Could Byron Bay transition to zero carbon?

ENVIRONMENTAL and civil engineer and councillor with the Australian Conservation Foundation, Professor David Hood is set to speak at a sustainability seminar in Byron Bay.

What are other countries already doing to transition to a zero carbon economy?

Is there anything out there to inspire us?

How could that happen here in Byron Shire?

These are questions to be addressed at the seminar, Transitioning Byron Shire to Zero Carbon, presented by the Zero Byron Emissions project.

Professor Hood is also the leader of the QUT Sustainability Research & Teaching programs, and will introduce the evening with an update on the latest findings in the world of climate change.

"Byron Shire is well placed to bring to life a vision where carbon use can be reduced to zero in 10 years," Prof Hood said.

"National research organisations such as Beyond Zero Emissions have proved Australia has the technology and the technical skills to implement this vision.

"And parts of Europe and China are already starting to migrate their economies, environment and life styles to a post carbon world.

"If they can do it, it can certainly be done here."

Professor Hood said he was amazed at how our political leaders are taking such huge risks with the planet's ecosystems when they wouldn't dream of allowing engineers to fiddle with current risk factors in their work.

"We have already exceeded the amount of carbon that we can burn to say with certainty that we will not exceed a two-degree C rise in global average temperature - a rise that many experts say is dangerous for climate impact," he said.

"Yet by approving massive new coal mines, we are heading into an area where we seem to be saying that a 66% chance of staying under two degrees is OK.

"Exceeding two degrees will likely cause massive extinction of life on Earth.

ZEB project coordinator, Tiffany Harrison, said: "Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has faced, and will require us to implement major changes to transition away from fossil fuels, across all sectors of society.

"We are far behind other nations in implementing these solutions.

"The Zero Emissions Byron Project aims to show Australians what can be achieved at the local level, and help inspire a groundswell of individual and community action in this country."

Following Prof Hood's talk, a film will be screened of Mr Rifkin's introduction to a rural French community of a concept and methodology for their transition to a zero carbon economy. It motivated them to develop and instigate a plan specifically for their region.

A Q&A panel facilitated by Byron Shire journalist Mick O'Regan, will answer questions and discuss how the Zero Emissions Byron project is working along similar principles to reduce Byron Shire's emissions to zero within 10 years.

Joining Professor Hood on the panel will be the director of the Centre for Social Change, Dr Amanda Cahill, Tiffany Harrison and Christopher Sanderson, a member of the ZEB project Communications and Energy teams.

The aim of the Zero Emissions Byron project is to protect and sustainably improve the Shire's economy, while developing resilience to mitigate against the effects of climate change.

Zero Emissions Byron presents Transitioning Byron Shire To Zero Carbon: Tuesday March 15, 6-9pm, at Byron Council Chambers, Station Street, Mullumbimby.

Information on the ZEB project will be available on the night.

See www.zerobyron.org

Food, tea and coffee will be available.



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