Temperature of the surface of the land. Photo: Wikipedia

We’ve been busy. Again.

On Wednesday we held the Masterclass #2 Kit and Fit part of our Festival of Electric Ideas, Nearly 150 people turned up and most stayed for two hours. Among them the industry’s biggest property owners, managers, engineers, consultants and leading architects. Why? This is stuff they need to know. Urgently. 

What was interesting is that so many senior people were in the audience – a swathe of chief executives, directors and principals. It’s clear this is an area that a growing number of people fast realise they have a huge amount of learning to do to stay on top of the changing landscape.

The other thing that was obvious is that not one person or group has all the answers. And that there’s myriad ways to approach the problem.

Huge thanks to presenters, Steve Ford and Dale O’Toole from GPT group, David Clark from Positive Zero and Andrew Bagnall from A.G. Coombs. And of course to our supporters, The Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water and to CBRE for #5 Portfolio Transitions, on 30 August, which will be a hybrid event in Sydney. We have some tickets to offer for in person attendance. Get in touch if that speaks to you!

Keep an eye out for the videos, free to members of The Fifth Estate.

The plumbers love their gas

This was also the week that the Cooksafe Coalition announced that Frasers Property Australia, Cbus Property, Barangaroo’s International Towers and the Powerhouse Museum group have joined Lendlease and GPT to promise to get gas out of their properties.

So good timing you might say for the Master Plumbers Association NSW to make a big burly announcement that it condemns Waverley Council’s “unjustifiable proposal to ban gas in new builds”.

“This unwarranted overreach disregards property owners’ rights and undermines the principles of choice and innovation within the building industry,” the plumbers said of the Sydney council.

Here’s the argument for choice that you knew would come.

“MPA NSW firmly believes that a diverse range of energy options should be available to new build projects, including using gas, which has proven to be a reliable and cost-effective energy source for many residential and commercial properties.”

The council’s proposal “restricts consumer choice and denies builders the flexibility and creativity to deliver sustainable and efficient projects according to their client’s needs.”

Isn’t this the same argument we’ve heard for ever against regulation in building quality and sustainability? Regulation will simply drive people to ticking off on the lowest common denominator, we’re told.

And the same argument for choice and personal rights that were cited to stop seatbelts being made mandatory in cars.

No mention from the plumbers of course, of the health impact such choices engender, such as the slow leakage of dangerous gas even when the stove is off.

And no mention of the alternative work that plumbers can pick up installing heat pumps and so on. Have they not heard – there’s shortage of tradies.

Nope, just the huff and puff about flexibility and creativity that’s always cited to slow down slow down the transition. 

Which makes you wonder why it’s always the outfits that peddle  bad outcomes in our lives – from coal, gas, cigarettes, numerous plastics and chemicals –  who fight with the loudest voices for personal choice and voluntary change.

Maybe some lobbyists are working both sides of the fence.

Blair Palese at Climate and Capital this week shared work by F Minus and its new database that reveals more than 1500 lobbyists in the US have been working as double agents.

These are people who’ve been paid as fossil fuel lobby groups while also working for “city governments of Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia; tech giants such as Apple and Google; more than 150 universities; some of the country’s leading environmental groups – and even ski resorts seeing their snow melted by global heating.”

Are we surprised?

This at a time when meteorologists warn of a “heat apocalypse” in Europe and the Middle East reached 66 degrees Celsius

Which of course the oil companies knew was coming.

Wait for the death tolls to mount.

This revelation is deeply unnerving and perhaps it’s time to be more sceptical about people who urge calm and civil protest to protect a burning planet that governments impose huge penalties and jail for activists such as from outfits like Extinction Rebellion who dare to disrupt daily lives.

Palese cites former UN climate negotiator and author Christiana Figueres’ op-ed in Al Jazeera saying: “I thought fossil fuel firms could change. I was wrong.

“The fossil fuel industry will have powered human development in the 20th century and then destroyed it in the 21st century.”

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