Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

World criticism of Australia repealing the carbon tax

Abbott-in-hot-panAustralia’s carbon tax abolition draws international criticism  Guardian, 18 July 14 Al Gore calls it a ‘disappointing step’ and European Union says world is moving towards carbon pricing initiatives Australia’s repeal of the carbon price has provoked a largely negative reaction overseas, with former US vice president Al Gore calling it a “disappointing step”.

Gore said Thursday’s abolition of the mechanism means that “Australia is falling behind other major industrialised nations in the growing global effort to reduce carbon emissions and ensure a clean and prosperous future”.

“[It is] a disappointing step for a country that continues to experience the worsening consequences of the climate crisis.”

Gore, who appeared alongside Clive Palmer in a bizarre press conference in June to iterate the Palmer United party’s position on the carbon price, said be was encouraged by the support for the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Climate Change Authority.

“These programs are examples of Australia’s long and continued excellence in combating the climate crisis, and must continue,” Gore said. He added that he was “hopeful” that Australia would adopt an emissions trading scheme (ETS), as advanced by Labor and, in a radically watered down form, by Palmer.

Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s climate commissioner, also voiced disappointment at the carbon price repeal.

“The European Union regrets the repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism just as new carbon pricing initiatives are emerging all around the world,” she said.

“The EU is convinced that pricing carbon is not only the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, but also the tool to make the economic paradigm shift the world needs.

“This is why the EU will continue to work towards global carbon pricing with all international partners.”

The European Union has had an emissions trading scheme in place since 2005. The scheme, which covers around 45% of total greenhouse emissions from the 28 EU countries, was due to be linked to Australia’s own emissions trading scheme, but this will now not happen………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/18/australia-carbon-tax-abolition-international-criticism

July 19, 2014 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Greenhouse gases and ozone depletion are causing southwestern Australia’s long-term dry

climate-AustAustralia drying caused by greenhouse gases and ozone depletion http://phys.org/news/2014-07-australia-greenhouse-gases-ozone.html#j Cp NOAA scientists have developed a new high-resolution climate model that shows southwestern Australia’s long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research published today in Nature Geoscience. “This new high-resolution climate model is able to simulate regional-scale precipitation with considerably improved accuracy compared to previous generation models,” said Tom Delworth, a research scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., who helped develop the new model and is co-author of the paper. “This model is a major step forward in our effort to improve the prediction of regional climate change, particularly involving water resources.”

NOAA researchers conducted several climate simulations using this  to study long-term changes in rainfall in various regions across the globe. One of the most striking signals of change emerged over Australia, where a long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall has been observed over parts of southern Australia. Simulating natural and manmade climate drivers, scientists showed that the decline in rainfall is primarily a response to manmade increases in  as well as a thinning of the  caused by manmade aerosol emissions. Several natural causes were tested with the model, including volcano eruptions and changes in the sun’s radiation. But none of these natural climate drivers reproduced the long-term observed drying, indicating this trend is due to human activity.

Southern Australia’s decline in rainfall began around 1970 and has increased over the last four decades. The model projects a continued decline in winter rainfall throughout the rest of the 21st century, with significant implications for regional water resources. The drying is most severe over southwest Australia where the model forecasts a 40 percent decline in average rainfall by the late 21st century.

“Predicting potential future changes in , including drought, are an immense societal challenge,” said Delworth. “This new climate model will help us more accurately and quickly provide resource planners with environmental intelligence at the regional level. The study of Australian drought helps to validate this new model, and thus builds confidence in this model for ongoing studies of North American drought.”

July 14, 2014 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Anglican Church urges Abbott to change his climate policies

Map-Abbott-climateRespect climate science: Anglicans urge Tony Abbott to change tack on climate change policies, The Age, 4 July 14,   Environment editor, The Anglican Church has told the Abbott government to change its approach to climate change, urging it to respect and base its policy on scientific evidence.

At a meeting in Adelaide, the church’s Australian general synod passed a unanimous motion calling on the government to “respect and act upon relevant independent evidence-based scientific advice’’ on climate change.

The 23 dioceses of the church said they were gravely concerned that Australia’s target to cut carbon dioxide emissions – five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 – was well short of what was needed.

They said they deeply regretted that it was “future generations and other forms of life” that would “bear the real cost of our heavy dependence on carbon-based energy”.

Perth Bishop Tom Wilmot, a church leader on environmental issues, told Fairfax Media that the environment was such an important issue it should not be left just to politicians and economists to discuss it.

‘‘My concern is the Abbott government seems to be deconstructing almost everything that was put in place over the last decade or so to protect the environment,’’ he said.

‘‘It seems to be neutering any scientific voice and, in fact, any voice that seeks to speak on environmental matters.’

He said the appointment of businessman and self-described climate sceptic Dick Warburton to head a review of the renewable energy target was a cynical way of pre-determining its outcome.

And he accused Environment Minister Greg Hunt of being dishonest about the effectiveness of the carbon price, which is expected to be repealed next week with support of new crossbench senators.

Bishop Wilmot said he was concerned about the government’s attitude to environmental policy generally, including handing approval powers for big developments to state governments.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/respect-climate-science-anglicans-urge-tony-abbott-to-change-tack-on-climate-change-policies-20140704-zsvyn.html#ixzz36djuZPAC

 

July 5, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The Palmer climate action conversion IS a game-changer.

climate-changeThe Palmer conversion is a game-changer.

By 2016, the named trading partners who already have trading schemes in various forms  will have consolidated their schemes, renewable energy would have dethroned King Coal and we’ll have Labor, the Greens and PUP all campaigning for a return of the ETS. 

Palmer and Gore: What are they good for? Independent Australia Sandi Keane 29 June 2014,When climate realists and coal billionaires share a stage to commit to climate change action, the end is nigh for the climate dinosaurs, says deputy editor Sandi Keane.

THE MEDIA HAS STRUGGLED since Wednesday to make sense of the Palmer/Gore shock presser with guess-which-media monopoly trumpeting it as a win for Abbott and many of the more independent-hue cynically declaring it a damp squib and Crikey even going so far as to call it a win for climate denialists.…….

Firstly, it should be noted, Al Gore – former U.S. vice-president and rightful victor in the 2000 U.S. presidential election – is no-one’s fool…….

If anyone thinks there’s been no shift in the body politic in Canberra to act on global warming thanks to Gore’s intervention with Palmer, then more fool them.

Granted, a tectonic shift it wasn’t. Gore deplored Palmer’s repealing of the carbon tax. But whenPalmer United Party (PUP) senators met last weekend, there was reluctance to break an election promise.

several high profile climate campaigners, like former Australian Conservation Foundation boss,Don Henry, and Christine Milne’s former chief of staff, Ben Oquist , who were lobbying Clive Palmer behind the scenes. Impromptu as it looked, last Wednesday’s shock announcement by the Palmer United Party had been carefully negotiated over a number of weeks.

At the risk of re-stating the facts, let’s look at PUP’s scoreboard before and after Gore’s intervention.

Pre-Gore’s visit:

Renewable Energy Target                             x

Clean Energy Finance Corporation              x

Climate Change Authority                              x

Australian Renewable Energy Agency        x

AGW believer                                                   x

ETS                                                                    x

Carbon tax                                                        x

Post-Gore’s visit:

RET                                                                  ✔

CEFC                                                              ✔

CCA                                                                ✔

ARENA                                                           ?

AGW believer                                                ✔

ETS                                                                 ✔

CT                                                                    x

What benefit is Palmer United Party’s support for an ETS?…….

Continue reading

June 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change to be on the G20 agenda, if USA gets its way

Abbott-and-Bishop-prayUSA will push for climate change at G20 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/us-will-push-for-climate-change-at-g20/story-fni0xqi4-1226966794377?nk=38b4e03626cff750bb726e65c1a3e9f4  THE United States will push for climate change to be discussed at this year’s G20 summit in Australia, even if the federal government doesn’t want it on the agenda.

US Ambassador John Berry says his country’s G20 representatives – known as sherpas – are already raising climate change in the lead up to November’s summit in Brisbane.

The passionate conservationist said President Barack Obama believed climate change was a “critical” issue and his administration wouldn’t shy away from encouraging all nations to do their part.

“It’s one the United States will raise in every international forum,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“It is one we will continue to press on.”

Some countries have criticised Australia for neglecting to put climate change on the G20 agenda, with the government opting to focus on sustained economic growth, trade, and investment.

Ambassador Berry said the US shared these objectives, but also believed they could be advanced while making the planet healthier.

“The president believes we can do this (address climate change) without damaging or hurting the economy,” he said. The Obama administration has pledged to cut its emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and will be pushing each country to adopt their own “aggressive” targets to do their fair share.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb conceded while climate change was off the agenda, Australia wouldn’t stop any country from discussing whatever matter they wished.

“So we quite welcome climate change if it was raised by the US or by any other country,” he told reporters in China.

Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the government was out of step with the rest of the world on climate change but couldn’t ignore the issue for much longer. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/bipartisan-us-climate-report-paints-dark-picture-of-future-economic-costs-20140625-zskpp.html#ixzz35nei9hSr

June 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Over 70% of Australians want to keep the Renewable Energy Target

Majority Of Australians Support Renewable Energy Target http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4359 A survey has found not only do most Australians want to maintain the nation’s Renewable Energy Target, a majority want to see it set higher.

A related report to be released on Monday by the Climate Institute states the number of people supporting an RET of 20 per cent and above has risen to 71 per cent this year. Just 9 per cent want to see the target reduced or abolished altogether.
76 per cent believe state governments should be putting in place incentives for more renewable energy.

On Sunday, the Climate Institute kicked off a last-ditch campaign dubbed Stop The Dinosaurs, urging Parliament to take note of public sentiment and key factsand save not only the Renewable Energy Target, but also carbon laws.

One of the high-profile people supporting the campaign is former Liberal Party leader Dr John Hewson. “From 2010 to 2012, Australians were subject to a historic scare campaign about the impacts of the carbon laws, but it is quite clear now that these laws are not a ‘wrecking ball’ or ‘python squeeze’,” said Dr. Hewson.

“The fact is that since the carbon laws were enacted, Australia’s pollution has been reduced by millions of tonnes and the economy has grown. Average households are not worse off as many feared they could be.” The survey also indicates the Prime Minister’s claimed commitment to battling climate change isn’t believed by many Australians.

“Only 20 per cent trust Tony Abbott when he says he is concerned about addressing climate change, in contrast to 53 per cent who do not, including 37 per cent who strongly distrust the Prime Minister,” states The Climate Institute. 82 per cent of Australians choose solar power in their top three energy sources and 64 per cent choose wind. Coal, recently referred to by the Prime Minister as one of “nature’s gifts“, was even less popular than nuclear.

“It is OK to like dinosaurs, but this year’s Climate of the Nation survey shows that it may well be politically dangerous to be one when it comes to climate change and its solutions,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

The full Climate of the Nation 2014 report will be available at 11am on Monday from the Climate Institute web site.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Climate Denialism: the Age of Abbott

Abbott-Koch-policiesHow Rupert Murdoch created the world’s newest climate change villain, Salon  Australia was once a leader on climate action. Thanks to American conservative powerhouses, that’s no longer true  21 June 14,  Australia, the sunburned country, is uniquely vulnerable to the dangers and risks of global warming. Whether it is the severe effects of flooding, unseasonal heat waves, devastating bush fires or decade-long droughts, Australia’s people, economy and natural environment have all keenly felt the impact of extreme weather and climate change.

Australia’s national scientific organizations have been raising the alarm for more than a decade, and the previous government accepted that scientific consensus and enacted a cap-and-trade scheme in 2012. But after a divisive election last year — one that saw native-born Rupert Murdoch exercise his considerable influence in Australian media markets to disastrous effect — the country is now governed by a deeply unpopular Liberal-National government, crafted in the image of the most climate-denying elements of the Tea Party. And its position on climate change has significant impacts on global efforts to reduce carbon emissions: Australia is not only the chair of the G-20 group of nations, but also holds a place on the U.N. Security Council.

The rest of the world saw this ideology on full, embarrassing display with the recent visit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Canada and the United States. Continue reading

June 24, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop determined to keep Climate Change OFF the G20 Agenda

Hear-This-wayAudio: Julie Bishop confirms climate change won’t be high on G20 agenda ABC Radio. Te World Today Rachael Brown reported this story on Friday, June 20, 2014  TANYA NOLAN: After weeks of speculation, the Federal Government has today confirmed it won’t be making climate change a priority during November’s G20 summit in Brisbane. The issue dogged Prime Minister Tony Abbott on a recent overseas trip, where he met world leaders, including US president Barack Obama who supports a cap and trade scheme and wants the issue on the G20 agenda.

But the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says it’s not the right forum to discuss climate change.

Abbott-and-Bishop-pray
She’s made the comments at Melbourne’s C20 forum, a grouping of civil society organisations, which say the Federal Government is missing an opportunity to make climate change a top priority.
RACHAEL BROWN reports. …….Ms Bishop took the stage to outline why the G20 summit not the place for climate change negotiations…… Julie Bishop says the summit has to stick to a strong and focused economic agenda.

But the World Wildlife Fund says climate change is an economic issue………. Julie Bishop says the summit has to stick to a strong and focused economic agenda.
But the World Wildlife Fund says climate change is an economic issue.   http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4029630.htm

June 21, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian climate denialists off to a Climate Sceptic Conference in London

Climate sceptics to fly Queensland MP to international conference, Guardian 18 June 14,  George Christensen says he is closely associated with conservative thinktank The Heartland Institute Conservative climate-sceptic thinktank The Heartland Institute is footing the bill for Queensland backbencher George Christensen to travel to Las Vegas to take part in its “international conference on climate change”.

Christensen told Guardian Australia he was “closely associated with the institute” through his relationship with Australian climate-sceptic academic Bob Carter, who is also a constituent in Christensen’s electorate of Dawson.

The institute, which proudly displays the assessment by The Economist that it is “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change”, says its July 7-9 conference offers attendees the chance to “learn from top economists and policy experts about the real costs and futility of trying to stop global warming” and to “meet the leaders of think tanks and grassroots organisations who are speaking out against global warming alarmism”.

Christensen will appear beside Carter – science policy adviser to the Institute Public Affairs – and two other Australian climate sceptic academics, Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Dr William Kininmonth, in a session entitled “The global warming debate in Australia”…….

The conference will hear from a who’s who of international climate sceptics, including Britain’s Lord Christopher Monckton.

climate-denialists

Christensen quoted a Heartland Institute-sponsored document, “Climate Change Reconsidered”, as a source during the parliamentary debate on the repeal of the carbon tax bills…….

Christensen chairs the Coalition’s backbench committee on industry policy. His travel plans were discussed in Graham Readfearn’sDesmogblog.com.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/16/climate-sceptics-to-fly-queensland-mp-to-international-conference

June 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia a drag internationally, pitted against USA on carbon policy

Map-Abbott-climateCarbon policy pits Aus against US: Garnaut  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/double-climate-threat-to-our-economy-ceda/story-fni0xqi4-1226958415074 19 June 14   AAP AUSTRALIA is setting itself against the US and will become a drag on global climate change efforts with the repeal of the carbon tax, prominent economist Ross Garnaut says. THE former government adviser says China, Europe and the US are gearing up for another big effort to address climate change and by scrapping its detailed and sophisticated carbon laws, Australia is going against this.

“With our existing policies, we’re not ahead of any game yet but we’re part of the game. We will be doing our fair share,” Professor Garnaut said on Wednesday. “With the repeal of the carbon laws, and in the absence of anything in their place, then we won’t be doing our fair share.”We will be a drag on the international system.” He said the move was particularly puzzling when the world’s two big emitters, China and the US, whose inaction had previously been a problem, were committing themselves to very strong action.

“We have set ourselves against our ally the United States on a major question of policy in a way that we haven’t done since the Ottawa conference in 1931,” Prof Garnaut said.

The comments came at the release of a report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) into the economic trouble Australia could face without an appropriate response to climate change.

The report says Australia faces the risk of growing repair bills from extreme weather and barriers to major project investment.

CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin said policy makers need to recognise climate change is an economic issue, not just an environmental issue.  “Statistics show that the number of catastrophic weather events is increasing and the economic losses associated with these events are also trending up,” Prof Martin said. He said Cyclone Yasi, Black Saturday, the Queensland floods and other weather events have had a direct impact on industry and on most Australians’ hip pocket.

Professor Martin said the federal government needs to introduce a national risk register that includes strategies to manage risks of extreme weather. “Australia is reliant on foreign capital to fund major projects and new developments in international climate change policy are likely to impact international capital flow and investment decision making,” Prof Martin said.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

The costs to Australia of climate inaction

Australian business and investors operate in a global business environment. While our current political and business leaders pursue an approach of not regulating the greenhouse emissions of Australian industry, the global economy is rapidly moving in the opposite direction.

Australia’s economy will suffer if we fall behind on climate action Martijn Wilder The Conversation, 18 June 2014, 
Australia’s economy faces grave threats from climate change, but the greatest threat is if we do not make a serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s not just the physical impacts of climate change that will hurt Australia’s economy. In a new report released today by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, I and others argue that falling behind on reducing greenhouse gas emissions leaves Australia’s economy vulnerable to global efforts to tackle climate change.

But so far Australian government and business has focused on the cost of reducing emissions, despite evidence that it will be far more costly to do nothing.

graph-Climate-Action_vs_Ina

Counting the costs of climate action

In Australia it has long been the view that limiting emissions through carbon pricing will directly limit economic growth. This is despite industry being largely protected from the costs of efforts to reduce emissions through the Clean Energy Act through free emissions permits and compensation. Continue reading

June 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Pacific leaders condemn Tony Abbott’s climate policies

Abbott-in-hot-panPacific presidents speak out against Australia’s stand on climate change Australia Network News,  Fri 13 Jun 2014,  Pacific leaders have criticised Australia’s moves to form a conservative international climate change alliance, saying it will only isolate Australia further in the Pacific.

The comments from the presidents of Kiribati and Marshall Islands came as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met US President Barrack Obama for formal talks in Washington………

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong says climate change is an issue of survival for Pacific Island states, not just economics.

“We’re not talking about the growth GDP, we’re not talking about what it means in terms of profit and losses of the large corporations, we’re talking about our survival,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat

sea level rise_main

Australia further isolated in Pacific

Mr Tong also says the Abbott-Harper strategy throws previous regional agreements to which Australia was a signatory into doubt. He says Australia’s stand is also likely to get “some, if not a lot” of attention at next month’s Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting in Palau.

Mr Tong says as far as Kiribati is concerned, it now doesn’t matter what Australia or any other country does because it is already too late.

“What will happen in terms of greenhouse gas emissions levels agreed to internationally will not affect us, because our future is already here… we will be underwater,” he said………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-13/pacific-presidents/5521478

June 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s carbon price has greatly reduced carbon emissions

carbon-tax-factsFall in greenhouse gas emissions biggest in 24 years,  SMH,  June 13, 2014 - Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Australia posted its biggest annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 24 years of records in 2013 as the carbon tax helped drive a large drop in pollution from the electricity sector.

The latest greenhouse gas inventory, released online without fanfare by the federal government, showed annual emissions excluding changes in land use were estimated at 538.4 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent in 2013, down 0.8 per cent on the previous year.

While the final figures may be revised, the annual drop is likely to exceed the only two other years of emissions falls – in 2009 and 2010 – since the tally began in 1990.

The electricity sector reported emissions fell 5 per cent last year, with all but one other sector showing an increase. The carbon tax has its most direct impact on power generators, which account for about one-third of Australia’s emissions outside changes to forest cover.

The carbon price, now at $24.15 a tonne, will rise to $25.40 a tonne from next month and will apply until its likely scrapping when the new Senate votes on the Abbott government’s repeal bills, expected soon after July 1.

The government’s climate policies have been in the spotlight as Prime Minister Tony Abbott headed to Washington this week, soon after President Barack Obama introduced the most ambitious emissions cuts in US history – forcing power plants to slash 2005-level emissions 30 per cent by 2030.

Mr Abbott, forced to defend the government’s alternative policy to a carbon tax based on paying polluters to curb emissions, said he would avoid climate action that would “clobber the economy”.

But Greens leader Christine Milne said: “The price on pollution is working and it is time Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt stopped lying to Australia and the world.

“The government is trying to hide the fact that the price on pollution is the cheapest and most effective way to do something about global warming, and mitigate the future extreme storms, droughts and floods that will ravage Australia over the coming decades.”……..

John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, said the drop in 2013 emissions indicated existing policies were doing the intended job.

“We have a stable, set-and-forget default mechanism, that’s going to work,” Mr Connor said.

By contrast, the government was “ripping away” at other policies curbing emissions, with plans to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corp, and energy efficiency programs.

Any weakening of the Renewable Energy Target, now under review by a government-appointed panel led by climate change doubter Dick Warburton, would also undermine emissions reduction efforts, Mr Connor said. On current settings, the mandatory clean energy goal will cut emissions by another 70 million tonnes by 2020, he said………http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/fall-in-greenhouse-gas-emissions-biggest-in-24-years-20140613-zs7be.html

 

June 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Never mind federal and state govts – Melbourne City is set for zero carbon emissiosn

City of Melbourne aims to become carbon neutral leader June 12, 2014 SMH, Tom Arup and Aisha Dow As the conversation turns to the death of Melbourne’s trees the city’s influential head planner, Professor Rob Adams, chokes up. He takes a moment, then continues. “The evidence is so obvious,” he declares, “You don’t have to go to the scientists, you just have to look at the trees in Melbourne.”

Adams is talking about climate change. And despite its wealth and culture Melbourne’s city heart is not immune to its impacts. Nor is its contribution to the problem insignificant.

In response Melbourne City Council has set perhaps the most ambitious climate change goal in Australia – to produce zero net emissions from the CBD and surrounding suburbs under its oversight by 2020.

Needless to say it is a level of ambition not matched by state and federal governments.

In fact Adams – credited with revitalising the CBD over recent decades – is upset about what he describes as the federal government’s retreat on the issue.

“Why don’t I get depressed, when I look at my little grand daughter who is eight months old?” he says.

“I think they are going to be shamed into action, I think it is going to be so embarrassing to be in the space they are in, with the assets and the ability they have got, they’ll have to move out of that space and back into the real world.”

“And I feel that strongly. We see it. The reason we have an urban forest strategy is I watched our trees dying. And, and …”

Without intervention 27 per cent of Melbourne city trees are expected to be lost in 10 years due to heat, disease and old age. But they are not the only element of city life threatened by a warming planet.

Council research on the impact of January’s record-breaking heatwave – which scientists project will occur more frequently as climate change worsens – found city retailers lost $37 million over four days as shoppers stayed out of the 40-plus degree heat. Last year flood modelling, based on end of century sea-level rise of 0.8 metres, found average annual inundation bills in Southbank could alone rise from $3 million in 2011 to $20 million by 2100 if prevention is not taken.

With high stakes and high ambition city council this year updated its plan for the zero emissions goal. It is a document of many concrete measures, plenty of promises and the occasional motherhood statement. An implementation plan is due later this year.

Chair of Melbourne’s environment portfolio, Cr Arron Wood, says one option to meet the target would see Melbourne switch to 50 per cent renewable energy. Most of that power would be fed into the city from large solar and wind farms located in regional Victoria, he says.

About 1500 megawatts of renewable energy would have to be generated, enough for 480,000 average homes. To do this it would take 15 massive solar plants of the type currently being built on 250 hectares of farming land near Nyngan in regional NSW.

It is Cr Wood’s goal to eventually have some of the city’s biggest energy users – hospitals, universities and sporting precincts – directly powered by renewable energy farms located far beyond the city edge. A much smaller amount of energy, enough to power 10,000 houses, could be generated from solar panels on warehouses and commercial buildings inside the municipality of Melbourne………. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/city-of-melbourne-aims-to-become-carbon-neutral-leader-20140613-zs5xy.html

 

June 14, 2014 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Barack Obama and Tony Abbott at odds over climate change

Obama-and-windClimate change gulf looms between Barack Obama and Tony Abbott, Guardian, 11 June 14,   US president’s call for action in US TV interview stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the Australian prime minister Climate change may be the most significant long-term challenge facing the planet, Barack Obama has said in a newly aired TV interview, emphasising the growing differences with Tony Abbott who insists it is certainly not the most important issue facing the world.

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAs Obama and Abbott prepare for their first formal meeting in Washington on Thursday, the differences between their positions on global warming are clearer than ever, and according to diplomatic sources the president will not seek to downplay them.

Obama’s remarks in an interview broadcast on US television on Tuesday night come as his administration increases its diplomatic push to achieve a successful new international agreement on greenhouse reduction efforts next year and unveils the detail of tough new rules to force reductions in emissions from US power stations……….

Abbott has downplayed the link between climate change and extreme weather events. For example during severe bushfires last year he said: “Climate change is real, as I’ve often said, and we should take strong action against it … but these fires are certainly not a function of climate change – they’re just a function of life in Australia.” When the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, said the fires showed the world is “already paying the price of carbon”, Abbott said “the official in question is talking through her hat”……….

The Coalition’s Direct Action policy is designed to meet only the minimum target of a 5% reduction by 2020 – despite advice from the independent Climate Change Authority that preconditions for a higher target, which previously had bipartisan agreement, have been met. The Coalition has said it will participate in the Paris meeting but has not given any indication of what Australia’s post-2020 target will be, or how it will be determined.

Australia’s policy is entirely voluntary. Companies can choose to bid into a series of “reverse auctions” for government funding. The new US policy requires power generation to reduce emissions by 30%, with states determining the mechanism by which they achieve this. States such as California which have emissions trading schemes will use them to achieve the goal……..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/11/climate-change-gulf-looms-between-barack-obama-and-tony-abbott

June 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

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