Australian news, and some related international items

Slow journey to new Kyoto climate action Protocol

the next high-level climate summit to start [ in Doha]  in November.

U.N. climate negotiators will gather on May 14-25 in Bonn, Germany, to resume talks on issues including the length and stringency of Kyoto 2 targets and the accounting of emissions from forestry.
Over 35 so-called industrialized nations pledged to sign up to a second Kyoto target at U.N. climate talks in Durban last year. The new deal will legally bind those countries to cut emissions from 2013 until either 2017 or 2020.

Australia, NZ Delay Decision On Signing Kyoto 2  03-May-12 LONDON Planet Ark,  Marton Kruppa
Australia and New Zealand have missed a deadline to set post-2012 emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, with both governments saying they will decide whether to continue to be legally bound to cut emissions of seven greenhouse gases later this year.

Countries intending to sign up to a second round of targets under the 1997 treaty were scheduled to notify the U.N. by Tuesday. But Australia and New Zealand, both of which plan to launch emissions trading schemes and have been tipped to take on fresh legal targets from 2013, failed to meet that deadline.

The EU and several other nations have already indicated they will set a post-2012 legally-binding target, but Canada, Russia and Japan, three big emitters with current Kyoto goals, have said they will not. Australia said it will make a decision only after U.N. parties agree on how long the second Kyoto period would last and how many surplus Kyoto permits can be transferred from the first phase. Continue reading

May 4, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

“Balance” in the media: the ABC gives anti-science a national platform

ABC’s latest climate change doco another PR victory for doubters Crikey, by Clive Hamilton  27 April12The strategy of doubt-mongering has been highly effective for climate deniers at exploiting the media’s practice of presenting “two sides” to controversial issues. The media have an ethical commitment to provide “balance” and stories are more interesting if there is a conflict to report, whether that conflict is real or manufactured.  Which is why ABC TV’s I Can Change Your Mind … About Climate Change is yet another victory for climate denial ..

.. If there were a real debate among scientists, then the climate deniers would be publishing their counter-evidence in the professional scientific journals. But they are not, because they do not have evidence that will stand up to scrutiny.

So they set out to do something else, to create the impression in the public mind that there is a serious debate among scientists about global warming. To do so they must shift the terrain away from the scientific journals and into the popular media, where they do not have to face the scrutiny of experts.

It’s certain that when asked last year to participate in the program, Minchin grabbed the chance with two hands. His denialist comrades have been patting him on the back ever since…..

Scholars such as Naomi Oreskes have exposed the tactics of the climate deniers with a mass of documentary evidence.

Yet the ABC persists with the charade of “providing balance”. Some news organisations abroad have decided they will no longer fall for the doubt-mongering ruse. Professional pride now prevents editors and journalists from being manipulated by the denial machine.

The BBC would not air a program such as this. In the United States, National Public Radio has revised its ethics handbook. “Our goal,” it states, “is not … to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.”

When it reports on questions such as climate science its aim is not the spurious fairness of presenting “both sides”; instead NPR commits itself to be “fair to the truth”.  “To be fair to the truth.” Once we simply expected that of the national broadcaster. This latest program tells us that the truth no longer carries so much weight at the ABC, not when it comes to climate science.

April 27, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | | Leave a comment

Australia’s carbon emissions down: renewable energy played a part

RENEWABLE energy has helped Australia to cut carbon emissions 04/26/2012 RENEWABLE energy has helped Australia to cut its total carbon emissions for the second year running, according to figures published in the Australian National Greenhouse Accounts, a quarterly update of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory, which is published by the federal government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Continue reading

April 27, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Electricity price rise from carbon tax – less than expected

Carbon tax to raise electricity prices less than expected 19 April, 2012 12:01 am  The effect of the carbon price on retail electricity will be lower than predicted and vary considerably by region, a new University of Queensland study has projected.

The most accurate estimate to date for the impact of the carbon price on retail electricity prices reveals the burden will vary considerably, depending on a household’s location.

Tasmanians, with a relatively low carbon footprint, are set to gain significantly from the carbon price once tax and pension changes are factored in, while Queenslanders – heavily dependent on coal to generate electricity – will wear the biggest increase in power prices, according to economic models run on “supercomputers” at The University of Queensland. Continue reading

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

Australia’s generous compensation to citizens, as it brings in the carbon tax

One million Queenslanders to receive extra welfare payments to offset rising costs fuelled by carbon tax by: Steven Scott   The Courier-Mail April 14, 2012   “…..New data from the tax office and welfare agencies reveals just under one million Queenslanders will receive some form of extra welfare payments to help offset rising costs fuelled by the carbon tax.

Almost 1.6 million Queenslanders who are likely to earn less than $80,000 next year will get a tax cut. About 1.3 million of those will receive a cut of more than $300 a year. About 121,000 more Queenslanders are likely to pay no income tax next year when the tax-free threshold is tripled as part of the carbon tax compensation package.

As Labor braces for a backlash to the carbon tax, which will take effect on July 1, the Government will roll out increases to pensions with initial lump sums in May and June…. About 675,000 Queensland pensioners will get an extra $338 a year if they are single and up to $510 a year if they are a couple, while 45,000 of the state’s self-funded retirees will get an extra $380 a year.

More than 350,000 families will enjoy boosts to payments, including up to $110 extra a year for each child for families on Family Tax Benefit A and up to $60 a year for those on Family Tax Benefit B…

April 16, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | | Leave a comment

Australia’s carbon tax benefits will kick in in May 2012

Carbon tax’s family dividends
DAVID KILLICK   |   April 14, 2012 HUNDREDS of thousands of Tasmanians will shortly benefit from increased welfare payments and tax cuts under the Federal Government’s new carbon tax regime. Increases in family payments, pensions and benefits will start with lump-sum payments next month, followed by benefit rises which take effect in the new year.

Tax cuts also kick in on July 1 and 14,000 Tasmanians will no longer have to pay tax at all, thanks to a tripling of the tax-free threshold. More than 100,000 Tasmanian pensioners will receive up to $510 a year more in benefits, 44,000 families will get $110 per child and self-funded retirees will be $380 a year better off. Around 17,000 jobseekers will be paid another $218 for singles and $390 for couples, the state’s 8500 single parents will receive $234
more a year and 7500 students will be $218 a year better off. And 179,000 Tasmanians on less than $80,000 a year will receive tax cuts. Continue reading

April 16, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Tasmania | | Leave a comment

Murdoch press ‘informs’ public opinion on climate change

negative articles about the proposed carbon emissions tax in Murdoch’s newspapers outweighed positive ones
82 percent to 18 percent.

AUDIO    How Murdoch’s Aussie Papers Cover Climate Change, NPR News by DAVID FOLKENFLIK  April 6, 2012   “…..[journalist Wendy] Bacon delved into her own harvest: the results of a case study about how the country’s newspapers handled a pressing and contentious issue.

Bacon, a professor of journalism at the University of Technology in Sydney, commissioned researchers and graduate students to examine six months’ worth of every article, feature piece, editorial and columns in 10 leading Australian papers on a proposal by the governing Labor Party to tax carbon emissions.

“What our study showed is that the majority of Australians are not getting a balanced or diverse view on a policy which was designed — at least in a small way — to tackle this problem,” Bacon said.

Seven of the 10 papers studied were part of News Corp.’s Australian newspaper arm, News Limited. The overwhelming majority of newspapers sold in the country are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s company. With such dominance of the press, the Murdoch papers draw careful scrutiny of how they cover sensitive issues. Continue reading

April 10, 2012 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | 1 Comment

Climate denialism book sent to hundreds of Australian schools

Teachers, scientists slam IPA for sending Plimer book to schools, by Matthew Knott, 7 April 12,  Scientists and teachers have accused free market think tank The Institute of Public Affairs of spreading scientific disinformation by sending copies of Ian Plimer’s latest book to hundreds of schools around the country.

Plimer’s tome, How to Get Expelled from School: a guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters, argues that the theory of man-made global warming is a…..

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

Queensland Premier will demolish environmental funding programs

Australia: Queensland Premier axes environmental funds 28. MARCH 2012 PV Magazine,  BY: SHAMSIAH ALI-OETTINGER The new premier of Queensland Liberal National Party’s (LNP) Campbell Newman plans to axe the state’s climate change and renewable energy programs, including funds allocated for solar flagship programs. The Newman government is said to be planning the abolishment of eight of the former Labor government’s environmental funds, the 300 million Australian dollars (AUD) climate change fund and the AUD50 million renewable energy fund.

The other funds identified were the Queensland smart energy savings fund, the future growth fund, solar initiatives
package, waste avoidance and resource efficiency fund and the local government sustainable future fund. The FITs will however remain for Queensland’s home solar power systems at AUD0.44/kWh for surpluselectricity fed into the grids….

Victoria backs out too The state of Victoria also decided to back out of the 2020 20% emissions reduction target that was set by the Labor government. The conservatives supported this scheme when Labor was in power. The pressure mounted on the Victorian government from opponents such as Exxon Mobil.–queensland-premier-axes-environmental-funds_100006254/#ixzz1qXst4p48

March 29, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, politics, Queensland | | Leave a comment

Intimidation tactics against climate scientists

“I have been subject to all sorts of personal attacks, threats to my safety, my life, threats to my family, and it’s not just me, it’s
dozens of climate scientists in the US, in Australia and many other regions of the world where our findings are finding that climate change is real and potentially poses a threat to civilisation if we don’t confront that challenge. That represents a threat to certain vested interests and they’ve tried hard to discredit the science, often by discrediting and intimidating the scientists. “

VIDEO  Climatologist slams intimidation of scientists Australian Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast: 15/03/2012
Reporter: Emma Alberici Climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Centre in Pennsylvania State University Michael Mann joins Lateline.
Transcript Continue reading

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | , , | Leave a comment

Will Western Australia take climate change seriously, or just pander to fossil fuel lobby?

You’d think that Western Australia would now go all out for renewable energy.  You’d think that Western Australia would  now renounce all projects for water intensive uranium mining.

But it seems that the W.A. government will still be fiddling around, pandering to the fossil fuel  and uranium industry, while their State burns.

WA’s south-west ‘drying out’ fast, Daniel Mercer, The West Australian,  March 14, 2012, Two of Australia’s foremost scientific agencies have warned that south-west WA is warming and drying faster than anywhere in the country and will be increasingly prone to drought.

After a record eighth heatwave in Perth this summer, the Weather Bureau and CSIRO will today release the latest biennial snapshot of climate trends in Australia. The report backs up earlier conclusions that Australia’s land and sea temperatures are rising and rainfall is shifting from southern latitudes to the country’s centre and north.

It said average temperatures were expected to increase 0.6C to 1.5C by 2030 and 1.0C to 5.0C by 2070, with particularly harsh effects on south-west WA, including Perth. The report suggested the area would have long-term reductions in rainfall and more years like 2010 – the driest ever.

Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the rising acidification of Australia’s oceans were noted in the report, which said it was “90 per cent likely” the trends were because of man-made global warming……

March 14, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Premier Baillieu out of step with voters, on climate chnage

Voters call for action on climate change, The Age, Adam Morton March 9, 2012 AS THE Baillieu government prepares to reveal the future of Victoria’s climate change laws, a poll has found two-thirds of Coalition voters think the state has a responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Essential Media poll of 1009 Victorians, commissioned by conservation group Environment Victoria, found 76 per cent believed the state government should cut emissions and not leave it to the federal government to take action through a carbon tax or other steps.
Among Coalition voters, 66 per cent said the state had a responsibility to cut emissions.

Victorians want the state government to act despite belief in climate
change being split between those who think that it is caused by human
activity (47 per cent) and those who think it is either due to natural
variation or not happening at all (44 per cent).
The poll comes as the state government is due to this month release a
review of the Climate Change Act introduced by the previous Labor government, which includes a target of cutting Victoria’s emissions by 20 per cent this decade.
The Baillieu government has wound back some clean energy programs and fuelled expectations the target could be reduced or scrapped.
Other findings from the poll conducted in December and January were:

■ Just 22 per cent of voters consider wind farm laws that give households right of veto over turbines within two kilometres of their house fair. Fifty per cent said the laws were not fair. ■ A majority said they wanted fewer coal-fired power plants (63 per cent) and more renewable energy (78 per cent) and energy efficiency (82 per cent). :

March 9, 2012 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Victoria | | Leave a comment

Climate change severely affecting Torres Strait islands

A SINKING FEELING IN THE TORRES STRAIT, ABC Radio National,  Hagar Cohen.4 March 2012, There are six islands in the Torres Strait facing inundation from tidal flooding. The encroaching sea is slowly washing away everything from building foundations to ancestral graves, and mosquitoes are thriving. One island has had its worst malaria outbreak in 50 years. There is a temporary solution—building seawalls—but the federal and state governments are showing little interest in paying for that, and in the meantime these island communities have a sinking feeling that relocation may be the only option left for them.

March 6, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Climate denialist campaigner joins Gina Rinehart’s boards

Plimer does very nicely from the mining industry which has set him up for a very comfortable retirement.  He is a director of mining companies   Ivanhoe AustraliaSilver City Minerals  and the UK-listed   Kefi Minerals,  , and is chairman of TNT Mines.  He is reputed to earn more than $350,000 in director’s fees and shares — a lot more than he receives from the University of Adelaide where his fellow academics have written him off as a joke.  .

Gina brings climate sceptic on board, BY: ANDREW BURRELL  The Australian February 02, 2012   GINA Rinehart’s crusade against the Gillard government’s carbon tax has gathered steam with the appointment of one of Australia’s most prominent climate-change sceptics, Ian Plimer, to the boards of two of her key companies.

Professor Plimer, of the University of Adelaide, has served as an informal adviser to Mrs Rinehart and spoke at an event she organised for world business leaders in Perth last year.

February 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Time to expose the money that funds Australia’s climate denialist think tanks

“The public should know who is funding climate denial so they can properly judge the information put out by organisations like the Global Warming Policy Foundation,” 

“In Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a leading source of climate disinformation, yet it retreats into secrecy whenever it is asked about the source of its funding. Environment groups are upfront about their funding, yet denialists claim privacy.”

The first available set of public accounts shows the foundation, which has declared Australia as one of its areas of operation to UK authorities, received £494,625 in donations in its first year.

Bid to out the money behind the voice against climate changeSMH Graham Readfearn January 27, 2012 A British journalist’s court bid to unmask the financial backers of a group of climate change sceptics is being used to raise questions about how think-tanks are funded in Australia and whether they deserve tax exemptions.

The UK’s Charity Commission, which regulates charities in the UK, is being asked to release a document that would show the start-up funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, chaired by former UK chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson.

Launched in November 2009, the foundation has consistently challenged the mainstream scientific view that human emissions of greenhouse gases represent a significant risk to the planet and societies.

Later today, freelance journalist Brendan Montague will appeal to the UK’s Information Rights Tribunal for the release of a bank statement provided to the Charity Commission by Lord Lawson, which Mr Montague believes will identify the source of a $50,000 seed donation.

The case has raised the issue of how think-tanks engaged in public policy debates are funded and whether potential conflicts of interest should be declared. None are required by law to publicly disclose their funders. Continue reading

January 27, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | , | Leave a comment