Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Australian missing in action at UN Climate Action Summit

It has been well noted that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not attend the UN Climate Action Summit.

Indeed, the Secretary General made clear that only those nations that brought updated plans would be allowed to speak. But the Australian Prime Minister could still have attended. The Government chose not to, as the Morrison Government has no plan for extra ambition, no speech written, no climate and energy policy of substance.

Australian total emissions continue to rise, with National Greenhouse Gas Inventory to March 2019 showing a 0.6% increase.

Australian Prime Minister missing in action on climate

Instead, Scott Morrison had a state dinner with President Trump, chose to accompany Donald Trump to Ohio to open a cardboard box manufacturing factory owned by Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt.

The Pratt Family has contributed $205,000 in donations to the Liberal Party of Australia during 2017-2018, according to electoral Office donation reports.

I guess $205,000 buys you the Prime Minister at an opening ceremony, while taking action for future generations and the safety of all is ignored.

On the day of the UN Climate Action Summit Scott Morrison used a keynote speech at the Chicago Institute for Global Affairs, to praise China’s “economic maturity”.

“Having achieved this status, it is important that China’s trade arrangements [and] participation in addressing important global environmental challenges, with transparency in their partnerships and support for developing nations, reflect this new status and the responsibilities that go with it as a world power,” Morrison said.

In other words, Morrison was shifting the focus of Australia's expanding coal extraction and LNG exports, to say that China wasn't doing enouth on their decarbonisation. Read more on this by Katharine Murphy at The Guardian: Australian PM says China must step up on climate change as 'newly developed' nation

Passing exchange between Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg

U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration has repeatedly moved to block action to address climate change, unexpectedly entered the summit, but stayed only briefly.

Later, Trump made a mocking comment on twitter which was responded to in Greta updating her twitter profile.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne attends Climate Summit

So, if Scott Morrison wasn't attending, who was Australia's head of delegation? That fell to Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

According to Ministerial media release, Payne lead our diplomatic delegation to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York from 22 September.

"A key objective of my visit will be to ensure that Australia's efforts to promote security and prosperity in our region, the Indo-Pacific, are reflected in the work of the UN.

"By engaging with our partners in the multilateral system, Australia is working to reinforce the international rules and institutions that underpin a free, open, inclusive and prosperous world.

"I will represent Australia at a wide range of events, including the Climate Action Summit, the forum on Sustainable Development Goals, and the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. My address to the first High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage during UNGA will focus on the work Australia is doing to improve global health outcomes, which are critical to building stable and prosperous communities. In particular, better health outcomes boost the social and economic participation of women and girls.

"I will address the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Conference in support of Australia's interests in global security."

Major polluting nations fail to bring ambition

The short speech by Greta Thunberg highlighted the continuing lack of action, although UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres attempted to give a positive spin saying in his concluding remarks "Action by action, the tide is turning" before listing the day’s notable achievements.

Most of the ambitious statements were made by smaller nations. Australians look across the Tasman at the statement by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern, and wish Australia's political leaders would also step up.

A coalition of 77 smaller countries said they were committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and 70 countries expressed their intention to set a more ambitious climate plan next year, according to Climate Home: The UN asked for climate plans. Major economies failed to answer.

Positive Highlights of the summit included:

  • 77 countries committed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • 70 countries announced they would boost their NDCs by 2020
  • Investors with more than $2 trillion U.S. dollars committed to carbon-neutral portfolios by 2050
  • 130 banks (representing one-third of the global banking sector) agreed to align their investments with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement
  • Leaders announced over 150 nature-based climate solutions
  • Cities put forward more than 1000 bankable, climate-smart urban projects

Guterres noted in his final speech, "I was deeply moved by many examples of inspiring leadership by countries that have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis.” He pointed out that delivering $100 billion in annual climate finance to developing countries, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement, is essential.

Despite the ambitious commitments made, Guterres emphasized that they are still not enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C by the end of the century. He called on all countries to do three things: put a meaningful price on carbon, phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and stop building coal plants.

The last point was important enough to be repeated. “The large number of coal power plants still projected to be built are a looming threat to us all … I repeat my appeal: No new coal power plants should be built after 2020.”

Australia's record:

On Climate finance Australia stopped payments to Green Climate Fund in 2019 with zero money allocated in the budget.

In August 2019 the Morrison Government committed at the Pacific Island Forum $500 million on disaster resilience for Pacific Island nations, but reading closely this is not new money but is just rebranded money from a shrinking Foreign Aid budget, that goes against Australia's national interest.

Under the Abbott Government in 2014, Australia, became the only country that has abolished a carbon pricing scheme.

Both the Labor Party and Liberal and National Parties are silent in phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, with tax subsidies presently presently running at $12.16 billion per year in 2019/2020 according to Market Forces. There are politicians who are still pushing construction of new coal plants in Australia, with support of the Energy Minister Angus Taylor, despite renewables with storage being now cheaper.

The Australia Institute Climate of the Nation Report 2019 (PDF) found that: "70% of Australians support a government plan to ensure their orderly closure and replacement with clean energy. In Queensland, almost three quarters (73%) of respondents think that coal fired power stations should be phased out either as soon as possible (24%) or gradually (49%)"

The report further explains, " 64% of Australians want the Federal Government to stop new coal mines, including 31% who wish to shut down existing mines as quickly as possible and 33% who want to stop new mines but let existing ones operate. There is almost no support (just 4%) for subsiding new coal mines."

At the national level Australia still has no emissions reduction target past 2030. Every State Government in Australia has now set target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and 64% of Australians support a similar target at the national level.

Richie Merzian and Fergus Green highlight in an editorial article in the Guardian, Australia has dodged global attention on fossil fuels because of assiduous diplomatic efforts, that supply side of fossil fuels needs to be tackled comparing it to the fight to restrict tobacco to improve health outcomes. Australia has a big role to play in reducing supply of fossil fuels with "Australia’s coal and gas exports total over 1.1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide – more than double its domestic emissions – making it the world’s third largest exporter of fossil carbon, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia."

the countries that are subsidising and facilitating the expansion of coal, oil and gas production merit just as much critical scrutiny as those that are burning these fuels. Just as it would be wrong to tackle smoking by focusing only on smokers and ignoring the efforts of Big Tobacco, it is wrong to tackle the global fossil fuel addiction by ignoring the countries that deal heavily in the product. It’s wrong to tackle the global fossil fuel addiction by ignoring the countries that deal heavily in the product.

You can read an independant assessment of Australia's climate policies and targets, last updated 19 September, by the Climate Action Tracker. Australia is rated as 'insufficient':

Australia’s climate policy is further deteriorating, as it focusses on propping up the coal industry and ditches efforts to reduce emissions, ignoring the record uptake of solar PV and storage, and other climate action at state level.

The Australian government has turned its back on global climate action by dismissing the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and announcing it would no longer provide funds to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).It will also continue to subsidise fossil fuel extraction and export, against the need to phase out fossil fuels, in particular coal, globally. There are no signs from the recently re-elected government that they intend to scale up climate action.

Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels and industry continue to rise, and are now 7% above 2005 levels. These emissions have increased by around 1% per year on average since 2014, the year in which Australia’s national carbon pricing scheme was repealed. Under current polices, these emissions are headed for an increase of 8% above 2005 levels by 2030, rather than the 14-17% decrease in these emissions required to meet Australia’s Paris Agreement target (excluding LULUCF). This means Australia’s emissions are set to far outpace its “Insufficient” 2030 target.

The Government has stated it intends to “carry over” surplus emission units from the Kyoto Protocol towards its Paris Agreement target. This would significantly lower the actual emission reductions.

The so-called “Climate Solutions Package” announced in February 2019 confirms that the Government is not intending to implement any serious policy efforts. Instead, it wants to rely on carry over units, and the inadequate instrument, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) now re-named the “Climate Solutions Fund”.

The government continues to plan to underwrite a new coal power plant - completely inconsistent with the need to phase out coal globally by 2050 and in OECD countries by 2030. If all other countries were to follow Australia’s current policy trajectory that we rate “Highly Insufficient”, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.

Comment by Civil Society on the Climate Action Summit

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director for Greenpeace International, said:

“This is a moment unlike anything we have ever seen before in the climate movement, and it’s just the beginning.

Despite Greta’s raw, unvarnished opening plea, and millions of people in the streets on Friday, world leaders did not deliver what was needed in New York.

It’s time to address corporate power and the hold it has over politics, challenge the suffocating omnipresence of the fossil fuel industry and demand they take responsibility for the human rights impacts of the climate crisis.

This summit is a springboard for 2020, when all countries signed on to the Paris Agreement must pledge to increase the ambition in their nationally determined contribution. It was leaders that agreed to that, and leaders that commissioned the latest science for the IPCC. The difference is, now millions of people are watching to make sure they follow through. We will not stop, and we will keep going, until we see a sustainable 1.5 pathway and a just transition to a cleaner and fairer future for us all.”

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists, said:

“In her blunt and powerful speech at the Climate Action Summit this morning, Greta Thunberg laid down a clear line in the sand, separating those countries and leaders who are united behind the science from those who continue to place the profits of fossil fuel polluters above the safety of their citizens. Sadly, most leaders from the world’s largest emitting countries failed this litmus test, dodging their responsibility to step up action as is essential to address the climate emergency we now face.

“In sharp contrast, many vulnerable nations on the frontlines of climate change joined a growing number of state and local governments, business leaders, investors and others—both in the United States and around the world—by announcing transformational commitments to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050, shift investments from dirty to clean energy, get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources and boost support for climate action by developing countries.

“While these announcements are welcome, their collective impact on global emissions falls well short of what is needed. The science is clear: staving off the worst impacts of climate change requires ALL countries to implement bold actions across all economic sectors to urgently reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases, including by immediately halting the construction of new coal plants and eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual subsidies for production and consumption of fossil fuels.

“History has demonstrated that such a transformation can happen quickly, if there is sufficient political will. It is long past time for so-called ‘world leaders’ to lead—or make room for those who will.”

Genevieve Jiva, Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, said:

"Throughout the UNSG Climate Action Summit, the Marshall Islands, Fiji and Palau showed the ambitious and continued leadership of Pacific large ocean states.

Through the High Ambition Coalition statement “Uniting Behind the Science to Step Up Ambition by 2020”, the Marshall Islands called for all countries to sign the statement and commit to stronger ambition and action.

Fiji showed that they are leading by example, highlighting specific actions including a revised NDC, issuing a Green Bond, relocating vulnerable communities and committing to achieve 100% renewable by 2030.

Palau emphasized the importance of partnerships and that we can all be part of the solution. We look forward to seeing this in action when Palau hosts the Our Oceans Conference in 2020.

In the lead up to the Climate Summit, the UN held a Youth Summit which was attended by a number of Pacific Youth representatives, climate warriors who brought the voices of their communities to the international arena. Young leaders are calling on all of us to work together to address the climate crisis.

Save the Pacific, save the world."

More Information:
WRI Liveblog of the Climate Summit:

Lead Photo: by UN Climatechange - UN Climate Action Summit 2019 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Greta Thunberg at Climate Action Summit: "young people are starting to understand your betrayal"

Three speeches from the UN Climate Action Summit: Greta Thunberg, António Guterres UN Secretary General, and Pope Francis.

Greta Thunberg full speech at UN Climate Summit, New York

"This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

"For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

With today’s emissions levels, our remaining CO2 budget will be gone in less than 8.5 years.

You say you “hear” us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And I refuse to believe that.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Maybe 50% is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity. They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world had 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit back on 1 January 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.


António Guterres UN Secretary General speech at Climate Action Summit


Ladies and gentlemen,

Nature is angry.

And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature.

Because nature always strikes back.

And around the world, nature is striking back with fury.

Consider the last few months.

July — the hottest month ever.

June through August — the hottest summer in the Northern hemisphere ever; and the second hottest winter in the Southern hemisphere ever.

The years 2015 to 2019 — the five hottest years on the books ever.

Our warming earth is issuing a chilling cry: Stop.

If we don’t urgently change our ways of life, we jeopardize life itself.

Look around.

Seas are rising and oceans are acidifying.

Glaciers are melting and corals are bleaching.

Droughts are spreading and wildfires are burning.

Deserts are expanding and access to water is dwindling.

Heatwaves are scorching and natural disasters are multiplying.

Storms everywhere are more intense. More frequent. More deadly.

I have seen it with my own eyes – from Dominica to the Sahel to the South Pacific.

In May, I went to the island nation of Tuvalu where I witnessed an entire country fighting for its very existence against the rising seas.

Two months ago, I visited Mozambique which was pummelled by unprecedented back-to-back cyclones.

A few days ago, I was in the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian pounded the country for two unrelenting days.

The destruction was not simply appalling. It was apocalyptic.

Make no mistake, when we see those images, we are not just seeing damage.

We are seeing the future --- if we do not act now.

Dear friends,

Someone asked me the other day, doesn’t all of this make you despair?

My answer was a clear and resounding no.

I am hopeful.

And I am hopeful because of you.

This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk.

This is not a climate negotiation summit because we don’t negotiate with nature.

This is a climate action summit.

From the beginning, I said the ticket to entry is not a beautiful speech, but concrete action.

And you are here with commitments. Governments are here to show you are serious about enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

Cities and businesses are here showing what leadership looks like, investing in a green future.

Financial actors are here to scale-up action and deploy resources in fundamentally new and meaningful ways.

And coalitions are here with partnerships and initiatives to move us closer to a resilient, carbon-neutral world by 2050.

I am very grateful to the leaders and members of the 9 wide-ranging coalitions that worked with great creativity and passion so that we can all get the most out of this Summit.

And young people – above all, young people – are here providing solutions, insisting on accountability, demanding urgent action.

They are right.

My generation has failed in its responsibility to protect our planet. That must change.

The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.

The climate crisis is caused by us – and the solutions must come from us.

We have the tools: technology is on our side.

Readily-available technological substitutions already exist for more than 70 per cent of today's emissions.

And we have the roadmap: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

And we have the imperative: undeniable, irrefutable science.

The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us.

But science also tells us it is not too late. We can do it. Limiting warming to 1.5 ºC is still possible.

But it will require fundamental transformations in all aspects of society — how we grow food, use land, fuel our transport and power our economies.

We need to link climate change to a new model of development – a fair globalization – with less suffering, more justice and harmony between people and planet.

Dear friends,

There is a cost to everything.

But the biggest cost is doing nothing.

The biggest cost is subsidizing a dying fossil fuel industry, building more and more coal power plants, and denying what is plain as day.

That we are in a deep climate hole and to get out, we must first stop digging.

After all, is it common sense to give trillions in hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the fossil fuel industry to boost hurricanes, spread tropical diseases, and heighten conflict?

Is it common sense to build ever more coal plants that are choking our future?

Is it common sense to reward pollution that kills millions with dirty air and makes it dangerous for people in cities around the world to sometimes even venture out of their homes?

It is time to shift taxes from salaries to carbon, and to tax pollution, not people.

Dear friends,

As the scientific community has told us again and again, we need to cut greenhouse emissions by 45% by 2030; reach carbon neutrality by 2050; and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

And we need to accelerate financial support. The replenishment of the Green Climate Fund is crucial, as is fulfilling the commitment by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

Even if we succeed in reducing emissions, many people are already living with the dramatic effects of climate change. Adaptation has therefore become a top priority and an essential condition for increasing the resilience of countries and communities and avoiding human suffering.

I thank those countries that have already stepped up their support, especially those that have doubled their contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

I encourage all of you to take bold actions towards the global transformation of finance in line with a carbon neutral world.

Dear friends,

This summit is not meant to solve all our problems overnight; it is a springboard to effectively implement the goals set by the Paris Agreement.

We will build on the momentum we generate here for the December UN Climate Conference in Chile, and next year’s Sustainable Transport Conference in Beijing, Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Biodiversity Conference in Kunming and the Nature Summit in New York.

We need more and more ambition, more and more pressure, and more and more good, old-fashioned truth-telling.

We can send the political and market signals for a transformation to a green economy for better lives, better jobs, better health, improved food security, more equality and sustainable growth.

By acting together, we will leave no one behind.

Dear friends,

Science tells us that [on] our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century.

I will not be there, but my granddaughters will.

And your grandchildren, too.

I refuse to be an accomplice in the destruction of their home and only home.

I will not be a silent witness to the crime of dooming our present and destroying their right to a sustainable future.

It is my obligation – our obligation – to do everything to stop the climate crisis before it stops us.

Time is running out. But it is not too late.

So, let us heed the calls of wise leaders -- religious, business and especially young people who are taking to the streets to demand that we change our relationship with nature now.

Let’s lace up our running shoes and win the climate race for us all.

Thank you.

Pope Francis video message to the UN Climate action summit. (Translation from Spanish)

"I would like to thank the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, for convening this meeting and for drawing the attention of Heads of State and Government - and of the entire international community and world public opinion - to one of the most serious and worrying phenomena of our time: climate change.

"With the Paris Agreement of 12 December 2015, the international community became aware of the urgency and need for a collective response to help build our common home. However, four years after that historic Agreement, we can see that the commitments made by States are still very "weak", and are far from achieving the objectives set.

"Along with so many initiatives, not only by governments but by civil society as a whole, it is necessary to ask whether there is a real political will to allocate greater human, financial and technological resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and to help the poorest and most vulnerable populations, who suffer the most.

"With honesty, responsibility and courage we have to put our intelligence "at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral" (Laudato si', 112), capable of placing economy at the service of the human person, building peace and protecting the environment.

"While the situation is not good and the planet is suffering, the window of opportunity is still open. We are still in time. Let us not let it close

"I would like these three key words - honesty, courage and responsibility - to be at the heart of your work today and tomorrow. May they accompany you together with my best wishes and with my prayer.

"Thank you very much."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Time to wake up to the climate emergency says Christina Figueres

Extinction Rebellion and student climate strike movement civil disobedience actions receives support from Christiana Figueres to wake us up to the climate emergency.

Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres, is an important architect of the Paris Agreement negotiated in 2015.

She has released a video statement on the importance of civil disobedience and protests by #ExtinctionRebellion and the Student #climatestrike in waking us up to the #climateemergency and need for political action on climate change.

Australian politicians and #climateelection candidates should all watch, take note, and undertake ambitious action if elected. There is no more time for delay or denial.

Here in Australia the student climate strike has 3 simple basic demands:

* Stop Adani coal mine
* No new coal or gas projects
* 100 percent renewables by 2030 target

Anything less than this, does not respect the science and the threat to society from climate breakdown.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

"If our house were falling apart..." Greta Thunberg on the need to address climate breakdown

In the last week Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish climate activist, has travelled to Rome and met with Pope Francis, appeared before a 25,000 climate-strike Fridays for Future protest in Rome calling for increased climate action, and attended the Environment Committee of the Europoean Parliament in Strasbourg.

They were all significant events and highlighted her important role as a catalyst in speaking truth to power in facing the climate crisis and climate breakdown, in motivating change and action by politicians.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Greta Thunberg accepts German Golden Camera Award

Greta Thunberg was awarded a special Golden Camera award at Germany's media awards night. She dedicated the award in her speech to the activists fighting against the destruction of the Hambach Forest for lignite mining and to all activists fighting to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

She also called on the celebrities gathered to use their influence to raise awareness of the global crisis.

"I dedicate this award to the people fighting to protect the Hambach Forest. And to activists everywhere who are fighting to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Melbourne Airport Runway expansion, risk management and aviation emissions

A Response from Australia Pacific Airport (Melbourne) to my questions on runway expansion and aviation emissions.

On my first question, regarding factoring in the possibility for development of east coast high speed rail and it's impact on flight projections, they utterly failed to answer my question.

This is a big fail in their risk management and in their corporate business model.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Melbourne's Extinction Rebellion Declaration Day

About 150 people attended Extinction Rebellion Day in Melbourne in the Treasury Gardens.

There was no blocking of bridges, no arrests made. It was a pretty tame affair, really. The Climate Guardian angels were present and provided a note of solemnity. Composer and choir master Stephen Taberner was there and gave a quick workshop on street chants.

There was a short march up to Treasury Place where the declaration was read out. A copy of the declaration was also handed to a security officer between the locked bars of the Australian Government offices.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Domestic Aviation emissions are booming while Melbourne Airport plans ignore climate risk management

Growth in domestic transport emissions compared: note aviation emissions growth is well ahead of other transport modes. Source: Charting Update on Australian transport trends (December 2018)

Melbourne Airport Corporation had a drop in session on 13 March at the Hume Global Learning Centre at Broadmeadows. I dropped in to raise that Melbourne airport needs to address aviation emissions growth as part of their business model for airport expansion. This also needs to be dealt with as part of their Risk Management Plan.

My presence sends a signal that Melbourne Airport Corporation need to start to address the issue of airport expansion inducing growth in aviation emissions and non-CO2 climate impact.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Greta Thunberg: "We are school striking because we have done our homework...We need knew politics. We need knew economics."

While tens of thousands of children were climate striking and marching through the streets of Brussels, Greta Thunberg addressed the European Economic and Social Committee at the EESC event "Civil Society for rEUnaissance".

Greta articulated that it is time for politicians to listen to the scientists and the science, "We don't have any other manifestos and demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand." she said.

She argued cogently that politicians don't want to talk about the climate crisis, but raise conspiracies to mask their own inadequacy in addressing a problem that has gone on for decades with little action.

She accused the European Union of doing only half the emissions reduction that is needed Europe should double what its commitments for its fair share. (Read Guardian article: Greta Thunberg tells EU: your climate targets need doubling)

To answer the argument put forward that students should be in school, Greta suggested that adults should take the place of students on the street, striking for change, "or better yet, join us to speed up the process." she said.

Greta addressing the student climate strike rally in Brussels: "we will be a pain in the arse, we will keep on striking until they do something"

The student climate strike in Basel Switzerland, has resulted on Wednesday in the city declaring a climate emergency, passing the resolution by a two thirds vote (by 71 votes to 17 against and 6 abstentions). The resolution was drafted by climate strike kids.

Read Greta Thunberg's full speech below:

"Tens of thousands of children are school striking for the climate on the streets of Brussels. Hundreds of thousands are doing the same all over the world.

"We are school striking because we have done our homework. And some of us are here today.

People always tell us they are so hopeful. They are hopeful that the young people are going to save the world. But we are not. There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge, because by the year 2020 we need to have bended the emissions curve steep downwards. That is next year.

We know that most politicians don't want to talk to us.

Good, we don't want to talk to them either.

We want them to talk to the scientists instead. Listen to them. Because we are just repeating what they have been saying and saying for decades.

We want you to follow the Paris Agreement and IPCC reports.

We don't have any other manifestos and demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand.

When many politicians talk about the school strike for the climate, they talk about almost anything except the climate crisis.

Many people are trying to make the school strikes a question of whether we are promoting truancy or whether we should go back to school or not. They make up all sorts of conspiracies and call us puppets who cannot think for ourselves. They are desperate to remove the focus from the climate crisis and change the subject. They don't want to talk about it because they know they cannot win this fight, because they know they haven't done their homework, but we have.

Once you have done your homework you realise that we need knew politics. We need knew economics where everything is based on a rapidly declining and extremely limited global carbon budget.

But that is not enough. We need a whole new way of thinking. The political system that you have created is all about competition. You cheat when you can because all that matters is to win, to get power. That must come to an end. We must stop competing with each other. We need to co-operate and work together and share the resources of the planet in a fair way.

We need to start living within the planetary boundaries, focus on equity and take a few steps back for the sake of all living species.

We need to protect the biosphere, the air, the oceans, the soil, the forests.

This may sound very naive, but if you have done your homework you know we don't have any other choice. We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change, because if we fail to do so then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing.

And all that will remain of our political leaders legacy will be the greatest failure of human history, and they will be remembered as the greatest villans of all time because they have chosen not to listen and not to act.

This does not have to be. There is still time.

According to the IPCC report we are about 11 years away from being in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. To avoid that, unprecedented change in all aspects of society need to have taken place within this coming decade, including a reduction in our CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent by the year 2030.

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which are absolutely necessary to make the Paris Agreement work on a global scale. Nor do they include tipping points, or feedback loops, like the extremely powerful methane gas released by the thawing Arctic permafrost.

They do however include negative emission techniques on a huge planetary scale that is yet to be invented, and that many scientists fear will never be ready in time, and will anyway be impossible to deliver at the scale assumed.

We have been told that the European Union intends to improve its emission reduction target. In the new target the EU is proposing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent below its 1990 levels by 2030. Some people say that is good, or that is ambitious. But this new target is still not enough to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This target is not sufficient to protect the future of children growing up today.

If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within its carbon budget of the 2 degree limit, then it means an 80 percent reduction by 2030, and that includes aviation and shipping. So around twice as ambitious as the current proposal.

The actions required are beyond manifestos or any party politics.

Once again they sweep their mess under the carpet for our generation to clean up and solve.

Some people say we are fighting for our future, but that is not true. We are not fighting for our future, we are fighting for everyones future.

And if you think we should be in school instead, then we suggest you take our place in the streets, striking from your work, or better yet, join us to speed up the process.

I am sorry, but saying that everything will be alright and continue doing nothing at all is just not hopeful to us. In fact, it is the opposite of hope, and yet this is exactly what you keep doing. You can't just sit around waiting for hope to come. Then you are acting like spoiled irresponsible children.

You don't seem to understand that hope is something you have to earn.

And if you still say we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction.

And since our time is running out we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done."

Monday, February 4, 2019

Politician responses to the record extreme heat for Australia January 2019

I've done some tracking on twitter across the political divide on climate and the heatwave events, going back to 22 December 2018 (the start of Christmas/New Year 1st heatwave event). December and January were record hot for Australia.