Tag: Australia

SEARCH Foundation (Social Education and Research Concerning Humanity)

 

The SEARCH Foundation seeks to contribute to efforts to develop a new collective and strategic set of values and ideas and a new collective political practice for a 21st Century alternative to capitalism. The SEARCH Foundation bases this vision on the best of the socialist tradition and the struggles for workers’ rights and human rights, the lessons of the modern women’s liberation movements, the historic anti-racist struggles of our times, and the profound insights of the movements for ecological sustainability. This collective and strategic politics would oppose corporate globalisation with global social responsibility for peace and justice.

Objectives

The objects for which  the Foundation is established are to:

(a) promote greater understanding in the community of the main factors affecting social life, influencing social development and advancing social well-being;

(b) oppose the domination of Australia’s economy by national and international corporations;

(c) without limiting the generality of the objects of the Foundation, carry out research and educational activity in respect of:
-theories of the functioning of society
-the role of science and technology in social development
-the role of art in social life
-the relationship between humanity and the environment
- social justice, equality and democracy as factors affecting social development
the part played by the above and by social and democratic movements in the development of Australian society.

(d) establish and fund facilities for carrying out research into any of the above objects of the Foundation;

(e) publish newspapers, magazines, books and research reports, and utilise all forms of media for the purpose of increasing community awareness in respect of the objects of the Foundation;

(f) assist the activity of other persons, organisations and publications which, in the opinion of the Committee, will contribute to increasing community awareness in respect of the Foundation’s objects.

We summarise all this by saying we promote democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability. Since 2008, the Foundation has advocated for a project for a 21st Century democratic ecological socialism.

Contact Information: 
Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St
2010 Surry Hills
Australia
AU
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United Voice

United Voice is an organisation of over 120,000 Australian workers, united by our belief in the dignity of workers and the right to fair and just treatment at work. We are an active union, and we are passionate about organising to win.

We are people of diverse races, genders and ages, from every State and Territory, but we are one union. We have different languages, sexual orientations and physical abilities, but we have the same goal – to be agents of positive social change, to continuously fight for the type of society we believe in. Many of us work on a casual or part-time basis, 60% of us are women, and half of us are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We derive great strength from this diversity.

When you are a member of United Voice, you stand together with thousands of workers in your industry who all believe that a fairer, better society is possible.

 

 

What we do

 

 

 

United Voice is a smart and ambitious union that acts on the values of fairness, compassion and equity. Members are the heart and soul of United Voice, and inspire the union’s action. We are active in the workplace, the community and in politics, in order to achieve positive change and build the type of society we believe in. 

In the workplace, United Voice gives members the skills and courage to successfully organise and run campaigns that create quality jobs. Through union delegates,United Voice helps to negotiate better collective agreements and awards, and provides industrial advice to United Voice members.

As well as organising in thousands of workplaces around the country, United Voice is running several exciting national campaigns to improve the lives of workers and reform entire industries; better jobs better hotels, Clean Start: Fair Deal for Cleaners; and BIG STEPS in childcare.

United Voice is affiliated to the Australian Labour Party. Our relationship with the ALP ensures that the concerns of our members are heard and acted upon. United Voice members regularly meet with ministers and politicians to discuss the critical but often undervalued work that we do.

In a rapidly globalising world there is an opportunity and a necessity to build a stronger global union movement. United Voice maintains strong ties with SEIU in the North America and SFWU in New Zealand. We run joint campaigns – such as Clean Start – with these unions in order to win improvements for workers here and overseas.  

We also work with faith groups, social justice organisations and other stakeholders in our communities to build a world based on fair access to and distribution of the benefits of society.

Contact Information: 
303 Cleveland St
2016 Redfern NSW
Australia
AU
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Sustainable Population Australia

 

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) was formed in 1988 by people who felt that the issue of population numbers was overlooked, or regarded as too contentious, by many of those striving to preserve Australia's ecological heritage.

It has held public meetings and conferences in many parts of Australia. SPA branches around the country promote SPA's ideas, study local problems, lobby politicians and recruit new members.

Some branches hold regular meetings but the main link between members is the Newsletter, produced six times a year. This provides members with information and expert opinion to rebut the many myths about sustainability and population that one hears in conversation or sees in the press.

Formerly known as Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population, SPA is an ecological group dedicated to preserving species' habitats globally and in Australia from the degradation caused by human population growth. We work on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically sustainable population.

Aims & Objectives

Aims

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) was established in Canberra in 1988 under the name Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population (AESP). The people who founded AESP felt that, since the major environmental groups were failing to address the issue of population numbers, a separate organisation was needed.

While SPA is primarily an environmental organisation, it also addresses the social and economic implications of population growth.

SPA has grown into a national organisation with members in all states and territories and branches in eight major cities.

Until her death in the year 2000, the poet Judith Wright was AESP's sole Patron. Now four eminent Australians are Patrons of SPA: Professors Ian Lowe and Tim Flannery and Drs Mary White and Paul Collins.

Objectives

  • To contribute to public awareness of the limits of Australian population growth from ecological, social and economic viewpoints.
  • To promote awareness that the survival of an ecologically sustainable population depends on its renewable resource base.
  • To help promote policies that will initially lead to stabilisation of Australia’s population by encouraging near replacement fertility rates and low immigration rates.
  • To promote urban and rural lifestyles and practices that are in harmony with the realities of the Australian environment, its resource base and its biodiversity.
  • To advocate low immigration rates while rejecting any selection based on race.
  • To help promote policies that will lead to the stabilisation, then reduction of global population.
Contact Information: 
PO Box 3851
2611 Weston Creek ACT
Australia
AU
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Climate and Health Alliance

 

About us

The Climate and Health Alliance was established in August 2010 and is a coalition of health care stakeholders who wish to see the threat to human health from climate change and ecological degradation addressed through prompt policy action. This commitment is based on the understanding that further global warming poses grave risks to human health and biodiversity and if left unchecked, threatens the future of human civilisation.

The impetus for the establishment of the Alliance was the call from the May 2009 issue of the international medical journal The Lancet calling for a public health movement that frames the threat of climate change for humankind as a health issue.

CAHA’s members recognise that health care stakeholders have a particular responsibility to the community in advocating for public policy that will promote and protect human health.

In advocating for policy action to prevent further global warming, CAHA recognises that this must include dramatic and urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and removal of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to restore a safe climate.

The Alliance aims to contribute to the development and implementation of evidence based public policy to protect the community from the adverse consequences of climate change, and promote recognition that policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment have the potential to bring important public health benefits.

CAHA aims to facilitate collaboration in the sector for the development of effective responses to climate change as well as promote sustainable practices in health care to reduce the sector’s environmental footprint.

Contact Information: 
PO Box 523
3124 Camberwell, Victoria
Australia
AU
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10 Points of Action

Ministers – thank goodness you are here. Your delegations may have been burning some midnight oil in the last few days – but they have left the hard decisions for you! Here’s what your agenda for the next 4 days looks like:

1.  Don’t just “Mind the Gap” – do something! Ministers, at Durban you must show that you live on the same planet as the rest of us and acknowledge that the current mitigation pathway puts us on track for over 4° C warming. You must explicitly acknowledge the 6 to 11 Gigatonne gap, agree to a 2012 work plan to close the gap by increasing developed country targets to at least 40% by 2020, and provide guidelines and timeframes for NAMAs to be registered and supported where required. The ambition work plan must include clear markers through 2012, including submissions, technical papers and a dedicated intersessional meeting, to ensure we don’t have another year of wishy washy workshops with outcomes.

2. Commit for the long term. Negotiators have made no progress at all in setting a peak year and a long term global goal for emissions. Ministers now should explicitly agree that each country contribute their fair share to the globally needed mitigation effort, leading to a peak by 2015 and a reduction of global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 by 2050.

3. Stop spinning wheels in the Review. Ministers need to ensure that the Review will be effective, and limiting the scope will help it get off the ground as an effective instrument. We must focus on the important things: reviewing the long-term goal and the overall progress towards achieving it. Leave the biannual reports under MRV to cover the inputs like the means of implementation.

4. High Time for legally binding. A 5 year long second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is an absolute necessity as it contains important architectural elements which are crucial to ensure that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. Nobody believes that a temperature rise of 4° C might be OK. So now is the moment to act decisively. An LCA mandate to agree a comprehensive legally binding instrument can build on the KP. Parties need to go beyond their long stated positions and immediately kick off negotiations toward a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement to be agreed no later than 2015.

6. KP is essential – but it must have integrity. When added together, loopholes in the KP could wipe out Annex I ambition for the second commitment period.

In LULUCF, hidden and unaccounted emissions could significantly undermine Annex I targets, and cause us to doubt your commitment. Ministers must therefore ensure emissions from forests and land use are accurately accounted and reject the options on the table with the lowest environmental integrity.

All of the parties to this relationship know that the hot air / carried over AAUs is a bad joke that threatens to sour our relationship.  To keep it pure we need you to retire your surplus AAUs, or at least reduce them to 1%. Flexible mechanisms need clear rules and governance structures to avoid double counting of both emissions and finance, strengthen additionality testing and ensuring the standardization frenzy does not leave us with a highway for free-riders. Let’s start by keeping CCS and nuclear out of the CDM and let’s exclude coal power projects. Last but not least, we do indeed need stakeholder involvement in the CDM. Don’t back down, we are counting on you!

PS: CDM’s little brother JI has been up to a bunch of no-good stuff: hot air gussied up in new clothes (ERUs) is still hot air.

7. Fill the Fund. Operationalising the GCF in Durban is essential but not nearly enough – an empty fund is no good to anyone. We need initial capitalization of the GCF from developed country Parties in Durban. Reaching $100 billion per year by 2020 will require a commitment to scaled up finance from 2013 onward and clear progress on innovative approaches to generate finance. In Durban, parties should move forward on the establishment of mechanisms in the shipping and aviation sectors in a way that reduces emissions, generates finance, and ensures no burdens and costs on developing countries. Countries must also agree to a detailed one year work programme under the UNFCCC to consider a full range of innovative sources of public finance and report back to COP 18 with a proposal for action.

8. Gear Up and Deliver Technology. Technology is heading in the right direction, but speed is needed! Don’t be held back by other laggards. The Tech Mechanism could be operational by the end of COP 18.

9. Feel the Love for Transparency and Stakeholders. Your negotiators excised stakeholders’ right to participate from the IAR text and subject to heavy bracketing in ICA. But we know, Ministers, that you recognize the worth of engaging stakeholders to create a better process – rather than having us only campaign from the outside. Current text also falls short on common accounting rules for Annex I countries and clarification of pledges for all countries. Surely we’ve learned from the financial crisis! Robust reporting, such as Biennial Reviews and Biennial Update Report guidelines, including tables for reporting actions, and a common reporting format for finance must be agreed in Durban, so countries can complete their biennial reports in time for the first review. And where would this relationship between us and the planet, be without compliance for our commitments!

10.  An ambitious adaptation package at the African COP. Good agreements on Loss and Damage and the Nairobi Work Programme have already been reached. Wrapping up the package will require agreement on a strong Adaptation Committee including active civil society observers and direct reporting to the COP (as well to the SBs when COP does not meet). Furthermore, guidelines for National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries must be adopted, plus modalities on how other developing countries can take these up. The prioritisation for LDCs must of course not be undermined.

A strong role for local, affected communities and civil society in national planning processes, building on the principles agreed in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, is essential. Finally, Parties must ensure that the Adaptation Fund does not dry up because of decreasing CER prices and lack of new pledges to the Fund from developed countries.

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Raise the Stakes!

Dear Ministers,

The disconnect between the climate talks and scientific reality is stark. In the UNFCCC process, progress is being made, but in real life your negotiators have been sleepwalking as the world burns.

The past week has seen negotiations moving slowly, with the peaks and valleys that typify these talks. We have walked the corridors, met in the large and small rooms, gone to side events, gossiped at exhibit stands, argued over brackets and tinkered with text.

Meanwhile, famine spreads, floods inundate homes and storms destroy livelihoods.

The evidence shows that if we do not act within only a few short years it will be too late to curb dangerous climate change. To be blunt, we risk throwing away the work of 20 years and further delaying the action that is truly required.

Ministers, your negotiators have left you with a very clear choice: You can choose to step away from the edge or drag all of us over it.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen discussions of a timeline for action that would lock us into dangerous climate change. ECO was under the impression that the Durban COP was intended to discuss the post-2012 framework. Somehow the negotiations have shifted to post-2020. This is simply inconceivable. The world can not afford a ten year timeout in the negotiations.

To this end, the European Union can help: Agree a 5-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Do it now.

The US and others claim that the collective emission reductions ambition currently in place will allow us to avoid dangerous climate change. This is simply not true. A pledge and review world is a world of uncertainty. There is even backtracking toward a system where there is neither accountability nor assurance that actions will be taken. Let’s not go there.

Instead, we must raise ambition by 2015, otherwise the global average temperature increase will exceed 2° C and move inexorably to 3° and beyond – with all that entails.

The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period must be agreed, as it is the only instrument that legally binds countries to reduce their emissions.

Durban must also agree to negotiate a legally binding agreement to supplement  – not replace! – the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, and by 2015 at the very latest. Those pushing anything else are seeking to avoid their responsibilities and delay urgently required action.

We have been talking since Copenhagen about how the process is “kicking the can down the road.” There is no more time for that. We cannot pretend action is being taken when it is being avoided.

And it can be done! As we approach the dangerous edge, there is also positive movement.

China has signaled flexibility and a willingness to negotiate the difficult issues. The EU can accept a 5 year second commitment period, and they must continue to stand strong for the 2015 timeline as well. The small island states have, as always, pushed for what is needed, since they are closest to the dangerous edge.

There is another road and this is the time for us to choose it. And if the US and others try and pull you aside, don’t let them. Move forward and show the way.

Dear Ministers, we are relying on you this week to show true leadership and choose to pull back from the abyss, change course and take bold steps in a new direction that works for all of us, our climate and our planet.

Ambassador Jumeau from the Seychelles said it best: “During COP17, you are all small islanders. So don’t save us, save yourselves.”

This week, you work to save us all.

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LULUCF Reference Levels: Technical Review Good, Policy Deeply Flawed

ECO recognises that significant time and effort have gone into improving the transparency and technical robustness of Annex I Parties’ proposed reference levels for forest management.

However, although the review process achieved those objectives, this is in no way sufficient to ensure the environmental integrity of the reference level approach to forest management accounting. Put bluntly, the policy premise of the reference level approach is deeply, irrevocably flawed.

Although the review process was able to identify and correct technical issues and inconsistencies in individual country reference levels, it was never intended to assess the broader policy implications of the reference level approach. These implications include the following:

Environmental integrity. The reference level approach would allow Annex I Parties to increase net emissions of greenhouse gases relative to current levels over the next commitment period without penalty. Over time, this approach could seriously undermine global climate change mitigation and result in a loss of forest carbon stocks in developed country forests.

Economy-wide mitigation. The forest management reference levels for some Annex I Parties have been set in a way that allows them to hide increases in emissions from managing their forests and therefore allows them to avoid undertaking mitigation actions in other sectors.

Comparability. One supposed strength of the reference level approach is that it is flexible enough to allow all Annex I Parties to adopt mandatory forest management accounting.

However, reference levels overshoot the flexibility actually needed several times over. The result is a framework in which a tonne of mitigation in one country is not necessarily equivalent to a tonne of mitigation in another country.

The review was designed to assess the technical robustness and transparency of Parties’ reference levels, and it did its job. It is now plainly and utterly apparent just how bad the effects of the reference level approach could be.

ECO therefore implores Parties to take a step back, consider the broader implications of the reference level approach and reject it in favour of one of the more robust options on the table as we head into the critical second week of negotiations here in Durban.

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Poetry Corner

Excuse me Australia,

I know it’s a closed session, but I would like to ask a question...on rights

Something like...

Who’s got the right to light-up a furnace

And just watch it burn through the blackest, darkest

Light of a blind man’s midnight – and while its fire still flickers,

Whittle their will

down to a fine-toothed comb

That splits my skin

and crinkles my curls

as I work it through my head.

 

‘Cos I learned, only yesterday

That the Australian delegation

Want to relegate human rights appeals

From their current place in the

Nose-bleed seats of the CDM stadium;

to an empty beat

in what once was bracketed text

that gave businUSs and us

a one sentenced, equal bet, at the right to appeal.

 

But maybe I should have guessed

That when you’re sitting at a desk,

It’s not so easy to remember

what it feels like to set your filing cabinet on fire,

and find yourself without your suit and tie,

but as a real-life person that hurts sometimes,

and would really appreciate one night

to appeal their day-to-day, CDM-struggle

through life.

 

– Chris Wright

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Words to the Wise

At one point in her Thursday briefing for NGOs updating the 50+ issues under negotiation, the Executive Secretary spoke of how various texts were “maturing” since Panama.

What an interesting choice of words! As we prepare to head into the second week, ECO hopes that attitudes mature along with the texts. Maturity implies a certain wisdom and yet at times this week there has been a distinct lack of such in these talks.

For example, it is unwise to continue to stall on ambition while the evidence for dangerous climate change mounts, the vulnerability of communities around the globe increases, and the time to protect ecosystems and the people who depend on them drains away.

It is unwise to stall on a second commitment period for Kyoto, putting that instrument at risk and undermining political will throughout the negotiations.

It is unwise to block a mandate towards a comprehensive legally binding agreement, sending signals beyond the ICC that the international community is less than fully committed to solving the climate crisis. And finally it is unwise to backtrack from implementing Cancun when the hard-won gains on finance, MRV and the Review are so vital to the future of the climate response regime.

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