Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The West Antarctic Ice sheet is buttressed by huge ice shelves at it's edges which hold back the ice streams. Warming Southern ocean currents are melting ice shelves, causing them to retreat, allowing faster discharge of ice flows from the interior. Much of the ice sheet is grounded on a sub-glacial basin below sea level, so as the ice shelf grounding line retreats, more warm water can interact with the ice to speed the discharge and collapse of the ice sheet. Volcanic activity adds further potential instability to this process.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
But exit polling by the Climate Institute and results from the ABC's Vote Compass show that Tony Abbott's views on carbon pricing and climate change are sharply at odds with the views of the electorate.
The estimated 60,000 people who rallied for climate action across Australia on November 17 also shows there is substantial support for climate action and for carbon pricing.
While the Abbott Government were pushing their repeal legislation through the House of Representatives last week, being opposed by Labor and the Greens, Climate Tracker released a special briefing announcement and policy brief (PDF).
The Climate Action Tracker has rated Australia’s current target of a 5 percent emissions reduction by 2020 at 2000 levels as “inadequate,” and consistent with a global pathway heading to temperature rises of 3.5-4°C.
However, by dismantling this legislation and replacing it with the Abbott Government’s proposed “Direct Action” plan, Australia instead looks set to increase its emissions by 12% in 2020.
“Australia’s climate legislation was a milestone for the country and it had finally begun to turn a corner on climate change,” said Bill Hare, Director of Climate Analytics.
“The legislation would have bent the relentless upward trend of its emissions curve downwards, moving Australia onto the first step toward a low carbon, climate-safe future, and created the governmental machinery needed for upgrading action.”
“The proposed repeal will instead see a likely re-carbonisation of the power sector, the present machinery dismantled - and replaced by a climate policy that goes against the science.” concluded Bill Hare.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Civil society organisations are leaving the climate change negotiations today en masse. The walkout is happening now with observers handing in their security passes. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International had highlighted previously that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing. The destructive tactics of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the megotiations forward on Finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe commented: "Big polluters were welcomed with open arms and the negotiations are driven by corporate interests. There is no room for people or planet. The Polish presidency's short-sighted coal-driven policy marks these talks out as one of the dirtiest yet."
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate Crisis
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Friends of the Earth International representatives said that COP19 United Nations climate change negotiations are set to fail due to the very low targets for emission reductions proposed by richer nations, especially with Australia and Japan having dramatically reduced their targets and ambition and with Europe maintaining a very low level of emissions cuts.
FoE International called on governments of the developed nations for greater levels of ambition, to honour the promises they had made to provide finance to help poorer countries to cut their emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The gravity of the situation was made clear: "We are in a planetary emergency. It is known more than ever that climate change is happening. The impacts we are facing are threatening and will become worse. We are in an urgent situation that we have to act. We have to act in a very fast period."
From coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic cirle, people gathered in over 180 events. Many concentrated on opposing the Enbridge Pipelines and tar sands expansion, on fracking or the more general threat of climate change, and the anti-climate policies of the Harper Government.
From Defend our Climate Blog: Charlottetown | First timers step up in Halifax | Oka is Defending our Climate | North Bay Ontario comes out strong | Ottawa: Bringing the wall of opposition to Harper’s doorstep | Ottawa: Canadians stand with the Philippines today | Solidarity in Winnipeg | Nunavut braves a blizzard to defend our climate | A pipeline through the heart of Toronto | Edmonton’s barrel blockade | Looks like the start of a prairie fire | Awareness builds along 2 new routes in Ontario and Quebec | Resistance in the Interior | Vancouver: National Day of Action Wraps on the West Coast
Monday, November 18, 2013
While 30,000 people rallied for climate action in Melbourne, and an estimated 60,000 nationally at 130 events across Australia, it seems Australia has won an unprecedented fourth fossil of the day award in Warsaw for a statement that obligations for new, predictable and reliable finance from developed countries are “not realistic” and “not acceptable.”
As the citation points out, this amounts to "an attack on an important cornerstone of the UNFCCC." That developed countries due to their historic emissions have an obligation and commitment to provide funding for developing countries for climate mitigation and adaptation.
Earlier this week Australia won Fossil awards for repeal of carbon pricing and abandoning neighbors on loss and damage. Australia started the week at COP19 winning the first Fossil of the Day award for not be putting forward any new finance commitments.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
The rallies were organised by GetUp, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The protest comes as the bills to dismantle Australia's carbon price and funding subsidies for renewable energy are introduced into Federal parliament on Monday. If successful, Australia would become the first country to rill back a functioning carbon pricing mechanism.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Japan, the third largest single economy, has announced in the Warsaw climate change negotiations a change in it's voluntary pledge emissions target to change from a 25 per cent emission cut on 1990 levels to a 3.1 per cent increase on 1990 levels by 2020.
"This move by Japan could have a devastating impact on the tone of discussion here in Warsaw. It could further accelerate the race to the bottom among other developed countries when the world needs decisive and immediate actions to "raise" ambition, not to "lower" ambition." said Naoyuki Yamagishi, leader, Climate and Energy Group, WWF Japan in a media statement at the climate talks.
Prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in 11 March 2011, nuclear power provided about 30% of electricity generation in Japan. Currently all 50 nuclear power plants are shut down for significant safety checks. But Japan has also been increasing coal use over the last two decades, a trend ocurring even before the Fukushima crisis. The increase in coal use as a cheap fuel since 1990 has resulted in the equivalent of 12 per cent of 1990 emissions.
Australia wins Fossil awards for repeal of carbon pricing and abandoning neighbors on loss and damage
Earlier Australia earnt it's first rebuke by civil society at UN climate change talks for not putting forward any new finance commitments at the Warsaw negotiations.
Anyone would think Tony Abbott was envious of Canada's recent dubious record in obstruction and non-compliance in United Nations climate negotiations and decided we could do even better. And it looks like we are succeeding at knocking Canada off it's fossil of the year pedestal. But we are far from alone with Japan also earning special mention at the awards.