Australian opposition ‘unlikely’ to keep climate off G20 agenda RTCC 20 August 2014, Australia lacks gravitas to cast off climate talk, with US and China likely to put pressure on Tony Abbott By Sophie Yeo
Climate change is likely to be discussed at the G20 summit in Brisbane, despite Australia’s decision to leave it off the agenda. This is the finding of a new report, released this week by the centre-right think-tank Committee for Economic Development in Australia (CEDA).
Australia lacks the diplomatic weight to dismiss the issue while heavyweights such as China and the US are ramping up their own efforts to combat carbon pollution, say the authors.
“As a middle-power economy, Australia’s leadership and influence may be limited,” writes Sarah-Jane Derby, senior economist at CEDA, in the report.
“For example, members may be receptive to Australia introducing new ideas and changing the agenda, but without the support of players who are more powerful, these ideas may not be taken seriously.”
Australia prime minister Tony Abbott has faced heavy criticism from environmentalists over his decision to axe many of the country’s flagship climate policies, such as the tax on carbon.
Reports from Australia suggest he knocked climate change off the G20 agenda as it did not fit with the summit’s focus on economic growth……. This year’s G20 takes place two weeks before a major UN summit on climate change takes place in the Peruvian capital, Lima.
The UN meets annually to work towards a solution on climate change, but the G20 provides opportunities for “open discussions” between the world’s major economic players that are not possible during international meetings, says the report.
It adds that the tight economic focus of the Brisbane summit could add value to climate change discussions, by considering the financial risks and consequences of heating the planet……
In June, the US ambassador to Australia said that Obama planned on raising climate change during the leaders’ summit and at “every international forum”, as it was a critical issue “not only to Americans but to the world”. – See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/08/20/australian-opposition-unlikely-to-keep-climate-off-g20-agenda/#sthash.Gl6EU0Jf.dpuf
What I learned from debating science with trolls, Business Spectator MICHAEL BROWN 20 AUG “………I have received an education in the tactics many trolls use. These tactics are common not just to trolls but to bloggers, journalists and politicians who attack science, from climate to cancer research.
Some techniques are comically simple. Emotionally charged, yet evidence-free, accusations of scams, fraud and cover-ups are common. While they mostly lack credibility, such accusations may be effective at polarising debate and reducing understanding.
And I wish I had a dollar each time a scientifically incompetent ideologue claimed science is a religion. The chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, Maurice Newman, trotted out that old chestnut in The Australian last week. Australia’s Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, was less than impressed by Newman’s use of that tactic.
Unfortunately there are too many tactics to discuss in just one article (sorry Gish Gallop andStrawman), so I will focus on just a few that I’ve encountered online and in the media recently. Continue reading
Corporate Australia in denial over climate change, former coal exec Ian Dunlop says, ABC News, By Nonee Walsh 15 Aug 2014, Corporate Australia is in complete denial about climate change, according to former fossil fuels executive and energy commentator Ian Dunlop.
Mr Dunlop, a former chairman of the Coal Association, said business should be condemning the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council (BAC), Maurice Newman, for claiming the Earth is cooling…….
Mr Dunlop said not a single voice had been raised by peak business about the appointment of so-called climate change deniers to advise government.
“The Government is in complete denial on this and unfortunately I believe that most of corporate Australia is in the same position.
“I would have expected that corporate leaders would be coming out and really making their voices heard, because this is the big issue that is going to affect the corporate world.”
Mr Dunlop said the scientists Mr Newman quoted had been debunked………
Mr Dunlop does not expect to see political leadership on the issue, “because it is too hard under the adversarial system”.
“We have never had in this country a serious discussion on what climate change really means, it been dumbed down by both sides of politics,” he said.
“Here it is going to have to be business that leads … it requires people at the top of the corporations to get off their backsides and start to take account of the risks that we face and the opportunities, in a genuinely objective way.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-15/corporate-australia-in-denial-over-climate-change-dunlop-says/5674122
Push for climate change on G20 list, The Age August 11, 2014 Dan Harrison Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent Three former Australians of the Year, including Nobel laureate Peter Doherty, have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott calling for climate change to be included on the agenda for the G20 leaders summit to be held in Brisbane in November.
Epidemiologist Fiona Stanley and immunologist Sir Gustav Nossal are among a dozen health experts supporting the call, published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The letter states that the risks climate change posed to human health included more intense heatwaves, floods and fires, and the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes………
‘This issue warrants urgent consideration at the G20 meeting. The health of present and future generations is at risk from ongoing human-induced climate change.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott confirmed that as the host nation, Australia set the agenda for the meeting in consultation with other G20 member nations…….
In an interview also published in the journal, United States economist Jeffrey Sachs, a special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on development, said it was not possible to end global poverty without tackling climate change.
”The G20 countries are the world’s most important economies … If the G20 gets its house in order, the world can be saved. If not, the G20 will wreck the world, pure and simple … Brisbane is therefore crucial.': http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/push-for-climate-change-on-g20-list-20140810-3dgne.html#ixzz3AEzcHzfz
‘Considerable concern’: Oz in hot water over climate denial errors, Crikey, by Myriam Robin, 24 July 14 The Press Council has handed down an adverse ruling against The Australian for a front-page article published in September last year that relied on a rapidly debunked Daily Mail story claiming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had revised down the rate of global warming since 1951.
In highly unusual language for the Press Council, it says it is a matter of “considerable concern” that The Australian delayed in acknowledging its errors. Asked to explain the strong language, Press Council executive director John Pender told Crikey ”the initial error was very serious and prominent, was repeated unequivocally in a later editorial, and was not corrected with sufficient speed, clarity and prominence”.
In a September 16 article, since changed online but archived here on the Media Watch website, The Australian environment editor Graham Lloyd rehashed a British story published a week before the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC was released that claimed the report update would say the true figure of warming since 1951 had been 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade, and not the 0.2 degrees Celsius claimed in previous reports.
The Oz’s piece continued:
“Last week, the IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks as reports intensified that scientists were preparing to revise down the speed at which climate change is happening and its likely impact.
“It is believed the IPCC draft report will still conclude there is now greater confidence that climate change is real, humans are having a major impact and that the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless drastic action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts would include big rises in the sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.
“But claimed contradictions in the report have led to calls for the IPCC report process to be scrapped.”
These reports were wrong. The Daily Mail got its numbers wrong, and The Australian repeated the error, as Media Watch and The Guardian pointed out last year. The long-term trend in the IPCC report is 0.13 degrees of global warming a decade, and has been for some time — there was no retreat from higher figures……..http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/07/24/considerable-concern-oz-in-hot-water-over-climate-denial-errors/
Australia’s drought – yes, it’s climate change http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2483139/australias_drought_yes_its_climate_change.html Tim Radford 18th July 2014 Australia’s prime minister thinks climate change is ‘crap’ and has just abolished his country’s carbon-pricing system. But scientists say that it’s rising levels of CO2 that are leaving the south of the country parched and sweltering – and it’s only going to get worse.
American scientists have just confirmed that parts of Australia are being slowly parched because of greenhouse gas emissions.
A report in Nature Geoscience shows that the long-term decline in rainfall over south and south-west Australia is a consequence of fossil fuel burning and depletion of the ozone layer by human activity. Such a finding is significant for two reasons. One remains contentious: it is one thing to make generalised predictions about the consequences overall of greenhouse gas levels, but it is quite another to pin a measured regional climatic shift directly on human causes, rather than some possible as-yet-unidentified natural cycle of climatic change.
The other is contentiously political.
Bush fires and catastrophic flooding
Tom Delworth, a research scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reports in Nature Geoscience that he and a colleague conducted a series of long-term climate simulations to study changes in rainfall across the globe.
One striking pattern of change emerged in Australia, where winter and autumn rainfall patterns are increasingly a cause of distress for farmers and growers in two states.
The simulation showed that the decline in rainfall was primarily a response to man-made increases in greenhouse gases, as well as to a thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer in response to emissions of destructive gases by human sources.
The computer simulations tested a series of possible causes for this decline, such as volcanic eruptions and changes in solar radiation. But the only cause that made sense of the observed data was the greenhouse explanation.
It began in 1970, and it hasn’t stopped yet
South Australia has never been conspicuously lush and wet, but decline in precipitation set in around 1970, and this decline has increased in the last four decades.
The simulations predict that the decline will go on, and that average rainfall will drop by 40% over south-west Australia later this century.
Dr Delworth described his model as “a major step forward in our effort to improve the prediction of regional climate change”.
In May, scientists proposed that greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for a change in Southern Ocean wind patterns, which in turn resets the thermostat for the world’s largest island.
Australian scientists report in Geophysical Research Letters that they, too, have been using climate models to examine Antarctic wind patterns and their possible consequences for the rest of the planet.
Another consequence: accelerated ice sheet melt
“When we included projected Antarctic wind shifts in a detailed global ocean model, we found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures rose up to meet the base of the Antarctic ice shelves”, said Paul Spence, a researcher at Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. This temperature rise is twice previous estimates.
“This relatively warm water provides a huge reservoir of melt potential right near the grounding lines of ice shelves around Antarctica. It could lead to a massive increase in the rate of ice sheet melt, with direct consequences for global sea level rise.”
Since the West Antarctic ice sheet holds enough water to raise sea levels by 3.3 metres, the consequences would indeed be considerable.
“When we first saw the results it was quite a shock”, said Dr Spence. “It was one of the few cases where I hoped the science was wrong.”
Australia’s carbon tax abolition draws international criticism Oliver Milman 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
Australia 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 global climate model 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 greenhouse gases as well as a thinning of the ozone 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 water resources, 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.”
Respect climate science: Anglicans urge Tony Abbott to change tack on climate change policies, The Age, 4 July 14, Tom Arup 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.
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.…….
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.
Renewable Energy Target x
Clean Energy Finance Corporation x
Climate Change Authority x
Australian Renewable Energy Agency x
AGW believer x
Carbon tax x
AGW believer ✔
What benefit is Palmer United Party’s support for an ETS?…….
USA 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
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.
How 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 ALEXANDER WHITE 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.
Audio: 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.
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.
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
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.
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