Engineers issue a call to action
Engineers at their national sustainability conference in Brisbane today issued a Code Red warning that the profession is prepared to take urgent action on climate change.
Delegates unanimously accepted the overwhelming evidence that the earth is warming and that it is linked to mankind burning fossil fuels.
According to Incoming chairperson Lara Harland, “If we accept the science on almost everything from heart surgery to aeroplanes, why won’t we accept the science of climate from the professionals who have studied it all of their working lives?”
Deane Belfield the outgoing chair said, “The Chinese use the same symbol for crisis and opportunity. We have both in front of us now, and must seize the opportunity. The risk of catastrophe is far greater than the risks of not acting.”
Engineers are eager to work with other professionals to use the tools at their disposal and bring about deep transformational change to sustainable living. A multi-state working committee has been formed with the goals of:
With the knowledge that we have now, the risk of not acting is far outside the bounds of anything acceptable to a normal society. We have the tools if we use them now.
The Federal House of Representatives voted this week, to pass the Clean Energy Future Bills. Watch this space.
The Australian Sustainable Business Group (ASBG) held our first Policy Working Group (PWG) in Qld on the 6 October 2011 at SKM’s South Brisbane office. This meeting was a joint meeting with Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) and ASBG.
The aim of the group is to discuss a broad range of topics affecting Environmental managers
The main focus of the meeting last week was the Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill 2011 and the waste reform package.
Ariane Milinovich - project manager in the Policy and Legislation team within the Waste Reform Division addressed the meeting and answered questions about the imminent introduction of the Waste Levy in QLD. The levy was scheduled to commence on 1 July 2011. Due to widespread flooding throughout Queensland and the impact of Cyclone Yasi in north Queensland, the commencement of the levy has been postponed until 1 December 2011.
Queensland’s waste levy commencing at $35/t for Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Construction and Demolition (C&D) wastes.
The Draft Bill came before the QLD State Parliament on the 3 September 2011.
Objectives of the Bill are to:
There is a brief levy FAQ on the DERM website.
ASBG will provide more details as they come to light.
Elisa Nichols, Director, Environmental Regulation also addressed the Policy Reference Group, to provide an update on the QLD State Government’s Green Tape reduction program which includes a full reform of the QLD system of Environmental Licences, with a return to the use of “Environmental Authorities”
The reforms includes 4 key Initiatives:
Licensing proportionate to risk;
1. Operating Licences that are separated from the Intergraded development Assessment System;
2. A more flexible system of Environmental Authorities that will not trigger requirements under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 for every change to an operation or process;
3. Flexible amalgamation provisions to allow one Environmental Authority across multiple sites.
In order to reduce the Green tape involved in obtaining Environmental approvals, there will be some standardised applications for common and simple operational conditions.
The Australian Water Association are running a Climate Change Adaption Planning course in Brisbane on the 23 November 2011.
The SSEE 2011 Conference will provide a forum to discuss the consumerism of today's society by breaking SILO's, with some leaders in the field such as:
Annie Leonard - Author of The Story of Stuff. From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.
The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Paul Gilding - Author of The Great Disruption. It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable.
This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.
Register for the SSEE 2011 Conference for the opportunity to listen to these great speakers and to participate with them and many other great speakers in a Q&A Panel Discussion.
There is also a great program with four streams of papers and workshops about sustainability and how it can work for you and your business.