Saturday, October 31, 2015

Aussie Environment Minister Greg Hunt rebranded as #MinisterForCoal


On Friday the #Ministerforcoal hashtag was trending in Melbourne and then in Australia on Twitter. Activists had decided to inject some honesty into his ministerial position by rebranding him from Minister for the Environment to Minister for Coal.

Fifty or so activists attended his electorate office for the seat of Flinders in Hastings. While one group locked together inside, another group climbed onto the roof and unfurled bannerssaying "Minister for Coal".

The protesters were highlighting Greg Hunt's approval for the second time of the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin. With coal prices being in the doldrums and most Australian and international banks refusing to finance the project, it is looking very much like a stranded asset.

Here is the story as it unfolded in Hastings:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Road to #Paris2015 Bonn talks: More delay and confusion as "US text" roundly rejected


I am presently in Switzerland touring Europe, while the climate talks in Bonn proceed, the last preliminary talks before the major UN climate conference in Paris that start on November 30.

I am keeping a close eye on negotiations as I travel. Climate Justice Info have just released Update No 1 from Bonn, which reveals more delay and confusion as a result of a negotiating text put forward by co-chairs United States and Algeria, which was strongly rejected by G77 and China.

ActionAid, Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development and LDC Watch released the following media statement by Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid.

"Rich nations have been ignoring the needs of developing nations over and over again. The new text drafted by the co-chairs was another example of highhandedness that is biased towards the interests of the US and other developed countries, leaving behind the needs of the poor and vulnerable,” said Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid.

“If we construct the Paris climate deal on the terms of US and other rich nations, many of the people in the developing world won't survive the impacts of climate change," he added.

“The US co-chairs’ text is proof of the bias of this process for the positions and interests of developed country governments. It is unacceptable,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development. “Ambition, the key principle of equity, and means of implementation must clearly be articulated in the text for negotiations if the process is to have any meaning.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Climate Guardians in Environment Minister roof protest over Adani coal mine approval



Melbourne's climate Guardian Angels have descended on top of Environment Minister Greg Hunt's electoral office in Hastings in a rooftop protest at the re-approval of the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin.

Update: after a full day and evening on top of the roof, the Climate Angels have now safely descended. No arrests.

The original Minister's approval for the Carmichael Coal mine had to be set aside when challenged by the Mackay Conservation Group that the Minister had ignored and not taken into account two threatened species.

The Minister, Greg Hunt, has subsequently drawn up an approval notice with conditions and sent a media release on Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project on 15October, 2015. These conditions include establishing offset habitat and $1 million of funding for research programs to improve conservation of threatened species in the Galilee Basin over 10 years.

Europe Diary: London Natural History Museum misses Anthropocene climate education opportunity


Original article published at nofibs.com.au
Like many visitors and tourists to London I took the opportunity to visit the London Natural History Museum. I visited this museum 19 years ago and spent a whole day there with my older step children when they were 11 and 9 years old.

So I was keen to go back and share a new experience at the museum with my 15 year old daughter. Many interactive exhibits had changed, but many case exhibits looked pretty much exactly as I remembered them.

I remember my visit to the Mammals room with the Blue Whale as the centre piece hanging from the ceiling. The blue whale was still there but surrounded by scaffolding being restored. I guess you expect some continual maintenance in a museum, but I was a little disappointed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Europe Diary: #Engie stops new #coal investment but continues existing dirty coal plants #Paris2015


There has been a campaign to close down the aging and highly polluting Hazelwood coal mine and power station for several years. Hazelwood's French owner GDF Suez recently rebranded itself as Engie and in their latest announcement declared they would stop investing in new coal plants. But they refused to give any changed undertaking regarding operating plants such as Hazelwood and Loy Yang B power stations in the La Trobe Valley of Victoria. Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Europe Diary: For #Paris2015 UK and Australia compared on #climateaction


I am on a journey to the UN Paris Climate Change Conference starting on 30 November. My daughter Tarryn and I are travelling the UK and Europe in the prelude to attending the Conference. Read the original article at Nofibs.

While negotiators have managed to reduce the negotiating text from 86 pages to 20 pages (Draft agreement 5th October PDF), the pledged commitments still result in the global average temperature rise to 2.7 degrees C by the end of the century according to Climate Action Tracker.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Guest Post: 25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are


A powerful articulation of how both major Australian political parties have failed us on climate action over the last 25 years by Marc Hudson. Also relevant is Joan Staples 2009 article Our lost history of climate change.

25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are

Marc Hudson, University of Manchester

A divided government firmly on the back foot ahead of a major climate conference, its green credentials shaky, and riven with bubbling tensions between those who want serious climate action and those resistant to it. Sound familiar? But the government I’m describing is not today’s version, but Bob Hawke’s federal government way back in October 1990.

October 11, 2015, marks a quarter-century to the day since the then environment minister, Ros Kelly, brought a proposed carbon emissions target to cabinet. At the time, Jon Bon Jovi was number one in Australia with “Blaze of Glory”, and some of the lyrics are apposite:

You ask about my conscience; And I offer you my soul; You ask if I’ll grow to be a wise man; Well I ask if I’ll grow old.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Storify: Australia setting new early Spring heat and bushfire records


The early spring heatwave has brought a taste of summer extreme heat and bushfires across the continent setting new early season temperature records with temperatures anomolies of 12 degrees C and more over much of southern Australia, particularly Victoria.

This comes as a powerful El Nino is taking place in the Pacific which acts to boost temperatures and drought conditions in Australia. And all this takes place in a hotter environment with Australia having warmed by 0.9 degrees from 1910.

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

The Bureau of Meteorology have issued a statement on October 7 which advises that the Indian Ocean Dipole has turned positive which will reinforce the El Nino impact on Australia.

Europe Diary: Report from the UK on renewables


My report for Climate Action Moreland. Read the original.

John Englart reports from the UK that Shell has abandoned Arctic oil exploration for foreseeable future citing the costs involved and the regulatory environment, but this is really a win for the climate movement who have campaigned against Arctic oil as fossil fuel resources that need to remain unburnt. We must remember that BP is undertaking deep water oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight including in a marine sanctuary. All Deep Sea oil needs to remain unburnt for a safe climate.