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The Sunrise Project 2014 Annual Review

We’re proud to be releasing our 2014 Annual Review with an overview of the highlights from a truly remarkable year.

We’ll look back on 2014 as the year of transition, where momentum shifted from the old fossil fuel economy towards a cleaner, more positive future. It was the year in which Chinese coal demand started to decline for the first time in living memory; the year in which global emissions de-coupled from economic growth; and it was a year in which one in five Australian households were powered by the sun and the fastest and sexiest cars on the road ran on 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Global energy markets are in a state of incredible flux, changing faster than anyone thought possible. Many of the world’s political leaders are aligning behind this transition, as market and technological forces set a clean energy and climate agenda that politicians have been fumbling for decades.

For its part, the Australian Government is trying to buck what is now an unstoppable global trend. While the market and community move decisively in one direction, Australian policy makers are still clinging to past ways. As perhaps the most extreme example, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s plea that “coal is good for humanity” is at least fifty years out of date and reflects a view that is out of touch with both the community and with market realities. But political leaders can only swim against the tide of history for so long…

We are witnessing the transition that lies at the heart of The Sunrise Project’s mission. Our challenge is to make sure that local communities and the natural environment do not lose out as part of this process. It simply doesn’t make sense to be sacrificing our best farmland, our drinking water catchments or our special natural places for coal mining and gas expansion.

For many local communities facing the brunt of the coal and gas boom, there is a growing sense of relief that many projects have been put on the back burner. However, in the absence of regulatory protection the uncertainty and anxiety remains. It has also been a tough year for mining communities that have seen extensive job losses. The failure of successive State and Federal Governments to manage the boom and to plan for the inevitable economic transition will only make it more difficult.

The Sunrise Project is proud to work alongside countless grassroots community groups here in Australia and around the world in their fight to protect the environment and the global climate. Our 2014 Annual Review captures some of the highlights of our work and some of the wonderful stories of environmental protection from this remarkable social movement of which we are a part.

John Hepburn

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