President's October Report

MD 2023


Last week, ‘Gobsmackingly bananas,’ an article by The Guardian’s Environment Editor, Damian Carrington, documented continuing record-breaking temperatures across the planet. Quoting a tweet by climate scientist, Zeke Hausfather, the article made the following grim observations:

Conditions have now rebounded to an El Niño event, which releases ocean heat and drives up temperatures. It’s all but certain that 2023 will be the hottest on record and 2024 may even exceed that, as the heating impact of El Niño is felt most in the year after it begins.

In ‘Meet the Hustlers’  in this week’s The Saturday Paper, Polly Hemming, Director of the Australia Institute Climate and Energy Program, provides a chilling analysis of how Australia’s representatives continue to game international climate talks. Noting that we’re apparently very good at it, she observes ‘Australia gives more aid to the fossil fuel industry than it does to the Pacific region’–  the nations arguably most at risk from climate change, as global warming dirves rising sea levels.

In The Conversation, 2 October, Judith Brett’s Too hard basket: Why climate change is defeating our political system,’ is the first in a series on climate change and the energy transition. This is a terrific, succinct overview of recent local developments, from the Intergenerational Report to the climate and security analysis ordered by the Albanese Government from the Office of National Assessments (ONI) and delivered in 2022 – but yet to be released – and various commentary and analysis on government obfuscation/inaction.

The final paragraph no doubt speaks for many of us:

As governments around the world, not just ours, are failing to reduce carbon emissions fast enough to prevent catastrophic climate change, we still have to live from day to day, week to week and year to year. 
I don’t want to live in dread of a dystopian future, or consumed with anger at go-slow governments, or in a state of depressed apathy because of my powerlessness, so I go about my generally enjoyable life accompanied by the drone of doom in the pit of my stomach.

Meanwhile, as reported by Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy on 9 October,  the clever team at the Clean Energy Council (CEC) have been warning that Australia will miss the 100% renewables grid 2035 target unless we ramp up development with better policies soon. The CEC has produced The Power Playbook, which calls for :

A Clean Energy Transformation Investment Package of around $10 billion over the next decade to boost Australia’s Australia’s international competitiveness.
It also calls for a “Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan”, including extending the large scale renewable energy target from 2030 to 2040, including new national targets for rooftop solar and distributed energy storage, a national offshore wind target and support for home batteries and green hydrogen and green minerals.

The CEC warns there is a ‘global race for capital and supply chains’ and missing out is on the cards if we can’t match what other nations are investing. It’s a call that resonates with this month’s Ballarat Green Drinks talk – see below. 


19 October: Ballarat Green Drinks – every third Thursday of the month
Tom Quinn: ‘The Clean Energy Transition, the IRA and How Australia Should Respond.’Tom Quinn FB post

Ballarat local, Tom Quinn who is also former Head of Policy and Research at climate think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions will be talking about the clean energy transition this month at Bunch of Grapes Hotel from 7-8pm.

Tom is currently leading combined work to secure a $100 billion Australian response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (2022).
This is a remarkable joint effort by the unions, environmental and business sectors to establish a significant program to decarbonise industry, establish a massive green commodity export industry and in the process aim to cut global emissions by 6-9% (more than Australia's 1% direct contribution). You can read more about this in this article in The Guardian

With the window for action on runaway climate change rapidly shrinking, we know we have to accelerate the clean energy transition. Dumping fossil fuels is our most immediately effective action to stabilise climate. Don't miss this very timely talk. Tom is a great speaker and eminently qualified on this topic. 

6:30-8:00pm, Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St, South, Ballarat 
Join us for drinks/dinner and great talks and conversation.  

To read more about Tom -  Register via

25 October: Smart Living Ballarat - Fourth Wednesday of the month

12:30-1:30 pm – Getting to know your native plants – Stephanie DavisonScreen Shot 2023 10 09 at 2.22.27 pm

The forests, grasslands and wetlands around Ballarat are home to many beautiful and important indigenous plants. Discover what makes Australian plant life unique and precious; get to know some local treasures and favourite places for wildflower walks; find out about the growing number of local community groups promoting native flora and fauna; and consider how and why you might grow indigenous trees, shrubs and groundcovers in your patch.

Stephanie Davison has worked in science education and outreach in schools and university, volunteers with the CoB Indigenous Plant Nursery, is an active member of the Wattle Flat Pootilla Landcare Group and a founding member of Gardens for Wildlife Ballarat. Her talk is based on the practical experience of growing and observing indigenous plants in gardens and natural landscapes in and around Ballarat.

Venue: FedTAFE Horticulture Campus, Corner Gillies and Gregory Streets, Wendouree.
Enter via the front door facing onto the Gillies Street carpark.
Free Parking: Off-street carpark on the corner Gillies and Gregory Streets. Carpark entry is via Gregory Street very close to the intersection. If the carpark is full, use on-street parking in Gregory Street and then walk to the main campus entry via the carpark facing Gillies Street.

Optional Nursery and Gardens Tour (max. 1.5 hours): If your time permits, join us after the talk for a visit to the neighbouring City of Ballarat Indigenous Plant Nursery. We will then carpool to view the
indigenous garden bed at Ballarat Botanical Gardens and return to Gillies Street to continue our afternoon explorations with a guided walk through the mature indigenous plantings at North Gardens Wetland. Come along for any or all of the tour.

As always, the presentation will also be streamed live to Facebook and posted for later viewing on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page. It's not the same experience as being there live though, so get along in person if you can!

No need to register, everyone welcome. Smart Living Ballarat is a free monthly workshop series looking at all different topics around sustainable living. It is made possible through a partnership between BREAZE and the City of Ballarat.  Join your host, Ellen Burns, on the 3rd Wednesday of every month!

27 October, 10:15am - BREAZE TALKS ON RADIO 3BA Screen Shot 2023 10 09 at 2.54.15 pm

BREAZE Board member, Sue Broadway, will be talking about induction cooktops with Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – don’t forget to tune in!

Sue has done quite a bit of research on the topic and is hosting our final Green Drinks talk for 2023 on 16 November, when former BREAZE President, Ian Rossiter will be giving a user’s perspective and what to look for when purchasing an induction cooktop. 


BREAZE Board member, Sally Missing, Coordinator of the Building Better Homes for the Future forums made a submission on behalf of BREAZE to the City of Ballarat’s Housing Policy, currently in review. The submission will be available on the BREAZE website when it is back online. A major system crash of our website platform, Joomla, in Texas, has left our site offline since early October. We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to have it back up soon.

BREAZE Inc. was recently invited by Re-Wiring Australia to be Expert Community Partner in their Electrify My Community program. We look forward to working with other communities and sharing experiences and resources with Re-Wiring Australia – the organisation founded by engineer and entrepreneur, Saul Griffiths, author of The Big Switch plus many other achievements.

BREAZE Inc. Board meetings are held on the third Monday of the month and alternate between Zoom and face to face meetings over dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel in Sebastopol. If you are a paid up member of BREAZE Inc. you are welcome to join us. If you would like to volunteer with us we would love to hear from you. Please email and I will forward you link/details. 


Dr Mary Debrett
President, October 2023