Australian news, and some related international items

Transport of toxic chemical and radioactive wastes – France says NO to Orica

a-cat-CANFor a long time, I’ve been posting away about radioactive waste, as if it were the only pollution problem.  But of course it’s not. Indeed the same stupid white males who brought us radioactive wastes also bring us chemical wastes – in a sort of mindless onslaught on the very ecosystem we need for our survival.

I thought it ironic that France is now refusing to accept toxic chemical wastes from Australia.

Meanwhile a few very greedy business individuals, and a few not very bright worthies like Bob Hawke, Martin Ferguson, Alexander Downer – are advocating that Australia import radioactive wastes from France and everybody else.

The French have woken up now to the danger and diseconomics of nuclear power, and they’ve also woken up to the dangers of transporting chemical wastes. These wastes are best stored near the point of origin. The same goes for radioactive wastes.

Fortunately, most Australians reject the idea of importing radioactive wastes. The Abbott government and the Labor opposition are forced by public opinion to pretend that they oppose this too. However, under the power of their corporate funders, both parties would be ever so amenable to a business idea like that –  anything to get corporate and media support to be in office.

text-wastes-warningFrench reject Orica’s toxic waste, SMH  July 27, 2014 Natalie O’Brien More than 100 tonnes of highly toxic waste will have to remain at Botany after the French government vetoed plans by chemical giant Orica to ship it from Sydney to France for incineration.

Environmentalists across the world have applauded the decision after angry protests during the Tour de France bicycle race and a petition with 23,746 signatures was collected calling for the shipment to be stopped.

French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal said she would not back the plan to send the Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste to an area in south-east France because of fears something could go wrong to the ship which could cause marine pollution.

“The transport of dangerous waste … is an environmental aberration,” she was reported as saying.

She also said such waste “should be treated near their source of production”. ……..

It is Orica’s third attempt to ship the HCB, a carcinogenic pollutant banned in Europe since 1981, from Botany to an overseas destination for incineration. Protests stopped its planned export in 2007 to Germany and in 2010 to Denmark. Experts have said that the longer it remains at Botany the more waste is generated because it has to be repackaged every four years to keep it secure.
Objections had also been made to the Australian government from numerous lobby groups including Doctors for the Environment Australia, Friends of the Earth, the Nature Conservation Council, The National Toxics Network, Greenpeace Australia, International POPs Elimination Network, and the Basel Action Network (the Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives).

Dr Mariann LLoyd-Smith from the National Toxics Network, said they shared Ms Royal’s concerns about transporting such a large amount of toxic waste by sea to France and they were also concerned about the repeated engineering failures and toxic emissions of the intended French incinerator.

“Now as a matter of urgency, we need to bring all the parties together and decide on a suitable non-combustion destruction technology not only for Orica’s HCB wastes but also to address current and future toxic waste,” she said.

“We then need to start the process to allow the Australian community to select an appropriate site where we can deal with our own hazardous waste in an environmentally sound way in line with Australia’s international obligations.” :


July 28, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

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………

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

Conservative British Lord Deben attacks Tony Abbott’s ‘reckless’ climate policies

Abbott-in-hot-panCarbon tax repeal: UK politician Lord Deben attacks Tony Abbott’s ‘reckless’ plan to scrap carbon tax, ABC Lateline 9 July 14  One of the UK’s leading Tory politicians has attacked Tony Abbott’s plan to scrap the carbon tax, accusing the Prime Minister of “recklessly endangering” the future of the world…….the unlikely voice of Lord Deben, who remains Britain’s longest serving environment minister. Lord Deben, a former head of the Conservative Party who served under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, is now the head of the UK Committee on Climate Change.

He has issued a statement saying the Abbott Government “appears to be more concerned with advancing its own short-term political interests” than dealing with global warming……..Australia is changing Britain’s climate as we are changing yours. It is not just a national matter. We are all in this together and Mr Abbott is recklessly endangering our future, as he is Australia’s,” the statement said.

Lord Deben, formerly John Selwyn Gummer, has told Lateline the Abbott Government is sending Australia backwards.

We all know [Tony Abbott] and his Government do not take this seriously, where the rest of the world, 80 per cent plus of emitters, are taking it so seriously that we find it very upsetting that Australia should be slapping us in the face and saying we don’t care about the climate.

 “In Britain we have an independent body which is apart from party politics which sets the targets, sets the budget, and independently assesses how well the government has done,” he said.

“Mr Abbott has got rid of his independent group, he won’t have independent assessment, nobody outside his party thinks that his policy is going to deliver and he will not listen to the rest of the world……….

Australia ‘slapping us in the face’ on climate change

The Government says its $2.5 billion Direct Action plan will reduce emissions and allow Australia to reach its target of a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

But Lord Deben – whose government has a binding target to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – says that is a “miserable” target.

“A 5 per cent target by 2020 is out of kilter even if you choose the most favourable base that you like with the rest of the world,” he said……

we all know he and his Government do not take this seriously, where the rest of the world, 80 per cent plus of emitters, are taking it so seriously that we find it very upsetting that Australia should be slapping us in the face and saying we don’t care about the climate, you can get on with it, we are not doing our part.”…….

July 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Rare Earths: background to arrest and release of Australian activist Natalie Lowrey

rare-earth-dysprosiumCrikey Clarifier: what’s all the fuss about rare earths? by Crikey Intern Bondi resident Natalie Lowrey was suddenly released without charge on Friday night after five days’ detention in a Malaysian prison. Lowrey, who was born in New Zealand, was arrested last week in Kuantan, Malaysia, for protesting against the processing of rare earths by Australian minerals giant Lynas Corp. We delve into some of the issues surrounding the case.

What are rare earths?

Rare earths are chemical elements found in the earth’s crust that are vital to many modern technologies, including electronics such as speakers, computers, hybrid cars and wind turbines. Rare earths have unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties that help technologies perform more efficiently. They are particularly valuable for use in smartphones, and are in high demand.

What is Lynas Corp, and what is it doing in Malaysia?

Lynas Corporation Ltd is an ASX 100 listed company based in Sydney, Australia. It is currently constructing the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), a rare earth processing plant at Gebeng, near Kuantan, Malaysia.

Lynas’ rare earth project has sparked protests in Australia and Malaysia over fears about possible negative health, environmental and economic impacts once the plant begins its operation, as it will produce radioactive material as a waste product. Although the rare earths are extracted in Western Australia, the potentially hazardous processing will take place in Malaysia.

Is there any evidence processing rare earths is dangerous?

Mitsubishi Chemicals Asian Rare Earths, a plant in Bukit Merah, Malaysia, was shut down in the 1992 after at least eight cases of leukaemia and a sudden surge in birth defects and miscarriages in the area. The plant was finally closed after an eight-year battle and is currently undergoing the largest clean-up in the rare earth industry at a cost of US$100 million. Cleaning up requires digging up the entire area of contamination and entombing it inside a mountain.

A spokesperson from Lynas told Crikey: “The Asian Rare Earth plant used the waste from tin mining as its raw material. Lynas raw material contains naturally low levels of thorium, which are 30-40 times lower than rare earth concentrates from tin mine tailings. By all international standards, the Lynas raw material is classified as safe, non-toxic and non-hazardous.”

But Dr David KL Quek, former president of the Malaysia Medical Association, has said:

“Thorium is an acknowledged waste product from the planned Lynas refinery of rare earth ores. Due to the various refining processes thorium will be enriched and concentrated to levels which could reach quantities that are difficult to contain or be safely sequestrated.

“Based on the preliminary Environmental Impact Agency report, thorium residues would lead to a sizeable radioactivity dose of some 62 Becquerel per gram. For 106 tonnes this would be an enormous quantity of radioactive residual thorium.”

Wastes from production will include radioactive thorium and uranium and their radioactive decay products such as radium and radon. Australian authorities have explicitly refused to allow the wastes to be shipped back to Australia for safe disposal.

Why Malaysia?

The Malaysian government has been more open to rare earths processing than the Australian government.

Phua Kai Lit, an associate professor of the Jeffery Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University in Malaysia, told Crikey: “The Prime Minister, as well as the Chief Minister of the state of Pahang, are both strong supporters of the project. Similarly, political appointees such as the various ministers from ministries involved with the project echo the government’s line. The head of the main regulatory body, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board, also echoes the government’s line.

“The government has been criticised for granting a two-year TOL [temporary operating licence] in spite of no detailed environmental impact assessment or health impact assessment. Only a preliminary environmental impact assessment was carried out,” he said.

A spokesperson told Crikey Lynas plans to recycle the waste from the LAMP refining process into co-products such as plaster boards and cement. Two out of three of these products have been certified as non-radioactive by the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board.

The AELB is in charge of approving and monitoring radioactive industries and received an undisclosed sum by Lynas Corp in 2011. However the AELB denied the sum was a requirement.

July 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | 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.

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.

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

Australia a drag internationally, pitted against USA on carbon policy

Map-Abbott-climateCarbon policy pits Aus against US: Garnaut 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

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………

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

Tony Abbott’s plan for alliance to block climate action has already come to grief

climate-changeBritain, New Zealand reject Tony Abbott’s idea for alliance to block action on climate change  Age Abbott-in-hot-panJune 12, 2014 - National political reporter The UK’s conservative climate and energy minister has rejected suggestions his government could form an alliance of “like-minded” nations with Australia to oppose carbon pricing.

Greg Barker has put an end to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s dream that a group of five countries could be formed to undermine global moves to install carbon pricing and challenge a push by US President Barack Obama for stronger international regulation of climate change.In moves that show Australia is increasingly isolated on the subject, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has also said he was caught off-guard by the idea of an alliance and signalled his government has no intention of walking away from its emissions trading scheme.

The comments leave Canada, with its anti-carbon tax prime minister Stephen Harper as Australia’s only likely ally on the subject.

Mr Barker told British media on Wednesday that the UK would not be joining Australia to challenge international regulation of carbon emissions. ”I think you can take it the UK won’t be joining an alliance against regulation. We are engaged with Australia and New Zealand, encouraging them to take a responsible proactive part in seeking an ambitious global treaty on climate change,” he said……..

Earlier this year, Mr  Cameron said he believed that ”man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces”.And earlier this week, Mr Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said political leaders had to recognise that climate change was the number one priority for governments as the most significant issue the planet faces…..

Mr Abbott’s stance on climate action has also drawn criticism from retiring US politician Henry Waxman, who was at the forefront of clean energy bills in America.

Mr Waxman said Australia, along with Canada, risked being ”behind-the-scenes laggers” rather than leaders on climate policy.

Both nations risked being out of sync with Europe and the US. ”I hope Australia doesn’t turn its back on its leadership role and become a drag on what we need to all be doing around the world,” Mr Waxman told ABC’s 7.30 on Wednesday.

The retiring senior Democrat also criticised the Coalition government’s ”voluntary” direct action policy as ineffectual. ”That never worked anywhere,” he said.

June 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | 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……..

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

Tony Abbott in Canada – setting up an Anti Action on Climate Change Alliance!

Abbott smilesTony Abbott seeks alliance to thwart President Obama on climate change policy , The Age  June 10, 2014 Tony Abbott is seeking a conservative alliance among “like-minded” countries, aiming to dismantle global moves to introduce carbon pricing, and undermine a push by US President Barack Obama to push the case for action through forums such as the G20.

Visiting Ottawa for a full day of talks with the conservative Canadian Prime Minister and close friend Stephen Harper, Mr Abbott flagged intentions to build a new centre-right alliance led by Canada, Britain and Australia along with India and New Zealand………

The combined front would attempt to counter recent moves by the Obama administration to lift the pace of climate change abatement via policies such as a carbon tax or state-based emissions trading……..

The uncompromising attitude of both leaders suggests neither is inclined to yield to pressure from the US to revive the issue of climate change ahead of next years’ climate summit, nor back any international coordination such as additional regulations or a trading scheme…….

US officials have also been pushing Australia – so far unsuccessfully – to include climate change on the agenda for November’s G20 meeting in Brisbane.
……..Opposition Leader Bill Shorten took aim at the Prime Minister’s ”flat-Earth views”, accusing him of being out of touch with Australians and world leaders such as Mr Obama. He told Fairfax Media that climate change was ”not just an environmental issue, it is a security issue and it is absolutely an economic issue”.

But Mr Shorten said that Mr Obama, along with other world leaders, had clearly recognised that clean air, low pollution and new technologies would be good for the global economy and job creation. He said Mr Abbott ”shouldn’t shirk the issue when he meets President Obama later this week, and he shouldn’t shirk the issue at the G20 later this year”.

While mooted as a potential member of Mr Abbott’s new coalition, British Prime Minister David Cameron has been vocal about the need to tackle climate change, describing it in February as ”one of the most serious threats that the world faces”. Britain, through membership of the European Union, and New Zealand both have emissions trading schemes in place.:

June 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott gets it wrong on international carbon policies

Abbott-in-hot-panTony Abbott missing signs of world’s switch to carbon trading, experts say, Tom Arup, Environment editor, The Age June 10, 2014  The world’s two largest economies – China and the US – are increasingly adopting carbon trading to cut greenhouse gas emissions, contrary to suggestions by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that other countries are not introducing schemes.

Speaking in Canada, Mr Abbott said carbon taxes and emissions trading were the wrong way to address climate change.


He said the debate was not about the existence of climate change, but the best approach to respond to it and he backed ”direct action measures” such as improving energy efficiency and planting more trees.

Asked if direct action was preferable to an international emissions trading scheme, Mr Abbott said: ”There is no sign – no sign – that trading schemes are increasingly being adopted. If anything trading schemes are being discarded, not adopted.”

Kobad Bhavnagri, Australian head at analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said it was wrong to claim trading schemes were being discarded. He said China started six regional emissions trading schemes in the past year – building towards a national scheme expected to be in place this decade.

n the US, he said the recently announced emissions limits on coal-fired power plants – expressed as targets imposed on the states by the Environment Protection Agency – would likely lead to more states adopting emissions trading to deliver required cuts.

”Apart from Australia I don’t think any other country has plans to unwind an emissions trading scheme. That assertion they are being discarded is incorrect,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

”In the world’s two biggest economies – and the world’s two biggest emitters – we are seeing quite a deliberate move towards carbon pricing and emissions trading, not away.”……….


June 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott says ‘no carbon pricing, in any global climate agreement’

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAbbott says climate not right for tax Sky News 9 June 14, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says any future global agreement on climate change won’t include carbon pricing.

Mr Abbott is the first Australian prime minister to visit Canada since John Howard in 2006, who arrived just months after Mr Harper’s conservative government was elected. The two prime ministers will meet on Monday, local time, when Mr Abbott will receive an official welcome with military honours in the Canadian capital Ottawa.

But speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Abbott said the re-elected Mr Harper had succeeded in convincing Canadian voters at the last national poll of the perils of carbon pricing. Stephen Harper and I are like-minded on this,’ Mr Abbott told reporters in Ottawa on Sunday……….

US President Barack Obama, who Mr Abbott will meet later in the week, has announced a target of cutting emissions from power stations by 30 per cent by 2030 and wants a global deal on tackling climate change next year.
Mr Abbott said there were no signs that any future global agreement would involve carbon pricing………
The two leaders will also on Monday discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to create an Asia-Pacific free trade zone, which Australia believes can be finalised next year.

Mr Abbott will next head to New York where he is expected to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and media baron Rupert Murdoch and hold further business and investment talks.

June 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbbott leads Australia’s retreat from international affairs

Abbott smilesTony Abbott’s global retreat, THE SATURDAY PAPER, 7 June 14 SOPHIE MORRIS  As the PM sets off to meet world leaders, his government is withdrawing the nation from international affairs. en Tony Abbott meets Barack Obama in Washington late next week, the president of the United States of America will no doubt want to discuss his ambitious emissions reduction plans.

If the prime minister is being honest, he would have to concede that, from July, there is the real prospect that Australia may have no official legislated climate policy.

The new senate looks likely to abolish the carbon tax but there is no certainty it will endorse the Coalition’s proposed alternative, which has been criticised by economists and environmentalists. And it is not just on climate change that Australia is increasingly seen as being out of step with the international community. As Abbott tours the world, declaring Australia “open for business”, his government is pursuing a range of policies – on the environment, foreign aid and refugees – that see it retreating from an international approach.

This is no accident; there has been a conscious shift. Forget about global citizenship. Our foreign policy is now all about regional security and trade, rather than climate change and foreign aid. It’s about projecting national sovereignty and domestically oriented policy – stop the boats, axe the tax, end the debt – onto a global stage…….

In a speech to the Westpoint military academy last week, President Obama said a “spirit of co-operation must energise the global effort to combat climate change”, describing it as a “creeping national security crisis” that would lead to refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food. “That’s why, next year, I intend to make sure America is out front in a global framework to preserve our planet,” he said.

Unless Obama is very persuasive when he meets Abbott, it seems likely Australia will not be joining him at the front of this global effort. More likely, we will be bringing up the rear.

June 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott shows Australia ‘out of touch’ as he excludes Climate Change from G20 summit in November

cartoon-climate-AustAustralia should come in from the cold  June 6, 2014  The Age As Tony Abbott heads towards the northern hemisphere summer on the next stage of his 12-day round-the-world trip, he might have cause to feel a distinct chilliness, particularly from his hosts in Europe and the United States. The reason is simple: the more the Australian government downplays the critical importance of acknowledging and controlling climate change, the more behind we will be with world opinion and action.

Just look at what has happened over the past week or so…….

as The Age has said, without carbon pricing, the nation lacks a credible policy outline to adapt to and match even modest accelerations in global emission cuts.

Sadly, the Prime Minister’s glib attitude to climate change is entirely predictable. But this does not excuse his consignment to the political freezer of anything that threatens to add to what should be a reasoned and far-reaching debate on what is a world problem.

The latest thing to be popped into the Australian government’s icebox is the potential inclusion of climate change on the agenda at the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November. ”The focus … will overwhelmingly be our economic security, our financial stabilisation, the importance of private-sector growth,” Mr Abbott said this week, adding that there are other international forums for climate change discussions. Yes, but not ones attended by those world leaders who regard the unchecked progress of global emissions as detrimental to our economic security and financial stability. To restrict, or possibly exclude, climate change from the G20 discussions is short-sighted and counter-productive. Again, it makes Australia look retrograde and out of touch with reality…….

June 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment


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