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Social and political discourses surrounding climate change, water management and renewable energy

Unit 3 Outcome 2 Outdoor and Environmental Studies

Brendan Hodges

on 10 May 2018

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Transcript of Social and political discourses surrounding climate change, water management and renewable energy

What is it?
What action do our politicians take?
Should the argument even happen?
Climate Change
What is the discourse surrounding climate change?
Australian climate change discourse
Climate change sceptics vs Climate change believers
At times Australia has been an early adopter, establishing the world’s first government agency dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; signing on to global climate treaties (Kyoto protocol ); establishing the world’s first emissions trading scheme (ETS) (albeit at a state level); and pioneering an innovative land-based carbon offset scheme.

Thursday May 10th , 2018
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Wait.. What is a Discourse?
What is it and why is it an issue?
Water management
"Verbal expression or action in speech or writing"

“A formal, lengthy discussion of a subject, either written or spoken.”

Put simply.. Discourse refers to anything discussed about a particular issue.

this can be seen today in many forms from general conversations through to blogs or tweets.

this can be seen through discussions within and between government organisations such as political parties, Parks Victoria and Department of Primary Industries.
Putting it simply it is the way Australians and Australian Government decide to manage our water supply

Social and Political Discourses/Debates
about climate change, water management and renewable energy
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions.
Belief climate change is caused by human activity
CO2 causes temperature increases
Increased temperatures increases environmental impacts
Who?.. environmental groups, 98% of climate scientists, some political parties.
Environment as a finite resource
Environment needs to be looked after
We need to preserve the environment for future resource use

Reduce fossile fuel use
Desire to increase renewable energy
Improve building techniques
Protection of forests to absorb co2
Alternative energy use due to economic responses such as carbon taxation and emissions trading

Increased natural habitat and biodiversity
Less co2 pollution
Decreased coal- powered energy production through efficient housing
Climate change is not real or is simply a natural occurrence..
Human activities are not responsible for climate change
CO2 temperature changes are natural
Science is flawed
Nothing can be done even if we do cause it
Who?... 2% of climate change scientists, energy producing companies, some political parties
Environment as a resource to be used for production of energy for human activities irregardless of associated co2 emissions
Fossil fuels continued to be used as an energy
No need to alter current human interactions as there is no link between emissions and impacts
Biodiversity lost
Increased sea levels
Coastal erosion
Severe weather events
Decreased snow cover
And at other times they have disbanded the climate change government agency; Creating a new one then disbanding that; Refused to ratify global treaties until the dying minute and introduced legislation to repeal the national Emissions Trading Scheme and Carbon tax.

It becomes an issue when multiple people and organisations want the same water supply or we are having water shortages, such as in times of drought often caused by El nino weather periods.
What are the viewpoints?

First read Pg237-240
Effect of the debate over renewable energy
How is our water being controlled?
The Australian and Victorian Government decides how our water is managed, largely through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Through this they have developed the Victorian Water Management strategy, which provides policy and framework aimed at improving the condition and function of Victorian waterways.
What is the debate surrounding water management?
Read pages 220 - 223 to see what options they have chosen, completing the learning activity on page 220
Environmental perspective
Ocean and inland waterways as a place with intrinsic worth that should be maintained
Environment not as a limitless resource
Nature should be protected from human activities if possible
Campaign against desalination plant
Capture, recycle, save water wherever possible
Water saving initiatives such as
Water efficient appliances
Promotion of water saving behaviours - target 155
Water capture - tanks
Water recycle - grey water usage
Improve water storage levels
Maintain biodiversity of marine and coastal environments
Help reduce CO2 emissions through no desalination plant
Commercial discourses / perspective
Who?.. Industries requiring consistent water consumption.
Oceans and inland waterways are a limitless resource
Water should service humans industry and humans before the environment should be considered.
Desire for desalination plant construction and use (has now occurred)
Continued high water consumption practices eg...
Not changing to low-flow shower heads
Not installing water tanks
Demand for continued irrigation allowances even when in drought
Increase energy usage / CO2 emissions due to desalination plant
Unknown impacts on marine and coastal environment due to altered salt concentrations and industrial pollutants from desalination plant
Pressure on/deterioration of river ecosystems due to unnaturally low water levels (eg. Murray river mouth closing)
Renewable energy
What is it and where is it seen?
Renewable energy is "energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished"
It includes energy that is generated from natural resources such as wind (wind farms), sunlight (solar panels), the water cycle (hydro-electricity), tidal and wave movement, geothermal energy and biofuels
Your research and report task
Choose one of the following discourse areas:
Climate change's effect on the Bass Coast
Water management in the Murray-darling basin or Wonthaggi Desalination Plant
Renewable energy on the Bass Coast

Through completing further research, your job is to create a
detailing this discussion and its effect on contemporary relationships, focusing on:
Australian political opinions, standpoints and action on the issue (including the supporting arguments for both sides)
Public’s opinions, standpoints and action
The effect discourse from both sides of this argument is having on our relationships with this particular environment
This needs to be a comprehensive presentation equivalent to a 300 word report.

For Renewables
Environment is finite
Environment is heavily impacted by climate change - needing an alternate source of energy
Fossil fuels are finite.
Against Renewables
People have the right to interact with the environment without unnecessary restriction
Environment is a resource we are entitled to consume
Construction of renewable power sources
Clean and sustainable practices
Interact with the environment as a highly valuable resource that needs protecting
Improves and sustains environmental quality
Maintains environment and biodiversity
Enables sustainable industries
Possible impacts to local fauna
Continued mining of finite resources (coal, oil, gas) for energy production
Disregard for environmental consequences if there is a financial impact.
Climate change impacts due to Co2 emissions continue to worsen
Continued land degradation caused by coal mining, gas and oil extraction practices.
Bio-security issues in the Grampians
Grampians to Grassland Fox Control Program 2015-2016

Panyyabyr Landcare Group, will undertake this project with the sponsorship of Farm Tree and Landcare Association Inc. This project will implement a program of feral animal eradication on 25,000 hectares of private land in the Grampians in Victoria. Specifically, the project will implement a program of baiting foxes to reduce predation of native fauna and to improve protection of biological diversity in the region. Local Landcare groups, VIC Government (Parks VIC) and local landowners will be engaged in this coordinated effort to control the fox populations in the Grampians National Park.

Protecting the wine industry...

The main activities here are the development of region specific biosecurity protocols to reduce the risks of introduction of new pest and disease threats, and improvements to the signs marking the borders of phylloxera exclusion zones and phylloxera infested zones.

Where is it? ... which have we seen?
General debate arguments
Renewables - YAY
Renewables - BOO!
The amount of energy produced by one wind farm can replicate the planting of half a million trees in CO2 reduction in the atmosphere.
We are consuming fossil fuels 100000 times faster than they are being produced.
Burning fossil fuels contributes more CO2 emissions than any other human activity.
About 60% of Victoria's carbon emissions come from coal-powered electricity generators alone.
The financial implications of switching to renewable sources is too great.
Coal is reliable with less likelihood of 'black-outs'
Wind farms are aesthetically displeasing
Wind Power...
Wind power is currently the cheapest source of large-scale renewable energy. It involves generating electricity from the naturally occurring power of the wind.

Wind turbines capture wind energy within the area swept by their blades. They produce a power output proportional to the air density and the wind speed cubed. The spinning blades drive an electrical generator that produces electricity for export to the grid.
In 2018, Australia's wind farms produce around 31 per cent of the country's clean energy and supplied roughly 6 per cent of Australia's overall electricity during the year.
CONS of wind

Concerns have been raised over:
Noise produced by blades
The visual impacts
Deaths of birds
25 year lifespan of turbines
Wind inconsistencies

Hydroelectricity uses the energy of flowing water to spin a turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity.
The energy output depends on the volume of water and height of the water above the turbine.

Hydro power currently accounts for 40.1 per cent of the renewable electricity produced in Australia. The majority of this energy is generated by Tasmania's hydroelectric plants and the Snowy River Hydro Scheme in New South Wales/Victoria.

Cons of hydroelectricity:

The reservoirs can often destroy areas of productive forest and wildlife habitat
Slows natural water flows
Block the movement of fish and other organisms.
Pro's of Renewable energy...

RENEWABLE energy!!! – We will never run out of wind and the significance of this cannot be understated!

Reduces reliance on finite fuels

Take up less ground space than conventional power stations
Only significant emissions are created during the turbines construction
Lessens impacts of climate change
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