Councillor Vivien Griffin.
Councillor Vivien Griffin.

Sustainability task a big one

As a council, we have set ourselves the goal of being the most sustainable region in Australia. If we are to be serious about this goal, 2009 must be the year we commence that journey in partnership with our communities.

I am confident this council and its residents have the intellect and determination to succeed. Nevertheless, I have recently had confirmed to me the magnitude and seriousness of the task, through being referred to the November 2008 World Energy Outlook prepared by the International Energy Agency (www.iea.org/ Textbase/npsum/WEO2008 SUM.pdf).

The opening paragraph of the executive summary of this report reads: “The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable – environmentally, economically, socially. But that can – and must – be altered; there’s still time to change the road we’re on.

It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the two central energy challenges facing us today:

 Securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy; and

 Effecting a rapid transformation to a low-carbon, efficient and environmentally benign system of energy supply.

What is needed is nothing short of an energy revolution. This World Energy Outlook demonstrates how that might be achieved through decisive policy action and at what cost. It also describes the consequences of failure.”

Perhaps if these were the words of some fringe, doom and gloom group, we could ignore them. However, the International Energy Agency reports to 27 countries about energy matters.

It is regarded as one of two pre-eminent energy agencies in the world, the other being the US government’s Energy Information Agency. It has traditionally always projected that oil supply will meet oil demand.

However, after a major review of its data, it now paints a serious picture of the action all levels of government must take on the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil if we are to position our communities for resilience in the future.

Our council must be ready to tackle the big issues, and the key ones are climate change and peak oil.

Councillors Chris Thompson and Tim Dwyer became fathers last year. Their children will be 21 in 2030. I think it will be useful for us as a council to always ask ‘what kind of world are we preparing for these future adults?’.

I chair council’s Community Transport Group, which meets for the first time on January 22.

It is a terrific group with great skills and energy to contribute to the goal of sustainable transport on the Sunshine Coast.

I suspect they already know, but what I want to convey to them is a sense of the magnitude and necessity of their task.

For them to understand that changing the transport culture of this region in time to deliver the “energy revolution” required by the International Energy Agency requires a war footing, and for them to think of themselves as a War Cabinet.

Sound dramatic? Sure does and sure is. I am looking forward to it!


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