Australian news, and some related international items

Science researcher debunks Tony Abbott’s climate claims

Abbott-pants-on-fireTony Abbott’s climate claims debunked: researcher dissects 2013 statement Guardian, , 23 Jan 16  Sophie Lewis was so annoyed about the way science was ignored in the political debate about climate change she went to work to disprove the myths. Climate scientists are regularly infuriated by the things politicians say. But it’s not often they publish a scientific paper tearing a politician’s comments to shreds.

Sophie Lewis, from the Australian Research Council’s centre for excellence in climate science, has done exactly that, dissecting statements about climate records made by the former prime ministerTony Abbott in 2013.

Last week, temperature figures showed 2015 was officially the hottest year on record. Before that, 2014 was the hottest year on record. And scientists are expecting 2016 to once again win the dubious honour.

Heat records are being broken with wild abandon. Last year, 10 months broke temperature records.

Climate scientists say a rise in the average temperature caused by greenhouse gas emissions makes extreme heat records more likely.

In 2013, the UN’s top climate official, Christiana Figueres, linked bushfires in Australia to climate change. Abbott called such claims “complete hogwash” and said drawing links between broken records and climate change was a sign of desperation.

Lewis says she was frustrated by the gap she saw between what the science showed and what some politicians said was happening.

In a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Weather and Climate Extremes, Lewis pulls Abbot’s comments apart, shred by shred…………

The first way to understand Abbott’s claim is that in any system, the longer you wait, the more often you will see records fall. But Lewis points out that the exact opposite is true. In a system without any sort of trend, such as a random string of temperatures, the first one will be a record-breaker, by default. The second one will have a 50% chance of being a record-breaker. The third has a one in three chance of being a record breaker … and so on. In a very long temperature series, you should see very few records being broken, and they will break less often over time.

Unless, of course, there is a warming or cooling trend………

Lewis ran a series of climate models in which the greenhouse effect was removed – so all that was left was natural variability. Unsurprisingly, in those models, high temperature records were less common than they are in reality. In other words, the record-breaking that we have seen cannot be explained by natural variation……

January 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Oh my God! Global Warming Is Affecting The TENNIS!

fearAccording to Malcolm Tulloch, director of entertainment, crew and sport at the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the hotter climate is having an impact on the hundreds of people working at the tournament.
“Global warming is already having a big impact in Australia and the effect on both professional and local community sportspeople and sports clubs is significant,”
heatRising temperatures at Australian Open ’caused by global warming’ Hot temperatures at the Australian Open tennis tournament may be down to global warming, according to some climate experts.
 The Australian Conservation Foundation reported that in recent years players have complained about the heat at the first grand-slam tournament of the year, including Canadian Frank Dancevic, who collapsed during a match in 2014.

Analysis from University of Melbourne Atmosphere and Ocean researcher Ben Hague shows January temperatures in Melbourne have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius each decade since 1987, but in the two weeks of the Australian Open the increase has been 1.25 degrees.

The Bureau of Meteorology 2015 Climate Statement showed days of extreme weather are on the increase across Australia.

A number of tennis clubs have implemented extreme heat policies to fulfill their duty of care to players, including Victoria based Australasian Academy of Tennis Coaches. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Has Malcolm Turnbull got any hope of real action on climate change?

Turnbull straightjacketParis UN Climate Conference 2015: Paris delivers, but can Malcolm Turnbull? SMH December 13, 2015  Environment editor, The Age With the Paris summit wrapping up having delivered an historic global climate agreement, questions will inevitably turn to whether Malcolm Turnbull will use the international momentum to advance the climate debate back home.

For half a decade, Australia has been stuck in a fact-free debate on climate policy – one that has seen one of the biggest challenges the world faces turned into a domestic political chew toy.

But where the failure at Copenhagen helped derailed Kevin Rudd’s climate ambition back in 2009, success in Paris presents the opposite opportunity for Turnbull, who many believe has a deep desire to move to a more robust climate policy.

For a start, Australia has to review its emissions targets.  It has set what is widely regarded to be a low-ball goal of cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The government has known it may have to lift this under the Paris deal, and has been preparing for it by signalling it will allow the use of international carbon markets – representing cuts effectively in poorer countries paid for by Australia – from 2017. The Paris deal supports international carbon trading.

We will soon find out whether two weeks on, and one historic agreement later, Turnbull feels the world has moved enough to take a few brave steps forward.

Deeper cuts will also require a bigger re-think of domestic policies – Australia will not be able to rely on the current combination of paying some farmers and businesses to cut emissions, carbon accounting fiddles and falling demand for electricity.

It will have to find a way to finally address pollution from the country’s fleet of large, ageing coal-fired power plants. Emissions from coal have been rising since the Coalition abolished the national carbon price scheme.

The government’s direct action scheme is not fit for this job – at least not as currently designed. It will need a radical overhaul, perhaps one that would make it look more like a type of emissions trading scheme……..forward.

December 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop signs Paris Declaration for clear rules for carbon trading

What  a tortuous track Julie Bishop, Greg Hunt and co. have to navigate, as they weave about within the Turnbull government’s climate policies – which are exactly the same as Tony Abbott’s !

text-cat-questionHow long before the Turnbull government trips itself up in its own convoluted Turnbull straightjacket

How long before Australia’s voters wake up to them?

Australia signs up for clear carbon trading rules, hinting at policy change, Guardian,  in Paris, 10 Dec 15 

Signing declaration at the Paris climate talks ‘recognises the role a carbon market might play after 2020’, foreign minister Julie Bishop says. Australia has signed a Paris declaration calling for new clear rules for international carbon trading in a signal the Coalition’s six-year carbon pricing policy veto could be softening as it prepares to review its climate policy in 2017.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop, who signed the declaration in Paris, said it was in Australia’s interests to recognise the role an international carbon market might play in reducing emissions after 2020.

“It’s just a declaration, it’s not legally binding,” she said after a speech to an event organised by Australia’s Carbon Market Institute. Continue reading

December 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia not welcomed into “high ambition coalition” climate action group

logo Paris climate1Aust missing from climate change group, Herald Sun, 12 Dec 15 Australia has not yet been welcomed into a new “high ambition coalition” of 100 nations at major climate talks in Paris, despite claiming it had joined through the European Union.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum revealed the alliance of around 100 countries, including the United States, this week at the United Nations summit.

Australia was not among them and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seemed unaware of the group when it was revealed on Wednesday.

Mr de Brum, who spearheaded the alliance, issued an open invitation to countries in Paris.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop on Friday confirmed Australia had been formally invited by the European Union and had accepted the invitation. However, it appears Australia hasn’t yet been welcomed into the group, the Marshall Islands hinting the country would have to prove its worth.

“We are delighted to learn of Australia’s interest and look forward to hearing what more they may be able to do to join our coalition of high ambition here in Paris,” a spokesman for Mr de Brum said.

Earlier on Friday Mr de Brum read out a list of countries that had accepted his open invitation, with Australia notably absent.

 Canada which, like Australia, has been criticised for a lack of climate action in recent years, joined on Thursday…….

WHAT THEY WANT *Reference to limiting global warming to 1.5C (is in the text)

*Clear path towards a low-carbon future (emissions neutrality by second half of century in text)

*Five yearly updates (is in the text)

*Strong package of financial support for developing nations ($100 billion per year plus scale up after 2020 is an option in the text – could be removed)

December 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

‘High ambition coalition” on climate change – but Australia won’t be joining

Map Turnbull climateAustralia unlikely to join climate coalition, Sky News, 11 December 2015 Canada has joined a new coalition of 100 countries calling for an ambitious agreement at major climate talks in Sky News alia is unlikely to add its name to the list.

Some predict the new ‘high ambition coalition’ could be a significant force in the negotiations, with a majority of nations – from the richest to the poorest – involved.

Australia, while supporting its intention, hasn’t joined.

The 100 countries, including the United States, are demanding a reference to limiting global warming to 1.5C, five-yearly reviews and a pathway to low carbon.

It also wants adequate financing for poor countries.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum urged more countries to join while revealing the coalition on Wednesday night.

Canada’s environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna took up that offer the following day, despite not initially being on the list.

Australia is understood to agree with the group’s goals but wants to focus its energy elsewhere…….–in-climate-talks–hollande.html


December 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moor in Paris: upbeat about city’s climate change action

logo Paris climate1Paris UN climate conference 2015: Clover Moore tells government to get out of the way–clover-moore-says-government-hindering-her-carbon-neutral-efforts-20151203-glf653.html December 8, 2015  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald In Paris, the local city government is presenting a grim view of the possible impacts of global warming. It is offering visitors to the climate conference apocalyptic visions of a Venice or New York largely under water, and Stonehenge surrounded by an English desert.

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore adopts a more optimistic view. In the French capital for a number of events held on alongside the climate summit, she has a positive story to tell, noting her city’s operations are already carbon neutral and deep emissions cuts are under way as business and green groups get on with it.

Moore. Clover

The city’s top commercial landlords have cut 45 per cent of their carbon dioxide emissions since 2006, saving $30 million a year, she said on the sidelines of the Paris . A surge in developments – almost $4 billion in 2014 rising to $7 billion this year – means a focus on efficiency in new buildings will also avoid future costs for energy, water and waste.

“The actions cities are taking across the world are making an incredible difference,” Cr Moore told Fairfax Media, noting 75 per cent of Australians and more than half the world’s  people live in cities.

The performance and potential of the world’s major cities has been a theme of the Paris climate summit through a series of urban events – Ms Moore attended or spoke at five – highlighting the contribution that cities can make to meeting the conference’s wider goal of keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees of pre-industrial levels.

report released at the conference found that cities – already home to more than 50 per cent of the world’s population – alone had the potential to cut global greenhouse gases by about 6 per cent by 2030 – or 3.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – and more than double that by 2050.

For Sydney, the goal is to cut emissions 70 per cent on 2006 levels by 2030. Although well on the way to that goal, the city’s progress is being hampered by Canberra on the planning front, Cr Moore said. Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Don’t undervalue the contribution of Australia’s indigenous people at Paris Climate Summit

“It’s not good enough that some communities will be impacted worse than others. If you’re talking about the Pacific Islands you’re talking about people losing their homes, people having to move away from where their culture is, where they’ve beenâ¦throughout their family’s history. It’s not about, some people yes are going to be impacted more, but it’s like the people who are going to be impacted more have contributed least to this problem, and that’s where we talk about this being a justice issue that’s not fair.

West Australian Indigenous association, the Kimberley Land Council has sent a group of representatives to the conference.

The Council’s CEO, Nolan Hunter, warns that Indigenous communities shouldn’t be undervalued.

logo Paris climate1What do the Indigenous voices say on climate change? SBS, 8 Dec 15 Climate change continues to dominate the agenda, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull holding firm to his target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels of carbon emissions at the Paris talks, but some are wondering where the Indigenous voices are in the debate?

It’s a truly international topic of discussion: what can and should the world do about climate change?Like many nations, Australia faces hotter summers, more droughts, rising tides and a significant impact on its ecology.

Larissa Baldwin, national coordinator of youth climate group Seed, says the country’s Indigenous communities will bear the brunt.

And she believes their voices aren’t being given enough attention.

“I don’t think we have been given enough of a say, when you look at Indigenous communities around the world we’re already being impacted by climate change right now. We’re also on the forefront of fossil fuel extraction in Australia, and I think for a lot of us – we’ve had to send people over to Paris to actually get in front of our world leaders and say ‘hey you need to listen to us’.” Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia ranked way down the bottom for climate change action

Map Turnbull climate

“Experts criticise that Australia’s attitude appeared to be to try to avoid making any substantive commitments, and to do the absolute minimum that it has to. There appeared to be no recognition of Australia’s national interest in minimising climate change; rather, the focus seems to be on protecting domestic energy and resource exporters (coal and gas industry),”

Australia ranked third-last in climate change performance of 58 countries, Guardian,  9 Dec 15 2016 Climate Change Performance Index released at Paris climate summit, day after Julie Bishop said Australia was meeting and beating its climate targets. Australia has come third last in an annual assessment of 58 nations’ climate policies, with only Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan ranking worse.

The assessment by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe was released at the Paris climate summit, just one day after foreign minister Julie Bishop told the assembled ministers Australia was meeting and beating its climate targets and transforming its energy production. Continue reading

December 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Pacific islanders will be climate refugees, whatever the outcome in Paris

Even If Paris Climate Talks Succeed, Pacific Islanders Will Be Looking For New Homes, New Matilda,  By  on December 4, 2015 Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours already face poverty, and soon they’ll be facing even worse. Thom Mitchell reports from Paris.

More than 70 per cent of households in the Pacific Islands of Tuvalu and Kiribati to Australia’s north east say they’re likely to migrate if the impacts of climate change become any worse than they already are, according to research presented in Paris at a global summit on climate change yesterday.


Climate change already exists as a key driver of migration in the region, according to the study presented by the United Nations University’s Dr Koko Warner, which found it motivating 23 per cent of Kiribati’s migration and eight per cent of Tuvalu’s.

In Nauru – an island nation Australia uses to arbitrarily and indefinitely detain many of its asylum seekers – more than 40 per cent of households said they feel migration would be their likely response if sea level rise or flooding worsened.

All three islands are extremely vulnerable to the climate change impacts like sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and storm surges, and the survey of more than 7,000 people across the three countries found that climate change was already affecting agriculture and fish stocks, and reclaiming or spoiling land. Continue reading

December 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull in Paris: the dinosaurs are still in charge of climate policy

As usual with climate politics, most Australians have little understanding of just how out of touch the Turnbull government is compared to other major nations……

large numbers of Liberal and National Party politicians put their conservative loyalties ahead of rational science and the self-interest of their country. They don’t believe climate change is real, and they’ll do everything in their power to stop Malcolm Turnbull (or anyone else) from doing something about it. 

The Coalition Is Spending Billions To Help Increase Our Carbon Emissions, New Matilda By  on December 1, 2015 Malcolm Turnbull’s first day in Paris confirms the dinosaurs are still in charge of Liberal climate policy, writes Ben Eltham.

Australia’s Prime Minister is in Paris for the COP21 global climate change conference.

I suppose we should be grateful he is there at all. One struggles to imagine what Tony Abbott might have said and done at such an event. Abbott was always at his worst when the opportunity came to sow discord and create hostility; at the very least, we can be thankful that the decidedly more urbane and diplomatic Turnbull is there in the place of his predecessor.

Sure enough, Turnbull told delegates that Australia now comes to the talks “with confidence and optimism.” That is indeed a different approach to Abbott’s love affair with fossilised carbon.

Turnbull also made some very modest announcements. He pledged Australia to the final years of the Kyoto protocol – an agreement that is lapsing anyway, but which will allow Australian firms to resume purchasing overseas carbon abatement permits, potentially a big saving for the government’s Direct Action spendathon.

$800 million is also being promised to developing nations for climate adaptation. In keeping with the Coalition’s well-demonstrated contempt for foreign aid of any kind, the money is being taken from the existing foreign aid pot, already savaged in recent budgets. In contrast, Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged $2.5 billion.

Unfortunately, friendly gestures and some modest announcements leave Australia well behind the rest of the world when it comes to climate action.

For instance, Continue reading

December 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Aboriginals boycott Climate March – alert organisers to distance unwanted pro nuclear lobbyistys

handsoffClimate March Organisers Distance Event From Nuclear Group After Aboriginal Activists Boycott, New Matilda, By  on November 30, 2015 Organisers responsible for the Sydney leg of the massive international climate change marches that took place over the weekend have distanced the event from a pro-nuclear group after Aboriginal representatives pulled out the night before the protest.

Members of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy and representatives of the #SOSBlakAustralia movement issued a statement on Saturday night rescinding their support for the event, citing concerns about the presence of pro-nuclear groups and the lack of consultation and time allotted for speakers.

Aunty Jenny Munro, from the Redfern Tent Embassy, had been billed as a speaker but did not appear at the Sunday event.

Uncle Ken Canning, also a member of the Embassy, told New Matilda concerns had been caused by the lack of speaking time offered to Munro, the location of the Aboriginal groups in the march, and the organising committee’s failure to denounce nuclear energy and uranium mining.

“Where the uranium rich places are, it’s where Aboriginal people live,” Canning said. “We get removed from the lands for them to mine, then get removed from the lands for them to dump the waste – we get a double whammy.”

In response, the People’s Climate March organising committed eventually distanced the event form nuclear groups in a statement posted on Facebook.

“While we don’t agree with or in any way endorse their position, we could not actively stop the pro-nuclear group from attending the rally because it’s not within our power to stop anyone attending. We also felt that to make a public statement about the involvement of Nuclear for Climate in the lead up to the march would give this this group more public exposure and attention – and we didn’t want their voices to draw attention away from the other groups and messages in the march.”……

On the other side of the Domain – which was drenched in sunlight, as if to make a point – was Natalie Wasley, coordinator of the Beyond Nuclear Initiative. ….

“Nuclear is unsafe and unnecessary, it can never meet the demand we need for rapid transition for our energy needs,” Wasley said. “It could never come online in time, it’s far too expensive, it’s dangerous, and it’s dirty.”

She said people could not be prevented from attending open community rallies but that the People’s Climate March had presented itself as progressive movement interested in just transitions for the environment and workers, and that nuclear energy did not tick those boxes….

December 2, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia refuses to sign Paris communique on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies

Hunt-direct-actionParis climate talks: Australia won’t sign fossil fuel missive due to Nationals concerns about diesel rebate, ABC News, By political reporter Dan Conifer Australia will not be signing a communique at the Paris climate summit about phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Nationals MPs and senators were concerned the pledge could affect the multi-billion-dollar diesel fuel rebate for farmers and miners.

The communique is due to be presented on Monday, but a Federal Government source has told the ABC Australia will not be signing it.

“Hooray,” Nationals deputy leader Barnaby Joyce said when told the news on Radio National…..

Industries such as agriculture, fishing and forestry can access a rebate on the diesel excise paid.

The fossil-fuel subsidy reform communique encourages countries to phase out subsidies to help limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius…….

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said nothing out of the Paris talks would have “any impact” on the scheme.

But after considering the matter, the Government has decided not to sign the document at all.’t-sign-fossil-fuel-deal-at-paris-talks/6988380

December 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Greens expose the Australian govt’s ‘paltry’ contribution on climate change

Hear-This-way PLIBERSEK: This is pretty rich considering that we have actually cut funding to countries like Kiribati that are currently struggling with climate change and adaptation and mitigation.

In fact we’ve cut $2.5 million from Kiribati. It’s plain too that there is no new money here, we are talking about redirecting some of the existing aid budget, which, as I said, is already much depleted. 

greensSmRichard Di Natale slams Govt’s climate contribution in Paris as ‘paltry’, ABC Radio The World Today Louise Yaxley reported this story on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ELEANOR HALL: The leader of the Australian Greens has accused the Federal Government of a paltry effort at the Paris climate conference.  Richard di Natale says the $1 billion that the Government is promising to help Pacific nations should not be being diverted from the foreign aid budget.

In Canberra, political correspondent Louise Yaxley reports.

LOUISE YAXLEY: In Paris, Malcolm Turnbull has promised more money for innovation by signing up with other countries for a plan to double investment in clean energy over the next five years.

Many of the details of where that money will go will be spelled out in the innovation statement next week.

Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek says that does not match up with the Government’s recent actions.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Now it seems that the Prime Minister is talking about innovation in the area of climate change. Well this is pretty ironic from a government that has halved the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, sought to abolish ARENA, abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and abolish the Climate Change Authority.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Turnbull has also promised to spend at least a billion over the next five years from the existing aid budget to help small Pacific nations adapt to climate change and to reduce emissions.

The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended the age budget being used that way when interviewed on AM.

JULIE BISHOP: Because this is what the aid budget is designed to do – to assist in natural disaster relief, to build resilience against natural disasters. Indeed this is what the small island developing nations of the Pacific are asking for.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It’s not new money though, is it?

JULIE BISHOP: No, it’s not new its money out of the aid budget…….

Continue reading

December 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

No new money for Pacific Islands climate help: Australian govt just taking it from foreign aid

hypocrisy-scaleFederal Government attacked for using aid budget to fund climate response, ABC Radio PM Peta Donald reported this story on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 

TIM PALMER: With the Prime Minister heading back from Paris, Labor and the Greens have attacked Malcolm Turnbull for taking money from Australia’s already depleted foreign aid budget to pay for promises made in Paris on climate change. ….

PETA DONALD: Labor and the Greens say the funding should not come from the foreign aid budget, that’s already suffered an $11-billion cut.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says unless new money is found, other aid projects will suffer.

RICHARD DI NATALE: So, we’re taking money out of immunisation programs, out of water and sanitation programs, out of family planning. This is shameful, it’s absolutely shameful.

And what we’re seeing in Paris is Malcolm Turnbull wanting to look good on the world stage when in fact what he’s doing is further gutting our foreign aid budget. A Prime Minister who is prepared to show some leadership would take on the dinosaurs in his own party room, would show a bit more ambition with our targets, would raise new money for climate financing, and would join the campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies……

December 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment


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