Australian news, and some related international items

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

Australia should start a “post-disaster humanitarian visa” for Pacific islanders displaced by climate change

Australia needs US-style green card deal for climate-threatened Pacific islanders, Guardian, Ben Doherty, 2 Dec 15 

 Migration Council Australia says working migration could help Pacific economies, counter poverty and reduce the need for aid. Australia should introduce a “post-disaster humanitarian visa” for Pacific islanders displaced by natural disasters and climate change, a new report from the Migration Council Australia has recommended.

And to boost historically low rates of migration from the Pacific, Australia should consider instituting a green card-style lottery for Pacific islanders to live and work in Australia, and boost seasonal worker numbers to industries such as horticulture.

Migration from Pacific countries to Australia has been consistently low for decades – representing less than 0.5% of all visas granted to Australia – but the Migration Council, an independent migration policy body, argues that the movement of people from the Pacific could benefit source countries and Australia.

Pacific countries, geographically disparate, sparsely populated and, in many cases, economically fragile, are forecast to be at the forefront of the impacts of climate change, with low-lying atoll nations particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and worsening natural disasters.

Research suggests that by 2050, between 665,000 and 1.7 million people will be displaced by climate change across the Pacific. Continue reading

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

Across Australia, rallies for climate change action

climate-changeAustralians join global rallies for climate change action ahead of Paris talks ABC News 29 Nov 15 Thousands of Australians have joined a worldwide wave of marches on the eve of United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris, calling for stronger measures to combat global warming.

Events were held today in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Hobart, as well as regional and rural towns around Australia, joining about 600 other cities in more than 120 countries around the world. Continue reading

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s contribution to UN Climate Summit – pro coal video “Coal is Amazing”!

hypocrisy-scaleAustralian Delegation To Present ‘Coal Is Amazing’ Video At Climate Conference   Australia’s contribution to the Paris climate change talks will be a short animated  video explaining the benefits of coal.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he was looking forward to sharing the ‘little gem of a video’ on the conference’s main stage. “The broader global community has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to understanding coal’s amazing qualities. This video will be the talk of the conference I feel,” he said before leaving for Paris.

A Rational Fear – This Little Black Rock is gonna F you Up!

[Oh dear, I think I might have put up the wrong video – what  a shame!]

Mr Hunt said the little black rock provided endless possibilities. “It can provide light. And jobs,” he said, holding up a piece of coal for reporters to see.

Following Australia’s presentation, delegates will receive a take-home bag containing a genuine piece of Australian coal. “It’s a little memento to remember the Aussies by,” Mr Hunt said.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Sydney: huge climate rally shows support for Pacific islanders

climate-changeHuge crowds march in Sydney climate rally, Herald Sun, November 29, 2015
  Thousands of protesters have marched through Sydney CBD to the Opera House to rally for action on climate change ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris.

The giant costumed figures of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott greeted scientists, activists, families, elderly and youth that gathered at the Domain on Sunday to urge leaders to shift more rapidly to renewable energy and cut carbon emissions worldwide.

People have waved placards to the sound of drums while others have broken into dance and worn costumes of marine life that would be affected by increasing global temperatures.

“Minds change or climate change” read one placard, while another said “there is no Planet B”.

Climate Council’s Professor Tim Flannery addressed the crowd before they marched, saying a successful outcome at the UN summit was vital. “Do your utmost to see success at Paris, we won’t accept anything less,” he said to the cheers of the crowd, which he described as “the biggest climate march” in Australia’s history.

The rally observed a minute’s silence to acknowledge those most affected by climate change, especially Australia’s neighbours in the Pacific.

Earlier, deputy federal Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said the government had to take action now before the cost of reducing emissions increased.”The sooner we start making cuts to our carbon pollution, the cheaper it’ll be to get there,” she told reporters in Sydney just before the rally.

 “Climate change is not a distant future threat for our Pacific neighbours, it is happening right now.”……

Sydney march organiser Reece Proudfoot said those taking part in the Australian marches walked in solidarity with millions of people across the world as part of a global campaign. Mr Proudfoot welcomed Labor’s pledge on Friday to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, which is well above the coalition pledge of between 26 and 28 per cent.

More than 40,000 people marched in Melbourne’s central business district on Friday to kick off the weekend of climate marches, with dozens of events also taking place in regional towns across the country.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Canberra residents in their thousands march for climate action

climate-changeThousands gather in ACT for climate march  November 29, 2015 Thousands of Canberrans have joined a worldwide protest by marching to support action on climate change.

They gathered on the front lawn of parliament house, a broad cross-section of people from Labor and the Greens to the fireman’s union, bee keepers, the Grim Reaper and Tibetan cows – pantomime-style cows that is.

 “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” was the chant as the march – estimated by organisers to be as many as 6000 people – set off.

Federal Labor ACT MP Gai Brotmann said people were sending a strong message to the Turnbull government. “Action is required on climate, credible action and direction action is not that,” Ms Brotmann told AAP.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

United Nations call on Australia to produce a consistent climate policy, not ‘mixed messages’

flag-UN.Map Turnbull climateUN calls for consistent climate policy from Australia   Australia needs to be more consistent on climate change after mixed messages under recent governments, a senior UN official says. Australia must be more consistent on climate change after a series of erratic policy changes, a senior United Nations environment program official says.

Kaveh Zahedi, the UN’s Environment Program (UNEP) Asia Pacific representative, says Australia’s climate policies have failed to reflect wider community concerns over climate change.

“It seems we are getting mixed messages (on climate change policy),” Zahedi told AAP.

Zahedi’s comments come ahead of next week’s Paris summit on climate change, which is aimed at forging an agreement to cut greenhouse emissions, and limiting global warming to 2C.

Policy measures to deal with climate change have included a carbon tax introduced by the former Labor government, which was later repealed by the coalition under Tony Abbott.

Zahedi said Australia needed to bring policy certainty to the Paris negotiating table next week.

He hoped the underlying message from the Paris summit would be clear and “override some of the mixed messages that might or might not exist at the national level”.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Huge Melbourne rally kicks off Australia’s marches for climate action

climate Melbourne 15

Thousands gather at Melbourne CBD rally ahead of Paris climate summit, The Age, [excellent photos and video] November 27, 2015 -Chloe Booker, Timna Jacks, With Tom Cowie and AAP

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Melbourne’s CBD to demand world leaders take strong action to protect the planet at the Paris climate change conference.

The so-called People’s Climate March was one of hundreds of rallies being held around the world in the lead up to the crucial meeting. Members of The Cat Empire performed for the crowd, which included Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

 Organiser Victoria McKenzie-McHarg estimated the crowd was at least 60,000 strong. “This absolutely is the largest climate change rally we have ever seen in Australian history,” she said to cheers from the crowd.  Chanting “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now”, the demonstrators marched from the State Library to Parliament House.

A sea of placards stretched down Bourke Street from Spring Street to Swanston Street and along Swanston Street from Bourke Street to La Trobe Street. There was a stand-off between banked-up traffic and protesters at Exhibition Street as frustrated drivers honked their horns and the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts.

Stunned diners observed the march from outside Bourke Street cafes, and some heckled the demonstrators. Sections of the crowd were more like a party, with some dancing and clapping to a marching band dressed in green-glittered uniforms, while others swayed to the strumming of a guitar. ……..

Andy Parsons, an Environment Victoria volunteer who attended both rallies, said environmentalists supported the right of Aboriginal people to live independently.”The Aboriginal people lived sustainably for thousands of years. Us white people could learn a lot from them,” he said.

Aboriginal man Robbie Thorpe said he saw a parallel between the “genocide” of his people and what he called the  “ecocide” of Australia’s natural environment. “We are the custodians of the land and the language. Only we know how to talk to our land. Without the Aboriginal people the land can’t survive and without the land, we can’t survive.”

November 27, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia’s sorry history of deception about action on climate change

Australia is not the only country to have tried to use international rules to its domestic advantage. But Australia’s history of special deals now raises some big domestic policy questions.

the accounting rules may not come to our rescue another time. It is not clear whether we will be able to “carry over” again, although Hunt has indicated we would like to. But the task is now also bigger than any “carry over” could massage.

After decades of fighting and fudging, Australia will have to really do something about its greenhouse emissions this time

Turnbull climate 2 facedWelcome to the wonderful world of climate talks, where less means more, Hunt-direct-actionGuardian 
Lenore Taylor, 27 Nov 
The maths doesn’t add up – Australia’s emissions are trending up and yet we are meeting pledges to cut them. But it all makes sense in the complicated and chaotic world of climate negotiations  T
he numbers look clear. In 1990, Australia emitted 564m tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2005 that rose to 611m. By 2014-15 that had fallen a bit to 565m. But in 2029-30, the latest published projections say we will emit 724m tonnes.

They have gone up and down and they might not be rising by as much as if we’d never heard the words “climate change”, but in absolute terms our greenhouse emissions are trending up, not down.

And yet over those same decades we will have solemnly given three different national pledges to reduce our emissions and, as the environment minister, Greg Hunt, keeps enthusiastically reminding us, in every case we will “meet and beat” our pledges.

How can it be possible for national emissions to rise over 30 years while a country “meets and beats” successive promises to reduce them? The answer takes us first deep into the complicated and chaotic world of international climate negotiations and then to the dizzying heights of political spin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

For Australia, Paris is a starting point for climate action, not the end game.

logo Paris climate1Paris offers a chance at a different story. Ambitions are more modest, and more realistic. No one is expecting the agreement to comprehensively achieve the 2-degree target. In fact, documents already released suggest it would allow temperatures to rise at least 2.7 degrees.

Success at Paris will be more subtle. It will be measured by whether incremental steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to be seen as a priority for the world, long after the excitement of the conference has passed away.

It will be the intangible measure of how the world’s attitude on climate change has shifted.

Don’t rely on grand treaties from the Paris climate summit’t-rely-on-grand-treaties-from-paris/6979176

By Sara Phillips If we want to avoid the disappointment we felt after the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, we need to accept that the Paris meeting next week won’t be about signing some grand treaty, but about keeping up momentum for change, writes Sara Phillips.

Calm your farm, Greenies. Paris is an amazing city, but the United Nations conference on climate change to be held next week is not going to save the world. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Firefighters will march for climate action: global warming increases their dangers

firefighters for  climate actionIdeology aside, firefighters find themselves at the front line of climate impacts, and we are well aware that something is going on and conditions are gradually worsening. Of course climate change is not the only factor making firefighters’ work more and more challenging, but there’s no question that increasing temperatures and increasing drought conditions are a big part of the problem.

the United Firefighters Union will join with tens of thousands of Australians this weekend at the People’s Climate Marches taking place all over Australia.

More dangerous bushfires in our future if we don’t take action on climate change  November 26, 2015 Peter Marshall and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg There are no climate change sceptics at the end of a fire hose.

Australia’s firefighters know from first-hand experience that climate change has led to more frequent and more intense fires. It has also made our fire seasons longer.

Every day, firefighters go into situations as others flee in the opposite direction. Firefighters’ jobs are already dangerous. But we are increasingly concerned that changing climate conditions are increasing this danger.

firefighters Queensland

This summer is on track to be one of the worst on record for fires. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates it as a 97 per cent chance that 2015 will be the hottest year on record – and it looks like it will be the hottest by quite a wide margin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt at Paris climate summit

Turnbull climate 2 facedParis 2015: Hunt says climate change action at Paris talks a ‘deeply personalHunt-direct-action goal’
Clinching a global deal in Paris to keep global warming below two degrees is a “deeply personal goal” and climate change inaction is “not an option”, Environment Minister Greg Hunt is expected to say on Wednesday. – Sydney Morning Herald, 25/11/15

Don’t be a climate coward PM – Greens
The Greens have warned Malcolm Turnbull not to be a “climate coward” at global talks in Paris.

The prime minister had one last chance to prove he was not a weathervane on climate change like his predecessor Tony Abbott, Greens MP Adam Bandt told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“He’s going to Paris with a big black rock around his neck,” he said, citing the government’s approval of the southern hemisphere’s biggest coal mine Adani Carmichael.

Michael Brull: Before Adopting Them As PM, Malcolm Turnbull Called Bullsh*t On The Coalition’s Climate Change Plans
In 2010 Turnbull helped launched a report calling for a zero emissions future. He understands the threat climate change poses, he just doesn’t seem to care anymore

‘Captain’s call’ plea as more CSIRO job cuts loom on eve of PM’s address to Paris climate summit Some of Australia’s leading climate research programs are under threat even as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to address world leaders at next week’s global climate summit in Paris.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Vested interests stop universities from divesting in fossil fuels

Links to mining sector are preventing Australian universities from divesting in fossil fuels, The Conversation,  Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology  Senior Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland University of Technology November 24, 2015 
Australian universities have been quick to promote their commitment to sustainability, but slow to divest their fossil fuel investments and take a strong stance on climate change.

This places them behind faith organisations, not for profits, local councils, banks, superannuation funds and a host of others moving capital away from fossil fuels.

Why is this?

Strong links to the mining sector have put universities in a difficult position.

They are conflicted between climate concerns and the income they derive from vested interests with big mining companies.

While many Australian universities engage in the climate change debate, their commitment to divestment has, at best, been minimal. Continue reading

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment


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