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Monday, December 14, 2020

UN Secretary General calls for leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency

United Nations Secretary General at the Climate Ambition Conference called for all leaders to declare a climate emergency.

While previously aknowledging that we have a climate emergency, this is the first time Antonio Guterres has called for all Government leaders to declare a climate emergency.

The pandemic has cancelled this years UN climate change conference - COP26 - scheduled for Glasgow December 2020. But an online conference of leaders was organised to mark the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement: the Climate Ambition Summit.

Antonio Guiterres told the summit: "I call on leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.

"Five years after the Paris Agreement, we are still not going in the right direction.

"Let’s make the promise of a net zero world a reality."

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Australia Clause and Kyoto Carryover Credits demystified

Worth watching this for demystification of The Australia clause and Australia's Kyoto Credits.

Close your ears children for an Honest Australien Government ad on use of Kyoto Carryover Credits.

No, really. This really does cut through all the bullshit and explain how Australia has cheated the global community, and ourselves, for ther last 23 years.

Most other countries see through the bullshit. While they have set targets to actually reduce emissions, Auustralia was allowed to increase our emissions. No wonder Scott Morrison was not given an invite to speak at Climate Ambition Summit tonight (1am-6am) when Australia offers exactly zero ambition.

Watch the video:

Thanks The Juice Media for an excellent piece of demystification

5 Year Fossil Awards - the Paris Agreement Five years on and Australia

It's been five years since the UNFCCC climate conference in Paris in 2015. Five years of annual conferences. Five years of Fossil of the Day awards at those conferences. The year of pandemic has thrown a curve ball to annual negotiations with COP26 due to be held in Gasgow right now delayed to 2021.

Nations have continued to push ambition even during this pandemic year. Co-convened by the United Nations, the United Kingdom and France, and in partnership with Chile and Italy, have decided to hold a Climate Ambition Summit, a digital event.

The Climate Action Network provided its own alternative Fossil of the 5 years special event too.

Official citation

11 December 2020: Five years after the Paris Agreement, countries continue to outdo each other at being best in doing the worst to fight the climate crisis. But some are always better than others (hint: surprise they haven’t been invited to the Paris Agreement Birthday Party).

Through a fair and democratic voting process (that required no recounts), Climate Action Network, the world’s largest network of 1,300 civil society organisations working on climate change in over 130 countries, chose the USA as the overall winner of the Colossal Fossil of Five Years to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement. USA also won a second Fossil Award for Not Providing Finance and Support. Australia won a Fossil Award for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment, and Brazil won two Fossil Awards for Not Protecting People from Climate Impacts and Not Listening to the People and Shrinking Civic Space.

USA: Colossal Fossil of Five Years

Let’s be honest, the USA has never been the loudest cheerleader for climate action. In some ways President Trump simply said the quiet parts aloud. ‘America First’ has always been the north star guiding the US’ official line in international climate talks, like when verbally bulldozing proposals for climate compensation and finance for Loss and Damage to vulnerable countries, arm-twisting poorer nations into accepting weak climate targets from rich countries and flexing their diplomatic muscle to break or make deals, all the while with handshakes and smiles. Until….2016.

A Colossal Fossil of Five Years can never capture the depths of ineptitude and damage of the Trump years: from amplifying climate denialism, to dismantling domestic environmental policies to undermining progress in multilateral spaces like the UNFCCC, the IPCC, the G20 & G7 and the GCF.

USA: Fossil for Not Providing Finance and Support

In the Trump years, the USA has been particularly stingy on finance for climate action. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was bad enough but the USA used its bully pulpit to obstruct finance to developing countries. By ceasing all finance to the Green Climate Fund (inspiring other countries like Australia) it deprived millions of people in poor countries critical resources to adapt to the climate crisis. Funding to the IPCC was also summarily halted, unsurprisingly some might say, by an anti-science administration.

So when it comes to climate change, ‘America First’ only means the USA’s outsized lead as the largest historical carbon emitter. To be clear, this is not a fossil award to the American people. We salute them for voting out a climate denier! Polls consistently show Americans want a climate-safe future and President-elect Biden must act on this mandate. He must take a seat at the international table and ensure the US does its fairshare on cutting its domestic emissions drastically by 2030 and substantially increasing international finance. Rejoining the Paris Agreement and recommitting money to the Green Climate Fund will be the starting steps in this new journey. It is time for the wealthiest nation to put the planet and all its people first.

Australia: Fossil for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment

Before Scott Morrison became Australian Prime Minister, he once brandished a lump of coal in parliament. That was in 2017, when he accused his opponents of having a “pathological fear of coal”. A few short years later, the only pathological behaviour remains his government’s ongoing infatuation with fossil fuels when the rest of the world has moved on. As the largest exporter of coal and gas, Australia’s federal government has done virtually nothing over the past five years to tackle the climate emergency. The government's woefully inadequate 2030 Paris Agreement target is in line with a catastrophic 3°C rise. And it has tried to cheat by using carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet around half of it. The Australian government has refused to set a national long term target (net zero by 2050)despite every State and Territory of Australia having now set a long term net zero climate target. Australia’s current emission reduction trend will reach net-zero in 300 years! And to top it all, Australia has withdrawn funding entirely from the Green Climate Fund.

The world watched swathes of Australia's bush burn last summer contributing to significant biodiversity loss and impacting the most vulnerable people. Besides stinking up the planet, Australia appears to be reneging on acommitment to net zero emissions made to Pacific Island Neighbours in October 2019. How does Australia face its Pacific Island neighbours, many of whom will be displaced in the next two-to-three decades unless we scale up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C? Australia must get sensible fast otherwise the Morrsion government is staring at a dark legacy of climate inaction. Will future generations have to view plastic replicas of the Great Barrier Reef in a museum of climate horrors alongside stuffed mounts of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum?

Brazil: Fossil for Not Protecting People from Climate Impacts

An alarming climate tipping point could happen much sooner than expected when the dense, green canopy of the Amazon rainforest turns into a dry open savannah, an irreversible process that is being hastened by increasing fires and logging. The policies of “Chainsaw” Bolsonaro have ensured that the ‘"Cooler of the Planet"’ is now a scarred, choking mess. This year’s fires are among the worst in ten years with a 14% increase in fires compared to the already catastrophic figures from last year. The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, was consumed by flames this year, wrecking the lives of Indigineous communities there and all its biodiversity. Things look grim in Brazil as Bolsonaro offers concessions to agribusiness and mining magnates, turns his back on Indigenous communities and repeatedly denies climate change. Just to prove the point, Brazil has pledged over 70% of funding under its existing energy plan to fossil fuels and has extended subsidies to offshore oil exploitation until 2040!

Brazil: Fossil for Shrinking Civil Space

Despite tough competition from Russia, Brazil was voted for a fossil for its escalating crackdown on civil society groups resisting its regressive policies and fighting for the rights of Indigenous communities. A leaked document shows Brazil’s military plans to control “100% of NGOs working in the Amazon” and is set to advance policies to starve NGOs of funding. It is no wonder that Brazil ranks number three in the world for the murder of environmental defenders. "Civil society, despite being threatened in Brazil, must strengthen itself to pressure, nationally and internationally, for effective emission reduction measures, to preserve our forests and protect Indigenous Peoples", said Nayara Castiglioni Amaral, general coordinator of Engajamundo, a Brazilian youth organization.

Watch the whole ceremony:

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (, members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1,300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

Friday, September 25, 2020

DELWP fails consumer choice on electricity plans and greenhouse gas emissions

The Victorian Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning provide a website to compare gas and electricity plans. But a problem with this website is it prioritises solely on price. Some people like myself would like the option to compare plans on social and evironmental utility - on the level of greenhouse gas emissions.

Compare electricity in Victoria? DELWP need to do better with this website on comparing energy offers. It fails to empower Victorian consumers in how to maximise reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in their electricity bill plans.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Letter to Peter Khalil MP on gas lead recovery announcement for Australia

Dear Peter,
I hope you and your family are keeping well during these pandemic times. I am occupying myself with a thousands small jobs from the local to the international on climate advocacy. I appreciate your confidence in speaking up in recent months, and in debating Dave Sharma with Patricia Karvelas on international policy areas.

I am writing to you in your role as my Federal MP for Wills, on the Government gas lead covid recovery announcement by Prime Minister Morrison..

I write as a Victorian voter, a parent and grandfather being very concerned about increasing climate change and as a person who has attended 4 UN Climate Change conferences (COP21, COP22, COP23, and COP25)

I am very concerned about the “gas-fired recovery from COVID-19” as announced by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison today (September 15).

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Zero net emissions targets and climate action plans need to be reflected in 2040 Hume Council Horizons Vision - Submission

My submission to the Draft City of Hume Horizons 2040 document to Hume Council. Quickly pulled together with 24 hours notice and submitted an hour before the midnight deadline. The Hume 2040 Horizons document can be read and tracked through the engagement process.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Pandemic Ponderings: Cooking with gas: fugitive emissions, indoor pollution and Covid19

This article was originally published at my Linked In Blog on June 10, 2020.

Why I transitioned from cooking with gas to an electric magnetic resonance induction cooktop, a story about gas, fugitive emissions, indoor pollution and now the Covid19 virus.

One of the incidents in 2017 that started me on this whole journey was smelling a gas leak in my front yard. I called the gas company and when they attended, sure enough a leak was detected on the network side of my connection. They fixed the leak. This is fugitive emissions adding methane to the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeframe. These leaks are ocurring throughout the distribution network.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Aviation growth disrupted, time for a moratorium on airport expansion, reassesment of aviation climate impact

IATA forward projections for aviation due to the pandemic

There should be an immediate moratorium on the Melbourne Airport 3rd runway design and construction due to aviation forward growth projections being now out of date due to the impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

Melbourne Airport today (14 May) put out a notice they are still committed to building the 3rd runway.

"However, our public exhibition period and community engagement activities for the Draft Major Development Plan will be postponed as we adhere to current strict social distancing measures."

Melbourne airport failed to include any business risk management plan in their latest Airport Masterplan on high impact low occurrence situations such as black swan events (such as the pandemic) or forseeable but unlikely impacts such as increased climate regulatory action by government, or building a high speed east coast rail network for competition. This was poor risk management. (see Climate Action Moreland 2018 submission to the Melbourne Airport Draft Masterplan)

The International Airline Industry in a press release on 13 May forecasts that due to the pandemic domestic travel may not recover till 2023 and international long haul aviation 2025.

The pandemic is already changing recreational travel behaviours in the short and medium term, and business travel will also be less in future as video-conferencing reduces need to travel while also reducing travel expense to business.

Add to this growing concern and action over climate impact of aviation when we need to be reducing emissions. The need for the 3rd runway based on prepandemic travel projections should be reassessed.

The airline industry also want to remove international quarantine measures as rapidly as possible, replacing with temperature and other health checks in a layered approach.

As up to 50 percent of Covid19 infection transmission is asymptomatic or pre symptomatic, these checks will almost certainly fail to be enough in preventing continued spread of the Corona Virus.

Mass Aviation enabled the rapid global spread of this virus in the first place. Opening up international aviation without quarantine or a vaccine is highly problematic.

Brian Pearce Chief Economist for IATA in his 5 year projections provided this chart. I suspect even this projection by IATA is very rosy forecasting showing a V rebound when consumer confidence will likely take much longer and with airlines subject to much more regulatory action over emissions as the climate emergency comes to the fore again as we learn to live in post pandemic times.

IATA press release, 13 May 2020, Don’t Make A Slow Recovery More Difficult with Quarantine Measures

Friday, April 17, 2020

Guest Post: The smoke from autumn burn-offs could make coronavirus symptoms worse.

I felt somewhat vindicated when this post appeared at The Conversation warning of hazard reduction burns smoke during the early pandemic. Correlation links had already been found between covid19 severity, increased mortality and higher levels of pollution.

See: Pandemic ponderings: Indications that High levels of Air Pollution exacerbate Covid19 spread (virus may be airborne) (March 26, 2020) and Pandemic Ponderings: US study finds Air pollution link to Covid19 deaths (April 8, 2020)

The smoke from autumn burn-offs could make coronavirus symptoms worse. It’s not worth the risk

MomentsForZen/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND
Don Driscoll, Deakin University; Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney; Courtney Alice Waugh, Nord University; Marcel Klaassen, Deakin University, and Veerle L. B. Jaspers, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Pandemic Ponderings: US study finds Air pollution link to Covid19 deaths

New research from the Harvard School of Public Health highlights a possible causal link between PM2.5 particulate pollution and Covid19 deaths.

That is, areas in the US with higher levels of PM2.5 particulate pollution have statistically significant higher rate of Covid19 deaths.

The aggregated data strongly suggests a link, while the researchers suggest more research is needed down to the individual patient medical data level to positively confirm the link.

The New York Times Lisa Friedman has reported on the study in an article titled New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pandemic ponderings: Indications that High levels of Air Pollution exacerbate Covid19 spread (virus may be airborne)

First published as a Linked-in Blog post on March 26,2020.

While we all hunker down in physical distancing with Covid19. I have been chasing up reports on preliminary research by Italian scientists between high levels of Pm10 and Pm2.5 air pollution particulates increasing intensity and spread of Covid19 based on their research in northern Italy. 

I intially followed a link from a CMCC climate observatory (strong science reputation) post What Science Has to Say About the Coronavirus – Climate Crisis Connection. A Press Review (An excellent article by the way)

I came across a linked Italian news report dated 18 March reporting on a preliminary study by several Italian scientists regarding Pm10 and Pm2.5 particulates exacerbating Covid19 intensity and spread in northern regions of Italy. I documented this in my facebook timeline post with an english translation.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Nordic Countries pursuing short haul electric aviation at COP25

It’s a flying Shame – Nordic efforts towards Sustainable Aviation, December 13.

I attended this presentation at #COP25 in Madrid which entailed a video hookup with a panel of people in Stockholm.

Attitudes are changing to flying, given the level of emissions it causes. This is especially the case from people who use an ethical and value-based model to drive their behaviour.

Biofuels are being investigated, but there are biomass limits to use of these fuels, and they do not address climate impacts at high altitudes. Electric short haul flight is a realistic possibility in the next 10 years, and the Nordic countries are actively pursing this.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Climate change and the Victorian bushfire crisis

The science and warnings for this Bushfire crisis were well known and ignored. This was criminal negligence by our political leaders of the highest order.

See my twitter thread on #bushfires to Darren Chester MP interview on BBC on 30/12 #climateemergency

Nationals @DarrenChesterMP (Gippsland) on BBC on #bushfire emergency "Whether they are worse in years to come is a debateable point I suppose. One of the challenges we have is trying to reduce fuel loads in the months leading up to the summer period"

I call bullshit #Auspol 1/10