Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

This private member's bill signals an ongoing threat to forests on the NSW North Coast and elsewhere in the state

This is Austin William Evans, NSW Nationals MP for Murray since 14 October 2018 when he won the seat on the back of a by-election after fellow Nationals Adrian Piccoli resigned.

On 18 October 2018 Evans introduced a private member’s bill in the NSW Legislative Assembly titled, National Parks and Wildlife Legislation Amendment (Riverina) Bill 2018 or An Act with respect to certain lands in the Riverina region reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 or dedicated under the Forestry Act 2012; and for other purposes.

As yet no text of this bill is publicly available.

However, there are no prizes for having guessed that this bill seeks to revert  the Murray Valley National Park to a state forest to allow timber harvesters back in.

According to state parliamentary records the Bill lapses in accordance with Standing Orders on 19/4/2019.

Make no mistake Evans’ bill represents the unsustainable native timber industry’s desire to make inroads into the wider national park system.

In fact it made sure it never really left the Murray Valley National Park, having received milling timber via so-called ''ecological thinning'' of sections of the park since 2012.

Given the number of national parks and reserves in the Northern Rivers region it is time to put pen to paper and remind Premier Gladys Berejiklian that growing the total area covered by the national park system, as well as reining in broad scale land clearance and/or extensive logging in rural and regional areas, is one of the easiest ways to mitigate against rising state greenhouse gas emissions.

The Berejiklian Government has already walked back from the transfer of 23,000 hectares of low productivity state forests to the national park estate and presented a whittled down version of the National Park Estate (Reservations) Bill 2018 which passed both Houses on 17 October 2018.

Although under this passed bill an est. 2,200ha of state forest will become part of the national park estate in January 2019 and and further est. 1,791 of state forest will be rededicated as state conservation areas, the total amount of protected viable koala habitat is limited.

In an effort to redress this, amendments were proposed which include the creation of the Great Koala National Park.

As of 18 October 2018 both NSW Greens and NSW Labor support the Great Koala National Park proposal and, if there is a change of government at the 23 March 2019 state election, we should see a genuine start to placing protection on enough viable habitat to begin to reverse the koala's decline towards local extinctions.

Monday, 22 October 2018

When you are on a low income and you rent governments have a tendency to place you in the too hard basket when it comes to clean renewable energy schemes

The Australian Census found that in 2018 the NSW state population stood at 7.48 million people.
An est. 826,922 or 31.8 per cent of these individuals lived in rental accommodation.
Over 15.2 per cent of NSW renting households are paying between est. 25.1% and 50% or more of gross weekly household income in rent.
These people cannot afford to enter this new Berejiklian Coalition Government renewable  energy scheme, because as renters they have no real security of tenure and would be permanently foregoing a $285 annual  low income household rebate with no hope of recouping the initial $3,500 solar panel installation cost when their landlords refuse to renew the lease or sell the property.
Indeed, I rather suspect that like other home solar power incentive schemes certain categories of renters would be ineligible to even apply.

Energy NSW, 28 September 2018:

The NSW Government has announced $15 million in clean energy funding for a new solar program aimed at saving low-income households hundreds of dollars each year on their power bills.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment, Dr Liz Develin said up to 3,400 households are expected to take part in the voluntary program which will see homes receive 2.5 kilowatt solar power systems if they forgo their Low Income Household Rebate.

The trial scheme will be rolled out in five selected State regions that will maximise the benefit of solar for local households.  The regions are: Sydney – South, Central Coast, North Coast, Illawarra – Shoalhaven and South Coast.

“The bill savings from the rooftop solar trial are expected to be close to double the value of existing rebate savings with an average bill reduction of $600 per household per year. This means that households who choose to participate in the program could be around $300 better off each year,” Dr Develin said.

“The program is entirely voluntary and eligible recipients will be able to reap the benefits of the program by transferring off the rebate program in return for a rooftop solar system.

“We know energy bills are placing pressure on low-income consumers, so we must ensure that we are doing everything we can to offer support for struggling households.”

The latest round of clean energy funding has now seen a direct injection of over $170 million into providing energy bill relief for households and businesses, including in regional NSW.

For more information about the solar program go to:

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Scott Morrison and climate change policy

On 8 October 2018 the UN International Panel On Climate Change issued this media release:

Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8 – Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C 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.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, 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 2°C.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C 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 1.5°C, 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 1.5°C 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 1.5°C 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' 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C 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 IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels."

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at or

The aforementioned summary forms part of the scientific findings informing the IPCC 6th Assessment Report currently being prepared by the working groups.

Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison sought to downplay its significance because it made no specific recommendations on a country by country basis.
He stated that last year the “same report” said that “Australia was right on the money when it came to the mix of climate change policies.

As far as I can tell last year’s special report did not give Australia a glowing endorsement.

If one wants an IPCC opinion on Australia's climate change policy one has to go documents such as this......

This is an excerpt from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group II Report "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability") on the subject of Australia:

Adaptation is already occurring and adaptation planning is becoming embedded in some planning processes, albeit mostly at the conceptual rather than implementation level (high confidence). Many solutions for reducing energy and water consumption in urban areas with co-benefits for climate change adaptation (e.g., greening cities and recycling water) are already being implemented. Planning for 1375 25 Australasia Chapter 25 reduced water availability in southern Australia and for sea level rise in both countries is becoming adopted widely, although implementation of specific policies remains piecemeal, subject to political changes, and open to legal challenges. {25.4; Boxes 25-1, 25-2, 25-9} Adaptive capacity is generally high in many human systems, but implementation faces major constraints, especially for transformational responses at local and community levels (high confidence). Efforts to understand and enhance adaptive capacity and adaptation processes have increased since the AR4, particularly in Australia. Constraints on implementation arise from: absence of a consistent information base and uncertainty about projected impacts; limited financial and human resources to assess local risks and to develop and implement effective policies and rules; limited integration of different levels of governance; lack of binding guidance on principles and priorities; different attitudes towards the risks associated with climate change; and different values placed on objects and places at risk. {25.4, 25.10.3; Table 25-2; Box a5-1} [my yellow highlighting]

Successive Coalition federal governments (with Scott Morrison as a cabinet minister) typified this half-hearted approach to climate change mitigation. After four years the largely ineffective Emissions Reduction Fund is almost empty, the Renewable Energy Target has been all but abandoned and the National Energy Agreement is defunct, with the government's attention turned towards growing fossil fuel energy.

As prime minister Morrison has recently announced he will not be honouring Australia's $200 million pledge to the UNFCCC sponsored global Green Climate Fund (GCF).

It is no secret that Scott Morrison admires US President Donald Trump and right wing American politics generally.

As Morrison argues an inability for Australian action on climate change to make a real difference to ongoing global warming, given we only produce est. one percent of all annual global greenhouse gas emissions, one suspects that he would also agree with this reasoning behind the latest Trump administration refusal to act on climate change.

The Washington Post,  28 September 2018:

Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.

A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.

But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.

The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket.

“The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.....

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Quotes of the Week

“I fear that the danger of plastic bags is much exaggerated”  [Former sacked prime minister & Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott quoted in The Guardian on the subject of plastics polluting the environment, 6 October 2018]

 “A key architect of the landmark Paris climate deal has lambasted the Coalition government’s inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, saying it “goes against the science”, squanders economic opportunity and risks Australia’s international standing. Laurence Tubiana, a respected French diplomat and economist, also says Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that Australia will meet its Paris targets “at a canter” is contradicted by international scientific opinion.”  [Journalist Nicole Hasham in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 October 2018]

“To me this particular event seems to show the Liberal party has been taken over frankly by extremists on the hard right who aren’t particularly motivated to win elections and aren’t particularly motivated to serve the public. They’re just motivated by a crazy agenda.”  [Alexander Turnbull, son of deposed Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in The Guardian, 11 October 2018]

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Next time a Liberal or Nationals minister ot backbencher starts to boast about how they are reducing national greenhouse gas emissions, look at this graph

It doesn't take a genuis level IQ to identify the point at which the Abbott and then Turnbull federal governments (with Scott Morrison as a cabinet minister in both) began to dismantle climate change policies.

1. National emissions levels are inclusive of all sectors of the economy, including Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)…..

The year to March 2018 annual change saw national greenhouse gas emissions rise by 1.3 per cent.

Monday, 1 October 2018

It appears the Australian Government's $487.6 million* grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation may end up paying for little more than ‘feel good’ greenwashing exercises

The Guardian, 26 September 2018:

Great Barrier Reef scientists were told they would need to make “trade-offs” to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, including focusing on projects that would look good for the government and encourage more corporate donations, emails tabled in the Senate reveal.

The documents, including cabinet briefing notes, contain significant new details about the workings of the foundation and the government decision to award it a $443m grant, including:

The executives of mining, gas and chemicals companies – and international financial houses that actively back fossil-fuel projects – were among the guests at a six-star retreat hosted by the foundation less than a month after the grant was announced;

The media companies Foxtel and Fairfax and the tech giant Google are among a tightly held list of donors to the foundation;

The only CSIRO employee contacted about the grant before the announcement in April was in Patagonia, and did not get the email. Documents have previously revealed that the government’s peak science agency was cut out of the decision to award the grant;

In August, as scrutiny of the grant intensified, public servants pushed to block a long-planned meeting between the then science minister, Michaelia Cash, and the head of the foundation, Anna Marsden, because of concern about the “optics”.

Emails sent by staff at the Australian Institute of Marine Science outline how government expectations, the ability to leverage private donations and public perceptions “may drive the [foundation] to prioritise shorter-term research initiatives in order to demonstrate progress and return on investment”.

“Where it becomes challenging is that … interventions with the largest future benefit also take the longest to develop,” the institute’s executive director of strategic policy, David Mead, wrote in an email to colleagues. 

 “Among other trade-offs, we will need to determine to what degree we focus on quick wins or whether we progress longer-term strategic interventions and accept that we will only partially progress them during the next five years (perhaps with little outward visibility of success/progress).”

The emails also reveal an initial state of uncertainty about how a $100m allocation for reef restoration and adaptation would be handled.

Three weeks after the announcement about the money, Mead was trying to get answers about how the grant would be allocated.

“I followed up with the granting agreement, did not really get an answer other than they are working on it over the next month,” Mead wrote on 18 May. “So we will just have to watch this space.

“Once the thing is signed by GBRF we are going to need them to make some definitive statements one way or the other, as everyone is wondering and I don’t want the team to destruct … ”

Emails between staff at the industry, innovation and science department reveal discussion about the “optics” of a long-planned meeting between Cash, Marsden and the chief executive of institute, Paul Hardisty.


* The total Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant was for $487,633,300.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

When a prime minster fails to grasp the basics of climate change policy.....

The Australian Prime Minister for Fossil Fuels and Liberal MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, has been repeatedly insisting since he came to office on 24 August 2018 that Australia is on target to meet its Paris Agreement greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Apparently he is telling journalists that “the business-as-usual model gets us there in a canter”.

Business-as-usual of course includes those cuts to climate change mitigation programs Morrison made as federal treasurer - including no further funding for the Abbott Government's Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) which has so far failed to purchase enough abatement to outpace Australia's emissions growth.

Those agencies outside of Morrison's ‘magic circle’ are quite frankly contradicting his prediction of success.......

The COAG Energy Security Council’s Energy Security Board expects that Morrison’s refusal to revive National Energy Guarantee legislation will see the electricity sector “fall short of the emissions reduction target of 26% below 2005 levels”.

Annual emissions for the year to December 2017 are estimated to be 533.7 Mt CO2 -e. This represents a 1.5% increase in emissions when compared with the previous year. Over the year to December 2017, there were increases in emissions from the stationary energy (excluding electricity), transport, fugitive emissions, industrial processes and product use, waste and agriculture sectors. These increases were partially offset by a decline in emissions from the electricity sector. The annual increases in stationary energy (excluding electricity) and fugitive emissions were largely driven by an increase in LNG exports. [my yellow highlighting]

The independent Climate Works Australia reported on 6 September 2018:

Australia is not yet on track to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement but there are many opportunities to still get there, according to new research released today.

The ClimateWorks Australia report, Tracking Progress to net zero emissions, found Australia needed to double its emissions reduction progress to achieve the federal government’s target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and triple progress to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The report found Australia’s emissions were 11 per cent below 2005 levels in 2017 but have been steadily increasing since 2013. If Australia sustained the rate of improvement in emissions intensity it had achieved between 2005 and 2013, it could meet the government's 2030 target. But progress has stalled in most sectors and reversed overall. [my yellow highlighting]

Climate Works’ latest report, Tracking progress to net zero emissions: National progress on reducing emissions across the Australian economy and outlook to 2030, was released in September 2018 and although cautiously optimistic it doesn’t suggest that a Morrison Government would be able to just canter towards the commitments given in Paris:

This report uses findings from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP) and compares these with the Australian Government's emissions data and projections to examine whether Australia is on track for a net zero pathway and for its first commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. It assesses recent progress since 2005 and the outlook to 2030.

In common with 179 other countries who ratified the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to keeping global warming well below 2 degrees, aiming to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and to reach net zero emissions. For developed countries like Australia, a 2 degree limit is generally accepted to mean reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – the majority of states and territories have agreed to this goal. Limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees would require an earlier date.

Australia’s current emissions reduction target is 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is less ambitious than the Climate Change Authority’s recommended target range of 45 to 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 for Australia’s contribution to a 2 degree goal (CCA 2015). To make sure the world is on track, all countries in the Paris Agreement have been asked to consider whether their current target is ambitious enough.

We already know Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050. The Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050 (DDPP) report (ClimateWorks et al 2014) identified the emissions reductions potential to put Australia on a pathway to net zero in 2050 while the economy continues to grow…

In 2017 Australia’s emissions were around 11 per cent below 2005 levels. This is an increase from their lowest point in 2013. Overall progress was due to strong reductions in the land sector, while emissions rose in most other sectors. Although there were improvements at the whole of economy level and in some sectors, improvements on average were not equivalent to the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

Emissions are higher in buildings, industry and transport than they were in 2005. Emissions are lower in the land sector, with the reduction being larger than increases in other sectors. Electricity emissions fell slightly…

There were times of reasonable emissions intensity improvements in industry and buildings but, as with the electricity sector, these improvements then slowed or reversed. This occurred alongside the repeal of the carbon price and related policies. Energy intensity improved in these sectors, suggesting better energy efficiency, but not at the rate needed for net zero. And in industry, some of this improvement was driven by declines in energy-intensive manufacturing….

Without further policies, Australia will not be on track for the net zero pathway or the Government's 2030 target. ClimateWorks’ research previously identified potential emissions reductions on the net zero pathway and this report shows where this potential is not yet being unlocked. The national process of developing Australia’s long term emissions reduction strategy provides an opportunity to unlock this remaining potential and get on track to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, as do similar processes in many state and territory governments. [my yellow highlighting]

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Australia has a prime minister who rejects realitiy and embraces idiocy

Scott Morrison with a coal specimen supplied by the Minerals Council of Australia
ABC News, 9 February 2018
During an interview with the ABC 7.30 program on 11 September 2018 Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison declared he is “troubled” by the politics of envy in Australia and has “a very strong view” on what fairness means.

His version of “fairness” is a redefinition far removed from the contents of any dictionary wherein it is usually taken to mean impartial and just treatment or behaviour without favouritism or discrimination.

His expresses his version of fairness as “those that have a go get a go” or “a fair go for those that have a go”– phrases that are inherently judgemental.

It seems that in Morrison's world only individuals who are already capable of helping themselves in some fashion will deserve assistance from others.

Morrison again refused to say why the parliamentary Liberal Party changed leaders and in the interview sought to divorce himself from both the spill process and outcome, as though he wasn’t a participant in those rolling leadership ballots.

But what caught the attention of a numbers of viewers was his response to two questions.

The first response contained Morrison's assertion that he had separated climate/ environment and energy policies and admissions that he was removing climate change targets from future energy policy and was giving no guarantee of future funding for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
The second involved his belief that there was a need for additional legal protections of religious freedoms when none were being threatened....... 

For Scott Morrison the primary fear of a majority of the Australian population is less important that demonstrating his missionary zeal to institutional Christianity and his unwavering support to the fossil fuel industry. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

The new Australian Minister for Energy & Liberal MP for Hume Angus Taylor has "thought hard" about climate change for over 30 years.....

..... and is holding firm to his 2014 decision to do nothing constructive about mitigating the effects of climate change either globally or nationally.

Excerpt form House of Representatives Hansard, 24 September 2014:

Mr TAYLOR (Hume) (15:44): It is a great pleasure to speak on this matter of public importance because I have had a deep concern about climate change for over 30 years. I have watched the snowline rise south of here, and it is something that I have thought hard about for over 30 years. That has meant that I have come to the conclusion that there are three things that taking climate change seriously really means. The first is effective and consistent policies that actually contain global atmospheric concentrations. Secondly, that you bring the Australian people along with you. Thirdly, you protect the Australian economy so that we can pay for all of this. Let me tell you what I believe it does not mean. It does not mean throwing lots of money at the problem for the sake of it. It does not mean passing encyclopedias of legislation. It does not mean putting endless programs in place. It does not mean establishing a cavalry of so-called independent advisers and advisory boards. It does not mean turning up at lots of global meetings.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The world is running out of patience with Australia: Europe warns Morrison Government

Europe has strongly signalled that the Morrison Coalition Government needs to stop pretending it has a national climate change policy and keep the pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions made under the November 2016 U.N. Paris Agreement which the Australian Government ratified and, on the government's part contained such a pitifully weak commitment to a 2030 abatement target i.e. emissions reduced by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels. 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August 2018:

The Coalition's internal climate war risks damaging the economy after Europe declared it would reject a $15 billion trade deal with Australia unless the Morrison government keeps its pledge to cut pollution under the Paris accord.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week reset his government’s course on energy policy, declaring a focus on lowering electricity bills and increasing reliability, while relegating efforts to cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

He has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Paris accord despite persistent calls by conservative Coalition MPs, led by Tony Abbott, to quit the agreement.

However there is deep uncertainty over how Australia will meet the Paris goal of reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 given the government does not have a national strategy to meet the target.

The policy ructions did not go unnoticed at a meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade in Brussels, where the EU’s chief negotiator on the deal, Helena König, faced angry questions from the floor over Australia’s commitment to climate action.

Australia and the EU will in November enter a second round of negotiations over the deal that would end restrictions on Australian exports and collectively add $15 billion to both economies.

In a video of this week's proceedings, Ms König told the committee that “it’s the [European] Commission’s position ... that we are talking about respect and full implementation of the Paris agreement [as part of the trade deal]”.

“No doubt we will see what comes out in the text [of the deal agreement] but that I expect to be the minimum in the text, for sure.”

Her assertion is a clear signal that any failure by Australia to meet its international climate obligations would have serious economic consequences.

Ms König fired off the warning after a question by Klaus Buchner, a German Greens member of the Parliament who said “the intention of the new Australian regime to withdraw from the Paris Agreement unsettles not only Australians”.

“Australia is by far the biggest exporter of coal in the world ... what will the commission do when Australia does indeed withdraw from the Paris agreement? Is this a red line for us in these discussions or do we just accept it?

“I believe as the largest trading block in the world we have a responsibility to go beyond pure profits.”

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Quote of the Week

“This country would throw itself in the sea if it wasn't already girt by it.”  [Freelance journalist Andrew Stafford’s 17 August 2018 tweeted response to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s removal of a climate change target from the National Energy Guarantee,

"sitting on the lap of the member for Warringah [Abbott] like a really scary wooden puppet come to life. With the hand of the member for Warringah up his... back. Like Chucky."  [Labor MP for Sydney & Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek on the subject of Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton, Twitter,  21 August 2018]

Friday, 31 August 2018

A reminder that the world has known about the negative effects on the atmosphere of burning coal for over 100 years

Live Science, 14 August 2018:

A newspaper clip published Aug. 14, 1912, predicts that coal consumption would produce enough carbon dioxide to warm the climate.

Credit: Fairfax Media/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

A note published in a New Zealand paper 106 years ago today (Aug. 14) predicted the Earth's temperature would rise because of 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced by coal consumption.

"The effect may be considerable in a few centuries," the article stated.
The clip was one of several one-paragraph stories in the "Science Notes and News" section of The Rodney and Otamatea Times, published Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1912.

The paragraph seems to have been originally printed in the March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics as the caption for an image of a large coal factory. The image goes with a story titled "Remarkable Weather of 1911: The Effect of the Combustion of Coal on the Climate — What Scientists Predict for the Future," by Francis Molena. [Photographic Proof of Climate Change: Time-Lapse Images of Retreating Glaciers]

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

If you live in a NSW rural/regional area or an outer metropolitan suburb with thick tree cover.....

Now is the time to make or update your bushfire survival plan.

Because the fires have come early this year and intermittant rainfall is unlikely to ease the threat for long., 16 August 2018:

NSW has declared its earliest total fire ban on record, with hundreds of South Coast residents forced to flee their homes amidst a massive blaze.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that fire crews battled at least 83 fires across the state, following stronger-than-expected winds, creating fire bans that beat the previous record by two weeks. Compounding problems was the fact that, according to The Daily Telegraph ($), two huge water bombers were not in action because they had not yet arrived from the US ahead of Australia’s summer season.

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
New South Wales

Fire Weather Warning for the Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven fire areas.

Issued at 10:37 am EST on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

Weather Situation
Warm, dry and windy conditions over southeast NSW today ahead of a cold front,
which will pass to the south of the state overnight.

For the rest of Wednesday 15 August:

Severe Fire Danger is forecast for the following fire areas:
Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven

The NSW Rural Fire Service advises you to:
- Action your Bushfire Survival Plan now.
- Monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, and
- Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency.

The Rural Fire Service advises that if you are in an area of Severe Fire Danger:
- If you plan to leave finalise your options and leave early on the day
- Only stay if your home is well prepared and you can actively defend it
- Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your
property - if in doubt, leave.
For information on preparing for bushfires go to

No further warnings will be issued for this event, but the situation will
continue to be monitored and further warnings issued if necessary.

For up-to-date information for your local area see NSW Rural Fire Service’s  Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans and Fires Near Me.