Australian news, and some related international items

Fiona Stanley’s survey on political parties’ response to climate change

Climate-Report-CardThe climate change letter most candidates won’t answer Canberra Times, June 29 2016 Fiona Stanley I recently wrote to more than 1000 candidates in the federal election. I described how climate change is a real and growing threat requiring urgent attention, and that health professionals are seeing its impacts in medical practice right now and will be increasingly in the future.

The results distressed me. More than 100 independent candidates and those from virtually all minor parties and Greens responded to me with comments that were often constructive and extensive. There was only one individual response from a Labor Party candidate, and a courteous response from Labor campaign headquarters detailing official Labor policy. No Liberal Party candidate acknowledged my letter and there was no official response. Continue reading

July 1, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, election 2016 | Leave a comment

Carbon dioxide hits record highs in Southern hemisphere

climate-changeScience Daily June 21, 2016 Source: CNRS

Last month, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as measured at Amsterdam Island, in the southern Indian Ocean, for the first time exceeded the symbolic value of 400 ppm, or 0.04%. The CO2 concentrations recorded at the Amsterdam Island research station are the lowest in the world (excluding seasonal cycles), due to the island’s remoteness from anthropogenic sources. The 400 ppm threshold was already crossed in the Northern hemisphere during the 2012/2013 winter. In addition, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is speeding up, growing by more than 2 ppm annually over the past four years……..

June 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Indigenous and several other groups, nut just Greens, taking Adani to court

justicecoal CarmichaelMine2Green groups not the only ones taking Adani to court, Daily Mercury   | 20th Jun 2016 GREEN groups may be copping the blame for Carmichael coal project delays, but Adani is tied up in three times as many court cases with resources groups.

It’s a point Mackay Conservation Group’s Peter McCallum highlighted following a statement put out by Queensland Resources Council’s Michael Roche last week, that said it was a “relentless barrage of ‘lawfare'” from green acitivsts holding up the $16 billion coal mine.

Out of the 12 cases Adani is fighting in the Queensland courts at the moment, nine are with resources companies, two are with environmental groups and one is with an indigenous group.

Adani is also involved in another Federal Court case with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“It shows the Queensland Resources Council and the company are just focussed on making us the bad guys,” Mr McCallum said.

“Really, the company is just as litigious as everyone else.”

Politicians have also called for government to introduce a time limit on how long environmental groups have to launch these court cases.

However, Mr McCallum believes new legislation would only make the approvals process “even more convoluted and entangled” than now, because rather than simply initiating a case, groups would first fight for the right to litigate.

“There will be even more litigation as people try and establish themselves as a litigate,” he said…..

June 21, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

For women, climate change is an election priority

USA election 2016Election 2016: Climate change – an election priority for women, ABC News, 19 June 16 By Erin Stewart Women care more about addressing climate change than men, doubtless because they suffer more from its effects, writes Erin Stewart. So why are the Coalition and Labor not prioritising it in their election campaigns?

In his capacity as the former minister for women, Tony Abbott claimed the best thing he did was repeal the carbon tax.

“As many of us know,” he said in December 2014, “women are particularly focused on the household budget, and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550-a-year benefit for the average family”.

Aside from overstating his figures, Mr Abbott expressed the absurdly inaccurate view that women were more interested in domestic arithmetic than the world around them. In actuality, women care a great deal about climate change, and are more likely to suffer as a result of it.

Eighty-two per cent of female respondents to the ABC’s Vote Compass felt the Federal Government should do “much” or “somewhat more” to tackle climate change, compared with just 67 per cent of men.

These findings are in line with data from the Pew Research Centre which found 83 per cent of Australian women see climate change as a serious problem, compared with just 71 per cent of men.

Part of the reason for the climate gap is doubtless because women would be disproportionately affected if climate change was not effectively addressed. Chair of Population Health at Western Sydney University Professor Hilary Bambrick said extreme weather events killed more women than men globally because they were less likely to have the resources to survive.

They were also more likely to experience poverty and social restrictions, were less likely to be part of decision-making processes, and were also more likely to be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases in performing household tasks such as collecting water and harvesting food.

The reasons climate change was especially bad for women, Professor Bambrick wrote recently at the Conversation, was “largely because they are overrepresented among the world’s poor and are thus more exposed to these dangers”.

Australian women ‘financially vulnerable’ to climate change  The threats are seen in Australia, too. Greens Senator Larissa Waters said she believed women were particularly financially vulnerable to climate change due to structural disadvantage and discrimination.

“With lesser financial means, it will be harder for women to recover from damage to their homes from extreme weather events driven by global warming, such as flooding, droughts or bushfires,” Senator Waters told ABC News…….

June 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2016 | Leave a comment

Most Australian prioritise Great Barrier Reef over coal industry

coral bleachingYourVote: Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining, survey shows June 14, 2016  Environment and immigration correspondent  A thumping majority of Australians want the health of the Great Barrier Reef prioritised over coal mining, according to a survey of more than 63,000 Fairfax Media readers.

People living in mining states, the lower-educated, older people and men were less likely to agree to such a trade-off.

However the result suggests neither major party has fully grasped the strength of public sentiment for protecting the natural wonder, which is suffering from declining water quality, and record coral bleaching largely caused by warming oceans.

An analysis of Fairfax Media’s YourVote tool, which gauges respondents’ beliefs to determine their political leanings, shows about 49,900 respondents – or 79 per cent – “strongly agree” or “agree” that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining. Continue reading

June 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Government rules out public funds for #Adani coal project, activists claim

coal CarmichaelMine2WWF Australia says it has been advised by the federal director of the Liberal party,
Tony Nutt, that no taxpayer money will be sunk into the venture’ Joshua Robertson | The Guardian Australia

“A top Liberal party official has given “unambiguous” assurance that a future Turnbull government will not
sink public funds into Adani’s Queensland coal mining project, conservation groups have claimed. …
A spokeswoman for Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS)Imogen Zevothen, said
conservationists “strongly welcome this commitment from the Liberal party to rule out any public funding for Adani”. …
Zevothen said this meant “both major parties have now ruled out any public funding for Adani” after a
similar commitment from the opposition leader, Bill Shorten. Adani has most key project approvals in place
but has struggled to gain financial backing for the $16bn project amid a coal market slump … “

June 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia covered up plight of Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu in UN Report

see-no-evilAustralia covered up UN climate change fears for Tasmania forests and Kakadu
Fears about damage to the Great Barrier Reef were removed from UN report along with concern about a threat to the environment in two other heritage sites,
Guardian, , 29 May 16, A draft UN report on climate change, which was scrubbed of all reference to Australia over fears it could deter visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, also outlined possible threats to the Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu.

The draft report contained a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, which described climate change as “the biggest long-term threat to the [reef] today, and to its ecosystems services, biodiversity, heritage values and tourism economy”.

It concluded that “without a comprehensive response more in keeping with the scale of the threat, the [reef]’s extraordinary biodiversity and natural beauty may lose its world heritage values”.

But before it was scrubbed, the report had two other key sections on Australian world heritage sites, and the threats they face from climate change.

One of those sections was on the Tasmanian wilderness…….the censored section of the Unesco report on Tasmania is clear about the “dire” nature of the threat.

It said: “A 2013 assessment of climate threats identified the same habitats as at high risk from greater fire frequency and drier conditions, with likely catastrophic implications for fauna. These dire predictions appeared to be playing out in January 2016, when tens of thousands of hectares of forest burned, sparked by lightning strikes that came in a month when temperatures were 2C above average and in the wake of the driest two-year period ever recorded for the region.”

The deleted section on Kakadu national park contained similarly dire warnings.

It described the important natural and cultural values of Kakadu, which has been inhabited by Aboriginal people for 50,000 years.

“The thousands of rock art sites in the park are at risk from damage by more extreme rainfall events, while sea level rise is happening at twice the global average along the northern Australian coast,” the draft report said.

It warned that fresh-water wetlands were at risk from sea level rise, as they are likely to be inundated with salt water. “Climate change threatens Aboriginal traditional use by altering the ecosystems of the vast wetlands of Kakadu and raising temperatures to a level likely to lead to more intense fire regimes,” the report said.

The final version of the report entitled “World heritage and tourism in a changing climate” was published last week by Unesco, United Nationsenvironment programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists, with all references to Australia removed.

The lead author of the report, Adam Markham, told Guardian Australia: “I was shocked when I read in the Guardian the reasons the Australian government gave for why they had pressured Unesco to drop the Australian sites.”

May 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Exposing Turnbull’s deceit on fossil fuels and climate change

Turnbull liarTurnbull’s #Innovation and #IdeasBoom is to flog fossil fuels. KaBOOM! Independent Australia Tracey Anton 28 May 2016 Transitioning the economy away from fossil fuel dependency is now the global catchcry. So why is Turnbull funding DICE-y coal technology at the expense of renewables whilst claiming to mitigate climate change? Mining reformist, Tracey Anton reports.

CLIMATE CHANGE has quickly become an economic and energy policy nightmare for Government but what Turnbull is presenting to the public is based on deceit. The LNP’s mishmash of policy contradiction and current economic mismanagement of fossil fuel extraction is to defraud the public of billions of dollars.

Turnbull states:

“we transition from an economy that has been fired up by an unprecedented mining construction boom as we transition to the new economy of the 21st century.”

The great disparity between saying you will reduce emissions but then stealthily grow a new and bigger fossil fuel industry needs to be called out and exposed.

We already have LNP’s ongoing team assault on the environment now showing a jump in emissions since the removal of the carbon price in 2014 with increases in liquefied natural gas (LNG) greenhouse gases adding to the rise.

Worst still is the report by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Due to the LNP’s continual backflip and integrity of Turnbull and Co to apply believable climate mitigation strategies, Australia is way down the list for credibility to implement policy commitments.

Under the LNP, the Department of Climate Change has never been valued with their aim to subvert its legitimacy. Now, Climate Change dwells as a subsection in the Department of Environment.

Currently, the taxpayers will be shelving out billions of dollars to facilitate and subsidise a burgeoning fossil fuel energy future and the pain will only get worse if the Turnbull government is returned………

As for new coal technologies, coal still has to be extracted so the pits get bigger, groundwater is still bleed, air pollution is increased, waste water still needs to be disposed of and land and coastal subsidence will worsen, and the cycle goes on.

We already know that the mining industry is dictating government policy but the infiltration of agencies and our main science and research organisation, CSIRO is concerning.

CSIRO is now one of “entrepreneurial” innovation to market technology to the world…….

The innovation that he [CSIRO’s CEO Dr Larry Marshall] wants to sell to the world is the DICE technology, a coal to fuel derivative that starts with turning prime agricultural land into an open cut brown coal mine. How is that to mitigate climate change? Worse, the technology is also water and energy intensive — so it can burn cleaner somewhere else. Meanwhile, Turnbull has to build more dams because he is giving all our precious water to mining……..,9038

May 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australian content removed from UNESCO climate change report

questionUNESCO climate change report lead author disappointed Australian content removed, ABC Radio, The World Today  By Sarah Sedghi  27 May 16 The lead author of a United Nations report about climate change threats to World Heritage sites says he is disappointed content about Australia was removed and does not understand why it was done.

Key points:

  • Lead author says what was removed was important to understanding risks
  • Environment Department requested references to Australian World Heritage properties be removed
  • Author knew of material removal but did not know the reason or of any other case studies being removed

The report initially included information about the Great Barrier Reef, as well as Kakadu and the Tasmanian Wilderness.

Adam Markham, the deputy director of climate and energy with the Union of Concerned Scientists and the lead author of report, said the report and what was removed was important work in understanding the risks to world heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef, and how to protect them.

But the Environment Department expressed concerns about Australian World Heritage properties being included, and at its request, those references disappeared from the final document.

The report, authored by UNESCO, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, was designed to give a snapshot of how climate change was affecting World Heritage sites across the globe.

Mr Markham said he knew they had taken out the Great Barrier Reef case study and material on the Tasmanian wilderness and Kakadu National Park, but he did not know why.

“I read in the paper like you did today the reason that the Australian Government gave, that they had put pressure on UNESCO to remove the case study,” he said.

He said he was disappointed those parts were removed. “Firstly we put a lot of work into writing them, and secondly we weren’t able to put anything about Australia in the report and it’s a huge continent, it’s got some amazing World Heritage sites,” he said.

“The Great Barrier Reef in particular is one that everyone knows is under severe threat, not just from human development and coal mining and such, but also from coral bleaching and warming.”

Mr Markham said he does not think any other case studies were removed from the report before its publication, despite about 50 revisions……..

Questions over why Hunt not informed


Senator Waters questioned why Mr Hunt had not been kept in the loop, and called on him to explain why he was not informed.

“The Minister is not doing his job properly if he is not involved in something as serious as a UN report about climate change affecting the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

“And secondly if it’s true that he didn’t know, then for a start why didn’t he know, and secondly why would the Department do that?

“He would expect them to hide the inconvenient truth, because that’s what this Minister has been trying to do for years and the Department can predict that that’s what its minister wanted.”

Labor’s environment spokesperson Mark Butler said Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull needed to come clean on whether actions were taken by them or their offices to seek to censor the work of UNESCO………

May 28, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian govt pressured UN to remove Australian topics from climate report

exclamation-see-no-evilAustralia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention

Exclusive: All mentions of Australia were removed from the final version of a Unesco report on climate change and world heritage sites after the Australian government objected on the grounds it could impact on tourism

Revealed: Guardian Australia has obtained the Unesco report Australia didn’t want the world to see. Read it now  Guardian, , 27 May 16 

Every reference to Australia was scrubbed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, objecting that the information could harm tourism.

Guardian Australia can reveal the report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, which Unesco jointly published with the United Nations environment program and the Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

But when the Australian Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed by Unesco. Will Steffen, one of the scientific reviewers of the axed section on the reef, said Australia’s move was reminiscent of “the old Soviet Union”.

No sections about any other country were removed from the report. The removals left Australia as the only inhabited continent on the planet with no mentions.

Explaining the decision to object to the report, a spokesperson for the environment department told Guardian Australia: “Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism.”

As a result of climate change combined with weather phenomena, the Great Barrier Reef is in the midst of the worst crisis in recorded history. Continue reading

May 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Greg Hunt “didn’t know” his favoured climate report written by former Liberal candidate

Hunt-Greg-climateClimate policy report hailed by Greg Hunt written by former Liberal candidate, , May 26, 2016 – Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The lead author of a consultants’ report hailed by Environment Minister Greg Hunt as supporting the government’s climate policies is a current member of the Liberal Party and former candidate for the federal seat of Sydney, prompting questions about its independence.

Gordon Weiss is an associate of energy consultancy Energetics and was one of three authors of a report commissioned by the Environment Department exploring how Australia could meet its 2030 carbon emissions targets. The report did not disclose his affiliation.

The report drew criticism from groups such as The Climate Institute for its findings, in particular that Australia could achieve the Abbott-Turnbull government’s goal of cutting 2005-level emissions 26-28 per cent “under the current policy framework”…….

A spokesman for the minister said Mr Hunt “was not aware of any political affiliations”……..

May 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Adelaide prize contest for new green businesses


LONDON: Adelaide has launched a low carbon contest with an AU$250,000 (~US$187,000) prize, which is open to innovative entrepreneurs who can help the South Australian capital become the world’s first carbon neutral city.

South Australia’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize will transform groundbreaking ideas from around the world into real projects, and is the first initiative of the ‘Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge’ which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating opportunities for pioneering green businesses. Continue reading

May 23, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

Great Barrier Reef should be a central election issue – Tim Flannery

USA election 2016Saving Great Barrier Reef from climate change should be central election issue
, says Tim Flannery

Scientist says lack of attention to climate change is ‘staggering’ given it is Australia’s last chance ‘to close down coal-fired power stations and save the reef’, Guardian, , 17 May 16, Tim Flannery says preserving the Great Barrier Reef from coral bleaching linked to climate change should be a central issue in the federal election campaign.

Flannery, a scientist and member of the Climate Council, said the lack of attention paid to climate change so far in the eight-week campaign was “staggering”.

“This needs to be the reef election,” he told Guardian Australia. “This is the last moment I think that we can realistically expect that we can enact some policies … to close down coal-fired power stations and save the reef.

“Other issues are still going to be there in another four years. This one won’t.”

A study in April found that almost 93% of the Great Barrier Reef had been affected by global bleaching, part of a global coral bleaching event that scientists say was caused partly by El Niño and partly by background global warming.

The aerial survey, conducted by James Cook University, found the bleaching was most severe in reefs north of Port Douglas, where about 81% of reefs were assessed as having severe bleaching. Prof Terry Hughes, head of the National Coal Bleaching Taskforce, told Guardian Australia last month that the mortality rate in coral reefs in that area was already at more than 50%.

Hughes said it was five times worse than the last two bleaching events, in 1998 and 2002, when 40% of the reef escaped bleaching.

Coral bleaching has also been recorded in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, where between 60-90% of some reefs are reported to be bleached. Continue reading

May 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2016 | Leave a comment

Australian environment groups unite to oppose govt plans to cut their charitable status

election Australia 2016Federal election 2016: climate survey fires up green council of war Graham Lloyd THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 17, 2016  Peak environment groups have prepared a co-ordinated election blueprint on climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and fossil fuels, staring down threats to cut the charitable status of organisations that play politics.

The groups, including Greenpeace, WWF, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society, have spent the past fortnight planning a strategy against the background of a parliamentary report that set out a road map to punish critics of the government and resource industry.

Established by ­Environment Minister Greg Hunt, it recommended groups be ­required to spend 25 per cent of fundraising on tree planting and land repair or lose tax-deductible status. It also said organisations should be made ­liable for illegal ­actions of members, supporters or volunteers.

The lower house committee recommendations were not supported by Labor members and the report included a dissenting statement from Liberal member Jason Wood. Mr Wood listed potential cas­ualties, including Beyond Zero Emissions, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Environment Vic­to­ria, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace Australia, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, The Wilderness Society, EDOs of Australia, Australian Orangutan Project and Environmental Justice Australia.

Wilderness Society national campaign manager Lyndon Schneiders said: “They are also saying to a bunch of rednecks that they will deal with environment groups’ campaigns against controversial oil and gas projects.”

Former Greens leader Bob Brown said making groups res­ponsible for the actions of members and volunteers “would be right at home in Vladimir Putin’s Russia”. Climate Change organisation said the recommendations were anti-democratic and “an unnecessary witch-hunt”.

The Wilderness Society said it made more sense to spend money lobbying to stop trees being cut down that to replant them……

May 18, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, climate change - global warming, election 2016 | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s “Direct Action” ineffective, could even increase Co2 emissions

it was entirely possible some projects would end up, perversely, funding emissions increases.

Direct Action funds ‘spent on projects that would have happened anyway’, Guardian, , 17 May 16, 


Payments to greenhouse gas emitters more likely to go to reduction schemes that would have taken place without government funding, says economist. The government’s $2.55bn emissions reduction fund, which pays greenhouse gas emitters to pollute less, will inevitably pay for reductions that would have happened anyway, for the same reason that secondhand car markets are full of lemons, an economic analysis has concluded. Continue reading

May 18, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment


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