Monday 31 July 2023

CLIMATE CHANGE AUSTRALIA STATE OF PLAY: looking towards the summer of December 2023 to February 2024

IMAGE: Weatherzone Australia, 07.10.2021


27 JULY 2023

Press Conference by Secretary-General António Guterres at United Nations Headquarters

Following is the transcript of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ press conference on climate and the situation in Niger, in New York today:

Secretary-General: A very good morning. Humanity is in the hot seat. Today, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service are releasing official data that confirms that July is set to be the hottest month ever recorded in human history. We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know this. Short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, July will shatter records across the board.

According to the data released today, July has already seen the hottest three-week period ever recorded; the three hottest days on record; and the highest-ever ocean temperatures for this time of year. The consequences are clear and they are tragic: children swept away by monsoon rains; families running from the flames; workers collapsing in scorching heat.

For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe, it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal — humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning.

The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil-fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. Leaders must lead. No more hesitancy. No more excuses. No more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that. [my yellow highlighting]

It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid the very worst of climate change. But, only with dramatic, immediate climate action. We have seen some progress. A robust rollout of renewables. Some positive steps from sectors, such as shipping. But, none of this is going far enough or fast enough. Accelerating temperatures demand accelerated action.

We have several critical opportunities ahead. The Africa Climate Summit. The G20 [Group of 20] Summit. The UN Climate Ambition Summit. COP28 [twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. But leaders — and particularly G20 countries responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions — must step up for climate action and climate justice. What does that mean in practice?

First, emissions. We need ambitious new national emissions reduction targets from G20 members. And we need all countries to take action in line with my Climate Solidarity Pact and Acceleration Agenda: Hitting fast-forward so that developed countries commit to reach net-zero emissions as close as possible to 2040, and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050, with support from developed countries to do so.

And all actors must come together to accelerate a just and equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables — as we stop oil and gas expansion, and funding and licensing for new coal, oil and gas. Credible plans must also be presented to exit coal by 2030 for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and 2040 for the rest of the world. Ambitious renewable energy goals must be in line with the 1.5°C limit. And we must reach net-zero electricity by 2035 in developed countries and 2040 elsewhere, as we work to bring affordable electricity to everyone on earth.

We also need action from leaders beyond Governments. I urge companies, as well as cities, regions and financial institutions, to come to the Climate Ambition Summit with credible transition plans that are fully aligned with the United Nations’ net zero standard, presented by our High-Level Expert Group.

Financial institutions must end their fossil fuel lending, underwriting and investments and shift to renewables instead. And fossil fuel companies must chart their move towards clean energy, with detailed transition plans across the entire value chain: No more greenwashing. No more deception. And no more abusive distortion of anti-trust laws to sabotage net zero alliances.

Second, adaptation. Extreme weather is becoming the new normal. All countries must respond and protect their people from the searing heat, fatal floods, storms, droughts and raging fires that result. Those countries on the front lines — who have done the least to cause the crisis and have the least resources to deal with it — must have the support they need to do so.

It is time for a global surge in adaptation investment to save millions of lives from climate [carnage.] That requires unprecedented coordination around the priorities and plans of vulnerable developing countries. Developed countries must present a clear and credible roadmap to double adaptation finance by 2025 as a first step towards devoting at least half of all climate finance to adaptation. Every person on earth must be covered by an early warning system by 2027 — by implementing the Action Plan we launched last year. And countries should consider a set of global goals to mobilize international action and support on adaptation.

That leads to the third area for accelerated action — finance. Promises made on international climate finance must be promises kept. Developed countries must honour their commitments to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund. I am concerned that only two G7 [Group of Seven] countries — Canada and Germany — have made until now replenishment pledges. Countries must also operationalize the loss and damage fund at COP28 this year. No more delays; no more excuses.

More broadly, many banks, investors and other financial actors continue to reward polluters and incentivize wrecking the planet. We need a course correction in the global financial system so that it supports accelerated climate action. That includes putting a price on carbon and pushing the multilateral development banks to overhaul their business models and approaches to risk.

We need the multilateral development banks leveraging their funds to mobilize much more private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries — and scaling up their funding to renewables, adaptation and loss and damage. In all these areas, we need Governments, civil society, business and others working in partnership to deliver. I look forward to welcoming first-movers and doers on the Acceleration Agenda to New York for the Climate Ambition Summit in September. And to hearing how leaders will respond to the facts before us. This is the price of entry.

The evidence is everywhere: humanity has unleashed destruction. This must not inspire despair, but action. We can still stop the worst. But to do so we must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition. And accelerate climate action – now…..


Climate change is threatening the basic rights of children: to survive, thrive and reach their full potential.

By raising average global temperatures and increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves,

climate change is exposing populations everywhere to heat stress, which is contributing to significant negative health outcomes particularly for infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, outdoor workers and other vulnerable people. [UNICEF, 2023] [my yellow highlighting]

Victorian Dept. of Health, "Extreme Heat - Information for Clinicians", 15.12.2022, excerpt


IMAGE: The Guardian, 21.01.2013

We have all seen the images on the television and Internet graphically illustrating the words of the UN Secretary-General and UNICEF.

So how will this affect us here in Australia when Summer officially arrives on 1 December 2023 and then plays out over the next 91 days?

Are we among those people considered more vulnerable as the climate ‘boils’? Are members of our families? Will the sheer number of vulnerable people mean that governments and public health systems won’t cope?

Here is a thumbnail sketch of some of the numbers involved….

In Australian in 2021 according to the national census the population totalled 25,422,788 men women and children. That number has grown by at least est. 845,571 people since then.

In that census there were 1,463,817 children aged 0-4 years of age and, another 1,586,138 children aged 5 to 9 years.

There were est. 71,000 women who registered a live birth/s in Australia during the summer months December 2020 to February 2021 summer [ABS, Births Australia 2021]

That 2021 census also revealed there were 4,378,088 people living across Australia aged 65 years to 85 years and over.

In 2021 there were an est.1,625,200 workers who spent part or all of their working day outdoors.

In that last census an est. 31.7% of the Australian population was thought to have a chronic medical illness/disease/condition that would make them potentially vulnerable to prolonged heat stress.

It appears that approx. 75% of residences now have some form of air conditioning and 25% no way of cooling their home. It has been reported that last summer; “Nearly 90% of people on income support payments say the inability to cool their homes in hot weather is making them sick, and even those who have air conditioning avoid using it because it is too expensive, a survey by Australian Council of Social Service has found”.

At least 122,494 people were estimated to be experiencing homelessness on Census night in 2021 and, so could be thought to have no reliable access to shade in hot weather.

That is over 9 million men, women and children who might begin falling ill, perhaps seriously, in five months time if an El Niño continues to interact with background rising temperatures and Australia experiences a summer such as the Northern Hemisphere is now enduring.

Sunday 30 July 2023

The NSW coastal drought continued to grow in July 2023


As of 23 July 2023 – Day 53 of the 92 day official Australian Winter – an est. of 97.7 % of the land area of the NSW wider North Coast is identified Non Drought, 2% Drought Affected and 0.3% in Drought , according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).


The DPI Combined Drought Indicator mapping currently indicates that in the seven Northern Rivers local government areas of north-east NSW at rough estimates:

Est. 7% of the Clarence Valley is In Drought, est. 57% is Drought Affected and 36% Non Drought;

Est. 8% of the Richmond Valley is In Drought, est. 72% is Drought Affected and 20% is Non Drought;

Est. 7% of Lismore is Drought Affected and 93% Non Drought;

Est. 21% of Kyogle is Drought Affected and 79% Non Drought;

Est. 56% of Tweed is Drought Affected and 44% Non Drought;

Est. 100% of Ballina is Non Drought; and

Est. 100% of Byron is Non Drought.

Rainfall deficiencies, Australia, December 2022 to June 2023:

Click on image to enlarge

In north-east New South Wales, an area of serious deficiency extends inland from the west of the ranges, with pockets of serious and severe deficiency east of the Divide and in the Hunter District. [Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 6 July 2023]

Saturday 29 July 2023

Climate Change Maps of the Month, July 2023


The world has just experience twenty-four straight days of record breaking global temperatures with no end in sight.

Global average air temperature was 17.139 Celsius on Wednesday, 26 July 2023.

Daily Average 2 Meter Air Temperature

Daily Average 2 Meter Sea Surface Temperature


Daily Average Southern Hemisphere Seas Ice Extent

Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent is 3.518 million sq. km less that it was on the same day in 2014.

NOTE: All maps are visualizations generated using the Climate Reanyalizer from the Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, and is based on NOAA's NCEP Climate Forecast System v2.

Tweet of the Month


Friday 28 July 2023

NSW Public School Education: a brief perspective from the outside looking in


When one considers education access and equity in New South Wales one tends to think of the divide between private and public primary & high schools.

After all the top private schools such as Knox Grammar (Wahroonga), Sydney Grammar (Darlinghurst), Barker (Hornsby), Scots (Bellevue Hill) and Pymble Ladies (Pymble) have been known to bank more money in fees, federal & state funding and donations from wealthy donors than the Gross Domestic Product of some small island states.

Knox Grammar alone brought in $536,440,456 across five years up to 2021.

However, there is another level of inequality and that is the divide between public schools based on the socio-economic status of the geographical catchment from which students are drawn and/or whether those schools are classed as selective.

While public schools do not have the same ability to set fees as private schools and do not attract the same level of government funding, they do generate levels of ‘donations’

which indicate some level of advantage vs disadvantage.

NSW public school voluntary general contributions totalled $27,908,197.31 in 2022.

The top 12 public school general contributions were received by:

Sydney Boys High School $1,038,474.50*

Balgowlah Heights Public School $489,314.15

Carlingford High School $437,230.57

North Sydney Boys High School $368,278.94*

Chatswood High School $356,701.39

Ryde Secondary College $355,300.36

James Ruse Agricultural High School $330,273.608*

Cherrybrook Technology High School $306,667.75

Killarney Heights High School $297,845.28

Sydney Girls High School $295,009.83*

Baulkham Hills High School $230,761.50*

Epping Boys High School $227,940.62

NOTE:  * denotes fully selective state school

For highest and lowest an estimated breakdown of donation share per student would $1,713.65 for Sydney Boys High School and $175.33 per student for Epping Boys High School.

Not up to private school annual budgetary standards but there is a little more towards the school curriculum and extra-curricula activities.

It’s another story elsewhere in the state…..

Based on voluntary general donations raised by parents and carers in 12 schools in the NSW Northern Rivers region:

  • Grafton High School $18,201.20

  • South Grafton High School $7,611.25

  • Grafton Public School $5,435.00

  • South Grafton Public School $465.00

  • Lismore Heights Public School $1,740.00

  • Lismore Public School $105.00

  • Lismore South Public School $30.00

  • Tweed River High School $9,203.65

  • Tweed Heads Public School $457.00

  • Tweed Heads South Public School $52.00

  • Ballina Coast High School $12,134.00

  • Murwillumbah East Public School $5,430.00

For highest and lowest on the Northern Rivers list Grafton High School parental & carer ‘donations’ would equal around $22 dollars per student and for Lismore South Public School it is 0.12 cents a student in 2022.

It should come as no surprise, given the poor state funding model and the refusal of successive federal governments to contribute meaningfully to public school funding, that none of the four Northern Rivers public high schools listed in this post had students in the Top 6 (higher score) rankings for 2022 Higher School Certificate scores. While only two of the twelve public high schools in relatively affluent geographic catchments had students within the Top 6 rankings.

Of the five rich private schools identified in the second paragraph of this post only one of those high schools had students within Top 6 rankings for 2022 Higher School Certificate scores.

Across all NSW high schools the Top 10 with the highest success rate in the Higher School Certificate appear to have all been state selective or private schools.

It seems that affluent post codes or access to fully selective government schools may still have an inordinate influence when it comes to student outcomes in the final years of schooling.


Thursday 27 July 2023

On 25 July 2022 the NSW Legislative Council announced the “Inquiry into current and potential impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales”


On 25 July 2022 the NSW Legislative Council announced the Inquiry into current and potential impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales”

Triggered by community concerns wherever gold, silver, lead or zinc mining exploration is occurring or active mines are established and, the ongoing NSW Environmental Protection Agency investigation of Newcrest’s Cadia Holdings Pty Ltd mine near Orange, the NSW Parliament Legislative Council has acted.

Portfolio Committee No. 2 – Health was established on 10 May 2023 in the 58th Parliament to inquire into and report on any matters relevant to the public administration of:

Health, Regional Health, the Illawarra and the South Coast, Water, Housing, Homelessness, Mental Health, Youth, the North Coast.

The composition of Portfolio No.2 Committee is:

Chair: Cohn, Amanda (GRNS, LC Member)

Deputy Chair: Carter, Susan (LIB, LC Member)

Members: Buttigieg, Mark (ALP, LC Member)

Donnelly, Greg (ALP, LC Member)

Faehrmann, Cate (GRNS, LC Member)

Suvaal, Emily (ALP, LC Member)

Taylor, Bronnie (NAT, LC Member)

On Tuesday 25 July 2023 this Standing Committee created a Select Committee to inquire into and report on the current and potential impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales.

Submissions to the inquiry will close on 5 September 2023 and the select committee reports on its findings by 21 November 2023.

Submissions can be lodged via the inquiry webpage at:

The Inquiry’s terms of reference can be read abd downloaded at:

This Upper House inquiry is of more than passing interest to Northern Rivers communities given that by 2022 the NSW Government had granted 18 Mineral Mining Leases (MLs) and Gold Leases (GLs) and over 35 Mineral Exploration Licences (ELs) in the Clarence electorate, along with 6 new exploration leases [Clarence Catchment Alliance, retrieved 26.07.23].

Wednesday 26 July 2023

ACCC warns scammers targeting Australia’s largest loyalty reward programs


Scammers are more than just annoying people who persistently phone at inconvenient times or send begging emails from exotic locations. These days the ploys they use are often more sophisticated and mean their victims can lose money from bank accounts or find themselves with an unexpected debt within minutes of one click of a link or press of a button.

This is the most recent warning of scammer activity.....

The Guardian, 25 July 2023:

The ACCC has issued an urgent warning to customers of some of Australia’s largest loyalty reward programs, including Qantas frequent flyer, after detecting a new scam that targets valuable points.

The National Anti-Scam Centre has received 209 reports to Scamwatch in the past four months, of the scam targeting Qantas frequent flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs customers.

It comes as new research from Choice shows the majority of Australians think banks should reimburse scam victims, as the consumer association joins calls for financial institutions to provide some form of compensation.

Australians lost a record amount of more than $3.1bn to scams in 2022, up from the $2bn lost in 2021, according to ACCC figures.

New data from Commbank released on Tuesday showed Australians are becoming more cautious of answering the phone because of the increase, with three in four (76%) people only picking up if they recognise the number.

With the new scam, consumers receive a text message or email stating their loyalty points are expiring. It includes a link to a fake website, which prompts customers to log in. Customers may also be prompted to provide credit card details to use loyalty points.

Scammers then steal customers’ points, their login details and personal information to use on other platforms and commit identity fraud.

Scammers then steal customers’ points, their login details and personal information to use on other platforms and commit identity fraud.

The vast majority of reports to Scamwatch received so far are in relation to Qantas frequent flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs, but Australians should be aware that any loyalty program could be targeted, ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.

The National Anti-Scam Centre has contacted the companies that have been impersonated by scammers and is working with web host providers to have the fake websites taken down, to minimise harm to the community,” Lowe said.

We are very concerned that Australians experiencing cost-of-living pressures may be more susceptible to these scams. Scammers are deliberately panicking consumers by claiming their points are expiring soon. We urge people to immediately delete or ignore any message regarding a loyalty program that contains a link.”.....

Three golden rules when answering the phone, reading an email or scrolling a text message, according to the Australian Government National Anti-Scam Centre:

STOP – Don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure

Scammers will offer to help you or ask you to verify who you are. They will pretend to be from organisations you know and trust like, Services Australia, police, a bank, government or a fraud service.

THINK – Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?

Never click a link in a message. Only contact businesses or government using contact information from their official website or through their secure apps. If you’re not sure say no, hang up or delete.

PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong.

Contact your bank if you notice some unusual activity or if a scammer gets your money or information. Seek help from IDCARE and report to ReportCyber and Scamwatch.

Monday 24 July 2023

A thought on the tardiness of a former prime minister.......

Liberal Opposition backbench MP for Cook & former prime minister Scott Morrison does not appear to have returned to Australia as yet. 

Having departed this country around 16-18 June 2023 and, studiously remained overseas for the tabling and publication of the damning Report of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme, he is running out of reasons to continue to avoid his own and the national electorate in his 5th week of a holiday jaunt.

Both houses of parliament resume sitting on Monday 31 July so perhaps he will have found some courage tucked away along with a souvenir from the Acropolis in a pocket of his suitcase and will be back in Canberra by then.

A reminder of how unfondly he has been regarded for many years now.....  


Sunday 23 July 2023

Coastal Emu numbers continue to dwindle in the Clarence Valley due vehicle strike and human population pressures


Coastal Emu attempting to cross Brooms Head roads in the Lower Clarence Valley, NSW. IMAGES: The Daily Telegraph, archival photographs

Clarence Valley Independent, 19 July 2023:

Residents of the Clarence Valley and visitors to the region are being asked to keep an eye out for critically endangered Coastal Emu’s on local roads following the recent death of an animal on Brooms Head Road.

Coastal Emus live between Evans Head and Corindi along the Northern NSW coast, with the population, believed to be less than 40 locally, stretching inland to the Bungawalbin wetlands.

Yuraygir National Park and Bungawalbin National Park remain the strongholds for the remaining Coastal Emu population in the region.

Due to this incident in late June, the Saving our Species program is reminding people travelling on Clarence Valley roads to remain vigilant and report any emu sightings, after 60 emus were killed by vehicles in the last 10 years.

The latest casualty…followed a suspected chick vehicle strike death in May.”

Despite this tragic incident, efforts have been made to prevent it happening again through the implementation of signage and reduced speed limits.

Ms Giese said Clarence Valley Council, Transport for NSW, Department of Planning and Environment and local community groups have worked together to reduce speed limits on Brooms Head Road, and clear signage is in place.

The speed reduction zone is located at an emu crossing corridor and road strike hotspot and is the same location where the emu was killed last week,” Ms Giese said.

I would also like to acknowledge the huge community effort that went into finding the injured emu and getting it to veterinary attention.”

Locals can help save the Coastal Emu population by reporting sightings of emus in the Clarence Valley to council’s online sightings register

If you own land where emus roam, installing emu friendly fencing can help save the species, and motorists are reminded to be on high alert for emus on local roads.

Coastal Emu family, Palmers Island Channel, Lower Clarence River, NSW. IMAGES: The Daily Telegraph & Daily Examiner, 2015, archival footage