CCWA Monthly Newsletter
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Heres the lastest newsletter from CCWA. Please read about environmental and climate issues.
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|Hi Clive, and welcome to the CCWA Monthly Newsletter for December – the CCWA team celebrated the end of the year with events, briefings and much, much more! Celebrating the Festive Season The festive season was truly a wonderful time where our team, members and supporters spent time surrounded by their loved ones and giving back to those who matter most.
It was the season of generosity, and CCWA’s Christmas appeal provided everyone with a chance to contribute and back our collective goal in conservation and climate action.
On behalf of the entire CCWA team, we hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year 2024! We look forward to working with you all to strive for a flourishing natural environment and a safe climate valued by everyone in this new year.
Happy New Year
Welcome to 2024 – we can’t wait to see what this exciting new year has in store for us! Our team look forward to working closely with our members, volunteers and the general public this year on the pressing environmental and climate issues that affect us here in Western Australia and around the world. Our beautiful state and the rest of the world needs help and we need your support to maximise our impact – together we can achieve so much more.
Open Letter from the Scientists and Experts Over 50 of Australia’s top scientists and experts published a statement in the West Australian in late December, calling on the state and federal environment ministers to reject Woodside’s North West Shelf gas plant extension plans to 2070. The proposal, if approved, would have severe environmental and economic consequences for Western Australia and exacerbate the challenges posed by climate change. “Science shows that the use of all fossil fuels, including gas, must decline imminently if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C”, the letter reads. High profile signatories to the letter include Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Professor Tim Flannery FAA Chief Councillor of the Climate Council, Curtin University Professor of Sustainability and IPCC Lead Author Peter Newman AO, Climate Scientist and IPCC Coordinating Lead Author from the University of Tasmania Professor Nathan Bindoff, and Distinguished Professor Kingsley Dixon AO. Add your voice to reject this proposal below! Add Your Voice EPA Online Briefing On December 19, CCWA held an important online briefing addressing the critical issues surrounding the Cook Government’s proposed overhaul of the state’s environmental assessment system. The meeting reached maximum attendance, highlighting the deep concern within the environmental community regarding the announcement.
During the meeting, we delved into understanding the potential threats posed by the proposed changes. The focus was on comprehending how these changes could compromise the integrity of the entire process. Additionally, we explored the direct impact of these modifications on individuals and organisations dedicated to the conservation of Western Australia’s environment. Please join us for our first Environment Matters of 2024 to further discuss the critical issues surrounding the proposed overhaul of WA’s environmental assessment system. WHEN: Wednesday February 14th WHERE: State Library Theatre of WA, 25 Francis Street Perth TIME: 6pm-8pm
RSVP CCWA regulatory submissions for December CCWA lodges submissions to regulatory bodies on projects of public interest and which involve activities that pose significant risks to the environment. Some of the submissions lodged this month include: Department of Water and Environment (DWER) appeal of decision to not assess Strike Energy’s South Erregulla, despite significant greenhouse gas emissions. Appeal of DWER’s decision to approve the clearing of native vegetation for Perth Surf Park. CCWA’s appeal highlighted the variance to several clearing principles and lack of consideration of ecologically significant area. Comment on the WA government’s Battery and critical minerals: strategy refresh, emphasising the need for sustainable practice. Call for the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to NOT APPROVE the clearing and residential development of the pristine and highly biodiverse Lot 123 Mortimer Road, Casuarina. Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, calling for assessment of the following as controlled actions: Wanneroo Shooting Complex – Public shooting range, recognising the significant residual and cumulative impact on endangered and vulnerable Black Cockatoo species, wetlands, and threatened ecological communities. Sydney Street Subdivision, emphasising the impacts on endangered and vulnerable Black Cockatoo species, and the less mobile and critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum. CCWA End of Year Christmas Party The team wrapped up our successful year and started the festive season on a high as we celebrated with our end-of-year Christmas picnic at Matilda Bay.We reminisced about the past year, shared stories and celebrated the wins across each of our programs and teams. We would like to give a huge thanks to our team, members and volunteers for everything they’ve done throughout the year! On behalf of the entire team at CCWA – thank you for all of your wonderful support this year and we can’t wait to work together to create a environmentally sustainable and safer WA! Programs updates Fossil Fuels December was a busy month for the Go Beyond Gas movement! We ended the year with a strong push for real and effective climate action in WA. Our team of dedicated volunteers continued to mount pressure on key decision makers to reject Woodside’s proposed North West Shelf extension. If this project is accepted, it will continue to process gas until 2070, leading to an additional 4.365 billion tonnes of emissions and making way for the rest of Woodside’s dangerous Burrup Hub expansion plans. Over 50 expert scientists signed an open letter calling on the State and Federal Ministers for the Environment to reject the North West Shelf proposal, which was published in the West Australian. The letter reads, “Science shows that the use of all fossil fuels, including gas, must decline imminently if warming is to be limited to 1.5° C”. High profile signatories of the letter included Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Professor and Chief Councillor of the Climate Council – Tim Flannery FAA, Curtin University Professor of Sustainability and IPCC Lead Author – Peter Newman AO, Climate Scientist and IPCC Coordinating Lead Author – Professor Nathan Bindoff, and Distinguished Professor Kingsley Dixon AO. Go Beyond Gas hosted a Briefing: Woodside’s Burrup Hub Expansion Threat to update supporters on the gas giant’s project and rally people together to reject the North West Shelf Extension. Attendees sent personalised emails to their state MPs, urging them to call for the rejection of this harmful proposal.
Alongside Greenpeace and Drummers for Climate Action, Go Beyond Gas hosted a snap action in response to Woodside re-commencing seismic blasting for their Scarborough Gas project, another piece of their Burrup Hub expansion plans, after a court decision to end the seismic blasting was overturned. The climate community gathered to show outrage over this dangerous blasting, which damages whales’ hearing. As signs read, “a deaf whales is a dead whale”. We also heard from special guest speaker Raelene Cooper, who was appalled and outraged by the overturning of the decision made during her initial court case. The message was loud and clear, the Burrup Hub must not go ahead. We turned up the Christmas spirit and collaborated with key players in the climate community, 350.org and Grandparents for Climate Action WA, to turn the heat up on Labor. We took a very merry road trip to visit the offices of Reece Whitby (WA Minister for Energy; Environment; Climate Action), Premier Roger Cook and Madeleine King (Federal Minister for Resources). To call on these politicians to Go Beyond Gas, we sung our favourite Christmas songs – “We wish for a gas free future” and “Cool down the world” – https://www.instagram.com/p/C0yTbnqri65/ – and gifted each of them a portable induction stovetop and a copy of Saul Griffith’s book, The Big Switch. We also presented their staffers with our ongoing petition to reject the North West Shelf Extension. Thanks to our amazing supporter Chilla Bulbeck, this action appeared in Letters to the Post!
After many months of getting out in the community, organising community stalls and collecting petition signatures calling on Minister Whitby to reject the North West Shelf, it was also time to hand this petition over to one of the minister’s staff members with over 2,000 signatures! The Go Beyond Gas movement gathered outside Dumas House to perform a comedic skit, outlining our hopes and fears for our climate and communities in the year 2070.
After handing over the petition signatures, we all celebrated with a social picnic at Kings Park, reflecting back on the year and enjoying some down time. From the Fossil Fuels team at CCWA, we’d like to express sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone who took action or supported us last year. Big or small, it all counts! We hope you had a well-deserved rest over the holiday season. This year, we will continue to build and mobilize the Go Beyond Gas movement to fight for a gas free future, one step at a time. Please help us build up the pressure on Minister Whitby to reject the North West Shelf by emailing your state MPs now. It only takes a few seconds to make a real difference for our future and our planet. Better Climate In the month of December, the Better Climate team’s focus was on continuing our stakeholder engagement to contribute to our program’s ‘25 Solutions for a Better Climate’ report. The team met with multiple stakeholders from sectors that represent tourism, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and land care management. These stakeholders included Wooleen Station, Oceanwise, RegenWA, The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, Jubilee, Lock the Gate, WACOSS, AMWU, Unions WA, MUA, WA Biodiversity Science Institute, and Murray Engineering. The team ventured out into the Peel Region to meet with Murray Engineering who are leading the way in the Western Australian mining industry by electrifying their vehicles, developing hybrid electric trucks, and creating their own EV charging stations capable of fast charging cars within 20 minutes. The 76 series Toyota Landcruisers have been completely electrified and modified to make sure the vehicles are safe to use on mine sites across Australia. The vehicles have similar driving range to their diesel counterparts and even stronger towing capacity. The team was represented at the West Tech Fest in Fremantle at the start of December, building relationships and discussing the importance of solutions to tackle the climate change crisis. The Better Climate team continues to build on work being done for the Federal Big Ask campaign and the Australian Renewable Industry Package campaign, which is advocating for Federal Government commitments to large scale renewable energy and green job spending to match the US Inflation Reduction Act.
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Citizen Science Thanks to all our citizen scientists that have been helping with our surveys in 2023 – this program couldn’t run without you! It’s been brilliant meeting and getting to know some of our members and supporters over the past 7 months and I look forward to 2024 where we can work together to achieve even more. Bat Monitoring Pilot Update As some of you are aware our bat monitoring program pilot is in full swing. The pilot is only a small sample size to help test the methodology, training and help develop the program, so any preliminary results shared below aren’t necessarily representative of the sites, but I wanted to give a taster of what our awesome Bat Champions have been up to. As of 21st December, we have 17 transects established and many that have completed the first transect walk, and a few more transects planned over the next week. From 1st November until 21st December, 87 Bat Champions spent over 170 hours walking over 280km during their bat activity transects. During which they recorded over 30GB of sound files on their handheld bat detectors. We’ve analysed the bat calls from 11 transects so far. There are 9 species of bat in the southwest; of these species 7 can be accurately identified to species level, and 3 species are grouped together in their genus (these are the Long-eared bats, Nyctophilus species). All transects recorded at least one bat species, with an average of 2.3 different bat species per site, and one site having at least 5 different species recorded on the same night. The most common species recorded was the Gould’s wattled bat, followed by the Long-eared bats. All southwest bat species/ genus were recorded except for the Western Falsistrelle Falsistrellus mckenzei.
Bat Booklet Keeping on the bat theme, check out our ‘Bats of Southwest WA’ booklet that our awesome Intern, Spencer helped put together – thanks Spencer! This booklet includes the 9 species of bat found in Perth, Peel, the Southwest and Great Southern regions of WA. We plan to add to the bat booklet collection, so keep an eye out for more regions to come. WA Bat Network Lunchtime Meetup WA Bat Network lunchtime meetup is happening at 1pm on Friday, 12th January – either join in person at our CCWA office in West Perth or online via Teams. RSVP here Bat_Network – Conservation Council of Western Australia 2023 (ccwa.org.au) And if you’re on facebook, don’t forget to join our WA Bat Network facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wabatnetwork What is the WA Bat Network? It’s a space where individuals and groups can share information on bat conservation and research in Western Australia. The Network is a platform for groups and individuals to share information, provide opportunities to meet others with similar interest and concerns, and most importantly help us work together to raise awareness of bat conservation across our beautiful state. It’s not to replace the amazing work of any existing bat groups or individuals. Each have an important role to play. The Network was established with the aim to: 1) Increase awareness of bat research projects within WA to reduce the risk of duplicating efforts and encourage collaborative working. 2) Advocate for bat conservation by increasing community awareness and engagement in bat conservation at the grassroots level. 3) Collectively identify and report on the threatening processes that affect our precious bat species. Upcoming Events
Join us for a crucial briefing delving into the potential threats posed by proposed changes in the Cook Government’s environmental policies. We aim to shed light on these challenges, providing a platform for informed discussions where your valuable insights will play a pivotal role.
WHEN: Monday February 12th WHERE: State Library Theatre of WA, 25 Francis Street Perth TIME: 6pm-8pm We hope to see as many of you there as possible!
RSVP News & Media CCWA commends climate progress in WA, calls for further emission reduction commitments The WA Climate Change Bill was introduced to the lower house late last month. When passed, it will enshrine the state’s 2050 net-zero emissions target in law. Anna Chapman, Fossil Fuels Program Manager at the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA), said the new Bill was a welcome step forward for the state, but more needed to be done by the Cook Government to tackle emissions. “This legislation alone is not going to be sufficient to tackle WA’s emissions crisis”, she said. The Bill does not include a 2030 interim state-wide emissions reduction target, despite concerns from groups across WA. In October, a joint open letter from 27 organisations, including the Conservation Council of WA, Greenpeace and the Western Australian Council of Social Services expressed concerns about the exclusion of a 2030 emissions target. The Bill outlines that interim targets for the state will be set for 2035, 2040, 2045 and 2050. Woodside rocked by more protests as controversial seismic blasting starts up, risking marine life off the Pilbara coast Controversial fossil fuel company Woodside has once again been targeted by protests in response to the use of ‘seismic blasting’ in marine habitat off the coast of Western Australia. Approximately 100 people gathered outside Woodside’s Perth HQ on Thursday in opposition to the highly contentious Scarborough gas project off the Pilbara coast, where Woodside has commenced underwater testing using high-powered compressed air cannons, pointed at the ocean floor, to identify pockets of oil and gas. The blasts from these cannons can occur every 10-15 seconds, sometimes for months at a time and are so powerful that they penetrate deep through the seabed. The activity, known as ‘seismic blasting’ can kill or injure marine animals in the vicinity, with even microscopic zooplankton – the basis of the ocean food chain – at risk of death. The noise can damage the hearing of whales and deter them from visiting areas where seismic blasting is taking place, which can coincide with breeding and feeding grounds. The protest was organised by the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA), Western Australia’s peak body for the environment and climate, along with Drummers for Climate Action. Massive overhaul of environmental protection laws threatens WA’s nature Conservation organisations across WA are warning that the Cook Government’s moves to overhaul the State’s environmental assessment system represents a major threat to the State’s nature and the independence of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).Premier Roger Cook announced the changes at a business breakfast in Perth today before releasing a statement and Government’s response to 39 recommendations from a rapid review that did not involve consultation with conservation groups.
These concerning changes would undermine the integrity of the environmental assessment process and the independence of the EPA, including through fast-tracking industrial projects, enabling the Minister to impose the Government’s priorities and policies on the EPA, and removing the crucial oversight of the quality of EPA assessments through the appeals process. It seems the Office of the Appeals Convenor will be closed. We call on the Government to confirm its intent to make this radical change.
The rapid review that’s been undertaken has missed the crucial context which is that largely unrestricted mining, industrialisation, and land clearing, along with increasing greenhouse pollution, is already threatening to drive many of WA’s unique plants and animals further into the extinction abyss. These changes risk making the environmental crisis in WA even worse.
Conservation groups and the broad community want to see governments bolster the independence of the EPA but these reforms will further reduce the community’s confidence that the EPA can perform its core role which is to prevent environmental harm and conserve and protect the WA environment. Woodside gas plant extension “flies in the face of science”, as leading scientists and experts urge ministers to reject plans
Over 50 top scientists and experts are urging state and federal environment ministers to reject Woodside’s controversial North West Shelf gas plant extension. The proposal, if approved, would have severe environmental and economic consequences for Western Australia and exacerbate the challenges posed by climate change. In an open letter published in today’s West Australian newspaper, a number of high profile scientists and leaders in their field have called on WA Environment and Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby and Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to reject a proposal which would see the facility in the Pilbara given license to operate until 2070. One of the high-profile experts and former Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley AC, calls for the project to be rejected as it “flies in the face of all the science”. Estimates provided by WA’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) indicate that extending the plant’s life would result in a staggering 4.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. This is equivalent to 12.1 million car journeys around the world every year for the next 50 years, exacerbating WA’s ongoing emissions crisis. CCWA respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk People of the Noongar nation, along with the Traditional Owners of all Countries where it works. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. CCWA seeks to always walk alongside our Aboriginal partners, recognising their continued connection through land, sea, culture and community.
|Conservation Council of Western Australia · 1186 Hay Street , West Perth, WA 6005, Australia