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Climate Emergency Petition

Climate Emergency Declaration Petition

Mobilising public and private resources to restore a safe climate for the common good

In February 2016, global temperatures spiked to well over 1.5°C above pre-industrial times, just weeks after the Paris Climate Agreement set an aim of not exceeding that benchmark. (Climate Reality Check)

Ask the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency and mobilise resources to restore a safe climate

Australians are great at pitching in to help and mobilising resources in an emergency. Remember the Queensland floods of 2011? Three-quarters of the council areas within the state of Queensland were declared disaster zones. Government funds were made available and a large workforce was mobilised to deal with the emergency.

Volunteers were quick to offer assistance. More than 55,000 volunteers registered to help clean up the streets of Brisbane, with thousands more simply pitching in to help in all affected areas. All over Australia kind-hearted individuals and community groups took the initiative to send supplies and raise emergency funds.

Declaring an emergency is a significant step. It mobilises government and community resources and funds that are not normally available and inspires the public to act for the common good.

To Members of the House of Representatives and Senators,

We call on the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency and to mobilise resources to restore a safe climate.

1. In February 2016, global temperatures spiked to well over 1.5°C above pre-industrial times, just weeks after the Paris Climate Agreement set an aim of not exceeding that benchmark. Climate scientists say that we are facing a climate emergency, and that the future of ecosystems and human civilisation now hang in the balance. Our Great Barrier Reef is dying as the oceans heat up and recent fires in Tasmania burned ancient world-heritage forests.

2. Declaring a climate emergency is a vital step in building support for the very large changes required to restore a safe, cooler climate.

3. A society-wide mobilisation of resources is required at a scale and speed not seen since the Second World War. Carbon emissions must be reduced to zero within a few years, not several decades, and we must draw down all the excess carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere using measures that include mass tree planting. We must rapidly transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy, replacing fossil fuel jobs with jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The climate restoration is an enormous task, but given the risks to ourselves and future generations we must rise to the challenge.

» For more information about climate emergency goals, see the report Striking Targets

When you sign, you can also report what you do to reduce emissions

Government-led resource mobilisation is only half of the solution. The other half is what you and I do. During the Queensland floods, Aussies were taking neighbours and strangers to safety, sharing resources, and doing whatever was needed right from the start of the emergency simply because they could.

Individuals and community groups are already taking initiative and using their own resources to restore a safe climate. Tell Parliament and everyone else what YOU are already doing to show how we are mobilising together for the common good.

Use the form below to sign the petition.
If you wish, you can also add your climate actions.
We’ll add the data from the climate action counters when we submit the petition because we believe it is a powerful way of showing that the public is already mobilising itself.

Eight examples of actions for reducing carbon emissions

Minimise transport emissions
For example, walk, ride, take public transport, use an electric vehicle, avoid air travel. Instead, use video conferencing, skype for business, etc, whenever possible.

Move your money out of fossil fuels
For banks see, for superannuation see

Put your money into renewable energy
Invest in renewable energy, or donate to community solar projects (see

Power your house with clean energy
Install solar if you can, or buy renewables-friendly electricity. Disconnect from gas. (See

Make your house energy efficient

Eat less meat
For example, meat-free days, vegetarian, vegan

Be a conscious consumer
For example, buy only what you need, and buy things that last. Recycle. Upcycle.

Plant trees
For drawing down excess carbon in the atmosphere. For example Earth Day, Trees for Life


See the public figures supporting the call for a Climate Emergency Declaration here.

There are more images to share and tweet in the Toolbox at

Help build support for a climate emergency declaration!

• Share the petition on social media
• Include a link to the petition in e-news to members of your group
• Embed the petition on your group’s website
• Get out into the community to seek support for the climate emergency declaration
• Build support within the political party that you favour most
• Lobby politicians/councillors to support the making of a climate emergency declaration

We welcome support from all political parties. An effective emergency response needs support across the political spectrum.

Facebook posts and Tweets to share

Note: The Climate Emergency Declaration and mobilisation campaign is a top-level ask. Winning this would achieve the asks of many of the current single-issue climate-related campaigns, for example:

There are more images to share and tweet in the Toolbox at

LIKE the Facebook page and invite your friends to Like it too.

This petition is also embedded at
for teens to sign
A petition-only version is at

A new 3-level of government Climate Emergency Declaration petition is at Please sign this new petition to add your voice to the signature count for state/territory governments and local councils even if you have already signed the national petition above!

If you would like to embed or co-publish this petition page on your website, or if you’d like to know more about the petitionSTORM, please see:
What is a Climate Emergency PetitionSTORM?

The groups supporting the Climate Emergency Declaration campaign include:
350 Eurobodalla
350 Melbourne
Act on Climate
Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)
Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action
Ballarat Climate Action
Bayside Climate Change Action Group
Beyond Zero Emissions
CANWin: Climate Action Now Wingecarribee
Centre for Climate Safety
Climate Action Canberra
Climate Action Hobart
Climate Action Monaro
Climate Action Moreland
Climate Change Australia (Hastings branch)
Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle
Coffs Coast Climate Action Group
Conservation Council SA
COREM (Mullumbimby)
CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia)
Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association
Darebin Climate Action Now
Eastern Climate Action Melbourne
Environment Centre NT
Future Environment Defenders (FED Up)
Geelong Sustainability
Groundswell Bass Coast
Healthy Futures
Journeys for Climate Justice
Lake Wollumboola Protection Association Inc
Lighter Footprints
LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment)
Long Future Foundation
Market Forces
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN)
Psychology for a Safe Climate
RSTI (Research and Strategy for Transition Initiation)
Save the Planet
Shoalhaven Transition Inc
St Andrews Uniting Church Fairfield
Stonnington Climate Action Network
Surf Coast Air Action
Sustainable Engineering Society
Transition Byron Shire
Transition East Geelong
WATCH: Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health
Western Region Environment Centre
Yarra Climate Action Now
Zero Emissions Byron


Movement-wide climate petition collaboration

• Get wider exposure for your own petitions: add them to the list

Whenever you launch a new climate-related petition or ready-to-send email campaign, add it to the embeddable list here:

• Help other groups reach more people: embed the list on your website

Copy and paste an iframe code into your own website to embed the petition list on your own site. You won’t need to worry about updating the list – that will happen automatically every time a new petition is added to the central petition list on Google Drive.

To receive the code, contact or

Or, simply link to the list at one of the pages below.

See how it works on or

Embeddable list of current climate petitions – for everyone to share!

The list is reserved for climate-related petitions. They can be global, national, state, or local.

Here is a banner you can post on any page. You can make it clickable to the petitions list – like this:


Why has CORENA launched a petition?

CORENA normally leaves it up to advocacy and campaigning groups to run petitions on climate issues, but we are now facing proposed changes in network tariffs that we cannot ignore. The proposed demand tariff structures would not only affect how much Quick Win projects can reduce carbon emissions, they would affect how much all householders and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint as well.

Solar PV and energy efficiency are key paths to lowering carbon emissions for the sake of a safe climate and the common good. Anything that makes these less cost-effective is therefore a climate issue.

To see and sign the petition, click the button. To see background information on this issue, read on.

SIGN and SHARE the petition!
Make Safe Climate a Priority in Electricity Network Regulations.

The grid – Let’s not shoot the messenger!

From a purely climate perspective the grid would be a wonderful thing if it were delivering 100% renewable energy to our houses and businesses. It’s a bit like shooting the messenger to blame grid electricity for carbon emissions. The REAL solution to the network ‘death spiral’ is to replace coal- and gas-fired power plants with renewable energy generation. Still, while the electricity delivered by the grid continues to be predominantly sourced from fossil fuels, reducing use of grid electricity is one of the best ways we can reduce carbon emissions.

This makes the price signals in the demand tariff structures proposed by network operators a powerful force that can either help or hinder efforts to mitigate climate change.

Demand tariffs

Network operators in SA and Victoria are seeking approval from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to transition all customers to demand tariffs, and other networks are likely to follow suit if these tariffs are approved. These tariffs feature high semi-fixed charges at times of peak demand and low usage charges, meaning there would be much less financial incentive to reduce consumption of grid electricity than there is under current tariffs.

The jury is still out on whether or not these tariffs would be effective at flattening out demand peaks and reducing the amount networks spend on ‘gold-plating’, and debates rage over which customers would be subsidising which other customers and whether these tariffs are fair. However, the big loser is likely to be climate.

Under current tariffs, installing solar PV can ‘pay for itself’ in 5 years or so (depending on what usage charges apply locally), and some energy efficiency measures have even quicker payback times. Under the proposed demand tariffs, the demand charges are high and the usage charges would be around 10 cents/kWh less than at present, making solar and energy efficiency much less cost effective. According to modelling by SA Power Networks, the uptake of solar PV would be halved if demand tariffs are introduced for all customers.

With our current tariff structures it is quite easy to calculate the cost-effectiveness and payback time of solar PV and energy efficiency since these are primarily governed by the usage charge for grid electricity. If customers are paying 10c/kWh less for grid electricity, then the savings from reducing consumption will obviously be much smaller. It can be argued that some customers may also be able to reduce their demand peaks and demand charges by behavioural change and some energy efficiency measures, but that is much harder to calculate with any certainty.

A high demand for just one half-hour period in the month will set a high demand charge for the entire month. The peak demand times proposed by Victorian networks are from 3:00 to 9:00pm, so installing solar PV will have limited ability to reduce demand peaks in many cases since solar generation declines long before 9:00pm, and may decline much earlier in the day if there is a cloudy period.

What has happened so far in SA?

The AER recently rejected a proposal by SA Power Networks to place all customers on demand tariffs, but they did receive approval to force any small businesses with a multi-phase supply (most businesses and non-profit organisations) onto a demand tariff if they need a new meter. This means that installing solar PV would result in being placed on a demand tariff, potentially making the solar installation a lot less cost-effective than under current tariffs. Installing solar PV may not reduce power bills very much at all, and in extreme cases, power bills may even increase. Who would want to take the risk?

What has happened so far in Victoria?

Victorian network operators have submitted proposals to the AER that include transitioning all customers to demand tariffs. Peak demand charges would apply from 3:00 to 9:00pm during summer months, and usage charges at all times would be around 10c/kWh lower than current tariffs. Customers would be encouraged to voluntarily switch to demand tariffs, but installing solar PV (needing a new meter) would force customers onto a demand tariff immediately.

The proposals submitted by Victorian network operators are at:
Jemena –
AusNet –
United Energy –
Powercor –
CitiPower –

Demand tariff modelling performed by SA Power Networks

SA Power Networks fact sheet on demand tariffs for small businesses:

‘Residential with PV’ customer sample, showing impact of cost reflective network prices vs current prices. Network costs are about half of the retail bill.  Break-even line shown in black.

‘Residential with PV’ customer sample, showing impact of cost reflective network prices vs current prices. Network costs are about half of the retail bill. Break-even line shown in black.

The above is Figure 5, Page 12, of the following report.

SA Power Networks report, including modelling of demand tariff impacts –

A super fund for the planet


We all know that it is wise to invest in our future, right? And many of us have grave concerns about what that future looks like if we charge ahead with unmitigated climate change.

Introducing CORENA’s ‘super’ fund ( Here is a fund that keeps giving back to our planet from the moment anyone starts contributing to it.

The concept is simple. Donations are lent interest-free to pay for renewable energy and energy efficiency – instant activities that reduce our impact on the planet. We make these loans to community organisations, wonderful non-profit groups that are already doing so much for our communities. Those organisations pay the loan back to the CORENA fund as their installation saves them money on their electricity bill. Once the loan is repaid, the savings are theirs to keep. Meanwhile the repaid money is invested directly in the next project.

Like any super investment, the fund is growing. So far Australians who want to do something tangible to tackle climate change have chipped in almost $70,000. Some of that money has already been used a second or even a third time in subsequent projects. The fund has already achieved $90,000 worth of solar and energy efficiency measures.

Spectacular growth takes time though, just like your super. Contributions to recent projects will hardly have grown at all, but $100 contributed to the first community solar project two years ago has already achieved $178 worth of clean energy goodness. You can imagine how much we can all achieve together once this fund has a few more years under its belt.

Altogether CORENA’s revolving fund has installed 52kW of community solar and energy efficiency measures, and avoided 54 MWh of grid electricity.

This week CORENA launched its new Impact Calculator. Now anyone who donates can watch the impact of their investment grow and grow – just like your superannuation.

Click here to use the Impact Calculator to see what your donation to any project has achieved so far. If you are a new donor, now is the time to contribute – one of our generous supporters is offering to match your donation dollar for dollar. Why not try out the calculator? Enter your intended amount as a hypothetical donation to Project 1 and see how much impact it will have over the next two years.

CORENA – We think it’s super!

Heather Smith

Monica Oliphant - Patron

CORENA patron recognised in Queen’s honours list

8/6/15: CORENA patron, Monica Oliphant OA, was today recognised in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for distinguished service to the renewable energy sector as a research scientist, particularly through pioneering roles in solar photovoltaics and power generation, and to national and international organisations.

Monica’s details as they appear in the honours list are:

International Solar Energy Society (ISES) Immediate Past President, since 2010; President, 2008-2010; Board Member, representing the Australian Solar Council, since 1997; Co-Founder, ISES Solar Communities Network, since 2013.
Co-Chair, World Solar Energy Congress, Adelaide, 2001; Convenor, Conference Organising Committee.
Australian Solar Council (formerly Australian Solar Energy Society/Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society) Chairperson, 1992-1996; Committee Member, since 1979;
Foundation Committee Member, South Australian Branch, since 1979;
Coordinator and participant, Sustainable House Day (South Australia), since 2002;
Hall of Fame Inductee, 2012.

International service includes:
Founding Board Member, International Solar Cities Initiative, since 2003; Supporter, Renewable Energy Alliance, since 2004.
Senior Advisor, International Solar Centre, China, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, since 2008.
Board Member, World Green Forum, Hong Kong, since 2010.
Foreign Senior Councillor, International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association, Beijing, since 2011.
Strategy Advisory Board Member, International Renewable Energy Agency, 2010.

National service includes:
Adjunct Associate Research Professor, Barbara Hardy Institute, Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, University of South Australia, current; Supervisor of solar energy projects; Member, iGrid Research Program, since 2008.
Board Member, Australian Carbon Bio-sequestration Initiative (Canopy), since 2005.
Advisory Panel Member for electric vehicles, AutoCRC, since 2008.
Strategic Council Member, The Climate Institute, since 2009.
Patron, Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia, since 2013.
Principal Researcher and Team Leader, Community Owned Solar open access model, Local Government Association South Australia, current.
Board Member, Renewables South Australia, 2009-2011.
Board Member, CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship, 2008-2009.
Member, Technical Panel, Energy Futures Strategy, City of Onkaparinga, 2007-2008.
Board Member, Premiers’ Roundtable on Sustainability, 2003-2007.
Principal Research Scientist, Electricity Trust of South Australia, 1981-2000.
Member, Tambling Federal Government Panel Reviewing Australia’s Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), 2003-2004.

Revolving Donations Fund 35kW of Community Solar PV

This week’s solar PV installation at Camden Park, SA, brings the total amount installed by CORENA’s Quick Win community solar projects so far to 35kW. Another 8kW has been added by recipient organisations in conjunction with these projects, giving an overall result of 43kW installed. Two of the projects have also included replacing lights with LED alternatives.

CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Incorporated) has now funded Quick Win projects for four non-profit organisations in three states: Tulgeen Disability Services in Bega (NSW), Gawler Community House (SA), Beechworth Montessori School (Vic), and Camden Community Centre (SA). The next project in line, in Nannup (WA), is already half-funded, and a community centre in Ravenshoe (Qld) is queued as Project 6.

“After just four projects the growth potential of our revolving funding model is looking quite exciting,” said CORENA spokesperson Margaret Hender. “The four projects completed so far have cost a total of $63,460. Climate-concerned citizens donated most of that, but $10,438 of it came from loan repayments from completed projects.”

CORENA provides interest-free loans to pay for solar installations and energy efficiency measures. The loans are repaid over about five years out of the resultant savings on power bills, meaning that non-profit organisations can reduce their carbon emissions without diverting funds from their core purpose. As the projects ‘pay for themselves’, the original donations are then used over and over again in new projects.

The first project was funded entirely from donations, but already $5,000 of that loan has been paid back into the revolving pool of funds. As the number of completed projects increases, an increasing proportion of the cost of new projects is covered by loan repayments. Eventually the revolving loan repayments will cover 90%, or even 100%, of the cost of new projects.

model QWP 3

“Tulgeen Disability Group has added 3kW of additional SolarWorld panels to its existing 7kW system, which was purchased with support from CORENA,” said Tulgeen CEO Peter Gorton. “The system has met its goals, demonstrating savings in CO2 emissions and dollar savings. We are able to provide increased support and service diversity from our limited amount of funding, as we are wasting less on purchasing energy.”

“I could talk to politicians until I’m blue in the face in the hope of getting better renewable energy policies, and never know if I’ve had any effect,” said Ms Hender. “But if I put $100, or $10 a week, for example, into solar panels on a roof somewhere, within a matter of weeks my money will be reducing carbon emissions and keep on doing so forever as it is used again and again in future projects.”

Floating Solar Farm for SA

5/3/15, ABC News
“An Australian-first floating solar power plant is expected to be operational in South Australia by early April, with construction about to begin.

The plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in the state’s mid north.

Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries said the plant was designed so that much of the construction could be carried out offsite and slotted together at the facility.

“We should see some plant on the site within about two weeks,” Ms Whiting said.

She also explained that as the solar panels were floating they would be kept cool by the water mass, making them about 57 per cent more efficient than land-based solar panels.

“It prevents water evaporation up to 90 per cent of the surface area covered, and for dry states and dry climates that’s a big water saving measure,” Ms Whiting said.

Nannup CRC queued as Quick Win No. 5

The first WA project has just been queued for funding as CORENA’s 5th Quick Win project. This will pay for a solar installation for the Nannup Community Resource Centre in a rural area 3 hours south of Perth.

Currently all contributions to the Quick Win project fund are going towards Project 4 at Camden in SA, as are all loan repayments from earlier projects, but as soon as that is fully funded all donations and repayments will be directed to the Nannup project.

The Nannup CRC is run by the local community and owns its own premises. They identify gaps in the resources available locally and step in to provide a wide variety of community information, social, educational, and practical services.

Consumerism vs Promoting a Good Cause


In response to requests from supporters, we now have CORENA promo items available to help spread the word about CORENA solar projects. In the past we’ve avoided the consumerism of having ‘merchandise’, but we feel a few promo items can be a good promotion investment if used wisely. For example, supporters can give visibility to CORENA by wearing a t-shirt to climate rallies and events, or wear a CORENA badge on their lapel, hat, or bag. A CORENA mug on a desk or a magnet on a work fridge can be a useful conversation starter amongst colleagues.

See for low-cost and no-cost ways of spreading the word. CORENA mails out badges, stickers, and/or magnets on request. The cost of the initial stock of these items was kindly covered by a few generous members, but in order to cover postage and enable us to replace stocks when we run out, CORENA asks for a small admin donation to cover costs.

CORENA does not have the resources for bulk purchase and distribution of more expensive items, so we’ve devised a no-fuss way for supporters to order t-shirts or mugs themselves directly from Vistaprint (or their preferred online printing service). The t-shirt/mug image, and instructions for ordering, are at CORENA has no involvement in those transactions other than supplying the image for upload when ordering items, but is happy to respond to questions via email or Facebook chat message to help talk through the process if required.

Role for Solar Thermal with Storage in SA Energy Mix

Jan 12, 2015, graph from RenewEconomy article,

This graph is for a public holiday, but a similar evening peak would apply on business days too. Note how the electricity from Victorian brown coal generation balloons (the red part) as generation from SA’s rooftop solar PV declines at dusk. This is the time slot when a solar thermal plant with storage would come into its own.

If SA had a solar thermal plant with storage, it would capture heat all day and store it in its molten salt storage tank, then use that heat to generate electricity for several hours during that evening peak as output from rooftop solar declines. That way it would not compete with SA’s wind and solar PV generation, but would replace either imported electricity from Victoria or some of the SA-generated coal- or gas-fired electricity.

This illustrates the general principle behind CORENA’s Big Win project (possibly but not necessarily in SA) and is the reason for opting for solar thermal with storage rather than a solar PV farm or anything without storage. Storage capacity of some sort is the key.