Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest – Friday 8th February 2008

Posted on 8 February 2008 by e-news

For more info call 5470 6978

MASG News and Events

Maine’s Power: A major new project partnership between the CSIRO and MASG.

Call for volunteers : can you help serve food or with other jobs on Friday? Please contact event manager Debbie Taylor on 5472 3010 or 0414 814 993; or Dean on

Officially launched on Friday 15th February, bringing some big names to Castlemaine: John Wright, Director of CSIRO flagship “Energy Transformed”; Jacinta Allan, Minister of Regional Development, and Sean Rooney, Director of CSIRO Sustainable Communities Initiative.

Doug Smith, CEO of Village Green is our keynote speaker.

Local businesses include KR Castlemaine, Victoria Carpets, Flowserve, the Mount Alexander Hospital, the Shire Council and MASG will be represented; demonstrating collaboration, innovation, and leadership in taking action on climate change in this nationally significant project. Over 100 national and regional business leaders are also invited and representatives of Origin Energy, Powercor, Westpac, World Wildlife Fund, Bendigo Bank, SP Ausnet, Australian Industry Group and Sustainability Victoria will attend.

Mt Alexander Mayor, Councillor Alan Elliot summed up this project in saying: “The people of Mount Alexander Shire have been proactive in dealing with the impacts of climate change and the Council itself is striving to achieve a number of ambitious targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This project is a great illustration of the willingness of people and businesses in the community to work together to address one the major issues of our time”.

On-line carbon footprint program for Kelly Stoltz patrons: this Sunday 10th Feb. at the green-powered Theatre Royal, Castlemaine. From 2.30pm until early eve, MASG will ask patrons to audit their energy use, using this program. Give it a go yourself. It’s easy and fun. Six bands, starting at 3pm. More info on the performance here Thanks to all MASG volunteers who helped with the GIG, and congratulations to Robert Wilson, Jac Semmler and Sas Allardice who scored the lowest carbon footprints.

Bike ban Update: Jill our super-skilled Transport volunteer and representatives from around the State met transport Minister Lynne Kosky on Wednesday 6th February at Parliament House. They discussed ways to handle the demand for taking bikes on trains. More info from Jill on 5472 3098.

Garden Tools still needed
: Thanks to Tonks for donation of spade and fork. With enough tools we can do what you see here: Kitchen gardens in Cuba. [Needs broadband]. Other donations or loans of tools (suitably identified) could be left at the MASG office.  Thanks.

Low Carbon Fund Survey: MASG needs 5 minutes of your time to complete our carbon trading survey. This survey will form the basis of our new Low Carbon Fund, so the more input you give, the better. Click here for survey. For more info contact

Preserving: Are you interested in learning about preserving? Local seasonal food is being processed once a week in the Masg Kitchen – please contact Jac: 0427 80 90 10

MASG Socials: will be held on the last Friday of the month, starting 29th February, from 5.30 to 7.30 at the MASG garden. A great opportunity to catch up with others.

Update on the Beyond Building Energy (BBE) neighborhood solar offer. This was promoted as the “solar panels for less than $500” at our expo last year and has attracted a lot of interest since then. For those who are seriously considering taking this further, there are a few important points:  This is not a MASG program – we are only compiling a list of interested people from within our community. While we think the offer is genuine, we have decided to not register with BBE until they have actually performed an installation. The first neighborhoods were supposed to be installed in January but this has now been put back until March. Once we have assessed the initial installations we will make a recommendation.  Though this may place us down the waiting list, we have always made it clear to interested individuals that the option is available for anyone to register a group of 50 households with BBE and run with the program independently of MASG.
The original cost of the system has been increased from $499 to $895. With the additional Powercor fees of approximately $480 this increases the total cost of the offer from $970 to a minimum of $1375. The BBE website is calling for neighborhoods to send in their money before the 14th Feb to qualify for the lower price but this only applies to the first 10 neighborhoods that are already active.   For further information or to add your name to the list, contact .

Coming Events, not endorsed by MASG

Climate movement convergence: took place on Saturday 9th February: the latest climate science, ideas on building a strong and vibrant movement, and discussion of what opportunities are now present with a change in federal government. More info from FoE

Sorry: The Federal government will formally say sorry to members of the indigenous stolen generation when federal parliament resumes in Canberra on February 13, more than 10 years since the Bringing Them Home human rights report recommended the government say sorry for the policy of removing indigenous children from their parents. It will be the first item of business for the new parliament. Local gathering at Castlemaine Market Building, Mostyn Street, 5.30pm on Wednesday. For a more comfortable and wonderful experience, BYO chair. If you like, BYO food and join others in Victory Park to continue the celebration into the night. Info: Grace McCaughey 5472 1128. Bring your own ‘sorry’ posters or get together to make posters at Eva Haarburgers’, 95A Duke Street, Castlemaine, on Sunday 10th Feb from 2 pm. RSVP Eva 5472 3391.

Measuring Soil Carbon Workshop – Our soil carbon expert, Leon Murdoch would like to hear from people interested in participating in a workshop to demonstrate how to measure the carbon content of your soil. He is also interested in recruiting someone with suitable skills to document and present the workshop proceedings. To register your interest and for further information contact Leon on 0418 149 458 or email

‘Home Insulation – for comfort and lower emissions’ 12th February 2008. Ballarat. Gold coin donation. Hear experts on home insulation and other important topics related to keeping your house cool in summer and warm in winter.  See displays of insulation materials and ideas for home improvement. Organised by University of Ballarat’s National Centre for Sustainability and BREAZE.

Madame Noir’s soap making workshops: 17th February and 2nd March. Make your own soap and shampoo using traditional cold process method, as sold at the Wesley Hill market. Bookings essential. Contact Jill on 5472 3098 or 0409 404 791.

Other news

Coal prices may triple as supply crisis deepens: “although the immediate causes of the coal market chaos are above ground – weather, mining and transport capacity – there is a growing body of opinion coal production could reach its geological limits much sooner than commonly expected. Coal is generally seen as our safety net in a world of dwindling oil. But is it? A number of recent reports suggest that coal reserves may be hugely inflated, a possibility that has profound implications for both global energy supply and climate change.” by David Strahan 4 Feb 2008.

London’s food supply: London’s government has made a commitment to increasing London’s local food supply (back to levels it used to be only 50 years ago); “Building the capacity for more local, regional and sustainable food to be supplied to London with the aim of achieving a 15% increase in the volume of such food, sourced by partner wholesale markets, over the lifetime of the project, including: Reaching the target for over 1,000 catering and procurement staff in schools and hospitals to be trained under the “Good Food Training for London” project, and promoting the objectives of the Food Strategy by distributing small grants to enable individuals and organisations to take part in, or hold, food events and activities, and by ensuring one high profile event takes place”

An Uncertain Future: Law Enforcement, National Security and Climate Change: “climate change will have serious environmental, socio-economic and security consequences for both developed and developing nations alike. This report explores these consequences and demonstrates that they will present new challenges to governments trying to maintain domestic stability… This report is based on a briefing given by the author to the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement and defence agencies in Canberra at the end of last year. A group of Labour MPs were also briefed on the report in Westminster the day before publication.” Chris Abbott, Jan 2008

Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century: Dmitry Orlov talks about the Orlov witnessed the Soviet collapse first-hand and offers some practical advice: “The U.S. is desperately dependent on the availability of cheap, plentiful oil and natural gas, and addicted to economic growth. Once oil and gas become expensive (as they already have) and in ever-shorter supply (a matter of one or two years at most), economic growth will stop, and the U.S. economy will collapse.” And: “when faced with a collapsing economy, one should stop thinking of wealth in terms of money. Access to actual physical resources and assets, as well as intangibles such as connections and relationships, quickly becomes much more valuable than mere cash.”

Shell CEO accepts peak oil: From a recent email sent to all Shell employees and posted on their website. QUOTE: “Regardless of which route we choose, the world’s current predicament limits our room to maneuver. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to rising population and economic development. After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand.”

For the rest of the letter visit Shell’s website:

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