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  • Extreme heat costs families as schools become unsafe for kids

    Families in Western Australia are bearing the burden of extreme heat and fire risks this summer. Today, 28 schools in southern Western Australia are closed due to catastrophic fire conditions impacting more than 2000 students.

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  • Rooftop solar could slash up to $130 million a year from energy bills for childcare centres

    Federal and state governments could help the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector save up to $130 million annually in energy bills with the installation of rooftop solar and batteries, protecting early childhood centres from future energy price rises and reducing financial pressures on services and families, analysis from Parents for Climate has found. 

    Depending on the location, childcare centres spent an estimated 14.7 per cent to 28.9 per cent more on energy bills in 2023 compared to the previous year, driving up costs for families already facing a well-documented cost of living crisis. 

    Childcare in Australia is more costly than in most other OECD countries. In 2022, an Australian couple on average wages with two children spent 16 per cent of their net household income on net childcare costs, compared to the OECD average of 9 per cent.  

    “Our analysis shows that while a small number of centres are already installing solar and saving money, the vast majority lack the capacity to access clean energy upgrades,” said Parents for Climate chief executive officer, Nic Seton.

    “Most centres simply don’t have the time and expertise to navigate the options without assistance, and many cite initial costs as a further obstacle,” said Seton. 

    At stake is an average saving of $12,400 to $14,600 per year in energy bills for early childhood centres if governments were to expand existing rooftop solar and battery installation support for state schools to the ECEC sector. 

    The New South Wales and Queensland governments are piloting programs in state schools to install air conditioning powered by rooftop solar, but the ECEC sector enjoys no such targeted support.

    According to Climate Energy Finance founder and director Tim Buckley, “A full rollout of solar on schools and early childhood centres would be the largest renewables project in Australia’s history, providing distribution-level grid stability opportunities, particularly as battery systems become more cost competitive.

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  • published Staying Connected 2024-02-05 11:14:39 +1100

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  • ‘It’s not game over – it’s game on’: why 2024 is an inflection point for the climate crisis

    The Conversation Wesley Morgan, Griffith University

    In 2024, global climate trends are cause for both deep alarm and cautious optimism. Last year was the hottest on record by a huge margin and this year will likely be hotter still. The annual global average temperature may, for the first time, exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – a threshold crucial for stabilising the Earth’s climate.

    Without immediate action, we are at grave risk of crossing irreversible tipping points in the Earth’s climate system. Yet there are reasons for hope.

    Global greenhouse gas emissions may peak this year and start falling. This would be an historic turning point, heralding the end of the fossil fuel era as coal, oil and gas are increasingly displaced by clean energy technologies.

    But we must do more than take our foot off the warming accelerator – we must slam on the brakes. To avoid the worst of the climate crisis, global emissions must roughly halve by 2030. The task is monumental but possible, and could not be more urgent. It’s not game over – it’s game on.

    solar farm and wind turbines in Spain

    Global emissions may peak this year, as fossil fuels are displaced by clean energy technologies. Alvaro Barrientos/AP

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  • Cost-of-living solutions welcomed, but millions of Australian families at risk in dangerously hot homes

    Parents for Climate welcomes the announcement from NSW and Federal governments to provide matched funding for cost-saving upgrades to up to 24,000 social housing properties and to open up access to solar power to more than 30,000 households in total. However, Parents for Climate would like to see this support go further.

     

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  • Millions of Australian kids at risk as families struggle to cool dangerously hot homes in cost of living crisis

    As another record-setting summer approaches, millions of Australian families will be unable to keep their kids cool in dangerously hot homes, with cost-of-living pressures stretching households to the financial limit, a new report from Parents for Climate and Sweltering Cities warns. 

    The report, Hothouse Australia: Our kids at risk as heat soars, highlights that millions of children, including over 760,000 children living in poverty in Australia, face heightened risks to their health and education from exposure to extreme summer heat in homes, schools and childcare centres.

    Around 3 in 4 lower-income households, already making hard choices to keep food on the table, are also likely to cut back on the use of air conditioning and cooling appliances due to cost pressures, despite living in poorly insulated and energy-inefficient homes.

    Western Sydney mum, Rebecca De Marco, is one of them and dreads the strain the heatwave will add to already stretched finances. 

     “My first baby was born during the Black Summer fires. We were in a rental with no air conditioning, and the 40 degree heatwaves were a huge struggle. With another baby on the way, we’ve moved to a two story rental in Western Sydney, and the heat is back.

    “On 30 degree days we are only just able to cope. I’ve done everything I can with wet towels and so on, but on a warm day it gets to 30 degrees upstairs by the time we put our kids to bed at night.

    “We’re only on one income at the moment, so we’re super careful with money. We’ve got pretty good at keeping bills down, but I know that won’t be the case this summer. When it gets above 30 degrees outside we have no choice but to run the aircon all day.”

    The snapshot analysis of latest data shows:

    • Millions of children, especially the more than 760,000 children living in poverty in Australia, face heightened risks to their health and education in millions of poorly insulated, energy inefficient homes across Australia.
    • Kids are more susceptible to a range of health issues due to extreme heat, and less capable of mitigating these risks. 

    • Families are under enormous financial pressure, with 3 in 4 lower-income households likely to cut back on the use of fans and air conditioners due to cost pressures. Additionally, around 1 in 5 Australians cannot afford to cool their home.

    • Not all schools are heatsafe. Some states have no requirements for air-con in classrooms, including 350 schools that missed out in NSW. Playground surface temperatures in some cities can exceed 80C.

    • Without action this crisis will only worsen. By 2050, hundreds of thousands of Australian children will face severe and extreme heat that risks their life and health, and 7 million will face higher and more intense heatwaves.


     

    Kristen and her family, featured in the report, endure the heat in North Melbourne

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  • 5 expert tips on how to look after your baby in a heatwave

    The Conversation

    b-finity/Shutterstock

    Karleen Gribble, Western Sydney University; Michelle Hamrosi, Australian National University, and Nina Jane Chad, University of Sydney

    Extreme heat events are becoming more frequent and intense in Australia. This can cause illness or worsen existing conditions. During hot weather, hospital admissions and deaths increase.

     

    Babies are among those particularly vulnerable.

    Looking after a baby during extreme heat takes a little planning and a lot of patience. Here are five practical tips.

     

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  • NSW Parliament puts families first with a strong commitment to climate action

     


    Media Release


    November 30 2023

    Parents, grandparents and carers across New South Wales can breathe a little easier tonight knowing that the NSW Parliament has legislated some of the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the country.

    The level of ambition, 70% by 2035, was first put on the table by the Liberal Party and National Party earlier in the year. With the support of the Greens, the Labor Government has agreed to increase their Net Zero Bill targets which is a fantastic outcome.

    CEO of Parents for Climate, Nic Seton, said that protecting the environment for future generations is a top concern for local parents. It’s also front of mind for a growing number of children, especially those in later years of schooling.

    “Not only does the environment benefit from this new climate legislation, but it sends a strong signal that NSW is committed to pursuing new clean energy opportunities and creating new jobs.

    “We would also like to see more incentives for households to install solar, batteries and upgrade appliances. Households are struggling with the cost of living and the quickest and easiest way to slash energy bills for families is electrifying their home.

    “We’re also calling on the NSW Government to consider new initiatives such as putting rooftop solar on daycare centres and further expansions of solar on schools.

    “We congratulate all NSW politicians who passed this bill today. We look forward to seeing the economic and environmental benefits across our state for generations to come,” Mr Seton said.

     


     


Parents for Climate meet and work on the lands of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and respect that sovereignty of those lands was never ceded. We pay respect to Elders, past and present and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community.