Saturday, May 28, 2016

Australian Government censors UNESCO report on Great Barrier Reef #ReefGate

A UNESCO report identifies World Heritage sites at risk from climate change, but there is no mention of Australian sites in the report. The Australian Government requested that all mentions be deleted, and this was complied with by UNESCO. This censorship of science should raise many questions.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Farewell to a Climate Queen - Christiana Figueres

The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, is stepping down from her position.

She took over the important role in 2010 in time for COP16 at Cancun, after the trainwreck that was Copenhagen COP15 in 2009, and served six years in the role.

Slowly she navigated the UNFCCC secretariat, national parties, business, science and civil society groups, building a new consensus, through to concluding the Paris Agreement at COP21 in December 2015.

Her final negotiating session as Executive Secretary was the Bonn negotiations this May. Mexican politician and diplomat Patricia Espinosa will take over the role as UNFCCC Executive Secretary from July.

A Joint meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) said farewell.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hazelwood closure or sale mooted by Engie CEO, under pressure of French Government

This article first published at

Engie's CEO Isabelle Kocher told a French Senate Committee on May 25th the company was considering closure or sale of the Hazelwood Power Station in the La Trobe Valley.

"For the Hazelwood plant, we are studying all possible scenarios, including closure, or a sale if the state of Victoria tells us that it cannot meet power generating needs without this plant," Kocher said, according to a Reuters report.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Global Temperature spirals to new records

An animated gif image grabbed the attention of many this week. It is the monthly global temperature data from 1850 to March 2016 graphed as a spiral. A powerful image of the changes in temperature that we humans are causing.

The animated image and a couple of associated graphs displaying the same data in different formats is by Ed Hawkins. He is a climate scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, and also a Contributing Author for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.

The colours in the graph represent the change in time. Purple for early years, through blue, green to yellow for most recent years. The colour scale used is called ‘viridis’.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chevron, BP Perth HQ targeted by #Breakfree2016 climate activists

This article was originally featured at

The protest included a march and street sit-in, office occupation, and a sit-in occupation in the foyer of the QV1 building, the Perth Headquarters for BP and Chevron in Western Australia. John Englart reports using social media.

Perth is home to the largest concentration of oil and gas companies with more than 300 international companies in the sector now based in the city. Western Australia is also a regional base for more than 40 major oilfield service companies.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Climate protestors close down Newcastle coal port for #Breakfree2016 as Federal election called

When the politics has failed in taking necessary rapid climate action, more people will step up, to protest, to put their bodies on the line in civil disobedient actions. As part of the Global BreakFree mobilisation Australians blockaded Newcastle coal port on Mothers Day, Sunday 8 May 2016. This article is derived from my live blog on Storify of the protest in Newcastle. 350Australia also live blogged the protest

The protest drew more than 2,000 people to Horseshoe Beach, one of the largest climate protests against coal in the NSW regional city of Newcastle. More than 60 people, including a flock of climate angels and Bill Ryan a 94 year old Kokoda veteran from World War II, have been arrested, charged and released for blockading the Kooragang Island rail bridge that is used for transporting coal to the port. Another 4 people were arrested for locking on to coal terminal equipment and banner drop at the coal wharf.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Wales: #breakfree occupation of Ffos-y-fran opencut coal mine

Welsh climate activists invoked the mythical red dragon to say 'Break Free from fossil fuels' and 'No New Coal'. A red puppet dragon was used in the civil disobedient occupation of the Ffos-y-fran open cut mine in South Wales on May 3. This is the largest open cast coal mine in the United Kingdom.

About 300 people walked on to the minesite at 5.30am and shut down all operations for the day. With the peaceful occupation, no arrests were reported. The activists were part of the global #BreakFree protests targeting coal and fossil fuel infrastructure around the world.

Miller Argent is the corporation responsible for Ffos-y-fran. They are planning a new huge coal pit just next door at Nant Llesg. They have been met with resistance from the local community to stop their mine expansion which would destroy common land that offers grazing and wildlife biodiversity.

Philippines: 10,000 march to #BreakFree from #coal in Batangas city

Twenty seven coal power stations are planned for construction in the Philippines. As part of the global #BreakFree protests, around 10,000 Filipinos marched in Batangas City on May 4 demanding an end to coal and transition to renewable energy. The protest comes just five days before national elections.

People and civil society groups are demanding that the next Philippines administration cancel all proposed coal plants nationwide and hasten a transition to renewable energy, according to a Greenpeace statement.

Bill Shorten on climate change in reply to Morrison's budget

Original article published at

In Bill Shorten's budget reply speech he mentioned climate change 5 times. This was five times more than Treasurer Scott Morrisson used the term in his budget speech.

It was a positive and inspiring speech covering the traditional Labor concerns: Jobs, Education, Medicare, Climate Change, Affordable housing, fair taxation, Equality for women, and belief in young Australians. But, like the Treasurer's speech two days ago, reference to refugee detention on Manus Island and Nauru was absent.

The speech comes as Essential Vision polling published 3 May shows Labor ahead on two party preferred figures of 52 per cent versus 48 per cent for the Coalition parties. Roy Morgan polling also shows ALP in front but Election too close to call: ALP 51% - L-NP 49%.

The Paris Agreement requires that we transition to a zero carbon economy by at least the middle of the century. Transition should be an important economic consideration. The comparison between the Coalition parties and Labor (and the Greens) could not be more stark as contained in the Treasurer's budget speech, and the budget reply speeches of Bill Shorten and Senator Richard Di Natale.

Here is the section on climate change excerpted from Bill Shorten's full speech (SMH). You can watch Bill Shorten's full budget reply at Malcolm Farnsworth's channel on YouTube.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

ERF auction spends big for just 7 per cent #climate emissions reduction for 2030

This article was originally published at

Results from the third Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) auction for emissions reduction was announced with 50.5 million worth of offsets at $10.23 each. So 67 per cent of the $2.55 billion budget has been spent to achieve less than 7 per cent of the emissions reduction goal by 2030.

This effort amounts to less than 3 per cent of what is required for Australia's fair share in global emissions reduction for staying under the 2 degrees C limit as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Environment Minister Greg Hunt signed the Paris agreement in New York on 22nd April 2016. Australia also agreed with aspiring to meet the 1.5 degrees target, so even more effort is required from Australian climate policy.

But the Liberal National Party Government main policy instrument for reducing emissions is the Emissions Reduction Fund, which is clearly inadequate. Even our 2030 climate target of 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030 is ranked as inadequate.