Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Storify: Waters are rising no more compromising #floodthesystem San Fransisco

With Shell abandoning Arctic oil drilling for the foreseeable future, and now pressure being applied on banks and other corporates, we are starting to see the power of a movement of movements that raises issues of economic justice and links them to issues of climate justice.

Today in San Fransisco climate activists took direct action to close down the financial district and blockaded particular corporate targets. In the lead up to the Paris Climate talks in December such actions demonstrate the necessity for a major change in the system and for leaders and diplomats to stop compromising on the action needed to be taken.

At least Eight activists were arrested during the protest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shell abandons Arctic oil exploration for foreseeable future

Activists reacted positively to Shell's announcement of an end to Arctic oil exploration in the Chukchi sea.

In a media release today Royal Dutch Shell announced it was discontinuing it's Arctic oil drilling program in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska, blaming the treacherous conditions and the regulatory environment.

Exploratory drilling to 6800 feet was undertaken with some indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, but not in sufficient quantities to warrant further exploration in this part of the basin.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guest Post: Prof Peter Christoff on Prime Minister Turnbull and climate change

If he wants to win an election, Turnbull should go back to his old self on climate

Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne

No more “stop the boats” or “axe the tax”. In announcing his challenge to Tony Abbott on Monday, Malcolm Turnbull promised to take Australian politics away from the mantrafication of policy by three-word chant.

He offered to treat the public intelligently, to engage it with reasoned explanations for policy change, and to fashion a convincing positive economic narrative for Australia.

You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the withered body politic.

Turnbull also campaigned for leadership on the basis that he could save the Coalition from an impending crushing electoral defeat. The immediate bounce in polls after the leadership coup suggests that he mobilises extra support based on public expectations that he will lead a government that is more progressive, intelligent and humane on a range of issues – including climate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

No change in Australian #climate policy with new PM Turnbull

This week Australia watched as the Liberal Party changed the Prime Minister, deposing Tony Abbott in a 54-44 party room vote and reinstating Malcolm Turnbull to the position of party leader and now Prime Minister. The change follows succeeding worsening polls for the Government.

Sunday afternoon Canberra was abuzz with rumours of a leadership challenge in the Liberal Party. Even though the Canning byelection is in progess, this is a sitting week in Canberra when politicians were available for a party room meeting. The #Libspill quickly came to fruition on Monday night in the Liberal party room meeting.

This is the third Prime Minister in 5 years who has been deposed in a party room ballot. Kevin Rudd was deposed by Julia Guillard in 2010, who then went on to form a minority government after a general election with the support of Independent MPs. With polls souring, Guillard was deposed by Rudd near the end of her term in 2013, with Tony Abbott then becoming Prime Minister after the Liberal National Parties won a majority of seats in the general election.

Now it was Abbott's turn to be deposed after serving less than 2 years as Prime Minister and numerous gaffes in government. The most recent gaffe was a laughing response to a joke in bad taste made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on rising sea levels and Pacific nations.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Storify: #SeaLevelRise comment engulfs Dutton, Abbott in Pacific #climate storm

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has made a joke of Pacific Nations facing rising sea levels due to climate change. The Australian Prime Minister, recently returned from meeting with Pacific Island Nations in Port Moresby, laughed at the joke, before Social Services Minister Scott Morrison pointed out the boom microphone overhead.

Now there are calls for Peter Dutton to resign and Tony Abbott to apologize to the people of the Pacific and the world for the insensitive nature of the comments. The President of Kiribati Anote Tong, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony De Brum and PNG Governor of Oro Province Gary Juffa, among others, have all condemned the comments and called for a public apology.

Australia's emissions to rise 27 percent using latest post-2020 #climate targets

Australia's emissions are set to increase dramatically by 27% above 2005 levels by 2030 according to a damning report by the Climate Action Tracker consortium, taking into account Australia's low post 2020 targets announced on 11 August.

Australia's climate targets are exceptionally low by international standards. The post 2020 target of 26 to 28 percent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 is substantially less than the major OECD economies of Europe and the USA. The USA may have a similar target but it is five years earlier in 2025. Even Canada, seen as being particularly weak at the federal level, has a 30 per cent target by 2030, higher than Australia. New Zealand's low target is also greater. Only Japan and South Korea have lower emissions targets than Australia.

A week after the targets were released, the economic modelling was quietly uploaded to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. The economic modelling by McKibbin Software was done for four post 2020 targets and all showed that GDP growth would continue to be above 2 per cent.

"Targets of -26, -35 and -45 per cent relative to 2005 result in GDP being from 0.4 to 1.0 per cent lower in 2030 than with no target." says the report. A 13 percent reduction was also considered on 2005 levels which would hold Australia's total emissions at a constant level. The targets were all modelled assuming the 2020 Australian emissions target of 5 percent below 2000 levels.

So, Australia could legitimately increase our climate target to 45 per cent on 2005 levels with only a slight reduction to GDP growth of about 1 per cent.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Storify: Climate security and health impacts for Australia and abroad #PopHlth2015

How do you write up a conference presentation which you did not attend and did not see livestreamed? Why through the magic of twitter #hashtag conversation of people live reporting the speakers important points. Add some relevant context and related articles and you have a report.

Rob Sturrock's conference presentation on Climate change and its health impacts at home and abroad at the Population Health Congress 2015 intrigued me, so I gathered all the live tweets from his keynote speech, selected a variety of comments and deleted any that were primarily duplicates and redundant.

In the process, I also read his study The Longest Conflict: Australia's Climate Security Challenge that was released in June 2015 by the Center for Policy Development. In fact before publishing this storify of his keynote speech I published an article on his study: Australian Defence Force poorly prepared for #Climate change. So I had a reasonable understanding of where he was coming from in his talk.

Australian Defence Force poorly prepared for #Climate change

This article was originally posted at nofibs.com.au

Rob Sturrock and Dr Peter Ferguson give some hard truths about the security implications of climate change now and in the near future for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. In their June 2015 report they claim that climate change is the threat equivalent to a hundred years war, which Australia and the Australian Defence Forces (ADF), are ill prepared for on a strategic level.

"Without intending it, we are confronting a threat akin to a Hundred Year War." say Sturrock and Ferguson. While the Government focusses on hardware upgrades such as new submarine contracts and traditional short term defence asset replacements, the essential strategic planning for operating in a climate changed world is being sorely neglected.

Their report, The Longest Conflict: Australia's Climate Security Challenge (Download the PDF) was released in June 2015 by the Center for Policy Development.

According to the report authors, defence personnel indicate that climate change will not feature strongly in the upcoming Defence White Paper, due for realease in late 2015 or early 2016. The 2014 Defence Issues Paper, while identifying many security threats and opportunities, neglected to mention climate change was one of them.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Storify: When you're in a hole stop digging: Naomi Klein at Sydney Festival of Dangerous ideas on Capitalism and Climate

Unable to attend Naomi Klein's talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Capitalism and Climate, I watched it live streamed via Getup and commented via twitter using the Climate Action Moreland account (@Camoreland). (Photo by @1millionwomen)

It was an historic speech both inspiring and motivating us for a more caring society, for us to make the leap and change the whole system, not just a slow piecemeal approach tweaking a few economic levers to reduce the worst climate impacts but still leave the substantial racism and inequality inbuilt in the system.

Though a feminist from a jewish cultural background, Klein urged us to read the Pope's latest encyclical, Laundato Si. Though Klein does not mention this, there has also been an Islamic declaration on Climate Change issued in August.

Klein implores us to be honest, bold and generous. As the politics is not now working, to change the politics. We need to change the system so that it works for the benefit of all. Watch the youtube video (58 mins) below:

Here is my storify which collates tweets from the 2,500 people present at the Sydney Opera House with people watching via live streaming and interacting via twitter.

I also collated a storify on Naomi Klein at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Longer bushfire seasons driven by climate change warns Climate Council

Original article published at nofibs.com.au.

The Climate Council has warned that Australia faces increased bushfire risk, with bushfire seasons extending for longer due to the impact of climate change.

The warning comes after the United States and Canada have suffered one of their worst wildfire seasons on record. More than 8 million acres was burnt this year with seven of the top years having occurred since 2000.

The extension and overlapping of fire seasons in the northern and southern hemisphere poses problems as fire fighting resources and people are often shared and moved to accommodate the greatest risk.

But with seasons extending resources will be retained to fight fires locally. Australia has sent dozens of experienced firefighters to help combat more than 70 fires in the United States, but Australia's fire season is now starting earlier in October and extending later into March.