Monday, May 23, 2022

Australia votes for climate action in 2022 Federal election

Image: In the polling booth with How to vote cards and ballots

(This is from an email briefing to international climate colleagues)

We take heart that in Australia we have changed the government. Citizen concern with lack of action on climate change was a large part of this as surveys and polls showed. Many of us have been working hard in the background for weeks and months with community campaigning, holding forums, letterboxing, and some joining candidate campaigns to bring about this result.

We still don't know if it will be a Labor minority or small majority government as preferences are counted in several close electorate contests. The major conservative Party - the Liberal Party -  suffered a 20 odd seat defeat. But Labor only picked up some of these seats. A loose alliance of Community Independents - the Teal Independents - picked up at least 6 seats from the Liberal Party in their heartland electorates. The Greens also increased their numbers from 1 MP to 3 MPs, and possibly a couple more. 

Nationally, all major parties suffered swings against them and with increased support for Independents and the Greens.  

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Carbon Credits & Offsets | Honest Government Ad

All the lowdown and analysis on how the Australian Government is using carbon credits and offests to undermine climate action.

Detailed analysis in this Honest Government Ad video by The Juice Media.

There is also a detailed podcast interview with Polly Hemming from the Australia Institute on the subject to further fill you in on how the Scott Morrison Government and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor have corrupted an essential and needed action to maintain fossil fuel production and profits.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Climate consideration case not to be appealed to High Court, but Students vow to keep pushing for climate action

Young people shouldn't have needed to take a case to the Federal court in the first place for consideration of their future in approval of new fossil fuel projects. Our Liberal National Party Government are climate criminals by approving such projects without regard to present and future generations.


"They will not forget our names": no appeal, but a vow to keep pushing for climate action

SYDNEY, APRIL 12, 2022:

We should never have needed to file this case in the first place. No new coal mines should be approved. The result is harm to children and the planet. Our case dealt with a duty of care that should exist between two parties when the actions of one will impact the other, and politicians, as per their job description, should owe a duty of care to wider society. This is why we elect them. They should be of sufficient competence to realise the seriousness of climate change and the future harm it will cause to children through worsening extreme weather, and to take action to reduce carbon emissions, without this being forced upon them through a court case.

This is not something that should be fought for by children in an institution like the Federal Court. Children should be able to be children without having such a deep concern about their futures. However, having tried every other avenue available to us, including asking, striking from school and protesting, we took on this legal sparring match nonetheless. And initially, we won.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

UN Secretary General calls out Australia: "the truly dangerous radicals increasing the production of fossil fuels" in launching IPCC WGIII report on climate solutions

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published it's third report of the present cycle. This one is on Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change and contains possible solution pathways. 

This is the sixth IPCC Assessment cycle undertaking the collation of the science, impacts and solutions. Working Group I focussed on the Physical Science of climate Change. Working Group II focussed on climate impacts and vulnerability assessment. The Working Group III report is on how to mitigate climate change, the solutions and transition pathways for deep decarbonisation.

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, again stepped up to launch this report. He didn't mince any words. 

He called it a "damming" verdict that outlines a "litany of broken promises", highlighting that "we are on a fast track to climate disaster". He does not hesitate in saying "This is a climate emergency".

He doen't mention any nations by name, but Australia is clearly in his sights  when he calls out the truly dangerous radicals increasing the production of fossil fuels.

"Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets – a blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios."

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Labor Climate Policy for 2022 Federal Election, and science based climate targets

The Australian Labor Party  announced on 3 December 2021 they would be taking to the next election (sometime in the next 6 months) an interim emissions target of 43 percent reduction by 2030 on 2005 levels. This is 2% lower than the target they had for the previous election in 2019.

The Coalition Government are taking their current interim emissions target of 26-28 percent reduction in emissions reduction by 2030 on 2005 levels to the next election. This target was set in 2015 before COP21. They have now committed to Net zero by 2050. But Resources policy shows the Coalition Government expanding coal and gas production. See the deconstruction of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's statement to COP26.

Here is the Labor primary climate policy, Powering Australia. It is a  pragmatic policy document trying to incorporate enough ambition while being a small target and avoid some of the expected attacks from the Coalition. It includes an economic costing of the policy. The Labor Interim emissions target for 2030 is 43%, which is below the 45% the ALP took to the election in 2019.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Call to Australian politicians to make climate highest priority, decarbonisation by 2030 | Australian Security Leaders Climate Group

When even retired members of our military establishment are calling for a decarbonisation target of 2030, you have to wonder at the games being played by the Liberal, National and Labor Parties on highly insufficient 2030 climate targets, and the lack of preparation in safeguarding Australians from climate change impacts.

The Australian Security Leaders Climate Group issued a call to all political parties in an open letter, signed by 17 senior former defence and intelligence officials, asking them to make climate their highest priority and to aim for decarbonisation by 2030. The statement appeared as a full page in The Australian newspaper.

The open letter follows the Missing in Action report from September 2021. This report proposed that "Focus should be on the root causes of climate warming, principally eliminating emissions much faster than proposed, rather than just the responding to the symptoms." The report recommended "to the government a set of initial actions in a climate and security plan to Protect, Prevent and Prepare, starting with a realistic assessment of the risks.

  • An urgent Climate and Security Risk Assessment
  • Establish a dedicated Office of Climate Threat Intelligence
  • Triennial National Climate Risk Assessments
  • Build an Australian National Prevention & Resilience Framework 
Read more at the Missing in Action Summary (PDF) or Full Report (PDF)

Leadership in Australia has been failing citizens by the lack of a national climate risk assessment and a National Climate Adaptation Plan, and an increasing climate change security threat.

The Open letter in full is below:

A Climate for Leadership: how Australia should respond to increasing disasters with retired Admiral Chris Barrie | Webinar

Australia Institute webinar with Richie Merzian and Chris Barrie

Climate change is increasingly a national security issue and in this Australia Institute webinar Former head of the Australian Defence Forces Chris Barrie and Head of climate and Energy at the Australia Institute Richie Merzian discuss the implications for responding to increasing climate related disasters involving the ADF and some of the National Security implications of failure of leadership to address climate change at the Federal Government level.

Richie Merzian outlines how Australia shaped an outline that countries could adopt for climate adaptation plans. Australia is helping to fund and implement plans with countries in our Pacific region, yet have failed to draw up a National Climate Adaptation Plan for our own country. 

So Australia has not worked out a risk assessment for estimates of the cost of climate change and climate driven weather disasters. "It has left us vulnerable and luching from one disaster to the next, when the majority of countries have undertaken developing these climate adaptation plans."

"It's extraordinary we are missing in action in Australia, when it is the security of our own people we should be concerned about. Worse than that, as Richie has pointed out, we have not learned anything from being involved in the processes, putting these adaptation plans together. It is almost like the leadership is absolutely vacant at the moment and I think this should concern all of us." said Chris Barrie.

UN Secretary General specifically calls out Australia on climate targets and coal "1.5-degree goal is on life support" | Full Speech

On Monday 21 March the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made remarks to the Economist Sustainability Summit in a speech labelled Keeping 1.5 Alive – Delivering on the Fate of our Planet. In the speech he specifically called out Australia for failure to take climate action in increasing 2030 climate targets and phasing out coal and gas.

The developed and emerging economies of the G20 account for 80 per cent of all global emissions. A growing number of G20 developed economies have announced meaningful emissions reductions by 2030 – with a handful of holdouts, such as Australia." said  Guterres.

He didn't mince his words on the global catstrophe we are facing, either.

"According to present national commitments, global emissions are set to increase by almost 14 per cent in the 2020s. Last year alone, global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 6 per cent to their highest levels in history. Coal emissions have surged to record highs. We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe." 

On a global level he articulated what we need to aim for to avoid catastrophe: "Keeping 1.5 alive requires a 45 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century. That problem was not solved in Glasgow. "

He argues for progressively dismantling coal infrastructure, with full phase-out by 2030 for OECD countries (like Australia), and 2040 for all others. For financing adaptation and mitigation to be pursued with equal force and urgency.

He ends his speech on how do we keep 1.5 alive by calling for positive action and solutions:

  • By accelerating the phase-out of coal and all fossil fuels and implementing a rapid, just and sustainable energy transition -- the only true pathway to energy security. 
  • By honouring the Glasgow pledge to strengthen national climate plans every year until they are aligned with 1.5 degrees. 
  • By delivering concrete outcomes this year on climate coalitions to help emerging economies urgently phase out coal. 
  • By driving a swift and transformative increase in climate finance with multilateral development banks leading on unlocking the trillions that we know are needed. 
  • By speeding up the decarbonization of major sectors such as shipping, aviation, steel and cement. 
  • And by protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring an equal focus on adaptation. 

"That’s how we will move the 1.5 degree goal from life support to the recovery room. "

And Australia is presently not doing our fair share in ambituous 2030 climate targets, in planning for phase out of coal mining in a just transition engaging l;ocal communities in solutions.

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Floods 🌊 | Pre-election Australian Honest Government Ad for #Ausvotes

So much is packed in this Juice Media Honest Government Ad about the Flood Crisis in South East Queensland and North Coast of New South Wales, and the ineffective Federal Government political response.

Of Course it is part of a long history of first denying climate change, then delaying any response to acting on climate change. And doing minimal work in emergency response and recovery, and in developing a national climate risk assessment and developing a national climate adaptation plan.

Rather Australia keeps on approving new coal mines and new gas projects like the Narrabri gas field by Santos in NSW, Beetaloo Basin Gas in the Northern Territory by Origin Energy (70%, operator) and Falcon Oil and Gas (30%) , and the Scarborough Gas project by Woodside Petroleum off the Western Australian Coast.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Aviation exhaust pollution, air quality, and impacts on Human Health - Melbourne Airport 3rd runway expansion

Melbourne Airport with 3 runways 2026 Option 1, Night 11pm-6am Flight Paths

Melbourne Airport is planning a third runway.

So I'm doing a science literature dive into reading the air pollution health impacts of aviation emissions...

You know, that coating you find over your car or house if you live under a flight path...this is soot, black carbon (BC), particulate pollution emissions from aircraft landing and taking off. But it's the particles you don't see that are problematic: Ultra Fine Particles (UFP) sometimes referred to as particulate matter with a size designation often classified as PM2.5, but often even smaller which can reach the furthest alveoli of your lungs..

These pollution particulates are not good for your health. UFPs have a high surface area and a capacity to adsorb a substantial amount of toxic organic compounds.

Studies indicate that the "exposure to aircraft emissions induce pulmonary and systemic inflammation, which potentially contributes to cancer, asthma, respiratory and coronary heart disease." (Bendtsen 2021)

In fact it is calculated that aviation emissions on a global basis cause about 16,000 people to die prematurely every year, and of this number about 5,000 people who live within 20 km of airports are estimated to die prematurely each year.

As Steve H L Yim et al (2015) study says: " primary PM2.5 emissions from aviation are a significant contributor to health risk when airport vicinity exposure is captured."

The study also highlights that the health cost of aviation emissions is actually at a magnitude larger than global aviation fatal accident costs, and on par with aviation's climate costs.

I wonder if Melbourne Airport have done their sums on the extra costs to health of people in the 20km radius of the airport with the extra aviation emissions a third runway will induce?

The No Third Tulla Runway campaign has articulated reasons to oppose development of the third runway. These include:
These are all relevant reasons to oppose the airport. The missing piece in this analysis is the aviation pollution impacts on air quality and human health at all scales: local, regional and global.

This article seeks to draw attention to some of the science on aviation exhaust emissions, air quality and human health.