Friday, April 29, 2016

Guest Post: Great Barrier Reef bleaching would be almost impossible without climate change


I have followed climate change and marine science for about 10 years. This latest climate attribution research by Australian climate scientists shows clearly that the massive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef would not have occurred without human caused climate change. It is attribution climate science done in near real time. Cutting edge stuff.

The researchers also dispel arguments that this coral bleaching event was due to the strong El Nino this year, but primarily long term temperature warming of oceans. It underlines that coral reef ecosystems face a bleak future with coral bleaching events from warm waters being a regular occurrence in as little as 20 years time.

Read and weep, and then focus your anger on the intransigence of many politicians, first in denial then, like Environment Minister Greg Hunt who pay lip service and make nominal commitments, while supporting the agents of greenhouse gas emissions in approving the massive Adani Carmichael Coal mine.

Great Barrier Reef bleaching would be almost impossible without climate change

Andrew King, University of Melbourne; David Karoly, University of Melbourne; Mitchell Black, University of Melbourne; Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, The University of Queensland, and Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, UNSW Australia

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Can Labor wedge the Coalition on #climatechange in #ausvotes2016?



Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Action on climate change is a live issue at the 2016 election, but it is still divisive. The Australian Labor Party unveiled it's climate action plan to take to the Federal Election, likely to be on July 2. A lot of deliberative thought and nuanced politics have gone into this plan with targeted changes in different sectors.

Environment and community groups, along with the Business Council of Australia, broadly said the plan was positive, although there were criticisms raised about the need for climate policy to become bipartisan to ensure stability in the economic transitions needed. Environment groups stressed that it was a useful starting point and much better than the Coalition government targets and policy, but didn't go nearly far enough to meet the obligations now enshrined in the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees and aspire to 1.5 degrees limit on warming.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Guest Post: John Hewson - Shorten can wedge Turnbull on climate


I recently wrote how I still feel ashamed of Australia during and after the Paris COP21. Australia signed the Paris Agreement in New York on April 22, but is still not showing signs of walking the talk on climate action. I am far from the only one who are critical of current Government political inaction in addressing climate change from across the political spectrum. Here is John Hewson, an Economics Professor and a former opposition leader of the Liberal National Party in 1993, who accused the Government, and Environment Minister Greg Hunt, of 'blatant hypocrisy'...

John Hewson, Australian National University

It was all a bit much for me to see Environment Minister Greg Hunt wallowing in the signing of the Paris Agreement on emissions reduction in New York this week. His commitment to its ratification by year end, after opposing the pricing of carbon and attempting to close down the renewables industry, is nothing short of blatant hypocrisy.

Further, it was galling to hear him boast that, “We’re now on track to meet and beat our..targets and our Paris 2030 targets are strong and ambitious and they have been welcomed and hailed”, and then to attempt to create the impression that “our domestic climate change policies” have and will continue to deliver “real outcomes”.

Is #1o5C #ParisAgreement temperature pathway possible?



At COP21 in Paris we committed to a temperature target of well below 2 degrees C and aspire to limit global warming to 1.5C, and to decarbonize after 2050. We need to examine pathways to 1.5C to see if it is possible. Dr Joeri Rogelj is one of the few researchers who has studied 1.5C pathways.

This seminar was put on by the Australian-German Climate Energy College at Melbourne University.

So what will it take to achieve 1.5C? Is it possible?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Victorian Coal royalties increase in State Budget


Original article published at Climate Action Moreland

The Andrews Government will increase coal royalties in the 2015/16 budget to approximately match the rate levied in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. This should be welcomed.

The rate will increase three fold from January 1st 2017 and is estimated to raise $252 million over the forward estimates over the next 4 years.

This will prove useful for helping to fund the health support for the LaTrobe Valley, as well as health and education expenditure for the state. $51.2 million was promised in the state budget to implement the recommendations of the Mine Fire Inquiry and improving health outcomes for the Valley.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

As Greg Hunt signs #ParisAgreement, I am still ashamed of Australia's abysmally low climate targets



A Record 176 nations signed the Paris Agreement at a UN ceremony in New York, Australia among them. But Australia was also snubbed by not being invited to a meeting of the Coalition of High Ambition the night before. It seems our last minute belated membership that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was so happy to highlight and share with me last December in response to one of my tweets, hasn't brought any ongoing diplomatic benefit.

I am sure our support for coal, abysmally low targets and ineffective emission reduction policies that track for a 4 degree world have something to do with it. I tweeted my shame to Julie Bishop in Paris during COP21, she replied to me that there was no need for my shame, that she had accepted a late invitation to join the Coalition of High Ambition.

Funny but I still feel ashamed. Australia is signing on but is still not showing signs of walking the talk on climate action.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Nationals Senator Fiona Nash stuffs head in sand as Great Barrier Reef suffers severe bleaching



A second member of the Australian Government, Deputy Leader of the Nationals NSW Senator Fiona Nash, has declared climate science is not settled and articulated on the need to adapt. This follows a statement by Attorney General George Brandis in the Senate on Tuesday that climate science was not settled.

Senator Nash is responsible for regional development, communications and health. She told Sky News interviewer David Speers there were "varying views" on climate science and she was of the opinion it was still up for debate, but that we need to adapt.

This comes as Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching prompted Australian Environment Ministers to have an emergency phone hook up and heated debate. At the end they called for strong and urgent action needed on climate change.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Coral Bleaching prompts Australian Environment Ministers: Strong and urgent action needed on climate change


This article was originally published at nofibs.com.au

In a late night conference call on Wednesday night 20 April 2016 between Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Queensland State Environment minister Steven Miles and Environment ministers from other states it was agreed that what is currently happening on the Great Barrier Reef is alarming and is an issue of concern not just to Queenslanders but to all Australians.

Ministers all agreed that strong and urgent action was needed on climate change.

Townsville MP Ewen Jones praises #coal as #Reef suffers massive coral bleaching


Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Ewen Jones is the Liberal Party Federal MP from the Townsville based north Queensland electorate of Herbert. He stated on the ABC QandA program on Monday night, "We have just had the Carmichael mine approved and I think that is a good thing for us."

Both the Liberal National Party Federal Government and the Labor Queensland State Government have approved for development the huge Adani Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee basin in Queensland. But the coal mine is widely seen as a major climate carbon bomb that would make achieving the under 2 Degree C temperature target adopted in Paris as impossible.

At current coal prices and with the coal export market to India and China tanking, development of the mine is seen as simply un-economic in current circumstances without massive government subsidies. And that is exactly what Liberal MP Ewen Jones proposed on ABC QandA program on Monday night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

As 2016 double dissolution election firms, Attorney General Brandis questions climate science



Katharine Murphy for the Guardian reports that Attorney General George Brandis stated in the Senate today that the science of climate change is far from settled.

Like Murphy, I am having trouble following the Brandis logic. If the climate science is not settled as he says, why are the LNP Government allowing CSIRO to savagely slash their climate research capacity in the CSIROcuts.

La Trobe Valley coal mine rehabilitation bonds increased to $254 million


This is a repost of an article by John Englart published at Climate Action Moreland.

On Friday 15th April Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced in Morwell the Victorian government's response to the final landmark inquiry into the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire. This response includes an initial $50 million in the Victorian state budget to implement the recommendations, and a major increase in the rehabilitation bonds for the three La Trobe Valley brown coal mines.

“The people of the Latrobe Valley have been completely vindicated. I’m so proud of their efforts. They never gave up and neither will we.” said Premier Dan Andrews.

Friday, April 15, 2016

BP questioned on Pay, #climatechange and Bight project at BP AGM



BP board had a torrid time at their AGM with 59 per cent of shareholders rejecting the executive remuneration package and questions on climate change, and the new project in the Great Australian Bight that has been described as a carbon bomb.

Inside the AGM, BP were grilled by shareholders, including big institutional investors, about their reckless plans to drill in the Bight. Wilderness Society national campaign director Lyndon Schneiders and Catherine Howarth from partner organisation ShareAction were in the meeting and asked pointed questions about the Bight.

It was reported that members of the board appeared to distance themselves from the Bight proposal, pointing the finger at the Australian government for enticing oil companies to drill in the region. The CEO also remarked, quite rightly: "Gosh this investment in Australia is not very popular today."

Oil spill at BP Melbourne a #FightfortheBight


Original story at storify, then posted at nofibs.com.au

Activists from the Wilderness Society, Sea Shepherd, Friends of the Earth and others came together this morning outside BP Australia's headquarters on Bourke Street Melbourne to stage a mock oil spill. They are highlighting the massive risks from BP oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

These risks are considerable and multiple including the climate risk of exceeding the 2C temperature limit agreed to at the Paris UN climate talks, and the risk of an oil spill damaging the pristine marine and coastal environment from Western Australia to Victoria and Tasmania.

The mock oil spill provided effective street theatre on Bourke Street outside BP's Melbourne offices. Some people dressed in decontamination suits with 44 gallon drums as props containing the BP insignia. Protestors chanted "BP has no right, no right to risk the bight".

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Climate activists stage protest outside #LNG18 in Perth


The Gas Industry and all the big fossil fuel companies have come to Perth to talk exploitation of fossil fuels regardless of the climate imperative agreed to in Paris in December 2015. They were greeted on the opening night by climate activists.

The 18th International Conference and Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas has brought together the fossil fuel industry to discuss production efficiencies with the current low prices in LNG, and work out how they can continue to maximise drilling and exploitation into the future. There was a Welcome to Country and headline speeches by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett.

Major companies at the conference include Chevron, Shell, Inpex, ConocoPhillips, Total and Woodside Petroleum.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Attenborough on the Great Barrier Reef, sea level rise and climate change


Did you watch the first part of David Attenborough's documentary on the Great Barrier Reef?

This is a remarkable documentary with filming ending just as the reef was undergoing massive coral bleaching due to exceptionally warm waters caused by climate change. This is the third global coral reef bleaching event on record.

Attenborough first visited and documented the reef 60 years ago. Part one of the three part series contains an allegorical story from the Cairns area about sea level rise from the aboriginal dreamtime.

The Great Barrier Reef, geologically speaking, is a relatively recent phenomena. Sea levels were 70 to 90 metres lower during the Ice Age period with a narrow and steep shoreline where the east coast of Australia fell sharply to deeper waters. Sea levels started to rise at the end of the last ice age about 14,000 years ago.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Guest Post: CSIRO must ensure climate science is maintained says Sea level Rise expert John Church


This is a guest post from the Conversation by John Church, CSIRO on the savage cuts to climate science and public good research by the management team at Australia's premier research institution: the Commonwealth Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). See my previous article from February: Climate science CSIRO job cuts labelled as science vandalism.

Parts of CSIRO’s climate science capability axed from the organisation could be absorbed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, according to media reports this week.

Under cuts announced in early February by chief executive Larry Marshall and Oceans and Atmosphere Director Ken Lee, CSIRO could lose 100 staff from the Oceans and Atmosphere business unit, mostly in the climate area, as part of a total of 350 job losses across the organisation. The cuts represent a reduction in CSIRO’s role in doing science for the public good. Marshall stated that the research focus would shift towards mitigating and adapting to climate change.

French bank Societe Generale funding new #coal in Dominican Republic



The Dominican Republic National Committee to Combat Climate Change (CNLCC) has written to French Bank Societe Generale, among others, over their funding of the new Punta Catalina coal plant. A contract was signed by the bank on 23 December 2015, just 11 days after the Paris Agreement on climate change was concluded at COP21. The coal project is mired from corruption allegations in Brazil affecting the firm contracted to build the plant, plus transparency allegations in the Dominican Republic, and against the wishes and needs of the local population in Peravia Province (south).

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pau France: Climate resistance to #StopMCEDD deepwater oil conference


Original article published at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia for Day 1. This article now contains updates from Day 2 and Day 3.

Over a 1000 people participated in events over the three days in opposing the conference. This included a protest camp - Camp Sirene, civil disobedience in blocking the entrances to Palais Beaumont, symbolic protest actions at hotels delegates were staying at, a human chain around Palais Beaumont, a mass die-in, and a free concert. The MCED summit was severely disrupted.

Latest: French Environment Minister announces moratorium on offshore Mediterranean oil and gas exploration.
500 climate activists disrupt conference on first day
Photo and Video compilations

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Doctors prescribe LaTrobe Valley #coal closure for our health and a safe #climate


Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Over 300 health professionals have signed an open letter calling on the Victorian Premier to urgently nominate a time frame for closing down the harmful coal-fired power plants in the Latrobe Valley, and developing a transition plan for the local community.

The letter was delivered to Parliament on Tuesday 5th April 2016. The Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mary-Anne Thomas accepted the letter on the Premier’s behalf.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Labor Premier Palaszczuk approves Adani #coal mine leases furthering reef and #climate destruction



Original article published at nofibs.com.au

This morning (Sunday 3 April) the Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued a joint statement for approval of mine leases for the Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland's Galilee Basin. Their statement was widely condemned by environment and climate organisations.

The mine lease approval comes on the tail of the worst coral bleaching event on record for the Great Barrier Reef. Researchers found that 95 per cent of the northern 1000 km of the reef system up to Torres Strait was badly bleached. We know this is a direct consequence of climate change. There is no record of extreme coral bleaching events before 1998. See the ABC 7.30 Report on the extreme bleaching event caused by climate change, or read Graham Readfearn writing in the Guardian newspaper on the Link between fossil fuels and Great Barrier Reef bleaching clear and incontrovertible.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

AYCC #CoralnotCoal protest during Indian Finance Minister visit


The Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, was in Australia for 4 days trying to wrangle investment money for infrastructure projects India, but also potentially including the the giant Adani Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin of Queensland. Read the original article at nofibs.com.au

It was reported in Indian media (1, 2) before Jaitley left India that he was meeting with Australian Finance Minister Matthias Cormann and the $120 billion sovereign wealth Future Fund Chairman Peter Costello, in regard to sourcing investment funding in Indian projects, possibly including Adani's Carmichael mine.

When asked in Sydney if he would discuss the issue of Adani's Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland with Australian leaders and investors he replied with "not really", then elaborated slightly, "This is a subject which is internal to Australia and this is not the purpose of my visit," he said, reported The Press Trust of India.

So Adani was not the purpose of the Minister's visit, but it wasn't a full rejection that the subjection may be discussed either.