Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Ecological Disaster in Murray-Darling River Systems January 2019: Trump-lite Scott Morrison blames Labor and the drought

@michaeldaleyMP, 13 January 2019

In March 2012 it was the O’Farrell Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government who received the above Memorandum on the Water Sharing Plan for the Barwon-Darling Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources which covered both the Barwon-Darling unregulated river water source and the Upper Darling Alluvial groundwater source.

This NSW water sharing plan was clearly prefaced on creating a market for the sale of water rights and the needs of commercial irrigators and the mining industry:


2.1 Why are water sharing plans being prepared? Expansion of water extraction across NSW in the 20th century has placed most valleys at or close to the limit of sustainable water extraction. This has seen increasing competition between water users (towns, farmers, industries and irrigators) for access to water. This has also placed pressure on the health and biological diversity of our rivers and aquifers.

Plans provide a legal basis for sharing water between the environment and consumptive purposes. Under the Water Management Act 2000, the sharing of water must protect the water source and its dependent ecosystems and must protect basic landholder rights. Sharing or extraction of water under any other right must not prejudice these rights. Therefore, sharing water to licensed water users is effectively the next priority for water sharing. Among licensed water users, priority is given to water utilities and licensed domestic and stock use, ahead of commercial purposes such as irrigation and other industries.

Plans also recognise the economic benefits that commercial users such as irrigation and industry can bring to a region. Upon commencement, access licences held under the Water Act 1912 (WA 1912) are converted to access licences under the Water Management Act 2000 and land and water rights are separated. This facilitates the trade of access licences and can encourage more efficient use of water resources. It also allows new industries to develop as water can move to its highest value use.

In conjunction with the Water Management Act 2000, plans also set rules so that commercial users can also continue to operate productively. In general, commercial licences under the Water Management Act 2000 are granted in perpetuity, providing greater commercial security of water access entitlements. Plans also define the access rules for commercial users for ten years providing all users with greater certainty regarding sharing arrangements.

The warning in the Memorandum was ignored by the O’Farrell. Baird and Berejiklian Coalition Governments and, by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority when it drained 2,000 gigalitres of water from the Menindee lakes in 2017.

Obviously fearing the electorate will remember: a) that when the Abbott Coalition Government came to power it handed even more power over water resources back to the states & abolished the independent National Water Commissionand b) then recall the rampant abuse of water resources under then Deputy PM and Nationals MP for New England as Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce as well as multiple allegation of water theft; Prime Minister and Liberal  MP for Cook Scott Morrison sought to wrongly blame first Federal Labor and then the drought for the ecological devastation which is occurring in the NSW section of the Murray-Darling river systems.

ABC News, 14 January 2019:



 The State Government is bracing for another mass fish kill in the Darling River this week, with soaring temperatures forecast in western NSW.

The mercury is expected to reach up to 46 degrees Celsius in the town of Menindee, where up to 1 million native species were killed in an algal bloom over the New Year.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a heatwave, caused by hot air being blown from Central Australia, would persist until Saturday and could break temperature records around Broken Hill.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said state and local governments would work with the community to manage the possibility of another ecological disaster.

"Well we know that we've got high temperatures right across the state and a lot of poor water quality situations particularly brought on by the extended drought so unfortunately we are expecting that we may see more fish killed," Mr Blair said.

The warning comes as contractors prepare to clear the 40-kilometre stretch of the Darling River of dead fish before their rotting carcasses compound the situation.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud will convene a meeting of State and Federal environmental and water stakeholders working under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Littleproud proposed using $5 million for a native fish recovery strategy and will seek agreement for the money to come from Murray-Darling Basin funds.

"The reality is we're in a serious drought and the only silver bullet is rain," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison refuted a report released by NSW Labor at the weekend claiming the Liberal Government ignored warnings about low water levels.

"I'm concerned today that some might want to play politics," he said.

"There were reports done by scientists under Labor's contribution to that plan back in 2012, the plan has been operating in accordance with that advice and so we need to just keep on working on the issue."

Mr Morrison said the fish kill was because of the drought.

"It's a devastating ecological event, particularly for those all throughout that region the sheer visual image of this is terribly upsetting," he said.

However, that is disputed by many people in Menindee, who argue poor water management has compounded the mass kill. [my yellow highlighting]

Morrison in blaming everyone but successive Federal (since September 2013) and NSW (since March 2011) Coalition governments forgets that Australian voters can read and, as late as June 2018 the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office as part of the NSW Interagency Working Group for Better Managing Environmental Water offered advice on the Barwon-Darling which both the current Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Drought Preparation and Response & Liberal MP for Maranoa David Littleproud and current NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water & Nationals MLC Niall Blair appear to have ignored until it was too late.

Footnote

1. One of the last things the National Water Commission (NWC) did before then Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott abolished it was to inform the Abbott Coalition Government that:

"Ten years on from the signing of the NWI, water reform in Australia is at a cross roads. Many reform gains are now taken for granted and the multi-party support that has been a hallmark of this historic agreement is at risk of breaking down.
Given the substantial government investments and hard-won progress so far, and the valuable but challenging gains yet to be realised, it is critical that there is no backsliding from reform principles.
Strong leadership is essential to realise the full benefits of water reform and to embed proven NWI principles into the decision making of all Australian governments."


Monday, 7 January 2019

Why has Australian Treasurer & Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg morphed into a frenzied Trump?


“Ultimately, a dollar of tax avoided by high income Australians is an extra dollar of tax paid by all other Australians.” [Australian Labor Party (ALP) policy document Positive plan to help housing affordability]

The Australian Labor Party has put forward a number of policies which limit the degree to which affluent groups in our society can manipulate the tax system.

These tax reform policies will:

* limit negative gearing to investment properties already negatively geared and newly built residential housing. However net income losses on existing negatively geared properties will not be able to be used to offset salary & wage income;

* cease cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits on which the investor personally paid no tax originally and who has no current tax liability to offset with these credits;

* reduce the discount on capital gains tax from 50 per cent to 25 per cent after the deduction for any capital losses. Some assets and events are exempt from capital gains tax. These include selling your principle home, personal car, personal use assets or selling an asset acquired before capital gains tax was introduced on 20 September 1985. 
According to the Australian Taxation Office if you are an individual rather than a corporation then the Capital Gains Tax Rate is the same as your Income Tax Rate in the applicable year.

These same policies have caused former Deutsche Bank director, current Australian Treasurer and Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg (left) to morph into a frenzied Trump. Pumping out slogans, misrepresentations and sometimes downright political lies on every media platform he can access.

The Australian, 5 December 2018, p.2:

Josh Frydenberg has launched a pre-election assault on Labor’s plan to halve the capital gains tax discount, warning that hundreds of thousands of Australians will be taxed at the “highest rates” in the Western world.

Shifting his focus from Bill Shorten’s proposal to limit negative gearing to new dwellings and the “retiree tax”, the Treasurer yesterday cited government analysis that showed Australians would be taxed up to 36.75 per cent on their capital gains under Labor’s policy, up from 23.5 per cent now….1


So why is Frydenberg screaming misrepresentations at the top of his lungs, urged on by the Housing Industry Association?2

Could it be because 56.2 per cent of the tax benefits from Negative Gearing go to individuals whose incomes are in the top 20 per cent of Australian incomes and only 5.2 per cent of the tax benefits go to individuals in the lowest 20 per cent of incomes?

Or because est. 75 per cent of tax savings from Capital GainsTax discounts go to the top 10 per cent of high income families?

Perhaps it’s because Self-Managed Super Funds are a major beneficiary of cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits, with 50 per cent of the benefit to SMSFs accruing to the top 10 per cent of SMSF balances and some funds receiving cash refunds of more than $2.5 million a year?

Likely he’s screaming because all three instances represent how successfully the affluent have gamed the tax system to date and he like most right-wing politicians see such tax manipulation as a right belonging to them and their mates and, therefore have no interest in supporting a fairer distribution of the tax burden.

He also appears to be ignoring the fact that Treasury modelling of these Labor policies shows an increase in federal government revenue by $2 billion over time and, that these same policies have the potential to put downward pressure on property prices in the short-term so that genuine first home buyers might get a foot in the door with more affordable residential housing.

Bottom line is that Labor’s tax reform policies are primarily targeted at investors with a marginal tax rate (including Medicare Levy) of over 45 per cent - which roughly equates with the top 20 per cent of Australian residents with private wealth.

That is, the 'professional' investors/tax avoiders amongst the 1.16 million Australians who according to Credit Suisse in 2017 are millionaires, some many, many times over.

Footnotes

1. KPMG, Demark- Taxation of investment income and capital gains: Interest and rental income are taxable as investment (or capital) income with a marginal tax of 42 percent (2018). Denmark's Capital Gains Tax Rate is higher than the worse case scenario of up to 36.75 per cent under Labor which Frydenberg postulates in Para 5 of this post. Therefore Labor would not be imposing "the highest" rates in the Western world'.

2. Australian Government, Treasury, Tax- Negative Gearing/Capital Gains, FOI, 5 January 2018.
    Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, A FAIRER TAX SYSTEM: DIVIDEND IMPUTATION REFORM, 13        
                      March 2018.
    Australian Taxation Office,  Individual Income Tax Rates 2018-2019 and CGT assets and exemptions
    National Australia Bank, Calculating and Paying Capital Gains Tax
     Domain.com.au, The ‘little known’ tax strategy some millennials use to amass large property portfolios,           23 May 2016.

* Photograph of Josh Frydenberg from msn.com

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Tweet of the Week



Friday, 4 January 2019

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton demonstrates his incompetence yet again


During the less than one term he served as Australian prime minister Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott rushed through amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 in 2015.

Given that the Minister for Home Affairs and Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton has used these amendments to strip Australian citizenship from twelve individuals, the most recent being the revocation of citizenship of a Melbourne-born man currently gaoled in Turkey which now leaves him statelessand, as the minister has referenced the Citizenship Loss Board in his decision making perhaps it is time to recall the sketchy details known about this board.

The Guardian, 22 July 2018:

The identity of officials on one of the most powerful government boards in Australia – which has the effective power to strip Australians of citizenship – has been revealed for the first time.

A freedom of information request by Guardian Australia for minutes of the Citizenship Loss Board’s first meeting in February shows the panel is made up of senior departmental secretaries from across government. The secretariat of the committee is Hamish Hansford, an assistant secretary of the immigration department. 

He previously served as the national manager of the intelligence branch of the Australian Crime Commission.

The department of the prime minister’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator, Greg Moriarty, is also on the board, as are Gary Quinlan, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Katherine Jones, from the Attorney-General’s Department, and Christopher Dawson from the Australian Crime Commission.

The immigration department has by far has the largest number of representatives with five officers: Rachel Noble, Michael Manthorpe, Maria Fernandez, Michael Outram and Pip De Veau.

The Australian federal police and defence department’s members are unknown. Both declined to participate in the February meeting for undisclosed reasons.

The Australian Security Intelligence Service (Asis) and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) each have a member. Neither officer is named, listed only as a “representative”.

The Citizenship Loss Board has the de facto power to strip dual nationals of their citizenship under the federal government’s legislation introduced last year.

Although the law was touted as an anti-terrorism tool, it left open the possibility that people who damaged commonwealth property or even national security whistleblowers could have their citizenship revoked. Legal experts have argued it could create a tier of second-class citizenship.

Although the Citizenship Loss Board appears to be the effective arbiter of this exceptional power, there is no reference to it in the legislation. None of its members are parliamentarians or members of the judiciary. It operates in a legal vacuum. Its recommendations go to the immigration minister with no clear legal mandate.

In theory the board does not have the express power to revoke citizenship. The laws were built to withstand judicial scrutiny, describing the key mechanism to remove citizenship as one of “revocation by conduct” – the argument is that if the law is “self-executing” this could head off judicial review.

The board’s official role is to consider cases where an individual’s behaviour meets the criteria to have citizenship revoked under the law.

This mechanism has been described by University of New South Wales dean of law George Williams as a “legal fiction”. He has previously outlined concerns about the board and the basis for its power. [my yellow highlighting]

Footnote

1. Eligibility requirements for Fijian citizenship which this individual does not currently meet.


Citizenship by registration covers six categories of individuals:

The first category covers children born outside the Fiji islands on or after 10th April 2009 if at the date of the child’s birth either of the child's parents was a citizen – section 8(1) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009.

The second category covers children under 18 years of age of a foreign nationality that are adopted by Fiji Citizens – section 8 (2) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009.

The third category covers children who were under the age of 18 when either parent became a Fiji citizen – Section 8(3) of the Citizenship Decree 2009.

The fourth category covers persons who would have qualified under the previous three categories but they have reached the age of 18 years. These applicants cannot be granted citizenship unless they have been lawfully present in Fiji for a total of three (3) of the five (5) years immediately before the application – Section 8(5) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009.

The fifth category provides for former adult Fiji citizens who wish to regain their Fiji citizenship. With the introduction of the multiple citizenship policy former citizens wishing to regain their Fiji citizenship need NOT renounce their other citizenship – Section 8(6) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009.

The sixth category provides for spouses of Fiji citizens. Applicants must have been lawfully present in Fiji for a total period of three of the five years immediately before the application – Section 8(7) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009. (refer to below checklist for fees and other requirement).

Fijian Government position:

"Neil Prakash has not been or is a Fijian citizen. For a child of a Fiji citizen born overseas, the parent has to apply for citizenship for the child to become a Fiji citizen. The department has searched the immigration system and confirms that he has not entered the country nor applied for citizenship since birth." [Head of Fiji's Immigration Department, Nemani Vuniwaqa, quoted in ABC News, 2 January 2018]

Monday, 24 December 2018

How the Turnbull & Morrison Coalition Governments suspended legal principle and stooped to extortion in order to pursue vulnerable welfare recipients


In July 2016 the Department of Human Services (DHS) - Centrelink launched a new online compliance intervention (OCI) system for raising and recovering debts.

Its aim was to raise up to $1 billion dollars allegedly owed by welfare recipients.

This compliance intervention became known colloquially as robo-debt.

Current Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison was federal treasurer for the first two years of the ongoing robo-debt scheme.

During this time the suicide of welfare recipients being pursued for so-called debt recovery began to be reported.

Since 2016 only a small number of welfare recipients have brought their robo-debts before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for adjudication. It has reportedly set aside 34 per cent of these robo-debts (or one in every three) and varied another 2,4 per cent.

Most welfare recipients don't have the resources to fight these alleged debts.

The Guardian, 18 December 2018:

Centrelink’s “robo-debt” system is a form of illegal extortion allowed by failings across a “plethora” of democratic and legal institutions, according to a former member of the administrative appeals tribunal.

Prof Terry Carney, a long-serving member of the AAT, has penned an extraordinary attack on the institutional failings that allowed the robo-debt program.

It’s the second time Carney, who helped oversee the writing of Australia’s social security laws, has used academic journals to condemn the system as illegal this year.

Carney’s last paper said robo-debt involved the enforcement of “illegal” debts that in some cases were inflated or nonexistent, an allegation that was forcefully rejected by the Department of Human Services. Hank Jongen, the department’s spokesman, said at the time that the department “strongly refutes any claims that it has conducted its compliance activities in a manner which is inconsistent with the legislation”.

This time, Carney used a piece in the Alternative Law Journal to map out the numerous shortcomings that allowed the system to come into being and operate for 18 months without challenge.

 “The pivot for this article is not so much that Centrelink lacks legal authority for raising virtually all debts based on a robo-debt ‘reverse onus’ methodology rather than use its own information gathering powers – for this remains essentially uncontested,” he wrote. “Rather it is extraordinary that this went unpublicised and uncorrected for over two years.”

Centrelink has long used a system of automated data-matching to detect discrepancies in income reported by welfare recipients, to detect and claw back overpayments. But it introduced significant changes from July 2016, reducing human oversight and expanding the system considerably in a bid to recover more debts and improve the budget. The new system effectively shifted the onus onto the welfare recipient to prove they owed no debt to the government.

The system spat out letters to individual welfare recipients as soon a discrepancy was detected in their reported income to Centrelink and records held by other agencies, like the tax office.

A flawed process was used to calculate their debt if they did not respond or could not produce evidence of their previous pay, which involved averaging out their yearly income across all 26 of Centrelink’s fortnightly reporting periods. The process often led to the false assumption that a welfare recipient had worked across an entire year and was ineligible for social security, thereby creating a debt.

Carney argues the rushed design of what he described as a “machine-learning budget ‘savings measure’” trumped good design standards. He says inquiries by the auditor general and the commonwealth ombudsman into the system had failed to consider whether it was raising debts on a lawful basis.

Carney also argues that Centrelink, by pursuing debts raised through the controversial “income averaging” technique, has failed to adhere to ethical administration. He says Centrelink has continued to use this method, despite knowing AAT rulings that it is invalid…….

The privacy safeguards in the first tier of the AAT mean that most legal challenges against welfare debts are not publicised, he writes. That means that “rulings overturning Centrelink reasoning remain hidden from the public”…..

TERRY CARNEY AO, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, 2018:

* University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vulnerability: False Hope For Vulnerable Social Security Clients?

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Are Prime Minister Morrison & Co determined to reduce Australia to a hot, barren desert from sea to sea?


Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) (Figure SPM.1) {1.2}  [United Nations (2018) Global Warming of 1.5°C. Summary for Policymakers]

The global situation.....

United Nations, Sustainable Development, 8 October 2018:

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

Limiting global warming 

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean  free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5ºC, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5ºC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
“Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5ºC by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The Denver Post, 8 December 2018:

Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record, scientists projected Wednesday, in the latest evidence of the chasm between international goals for combating climate change and what countries are actually doing.

Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. Those hopes have been dashed. In 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent.

The expected increase, which would bring fossil fuel and industrial emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, is being driven by nearly 5 percent emissions growth in China and more than 6 percent in India, researchers estimated, along with growth in many other nations throughout the world. 

Emissions by the United States grew 2.5 percent, while emissions by the European Union declined by just under 1 percent.

As nations are gathered for climate talks in Poland, the message of Wednesday’s report was unambiguous: When it comes to promises to begin cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change, the world remains well off target.

“We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change,” United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference, where countries will wrestle with the ambitious goals they need to meet to sharply reduce carbon emissions in coming years.

“It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation,” he added. “Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption.”

Guterres was not commenting specifically on Wednesday’s findings, which were released in a trio of scientific papers by researchers with the Global Carbon Project. But his words came amid a litany of grim news in the fall in which scientists have warned that the effects of climate change are no longer distant and hypothetical, and that the impacts of global warming will only intensify in the absence of aggressive international action.....

When hard-right, anti-science, fundamentalist ideology in Australia descends into madness………….

The Guardian, 10 December 2018:

 As four of the world’s largest oil and gas producers blocked UN climate talks from “welcoming” a key scientific report on global warming, Australia’s silence during a key debate is being viewed as tacit support for the four oil allies: the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.

The end of the first week of the UN climate talks – known as COP24 – in Katowice, Poland, has been mired by protracted debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” a key report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC’s 1.5 degrees report, released in October, warned the world would have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 45% by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5C and potentially avoid some of the worst effects of climate change, including a dramatically increased risk of drought, flood, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

The UN climate conference commissioned the IPCC report, but when that body went to “welcome” the report’s findings and commit to continuing its work, four nations – the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia, all major oil and gas producers – refused to accept the wording, insisting instead that the convention simply “note” the findings.
Negotiators spent two and a half hours trying to hammer out a compromise without success.

The apparently minor semantic debate has significant consequences, and the deadlock ensures the debate will spill into the second critical week of negotiations, with key government ministers set to arrive in Katowice.

Most of the world’s countries spoke out in fierce opposition to the oil allies’ position.
The push to adopt the wording “welcome” was led by the Maldives, leader of the alliance of small island states, of which Australia’s Pacific island neighbours are members.

They were backed by a broad swathe of support, including from the EU, the bloc of 47 least developed countries, the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean, African, American and European nations, and Pacific countries such as the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

Australia did not speak during the at-times heated debate, a silence noted by many countries on the floor of the conference, Dr Bill Hare, the managing director of Climate Analytics and a lead author on previous IPCC reports, told Guardian Australia.

“Australia’s silence in the face of this attack yesterday shocked many countries and is widely seen as de facto support for the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait’s refusal to welcome the IPCC report,” Hare said…..

Australia’s environment minister, Melissa Price, arrived in Katowice on Sunday, with negotiations set to resume Monday morning.

 “The government is committed to the Paris agreement and our emissions reduction targets,” she said before leaving Australia. “Australia’s participation in the Paris agreement and in COP24 is in our national interest, in the interests of the Indo-Pacific region, and the international community as a whole.”

Price said a priority for Australia at COP24 was to ensure a robust framework of rules to govern the reporting of Paris agreement targets. “Australia’s emissions reporting is of an exceptionally high standard and we are advocating for rules that bring other countries up to the standard to which we adhere.”

The latest Australian government figures, released last month, show the country’s carbon emissions continue to rise, at a rate significantly higher than recent years.

Australia’s emissions, seasonally adjusted, increased 1.3% over the past quarter. Excluding emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (for which the calculations are controversial), they are at a record high..... [my yellow highlighting]


The Guardian, 11 December 2018:


Patrick Suckling (sitting on panel right), Australia’s ambassador for the environment, waits as protesters disrupt an event at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland. Photograph: Łukasz Kalinowski/Rex/Shutterstock

Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the United Nations climate talks in Poland.

Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible, as well as the use of emission-free nuclear energy”.

Its panel discussion was disrupted for several minutes by dozens of protesters who stood up suddenly during speeches, unfurling a banner reading “Keep it in the ground” while singing and chanting “Shame on you”.

Patrick Suckling, Australia’s ambassador for the environment, and the head of the country’s negotiating delegation at the climate talks, spoke on the panel. His nameplate bore a US flag…..

…Simon Bradshaw, Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy adviser, said it was “extremely disappointing” to see Australia line up behind the US in pushing a pro-coal ideas.

“It is a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours, for whom bringing an end to the fossil fuel era is matter of survival, and who are working with determination to catalyse stronger international efforts to confront the climate crisis. And it is firmly against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Australians.”

Bradshaw said continuing to use coal was not only uneconomic, but would “be measured in more lives lost, entrenched poverty, rising global hunger, and more people displaced from their land and homes”.

He said the advice of the IPCC showed emphatically there was no space for new coal and that Australia’s position on coal was isolating it from the rest of the world.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 48 countries most acutely affected by climate change, has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy production by the middle of the century at the latest. Other developed countries, including the UK, France, Canada and New Zealand, have committed to phasing out coal power by 2030.

Wells Griffith, a Trump administration adviser speaking alongside Suckling on the panel, said the US would continue extracting fossil fuels, and warned against “alarmism” about climate change…… [my yellow highlighting]

Greenhouse gas emissions in Australia to date.....

Trend emissions levels are inclusive of all sectors of the economy, including Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

Reading Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2018 [PDF 39 pages] released on 30 November 2018 it is highly unlikely that the Morrison Govenment will be able to meet Australia's commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Australia was closer to meeting Paris Agreement goals in 2013 under a Labor federal government than it is today under a Coalition federal government.