Monday, October 25, 2021

Australia's 2030 climate targets for COP26

Source: Climate Council: from Paris to Glasgow report, 21 October, 2021

The Nationals have now given in principle support for Net zero by 2050. But 2050 is so far in the distance it is effectively irrelevant to what commitment and ambition Australia takes to the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, COP26. 

Ratcheting up 2030 ambition and targets is what is really at issue. This was written into the Paris Agreement that countries increase ambition after 5 years. That time is now. Senate estimate questioning on 25 October reveals Australia's 2030 target not being updated (See update at end of post)

While we wait for the Liberal Party to reflect upon the Nationals Party confidential 3 page list of demands on committing Australia to Net Zero by 2050 target, lets reflect a bit more on the 2030 target for Australia. 

Actions by Australian state governments has already set a de facto emissions target of 37 - 42 percent by 2030 based on a 2005 baseline eclipsing the 26-28 per cent set in 2015 by Prime Minister Abbott that formed part of Australia's initial Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and updated NDC this year.

For Australia to be in the ball park for dealing and to be taken seriously at the UN climate talks it really needs to match the commitments of USA, Europe and UK. The lower end of that range is 46 to 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 on 2005 baseline. The Climate Council says a science based target is for Australia to aim to reduce emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2035.

At the moment Prime Minister Morrison is taking to the G20 and Glasgow COP26 a commitment for net zero by 2050, but no change in 2030 climate targets as submitted in our NDC, no plan to increase our climate finance to our fair share, and no indication we will sign on to the Global Methane Pledge.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Business, Unions, Environment Organisations outline Australian clean energy transition vital for jobs and new export revenues

There has been a range of reports just published on why Australia should accelerate transition and transformation to a clean economy and phase out Fossil Fuels. The Business Council of Australia On Sunday 10 October The Business Council Of Australia (BCA) released a report, reversing previous stance on a net zero target and upgraded 2030 interim emissions reduction targets.

Four days later a report by global services consultancy Accenture commissioned jointly by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), WWF-Australia, ACTU and BCA was released - Sunshot: Australia’s opportunity to create 395,000 clean export jobs, charting a path for the country through the global transition to net-zero that delivers new jobs and replaces high carbon exports with clean export revenue.

These reports make it clear there are tremendous advantages in moving early with rapid ramp up of renewables, hydrogen, green steel, rare earth minerals, and services and training in the new energy economy. Thousands of jobs would be created, the great majority in regional areas allowing a transition of existing workforces with retraining in related or new skills. The benefits would flow to regional areas and the whole economy.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Australia's Technology not taxes Meet and Cheat Strategy for #COP26 while increasing fossil fuel production

Looks like Australia's technology not taxes Government slogan policy is part of its Meet and Cheat strategy.

Meet Australia's absurdly low 26-28% by 2030 climate targets for the UN climate talks in Glasgow - COP26 - ignoring that the Paris Agreement specifically requests that new NDCs with greater ambition be submitted, the ratchett mechanism.

While lobbying the IPCC to water down and delete need for phaseout of fossil fuel power, claiming carbon capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) (none of which is built) will keep these coal and gas stations running. Delete references to the power of the Fossil Fuel Lobby in influencing government decisions, despite this being fully referenced from multiple sources.

These comments were made on the 6th Assessment Working Group III report on mitigation (climate solutions) currently in preparation due for release in 2022.

Meanwhile Australia received a scathing profile in the 2021 Production Gap report highlighting Australia has no effective phaseout or transition plans for fossil fuel production, and in fact is planning to increase production.

There goes any semblance of credibility (if any was left) for the UN climate talks.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Exposing Australia's Smoke and Mirrors Climate Diplomacy | Good COP Bad Cop

The Australia Institute's  Richie Merzian and Alia Armistead discussion of the smoke and mirrors climate diplomacy by Australia over a long term, including The Australia clause. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Carmichael coal mine threatens irreversible damage to Doongmabulla Springs and local ecology says new study

Doongmabulla Springs threatened by Carmichael mine

New hydrology research from Flinders and Darwin Universities highlights the Bravus (formerly Adani) Carmichael Coal mine being develeped in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland may permanently damage the Doongmabulla Springs and the acquifer water it depends upon, and with it local ecosystems.

The natural springs are environmentally significant and are also of great spiritual and cultural significance to the Wangan and Jagalingou Indigenous nation.

Groundwater scientists warn more research is needed to measure and fully understand the aquifer sources that feed the springs.

“Even if the springs’ source aquifer is partially dewatered for mining operations, there is a serious threat of permanent damage,” says Flinders University PhD candidate Mr Robin Keegan-Treloar, the lead author of a new paper in the international Journal of Hydrology.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

This is Loss and Damage - Who Pays? It must feature at COP26 in Glasgow

In the powerful new film, "This is Loss and Damage - Who Pays?", climate activist, Vanessa Nakate, and Loss and Damage experts, Professor Saleem Huq and Harjeet Singh, offer a compelling way out of the Loss and Damage finance stalemate: an international mechanism funded by the fossil fuel polluters who caused the crisis.

The film is part of the launch of the Make Polluters Pay campaign, led by a coalition of  charities and organisations in the leadup to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, COP26. The campaign aims to raise public awareness about the urgent need for loss and damage funding, paid for by the biggest polluters. 

So what are some possible mechanisms to raise money for a Loss and Damage Fund? A Robin Hood style Financial Transactions Tax is possible. A Climate Damages Tax levied on existing fossil fuels extracted.

Panel discussion of Loss and Damage video.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Clean, healthy and sustainable environment now designated a human right by UN Human Rights Council

The UN Human Rights Council at its 48th session recognised, for the first time, that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. The Human Rights Council also established the position of Special Rapporteur on Climate Change.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in a statement called on Member States to take bold actions to give prompt and real effect to the right to a healthy environment.

“The Human Rights Council’s decisive action in recognising the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is about protecting people and planet – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. It is also about protecting the natural systems which are basic preconditions to the lives and livelihoods of all people, wherever they live,” the High Commissioner said. “Having long called for such a step, I am gratified that the Council’s action today clearly recognises environmental degradation and climate change as interconnected human rights crises.”

Friday, October 8, 2021

Australian Aviation CO2 emissions equivalent to 5 coal power stations

A new website uncovers the aviation emissions associated with 1300 airports globally, covering 99 per cent of passenger flights. Twenty four of those airports are located in Australia producing carbon emissions equivalent to five coal fired power stations.

The aviation sector would have been the sixth-largest emitter of CO₂ in 2018 if it were a country, responsible for 2.5 per cent of global emissions. Up until the pandemic aviation was growing 5 per cent annually since 2013. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the sector remains off-track for limiting global heating to 1.5ÂșC.

Aviation emissions for the website is based on data from 1300 airports from 2013, 2018, 2019. The website was a joint project by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), International Think Tank ODI, and Transport and Environment (T&E).

This is the first global attempt to focus on the infrastructure that enables and induces air travel and leads to more CO₂ emissions in future decades.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Global Methane Pledge aims for 30 percent methane emissions cut from 2020 levels by 2030

A global Methane Pledge will be launched at the UN Climate Change Conference at Glasgow COP26 in November. The pledge will commit countries to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify methane emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources. The pledge is an initiative of the USA and European Union.

Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas. Methane (CH4)  emissions need to be reigned in along with carbon dioxide to meet the Paris climate agreement temperature targets. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment report on climate change warns that "Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality."

Monday, September 27, 2021

Video: Life at 50C - The families forced to defend their homes from Australian bushfires (BBC)

This short BBC documentary investigates the climate change impacts of extreme heat and bushfires. It articulates climate change is here and now. It will get worse. But there are things we can do to change the direction of global warming.