Australian news, and some related international items

Climate threat underlies the pandemic emergency

April 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Tax-payers funded Matt Canavan’s expensive trip to attend coalmine opening

Matt Canavan billed taxpayers $5,390 for charter flight to attend coalmine opening

The former resources minister used the occasion to give a speech attacking ‘self-indulgent’ environmentalists,  Guardian, Christopher Knaus, Wed 25 Mar 2020 

The former resources minister Matt Canavan billed taxpayers for a $5,390 charter flight to travel 150km to attend the opening of a coalmine, where he gave a speech attacking “self-indulgent” environmental activists.

Canavan took the private charter flight from Mackay to Colinsville, a three-hour drive, so he could get to the opening of the $1.76bn Byerwen mine in north Queensland.

At the opening, Canavan gave a speech attacking what he described as “hypocritical, self-indulgent activists” holding back the dreamers of the mining industry…….

The most recent parliamentary expense reports, released last week, show Canavan later billed taxpayers for the $5,390 charter flight ….. The expense was listed as “unscheduled travel” by the independent parliamentary expenses authority and the finance department…….

The expense is roughly the same as that incurred by the former Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, who chartered a $5,227 helicopter for a return trip from Melbourne to a golf course near Geelong for a Liberal party function.

Canavan quit as minister last month to support Barnaby Joyce’s bid to return to the leadership position. He has described himself as running on an “unashamedly pro-coal” platform.

The Guardian previously reported that Canavan had omitted two properties worth more than $1m from his current declaration of interests to parliament. He declared “nil” interests in real estate despite owning two houses in Yeppoon, Queensland and Macquarie in Canberra.

Canavan said he was not required to declare the interests to the 46th parliament because they’d been declared to the previous parliament, an argument that conflicts with official advice.


March 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a silly scheme

The carbon capture con, Online Opinion, By Viv Forbes  19 March 2020

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) tops the list of silly schemes to reduce man-made global warming. The idea is to capture carbon dioxide from power stations and cement plants, separate it, compress it, pump it long distances and force it underground, hoping it will never escape………

The quantities of gases that CCS would need to handle are enormous and capital and operating costs will be horrendous. For every tonne of coal burnt in a power station, about 11 tonnes of gases are exhausted – 7.5 tonnes of nitrogen from the air used to burn the coal, plus 2.5 tonnes of CO2 and one tonne of water vapour from the coal combustion process….., CCS also requires energy to produce and fabricate steel and erect gas storages, pumps and pipelines and to drill disposal wells. This will chew up more coal resources and produce yet more carbon dioxide, for zero benefit.

But the real problems are at the burial site – how to create secure space for the CO2 gas.

There is no vacuum occurring naturally anywhere on earth – every bit of space is occupied by solids, liquids or gases. Underground disposal of CO2 requires it to be pumped AGAINST the pressure of whatever fills the pore space of the rock formation now – either natural gases or liquids. These pressures can be substantial, especially after more gas is pumped in.

The natural gases in rock formations are commonly air, CO2, CH4 (methane) or rarely, H2S (rotten egg gas). The liquids are commonly salty water, sometimes fresh water or very rarely, liquid hydrocarbons.

Pumping out air is costly; pumping natural CO2 out to make room for man-made CO2 is pointless; and releasing rotten egg gas or salty water on the surface would create a real problem, ……

Then there is the dangerous risk of a surface outburst or leakage from a pressurised reservoir of CO2. The atmosphere contains 0.04% CO2 which is beneficial for all life. But a CCS reservoir would contain +90% of this heavier-than-air gas – a lethal, suffocating concentration for nearby animal life if it escaped. ….


March 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean contradicts the Coalition party line – wants climate action and NO nuclear

March 12, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Global heating is intensifying a rare natural phenomenon that brings severe drought to Australia.

A rare natural phenomenon brings severe drought to Australia. Climate change is making it more common, The Conversation, Nicky Wright, Research Fellow, Australian National University, Bethany Ellis, PhD Candidate, Australian National University, Nerilie Abram, Professor; ARC Future Fellow; Chief Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Australian National University, March 10, 2020 

Weather-wise, 2019 was a crazy way to end a decade. Fires spread through much of southeast Australia, fuelled by dry vegetation from the ongoing drought and fanned by hot, windy fire weather.

On the other side of the Indian Ocean, torrential rainfall and flooding devastated parts of eastern Africa. Communities there now face a locust plague and food shortages.

These intense events can partly be blamed on the extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole, a climate phenomenon that unfolded in the second half of 2019.

The Indian Ocean Dipole refers to the difference in sea surface temperature on either side of the Indian Ocean, which alters rainfall patterns in Australia and other nations in the region. The dipole is a lesser-known relative of the Pacific Ocean’s El Niño.

Climate drivers, such as the Indian Ocean Dipole, are an entirely natural phenomenon, but climate change is modifying the behaviour of these climate modes.    understanding the indian ocean dipole

In research published today in Nature, we reconstructed Indian Ocean Dipole variability over the last millennium. We found “extreme positive” Indian Ocean Dipole events like last year’s are historically very rare, but becoming more common due to human-caused climate change. This is big news for a planet already struggling to contain global warming.

So what does this new side-effect of climate change mean for the future?

The Indian Ocean brings drought and flooding rain

First, let’s explore what a “positive” and “negative” Indian Ocean Dipole means.

During a “positive” Indian Ocean Dipole event, waters in the eastern Indian Ocean become cooler than normal, while waters in the western Indian Ocean become warmer than normal.

Warmer water causes rising warm, moist air, bringing intense rainfall and flooding to east Africa. At the same time, atmospheric moisture is reduced over the cool waters of the eastern Indian Ocean. This turns off one of Australia’s important rainfall sources.

In fact, over the past century, positive Indian Ocean Dipoles have led to the worst droughts and bushfires in southeast Australia.

The Indian Ocean Dipole also has a negative phase, which is important to bring drought-breaking rain to Australia. But the positive phase is much stronger and has more intense climate impacts.

We’ve experienced extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole events before. Reliable instrumental records of the phenomenon began in 1958, and since then a string of very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipoles have occurred in 1961, 1994, 1997 and now 2019.

But this instrumental record is very short, and it’s tainted by the external influence of climate change.

This means it’s impossible to tell from instrumental records alone how extreme Indian Ocean Dipoles can be, and whether human-caused climate change is influencing the phenomenon.

Diving into the past with corals

To uncover just how the Indian Ocean Dipole has changed, we looked back through the last millennium using natural records: “cores” taken from nine coral skeletons (one modern, eight fossilised)……….

positive Indian Ocean Dipole events have been occurring more often in recent decades, and becoming more intense…….

climate change is causing the western side of the Indian Ocean to warm faster than in the east, making it easier for positive Indian Ocean Dipole events to establish.

In other words, drought-causing positive Indian Ocean Dipole events will become more frequent as our climate continues to warm.   In fact, climate model projections indicate extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole events will occur three times more often this century than last, if high greenhouse gas emissions continue.

This means events like last year will almost certainly unfold again soon, and we’re upping the odds of even worse events that, through the fossil coral data, we now know are possible.

Knowing we haven’t yet seen the worst of the Indian Ocean Dipole is important in planning for future climate risks. Future extremes from the Indian Ocean will act on top of long-term warming, giving a double-whammy effect to their impacts in Australia, like the record-breaking heat and drought of 2019.

But perhaps most importantly, rapidly cutting greenhouse gas emissions will limit how often positive Indian Ocean Dipole events occur in future.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, reference | Leave a comment

Christiana Figueres- “Australia, you’re not ‘meeting and beating’ your emissions targets”

Be honest Australia, you’re not ‘meeting and beating’ your emissions targets   8 Mar 20, Optimistic. Prosperous. A country of rare beauty, blessed with abundant natural resources. Australia has all the “golden eggs” needed to position itself as a global leader, to help its Asia-Pacific region leapfrog to a new energy future, and to guarantee Australian prosperity in the process.

Watching this summer’s unprecedented firestorms, I was heartbroken by the sheer scale of the human and ecological tragedy. “This must be the tipping point on climate politics in Australia,” I said to myself. “Surely now the politicians will join hands and forge a bipartisan plan for a better future.”

Instead, the climate wars have returned, driven by a handful of deniers afraid to let go of longstanding vested interests, and given air by powerful media sympathisers and a Prime Minister unwilling to fully embrace the science and stare them down.

For Australia, the choice between danger and opportunity is clear, and that choice must be made now. Since the 2008 Stern Review, the world has known that the cost of not acting is much greater than the cost of our current path. And since the 2008 Garnaut Review, Australians have known that without stronger action, droughts and bushfires would become more frequent and intense, and “observable by 2020”. It is time to move on from denial, delusion and delay towards preparedness, productivity and prosperity.

The following three steps will put Australia on track to the future we must create.

First, be honest about where Australia is at. Your country is much more than 1.3 per cent of the global climate problem. Carbon emissions from Australia’s use and export of fossil fuels account for about 5 per cent of the global fossil fuel footprint. With exports included, Australians have the biggest per capita carbon footprint in the world.

Australia is not “meeting and beating” its emissions targets. Emissions have increased in every calendar year since 2014. The government’s own projections say Australia will reduce emissions by only 16 per cent by 2030, not the 26 to 28 per cent it promised in Paris, nor the 50 per cent required by science to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Kyoto “carryover” can’t be used to make up the gap. The Paris Agreement doesn’t allow it. To suggest otherwise is at best an attempt to paper over Australia’s lagging efforts; and at worst, a legally baseless ploy that encourages cheating and holds back development of the next phase of carbon markets.

A highly vulnerable Australia cannot address climate change on its own, but its heel dragging leaves it without the international credibility to drive a stronger global response. The Australian government must look seriously at how to really meet and beat its 2030 target, and ask other major emitters to join it in an alliance for higher ambition at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November.

Second, Australia needs a bipartisan, long-term vision for decarbonisation. Rattled by the bushfires and growing evidence of climate-related risks and stresses, Australia’s biggest corporations – including Rio Tinto, Qantas, Telstra and BHP – have announced support for a national net zero target for 2050. For them, legislating this target is important to finally end the climate wars, and provide the necessary certainty to underpin investment in the transition.

All states and territories have 2050 net zero targets, as do 73 other nations, including Britain and Canada. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would welcome Australia joining these ranks ahead of the COP26, and giving consideration to the British model of using an independent expert body to advise government on five-yearly carbon budgets en route to net zero by 2050. Independent MP Zali Steggall’s private members’ bill does exactly that.

Third, Australia must embrace net zero by 2050 as a central pillar of its economic plan for the future. The plan must prioritise the policies, industries and technologies that are scientifically aligned with the 1.5 degree temperature limit, and retire those that are not, albeit with gratitude for the service provided in the past.

Despite a booming renewables industry, coal still accounts for around 60 per cent of Australia’s energy mix. But the technology is tired and unreliable in the summer, highly polluting, and no longer price competitive with solar and wind, firmed up by big batteries or pumped hydro. There is no place for governments signed up to the Paris Agreement to provide subsidies for dying coal. We must instead invest in the future.

After two years in operation, South Australia’s 100-megawatt “big battery” at Hornsdale, has successfully stabilised the state’s grid, saved consumers $50 million, and produced handsome financial returns for its investors. In NSW, the Snowy 2.0 hydro project will deliver at least two gigawatts of dispatchable power to the main Australian grid, creating up to 5,000 jobs along the way. And for Western Australia, proponents of the 15-gigawatt wind and solar powered Asian Renewable Energy Hub plan not only to power local mines and aluminium smelters in the Pilbara. Like Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, they see the potential to earn big export dollars from green ammonia and hydrogen, displacing coal on Australia’s trade balance sheet, while quickly converting Japan and South Korea to clean energy.

These ground-breaking projects are just three examples of how Australia can lead and prosper. With political honesty and vision, ambitious targets, and a stubborn commitment to innovation, Australia stands ready to assume its rightful place as a clean energy superpower of the world. With the right choices, the future is bright.

Christiana Figueres is the former UN climate chief who oversaw the negotiation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and is convenor of the Mission 2020 climate campaign. She is co-author of The Future We Choose and is visiting Australia this week.

March 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?   Owen Jones  Guardian, 6 Mar 2020  No Cobra meetings, no sombre speeches from No 10, yet the consequences of runaway global heating are catastrophic, It is a global emergency that has already killed on a mass scale and threatens to send millions more to early graves. As its effects spread, it could destabilise entire economies and overwhelm poorer countries lacking resources and infrastructure. But this is the climate crisis, not the coronavirus. Governments are not assembling emergency national plans and you’re not getting push notifications transmitted to your phone breathlessly alerting you to dramatic twists and developments from South Korea to Italy.More than 3,000 people have succumbed to coronavirus yet, according to the World Health Organization, air pollution alone – just one aspect of our central planetary crisis – kills seven million people every year. There have been no Cobra meetings for the climate crisis, no sombre prime ministerial statements detailing the emergency action being taken to reassure the public. In time, we’ll overcome any coronavirus pandemic. With the climate crisis, we are already out of time, and are now left mitigating the inevitably disastrous consequences hurtling towards us. While coronavirus is understandably treated as an imminent danger, the climate crisis is still presented as an abstraction whose consequences are decades away. Unlike an illness, it is harder to visualise how climate breakdown will affect us each as individuals. Perhaps when unprecedented wildfires engulfed parts of the Arctic last summer there could have been an urgent conversation about how the climate crisis was fuelling extreme weather, yet there wasn’t.  In 2018, more than 60 million people suffered the consequences of extreme weather and climate change, including more than 1,600 who perished in Europe, Japan and the US because of heatwaves and wildfires. Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were devastated by cyclone Idai, while hurricanes Florence and Michael inflicted $24bn (£18.7bn) worth of damage on the US economy, according to the World Meteorological Organization.As the recent Yorkshire floods illustrate, extreme weather – with its terrible human and economic costs – is ever more a fact of British life. Antarctic ice is melting more than six times faster than it was four decades ago and Greenland’s ice sheet four times faster than previously thought. According to the UN, we have 10 years to prevent a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial temperature but, whatever happens, we will suffer.

Pandemics and the climate crisis may go hand in hand, too: research suggests that changing weather patterns may drive species to higher altitudes, potentially putting them in contact with diseases for which they have little immunity. “It’s strange when people see the climate crisis as being in the future, compared to coronavirus, which we’re facing now,” says Friends of the Earth’s co-executive director, Miriam Turner. “It might be something that feels far away when sitting in an office in central London, but the emergency footing of the climate crisis is being felt by hundreds of millions already.”

Imagine, then, that we felt the same sense of emergency about the climate crisis as we do about coronavirus. What action would we take? …..

March 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Morrison to cancel Australia’s participation in the Energy Transition Hub

March 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Cosy little cocktail party for Liberal and Labor MPs, with coal industry bigwigs

Climate campaigners condemn ‘insidious’ cocktail party for MPs and coal industry
Parliament House event represents an effort to undermine climate action, environmental group 350 Australia says,
Guardian, Christopher Knaus @knauscWed 4 Mar 2020 Environmental campaigners say a cocktail night involving the fossil fuel industry and federal politicians represents an “insidious” lobbying effort to undermine climate action.

The pro-coal Liberal MP Craig Kelly and Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon hosted a cocktail event at Parliament House to discuss carbon capture and storage with industry leaders on Wednesday night.

An invite seen by the Guardian was sent out by Kelly and Fitzgibbon, who chair the parliamentary friends of resources, together with representatives of Santos and the carbon capture body CO2CRC. The event is described as a “cocktail event to mark the inaugural meeting of the CO2CRC Carbon Capture and Storage Policy Forum”.

That forum features companies such as BHP, Chevron, Coal21, ENI, Exxon, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, JPower, Shell and Woodside.

The invite says the forum aims to “work with governments, industry and other stakeholders” to create “suitable policy settings and a regulatory framework to accelerate the development and deployment of CCS technology in Australia”…..

Environment group 350 Australia says the event shows the need to “crack down on the undue influence of lobby groups on our democracy”.

The 350 Australia chief executive, Lucy Manne, said the event was an “insidious effort by the fossil fuel lobby to undermine action on the climate crisis”.

Manne said carbon capture and storage had proven a “pipe dream of the coal and gas lobby” and diverted millions away from proven renewables…..

“It’s outrageous that instead of working out how to rapidly transition to the renewable energy future the vast majority of Australians and businesses want, our elected representatives will tonight be sipping cocktails with the coal lobby and discussing how to extend the life of dirty coal-burning power stations.”

Such lobbying is generally hidden from the public unless revealed by the media. The Fitzgibbon-Kelly cocktail event was reported in News Corp papers.

It does not appear in any of the transparency measures governing lobbying. Federal ministers are also not required to disclose who they have met with, unlike in states like Queensland and New South Wales. ……

March 5, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, politics | Leave a comment

Greens leader Adam Bandt introduces climate emergency Bill

‘People are angry and anxious’: Adam Bandt introduces climate emergency bill,    Greens leader Adam Bandt has introduced a bill to formally declare a climate emergency and set up a ‘war cabinet’ to tackle the crisis.

Greens leader Adam Bandt has painted a post-apocalyptic future for Australia unless the government declares a climate emergency.

Mr Bandt told parliament on Monday that “environmental collapse was here” as he introduced his bill to formally declare the crisis.

“It is not scaremongering, it is hard physics and we have just had a taste of it over the last summer,” he said.

“People are angry and are anxious and are desperately looking for leadership.”

He said northern Australia would be inhospitable for parts of the year, one-in-six native species would be extinct, mosquito-borne diseases will travel south and the country’s river systems will see more algal blooms that lead to mass fish kills in the Murray-Darling.

Under the bill, the government would be required to set up a “war cabinet” to tackle the crisis, government agencies would refer to the declaration of a climate emergency when developing policy and table annual reports on how they were meeting their obligations.

Mr Bandt’s bill was seconded by independent MP Zali Steggall, who knocked off former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott for the NSW seat of Warringah at the last election.

“There is no doubt we are in the midst of a climate emergency,” Ms Steggall said.

We have a duty to Australian people … it is time for us all to be accountable.”

A climate emergency motion moved in October fell four votes short.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

So-called ‘Ethical’ super funds invest in coal, oil, gas

‘Ethical’ super funds invest in coal, oil, gas, SMH, Charlotte Grieve, March 3, 2020 Sustainable investment options offered by two major industry superannuation groups and wealth giant AMP have millions invested in the fossil fuel industry, despite pledging to apply strict screening based on environmental, social and governance standards.

AustralianSuper’s “socially aware investment option” claims it does not invest in Australian or international companies that directly own fossil fuels while disclosures of its portfolio holdings show it has at least $39 million invested in more than 20 global coal, oil and gas projects. These include Marathon Petroleum Corp, Indian thermal coal plant Adhunik Power and Natural Resources and oil, gas and chemicals company, WorleyParsons.

Latest figures show the fund has more than $2.4 billion invested on behalf of 38,000 members, less than 2 per cent of the $172 billion superannuation giant’s total membership pool.

After conducting a survey of members’ interests, the top investment concern for those wanting an ethical alternative was exposure to coal and other fossil fuels. The socially aware option pledges to screen out companies that own reserves of fossil fuels or uranium, regardless of the size of its ownership.

This screen is not applied to private equity, which makes up 4 per cent of total investments and the fund’s fact-sheet explains it can still invest in companies that provide services to, buy, process or sell products from or invest in the excluded companies.

The fund has a stake in 24 companies that either produce fossil fuels or rely on their production. These include: thermal coal producer Westmoreland Mining that in December announced a six-year coal supply agreement in middle America; $9.6 million in Halliburton, one of the world’s largest providers of drilling and production services for oil, gas and coal companies; and $9.6 million in Marathon Petroleum, the largest refining company in America that produces more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Other oil and gas companies AustralianSuper’s sustainable fund bankrolls include Fieldwood Energy, a company that claims to be one of the largest producers of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, Perth-based Northern Oil and Gas and Ajax Resources, recently acquired by Texas oil and gas company, Diamondback.

AustralianSuper declined to answer questions about its screening process or if it had plans to create a fund that applies a hard screen to the fossil fuel industry.

Similarly, the 2019 portfolio holdings for $54 billion Hostplus’s sustainable investment option launched in March 2017 includes at least eight oil and gas companies, including Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum.

Hostplus was contacted for comment.

Giant retail super fund provider AMP’s $117 billion portfolio also includes an “ethical leaders balanced fund” that promises to “boycott the bad” by “actively avoiding” investing in fossil fuels, tobacco and nuclear power.

However, AMP invests in at least nine oil and gas companies, including Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Santos…….

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s disappearing beaches, as global heating causes sea level rise

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

#ScottyFromMarketing a ‘predatory’ centrist on climate policy with no plans for meaningful emissions reduction

March 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Global heating, rising seas, and the plight of Torres Strait Islanders

It’s our right to be here’: the Torres Strait Islanders fighting to save their homes from a rising sea

An entire way of life is under threat in the Torres Strait, where locals have taken their case to the United Nations, Guardian Jack Banister, 1 Mar 20

Kabay Tamu slows his dusty white ute to walking speed on the dirt road that runs along the south-western shoreline of Warraber, a tiny coral cay in the Torres Strait that is home to about 250 people.

“This was the best spot for a day out,” 28-year-old Tamu says, recalling his childhood.

Most of the beach where Tamu used to play is gone, along with several enormous wongai trees that were a barrier of sorts, protecting the dirt road and the nearby dam, which supplies the island’s drinking water, from the sea.

Warraber is just 1.4km long, and half as wide, but shrinking fast. Some data suggests that sea levels in the Torres Strait could be rising at twice the global rate.

Now, Islanders dump their green waste to hold back the rising sea. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that by 2100 tides will rise 30–60cm with immediate cuts to carbon emissions, and 61-110cm without…….

The Billy family also live on nearby Poruma island, where Danny spent part of his childhood. Just a 15-minute flight away, Poruma is smaller and thinner. On the western shore, a road and buildings are threatened, and 250 coconut trees – a source of food, shelter and leaves used in traditional ceremonies – have already been washed away.

Local man Phillemon Mosby feels that loss keenly. The picturesque plantation should be a place to share with children and grandchildren, who would ordinarily take over the nurturing of the site.

“That experience was taken away because of climate change, because of the rising sea levels. We’ve seen areas where we used to go fishing that are no longer there. We’ve seen rocks where people used to go diving that are covered.”…….

Tamu, Billy, and Uncle Frank’s cousin, Nazareth Fauid, are among the eight Torres Strait Islanders who lodged a complaint last May with the United Nations human rights committee against the Australian government, alleging that its failure to reduce emissions, or pursue proper adaptation measures across the region impedes their human rights, to culture and life.

Sophie Marjanac, a lawyer with environmental non-profit ClientEarth, is representing the group, who want the government to meet its targets under the Paris Agreement, to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to phase out thermal coal.

In December, the federal government matched an earlier commitment of $20 million from the Queensland governmentto build new seawalls. But there is widespread scepticism among Islanders about when the new walls will be constructed.

In early 2018, emergency funding of $650,000 was granted to Poruma to protect its western shore, but the wall was built using geotextile sandbags with a 50-year life expectancy, rather than the rock or brick asked for by the community. More work is required to protect the shoreline. Where the coast remains exposed, coconut trees lie on the beach, their roots slowly ripping away from the island.

Other islands including Boigu, Masig, and Iama need new seawalls. It is unclear which islands will be prioritised, and if the new funding will cover them all.

Tamu is quick to point out that “sea walls are only to buy us time” – the best fix is emissions reduction.

“The thing that got me was [the federal government] didn’t announce [the new funding] as seawalls to combat climate change. They said it was ‘an infrastructure development in the community’. They’re still trying to cover up climate change and the rising sea levels here.”

Tamu gained international headlines when he asked prime minister Scott Morrison to visit Warraber during the UN climate summit in New York last September. He maintains that the damage visible on Warraber and other islands would shock them into action on climate and coal…….

The invitation was rejected via email in November, and Tamu says that the government is still “hearing, but not listening” when it comes to nationwide pleas for climate action. ……

While the UN complaint won’t be settled until 2021, Danny Billy says islanders won’t stop making noise until Australia finally offers global leadership on climate change…

March 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Darebin Council, Melbourne – a world first on Climate Emergency

This Melbourne council declared the world’s first climate emergency – now 28 countries are on board, Local and national governments in 28 countries have declared climate emergencies since Melbourne’s Darebin Council in 2016. Many now hope after this summer’s bushfires, Australia may declare a national emergency. SBS, BY EVAN YOUNG  1 Mar 20, On 5 December 2016, Melbourne’s Darebin Council made history.

Councillor Trent McCarthy put forward a motion that the council vote on declaring a state of climate emergency.

Though it would be merely symbolic, it was thought a declaration could still have practical use.

The vote was unanimous and made Darebin Council the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.

“Before the vote, residents were very much telling us climate change mattered more than anything else to them,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie told SBS News……..

Since 2016, Ms Rennie said Darebin Council has begun work on a number of green initiatives, including programs to subsidise solar panels for residents and businesses, working to make all council operations carbon-neutral, introducing a food waste recycling program and resurfacing roads with recycled material.

Making the declaration in 2016 “set the council on a path” to develop a climate plan, she said.

“Staff in all different parts of the organisation understand that looking at their work through the lens of a climate emergency is critical and it’s a core part of their jobs.”

“Our community expects action … so we also invite them to be much more vocal in what responses they want to see.”……

Where have climate emergencies been declared?

Ninety-four Australian jurisdictions have declared a climate emergency, according to Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action (CEDMA).

The ACT parliament declared a climate emergency in May 2019, becoming the first Australian state or territory to do so, while South Australia’s Upper House followed suit four months later.

More than 800 million citizens across 28 countries are estimated to live in jurisdictions that have declared climate emergencies, according to CEDMA.

Britain, France, Portugal and Argentina are among the national governments to make climate emergency declarations.

Pope Francis also made a declaration in June 2019, while in November, more than 11,000 scientists around the world signed a scientific paper stating that the planet was facing a climate emergency, “clearly and unequivocally”.

Could Australia declare a national climate emergency?

In October 2019, an e-petition calling on the federal government to declare a national climate emergency reached a record-breaking 404,538 signatures.

It received more than three times the number of signatures on a petition which held the previous record, calling for the removal of GST on menstrual products.

The same month, Greens MP Adam Bandt brought a vote to the House of Representatives on whether to declare a national climate emergency. His motion was defeated 72-65, with Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor labelling it a “grand symbolic gesture”…….HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/THIS-MELBOURNE-COUNCIL-DECLARED-THE-WORLD-S-FIRST-CLIMATE-EMERGENCY-NOW-28-COUNTRIES-ARE-ON-BOARD

March 2, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment