Australian news, and some related international items

Coalition’s climate change stance will ‘kill people’, say Greens

  The Australian Greens have warned against the Morrison government backing a coal-led energy policy over the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project. SBS, 15 Oct 18  Greens MP Adam Bandt has warned the Coalition’s views on climate change and renewable energy will “kill people”.A major report released last week, referencing more than 6000 scientific studies, stated drastic changes are needed in global society to prevent world temperatures from rising by two degrees Celsius.

The Coalition Government says it will not renew or replace the Renewable Energy Target when it lapses in 2020.

Mr Bandt’s claim comes on the same day as former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declared the expected $4.5 billion cost for the Snowy 2.0 scheme would be better off used on funding new coal-fired power stations.

“The Coalition’s energy policy will kill people – it’s as simple as that,” Mr Bandt told reporters on Monday.

“Australia is going to be one of the countries worst hit by climate change and the Morrison government seems to not care how many people will die because of its policies.

“If Barnaby Joyce is concerned about farmers then he’d want to switch from coal to renewables.”

Mr Joyce told The Australian he would prioritise coal-fired power stations, two months ahead of a decision on the Snowy 2.0 scheme……


October 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Barnaby Joyce calls the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “wrong and ridiculous” about coal

Barnaby backs coal unless Australians want nuclear power supply, Northern Daily Leader, Chris Bath 15 Oct 18 

October 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Alex Turnbull, son of former Prime Minister denounces the “crazy” climate agenda of the Liberal Party

Grattan on Friday: Malcolm Turnbull is gone but son Alex keeps the climate faith, The Conversation, Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra, October 11, 2018  In a Thursday video for the Wentworth byelection, Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex has denounced “extremists on the hard right” who, he says, have taken over the Liberal Party.

The younger Turnbull called on voters in his dad’s old seat to register a protest about the party’s direction, and deliver a message on climate change. “If you want to pull the Liberal party back from the brink, there is one clear signal you can send,” he said, urging people not to vote Liberal.

Apart from the leadership coup Turnbull, a Singapore-based investment manager, highlighted energy policy to make his point about the hard right’s “crazy agenda”.

“As an investor in energy, I’ve seen that in particular there’s no way coal can compete anymore. Renewables have gotten too cheap, firming costs are reasonable, and really there’s no trade off any more between lowering your power bills and reducing emissions. And yet still some would like to prosecute a culture war over this issue”.

Kerry Schott, head of the Energy Security Board, is coming from a rather different place but at the Australian Financial Review’s energy summit this week she delivered an equally blunt message about the politics of energy, describing “the general state of affairs right now as anarchy”. ……..

Business is more tuned into, and willing to talk about, the emissions challenge and climate change than the government is. For the government, going there takes it down the alley of internal ideological conflict.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report came this week, the Coalition was unimpressed by its call for the international community to phase out coal by mid-century in order to contain the temperature rise. After all, the government is still under internal pressure to underpin investment in new coal-fired power, if investors can be found.

In contrast, Alex Turnbull said in his video the IPCC report “frankly was terrifying … and it’s seemingly insane to me that we could not be doing something about this and soon”.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australian farmers now turning to acceptance of need to act on climate change

Why farmers are forcing climate change into the spotlight
Farmers’ climate denial begins to wane as reality bites, The Conversation   Sarah Ann Wheeler, 
Professor in Water Economics, University of Adelaide Céline Nauges, Research Director, INRA
October 12, 2018  Australia has been described as the “front line of the battle for climate change adaptation”, and our farmers are the ones who have to lead the charge. Farmers will have to cope, among other pressures, with longer droughts, more erratic rainfall, higher temperatures, and changes to the timing of seasons.Yet, puzzlingly enough to many commentators, climate denial has been widespread among farmers and in the ranks of the National Party, which purports to represent their interests.

Back in 2008, only one-third of farmers accepted the science of climate change. Our 2010-11 survey of 946 irrigators in the southern Murray-Darling Basin (published in 2013) found similar results: 32% accepted that climate change posed a risk to their region; half disagreed; and 18% did not know.

These numbers have consistently trailed behind the wider public, a clear majority of whom have consistently accepted the science. More Australians in 2018 accepted the reality of climate change than at almost any time, with 76% accepting climate change is occurring, 11% not believing in it and 13% being unsure.

Yet there are signs we may be on the brink of a wholesale shift in farmers’ attitudes towards climate change. For example, we have seen the creation of Young Carbon FarmersFarmers for Climate Action, the first ever rally on climate change by farmers in Canberra, and national adverts by farmers on the need for climate action. Since 2016 the National Farmers Federation has strengthened its calls for action to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Our latest preliminary research results have also revealed evidence of this change. We surveyed 1,000 irrigators in 2015-16 in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, and found attitudes have shifted significantly since the 2010 survey.

Now, 43% of farmers accept climate change poses a risk to their region, compared with just 32% five years earlier.  Those not accepting correspondingly fell to 36%, while the percentage who did not know slightly increased to 21%…………

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

For Australia to take its share in climate action – 12 coal-fired power stations need to close by 2030

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Poor countries urge Australia to honour Green Climate Fund commitments

 UN group responds to Scott Morrison’s statement that Australia won’t be ‘throwing money’ into fund, Readfearn  An official United Nations grouping of 47 of the world’s poorest countries has urged Australia to “honour its international commitments” after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the country would not be “throwing money” into a key international climate change fund.Australia has previously pledged $200m to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), set up through the UN’s climate convention to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.

But on Monday, in the hours before a major climate report was releasedMorrison told radio presenter Alan Jones that Australia would not be “throwing money into some global climate fund”.

One international climate expert said that geopolitically it was “mildly insane” that Australia was backing out of the GCF.

In a statement to Guardian Australia, Ethiopian Gebru Jember Endalew, the chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, said: “Funding from wealthy nations such as Australia is key to enabling an effective global response.

“LDCs and other developing countries have made ambitious plans, but these plans cannot be implemented without sufficient tools and resources being mobilised. The Green Climate Fund plays an integral role in delivering these funds and continues to be underresourced.”

The LDC Group represents 47 countries at UN climate negotiations and says its members are “specially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem”. African nations dominate the LDC group, alongside Pacific and East Asian countries Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.  Continue reading

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Dave Sharma, Liberal candidate for Wentworth byelection, is complacent about Liberals’ non policy on climate change

Dave Sharma says Liberals ‘doing enough’ on climate after Hewson attack

The Wentworth candidate rejects former leader’s view that party’s policy on emissions is inadequate, Guardian,  Anne Davies@annefdavies 10 Oct 2018 The Liberal candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, said his party is “doing enough” and has “a good record” on climate change, after a blistering attack from former leader John Hewson, who said the party deserved a “drubbing” over its inaction on the issue…….Hewson has accused the Liberals of putting their heads in the sand on the issue and kicking the issue down the road for future generations.

The former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull dropped plans for a national energy guarantee that would have imposed emissions reduction targets and then was dumped by his own party, which was deeply divided over his plan……

the economy has been growing and so too have overall emissions.

Australia is on a trajectory that will see it miss its Paris climate targets – a reduction of 26% to 28% based on 2005 levels – according to figures from the consultants, NDEVR Environmental, for the year up to the end of June 2018.

The NDVER figures showed Australia’s emissions were again the highest on record when unreliable data from the land use and forestry sectors was excluded. This was the third consecutive year for record-breaking emissions.

Despite this, Frydenberg claimed that the nation is on track to meet its Paris commitments – even without the Neg, which he had supported. He also lauded the Coalition’s record on investment in renewables…….

Asked about the IPCC report this week, which called for coal generation to be phased out by 2050 or the world would be facing a catastrophe, Frydenberg said it was their word, not ours….

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Climate apocalypse is heading, unless the world takes drastic action

Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter, with thermal and coking coal shipments last year totalling 382 million tonnes.

The findings of the report are at odds with the Morrison government’s insistence that coal will play an essential role in the nation’s economic future.

For the first time in a IPCC report, the authors included social and economic impacts. That marked “the end of magical thinking” that sustainable development goals and poverty reduction could be divorced from climate action.

“If governments fail to drastically and urgently reduce emissions, they are knowingly contributing to the dangers of a world that is at least 1.5 degrees warmer,” Tessa Khan, co-director of the Climate Litigation Network.

“This has clear legal consequences and governments will inevitably be held accountable for knowingly putting people in harm’s way,” Ms Khan said, noting citizens in the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Colombia, the US and New Zealand have already taken their governments to court.

“This litigation is only just picking up speed.”

‘Next decade critical’: Perils mount at 1.5 degrees of warming, says IPCC , Sydney Morning Herald,  By Peter Hannam & Nicole Hasham 8 October 2018 The amount of coal and other fossil fuels the world can burn without unleashing dangerous climate change that will undermine the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people and all but wipe out the Great Barrier Reef is “very small”, according to a major climate report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on a 1.5-degree hotter planet, released on Monday, said limiting warming to that amount remains possible, but only with “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”……..

We’re currently heading towards about 3 degrees or 4 degrees of warming by 2100,” said Mark Howden, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University and one of the review’s editors.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is not impossible but would actually require major transitions in many aspects of society, and to do those transitions, the next 10 years are critical.”

Many of those transitions will mean curbing if not halting entirely the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, land-clearing and other human activities.

Average temperature rises mask extreme events. Temperatures of hot days are forecast to increase three degrees in a 1.5 degree warmer world, and by four degrees if mean temperatures rise by 2 degrees.

Carbon budget  Continue reading

October 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Cost of action on climate change is high – political will is lacking

October 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

To save Barrier Reef, Australia and the rest of the world must virtually eliminate the use of coal for electricity within 22 years

October 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

No Australian government support for “nonsense” like climate change action

Morrison vows no money for climate conferences and “all that nonsense” Giles Parkinson

In an early morning interview with radio 2GB’s Alan Jones, where he also supported the push to advertise a horse race on “Australia’s biggest bill-board”, a reference to the sales of a building hitherto known as the Sydney Opera House, Morrison indicated Australia would resume its disruptive role in international climate talks.

He said Australia would not follow the US out of the Paris climate treaty – that would be catastrophic for Australia’s attempts to land a free trade deal with Europe and its ongoing relationship with Pacific neighbours – but it has no intention of increasing its current target of a 26-28 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.

This was despite the IPCC recommendations of decisive action, and a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, if the world was to meet the target of trying to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.

“We’re not held to any of (those recommendations) at all, and nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund,” Morrison told 2GB.

The participation of Australia and other wealthy countries in the Green Climate Fund is seen as critical to keep the Paris climate accord together, as it was a fundamental part of negotiations in the lead up to Paris in 2015.

But Morrison said Australia has no intention of lifting its target, focusing instead on prices, and promising the loss of no jobs in any action on climate change.

At the moment, Australia has no policies to actually reach that target, and emissions last year rose 1.3 per cent, putting Australia’s trajectory completely off course. Morrison insists that the country will “meet it in a canter”.

Morrison, who waved around a lump of coal in parliament early last year when Treasurer, and later dismissed the Tesla big battery as being about as useful as the Big Banana (despite the battery’s profound impact on the grid this past year), says Australia was acting to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

But the IPCC report warns that even under a 2°C scenario – and current climate pledges have the world heading to average global warming in excess of 3°C – all coral reefs would cease to exist. At 1.5°C, there is a  fair chance of saving 10-30 per cent of existing ecosystems, the report says.

The scenarios and assessments are similar to those made at the Paris climate talks. The difference with this latest report is that it is an agreed text – with more than 6,000 scientific references cited, thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, and 91 authors and editors from 40 countries.

More importantly, it survived intervention from government “experts” in the last few days, and was approved by all countries.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Morrison government cynically tries to hide the truth on greenhouse gas emissions

Our emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 is woefully inadequate and is not aligned with what the science says is necessary to effectively tackle climate change. Rather than doing it at “a canter” we’re like the champion sprinter, Chautauqua, stuck in the barriers.

Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed countries in the world to the impacts of climate change.

A cynical attempt to avoid scrutiny, By Martin Rice, 1 October 2018 — 

Late last Friday afternoon, after Commissioner Kenneth Hayne delivered his interim findings into the financial services industry, and the nation prepared for a weekend of football finals, the federal government quietly released a story that should have been front-page news.

It had held onto the information for months, seemingly waiting for the right time to “take out the trash”. The news for it, and for us, was grim. Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels have risen yet again.

The reporting of Australia’s rising emissions has been buried on a number of occasions, with data released on Christmas Eve, on weekends, holiday periods, or during major events. It’s a cynical attempt to avoid scrutiny.

For climate policy to be a winner, greenhouse gas pollution levels must be trending downwards; there are no Norm Smith or Clive Churchill medals for the federal government, with emissions increasing by 1.3 per cent for the year to March 2018. Worse still, greenhouse gas pollution has risen three years in a row – we’re chasing the wooden spoon.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the ABC Insiders program that people “choose and pick their figures to make a political argument”. This is not a political argument. The figures tell us very clearly that emissions are going up.

The Prime Minister also repeated his claim that Australia will meet its Paris obligations “at a canter”. There are numerous reports – from the Australia Institute last week and the UN Environment Program last year – that outline why Australia won’t meet its 2030 Paris commitments.

Our emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 is woefully inadequate and is not aligned with what the science says is necessary to effectively tackle climate change. Rather than doing it at “a canter” we’re like the champion sprinter, Chautauqua, stuck in the barriers.

Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. Heatwaves are becoming longer, hotter and starting earlier in the year. In the populous south of the country, dangerous bushfire weather is increasing, and cool season rainfall is dropping off, stretching firefighting resources, putting lives at risk and creating challenges for the agriculture industry.

The unprecedented bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017 resulted in mass coral mortality, with the 2016 bleaching event at least 175 times more likely to occur due to intensifying climate change. Not only is the reef a natural icon of global significance, it’s a multi-billion dollar economic asset, contributing around $6.4 billion to the Australian economy a year (of which $5.7 billion comes from the tourism industry), and supporting 64,000 direct and indirect jobs. Climate change is putting this industry, and the broader economy, at risk.

NSW and Queensland are experiencing severe drought conditions, with dire consequences for farming and rural communities. Southern Australia, particularly along the eastern coast and hinterlands, could experience devastating bushfire conditions this season. There would be little reprieve for firefighters exhausted from battling fires in the height of the Australian winter (yes, winter!) or helping suppress fires overseas.


The burning of coal, oil and gas is causing temperatures to rise at unprecedented rates and is making extreme weather events more intense, damaging and costly. The window of opportunity to effectively tackle climate change is closing fast. We need to rapidly and deeply cut our emissions.
The solutions are available. We need to accelerate the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewables and storage technologies and ramp up other climate solutions in the transport, agriculture and other sectors.

At a time when credible federal government climate policy remains missing in action, it has never been more important for transparent greenhouse gas pollution information. Yet the federal government has consistently withheld or hidden vital emissions data; it’s a serial offender when it comes to climate censorship.

Martin Rice is the Climate Council’s acting chief executive and head of research.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

The value of Australia’s coal exports is forecast to decline sharply

Thermal coal prices forecast to drop 25% and metallurgical coal prices 23% as value of iron ore exports also falls, Guardian, Gareth Hutchens @grhutchens, 2 Oct 2018  The value of Australia’s coal exports is forecast to decline sharply over the next 18 months as thermal coal prices drop 25% and metallurgical coal prices fall 23%.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

‘Adani and the War Over Coal’ – a new book: Quentin Beresford spills the devious beans

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Adani and the War Over Coal’ — a pox on both their Parties, Independent Australia  John Biggs 30 September 2018  The story of the devious and secretive negotiations between Adani and Australian governments of both stripes is appalling, writes John Biggs. “…… Conservation groups, Indigenous people and, eventually, a strong majority of ordinary Australians are outraged. In this book, Dr Beresford brings his sharp research and writing skills to tell this story of the war over coal.Gautam Adani had close connections with India’s PM Narendra Modi, who protected Adani over environmental and human rights violations in India. Adani donated heavily to both major Australian parties, especially to the Coalition. The Abbott and subsequent Coalition governments pushed for Adani as hard as they could. At first, so did Labor, but then sort of didn’t, but if certain conditions are met, well, maybe .


The major issues in dispute, as Bereford see it, are as follows.

Climate change

If all the Carmichael coal is burned – here or anywhere – the carbon emissions would be more than Australia already produces. That would likely tip global warming irreversibly. The pro-Adani group deny this.

Great Barrier Reef

The Reef is already seriously endangered by climate change, drainage from fertilised farmlands, and starfish. The mine would make matters immeasurably worse, as dredging (authorised byLabor’s Tony Burke) has already indicated.

Julie Bishop even denied the Great Barrier Reef would be in any danger.

Beresford notes (p.361):

‘None of the major parties has been prepared to unequivocally put the reef’s long term health over the interests of the fossil fuel industry.’

Great Artesian Basin

The Great Artesian Basin, vital for Australian agriculture, would be seriously endangered by the mine, either through using the water or by puncturing and draining the Basin. Adani supporters say this is exaggerated, and anyway coal mining is a thirsty business.

Native title

Doongmabulla Springs is in the mining area and is of high cultural significance to the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples. However Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that favour developers have been foisted onto the locals. These are currently under appeal.

Economic case

The costs of mining coal are now higher than the costs of producing renewables — and the difference is rapidly widening. With Adani’s projected costs, current debts and likely returns, Adani is predicted to lose crippling amounts of money if it proceeds.

Adani’s poor safety, criminal and environmental record

First in India and now here, Adani operations have already badly polluted land in the Carmichael region.


Given all of this, why on Earth would Australian governments be so determined to support the Adani project?

Beresford discusses these issues and others in depth. His findings and assertions are fully referenced, his arguments convincing.

While much of this is due to the shocking judgement and wickedness of individual people, Beresford sees (p.360) as even more important the way in which the coal wars have transformed politics: …….–a-pox-on-both-their-parties,11949

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

PM Morrison’s dodgy claim about Australia meeting Paris climate commitment

PM claims Australia will meet Paris target ‘in a canter’ despite emissions climbing
Morrison says rate of increase not as high as previous years and renewables investment will ensure Australia meets commitment,
Guardian,  Amy Remeikis, 30 Sept 18, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, but Scott Morrison seized on the silver lining, maintaining Australia would meet its Paris commitment, despite the government having no legislated instrument to help it get there.

Figures released on Friday showed Australia’s emissions increased 1.3% in the year to March 2018, up all sectors – except land use and electricity, where renewable technologies were having an impact on the latter.

The prime minister jumped on the rate of the increase not being as high as in previous years……..

Morrison said Australia would meet its Paris targets “in a canter”, largely based on investment in renewable energy technologies, despite concerns a lack of legislated instrument may impact investor confidence in the sector. …..

“We still have large-scale and small-scale policies there. We still have the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and we still have the Emissions Reduction Fund for the period that it’s currently for, and we’re on track to hit it.”…..

Critics of the government’s stance have repeatedly called for legislation to ensure Australia meets the targets it agreed to when Tony Abbott signed the nation up to the Paris agreement.

But with the national energy guarantee a casualty of the leadership spillwithin the Liberal party, the government has no legislated instrument to ensure emission reductions, and no plans to create one…..

He said lowering electricity prices remained the government’s priority and criticised Labor for its policy. ….Labor has said it will look to legislate a version of the national energy guarantee the government abandoned as policy to ensure Australia does meet its targets. The Greens announced its parliamentary team will take a “hard line” on making sure any future Labor government does not back down.

Research released earlier this month found that emission reductions targets were not responsible for driving up power prices.

October 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment