Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems.

While other world leaders arrive in New York to discuss cooperation on Covid and climate, Morrison will trying to patch up his submarine blunder. The post What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems appeared first on RenewEconomy.

What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems — RenewEconomy

Scott Morrison has landed in New York for a week of meeting with international leaders, but the prime minister is likely to spend the time trying to mend damaged diplomatic relationships rather than engaging with other world leaders on climate issues.

World leaders are convening in New York this week for the next session of the UN General Assembly, which will largely be focused on the ongoing response to the Covid pandemic, fostering economic recovery,  and preparations for the next round of climate change negotiations that will be held in Glasgow in a few weeks time.

Several critical meetings have already been held, including a call from the UN for leaders to “stop ignoring the science.” But, like his last visit to New York,  when Morrison avoided a UN climate meeting in favour of dinner with Donald Trump, he has other priorities.

Morrison major focus now will be dealing with the ongoing fallout from the cancellation of Australia’s submarine deal with France. This self-inflicted blunder has seen relations sour with the broader European community while implicating allies the United States and the United Kingdom, and possibly putting a climate deal with China at risk.

The mishandling of that deal means Morrison arrives in New York with a new level of unpopularity amongst world leaders, and now needing to navigate a frosty diplomatic relationship with European leaders threatening to scuttle a free-trade agreement between Australia and the EU that has been years in the making.

Morrison will meet with leaders from Sweden and Austria and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who has already described Australia’s treatment of France as “unacceptable”.

The European leaders could look to punish Australia on two fronts – to send a message over the cancelled $90 billion submarine deal, as well as following through with the introduction of export tariffs on Australia’s carbon intensive exports to account for Australia’s virtually non-existent price on carbon pollution.

While in the US, Morrison will meet with other leaders of the “quad” strategic dialogue, which includes US president Joe Biden, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to discuss regional security measures.

However, it is unlikely that Morrison will engage in any discussions that relate to climate change policy – with Australia already on the outer of international talks due to a refusal to adopt stronger climate change targets.

Morrison is not listed to address the UN General Assembly, and Australia was not invited to participate in a climate change roundtable convened by UN secretary-general António Guterres and UK prime minister Boris Johnson………………  https://reneweconomy.com.au/what-is-scott-morrison-doing-in-new-york-nothing-on-climate-it-seems/

September 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Chen Zhao and Rupert Gladstone

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice in the world, holding around 60% of the world’s fresh water. If it all melted, global average sea levels would rise by 58 metres. But scientists are grappling with exactly how global warming will affect this great ice sheet.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

News Corpse’s new snide approach on climate change – to help Morrison win next election?

“This may be more about giving Morrison cover going into an election year, by establishing the pathetically low bar of ‘net zero carbon by 2050’ as somehow constituting meaningful action, particularly given that he is being roundly criticised by the world community for his meager climate commitments going into COP26,” Mann said on Friday…….

“Focusing on a target of 2050, three decades away, kicks the can so far down the road that it’s largely meaningless.”….… 

News Corp about-turn on emissions too little, too late, scientists say, The Age, By Nick O’Malley and Amelia McGuire, September 11, 2021 ”’……….. When The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported that News Corp papers were planning a climate push, it made news around the world……

One of the Journal’s own former editors tweeted of the paper’s climate coverage, “No group has been more clueless, duplicitous or irresponsible on climate change than the WSJ edit and op-ed crew.”

He attached a string of climate sceptic headlines from the past six weeks…….

It is hard to exaggerate how News Corp’s coverage of climate change – and of climate scientists themselves – have scarred the sector. In his recent book The New Climate Wars, leading climatologist Michael Mann wrote that the company’s amplification of a false conspiracy known as “climategate” helped derail the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, setting back global efforts to rein in warming by crucial years.

In Australia critics say the coverage has contributed to decades of policy inertia on the issue………..

In December 2020, Wendy Bacon and Arunn Jegan analysed all news, features, opinion pieces, letters and editorials discussing climate change that appeared in The Daily Telegraph, Herald-Sun, Courier Mail and The Australian between April 2019 and March 2020.

They found 45 per cent of all coverage either rejected or cast doubt on consensus scientific findings. Their research asserted that most News Corp reporters do not promote sceptical views, but of 55 per cent of stories that accepted climate science, misunderstandings about that science were almost always promoted rather than explained, and the reporting on the effects of climate change was negligible.

Half of the news and feature stories either had no source or one source.

Nearly two thirds of published opinion pieces were sceptical of climate science. The top five climate sceptics were Sky News presenters Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair, Peta Credlin, Peter Gleeson and Chris Kenny…….

According to Marian Wilkinson, whose recent book The Carbon Club is a forensic analysis of the interplay between the political, media and industry actors who have stalled action on climate in Australia for decades, News Corp’s coverage influenced other media in the country.

She believes even the ABC “pulled its punches” on climate coverage for fear it would look soft when compared with the Murdoch press’s hardline climate denialism.

Wilkinson is one of many who believe that Australian climate and energy policy has been rudderless for decades, but she does not blame News alone.

Rather she says the Murdoch empire helped derail climate action along with well-connected fossil fuel industry lobbyists and complicit politicians from both parties………

“This may be more about giving Morrison cover going into an election year, by establishing the pathetically low bar of ‘net zero carbon by 2050’ as somehow constituting meaningful action, particularly given that he is being roundly criticised by the world community for his meager climate commitments going into COP26,” Mann said on Friday…….

“Focusing on a target of 2050, three decades away, kicks the can so far down the road that it’s largely meaningless.”……. https://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/news-corp-about-turn-on-emissions-too-little-too-late-scientists-say-20210910-p58qja.html

September 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, politics | Leave a comment

Planned UK-Australia trade deal – a dangerous precedent for climate change policy

 Green groups and opposition MPs have responded angrily to news the UK
government has agreed to drop binding climate targets from the planned
UK-Australia trade deal, accusing Ministers of “a massive betrayal of our
country and our planet”.

Greenpeace’s John Sauven offered a withering
assessment of the government’s decision, warning that it set a dangerous
precedent for future trade deals with other carbon intensive nations. “It
will be a race to the bottom, impacting on clean tech sectors and farmers’
livelihoods. There should be a moratorium on trade deals with countries
like Australia until they improve on their weak climate targets and end
deforestation. At the moment the public and parliament are being duped by
the Prime Minister into thinking this deal is great for Britain when in
reality nothing could be further from the truth.”

 Business Green 9th Sept 2021

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4036860/uk-australia-trade-deal-anger-grows-decision-water-climate-pledges

September 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

News Corpse’s climate change shame

News Corp’s climate change shame. The Age, September 9, 2021 From next month, News Corp Australia will end its long-standing editorial hostility towards carbon reduction policies and advocate that the world’s leading economies hit net zero emissions by 2050.

The outsized influence of News Corp in Australia on public discourse – and perhaps more importantly on the right-wing rump of the Coalition – still puts the handbrake on reform. Despite growing pressure from other like-minded Western nations, led by Britain and America, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has for months been slow-walking towards a net zero emissions target by 2050 and has failed to embrace the tougher action by 2030 the world is demanding.

No doubt Mr Morrison’s approach factors in the backlash from within his own government, a faction led these days by Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and undergirded by News Corp’s commentators…….

there is reason to be doubtful. Only a month ago, in response to the latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, News Corp commentator Andrew Bolt repeatedly chose to mock it with arguments that would not stand up in a high school science class, including the bizarre claim that “if a warming world is better for plants, why not for humans?” It’s hard to imagine him changing…… https://www.theage.com.au/national/news-corp-s-climate-change-shame-20210908-p58prk.html

September 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

Sloppy and unconvincing pro nuclear propaganda from the Australian Nationals and the Murdochracy

The Australian nuclear promotion is less persuasive. Coming predominantly from Murdoch media, the content of nuclear propaganda is sloppy, inaccurate, and at times downright weird

The Nationals and Murdoch media support nuclear power ahead of COP26, Independent Australia,By Noel Wauchope | 9 September 2021.

On 1 September 2021, Senator Matt Canavan called for Australia to boycott the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November. 

Was he speaking on behalf of the coal or oil industries? Well, not exactly. 

This was the latest and strangest call from Australia’s noisy little band of pro-nuclear promoters. Canavan was responding to the news that the nuclear industry has been banned from having exhibits at COP26. He complained that the Climate Summit was a ”sham” for excluding nuclear power, a view supported by MP Ken O’Dowd.

O’Dowd said that nuclear power should be at the top of the climate agenda. Other National Party notables, David Littleproud and Bridget McKenzie, recently spoke out for nuclear power.

Like the nuclear industry worldwide, they are now taking up the cause of climate action with a vengeance. The nuclear lobby’s motives are clear. First, they likely want the tax exemptions and other subsidies that come with being declared as clean and sustainable. Secondly, they need that seal of approval, the public respectability which goes with acquiring the clean and green label.

The global lobby’s most persuasive argument is that a nuclear reactor’s operation generates a lot of electricity, with only a minuscule production of CO2

They don’t, of course, talk about the processes of the nuclear fuel chain from uranium mining through to demolition of dead reactors and disposal of wastes. Their favourite phrase ”emissions-free energy” doesn’t count emissions of radioactive strontium-90.

The Australian nuclear promotion is less persuasive. Coming predominantly from Murdoch media, the content of nuclear propaganda is sloppy, inaccurate, and at times downright weird. The Australian newspaper provides two outstanding examples

The first is this eye-catching article Savvy activists cast nuclear benefits in a fresh green light  subtitled:

‘For baby boomers, nuclear weapons and nuclear energy were conflated as an existential risk. This created an irrational fear that persists today.’

From the outset, the argument is an attack on anti-nuclear activists, instead of arguing the case for nuclear power.

The hero of the piece is Zion Lights, formerly of Extinction Rebellion, who created her own pro-nuclear group, Emergency Reactor.

She works closely with Michael Shellenberger, who, himself, has lost the support of the general nuclear lobby, due to his many inaccurate statements. Zion Lights and The Australian go into a lengthy digression on the foibles of the baby boomers, who have ‘conflated nuclear weapons and nuclear energy as an existential risk that could wipe out humanity’.

The health effects of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters are minimised and renewable energy is rubbished as being ineffective.

The author, Claire Lehmann, concludes that the too-slow movement towards carbon neutrality is the fault of the misguided anti-nuclear baby boomers.

The second article is ‘Nuclear stacks up — cue the meltdown‘ by Greg Sheridan, who starts by accusing Australians as being ‘environmental outliers’ for prohibiting nuclear power…………..

the main thrust of this pro-nuclear argument moves on to an attack on Labor, the Greens and so forth:

‘… the deadly, wretched, wholly negative, nihilistic scare campaigns and demonising that the ALP left and its Green allies have conducted against nuclear energy.’

There is no attempt to address any of the worrying issues that surround nuclear power  costs, safety, environmental damage, radioactive waste. He reminds us that Bill Gates backs nuclear power. Well of course Gates does  he owns a nuclear power company, Terra Power.

He also quotes the European Union (EU) as backing nuclear power. While several EU countries do have nuclear power, the EU as a whole is not recommending nuclear powers as a climate solution. In fact, the nuclear industry is banned from exhibiting at the green zone at COP26………

As I write this comes the breathtaking news that the Murdoch media is changing its attitude to global warming. From a rather crude sort of climate denialism, they will likely move to supporting technical “climate fixes” spruiked by the fossil fuel industries. This is a more subtle way of sabotaging real climate action. 

Perhaps we can expect them also to provide something more credible on the nuclear issue in the future. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/the-nationals-and-murdoch-media-support-nuclear-power-ahead-of-cop26,15496

September 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, politics | Leave a comment

Murdoch’s News Corpse hasn’t seen the light on climate – they’re just updating their tactics —

Is News Corp really seeing the light on climate? More likely it’s pivoting to a modern style of greenwashing and delay, just like Morrison. .

What might reasonably seem like a surprising change of heart in News Corp’s stance on climate is actually a long-term tactical shift that has been occurring for at least a few years. Whatever policies they failed to destroy through their earlier campaigns, they will try and reframe through racist, nationalistic, technocratic and pro-business frames.

Whatever policies they can delay or destroy, they’ll simply keep running scare campaigns about, insisting that ‘the balance isn’t right’, and that the threat of climate action is greater than climate change, as they always have (in Australia, News Corp’s partnerships with Google and Facebook mean these campaigns to destabilise climate action are growing more powerful and more harmful every day). When the next federal election comes around, the “COSTS OF NET ZERO” scare campaigns will ramp up in Australia as they are in the UK, and News Corp will be at the forefront, pleading that acting too fast will cause catastrophe. Absolutely mark my damn words: this is what will happen.

Net zero by 2050 isn’t enough. We’ll know that the denialism has truly ended when organisations like News Corp treat the IPCC’s latest report like it’s real.

News Corp hasn’t seen the light on climate – they’re just updating their tactics, https://reneweconomy.com.au/news-corp-hasnt-seen-the-light-on-climate-theyre-just-updating-their-tactics/, 5 Sept 21, Have you heard the good news? One of the key institutions holding back climate action in Australia – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation – is suddenly on Team Climate Action! Today, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the company’s Australian outlets are set to launch a campaign urging “the world’s leading economies” to embrace a target of net zero emissions by 2050; to be fronted by columnist Joe Hildebrand. The details aren’t out yet, but I contend that we can comfortably predict what it will look like.

It will be a centrist, pro-business approach to climate action. It will make a show of dismissing the “hysterics” of climate activists, while urging governments, including Australia’s, to set distant, meaningless and non-binding climate targets. It won’t allow any room for emissions reductions in line with the 1.5C goals or the Paris agreement; no short-term meaningful targets or actions such as those highlighted in the IEA’s recent ‘net zero’ report. It won’t argue for a coal phase-out by 2030, or the end of all new coal, gas and oil mines in Australia, or a ban on combustion engine sales by 2030-2035; all vital actions if Australia is to align with any net zero target.

It’ll champion controversial technologies like CCS and fossil hydrogen. It’ll highlight personal responsibility: tree planting, recycling and electric vehicle purchases. It will not propose or argue in favour of any new policies; at least none that might reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

How can we know all this before we’ve seen the actual campaign? It’s easy – let me explain.

Done with denial

Here’s a remarkable statistic for you. In the month of August this year, global media coverage of climate saw its highest volume since the December 2009 Copenhagen climate meetings. That’s partly down to the release of the IPCC’s AR6 Working Group one report into climate change, six years in the making.

That report reiterated something extremely important: every single tonne of carbon dioxide does damage. Actions must be immediate and aggressive to align with the most ambitious pathways. Delay is deadly.

No media coverage records for Australia: coverage of climate change has dropped almost entirely off the radar relative to the high volumes of late 2019 and early 2020 (partly driven by the Black Summer bushfires).

During the Black summer bushfires of 2019-20, I did a few interviews about Australia with baffled and perplexed international reporters. “What is going on over there? Why did the people elect such a climate laggard?”. A key part of my response was to pin blame on Australia’s media industry. Mostly on News Corp, which dominates the country’s uniquely concentrated media landscape, and which is notorious for its heavily politicised climate views. In fact, a recent study quantified this in historical terms, analysing media coverage within Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia for its climate science accuracy.

By a comfortable margin, News Corp’s Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail scored the second and fourth worst among every media outlet analysed between 2005 and 2019 (The Australian wasn’t included in the analysis). Australia has, in general, seen the least accurate climate science coverage from 2013 onwards, despite a general rising trend in scientific accuracy over the past decade. For a decade and a half, News Corp lied about climate science with the blatant aim of protecting the revenue streams of the fossil fuel industry, and protecting its political allies.

This is important as a historical study, but today, it’s increasingly irrelevant. As the study points out, the accuracy of climate science has essentially plateaued in media coverage, with outright denial consigned to the dustbin.

The authors highlights that “the terrain of climate debates has shifted in recent years away from strict denial of the scientific consensus on human causes of climate change toward ‘discourses of delay’ that focus on undermining support for specific policies meant to address climate change”. The fundamental goal is the same – staving off action – but the way it manifests is very different.

Delay is the main game

There are many substantial recent examples of this. A good one was the severe blackouts that spread across Texas in February this year, which were immediately blamed on wind power failures, alongside easily debunked claims that snows and ice were blocking solar panels and freezing up wind turbines in Texas and around the world.

This isn’t climate change denial: it’s “mitigation denial“. That is, a move away from denying the problem exists and towards decrying its solutions as utterly unacceptable. An important part of this performance is pretending to have a moment of having seen the light, but then continuing to commit the same acts of delay as before.

Murdoch’s The Sun, in the UK, did precisely this. In October 2020, The Sun launched a ‘Green Team‘ campaign that focused on ‘individual responsibility’ in the lead-up to COP26, to be held in Glasgow at the end of this year. It wasn’t long until they were celebrating their own victory in freezing fossil fuel taxes.


how it started how it’s going pic.twitter.com/p1ZVOnOKmX

— Zach Boren (@zdboren) March 3, 2021

The UK’s Daily Express, another hyper-conservative outlet that ‘saw the light’, continues to publish articles attacking climate activism and, more significantly, framing climate action in an explicitly “eco nationalist” way, as UK writer Sam Knights highlights in this article in Novara media. He says,

“Make no mistake: these newspapers are not your friends. They are not your allies. Their politics are not in any way ecological. They are deeply racist, reactionary, right-wing publications. Their sudden interest in climate change is not to be celebrated – it is a terrifying indication of things to come:”

Last week, @GreenpeaceUK@WWF@nationaltrust, and @friends_earth signed up to the “green crusade” of the Daily Express. Just ten days later, the rightwing newspaper has already run two articles attacking Greta Thunberg… Surely these charities will now withdraw their support? pic.twitter.com/Xz5NcjLu8N

— Sam Knights (@samjknights) February 18, 2021

It’s notable that these examples seem to manifest in the UK, and less so in similar anglophone countries like Canada or the US or New Zealand. Those are led by centre-left parties and politicians, but the UK’s conservative embrace of climate action is surely a model that Australia’s PM Scott Morrison pines to replicate. Sure, the UK certainly is miles ahead of Australia in terms of climate action – but there remains a very significant gap between Boris Johnson’s climate policies and where the country actually needs to be to align with the carbon budget that its independent climate advisor body has laid out.

A technocratic, rich white country with a government more concerned with optics than doing what needs to be done to protect people from being hurt by fossil fuels. Morrison’s obviously inspired by the UK, but Australia’s conservative media outlets are increasingly inspired, too.

Net zero by sometime after I retire, please

This is all coming to a head at COP26. George Brandis, Australia’s attorney general, who once declared that “coal is very good for humanity indeed”, is now High Commissioner for Australia to the UK, and has significantly ramped up the broader greenwashing exercise that the government has been enacting over the latter half of last year and most of this one. As I wrote in RenewEconomy, that means creative accounting, dodgy charts and deceptive framing, all designed to paper over Australia’s significant failure to reign in emissions.

Morrison will almost certainly set a net zero by 2050 target before COP26, but it’ll be packaged with a collection of loop holes that allow for rising emissions in the short term. It is dawning on the government just as it is dawning on News Corp: the best way to protect the fossil fuel industry today is not to deny the science, but to pretend to accept it. This is not the end of climate denial. It’s evolution from a common ancestor.

That this effort will be lead by Joe Hildebrand is telling enough. His previous work on climate change does exactly what a centre-right campaign like this would be best at – decrying both sides as ‘hysterical’ while failing to propose anything meaningful or substantial.

This @Joe_Hildebrand piece is a near-perfect example of what I mean when I say that this is more about reassurance and excuses than it is about persuasion.

This is about figuring how to be internally okay with their own antagonism towards climate action.https://t.co/TLiiIVY2ih pic.twitter.com/k1HIoxUFIR

— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) October 6, 2019

We can also see hints of what a conservative climate message looks like in a previous editorial from the more progressive News Corp outlet, NT News, which – of course – continues to host syndicated climate denial from the Sky News Australia channel. Ditto for News dot com.

This is News Corp’s northern territory outlet.

Note the ‘affordable’ – a reference to the conservative meme that decarbonisation is bad because it’s too expensive.

Even in accepting the need for action, they need to throw in messaging from previous fossil fuel advocacy. https://t.co/HifYmyX2R3

— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) January 15, 2020

What might reasonably seem like a surprising change of heart in News Corp’s stance on climate is actually a long-term tactical shift that has been occurring for at least a few years. Whatever policies they failed to destroy through their earlier campaigns, they will try and reframe through racist, nationalistic, technocratic and pro-business frames.

Whatever policies they can delay or destroy, they’ll simply keep running scare campaigns about, insisting that ‘the balance isn’t right’, and that the threat of climate action is greater than the threat of climate change, as they always have (in Australia, News Corp’s partnerships with Google and Facebook mean these campaigns to destabilise climate action are growing more powerful and more harmful every day). When the next federal election comes around, the “COSTS OF NET ZERO” scare campaigns will ramp up in Australia as they are in the UK, and News Corp will be at the forefront, pleading that acting too fast will cause catastrophe. Absolutely mark my damn words: this is what will happen.

Net zero by 2050 isn’t enough. We’ll know that the denialism has truly ended when organisations like News Corp treat the IPCC’s latest report like it’s real. That is, when they acknowledge that every additional unit of greenhouse gases causes harm to life on Earth, and that actions to stop their release must be as fast as possible. That climate change is an emergency that requires rapid action to wind down the fossil fuel industry in a just and equitable way, and that its replacement must be grown to full size with just as much passion and urgency.

This campaign won’t look anything like that. We know what it will look like – and it won’t be anything surprising at all.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable Michael West Media, By Callum Foote|September 3, 2021  

The NSW government is pushing through new coal exploration areas in the state’s mid-west, which have been labelled unviable and “corrupt” by independent experts even as the G7 call a halt on all new coal mining reports Callum Foote.

It’s better known for its rare Wollemi Pine but in the grotesque tradition of aggressive fossil fuel development, even as the world pulls out of coal mining, it may now be known for its Wollemi Mine.

Rylstone, a small town in the Central Tablelands of NSW, 25 km from Mudgee, is under threat from a suite of proposed coal exploration areas that the NSW government has been trying to auction off since mid-last year.

Despite the NSW government’s attempts to cultivate a green brand, John Barilaro’s 2020 Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW has opened up productive farmland, adjacent to the world-heritage listed Wollemi national park to brand new coal exploration.

Together, the proposed new coal release areas will encompass over 10 thousand hectares of land in Hawkins and Rumker areas surrounding Rylstone. This comes after the federal and Northern Territory governments together opened a landmass totalling 110,000km sq to gas exploration in 2021 alone.

Expert analysis

The NSW Government’s support of new coal infrastructure makes little sense to Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute, “as an economist, it seems inconceivable that a new thermal mine in Rylstone, that couldn’t begin operations till 2030 could be economically viable.” According to Campbell, the proposed exploration areas “only makes sense that it is either a political deal or corruption.”

The NSW Government might have a difficult time finding buyers for their coal exploration licences as coal miners rush to disinvest from the industry. BPH, the worlds largest miner, is currently trying to pay anyone US$275 million to take Mt Authur, the biggest thermal coal mine in Australia, off their hands. In a report to investors this year, BHP wrote down a further $2.2 billion on their thermal coal assets as they attempt to transition to “future-facing” commodities.

Campbell believes that “it seems incredibly unlikely any serious mining company would be interested in developing a mine in the region.” Any proposed development would not be operational till “at least the second half of this decade and would face intense opposition and be very hard to finance,” said Campbell. ……………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/wollemi-mine-experts-label-barilaros-plan-for-new-coal-corrupt-and-unviable/

September 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s business leaders want stronger climate policy, but nuclear lobby stooge Senator Matt Canavan wants Australia to boycott COP 26

On Wednesday, Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan called on Australia to boycott Glasgow, labelling the conference a “sham” in reaction to news that the nuclear industry has not been granted permission to host exhibits at the conference.

“They have banned nuclear technologies – reliable, emission-free power – from presenting. Climate change activism is not about changing the climate, it is about changing our politics. Australia should not bother going,” Senator Canavan tweeted.

Retiring Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd said Britain, the USA and Canada use nuclear power and he would “tend to agree” with Mr Canavan.

Why would the Glasgow conference not want to discuss it? It should be one of the first items on the agenda,” Mr O’Dowd said.

Business urges government to take net zero pledge to UN climate talks,   https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/business-urges-government-to-take-net-zero-pledge-to-un-climate-talks-20210831-p58nma.html By Mike Foley,  September 2, 2021 Australia’s energy, business and oil and gas lobbies are joining calls from key international allies for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to set a net zero emissions deadline ahead of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow this November.

But division within the federal government threatens to block the Prime Minister’s push for a commitment, with the Nationals still opposed to a deadline that is supported by every major farming group.

Senior officials from the European Union, Britain and US have urged Australia to set more ambitious goals. US presidential climate envoy John Kerry said scientists’ dire warnings over global warming placed more pressure on Australia.

Australia has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas contribution by at least 26 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 emissions, but has not set a deadline to hit net zero emissions. Most other developed nations have committed to roughly halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 or earlier.

But the government has not committed to greater action because the Nationals party, which has not yet backed a carbon-neutral deadline, has demanded to see the economic cost of greater climate action before signing up.

Mr Morrison says he wants to achieve net zero as soon as possible – “preferably by 2050.”

On Wednesday, Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan called on Australia to boycott Glasgow, labelling the conference a “sham” in reaction to news that the nuclear industry has not been granted permission to host exhibits at the conference.

Australia’s petroleum lobby, its peak employer association, big power generators and investors from the booming clean energy industry say the government should head to the high-profile international climate talks armed with a 2050 commitment for carbon neutrality.

“They have banned nuclear technologies – reliable, emission-free power – from presenting. Climate change activism is not about changing the climate, it is about changing our politics. Australia should not bother going,” Senator Canavan tweeted.

Retiring Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd said Britain, the USA and Canada use nuclear power and he would “tend to agree” with Mr Canavan.

“Why would the Glasgow conference not want to discuss it? It should be one of the first items on the agenda,” Mr O’Dowd said.

However, former Nationals leader Michael McCormack said, in response to Mr Canavan, that Australia must be “at the table” in Glasgow.

“We have to be part of discussions, part of finding the way forward,” Mr McCormack said.

Australian Energy Council, which represents Australia’s largest electricity providers and major emitters including AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia, backs a net zero deadline. Chief executive Sarah McNamara said the industry had a key role in climate action.

Settling on an economy-wide target will let us then decide the best ways to get there at the lowest cost and undoubtedly prompt a steady reduction in our emissions,” Ms McNamara said.

The Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said it was crucial government deliver on its promise to release a long-term strategy for climate change before Glasgow.

“(It) should include a clear long term national goal of net zero emissions by 2050 to guide government policy and private investment (and) medium term emissions reduction goals in line with the long-term goal and Australia’s peers,” Mr Willox said.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association also backed net zero by 2050 and said the industry was investing heavily to reduce emissions.

“Anyone reading the sobering report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week knows the world has no other option but to take practical steps to address the climate challenge,” an APPEA spokesman said.

Peak mining lobby the Minerals Council backs the Prime Minister’s current policy stance to reach net zero by as soon as possible and preferably by 2050. It called for Australia to open its carbon credit scheme, which pays private industry for emissions reduction, to international trading.

The council lodged a submission this week on the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement which said Japan’s commitment to decarbonise its economy provided a significant opportunity for the mining industry to supply “technologies of the future, including hydrogen with carbon capture storage”.

The Clean Energy Investor Group, which represents Macquarie Bank, Andrew Forest’s Squadron Energy and the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock said Australia would take an economic hit if it took weaker climate commitments to Glasgow.

Chief executive Simon Corbell said Australia should set an economy-wide net zero deadline of 2040 including a 2035 deadline for the electricity sector.

“This would only result in the cost of capital for clean energy projects in Australia remaining more expensive than other advanced economies,” he said.

The Investor Group of Climate Change, backed by funds managing $2 trillion of assets, said many nations had moved beyond net zero and were making more ambitious near term goals

“Australia risks being the only major advanced economy to not substantially and formally increase its 2030 target by Glasgow,” said policy director Erwin Jackson.

“Capital is mobile and will move to countries which deliver the best long-term returns. For long-term investors this is a net zero emission economy. Investors expect nations to demonstrate strong ambition to 2030 to get on an orderly pathway to net zero emission by 2050.”

September 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Political bribes beat the planet as gas fracking gets public hand-outs

Beetaloo Boondoggle: political bribes beat the planet as gas fracking gets public hand-outs, Michael West Media,  Michael West| August 26, 2021  

As a block, the two major parties voted to give our money, public money, to corporations to drill for coal seam gas in the Northern Territory, to open up a gigantic new territory, the Beetaloo Basin, for fracking.

The latest capitulation to corporate profits came yesterday morning as both the Coalition and Labor opposed a disallowance motion in Parliament to prevent $50m in public grants going to gas explorers in the Northern Territory. It was yet another political capitulation for corporate bribery, gas company donations.

And so it was that they voted to wreck the planet for their own financial gain. They even voted for money over common sense; because Australia is the world’s biggest gas exporter already. We don’t need more gas, that’s a myth peddled by Australia’s most powerful lobby groups such as APPEA, in turn controlled by foreign fossil fuel corporations such as Shell and Exxon.

They voted to make a US billionaire richer. For, among the prospective winners from this act of political betrayal, is Tamboran Resources, a speculative explorer backed by a US shale-oil billionaire.1

That company, incredibly, is threatening to sue Michael West Media and gas analyst Bruce Robertson from IEEFA, for defamation. So, effectively, Parliament has voted to give money to a US billionaire threatening to sue a small independent journalism business in Australia for exercising free speech, threatening to soak up the time in the Australian courts attempting to muzzle journalists with the menace of making them bankrupt.  

Another winner from the escapade is senior Liberal Party figure Paul Espie, whose Empire Energy is slated to get half of the $50m in funding from his Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling grant program.

This is not just a case of our politicians being bought off yet again by corporations, bribed to push through a policy which wrecks the planet, it is a case of them using our money, public funds to pay foreign interests to poison the water tables of the world’s driest continent, to contaminate our most precious resource.

Meanwhile, 2700 kilometres south-east at Narrabri in NSW, Santos has won its long battle against farmers and the local community to frack for gas. 

Santos is a large political donor to both major parties……….. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/beetaloo-boondoggle-political-bribes-beat-the-planet-as-gas-fracking-gets-public-hand-outs/

August 26, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, politics | Leave a comment

Canberra Extinction Rebellion members convicted by ACT Magistrates Court for crimes during protests

Canberra Extinction Rebellion members convicted by ACT Magistrates Court for crimes during protests

Climate activists who admitted to offending during various protests earlier this month said they did so after exhausting legal avenues to avert the “already looming” threat of climate change that if not addressed would “kill the future of our children”.

August 26, 2021 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Tasmania: Liberals vote down Greens climate emergency motion with Premier claiming it ‘frightens’ children


Tasmania

Liberals vote down Greens climate emergency motion with Premier claiming it ‘frightens’ children

Premier Peter Gutwein has accused the Greens of “frightening” children after the party attempted to move a motion declaring a climate emergency based on the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.–

August 26, 2021 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Young people rebel on climate

The Age, Nicola Philp, 20 Aug 21,

Some young Australians are now so desperately unhappy with government inaction they feel being arrested and fined is actually less of a cost than the cost to their future if nothing is done.

”…………….the Geo Coral set sail into the ocean towards the King Island region this week to conduct seismic testing, so clearly our governments cannot be serious about their climate targets.

Such news, following the latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, creates ever strengthening ripples of anxiety, particularly among our young people who fear for their future.

Some are now so desperately unhappy with government inaction and the cost on their future they feel being arrested and fined is actually less of a cost than the cost to their future if nothing is done. And so, some took to the water, while others chained themselves to fences and the ship itself.

These protesters want their governments to listen and look beyond the short-term dollar and career stepladder of politics. They are rightfully demanding that the current generations in charge consider what our actions will cost the futures of those still to come………

Governments showing such a broad lack of respect and care is beginning to have very significant consequences for the young and yet-to-be-born generations……….

 https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/young-people-jettisoned-on-climate-vaccines-and-housing-20210819-p58k5i.html

August 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The new push for a nuclear Australia

The government hasn’t wasted time in attempting to leverage nuclear energy’s supposed green credentials to shift public sentiment and open the door to overturning the moratorium.

A bomb in the basement’: The new push for a nuclear Australia,   https://redflag.org.au/article/bomb-basement-new-push-nuclear-australiaLiz Ross, 20 July 2021

The Australian ruling class has long enthused about a nuclear-fuelled future. And as most of the rest of the world powers reduce their commitment to nuclear energy—Germany plans to shut down all of its nuclear plants by 2022, and only 16 percent of countries today have operational nuclear reactors—the Australian government wants to power up. 

Australian governments have been nuclear supporters since the technology first emerged in the 1940s. The country had scientists involved in bomb research in the US during World War Two. During and after the war, in the wake of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it readily responded to UK and US requests for uranium, primarily for nuclear weaponry.

In his book Australia’s Bid for the Atomic Bomb, Wayne Reynolds spells out in detail the nuclear ambitions of wartime Labor Prime Minister John Curtin, his successor  Ben Chifley and Liberal Party Prime Minister of the 1950s and ’60s Robert Menzies. He writes that many major projects of the postwar years, such as the Snowy Mountains scheme, were undertaken with a view to Australia becoming a nuclear state.

In 1952 the Australian Atomic Energy Commission was established to develop and train a cohort of researchers and workers to support a future nuclear industry. Defence and security planning also foresaw a central role for nuclear—the Australian air force, for example, purchased F-111 fighter jets precisely because of their nuclear weapons capability. The vision was not of an Australian state armed with nuclear weapons for defence, but one that could use such weapons to enhance its position as a regional imperialist power.

The main thing that has prevented the development of a nuclear industry in Australia is the anti-nuclear campaign and strong opposition from unions in the 1970s and ’80s. This campaign pushed state and federal governments to implement a moratorium on nuclear energy that has held ever since.

In recent years, however, there have been growing calls for the question to be revisited. Today’s nuclear proponents have a fresh angle for their propaganda campaign: a newly discovered concern about climate change. Though the Australian government refuses to commit to zero-carbon goals and pours billions into coal and gas, the need for improved sustainability is suddenly front and centre when it comes to arguments for nuclear power.

The government hasn’t wasted time in attempting to leverage nuclear energy’s supposed green credentials to shift public sentiment and open the door to overturning the moratorium. In August 2019 Energy Minister Angus Taylor set up a parliamentary inquiry—led by the Standing Committee on Energy and Environment—into “the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia”.

The result was a foregone conclusion because the Liberals hold four out of seven seats on the committee, although its two Labor members and the independent Zali Steggall wrote dissenting reports. “The Australian government”, the inquiry found, “should further consider the prospect of nuclear technology as part of its future energy mix”, and “consider lifting the current moratorium on nuclear energy … for new and emerging nuclear technologies”.

Recent reports suggest the government may be preparing to make good on these recommendations. “Morrison ministers lay groundwork for nuclear energy election plan”, read the headline of a 22 June article by Australian national editor Dennis Shanahan. According to Shanahan, “The option of taking a proposal for nuclear power in Australia to the next election has been considered in cabinet-level discussions as pressure grows within the Morrison government to prepare for a nuclear energy industry”.

“The top-level political and policy discussions including Liberal and Nationals ministers involved the argument that the moratorium on nuclear energy could be lifted in the decades ahead to cut greenhouse gas emissions and replace reliance on fossil fuels.”

Plans for a nuclear-fuelled Australia must be opposed. Nuclear is the “fool’s gold” solution to the climate crisis. As environmental scientist Mark Diesendorf says, “On top of the perennial challenges of global poverty and injustice, the two biggest threats facing human civilisation in the 21st century are climate change and nuclear war. It would be absurd to respond to one by increasing the risks of the other. Yet that is what nuclear power does”.

“The top-level political and policy discussions including Liberal and Nationals ministers involved the argument that the moratorium on nuclear energy could be lifted in the decades ahead to cut greenhouse gas emissions and replace reliance on fossil fuels.”

Plans for a nuclear-fuelled Australia must be opposed. Nuclear is the “fool’s gold” solution to the climate crisis. As environmental scientist Mark Diesendorf says, “On top of the perennial challenges of global poverty and injustice, the two biggest threats facing human civilisation in the 21st century are climate change and nuclear war. It would be absurd to respond to one by increasing the risks of the other. Yet that is what nuclear power does”.

The real motivation for the push for nuclear energy in Australia remains the same as it was in the 1950s and ’60s: the potential to develop nuclear weapons. The government, of course, isn’t prepared to say the quiet part out loud. Others, however, have no such qualms.

In an article published in the Financial Review in April, Patrick Porter—a professor of international security and strategy at the University of Birmingham—said what many in the Australian military and political establishment are no doubt thinking. In the context of growing instability in the region and the possibility of a war between the US and China, Australia should at least “create the option” to build its own nuclear arsenal, becoming “a latent nuclear state, with a so-called ‘bomb in the basement’: the ability to swiftly generate a deployable atomic arsenal if the world turns more threatening”.

A nuclear-armed Australia would be a disaster for workers here and around the world. It’s time to recapture the spirit of the anti-nuclear campaign of the 1970s and ’80s. And once again, if we’re to win we’ll need workers and unions at the forefront. Recent statements opposing the nuclear industry by the Electrical Trades Union and the Victorian branch of the CFMEU provide an example that other unions should follow.

August 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change has already hit Australia.

Climate change has already hit Australia. Unless we act now, a hotter, drier and more dangerous future awaits, IPCC warns  https://theconversation.com/climate-change-has-already-hit-australia-unless-we-act-now-a-hotter-drier-and-more-dangerous-future-awaits-ipcc-warns-165396?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20August%2010%202021%20-%202026619923&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20August%2010%202021%20-%202026619923+CID_a4c10fc2998953c0ef465aaf49de1468&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Climate%20change%20has%20already%20hit%20Australia%20Unless%20we%20act%20now%20a%20hotter%20drier%20and%20more%20dangerous%20future%20awaits%20IPCC%20warns

Michael Grose Climate projections scientist, CSIRO, Joelle GergisSenior Lecturer in Climate Science, Australian National University, Pep Canadell, Chief research scientist, Climate Science Centre, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere; and Executive Director, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Professor of Climate Change impacts and Coastal Risk, 9 Aug 21,

Australia is experiencing widespread, rapid climate change not seen for thousands of years and may warm by 4℃ or more this century, according to a highly anticipated report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The assessment, released on Monday, also warns of unprecedented increases in climate extremes such as bushfires, floods and drought. But it says deep, rapid emissions cuts could spare Australia, and the world, from the most severe warming and associated harms.

The report is the sixth produced by the IPCC since it was founded in 1988 and provides more regional information than any previous version. This gives us a clearer picture of how climate change will play out in Australia specifically.

It confirms the effects of human-caused climate change have well and truly arrived in Australia. This includes in the region of the East Australia Current, where the ocean is warming at a rate more than four times the global average.

We are climate scientists with expertise across historical climate change, climate projections, climate impacts and the carbon budget. We have been part of the international effort to produce the IPCC report over the past three years.

The report finds even under a moderate emissions scenario, the global effects of climate change will worsen significantly over the coming years and decades. Every fraction of a degree of global warming increases the likelihood and severity of many extremes. That means every effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions matters.

Australia is, without question, warming

Australia has warmed by about 1.4℃ since 1910. The IPCC assessment concludes the extent of warming in both Australia and globally are impossible to explain without accounting for the extra greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities.

The report introduces the concept of Climate Impact-Drivers (CIDs): 30 climate averages, extremes and events that create climate impacts. These include heat, cold, drought and flood.

The report confirms global warming is driving a significant increase in the intensity and frequency of extremely hot temperatures in Australia, as well as a decrease in almost all cold extremes. The IPCC noted with high confidence that recent extreme heat events in Australia were made more likely or more severe due to human influence.

These events include:


  • the Australian summer of 2012–13, also known as the Angry Summer, when more than 70% of Australia experienced extreme temperatures
  • the Brisbane heatwave in 2014
  • extreme heat preceding the 2018 Queensland fires
  • the heat leading into the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20.

The IPCC report notes very high confidence in further warming and heat extremes through the 21st century – the extent of which depends on global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If global average warming is limited to 1.5℃ this century, Australia would warm to between 1.4℃ to 1.8℃. If global average warming reaches 4℃ this century, Australia would warm to between 3.9℃ and 4.8℃ .

The IPCC says as the planet warms, future heatwaves in Australia – and globally – will be hotter and last longer. Conversely, cold extremes will be both less intense and frequent.

Hotter temperatures, combined with reduced rainfall, will make parts of Australia more arid. A drying climate can lead to reduced river flows, drier soils, mass tree deaths, crop damage, bushfires and drought.

The southwest of Western Australia remains a globally notable hotspot for drying attributable to human influence. The IPCC says this drying is projected to continue as emissions rise and the climate warms. In southern and eastern Australia, drying in winter and spring is also likely to continue. This phenomenon is depicted in the graphic below.[on original]

Climate extremes on the rise

Heat and drying are not the only climate extremes set to hit Australia in the coming decades. The report also notes:

  • observed and projected increases in Australia’s dangerous fire weather
  • a projected increase in heavy and extreme rainfall in most places in Australia, particularly in the north
  • a projected increase in river flood risk almost everywhere in Australia.

Under a warmer climate, extreme rainfall in a single hour or day can become more intense or more frequent, even in areas where the average rainfall declines.

For the first time, the IPCC report provides regional projections of coastal hazards due to sea level rise, changing coastal storms and coastal erosion – changes highly relevant to beach-loving Australia.

This century, for example, sandy shorelines in places such as eastern Australia are projected to retreat by more than 100 metres, under moderate or high emissions pathways.

Hotter, more acidic oceans

The IPCC report says globally, climate change means oceans are becoming more acidic and losing oxygen. Ocean currents are becoming more variable and salinity patterns – the parts of the ocean that are saltiest and less salty – are changing.

It also means sea levels are rising and the oceans are becoming warmer. This is leading to an increase in marine heatwaves such as those which have contributed to mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in recent decades.

Notably, the region of the East Australia Current which runs south along the continent’s east coast is warming at a rate more than four times the global average.

The phenomenon is playing out in all regions with so-called “western boundary currents” – fast, narrow ocean currents found in all major ocean gyres. This pronounced warming is affecting marine ecosystems and aquaculture and is projected to continue.

Where to from here?

Like all regions of the world, Australia is already feeling the effects of a changing climate.

The IPCC confirms there is no going back from some changes in the climate system. However, the consequences can be slowed, and some effects stopped, through strong, rapid and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.

And now is the time to start adapting to climate change at a large scale, through serious planning and on-ground action.

August 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment