Australian news, and some related international items

Australia burns, as government leaders choose not to discuss this

Leading scientists condemn political inaction on climate change as Australia ‘literally burns
Climate experts ‘bewildered’ by government ‘burying their heads in the sand’, and say bushfires on Australia’s east coast should be a ‘wake-up call’,
 Lisa Cox, Sat 7 Dec 2019 , Leading scientists have expressed concern about the lack of focus on the climate crisis as bushfires rage across New South Wales and Queensland, saying it should be a “wake-up call” for the government.

Climate experts who spoke to Guardian Australia said they were “bewildered” the emergency had grabbed little attention during the final parliamentary sitting week for the year, which was instead taken up by the repeal of medevac laws, a restructure of the public service, and energy minister Angus Taylor’s run-in with the American author Naomi Wolf.

Escalating conditions on Thursday and Friday led to dozens of out-of-control bushfires, including in the NSW’s Hawkesbury region, where a fire at Gospers Mountain merged with two other blazes burning in the lower Hunter on Friday.

Sydney has been blanketed with a thick smoke haze that health officials said had led to a 25% increase in people presenting in emergency departments for asthma and breathing problems.

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist with the University of NSW’s Climate Change Research Centre, said she was “surprised, bewildered, concerned” that the emergency had prompted little discussion from political leaders this week.

“Here we are in the worst bushfire season we’ve ever seen, the biggest drought we’ve ever had, Sydney surrounded by smoke, and we’ve not heard boo out of a politician addressing climate change,” she said.

“They dismissed it from the outset and haven’t come back to it since.

“They’re burying their heads in the sand while the world is literally burning around them and that’s the scary thing. It’s only going to get worse.” Continue reading

December 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Fire? What fire? It’s business as usual in Morrison’s Canberra bubble

December 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Bushfires crisis in New South Wales, smoke pollution in Sydney, and even New Zealand

NSW ‘living in fear’ as bushfires continue to rage,  SBS, 6 Dec 19, So much of NSW is now alight that smoke from the bushfires is impacting communities across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, the NSW RFS says.

The NSW bushfire crisis has people “living in fear” with more than 100 blazes burning across the state and Sydney choking on harmful smoke pollution.

Firefighters will have a brief window over the weekend to get on top of the crisis before the weather deteriorates early next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology has painted a grim picture for the coming week, with winds forecast to whip dangerous fire grounds and no rain relief in sight. At one point on Friday there were nine fires burning at an emergency level, including the massive Gospers Mountain blaze, which has merged with neighbouring fire grounds to create a “megafire”.

Smoke from the fires was drifting to New Zealand and affecting communities there, NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Friday.

There were 108 fires burning in NSW on Friday afternoon, with 74 of those burning out of control.

Hazardous air pollution readings were recorded in many parts of the state, with emergency departments seeing an increase in presentations for respiratory issues…….

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said residents from the South Coast up the Queensland border are “living in fear”.

“The difference now as we lead into the summer months is previously [bushfires] were pretty much confined to the northern part of NSW but what we are seeing this week is our resources stretched across the entire coastline,” she told reporters……

Fire crews have arrived from interstate as well as New Zealand and Canada, while a team from the US will arrive on Saturday.

Total fire bans will be in place on Saturday for the far north coast, New England, the northern slopes, the greater Hunter, greater Sydney, the central ranges and the nortwestern regions……

December 6, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Huge bushfire North of Sydney, with conditions forecast to worsen

Australia fires: five blazes merge north of Sydney as conditions forecast to worsen, More than 100 bushfires were burning in New South Wales on Friday, more than half of them out of control, Guardian,  Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, Fri 6 Dec 2019  Five fires burning to the north of Sydney joined up into one huge conflagration on Friday, with out-of-control blazes threatening homes and lives.On a day that brought choking smog to Sydney, the premier of New South Wales said the entire coastline of the state was on fire.

Six people have died, and more than 680 homes have already been lost to bushfires in NSW this fire season, and on Friday more than 100 fires were burning, more than half of them out of control. Eight fires have emergency warnings, which means they pose an immediate risk to lives and property.

The largest fire – a conglomeration of five blazes which have joined up north of Sydney – has burned over 335,000 hectares.

The forecast for coming days is for more hot, dry conditions. Strong winds are likely to continue to fan blazes towards towns and properties.

The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said while fires had been burning across the state for weeks, the sheer scale of the current fire threat was stretching crews’ ability to fight the blazes……..

Sydney has been choked by thick smoke for almost a week.

Hospital emergency departments have seen a 25% increase in people presenting with asthma and breathing problems, and ambulance crews are responding to between 70 and 100 call-outs a day for respiratory conditions, including to school children as young as six.

Some schools across the state have been closed because of the fire risk, while others have kept children inside because of the worsening air quality……

December 6, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Grim summer is forecast for Murray Darling river system

“Campaigns led by irrigators and the NSW National party to derail the basin plan do not represent the interests of all communities across the basin. Governments must listen to all voices in this debate, not just the loudest and most belligerent,”

Murray-Darling authority warns of ‘dire’ summer of mass fish deaths and blue-green algae  

Alert comes as Indigenous group issues plea for states to stick with basin plan or risk marginalising vulnerable communities and endangering river health,  Anne Davies, 6 Dec 19,

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has warned of more mass fish deaths and blue-green algae events throughout the Murray-Darling River system as the peak group representing First Nations issued a plea for the states to stick with the plan.

The MDBA issued a communique on Friday saying the summer outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology was “dire”, and there was a greater than average chance of drier, warmer conditions and an elevated fire danger across the basin.

“We are already seeing the drying of critical aquatic refuges in the north, and water quality issues such as blue-green algae and stratification are becoming more widespread,” the MDBA said.

These were the conditions that led to mass fish deaths at Menindee in January this year.

The MDBA reiterated how important it is to use what little environmental water that remained available to protect critical habitats and maintain water quality.

It has produced a detailed water quality map that will be updated as the drought worsens. Continue reading

December 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Sydney afflicted with smoke, as many fires out of control in New South Wales

December 3, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

COP25, and Australia’s position at the Madrid climate talks

Earth has a couple more chances to avoid catastrophic climate change. This week is one of them  Robert Hales
Director Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith University, December 3, 2019   Almost 200 world leaders gather in Madrid this week for climate talks which will largely determine the success of the Paris agreement, and by extension, the extent to which the planet will suffer under climate change.

Negotiations at the so-called COP25 will focus on finalising details of the Paris Agreement. Nations will haggle over how bold emissions reductions will be, and how to measure and achieve them.

Much is riding on a successful outcome in Madrid. The challenge is to get nations further along the road to the strong climate goals, without any major diplomatic rifts or a collapse in talks.

What COP25 is about

COP25 is a shorthand name for the 25th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (or the nations signed up to the Paris agreement).

After Paris was signed in 2015, nations were given five years in which to set out bolder climate action. Current targets expire in 2020. At next year’s November COP in Glasgow, nations will be asked to formally commit to higher targets. If Madrid does not successfully lay the groundwork for this, the Glasgow talks are likely to fail.

The United Nations says the world must reduce overall emissions by 7.6% every year over the next decade to have a high chance of staying under 1.5℃ warming this century.

The 1.5℃ limit is at the upper end of the Paris goal; warming beyond this is likely to lead to catastrophic impacts, including near-total destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

Presently, emissions reduction targets of nations signed up to Paris put Earth on track for a 3.2℃ increase.

A global carbon market

Parties will debate the mechanism in the Paris agreement allowing emissions trading between nations, and via the private sector.

Such mechanisms could lower the global cost of climate mitigation, because emissions reduction in some nations is cheaper than in others. But there are concerns the trading regime may lack transparency and accountability.

Among the risks are that emissions cuts are “double counted” – meaning both the buying and selling nation count the cuts towards their targets, undermining the aims of the agreement.

Help for vulnerable nations

Small island states say COP25 is the last chance to take decisive action on global emissions reduction.

Fossil fuel burning in the developing world is largely responsible for the carbon dioxide that drives global warming. Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to the loss and damage caused by climate change.

Parties will discuss whether an international mechanism designed to assess and compensate for such damage is effective.

Developing nations are expected to contribute to the Green Climate Fund to help poorer nations cope with and mitigate climate change. Some 27 nations contributed US$9.78 billion in the last funding round.

Some nations have indicated they will not contribute further, including Australia, which says it already helps Pacific nations through its overseas aid program.

Arguments about cost

Nations opposed to adopting stronger emissions reduction targets often argue the costs of decarbonising energy sectors, and economies as a whole, are too high.

However, recent cost benefit analysis has found not taking action on climate change will be expensive in the long run.

Realisation is also growing that the cost of emissions reduction activities has been overestimated in the past. In Australia, prominent economist Ross Garnaut  recently said huge falls in the cost of equipment for solar and wind energy has created massive economic opportunity, such as future manufacturing of zero-emission iron and aluminium.

The shift in the cost-balance means nations with low ambition will find it difficult to argue against climate mitigation on cost grounds.

Australia’s position at Madrid

At the Paris talks, Australia pledged emissions reduction of 26-28% by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The Morrison government has indicated it will not ramp up the goal.

About 68 nations said before COP25 they will set bolder emissions reduction targets, including Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand. This group is expected to exert pressure on laggard nations.

This pressure has already begun: France has reportedly insisted that a planned free trade deal between Australia and the European Union must include “highly ambitious” action on climate change.

The Climate Action Tracker says Australia is not contributing its fair share towards the global 1.5℃ commitment. Australia is also ranked among the worst performing G20 nations on climate action.

The Madrid conference takes place amid high public concern over climate change. Thousands of Australians took part in September’s climate strikes and the environment has reportedly surpassed healthcare, cost of living and the economy as the top public concern.

Climate change has already arrived in the form of more extreme weather and bushfires, water stress, sea level rise and more. These effects are a small taste of what is to come if negotiations in Madrid fail to deliver.

Johanna Nalau, Samid Suliman and Tim Cadman contributed to this article.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

To National Party members. “Climate Change” is real, not “dirty words”

In London and Venice, the C-word isn’t a dirty word,,  Andy Marks, Assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University.November 14, 2019 — Recent flooding in Britain is, according to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, “almost certainly because of climate change”. Contrary to the Australian experience, it turns out it is entirely acceptable around the world for politicians to utter the words “climate change” in an emergency.

Nobody called the thoroughly urban mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro a “raving inner city lunatic” when he said flooding due to climate change had brought his city “to its knees”.

Equally not prone to lunacy, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, cautioned in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis that “making the world more resilient to natural disasters will be more important in the years to come”, in light of studies showing an “increase in cyclone intensity because of climate change”.

In contrast, amid recent Californian wildfires, US President Donald Trump tweeted the state’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, had done “a terrible job of forest management”, failing to “clean” his forest floors. Newsom retorted: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

In their absolute refusal to “go there” on climate change, our parliamentarians have more in common with Trump than the rest of the world when it comes to their inability to walk and chew gum on disaster response and climate change.

Fair enough, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was right to point out that what people in the grip of disaster most urgently need “is a little bit of sympathy, understanding and real assistance”. But that shouldn’t mean treating them like simpletons, and ruling out any discussion on the cause of their trauma and strategies to prevent it.

And it’s not just, as McCormack claimed, “woke capital city greenies” demanding answers. The Nationals’ own constituency wants to have the conversation.

Rural newspaper The Land surveyed its readers on the eve of the March NSW election. A “whopping 63 per cent” of respondents, the news outlet declared, “believed in climate change”. And 15 per cent said the issue would determine their vote.

The state poll delivered an average swing of 25 per cent against the Nationals in four seats. These are electorates devastated by mass fish kills and long-term drought. There’s no hesitation among some in National Party ranks about what needs to change.

WA Nationals leader Mia Davies told The West Australian that the party’s constituents expect them “to be a part of the conversation” on climate change. “When you live in regional Western Australia you see the impact of climate change … we are dealing with [it] on a day-to-day basis.”

The party’s own polling ahead of the May federal election revealed “climate change is a key issue” for voters in National-held seats. The party’s member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, remarked many of his most ardent supporters are “practical environmentalists” who “expect a balanced and rational … response to climate change”.

There. He said it. Climate change. Not so hard after all.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Sir David Attenborough hits out at the federal government over climate position,   Sir David Attenborough has taken another swipe at the Australian government’s climate policies, expressing his shock at the government’s hesitation to link recent extreme weather with global warming.

December 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The Murray Darling water crisis and what governments must do to fix this

November 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

More than 160 bush and grass fires are burning across New South Wales

NSW firefighters battle 100 new blazes, Herald Sun, Heather McNab,  27 Nov 19, More than 160 bush and grass fires are burning across NSW after about 100 fresh blazes ignited in a 24-hour period.

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Wednesday evening said 163 fires were burning in NSW with 75 uncontained. There were more than 2200 personnel in the field working to slow the progress of the blazes.

The Bureau of Meteorology said thunderstorms which hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon and the state’s northeast in the evening had produced large hailstones and damaging winds – while lightning also sparked fresh fires.

“Over the past 24 hours, around 100 new fires kicked off,” the RFS posted on Twitter at 5.30pm on Wednesday.

“Crews will work over coming days to control this large number of fires ahead of forecast elevated fire danger on Saturday,” the agency posted later that evening……..

November 28, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia’s ‘permanently wet’ rainforests now burning for the first time

Bushfires devastate rare and enchanting wildlife as ‘permanently wet’ forests burn for first time    ABC, RN BY ANN ARNOLD  27 NOV 19  The rainforests along the spine of the Great Dividing Range, between the Hunter River and southern Queensland, are remnants of Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent that broke up about 180 million years ago.

“Listening to the dawn chorus in these forests is literally an acoustic window back in time,” ecologist Mark Graham tells RN’s Saturday Extra.

“It’s like listening to what the world sounded like in the time of the dinosaurs.”

The forests are mountaintop islands that have been “permanently wet” for tens of millions of years.

But now, these forests are being burnt for the first time.

“We are seeing fire going into these areas where fire is simply not meant to go,” says Mr Graham, a fire specialist with the Nature Conservation Council.

Most of the focus of Australia’s catastrophic fires has been on people and property — with the exception of koalas, which have come to symbolise the non-human costs.

Beyond the koalas are many rare and fascinating creatures whose lives and homes have been destroyed, or remain threatened.

“The fauna in these landscapes requires permanently wet conditions, and many of the fauna species in these landscapes simply have no tolerance to fire,” Mr Graham says.

The most ancient birds on the planet

The songbirds that live in these ancient wet forests have always lived there…….

One reason the north coast of New South Wales is a global biodiversity hotspot is it has the most species of eucalypts in the world, and the best areas of Antarctic Beech forest.

“These forests are recognised globally for their outstanding universal values because they are essentially the oldest forests remaining on the planet,” Mr Graham says.

The tree hollows host many fauna species, for shelter and breeding. The hollows take centuries to develop to full size. They can’t be replaced.

“You have to wait 200 to 400 years until they develop again,” Mr Graham says.

One of two nature conservation areas he privately owns, and manages for their natural values, has been almost obliterated by fire.

He wants to present only the facts, and avoid fuelling a media and political circus around the fires……

November 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | 1 Comment

Religiosity of Scott Morrison – about global heating and bushfires

Scott Morrison’s religion and the bushfire crisis,13344, By Jennifer Wilson | 25 November 2019, As firefighters in four Australian states struggled to contain unprecedented bushfires that threatened life, property and wildlife, Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued that there is no direct link with Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Morrison claimed there is no “credible scientific evidence” that cutting our emissions could reduce the intensity of bushfires.

The Prime Minister even went so far as to suggest that we could

“… increase our emissions without making the current fire season worse.”

This last claim is a bizarre one to make, obviously calculated to appeal to a base that apparently doesn’t know very much about these matters. Yes, we likely could increase our emissions without impact on the current Australian bushfires. However, emissions must be accounted for on a global scale and, while central, are one part of the complex story of the impact of climate change.    

Morrison was swiftly contradicted by Climate Council head of research Dr Martin Rice. Dr Rice stated that there is indeed a direct link between climate change and heightened bushfire risk. CSIRO research scientist Dr Pep Candell agreed with Dr Rice. Morrison did not cite any scientific research to back up his claim that the two are not linked, leaving the impression that it is little more than his opinion. If politicians do have evidence to back up their claims, they are not usually coy about revealing it.

It is well established by major science agencies that while climate change does not create fires it can and does make them worse. The above link is an excellent explainer of a complex situation.

It’s high time that any statement by Morrison on emissions and their effects on climate is required to include a disclaimer noting that the Prime Minister is a follower of the evangelical Pentecostal religion. This sect is not known for its interest in science, and some followers believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

As James Boyce wrote in his Monthly essay, ‘The Devil and Scott Morrison’:

Belief in Satan and the imminent return of Christ also helps explain the Prime Minister’s less-than-passionate response to the most pressing environmental issue of our time. It is not surprising that Pentecostal activism about climate change is non-existent — the end of the known world is not a matter for mere mortals to decide. When Morrison proudly showed off a piece of coal in parliament, there is no reason to doubt that he believed what he held in his hand was a gift from God.

Morrison also shares the Pentecostal belief in “divine providence” — that is, everything under the sun – past, present, and future – is the will of God, including natural disasters, such as we are currently experiencing in four states.

his goes some way to explaining why

… taking further action on reducing carbon emissions to counter the environmental damage wrought by climate change may have little intellectual purchase with the PM. If the end of the world through climate change is part of God’s providential plan, there is precious little that we need to or can do about it.

Given these beliefs are core contributors to the Prime Minister’s environmental agenda it seems reasonable to demand they be disclosed whenever he comments on climate, emissions, bushfires or other natural disasters. A man who is convinced that everything is God’s will is unlikely to take any action he perceives might thwart that will.

He is also unlikely to be overly troubled, and there is no doubt that since the first bushfire broke out, Morrison has appeared largely untroubled, even going so far as to post this jolly tweet as people in four states endured all manner of horror and fear:

It’s tempting to conclude that Morrison is too stupid to understand the magnitude of what we are facing this summer, however, I’d argue that his belief in the tenets of Pentecostalism has granted him immunity against mere human concerns, particularly when they don’t directly affect him and his family.

But that’s not all. In Morrison, we see the confluence of religious belief and venal profitability that results from his passionate belief in the fossil fuel industry. This is one example of how neoliberalism and evangelical Christianity most conveniently complement one another. Coal is “God’s will”.

In the Prime Minister we encounter a most unholy alliance of the fossils fuel industry and religion.
Morrison is in deep with the coal industry — many of his closest advisors come from that industry.
We have not seen any leadership from the Prime Minister during this current outbreak of bushfires. Leadership might include immediate consultation with a wide range of experts in an effort to prepare as best we can for the coming conflagrations, of which there are likely to be many across the country. It might be a commitment to the purchase of more aircraft capable of dumping fire retardant. It might be a commitment to a system of payment for volunteer firefighters, who currently give up their jobs, holidays and family time to do their absolute best for the rest of us.

I cannot think of one reason why women and men who do a far more significant, dangerous and essential job than Scott Morrison should be expected to continue to do it for free. Given the horrific projections for the coming summer, volunteer firefighters are going to be busy. While he’s at it, Morrison could organise some one-off payments to the states to fund the purchase of equipment for the volunteers, so they don’t have to send what time they have left between fighting fires, doing their day jobs and being with their families, organising cake stalls and raffles to raise money for some new hoses.

One odd thing about Morrison’s attitude is that most politicians do not turn down the opportunity to appear heroic, especially in catastrophes such as this one. He has not availed himself of any such opportunities. One can only conclude that the combination of his religion and his commitment to the coal and extraction industries take precedence over his desire to shine. Sadly, he must rely on carrying water for football teams.

None of this augurs well for our future. If, like me, you are affected by the bushfires in any way, you may have the sense that you have been utterly abandoned by Coalition politicians, on a state and Federal level. No word of what these governments plan to do over the coming summer — no word because they haven’t planned anything. It beggars belief. It breaks the heart. And it fills any sensible person with foreboding. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

November 26, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Cuddling coal and people: does Scott Morrison think that Australians are that stupid about climate change?

Scott Morrison and the big lie about climate change: does he think we’re that stupid? Guardian, Richard Flanagan, 25 Nov 19, Australians everywhere are ready to get on with the job of dealing with the climate crisis. We just need a prime minister to lead us

Of all the horrors that might befall the burnt out, the flooded, the cyclone ravaged and the drought stricken Australian this summer, perhaps none could be viewed with more dread than turning from their devastated home to see advancing on them a bubble of media in which enwombed is our prime minister, Scott Morrison, arriving, as ever, too late with a cuddle….

In Australia we are all now being treated as children, quietened Australians, most especially on the climate crisis. While the climate crisis has become Australians’ number one concern, both major parties play determinedly deaf and dumb on the issue while action and protest about the climate crisis is increasingly subject to prosecution and heavy sentencing.

In Tasmania, the Liberal government intends to legislate sentences of up to 21 years – more than many get for murder – for environmental protest, legislation typical of the new climate of authoritarianism that has flourished under Morrison. As Australia burns, what we are witnessing nationally is no more or less than the criminalisation of democracy in defence of the coal and gas industries.

n this regard, the climate crisis is a war between the voice of coal and the voice of the people. And that war is in Australia being won hands down by the fossil fuel industry.

Which brings us back to that industry’s number one salesman, the prime minister, standing there in the ash in the manner of Humphrey B. Bear on MDMA, as, mollied up, he pulls another victim in the early stages of PTSD into his shirt, his odour, his aura – such as it is – and holds them there perhaps just a little too long. Sometimes, at his most perplexing, he lets that overly large head loll on the victim’s shoulder and leaves it there. Prayers and thoughts naturally follow.

Perhaps it is just his way. Certainly, the prime minister is an unusual issue of two stock types frequently derided in broader Australian culture: the marketing man and the happy-clappy. But in fairness to both tribes, he seems to draw on the worst in both traditions and make of them something at once insincere, sinister and vaguely threatening…..

All this theatre hides a deeply cynical calculation: that Australians will keep on buying the big lie, a lie given historic expression last Thursday morning when on national radio the prime minister declared that Australia’s unprecedented bushfires were unconnected to climate change…….

Two days before saw the release of a major UN report that forecast Australia to be the sixth largest producer of fossil fuels by 2030. Between 2005 and 2030 Australia’s extraction-based emissions from fossil fuel production will have increased by 95%. By 2040, according to the report, on current projections the world’s annual carbon emissions will be 41 gigatonnes, four times more than the maximum amount of 10 gigatonnes required to keep global heating below 1.5 C.

According to the Economist: “The report lays much blame on governments’ generosity to fossil-fuel industries.” The report details at length how Australia supports its fossil fuel industries.

Actively working through legislation, subsidy, and criminalisation of opposition to enable Australia to become one of the world’s seven major producers of fossil fuels makes Australia’s actions directly and heavily responsible for the growing climate catastrophe we are now witnessing in Australia. It gives the lie to the nonsense that we will make our Paris commitments “in a canter”.

It cannot be explained away. It cannot be excused. Australia is actively working hard to become a major driver of the global climate crisis. That is what we have become.

The same day Morrison went to the Gabba, got photographed with cricketers and tweeted: “Going to be a great summer of cricket, and for our firefighters and fire-impacted communities, I’m sure our boys will give them something to cheer for.”

To the question does he think we are that stupid, the answer was implicit in an interview the same day when the prime minister justified not meeting with 23 former fire chiefs and emergency services leaders calling for a climate emergency declaration in April, claiming the government had the advice it needed.

He went on to say that: “We’re getting on with the job, preparing for what has already been a very devastating fire season.”

Only he’s not.

Getting on with the job would be calling a moratorium on new thermal coalmines and gas fracking. Getting on with the job would be announcing a subsidised transition to electric vehicles by 2030. Getting on with the job would be working to close down all coal-fired powered stations as a matter of urgency. Getting on with the job would be calling a summit of the renewable energy industry and asking how the government can help make the transition one that happens now and one that creates jobs in the old fossil fuel energy communities.

And getting on with the job would be going to the world with these initiatives and arguing powerfully, strongly, courageously for other countries to follow as we once led the way on the secret ballot, women’s suffrage, Antarctic protection, the charter of human rights.

We are not a superpower, but nor are we a micronation. We have an economy the size of Russia’s. Our stand on issues whether good or bad is noted and quoted and used as an example. And one only has to look at the global standing of New Zealand to see the power of setting a moral and practical example, and the good that flows from it for a nation and its people. Australians everywhere are ready to get on with the job of dealing with climate change. We just need a prime minister to lead us. In the meantime though we are left with a mollied-up Humphrey B. Bear……

The man who brandished a lump of coal and told us not to be scared, the man who last October told farmers to pray for rain, the man who says there is no link between the climate emergency and bushfires, the man whose party has for 30 years consistently and effectively sought to prevent any action on carbon emissions nationally and internationally will finally have to answer for the growing gap between his party’s ideological rhetoric and the reality of a dried out, heating, burning Australia. And as the climate heats up ever quicker, and as the immense costs to us all become daily more apparent, that day draws ever closer. …..


November 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s devious and incorrect claim about emissions and bushfires

November 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment