Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Previous Chief Scientist spells it out on global warming

Repeating this item. What a pity that the excellent full article has been removed from the Australian government website!

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Australian Government 8 Dec 09 Despite world attention, humans emit more greenhouse gases every year than they did the year before. It’s a situation that Australia needs to help turn around if we don’t want to bear the brunt of climate change, says Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett……

..The Greenhouse Effect
The sun continuously bathes the Earth with energy in the form of sunlight. Much of this energy is absorbed by the Earth, and then emitted as infrared radiation, or heat. Greenhouse gases prevent the Earth from discarding as much of this heat as it otherwise would back into space.

Without naturally occurring greenhouse gases, the Earth would be a much colder place, inhospitable to modern human existence. But by the same token, the additional greenhouse gases added to this store by humans is slowly increasing the average temperature of the Earth system.

Due to the quantity in which it is emitted by humans, its longevity in the atmosphere, and its effects in trapping heat, carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases currently causing changes in the Earth’s climate……

In Australia, extreme fire danger days are already becoming more numerous in many parts of the country, and floods and cyclones more intense.

Research by the CSIRO indicates that the frequency of days with very high and extreme Forest Fire Danger Index ratings is likely to increase by 15 to 70 per cent by 2050 in southeast Australia…..

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions | Chief Scientist of Australia

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 1, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | , , | 1 Comment

Repost: Peter Cosgrove spruiks “clean” nuclear for BHP Billiton

Lack of Australian nuclear plant almost immoral: Peter Cosgrove  Amanda O’Brien : The Australian * February 04, 2010 “…………….The former Australian of the Year said he anticipated there would be an outcry but there was no cleaner energy source than nuclear power.(!!)..………General Cosgrove pulled no punches in his speech to the breakfast at the University of Western Australia, which was hosted by major coal producer BHP Billiton.

Lack of Australian nuclear plant almost immoral: Peter Cosgrove | The Australian

January 28, 2014 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, General News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

70,000 scientists wrong about climate science, says Queensland’s Liberal/National Party

Scientists reject LNP school move July 14, 2012 Adam Morton and Daniel Hurst A BODY representing nearly 70,000 Australian scientists has criticised a Queensland Liberal National Party resolution calling for mainstream climate science to be cut from the state’s school curriculum.
LNP delegates at the party’s state conference passed a motion yesterday calling on Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek to stop the teaching of ”environmental propaganda material, in particular post-normal science about climate change”. The mover of the motion, Noosa LNP member Richard Pearson, attacked ”false prophets who would poison the minds of our children in our schools”.
”Few people understand that the so-called science of climate change is really what can be defined as post-normal science,” he said, arguing it went beyond traditional understanding of science. The motion was passed with overwhelming support.

Anna-Maria Arabia, chief executive of Science & Technology Australia, called the resolution ”extremely harmful”. The central principles of climate science – including that man-made greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere and have warmed the planet – were backed by all the world’s major scientific academies.

”The message this sends is ‘we do not treat the science as an issue of testing ideas, we treat it as a belief system’,” Ms Arabia said. ”We shouldn’t be telling students that testing ideas is propaganda and that there is ‘post-normal science’, whatever that means.” Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said MPs had not decided whether to act on the resolution. ”We will always do the right thing by Queenslanders ahead of the LNP,” he said.

July 14, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | | Leave a comment

Australian businesses don’t want repeal of carbon tax

The opposition climate spokesman, Greg Hunt, (left) repeated his prediction that if the Coalition won the next election, there would be no carbon price in Australia for the next 20 years.

Keith Orchison, a former head of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, said Mr Hunt’s 20-year prediction was out of step with business. Investors in mining, power infrastructure and large manufacturing – which look 20 years or more ahead – were assuming a carbon price, he said.

Businesses reject Abbott’s vow to repeal carbon tax, SMH, July 7, 2012, David Wroe with Adam Morton and Paddy Doulman FEWER than a quarter of the biggest heavy greenhouse gas-emitting companies that will directly pay the carbon tax support Tony Abbott’s ”pledge in blood” to repeal the scheme, a survey by the Herald has found…

.The Herald asked 40 of the biggest emitters on the government’s list of 294 companies that will pay the carbon tax whether it was in their interests to repeal or change the scheme. Nine indicated they supported a repeal, Continue reading

July 7, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | | Leave a comment

When El Nino strikes, Australians will believe in global warming again, and in carbon tax?

This week, the weather bureau warned another El Nino event was looming for the coming year.

The last time Australia went through El Nino, the country had its worst drought in more than a century. Not surprisingly, many Australians drew a connection between the drought and climate change and the need for action.

El Nino may be good for Labor The West, Andrew Probyn   July 6, 2012, Shhhh! Don’t mention the war. As the great heatwave struck the US, knocking off thousands of temperature records, Bob Henson, a meteorologist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, was asked this week whether any of this could be down to climate change.

“Climate change is a political question,” he told Fairfax’s US correspondent Nick O’Malley. “I thought it was a scientific question,” O’Malley responded. “Well, it’s both.”

This was a fascinating exchange. Especially in a week where scientists could confidently announce they had confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle. Comparatively speaking, there’s less evidence of the Higgs boson than there is of climate change, but we believed the scientists when they told us they had found the elusive subatomic particle that explained mass.

The fact that Mr Henson went straight to the politics of climate change, rather than going to the cause of climate change
(anthropomorphic or otherwise) speaks volumes for the success of the campaign against the so-called “warmists”….. Continue reading

July 7, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

On July 1 Australia joins international effort to address global warming

[Tony Abbott has] claimed regions will disappear, Whyalla will collapse. The population in Whyalla’s increasing and there’s a lot of investment there. I just think a lot of the claims that have been made from Sunday will be able to be tested against reality and I think people will think, “Well, you know, can we really believe what Tony Abbott’s on about?”

VIDEO Combet joins Lateline   28 June 12,
“……….[The carbon tax is]  meant to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in our economy over time because it’s important for Australia to play its part in international efforts to tackle climate change. We’re part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an advanced economy like ours has to play its fair part, we’re one of the top 20 greenhouse gas emitters internationally and we’re the highest per capita emitter amongst the developed economies. So, we have to play our role and the intention here is to put a price tag on pollution so that there’s an incentive to cut greenhouse gas emissions….
what we’re implementing of course is an emissions trading scheme. I know we’ve discussed this previously, but when it does migrate to a flexible price in 2015, the government of the day will be setting caps so we can achieve a targeted emissions reduction.

Essentially what that means is the number of permits to emit greenhouse gas will be limited and cut each year so that we can achieve a specific emissions reduction target by 2020. So it will be effective, but of course we’re part of the international community. Other countries are doing similar things and a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions cut overseas or in Australia is – it doesn’t matter whether it’s here or overseas, as long as there’s greenhouse gas emissions cut and that’s why linking carbon markets is important…… Continue reading

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Australia a leader in climate change action

PM commits Australia to green jobs, Herald Sun By Paul Osborne 22 June 12 Prime Minister Julia Gillard had told world leaders she’ll drive a push to end global poverty by creating green jobs, despite green groups and unions accusing the world environment summit of being a failure.

In a seven-minute address to the United Nations sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro this morning (AEST), Ms Gillard said that even though government heads had “already lowered other important ambitions”, it was important that the world put in place sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Ms Gillard and the Australian delegation have pushed hard for SDGs to replace eight UN millennium development goals, put in place to fight global poverty in 2000 and which expire in 2015. The prime minister has been appointed to co-chair a taskforce to oversee the final years of the millennium goals and ensure the 191 signatory nations meet their commitments.

“Everyone here knows that collective action is hard – and that global collective action can be even harder,” Ms Gillard said.
But targets work, Ms Gillard said, and create the firmest possible basis for long-term success.Ms Gillard said Australia was playing its part in addressing climate change and creating green jobs by putting in place a carbon pricing
scheme from July 1 and investing in renewable energy technology…..

June 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Non political and impressive panel to oversee Australia’s climate action and renewable energy targets

High-power panel to put emissions on target June 22, 2012 THE Gillard government has named its ”Reserve Bank for climate change” – as coined by Tony Mohr of the Australian Conservation Foundation – a high-powered panel, including hard-headed industry representatives, that will help set Australia’s greenhouse gas and renewable energy targets.

The Climate Change Authority will include industry heavyweight John Marlay, widely seen as a more conservative voice on the panel, and Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout, who in her previous job as head of the Australian Industry Group was critical of elements of the carbon tax. The panel, announced yesterday, will also include respected climate
scientist David Karoly, former economics bureaucrat Lynne Williams, left-leaning economist Clive Hamilton, AustralianSuper chairwoman Elana Rubin and leading economist John Quiggin….. The authority will be chaired by former Treasury secretary and Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser.
The authority members will constitute the most powerful independent advisers on the carbon pricing scheme, recommending greenhouse gas emissions targets to the government….. Greens leader Christine Milne said the panel would ”depoliticise the fraught process” of setting targets.

June 22, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs promotes climate denialist lies to schoolchildren

what might it mean that Plimer’s views are rejected outright by 97-98% of climate scientists and major scientific organisations across the world? Might his extreme and nastily expressed views have something to do with vested interests – given that he is the interim chairman of one mining company and director of at least one other – in the context of a looming carbon tax?

Teaching critical thinking in this context would also look at the concept and role of peer review and relevant credentials when deciding on the worth of conflicting statements.

How the IPA feeds kids lies about climate change, Independent Australia, 12 June 12,   The Institute of Public Affairs, a lobby group funded by big business, miners and the tobacco industry, is sending schools misleading and inaccurate books about climate change. Frances Quinn from the UNE reports. Two recently published books suggest that the public – and school children in particular – are being fed lies about environmental issues such as climate change. The books – “How to Get Expelled from School: A guide to climate change for pupils, parents & punters” by Ian Plimer and “Little Green Lies: An expose of twelve environmental myths” by Jeff Bennett – clearly demonstrate how important it is to have a scientifically literate Australia.

The distorted and selectively reported science in these books highlights some of the challenges that Australian teachers face in teaching science, and how important it is that they are supported in this task.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) has condemned Plimer’s book as misleading and inaccurate. However the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is apparently sending copies of Plimer’s misleading fringe book to Australian schools. The Executive Director of the IPA John Roskam is, incidentally, on the editorial board of the publishing house of these two books.

Plimer’s book tells school students that they are being “conned” and “fed propaganda” if their teacher “waffles” on about issues such as human-induced global warming, sea level rise and the IPCC. He deplores this as “environmental activism”. This is despite the overwhelming evidence for human induced climate change accepted by a vast range of climate scientists and scientific organisations. Continue reading

June 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, spinbuster | | Leave a comment

Carbon Capture and Storage – a failed dream

”It was never going to be viable,” Greens leader Senator Christine …  the fact is it is not going to work … it’s too expensive, it’s last century and we don’t need it because we have got renewables … Why would you stick with the horse and buggy era when you can move on?”

 Australia will not be able to use carbon capture and storage as planned. That means it will need to rework the assumptions underpinning its crucial carbon tax reform – among them the role of coal-fired electricity generation in Australia, the cost of emission reductions, and the idea that we can be part of a global effort to limit global warming while continuing to export
billions of dollars worth of coal.

Climate strategy up in smoke, The Age, Lenore Taylor, June 16, 2012 IT WAS the technology that was going to help underpin the nation’s climate change strategy. In 2009, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, pledged to ”lead the world” in carbon capture and storage technology, which traps carbon dioxide emissions, permanently storing them deep underground.
The Rudd and Gillard governments allocated almost $2.5 billion to push the idea, which would be used to ”clean up” coal-fired power stations in Australia and in the countries to which we will export $44 billion worth of coal this year.

But so far there is almost nothing to show for their effort. Instead, the fledgling technology is struggling. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Queensland’s government in the service of fossil fuel industries

Premier Newman can do climate denial, REneweconomy ,  By    6 June 2012 
Just in case anyone was in any doubt, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman reminded Australia earlier this week that his state was most certainly “in the coal business” and that protecting the Great Barrier Reef wouldn’t come before fossil fuel exports.

But as well as being “in the coal business”, it appears that Premier Newman and his environment minister Andrew Powell are taking their first steps into the business of climate science denial.

Minister Powell repeated a statement he had made to ABC’s Radio National that he was not convinced that humans were having an impact on climate change, a position which immediately puts him at odds with every national scientific academy in the world, the advice from his own chief scientist and the position of the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the United Nations.

While Minister Powell made a point of saying that the environment should be protected (what else could the environment minister say, after all) his boss, Premier Campbell Newman, decided his minister’s view on climate change was “refreshing“. I’d choose a different word……

The Queensland Government’s own Office of Climate Change, which Premier Newman is in the process of closing, outlined the impact of sea level rise on the state in it’s “Climate Change in Queensland” report two years ago. A half metre rise in sea level would likely increase the chances of extreme events such as flooding from occuring once every 100 years to several times a year. As a former mayor of Brisbane, which experience devastating floods a little over a year ago, you might think the Premier may have taken some interest……

Hinting that we should be waiting until we’re 100 per cent sure what will happen before we take firm action, is a bit like saying you’re happy to drive your car at double the speed limits because no-one can say for sure that you’ll definitely crash. And while everyone has heard the stories of a grandparent who smoked 50 cigarettes a day and lived until they were 90, most people acknowledge that smoking massively increases your chances of dying of cancer.

Perhaps the Premier’s statements are instead an attempt to offset his own cognitive dissonance – the sick feeling that you get inside when you try and hold two conflicting positions simultaneously……. The then Lord Mayor [ Campbell Newman in 2009] even launched the Green Heart City Smart scheme, with its ubiquitous “I [green heart] Brisbane” catchphrase and branding.

It seems now though, that Mr Newman’s heart is conflicted with coal and climate science denial.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | | Leave a comment

A climate-friendly urban renewal

Barangaroo will have big impact but no footprint SMH, June 3, 2012  IT IS the biggest urban renewal project since the Olympic site was built at Homebush Bay, but Barangaroo is also likely to be the greenest.
The Barangaroo Delivery Authority’s goal is to make the precinct the first of its size in the world to be ”climate positive”. That means the site will generate more renewable energy than it uses, it will recycle and export more water than it uses and recycle more waste than it generates.

The Green Building Council of Australia expects the $6 billion Lend Lease development will be the benchmark by which similar projects could be measured in the future…… It will generate enough solar energy to serve the public areas of the site. There will be a recycled water service and a waste recycling service. Only recycled water will be used for flushing toilets, irrigation and fire sprinklers.
Conventional cars will be discouraged with electric car power stations in the car parks, walking and cycling networks through the precinct and strong public transport links……..

June 4, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | | Leave a comment

Revolutionary new Australian project studies runaway climate change

Australian Project Simulates Runaway Climate Change Climate Central : May 19th, 2012 By Oliver Milman, The Guardian  An Australian university has embarked upon an ambitious project — hailed as the first of its kind in the world — to simulate how the environment would cope with runaway climate change.

The decade-long study, at the University of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment , will subject Australian bushland to heightened CO2 levels and altered rainfall patterns consistent with a “business as usual” global increase in greenhouse gases. Continue reading

May 21, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | 1 Comment

Further evidence that greenhouse gas emissions are warming the Australian region

“Our study revealed that recent warming in a 1,000-year context is highly unusual and cannot be explained by natural factors alone, suggesting a strong influence of human-caused climate change in the Australasian region,” 

1,000 years of climate data confirms Australia’s warming  May 17, 2012 By Alvin Stone In the first study of its kind in Australasia, scientists used 27 natural climate records to create the first large-scale temperature reconstruction for the region over the past 1,000 years. The study led by researchers at the University of Melbourne, used a range of natural indicators including tree rings, corals and ice cores to study Australasian temperatures over the past millennium. They then compared these with climate model simulations. Continue reading

May 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Australian government and scientists refute climate denial propaganda to kids

The document appeared on the department’s website last Wednesday — along with a list of other trusted sources on climate science, including the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the latest Australian Academy of Science report and the latest review from the Climate Commission.

Dept of Climate Change rebuts Plimer’s book for sceptic kids Crikey, by Amber Jamieson, 8 May 12  The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency have confirmed that the decision to commission and publish a document called Accurate Answers to Professor Plimer’s 101 Climate Change Science Questions was made in reaction to outrage from teachers and scientists about Ian Plimer’s climate sceptic book aimed at children. Continue reading

May 9, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment