


BY: Tracey Carpenter

How can we can get the energy we need in regional communities - without it costing the earth?  Craig Memery of the Alternative Technology Association has the answers and will be guest speaker at BCCAN’s annual general meeting on Wednesday 29th October from 6pm at the Flannery Centre.

Craig Memery offers the latest knowledge of available and developing technologies for energy generation and supply.  Developments in storage and demand response are revolutionising the way energy can now be delivered.

New technologies mean that communities are becoming far more than just consumers of power. But significant energy market reform is needed to give communities greater opportunity to supply their own energy.

Changes to the energy market currently in train can help realise a clean energy future.  Reform is essential to release the stranglehold that incumbent businesses have on competition and demand side participation.

Craig is ATA’s senior energy consumer advocate, policy analyst and specialist in energy technology, markets and energy efficiency. 


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