Monday, September 22, 2014

Australian Government in denial on proposals for climate action at UN Climate summit



The reason the Peoples Climate protest occurred is that there is a UN summit on climate change on 23 September called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to motivate more ambitious targets to be brought to the negotiating table. About 120 heads of state are attending, but not Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott who claims he needs to stay in Canberra an extra day, even though he is scheduled to be in New York for the UN General Assembly debate on the threat of terrorism the following day. What a lame excuse! In his place Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is being sent.

Ms Bishop will be attending the climate summit as a "leaner" not a "lifter". Countries have been urged to bring along ambitious plans for emissions cuts to take the plans for an agreement in Paris forward, but Ms Bishop told the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia would only confirm a 5 per cent emissions cut on 2000 levels by 2020 and that it was "too early" for plans for deeper emissions cuts beyond Australia's existing policies. At a meeting in New York of the top 17 economies hosted by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop called this an "ambituous target".

What world are they living in?


This is despite global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers releasing a report on carbon intensity warning emissions were still increasing and the world was on track for dangerous climate change by the end of the century.

Even more worrying, the Global Carbon project has assessed the global carbon budget and found that global emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production reached a new record of 36 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2013, and are predicted to grow by a further 2.5% in 2014, bringing the total CO2 emissions from all sources to more than 40 billion tonnes. We are likely to pass the 2 Degree C limit within 30 years, and we are tracking on the highest 'business as usual' scenario which leads to global average temperatures between 3.2C and 5.4C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Read more on this by CSIRO scientist Pep Candell in the blog article: Global carbon report: emissions will hit new heights in 2014.



Our present voluntary commitment from 2009 involved emissions cuts in a range of 5 to 25 per cent depending upon comparable actions by other nations. The Climate Change Authority conducted a thorough review and found that there was a strong case for Australia raising it's ambition with a target of 19 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

"I will confirm that we are committed to a new global agreement," Ms Bishop told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We're looking at what other countries are doing, we're in consultation with other countries … [but] this is too early to do it. It doesn't arise at this summit."

Of course the subject of emissions targets will arise at this summit, as will target commitments past 2020. Ms Bishop is obfuscating and delaying meaningful action by Australia. Tony Abbott may say he now 'believes' in climate science, but all the actions by his government revolve around obfuscation, blocking any climate mitigation action, and denying the climate science and mitigation response in Australia by their actions.

Senator Milne raised Abbott's non attendance at the UN emergency climate summit in New York. Here is her statement in the Senate: