‘Byron Shire is well placed to bring to life a vision where carbon use can be reduced to zero in 10 years’, predicts Professor David Hood.
‘National research organisations such as Beyond Zero Emissions have proved Australia has the technology and the technical skills to implement this vision. And parts of Europe and China are already starting to migrate their economies, environment and life styles to a post carbon world. If they can do it, it can certainly be done here.’
Keynote speaker at the Sustainability Seminar being held from 6 to 9pm on Tuesday 15 March in Byron Council Chambers, Professor Hood AM, an environmental and civil engineer and councillor with the Australian Conservation Foundation, is also the leader of the QUT Sustainability Research & Teaching programs.
He will introduce the evening with an update on the latest findings in the world of climate change.
Professor Hood is amazed at how our political leaders are taking such huge risks with the planet’s ecosystems when they wouldn’t dream of allowing engineers to fiddle with current risk factors in their work.
‘We have already exceeded the amount of carbon that we can burn to say with certainty that we will not exceed a two-degree C rise in global average temperature – a rise that many experts say is dangerous for climate impact’, he says.
‘Yet by approving massive new coal mines, we are heading into an area where we seem to be saying that a 66 per cent chance of staying under two degrees is OK. Exceeding two degrees will likely cause massive extinction of life on Earth.
‘It’s all about risk,’ Hood adds, asking: ‘Would you take off in an aircraft designed by engineers who told you that you only had a 66 per cent chance of getting to your destination? Or would you cross a bridge if you knew the chance of getting to the other side was only 66 per cent? We design engineering systems with as close to certainty as possible that there will not be catastrophic failures. Why are letting politicians and business gamble our future with such horrendous risks?’
What are other countries already doing to transition to a zero carbon economy? Is there anything out there to inspire us? How could that happen here in Byron Shire? These are questions to be addressed at this seminar entitled Transitioning Byron Shire to Zero Carbon, being presented by the Zero Byron Emissions (ZEB) project.
‘Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has faced, and will require us to implement major changes to transition away from fossil fuels, across all sectors of society,’ said ZEB project coordinator, Tiffany Harrison. ‘We are far behind other nations in implementing these solutions. The Zero Emissions Byron Project aims to show Australians what can be achieved at the local level, and help inspire a groundswell of individual and community action in this country.’
In 2007, the EU Parliament announced that European countries were committed to make such a change. It became known as the Third Industrial Revolution (or ‘3Rev’). At COP21 last December, the French government showcased the progress made by their Nord Pas de Calais region, three years after the architect of that vision – global thought leader, economist and advisor to the European Union since 2000, Jeremy Rifkin – had introduced it to them. China, Australia’s largest trading partner, recently committed to follow the same path.
Following Professor Hood, a film will be screened of Mr Rifkin’s introduction to a rural French community of a concept and methodology for their transition to a zero carbon economy. It motivated them to develop and instigate a plan specifically for their region.
A Q&A panel facilitated by Byron Shire journalist Mick O’Regan, will answer questions and discuss how the Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB) project is working along similar principles to reduce Byron Shire’s emissions to zero within 10 years.
Joining Professor Hood on the panel will be the director of the Queensland Centre for Social Change, Dr Amanda Cahill, Tiffany Harrison and Christopher Sanderson, a member of the ZEB project Communications and Energy teams.
The aim of the Zero Emissions Byron project is to protect and sustainably improve the shire’s economy, while developing resilience to mitigate against the effects of climate change. A community initiative, volunteer teams have been working for some months to ascertain baseline emissions data, then draw up strategic plans to reduce emissions in five sectors: transport, energy, land use, waste and buildings. Information on the ZEB project will be available on the night.
See www.zerobyron.org for more information
Transitioning Byron Shire to Zero Carbon
Tuesday 15 March 6 – 9pm, Byron Council Chambers, Station Street, Mullumbimby
Food, tea and coffee will be available.
For more information contact Tiffany Harrison 0426 299 787