Australian news, and some related international items

The UK has a national climate change act – why don’t we?


May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Distinguished Australians, and over 60 scientists press the government for immediate action on climate change.

 SBS 16 May 19 A group of more than 60 scientists and experts have penned an open letter to the next Australian government, calling for immediate action on climate change.

A group of more than 60 Australian scientists and experts are calling on the next government to prioritise action on climate change.

The 62 experts, including Nobel Prize winners and former Australians of the Year, have penned an open letter to politicians, which features a prominent graph showing Australia’s emissions have been rising since 2014.

“The consequences of climate change are already upon us – including harsher and more frequent extreme weather, destruction of natural ecosystems, severe property damage and a worldwide threat to human health,” they wrote.

“The solutions are all available to address climate change, all that is missing is the political will.”

The group includes former Australian of the Year and Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty, former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley and former premier of Western Australia Carmen Lawrence.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising, moving the country further away from its Paris Agreement obligations,” the letter says.

“Whichever party wins government on Saturday, urgent action on climate change must be a top priority for the 46th parliament of Australia.”

Climate change has emerged as a top issue of the federal election ……

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

CSIRO unsure on Adani coal project’s water plans, but Minister For Coal, Melissa Price gave it environmental approval anyway

Adani water plan ticked off within hours despite lack of detail, internal CSIRO emails reveal

Key points:

  • Internal CSIRO correspondence explicitly shows the agency went out of its way to avoid giving any categorical scientific advice on Adani’s plans
  • A letter from the CSIRO to the environmental department noted other concerns were yet to be addressed
  • The emails obtained by the ABC also show how rushed the CSIRO was to provide its “formal assent” to the department

Despite the Government saying Australia’s top science agencies “confirmed” Adani’s water plans had “met strict scientific requirements”, the emails show CSIRO was determined not to give a “categoric” response.

The correspondence obtained by the ABC through freedom of information laws exposes further discrepancies between what the Government said about the assessment of Adani’s environmental plans, and what actually occurred.

The newly uncovered emails follow hand-written notes from Geoscience Australia, obtained by the ABC in April, showing Adani refused to accept several of its recommendations, counter to what the Government said at the time.

Two days before the federal election was called, Environment Minister Melissa Price signed off on Adani’s two groundwater management plans,meaning Adani had passed all the tests required by the Federal Government before it could start constructing its proposed Carmichael coal mine.

When announcing the decision, Ms Price said she was simply following the advice of scientists.

“I have accepted the scientific advice,” she said, declaring that CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had provided “assurances that these steps address their recommendations”.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison claims that the Liberal Coalition saved the Great Barrier Reef!!

M’s claim Coalition saved reef from nonexistent ‘endangered list’ condemned as ‘ridiculous’, Guardian, Lisa Cox, Mon 13 May 2019

Scott Morrison says government took reef ‘off the endangered list’ – despite no such list existing.  Scott Morrison has credited his government with having “saved” the Great Barrier Reef, a claim rejected as “ridiculous” by scientists, environmental groups and the Queensland government.

At the Liberal party’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday, Morrison thanked the former environment ministers Greg Hunt and Josh Frydenberg for their work on reef issues.

“We have saved the Great Barrier Reef – well done to Greg Hunt particularly on his work when he was environment minister – taking it off the endangered list,” he said.

“We’ve invested record funds in researching and protecting its future thanks to Josh’s time as environment minister.”

Morrison’s statement contained more than one inaccuracy, including the suggestion the reef was on an “endangered list” at all.

“There is such a thing as the ‘in danger list’ for world heritage properties,” the coral reef scientist Prof Terry Hughes said. “The barrier reef was never on that list.

“If Morrison is claiming Hunt got Australia off the ‘in danger’ list, the obvious response is: it never was on it.”

In 2017, Unesco opted not to list the reef as in danger after reviewing the government’s Reef 2050 plan. But it will reassess that decision in 2020 and whichever party wins the federal election must submit an update on progress of the plan at the end of this year.

Hughes said recent surveys of the Great Barrier Reef showed the impact climate change and rising ocean temperatures were having on coral cover.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science – the government’s own agency responsible for monitoring reef health – reported in 2017-18 that trends in coral cover in the north, central and south reef showed steep decline that “has not been observed in the historical record”.

Hughes’s most recent paper found that the production of baby coral on the reef had fallen by 89% after the climate change-induced mass bleaching of 2016 and 2017.

Under the Liberal-National coalition government, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, which Hughes said was “an abject failure” for the Great Barrier Reef………

May 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Yeelirrie uranium approval, Adani coal – Australia needs new and stronger national environment laws


May 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Where do the parties stand on climate and the environment?


May 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Torres Strait islanders to United Nations – allege Australian government failure to act on climate change

May 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Melissa Price – the Environment Minster you get from an anti environment government

May 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019, environment | Leave a comment

Federal election 2019: Ex-Liberal leader John Hewson endorses South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Federal election 2019: Ex-Liberal leader John Hewson endorses SA …

The Advertiser10 May 19
Former Liberal leader John Hewson has endorsed South Australian GreensSenator Sarah Hanson-Young for the federal election, describing … (subscribers only)

May 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

At last – HENRY COX, a Senate Candidate with the guts to fight the nuclear waste dump plan !

VOTE 1 COX for SENATE & STOP the Nuclear Waste Dump. Citizen’s Jury & our State Parliament said NO! Now it’s back on the agenda.
Vote 1-12 BELOW THE LINE for Henry Cox in the Senate to Dump the Dump!
Henry Cox is a fifth generation farmer, grazier and anthropologist. Cox holds a science degree from the ANU and farmed for over 30 years in the Adelaide Hills, Northern Yorke Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges.
The proposed Wallerberdina Nuclear Dump in the Flinders Ranges waste is on your back door step. STOP IT NOW BY VOTING COX FOR SENATE.
As the “Farmers’ Friend”, he is standing on the basis of State’s rights, especially as they relate to landcare and water care, and from “paddock to plate”. Vote 1 Henry Cox to STOP THE NUCLEAR DUMP. HENRY COX will champion South Australia’s right to determine our future against any bullying federal government. Only HENRY COX will champion substantially increased water flows to the Murray mouth.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Confident Clive Palmer predicts tax-payer funding for nuclear power

The Australian Tribune 10 May 19,  “……………What’s needed for Palmer to win Nuclear Project?

Mr Palmer is confident that his party could hold the balance of power in the senate, which would guarantee the go ahead of the project.

We will need about five to six seats and our polling is showing we will win five to six seats pretty easily and we should be able to win more,’ he said.

Australia has had nuclear reactors for 50 years in Lucas Heights in the middle of Sydney.

There are no safety issues there, they operate every day and they’re still there.’

Mr Palmer is calling for the federal government to fund the power plant, using the Commonwealth government’s previous handling of steelworks as an example.

The Commonwealth government in 1913 provided a guaranteed establishment to SteelWorks in Whyalla and they can do it again,’ Senator Palmer said.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Bill Shorten urged to declare climate emergency if Labor wins

Peter Garrett urges Bill Shorten to declare climate emergency if Labor wins
Former environment minister calls for creation of ‘war’ cabinet committee to plot transition to zero carbon,
Guardian, Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo 9 May 2019  The former environment minister Peter Garrett has urged an incoming Labor government to convene a climate emergency summit to plot a transition to zero carbon, and create a super department aligned to Treasury, like the Department of Post War Reconstruction after the second world war, to implement the transition…….

“Internationally, Australia needs to return to the table with a proactive and constructive stance to advancing global action. It is nothing short of scandalous that as a first-world nation with high per-capita emissions, exporting coal at the volumes we do, we have been a laggard and spoiler in international climate negotiations whenever the Coalition has been in office.

“History will judge our role in this period harshly.”    Garrett said it was imperative that an incoming government strengthen Australia’s relationships across the Pacific and south-east Asian sphere with cooperative policies and action on climate as the primary driver…….

Garrett’s intervention comes as new polling from the Lowy Institutereinforces what politicians from all sides have been saying since the start of the year – that 2019 is the climate change election.

A majority of Australians in the new Lowy poll nominate global warming as a critical threat, with 64% of the sample ranking climate change number one on a list of 12 threats to Australia’s national interests, up six points from last year’s survey and a jump of 18 points since 2014.

The 2019 result is the first time climate has topped the list of threats since Lowy began the research in 2006.

The Lowy result is consistent with private research undertaken by environmental groups and by the major political parties, which suggest climate change is surfacing as a concern in parts of the country normally sanguine about the issue.

The new poll comes as a shocking new report from the United Nations this week found that biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, with one million species at risk of extinction, and human populations in jeopardy if the trajectory is not reversed.


May 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Former UN climate leader supports MP Zali Steggall, Kerryn Phelps, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie, and MP, Julia Banks

‘Appalling’ policy inaction draws former UN climate leader into federal election campaign

Key points:

  • Christiana Figueres led the global negotiating process that culminated in the 2015 Paris climate change agreement
  • She has thrown her support behind four female independents whose key opponents are Liberals
  • Speaking to a Sydney forum, Ms Figueres said the Paris Agreement required countries to bring forward the most ambitious possible national targets every five years

Christiana Figueres led the UN’s global negotiating process that culminated in the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, and is now a climate leader at the World Bank.

She has thrown her support behind Zali Steggall, who is standing against former prime minister Tony Abbott in the NSW seat of Warringah, Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie and the MP for Chisholm, Julia Banks, who resigned from the Liberal Party and is contesting the nearby seat of Flinders as an independent.

Ms Figueres said the four women “set out strong policy platforms and longer-term vision for what it would take for Australia to take its rightful place as a leader in the global fight against climate change”.

She condemned what she called “the ridiculous climate wars in Australia that have led to a very damaging climate and energy policy vacuum for more than a decade”.

“This inaction is putting us at war with a climate that has no more room for atmospheric pollution,” Ms Figueres said.

Independents praised for their ‘courage’

Two of the four candidates — Dr Phelps and Ms Steggall — on Tuesday attended a meeting in Sydney of Mission 2020, which was established after the Paris Agreement to drive global action on climate change in order to cap greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Speaking via video link, Ms Figueres praised the four independents for “your courage and leadership in having put climate action and clean energy at the forefront of your respective campaigns.

“As mothers, we all share a deep sense of responsibility to make right what is currently going very wrong.”

After the meeting Dr Phelps told the ABC that she thought it “enormously significant that a world leader on climate change has backed the independents who are backing action on climate change.”

“We have a moment in time when can put in place policies that will make a difference to the future of our planet,” Dr Phelps said.

Business leaders, clean energy lobbyists and investors advocating stronger climate change action and policy signals briefed the candidates at the forum.

We have been hearing today from investors … and people who understand the science of climate change better than anyone in the country and they are telling us that not only is there an urgent need for action, but governments can no longer afford to delay their action,” Ms Phelps said.

“There is a dire message from the science on climate change but there is a positive message about where we can go,” Zali Steggall added.

“With clear policy from government the market will take care of it and we have great potential.”

Cost of inaction

Ms Steggall also responded to concerns raised during the campaign about the cost of Labor’s proposed climate change policies.

“The price of climate change action is nothing compared to the price of inaction.”

Speaking to the Sydney forum, Ms Figueres said the Paris Agreement required countries to bring forward the most ambitious possible national targets every five years.

“Whoever is elected needs to be prepared to bring a revised 2030 target to the table in the next 12 months,” she warned.

The former UN climate change leader dismissed arguments that action in Australia to limit global warming would make little difference to global climate change.

“The fact that Australia only contributes 1.5 per cent of global emissions is not an excuse not to act,” she said.

“If every country adopted that stance, we would be on track to oblivion. Your island neighbours in the Pacific would go under the waves.”

“We look hopefully to the Land Down Under for a watershed election that sparks a new wave of climate leadership.”

May 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison on “cutting green tape” – commentators respond savagely and sceptically

There was a great long stack of comments on the Brisbane Times article (below) – and all condemned Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pledge to cut environmental regulations –   he chose the same day as the UN’s damning report on biodiversity loss was released. Here’s just a couple of samples .
surryridge2010, 8 May 18  History will be unkind to this COALition Govt, they sat on their hands while dangerous climate change edges closer to a point of no return.

They call it “green tape”, many others call it saving the environment from destructive ultra right policies.

Tristan, 8 May
Scott Morrison perpetuating the Liberal policy of ‘cutting environmental red tape’.

No wonder 1 million species of flora and fauna around the world are on the brink of extinction within just decades..

“Federal government botched scrutiny of plan to bulldoze pristine forest”
(SMH 27 Nov 2018) “The Morrison government has conceded it botched scrutiny of a plan to bulldoze 2000 hectares of pristine Queensland forest near the Great Barrier 

Reef and has been forced back to the drawing board following a legal challenge by conservationists.”

“The development comes as confidential documents show government MPs lobbied environmental officials to wave through the proposal, which would raze land almost three times the size of the combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne.”

“Old growth forest in the vicinity of Kingvale Station, where 2000 hectares is set to be cleared.”

“Environment Minister Melissa Price agreed to court orders that the weak assessment applied to the Kingvale proposal was unlawful.”

Melissa Price is the Liberal member for Durack in WA.
Only 10 more days until Melissa Price can be kicked out of parliament for good.

PM shifts attack on Labor to ‘green tape’ he says costs Australian jobs, Brisbane Times, By David Crowe, May 7, 2019 Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to stop the spread of union power and stem the growth of environmental rules that he blames for costing Australian jobs, as he sharpens his pitch to voters in the final days of the election campaign.

Ahead of his final debate against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in Canberra on Wednesday night, Mr Morrison warned of a threat to the economy from the expansion of union “red tape” and environmental “green tape” that tied down employers when they should have more freedom to expand and hire workers…….

Lagging Labor in the polls with only 10 days to go until ballots are cast, the Prime Minister warned that a vote for Labor would give unions control over industrial laws and the Greens control over environmental laws.

“I don’t want to see the Labor Party get to office where they tie businesses up with all sorts of union red tape and all sorts of the Greens’ green tape, which would just cost people jobs,” he said……

The Coalition has blamed “lawfare” and “green tape” for halting or delaying mining and other projects in recent years, turning this into a major dispute with Labor and the Greens.

Mr Morrison said voters should remember that Labor sought to apply native vegetation laws more widely and increase the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to slow down developments.

“They want to hypercharge an Environment Protection Authority which will basically interfere and seek to slow down and prevent projects all around the country,” he said.


May 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019, environment | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison and climate leadership ?

May 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment