Social Action Office
Climate Change

Please note: As of 16 June 2008 this site will not be updated again until February 2009 as the SAO web manager is on sabbatical. To stay up to date with events and information, please subscribe to SAO Bytes (if you haven't done so already) by going to the Publications page.


Refresh Australia's Climate Change Policy

Click here for the SAO Refresh Australia! Campaign
which includes a Briefing Note: Refresh Australia's Climate Change Policy
Maximise renewable energy sources


ACF LogoAction for Climate Change

2020 target for greenhouse gas emissions - Please support the Australian Conservation Foundation campaign for strong 2020 targets.


The Great Solar PV Swindle in Queensland!

Solar PV imageIn March (2008) the Queensland Government announced plans to bulk purchase 1,000 1kW Solar PV systems to initiate a Solar Homes Scheme. It was reported that within 24 hours the State Government had received over 5,000 registrations for the offer.

Following the Solar Homes Scheme, the Government announced the Solar Bonus Scheme, a program to introduce a feed-in tariff for solar PV systems. A tariff of 44 cents was to be made for all electricity provided to the grid from solar PV systems. In Queensland, virtually all current suburban PV customers have their systems directly connected to the grid. They draw power through a second meter from the grid. Under these conditions the Solar Bonus Scheme for householders was an attractive proposition. Customers receive 44 cents for the gross generation and pay 15 cents for what they use.

However, the Clean Energy Bill which will shortly be debated in Parliament seeks to change these arrangements. The Department of Mines and Energy now propose that PV systems be wired to the house, and then the grid with the feed-in tariff will only be paid for any net (surplus) power generated. The new metering arrangements will mean that virtually no-one will qualify for the tariff, effectively removing the feed-in incentive to go solar.

Queenslanders need to take action now by contacting your local member about the Solar Bonus Scheme and asking them to oppose the Clean Energy Bill as proposed.

Click here for more information and a list of Queensland State MP’s email addresses. Just send a brief email to your local MP and to the Premier to let them know that you’d like to see Queensland get serious about our clean energy future right now. [Campaign initiated by Queensland Conservation Council].


Cyber Action for Climate Refugees

Climate Refugees imageFriends of the Earth (FOE) are calling for citizens to participate in their cyber action on climate refugees. One of the serious impacts of climate change is rising sea levels which will displace many people in low-lying Pacific island nations. FOE is asking you to sign their electronic petition calling on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, to implement the ALP’s policy on climate refugees. To find out more and to sign this petition, click here.


Make Reel Change - a short film competition

HRAFF LogoEmerging and established filmmakers with a passion for human rights are being invited to make short films addressing the human impacts of climate change. The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and the Make Poverty History coalition have joined forces to launch the Reel Change short film competition which is seeking powerful and innovative films from throughout Australia and the world. The best films will screen as part of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Canberra, throughout November and December 2008.


World Environment Day - 5 June 2008

World Environment Day 2008 LogoWorld Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

The World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is CO2 Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. Recognising that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era, UNEP is asking countries, companies and communities to focus on greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them. The World Environment Day will highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and lifestyles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption.

Join the WED Festival on 5 June at Griffith University, Multi-Faith Centre, Nathan Campus (Brisbane) 12.15-1.30pm featuring prayers and readings from diverse faith traditions and film clips on Kicking the Habit. Complimentary light lunch. RSVP by 1 June to (07) 3735 7052 or


Arbor Day - Sunday 27 July 2008
Schools Tree Day - Friday 25 July

Tree SeedlingOn Arbor Day particular attention is drawn to the part trees play in our lives. It’s not just a day to plant trees and then forget the gesture for another twelve months. Planting a tree one day is no credit to us if, during the rest of the year, we neglect to care for it and those already growing. Our thought on Arbor Day should be an expression of enduring feeling, thought and action and not just one single, isolated flame of interest. Arbor Day in Australia was first observed on 20 June 1889, in Adelaide. Click here for ideas on how to celebrate the day and how you can be involved.


Year of Planet Earth Logo2008 – Year of Planet Earth

2008 is the UN declared Year of Planet Earth. Take time to act for the Earth. The logo consists of an inner circle (red) representing the solid Earth, then the biosphere in green and the hydrosphere in dark blue, above which is the pale blue atmosphere, all constituents of the Earth System.


Professor Ross Garnaut

Garnaut Climate Change Review

Professor Ross Garnaut’s climate change review has already released an interim report and has now produced a discussion paper on emissions trading schemes. Click here to find out more about the review and to read the report and discussion paper.


Climate Biscuit Budget LogoAct Now and Speak Out for the Earth
Climate Biscuit Budget

GetUp! have come up with a new and novel campaign – Climate Biscuit Budget campaign. Act now and have your say about budget priorities for Climate Change.


Ecological Footprint LogoMeasure Your Own Ecological Footprint

Identify the things you do that contribute to global warming and look for ways to reduce your impact. Go to


Stop Fuelling Climate ChangeStop Fuelling Climate Change
- Give Renewable Energy a Fair Go!

Climate change is the most serious challenge facing the planet. However, governments in Australia continue to spend twenty-eight (28!) times more taxpayer’s money on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas than they put into renewable energy like solar and wind. It’s time to give renewables a fair go!

Sign the petition asking new Treasurer Wayne Swan to take decisive first steps in this May’s Federal Budget, replacing handouts to antiquated fossil fuels with clean energy investment! This is urgent, as there is less than 6 weeks to the budget in May.

Greenpeace has created a kit that can help you raise grassroots awareness in your community on this issue. Click here to download the kit.


Acting for Climate Change

Al GoreAl Gore addressed the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. In front of representatives from the world’s countries he spoke about the need for a visionary treaty to be completed, ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by 2010. He brought the petition on stage with him as a clear demonstration of our resolve. He is still inviting you, your friends and family to sign this petition calling for a new, positive leadership role by our elected leaders. This petition shows our commitment to solutions to the climate crisis. Please add your voice today and urge your friends to add theirs. The time for action is now. Only together can we make the change.


GlacierClimate Change Concerns
– Send a Message in your Electorate

It takes many voices to convince a government to act. WWF is asking you to send a message about climate change to your local Federal politician. Click here to access an automated email to local Federal representatives in your area. Every voice makes the message a little bit louder.


Wind TurbineThe Big Switch

The Queensland Conservation Council’s new Energy CampaignThe Big Switch – is up and running. Read some inspiring stories from Queensland and other States and get information on the real science of Global Warming. Learn what action you can take to make our leaders take notice of the problem.


Earth in SpaceTake the Live Earth Pledge

Help end the climate crisis – sign the Live Earth Pledge. The pledge will be signed by millions of people from every part of the world, to launch a movement to save ourselves and our planet. Please sign it (if you haven’t already), and ask everyone you know to sign it as well.


Climate Change leafletWorking to reduce global warming

The SAO Climate Change Circle has produced a flyer in the form of an invitation to recipients to make a commitment to at least one of three lines of action to slow down our race to global warming. Click here to download a copy of this flyer. We hope that the ripple effect of our promotion will get a multitude of people taking small steps consistently with very positive results for our planet.


Earth Link logoRespect and Reverence for Earth and Earth-Human Wellbeing

Earth Link’s calendar of events for 2008 is attached and can also be downloaded from the Earth Link website. In 2008 Earth Link will be offering programs in the area of spirituality and earth-human wellbeing. Please check your calendar and claim some dates NOW.



In March 2007 the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Social Action Office, Conference of Religious Institutes of Queensland

Climate Change collage

Responding to Climate Change:
the call to ‘ecological conversion’

This conference was for Catholics and other people of faith to
consider the evidence for climate change and its impacts
explore the biblical, theological and spiritual dimensions of a Christian response
learn about practical ways to take the urgent action required in various dimensions of our lives.

Invited resource people included
Dr Clyde Wild, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Innovative Conservation Strategies, Griffith University
Dr Veronica Lawson, Scripture Scholar, former Senior Lecturer in Theology, Australian Catholic University, Ballarat Campus
Mr Col Brown, Executive Officer of Catholic Earthcare Australia

This conference was very successful receiving good feedback
from the 90 participants.

Below are some photos from the Conference:

Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference Climate Change Conference


Global Warming
When will we reach the point of no return?

Climate Change is a topic that has been hotly debated for years. Almost every publication carries an article; nearly every television channel presents some program on the topic. For years we’ve been presented with two opposing points of view on the topic. One side asserts that the changes in our climate that we are currently experiencing are just part of the cycle of nature and there is nothing unusual happening. The other side, however, asserts just as strongly that we need to do something about this phenomenon and do it NOW. The Church in Australia, having come late to this issue, launched a Conference on Climate Change in Canberra in November 2005.

Earth from OrbitIn actual fact, most scientists now agree with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) instituted after the Rio Earth Summit, that the rate of global warming is much faster than had been predicted and that human intervention is the cause. And in the face of this, many of us continue to blithely drive our cars and use energy produced by fossil fuels without a second thought. To slow the rate of carbon dioxide emissions, the greatest cause of global warming, we need to reduce our rate of consumption of coal, oil and natural gas.

Governments of highly industralised countries like Australia have subscribed to the idea of ‘carbon offsets’ and carbon credits. In actual practice, this means giving a licence to their citizens and companies to continue releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to the detriment of all, especially the less industrialised countries. Our governments would do better to clean up their act.

In the current debate, governments are advocating the use of nuclear energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear reactors are now being touted as the ‘new’ clean energy source, no matter that an enormous quantity of fossil fuel is needed at the initial phase of mining, milling and enriching the uranium. Who remembers Chernobyl? There are even some who believe that the damage caused by nuclear accidents is trivial compared with the disaster that will happen if we continue our unrestricted use of fossil fuels.

Many scientists believe that 20 years will bring us to the point of no return. Some believe it is fewer than 20. Others advocate a change to nuclear energy as simply an interim measure while we work to develop other viable energy sources that use neither nuclear nor fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, on the West Bengal coast of India, several villages have already been lost to rising sea levels and thousands of climate refugees have swelled the already huge population of Calcutta. In the Pacific, the people of Tuvalu, Kiribati and other low-lying island-states are trying to find countries to accept them as the sea claims their land. Ironically, countries whose affluent lifestyles have directly contributed to the desperate situation in which these people find themselves have been slow to accept these climate refugees.

Our whole contemporary economic and cultural model is based on encouraging people to consume. No wonder there are some who argue that our individual efforts to use energy-efficient lighting and household appliances and to restrict the use of our cars are useless. To take such action would result in less consumption! The god of economic growth is exposed for what it is.

The call to “ecological conversion” was sounded by Pope John Paul II in 2001, and strongly reiterated at the Climate Change Conference in Canberra in November 2005. We know from our scientists that dramatic impacts are predicted for Australia. However, we can no longer restrict our view to our own backyard. As Christians, as global citizens, we need to do our part. How do we persuade EVERYONE that each of us must take action now? Governments included!

Annette Shears pbvm
August 2006

New Internationalist, July 2006
A Big Fix, Ian Lowe 2005, Black Inc, Schwartz Publishing, Melbourne
Is Nuclear power Clean and Green? Sean McDonagh in Vocation for Justice, Spring 2006
Photo courtesy of NASA


Links to other websites on this issue:


Click here for the Eco-justice Archive


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