Australian news, and some related international items

Climate and the Coalition’s new denialism

Nick Feik, In recent months the federal government’s position on climate change has shifted. Not in policy terms: the change has been restricted to its rhetoric. It has a new strategy to avoid responsibility. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has become adept at evading questions on climate change and its links to bushfires and judging by his satisfied expression as he fronted up for ABC’s 7.30 recently, he remains confident he has a form of words that, like armour, journalists will be unable to penetrate…. (subscribers only – or buy the print version)

January 24, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australia’s megafires a wake-up call on the climate-nuclear danger

the task of civil society is to organize more strongly in order to increase awareness regarding the link between the climate crisis and the vulnerability of nuclear facilities so that public opinion may begin to be altered and political powers may be pressured to begin an exit from the innately dangerous nuclear path.

What Australia type fire may tell us about the possibility of nuclear disasters,   JANUARY 22, 2020  Australia is one of the countries that have experienced extreme weather events, especially in the last decade due to the effect of global warming. According to experts, system interactions triggered global warming, and extinguishing fires has become impossible due to reduced water resources as a result of excessive evaporation and mismanagement of these resources in the last decade in the country. It is estimated that nearly 1.25 billion animal species and at least 27 people have lost their lives, in addition to annihilation of forests and vegetation due to the fires which could not be controlled for almost four months; other species are threatened with extinction and 1800 houses have reportedly burned down.

Unfortunately, the impact of the events is not limited to the period of their occurrence – while four months of carbon emissions, as much as the annual carbon emission amount to the atmosphere, there are scientific studies indicating that there may be an increase in various diseases, especially asthma, especially among children, with the air quality rising to nearly 21 times the dangerous level. Things could have been much worse if the fires had reached the region where uranium mines are located in Australia, which supplies 12% of the uranium fuel used in nuclear power plants operating worldwide; Australia however, has no nuclear power plant of its own. Continue reading

January 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Former Prime Minister Turnbull scathing about #MorrisonFromMarketing, on the climate issue

‘War on science’: Malcolm Turnbull says Scott Morrison has misled the nation on bushfire crisis, New Daily ,Samantha Maiden, 22 Jan 2020 Malcolm Turnbull has unleashed on Scott Morrison in a brutal new interview in which the former Liberal leader also likened his climate change denying colleagues to “terrorists”.  the PM of downplaying the bushfire crisis……..

“I can’t explain why he didn’t meet the former fire commissioners who wanted to see him in March last year to talk about the gravity of the threat.
“Everybody knew we were in a very dry time and as a consequence the fire season was likely to be very bad. So rather than doing what a leader should do and preparing people for that, he downplayed it and then of course chose to go away on holiday in Hawaii at the peak of the crisis…..

Last year, The New Daily revealed the Prime Minister had embarked on a secret trip to Hawaii while fires were devastating Australian communities.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Morrison downplayed, and at times discounted, the influence of climate change……
“If a country like Australia is not prepared to grapple with these issues seriously – itself being on the front line of the consequences and being an advanced, prosperous, technologically sophisticated country with the means to do so – why would other countries take the issue as seriously as they should?” …..

The former prime minister, who has a new book out this year, also slammed the US President Donald Trump for playing a “very destructive” role in the climate debate.

“Trump makes no bones about it. He says global warming is rubbish,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Trump is trying to put a brake on global action to reduce emissions. The lack of American leadership is extremely damaging.

Mr Turnbull also accused his own predecessor, Tony Abbott, of being the nation’s most prominent climate denier in Australian politics, who was joined by others in a shameful “war against science”.

“It is an extraordinarily irrational and self-destructive approach,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The right [wing] in the Liberal Party essentially operate like terrorists,” he said.

“Now I’m not suggesting that they use guns and bombs or anything like that, but their approach is one of intimidation.

“And they basically say to the rest of the party… if you don’t do what we want, we will blow the show up. Famously one of the coup leaders said to me, ‘you have to give in to the terrorists’.”

January 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Finance Minister Mathias Cormann spruiks for coal and for Trump at Davos summit

Davos 2020: Climate critics are wrong, says Matthias Cormann THE AUSTRALIAN, 22 Jan 2020

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has declared global perceptions of Australia’s climate action are “false” as he defended both the coal industry and US President Donald Trump in front of world leaders at the Davos summit…. (subscribers only)

January 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s billion of animal deaths – conservationists must not give up

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

Bangladesh and Australia- both vulnerable to climate change – but will that stop the coal lobby?

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Morrison says NSW minister “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Does Morrison? — RenewEconomy

Morrison misrepresents federal emissions targets and renewables investment while trying to chastise NSW energy minister Matt Kean over climate. The post Morrison says NSW minister “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Does Morrison? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison says NSW minister “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Does Morrison? — RenewEconomy

January 20, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Fire fighter’s anger at Scott Morrison, over climate change

cartoon – Reproduced with permission from Mark David and Independent Australia.

The Firefighter Whose Denunciation of Australia’s Prime Minister Made Him a Folk Hero New Yorker, By Amanda Schaffer, January 18, 2020 

Until a few days ago, Paul Parker was a volunteer firefighter in Nelligen, a small village on the coast of New South Wales, in Australia—an area that has been devastated by the bushfires currently sweeping the country. A week ago, Parker was defending homes in his community against a spreading inferno. The sky was red and burnt orange, he said. Embers were everywhere. Flames shot as high as forty feet. “I’ve fought a few bushfires in my time, but nothing like that,” Parker told me. “It’s the worst I’ve ever experienced.”
……In Parker’s community, and elsewhere, the crisis has provoked intense anger toward Morrison, who was on vacation in Hawaii when two firefighters died in December. Morrison returned to Australia, but his response to the wildfires has been widely condemned as slow and ineffective.

Since September, millions of acres of land have burned, thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses, and at least twenty-eight have perished.

Morrison’s history of skepticism toward climate change and the government’s record of inaction have infuriated Australians who understand that record-breaking heat and dryness, symptomatic of a warming planet, are fuelling the crisis. On Sunday, Morrison announced an inquiry into the country’s fire response, nodding to the role of climate change but failing to support policies to decrease fossil-fuel use or promote renewable energy……

“Then the wind changed, so the flames were fully involved across the road, and we had to drive the truck through the fire front to get ourselves out. We were driving to stop the fire from going into the village, and we saw a TV-news team down on one of the access roads. It just was a boiling point for me. I said, ‘Are you from the media? Tell the Prime Minister to go and get fucked, from Nelligen. . . . We really enjoy doing this shit.’ 

“A couple of weeks earlier, the Prime Minister commented that Rural Fire Service members enjoy going out and fighting fires. He’s just got no understanding of what it’s all about. We don’t enjoy fighting bushfires and saving people’s homes. We do it because we have to. He’s got no understanding of what real people in Australia go through. And he doesn’t care anyway. Any real man would never have left the country while his country was in turmoil…….

“Climate change is also a real thing. It’s not something that can be fixed overnight, and the government’s got to make a stand at some stage. Scott Morrison doesn’t even believe in climate change. I don’t think he even considers that we are going through climate change…….

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia reMade – a primer for our climate action future

  ReMAKERS’ MEMO #1, January 2020 An Australia reMADE primer to talking about the bushfires and where to from here *V2, updated 14th Jan 2020 


  Our nation has been rudely awakened to the reality that we are one of the most climate vulnerable countries on the planet. And now we have a moment where people are ready to participate in reshaping the system; ready to participate in new ways to reflect the new world. How are we enabling this?
We need to make sure we don’t get stuck just responding to the government’s narrow frame of what ‘practical action’ looks like, or worse. We’re already seeing hints of an alternative agenda, which uses this ‘New Normal’ moment as a shock doctrine opportunity to justify a different kind of agenda (imagine dams and land clearing, lucrative service delivery contracts for private contractors, increase in police powers, decrease in nature protection laws, cracking down on activism, privatising essential services, etc). Here getting out early in the public debate is key.
We need to socialise our r thinking and not wait for perfectly formed ideas and solutions or we’ll get stuck on the back foot. Australians want a future where people and nature thrive. Where the values of a free, vibrant, democratic and caring society are strengthened, not sacrificed. We want to put these values front and centre, but so often they get pushed to the periphery of the debate – whether on our airwaves or in our parliaments.

We get told that now is not the time, or we have to be ever wealthier first, before we can decide to care for people and planet. We’ve already seen the hollowness of the ‘cost of action’ argument in light of the ‘cost of inaction’ reality. Business as usual is no longer an option. Let’s name what we want, and talk about the transformation required to get there.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Liberal Party misinformation on climate change

Notorious climate denier Craig Kelly at it again,  Independent Australia, By Steve Bishop | 19 January 2020, Official figures reveal the Liberals’ foremost climate change denying MP, Craig Kelly, resorted to lies and misinformation to dispute factual evidence in his presentation to a Sky News program.Kelly and other MPs such as George Christensen, have helped sabotage the Federal Government’s climate change policy to a point where it is viewed as the worst in the world.

Just examine the absurd whoppers Kelly told in claiming most of the U.S.’s hottest years on record had occurred in the 1930s.

He used these lies to justify an even bigger lie:  Here’s a transcript of Kelly’s snake-oil claims:

……… The United States’ climate records are kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

I have searched the records, which go back to 1895, and can find no statistics to support Kelly’s claims.

The only set of figures which bear any resemblance to Kelly’s fake news are for one-off freak temperature extremes in each state……….

All Australians should be concerned by Kelly’s lies because he has the personal backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who intervened before the last election to ensure the climate change denier was selected as the candidate for Hughes.

This gives Kelly credibility with the ridiculous right of the party when coal-loving Morrison, as PM, has to appeal to a broad church…..,13501

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia led the world in climate action, in 2012 with the Gillard Labor government

Who to Blame for Australia’s Bullshit Approach to Climate Change  

Look these coal lobbyists in the eye. Remember their names. By Royce Kurmelovs, 16 January 2020, 

As the smoke begins to clear on 10.3 million hectares of charred earth, many Australians have started asking questions. The largest natural disaster in the country’s history has left over two dozen people dead; over a billion native animals dead or dying, along with tens of thousands of livestock; and some species pushed to the point of extinction.

Now people are asking: “why?”

The answer, for many, is that we’ve begun a long and unnerving slide into a world of supercharged weather. The CO2 humanity had been pumping into the atmosphere for decades is now affecting our seasons in precisely all the ways we were warned. For Australia, that means hotter summers with less rainfall, which is exactly what 2019 delivered.

Australia just sweltered through its hottest year on record with temperatures averaging 1.52C above the 1961—1990 average, according to data from the Bureau of Meteorology. This came after an unprecedented period of drought across much of the country’s east, which unsurprisingly led to widespread fires.

But even if the science is clear, the reality seems lost on those who hold the country’s highest political offices. When confronted with the suggestion his government was not acting in a meaningful way on climate change, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has simply said he “did not accept that” and insisted, like his Minister for Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, that Australia has been “doing its part”.

he truth is that Australia is the fourth largest coal producer in the world, and has relied on tricky accounting practices to book progress toward reducing its carbon emissions while actually doing the bare minimum.

Because of this, Australia was recently rated 57th on a list of countries for its handling of climate change—placing it just slightly above Iran with its oil-dependent national economy.

And yet just eight years ago, Australia was leading the world on climate change action. In 2012 we’d achieved what many pundits believed was a political impossibility. Australia had levied a tax on carbon that forced an almost immediate drop in the country’s CO2 emissions. That was until a new conservative government took power and repealed the carbon tax a short two years later.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison probably intransigent on climate policy

If the bushfires won’t force climate policy change, we need to circumvent Scott Morrison. Guardian,  Lenore Taylor  The cabal of Coalition denialists calling the shots are still impervious to facts. But it’s not yet time to despair @lenoretaylor, Fri 17 Jan 202  It’s time to face a dreadful truth. If this bushfire crisis, this nation-wide trauma, can’t loosen the denialists’ grip on Coalition climate policy, then maybe nothing will.

That would mean everyone sifting through Scott Morrison’s verbiage for signs that he might really be intending to change direction is searching in vain, because he’s just trying to talk himself out of political trouble.

It would mean everyone patiently pointing out that the prime minister could quite easily “evolve” his current policies into something that actually reduced Australia’s greenhouse emissions could save their breath, because that isn’t the kind of evolution he is considering.

And it would mean there’s no point reprising the facts, that Australia’s emissions are flatlining, not falling, that we could seize an economic advantage in a low-carbon world and at the same time help the globe avoid the all too obvious costs of inaction. The Coalition cabal who apparently still call the shots thinks climate science is “voodoo”. They’re impervious to facts. They are already threatening, via anonymous quotes to the Australian, to “blow the place up”. Again. Just like they’ve been blowing up national climate action for more than a decade.

And as this week’s Guardian Essential poll showed, despite the widespread sense that the fires are a tipping point, despite global outrage at the self-defeating stupidity of our policies, despite the world’s largest fund manager ditching thermal coal, despite the wave of grief and anger from around the world – even from James Murdoch – it’s still not clear that Australian public opinion will force this government to change.

Sure, Morrison’s mishandling of this crisis has cost him. His overall approval ratings have dived but his numbers have held fairly steady in his base. The strategists – who always pay more heed to those numbers than to other benchmarks, like, say, a country in ashes – no doubt believe that, with enough confusing obfuscation about “meeting and beating” targets, enough revising of the figures, enough serious practical efforts to help burnt-out communities, and just enough rhetoric conceding the reality of global heating, all will be well in time, without promising to do anything about it. All will be well for the poll numbers that is. Not for the nation.

This is not, repeat not, an argument for abandoning the arguments in favour of climate action. It is not a counsel to cop out in despair. …………

Maybe, under the current political pressure, something will give. But we’ve been fooled before and there’s no time to be fooled again. So that means it’s time to think of ways around the federal Coalition’s intransigence, because those deniers will never be swayed, and we can’t allow them to dictate our future.

January 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Much of Australia might simply become too hot and dry for human habitation

January 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s fire-driven storms are pumping smoke into the stratosphere

Australia’s fire-driven storms are pumping smoke into the stratosphere,  15 January 2020 By Adam Vaughan  Thunderstorms generated by the Australian bushfires are very likely to have pumped as much smoke into the stratosphere as a volcanic eruption.

Blazes across the country in the past few weeks have been so intense they have generated their own weather. They create rising air mixed with ash and smoke that results in thunderstorm clouds above the fires called pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCbs).

Some of these are strong enough and rise high enough to have channelled smoke into the stratosphere, a plume of which has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in an eastward direction. NASA says this plume has now made a full circuit around the Earth. There were at least 20 pyroCbs between 28 and 31 December, and more on 4 January, some of which injected smoke into the stratosphere.

The scale of the smoke in the stratosphere has now been calculated by David Peterson at the US Naval Research Laboratory, who is presenting his preliminary findings to the American Meteorological Society at a meeting in Boston later today.

“It’s very likely on a volcanic scale,” he says. “The big thing here is really the impact that this is having on the stratosphere.” Although not of the scale of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the largest in modern history, the effect is similar to a more moderate eruption, Peterson says.

In 2017, Peterson found that Canadian wildfires put as much smoke as a volcano into the stratosphere. He is now working to apply the same technique to the Australian fires and thunderstorms. “At this point I can tell you that this event is one of the largest, it’s very near the top. I can’t say for sure if it’s the biggest,” he says, in terms of the amount of smoke injected into the stratosphere.

While it is well known that a volcanic eruption can put enough aerosols into the atmosphere to have a cooling effect, the different chemistry of pyroCbs means the impacts of the fires on global temperatures aren’t yet entirely clear.

They may have a warming or cooling effect, and it isn’t known how long the smoke will persist at heights of between around 10 and 50 kilometres high, which is roughly where the stratosphere starts and finishes. Peterson says the biggest question is what role proyCbs are playing in the climate system. Some of the smoke plumes are also getting high enough to affect the ozone layer.

We may have answers to some of these unknowns soon though, thanks to NASA flying a plane earlier this year through the upper level of a pyroCb generated by US wildfires. “It wasn’t as massive as these Australia plumes but fortunately at an altitude the aircraft could get to it,” says Peterson. The resulting direct observations of the chemistry will, along with satellite measurements, help unlock the answers.

Alan Robock at Rutgers University in New Jersey says any potential cooling effect from the bushfire smoke is unlikely to be huge at a global level, but could cause cooling of several degrees Celsius at a local level. If the Australian pyroCbs produce twice as much smoke as those from Canada in 2017, “it still would not be a large or long-lasting impact on climate,” he says.

However, the smoke can persist in the stratosphere for half a year or longer, as at such heights it can be heated by the sun and lofted even further up, prolonging its lifetime.

“This is the same process we have modelled in our studies of the climatic consequences of nuclear war in which much more smoke from burning cities and industrial areas would be lofted into the stratosphere and last for years,” says Robock. As such, analysis of the smoke from the bushfires could help improve simulations of the impact of nuclear Armageddon.

Our knowledge of pyroCbs is at an early stage. These thunderstorms and the smoke they put into the stratosphere have only been detectable via satellite instruments since the early 2000s, and previously were thought to be the result of volcanic eruptions, until analysis traced them back to wildfires.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, reference | Leave a comment

World Economic Forum focusses on climate change, Australia snubs the Forum

January 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment