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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

After all the flooding rains we still face elevated bushfire risk for Summer 2022


You might think after the deluge of rain and flood events his year that fire risk would be low this summer.

You would be wrong.

All the rains and floods have contributed to vegetation growth adding to fuel load. When this fuel dries out with summer heat, it makes it susceptible to wildfire.

We are more likely to see grassfires this season than forest fires. But they can be equally deadly.

Australia and Negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty and reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment

Photo by IISD/ENB

The final resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly 21 February – 4 March 2022 was to develop a Global Plastics Treaty and to set up an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

That Negotiating Committee has now convened 28 November - 2 December 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay. Negotiations on the Treaty is expected to take until 2024. Australia is attending and have made a submission regarding processes and a statement to the Opening Plenary

  • UNEP Environment Assembly Resolution on Global Plastics Treaty
  • Plastics Treaty Needs to Consider Chemicals
  • Scientists say Global plastic treaty should address chemicals
  • Australia joins global efforts to end plastic pollution 16 November
  • Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting 28 November - 2 December 2022
  • Opening Plenary – Statement by Australia


Monday, November 21, 2022

Guest Post: COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

Photo by IISD/ENB


Matt McDonald, The University of Queensland

For 30 years, developing nations have fought to establish an international fund to pay for the “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of climate change. As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt wrapped up over the weekend, they finally succeeded.

While it’s a historic moment, the agreement of loss and damage financing left many details yet to be sorted out. What’s more, many critics have lamented the overall outcome of COP27, saying it falls well short of a sufficient response to the climate crisis. As Alok Sharma, president of COP26 in Glasgow, noted:

Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately it remains on life support.

But annual conferences aren’t the only way to pursue meaningful action on climate change. Mobilisation from activists, market forces and other sources of momentum mean hope isn’t lost.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Australia at COP27 Diary

UN climate conference, the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) is ocurring in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt from Monday November 6 to Friday November 18, 2022 (but may also go overtime into the weekend). 

This is my digital diary of Australia at COP27. I have attended four previous COPs, but I will be following whats going on at COP27 online. Follow with me. I'll be updating this blog post regularly over October-November 2022.

UNFCCC COP27 main website. Civil Society have organised the COP27 Coalition. See the La Ruta del Clima guide to COP27 (English and Spanish). The Australian Pavillion website.

Key Blogs (for tracking issues):. 

20 November - Long past bedtime as La Nina set to intensify cyclone season and flooding

Final hours of negotiations and post assessment: 

  • End game for COP27 - blogging the final hours Closing Plenary scheduled for 12:30-15:30 AEDT
  • The UN Climate conference COP27 may have closed but La Niña is set to intensify Australia’s cyclone season, raising risk of flooding (The Guardian)
  • What are the key outcomes of Cop27 climate summit? (The Guardian)
  • Guest: COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis (Blog)
  • The 1.5C climate goal died at Cop27 – but hope must not by Damian Carrington, Environment editor at The Guardian
======

19 November - Overtime, out of time

Prime minister Anthony Albanese says taking climate seriously is key to international diplomacy, is key to Australia’s push to co-host a UN climate conference with the Pacific islands. "Taking climate change seriously is the entry fee to get a seat at the table of international diplomacy and to be taken seriously by those who care about the global economy as well." (The Guardian)

U.S. silent on surprise aid plan (for Loss and Damnage finance) as climate talks stagger (Climatewire) Previous article reported U.S. isolated on loss and damage (Climatewire)

Reuters publishes Analysis-Australia's Climate Policies Don't Match Its Big Talk at COP27 highlighting Australia's addiction to fossil fuel exports and lack of policy to change this so far. (Reuters)

Australian position on Loss and Damage Finance: Australia said it welcomed the EU’s contribution and would “engage constructively with it”. On loss and damage, it was “very attracted to a new fund that benefits from a broad contributor base and focuses on the most vulnerable”. “We want to fully examine how other institutions such as multinational development banks can interact and further develop their interaction with this fund,” said Chris Bowen, the Australian climate change minister. reports the Guardian.

End game for COP27: Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established? (Blog)

Highlights and images from Earth Negotians Bulletin highlights Saturday 19 November a real negotiations rollercoaster ride (ENB/IISD)

High Ambition Coalition lists its demands for a successful COP:

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

End game for COP27: Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

COP Presidency Friday 11pm press briefing
The UN climate change conference is approaching its end game.

Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? 

Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

The negotiations are past Friday closing, well into overtime working through the night.

UNFCCC draft documents can be found here:  https://unfccc.int/document


USA wins Colossal Fossil award at COP27 for block and delay on Loss and Damage Finance, Dishonourable mentions to Russia and Bolsanaro's Brazil

The USA wins the Colossal Fossil COP27 award for continuing to block and delay the creation of a Loss and Damage Fund in the negotiations. This needs to be called out loudly. Vulnerable countries are already experiencing high levels of climate disasters that affect economic recovery. This problem is only growing. A Loss and Damage fund is greatly needed to cope with escalating damages from heatwaves and drought, torrential rain and flood events, cyclones, and the long slow impact of sea level rise.

Dishonourable mentions to Russia for using COP27 for fossil fuel and nuclear lobbying, and to Bolsanaro's Brazil and the damage done with escalating emissions and levels of deforestation of the Amazon.  

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fossil Awards to Egypt for a weak cover text and Israel for greenwashing

The Fossil awards on Solutions Day go to not one, but two countries.

Both Egypt and Israel were nominated for being the worst today. Egypt for its extremely weak first drafts of the Cover text: the decision of the COP. While Fossil of the Day Ceremony was ocurring, COP27 Presidency and UN Secretary General were reading the 'riot Act' to negotiators with so many areas left unresolved. BUT Egypt is responsible for pulling together the COP cover text and the current version is very weak. See Early Draft Cop27 cover decision fails to call for ‘phase-down’ of all fossil fuels (The Guardian)

Israel has it's first pavillion at COP, and while addressing water scarcity and adaptive agriculture is important, the elephant in the room is the human rights abuses to the Palestinian people. Greenwashing by Israel at their pavillion needs to be called out. Their is no climate justice without human rights.

Read the full press release here:

Stakeout: António Guterres, UN Secretary-General and Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President demand negotiators step up

Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres targeted comments at negotiators, although they did not identify the blockers in negotiations. 

According to Sameh Shoukry, the items of contention are "The Mitigation Work Program (MWP) is yet to reach the desired outcome, Adaptation is still held back by procedural matters, ambitious outcomes on finance have not yet materialised. And on Loss and Damage Parties are shying away from taking the difficult political decisions."

Add to this the cover decision of COP has yet to include any ambition, such as the request by India to change the phasedown of coal statement from COP26 to being a Phaseout of all Fossil Fuels.

Watch them both trying to shame the negotiators in stepping up, compromise to deliver climate ambition especially on Loss and Damage Finance at this COP.

See also Side-event at the bottom of this post: Practical Action, NYU, Germanwatch, UCS: To many the climate negotiations appear to be stuck, how do we unlock progress on Loss and Damage?

Thursday, November 17, 2022

From Russia with Love (and Smoke) Fossil of the day Award at COP27

In a year where Russia launched a full scale war on Ukraine, violating human rights, supporting oil, gas, and nuclear, and manipulatin forests’ absorbing capacity, let alone the destruction of life, natural resources and infrastructure, how could Russia not be called out at COP27 at failing to implement climate action? 

In fact going the other way.


The press release....

Russia is making all the wrong choices. Throughout this year…..and at the COP. 

The Russian delegation used their only public appearance here lobbying for nuclear power and claiming that they produce the safest, cleanest nuclear power plants with zero emissions in energy production. Of course, ignoring the fact that production is not the only thing we are worried about. All those claims on safety and security were made while the Russian Army still occupies the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant in Ukraine putting millions of people in grave danger.

Russia is being so criminally self-centered that they decided that energy transition and focus on mitigation is a scam against them and even tried to deny the anthropogenic nature of the climate crisis. Talk about a fossil alert! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

G20 in Bali provides impetus for negotiations at COP27: $20 billion to phase out Indonesian coal, Europe-Australia bilateral affirms Paris goals

G20 Leaders Plant Mangroves In Bali Photo via PM Albanese via twitter

So what did the G20 meeting say on climate and how will it affect the UN Climate Change conference COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt?

"Mindful of our leadership role, we reaffirm our steadfast commitments, in pursuit of the objective of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal," a declaration issued at the end of the meeting said.

The declaration maintains the 1.5C temperature goal. 

There was also an important bilateral meeting between Biden and Xi that cleared blockages for climate co-operation. 

And a $20 billion financing package for Indonesia to phase out coal and increase renewables as part of it's energy transition and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia -Europe joint statement which in point 9 affirmed "deeply committed to full implementation of the Paris Agreement, noting the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees through rapid, deep and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in this decade and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and will spare no effort to bring about ambitious action by all members of the international community."

Fossil award to Turkey for pretending to be a climate hero when the new target is actually a 30% increase by 2030 compared to actual 2020 emissions

Turkey wins the Fossil award for appearing to increase action but really increasing emissions in its revised target. 

Bloomberg reports on this: Turkey’s Climate Plan Points to 32% Rise in Emissions by 2030.

"The country avoided a commitment to halt new coal, and it was silent on the issue of phasing out existing plants in its new climate targets submission. "

"Under its BAU scenario, Turkey would emit 1.18 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, more than double the 524 million tons it emitted in 2020. The newly proposed cut in emissions still means Turkey’s carbon footprint will increase by 32% at the end of the decade, with emissions peaking in 2038 at the latest, according to the plan."

Read the press release:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Chris Bowen speech to COP27 on Australia's new climate ambition, COP31 bid and global financial institution reform

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen delivered a speech to COP27 High Level Segment today highlighting the new government's actions so far but also indicating there was so much more to do. 

He articulated Australia's bid to co-host with Pacific Nations COP31 in 2026. Turkey is also bidding for that COP.. Czechia and Brazil are reported to be candidate countries for COP29 (2024) and COP30 (2025)

He also identified that global financial institutions and multilateral banks need to be reformed to support the new paradigm of a changing climate and developing countries needing to be sustainably supported in their mitigation and adaptation challenges.

The Guardian has already reported on an advanced copy of the speech. The Climate Council response is below the speech transcript.

I hope the Minister has a chance to meet Mia Motley, Prime Minister of Barbados, to discuss reformation of global financial institutions.

Tracking Australian Ministers and Australian pledges at COP27

Well I tracked Australian Ministers at Previous COPs, so only fair I also do so for COP27. 

See Melissa Price at COP24Angus Taylor at COP25. For Glasgow I started keeping an Australia at COP26 diary which featured a paragraph by paragraph deconstruction and rebuttal to Prime Minister Morrison's speech. For COP21 and COP22 I was following social media and statements by  Julie Bishop regarding the COP.

Australia's Ministerial representation at COP27 included Pat Conroy as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, present for the first week; Chris Bowen as Minister for Climate Change and Energy present for the second week; and Senator Jenny McAllister as Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy (Present for the second week).

Why didn't Prime Minister Albanese attend? Well COP27 is more of a technical conference focussed  on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. While there was a 2 day high level segment in which about 100 leaders, Presidents and Prime Ministers flew in to attend, the political decisions to break deadlocks just weren't there. The high level segment was primarily leader grandstanding. Adam Morton in The Guardian thinks It was an avoidable mistake for Anthony Albanese not to attend Cop27, in terms of maintaining climate momentum. I don't think it was necessary for this COP.

Chris Bowen | Jenny McAllister | Pat Conroy | Pledges

Labor has not committed to the pledge on 15 November on ending Export credit finance to Fossil Fuels

Fossil Award to New Zealand for disappointing Saturday night statement on Loss and Damage Finance Facility

New Zealand acts ambitous, and then on Saturday night releases a disappointing statement on Loss and Damage Finance. 

Saturday night a perfect time to make an unsavoury statement expecting people to be winding down from a hard week and not paying attention. 

We see you New Zealand.



Australia improves Climate Change Performance ranking slightly in CCPI 2023 report

CCPI overall rating for 2023

At the UN Climate Change conference the latest Climate Change performance Index for 2023 was launched.

The good news? Australia has improved its overall ranking by 4 places, mainly due to improvement in international climate policy..

It recognises the new 2030 climate targets while saying the target is still insufficient. The ramping up renewables and EV tansition is still in the early development stages. There is criticism that Australia has no plan to phase out coal and gas, and the Safeguard mechanism is also criticised as being insufficient.

Australia is still in the very low performing countries and is behind many other developed nations.

So what is the decarbonisation path forward for Australia to improve its ranking?

"To align with a well-below-2°C trajectory, Australia must halt gas and coal mining for both domestic use and export, end fossil fuel subsidies, take further action to reduce GHG emissions from transport, and further increase its NDC ambition."

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Is the petrol in your car from Ampol really carbon neutral? 'Carbon-Neutral' Fossil Fuels & State-Sponsored Greenwashing

Polly Hemming from the Australia Institute outlines the problem with Ampol's greenwashing, but also highlighting this is a problem in lack of regulation allowing the greenwashing for use of dodgy carbon credits to meet dodgy net zero targets.

Both Ampol and the Federal Government should read the Report on Addressing Greenwashing and net-zero pledges at non-state levels: the High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities released its report to the UN Secretary-General on 9 November. 

It is Important for enforcing meaningful emissions reduction and targets by businesses, regional, city and local governments. (Addressing Greenwashing and net-zero pledges at non-state levels: New report by UN Expert group at COP27)

See also Coverge of the UN greenwashing and netzero report and its implication for business, state and local governments. at The Conversation.

Watch the video....

USA wins Fossil Award: While hundreds march for climate reparations, the US remains unmoved on delivering its debt


The USA is still delaying a Loss and Damages Facility, and are being called out on addressing the responsibility for the huge historic contribution of greenhouse gas emissions.


Shift Away from 'Car-Centric' Transport System needed | Climate of the Nation 2022

The shift away from 'car-centric' system and car dependency is needed to address transport emissions. That means funding public transport, walking and cycling to adequate levels.

The UN recommends that 20 per cent of the transport budget should be allocated to walking and cycling. Here in Australia it is usually less than 1 per cent.

There is a huge potential here for mobility behaviour change, if the infrastructure is put in place. Some 78 percent of people are in the interested but concerned cohort (Pearson 2022). Recent statistics from RACV show that bikes are now outselling cars.

The Climate of the Nation survey has been done each year since 2007. This year it included a section on transport and transport emissions.

Australians believe 20% of government transport spending should go to active transport, the same as the minimum recommended by the United Nations.

Three-fifths (62%) support having a national subsidy scheme for bikes, e-bikes or cargo bikes, and three-quarters (75%) support electrifying state bus fleets by 2030.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Flood the COP - Pay up for Loss and Damage at COP27

Photo: David Tong, Oil Change International

Will the conference achieve even a modicum of success in moving forward Loss and Damage and establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility? That is still unknown.

A small battle was won at the start of COP27 to get Loss and Damage on the formal Agenda, but that is no gurantee of an outcome. There are countries who are still interested in delay, kicking the can down the road.

So on Friday members of civil society dressed in blue to Flood the COP at the conference. Most of the meetings had been shut down anyway due to the presence of US President Joe Biden and his speech announcing more details of actions the US is taking.

Early this week there was another flooding problem: a major sewerage flood at the UN Climate Change conference in Sharm El-Shiekh. Enough for people to start calling it Sharm El-Shit. 

This is symptomatic of many problems and stories coming out of this COP. Expensive food, with long queues. Very little access to water, initially. Delegates being rorted by accommodation jacking up prices. Little shade or space for civil society to organise. The atmosphere of suppression of local civil society and human rights.

On Decarbonisation Day - #Fossiloftheday Bonanza! US, Russia, Egypt and UAE refuse to decarbonise - fossils run in their veins

The Egyptian Presidency had allocated today, November 11, as Decarbonization Day. But really it turned out to be a Fossil of the day Bonanza. So many countries won a Fossil award today: USA, Russia, Egypt and United Arab Emirates. Read on...

I know from attending online the Advamcing the Global Methane Pledge, which included the CEO of Total Energies, gas was being marketed as a transition fuel to be used for decades and the Global Methane Pledge an excuse to seek financial subsidies to do what these companies already should be doing.

Australia's methane emissions, the Global Methane Pledge and COP27

Image: Karryos
Methane inventories in select fossil fuel basins (size of bubble = Mt CH4/yr), coverage of satellite data (x-axis, relative to total country emissions) and annual trend rate since 2019 (y-axis).

A report on global methane emissions by Karryos shows the only country to make headway on the Global Methane Pledge this year is Australia, thanks to a sharp reduction in methane from the Bowen Basin coal mines, as reported by Renew Economy.

The report says in the last year methane emissions from the globe’s largest oil, gas and coal basins, which are responsible for a tenth of the world’s methane, were largely unchanged in the 2022 year to date compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Emissions from Australia’s Bowen basin have declined by approximately 11 per cent per annum,” Karryos said in its pre-COP27 report.

In stark contrast the Advancing Global Methane Pledge Presidency event on 11 November at COP27 appeared to be endorsing fossil gas as a transition fuel, with the possibility of rorting finance to install well known established technology to reduce flaring and leaks for an industry that is already highly profitable and will likely earn income from the methane saved.

.See also the international action on methane reduction by the USA, Canada and Nigeria. 

On 11 November the US State department announced another methane pledge relating to import and export of fossil fuels, which has been criticised as diverting focus from what they should do to tackle methane emissions.

15 November: Climate and Clean Air Ministerial at COP 27 | Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt reported by ENB/IISD. "The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) saw ministers and leaders step up implementation efforts during the Climate and Clean Air Ministerial Roundtable, which took place on the sidelines of COP 27 and serves as the CCAC’s highest level political body to advance the Coalition’s work."

17 November: Very informative Ministerial on 17 November on the Global Methane pledge with an announcement that 150 countries have now signed. Methane action plans are being developed by many countries. Earlier in the day Methane action held a side-event on Methane matters: towards a global methane agreeement..

Friday, November 11, 2022

Climate Trace: tool shows global origin of emissions launched by Al Gore at COP27

 


Australia’s emissions are almost double those of Egypt, according to a new global emissions tracker - Climate Trace - launched at COP27.

The Climate TRACE platform tracks greenhouse gas emissions from around the world, providing maps and data on 72,000 power plants, oil refineries, airports, and more. 

This tool adds substantially to global transparency of reporting emissions and effectiveness of nations at reducing emissions.

The Application was launched by Former US Vice President Al Gore, with an introduction by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Guest Post: Global carbon emissions at record levels with no signs of shrinking, new data shows. Humanity has a monumental task ahead

 

Marcin Jozwiak/Unsplash, CC BY
Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia; Glen Peters, Center for International Climate and Environment Research - Oslo; Judith Hauck, Universität Bremen; Julia Pongratz, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; Philippe Ciais, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA); Pierre Friedlingstein, University of Exeter; Robbie Andrew, Center for International Climate and Environment Research - Oslo, and Rob Jackson, Stanford University

Global carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities remain at record highs in 2022, and fossil fuel emissions have risen above pre-pandemic levels, according to a new analysis by an international body of scientists.

The analysis, by the Global Carbon Project, calculates Earth’s “carbon budget”, which is how much CO₂ humans have released, and how much has been removed from the atmosphere by the oceans and land ecosystems. From there, we calculate how much carbon can still be emitted into the atmosphere before Earth exceeds the crucial 1.5℃ global warming threshold.

This year, the world is projected to emit 40.6 billion tonnes of CO₂ from all human activities, leaving 380 billion tonnes of CO₂ as the remaining carbon budget. This amount of emissions is disastrous for the climate – at current levels, there is a 50% chance the planet will reach the 1.5℃ global average temperature rise in just nine years.

Egypt wins Fossil of the Day award for no protesters allowed but a warm welcome to a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists

No surprise that Egypt wins a Fossil award, the second award at this COP. 

Suppression of human rights and prevention of Egyption civil society in participating has been highlighted in the lead up to this conference. Read the Human Rights Watch report on how Egypt has undermined environmental activism and the UN Human Rights (UNHR) news item  - Egypt: UN experts alarmed by restrictions on civil society ahead of climate summit. 

Or take note of Fossil Fuel Polluters/Lobbyists taking over the COP. An analysis of registrations found 636 fossil fuel lobbyists have been registered to the COP27 climate talks, affiliated with some of the world's biggest polluting oil and gas giants. This is an increase of over 25% from COP26 says a Global Witness analysis

Or refer to the civil society intervention in the opening plenary. There can be no climate Justice without Human rights.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Japan wins First Fossil of the day award at COP27

During the UN Climate Change Conference the Environmental NGO Climate Action Network awards the Fossil of the Day awards to highlight those contries or entities doing the worst.

This year at Sharm El-Sheik the first award was made on November 9... to Japan.

Today’s Fossil of the Day is… Japan!

For being the world’s largest public financier for oil, gas, and coal projects


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Guest Post: After decades putting the brakes on global action, does Australia deserve to host UN climate talks with Pacific nations?

Shutterstock
Wesley Morgan, Griffith University

As the COP27 climate talks got underway in Egypt this week, climate and energy minister Chris Bowen announced Australia would bid to co-host the annual United Nations climate summit with Pacific island nations in 2026.

Playing host to the world’s climate negotiations could be a very big deal. It would be the largest diplomatic event Australia has ever held and would have major implications for both climate policy and our international relations.

A successful summit would signal Australia’s shift from fossil fuel heavyweight to renewables superpower and herald a new era of regional cooperation with the Pacific. However, these outcomes cannot be assumed, nor can support from Pacific nations.

Addressing Greenwashing and net-zero pledges at non-state levels: New report by UN Expert group at COP27

The High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities released its report to the UN Secretary-General today at the UN climate talks, COP27, in Egypt.

The report cracks down on greenwashing and weak net zero pledges that threaten to undermine global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.

Non-state entities are all the regional and local governments, corporations and smaller businesses who all have a carbon footprint and need to address their greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, chair of the UN-appointed expert group and former Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change as well as Minister of Infrastructure, said the report provides a crucial roadmap to bring integrity to net zero commitments by industry, financial institutions, cities and regions and to support a global, equitable transition to a sustainable future.

“We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing,” said the Secretary-General at the launch of the Group’s report at the UN Climate Conference (COP27) at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 8 November 2022. Calling the report “a how-to guide to ensure credible, accountable net-zero pledges,” he explained that it provides clarity in four key areas – environmental integrity, credibility, accountability, and the role of governments. 

“Solving the climate crisis requires strong political leadership. I urge all government leaders to provide non-state entities with a level playing field to transition to a just, net-zero future,” added the Secretary-General. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

In Parliament: Climate Change questions, statements and COP27

Image: Prime Minister Albanese answers a question on Loss and Damage asked by Leader of the Opposition peter Dutton

A few question on climate change being asked in the Commonwealth Parliament during Question time during the UN Climate Change conference COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

On November 7, Queensland Greens MP Ms Watson-Brown asked the Prime Minister about the bid to host the Climate Change Conference COP31 in 2026 and whether he would commit to not opening any of the 114 new coal and gas projects presently in the pipeline?

The Prime Minister failed to answer the question. 

This question was originally attributed at the Guardian Live page as Peter Dutton, leader of the opposition, asking the question.

On November 8 Peter Dutton (Leader of the Opposition) asked a question whether the Prime Minister would ‘rule out’ compensating other countries for the climate crisis. It should be noted Loss and Damage is an important issue at COP27.

The Prime Minister in his response recalled the joke that Peter Dutton made in 2015 about our island neighbours drowning and then described the diplomatic efforts taken since May in restoring the credibility of Australia in the Asia Pacific region on Foreign policy. 

Albanese failed to address that Australia is not funding its fair share of climate finance and is the only OECD country not to participate in multilateral climate finance funding through the Green Climate Fund, after former Prime Minister Morrison unilaterally withdrew Australia from this Fund in 2019. (See Guardian report)

No climate Justice without Human rights - Intervention by Tasneem Essop during the COP27 Opening Plenary


Egypt is one of the most repressive nations in the middle east and human rights is an enormous issue. 
Tasneem Essop, Exective Director of CAN International chose in her 1 minute intervention at the opening plenary of the UN climate Change Conference COP27 to shine a spotlight on repression in Egypt, and that there is no climate justice without human rights.

I understand Egypt's President Abdelfattah El  Sisi squirmed a little in his seat during this speech.

Australia a laggard on climate finance. Will it promise more at COP27, support a Loss and damage facility?

According to a recent Carbon Brief analysis, Australia gave just 38% of its fair share climate finance and fell short by US$1.7bn. Other assessments have been equally critical.

In Falling Short: Australia's role in funding fairer climate action in a Warming World - by Action Aid, Oxfam Australia and other NGOs on Australia's climate finance, found that Australia’s international climate funding is currently just a tenth of our international fair share. 

Australia’s fair share of international commitments is AUD$4 billion per year; however, our average contributions sit at only AUD$400 million per year over the period 2020-2025 says the report. 

If Australia wants to support our Pacific neigbours and host the UN Climate Conference COP31 in 2026, climate finance is an area it needs to step up.

Blunt choice: Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact says UN Secretary General António Guterres at COP27 openning


The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made it clear in his speech upon the opening of the UN climate change conference COP27 what we face if the world fails to address the climate emergency. 

That "We are in the fight of our lives. And we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator."

Guterres articulated the principal issues being faced by this COP and the urgency to address them. It is another thing whether negotiators will heed his warnings and advice to be ambitious and implement the solutions. 
  • Today’s crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding or greenwashing.
  • All G20 countries must accelerate their transition now – in this decade. Developed countries must take the lead.
  • Call for a historic Pact between developed and emerging economies – a Climate Solidarity Pact.
  • Desperately need progress on adaptation -- to build resilience to the climate disruption to come.
  • Loss and damage can no longer be swept under the rug. It is a moral imperative. It is a fundamental question of international solidarity -- and climate justice.
  • Time for nations to come together for implementation.

Monday, November 7, 2022

As COP27 starts Australia supports Loss and Damage finance, bids for COP31 in 2026 and a new Climate Change Ambassador


As the UN climate change conference COP27 starts in Sharm El-Sheikh, Australia has announced our new Climate Change Ambassador to be career public servant Kristin Tilley.

Australia is also launching a bid with Pacific nations to host the 2026 UN climate change conference (COP31). These conferences are rotated around the different regions and the next opportunity for Europe and other, which Australia is in, will be in 2026.

With the election of a Labor Government to Federal Parliament in May 2022, Australia has increased its commitment to climate action. From being a laggard country it is now in the middle of the pack of developed nations.

At the opening plenary Australia, as chair of the Umbrella Group of Nations, supported the inclusion of the agenda item on financial measures to address Loss and Damage, a key item for developing countries.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Montreal Protocol continues work limiting chemicals destroying ozone layer at MOP34

Remember the threat of the growing hole in the ozone layer? 

Well scientists and Governments came together in 1987 and implemented the Montreal Protocol Treaty to regulate substances such as chlorofluorocarbons that were increasing the ozone hole. 

The ozone holes have been decreasing over the last two decades. We have it largely under control, but there is still decades to go before the ozone layer is recovered. But the work of the Montreal Protocol continues. 

The Montreal Protocol remains the only international treaty ratified by every country on Earth.

It is meeting this week in Montreal. Here is a quick summary of the first day of 34th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP34).

Monday, October 24, 2022

Australia commits to signing Global Methane Pledge

Australia committed today to sign on to the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 based on 2020 levels. Australia will join 122 other countries in signing the pledge. Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen released a statement this afternoon of this commitment and putting in place measures to support the farming sector to reduce methane. No mention of addressing under-reporting of methane emissions and addressing mining fugitive emissions was more nebulous.

Signing the pledge was supported by many environmental groups and the National Farmers Federation.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Victoria sets 75-80% emissions reduction target for 2035, Net zero by 2045, New Renewables Targets VRET of 65% by 2030, 95% by 2035.

The Victorian Labor Premier, Dan Andrews, and Climate Change Minister Lily D'Ambrosio, have announced the State's 2035 emissions reduction target, new renewable energy targets and re-establishment of a  government Owned electricity supplier for the market.. 

The new 2035 emissions reduction target is set at 75-80% reductions on 2005 levels, and net zero by 2045. It places Victoria as globally ambitious in climate targets.

Victoria new renewable energy targets are 95% renewables by 2035, 65% by 2030.

The Victorian state government will undertake to build 4.5 gigawatts of publicly owned renewables and the reestablishment of a publicly owned electric commission. 

The government has estimated its energy plan will create 60,000 jobs by 2035. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Flemington Racecourse Floowall an example of urban climate maladaptation

Victorian Racing Club were allowed by the Bracks Labor Government to build a stone flood wall at Flemington Racecourse in 2006 over the objections of local residents and three local Councils. 

This racing track is built on the floodplain and should provide mitigation from floodwaters. 

Instead those floodwaters from the Maribynong river inundated local residential areas on Friday flooding about 245 homes, and damaging many vehicles. 

Prevention of floodwaters spreading across the Flemington racetrack likely exacerbated flood impacts on residential areas that were flooded.


Who will pay for the damage to residential property? The citizens affected, their insurance companies (if they have flood insurance) and it will contribute to all our insurance premiums.

All to prioritise the gambling industry above citizens. And the Melbourne Cup.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Nitrogen Fertilizer Urea production Locking in Fossil Fuels greenhouse gas emissions for industrial Food production


A new international report identifies Fossil Fuel fertilisers as an important growth area for coal and gas sectors  as part of the petrochemical industry. Plastics and Nitrogen fertilisers are both products of fossil fuels that continue to lock us in to systemic fossil fuel consumption. 

Fossil fertilisers create greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of production to their use in industrial agriculture. They lock our food system productivity into continued greenhouse gas emissions.

Coal or Gas are major sources for nitrogen fertiliser, turning methane into Ammonia through steam reformation, and then into Urea and water. 

Here in Victoria the recently published Victorian Greenhouse Gas emissions report to 2020 highlighted the increased Urea use, while this detail was buried very deeply in the report and few have commented on the massive expansion of Urea use in Victorian agriculture over the last thirty years. (See lead graph for Victoria Urea application.)

"The total area of crop cultivation almost doubled, from 1.8 to 3.5 million hectares between 1990 and 2020, while the application of fertilisers increased from just under 50,000 to 328,000 tonnes of nitrogen (an increase of 561%) over this period. This also contributed to a significant increase in urea application emissions which grew nearly seven-fold between 1990 and 2020 (Figure 40), with particularly strong growth in the last decade (DCCEEW 2022a)." said the Victoria report.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

AGL Energy brings forward Loy Yang A coal power plant closure from 2045 to 2035

AGL Energy has announced the bringing forward of the closure date for the Loy Yang A coal power station in the LaTrobe Valley from 2045 to 2035. 

Such action was not unexpected given the Victorian Premier's announcement on Tuesday setting Victorian energy storage targets, and with continual growth in grid solar and wind farms and the planned construction of offshore wind. In March this year the Victorian Government set offshore wind targets of 2GW by 2032 and 4 GW by 2035.

But the 2035 closure date is still not ambituous and not in keeping with Paris climate target for phasing out coal. Bronya Lipski from Environment Victoria argues that a 2032 closure is in line with AEMO step change scenario. The Greens in the upcoming state election argue that all Victoria's coal plants should be phased out by 2030 with ramping up the speed of renewables and storage construction.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Queensland sets new renewables targets: 70% by 2032, 80% by 2035, coal reliance phaseout by 2035


“We are facing a climate emergency,” Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said in her State of the State address at a CEDA function. She noted that Queensland is facing dramatic problems from rising sea levels in Torres Strait, record “rain bombs”, bushfires, and a total of 98 natural disasters in the last decade. “Climate change is real …. but we need to do more than talk about it. We need to act, and act in a revolutionary way,” she said.

The Premier launched a $60 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan which will transform Queensland from a coal dependant state for energy to one powered by solar and wind renewables with pumped hydro energy storage, as well as grid batteries, and an upgrade to the transmission grid.

The plan encompasses:

  • At least 25 GW new and existing renewable energy
  • Gladstone grid reinforcement to support heavy industry to switch to renewable energy and decarbonise their operations
  • All publicly owned coal-fired power stations operating as clean energy hubs by 2035, supported by a legislated Job Security Guarantee for energy workers
  • Two new world-class pumped hydro projects that together could deliver up to 7 GW of long duration storage
  • Around 1500km of new high voltage backbone transmission to move more power around the state
  • Up to 3 GW of low to zero emissions gas generation for periods of peak demand and backup security
  • A smarter grid to support over 11 GW of rooftop solar and around 6 GW of batteries in homes and businesses

It should be noted Queensland is a major exporter of both thermal and metallurgical coal and this plan does not cover this coal production for the export market.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Victoria sets Energy Storage targets of 2.6 Gigawatts by 2030 and 6.3 GW by 2035 capacity, coal may end in early 2030s

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio announced new energy storage targets alongside a $157 million package supporting renewable energy generation and storage projects across the state.

Victoria has set a 2.6 gigawatts (GW) target of renewable energy storage capacity by 2030, with an increased target of 6.3 GW of storage by 2035. This energy storage is essential to firm the growth in renewables generation from solar and wind farms.

The new storage targets include both short and long-duration energy storage systems – which can hold more than eight hours of energy to cover peak demand periods. 

The new energy storage targets, along with advancing renewables may spell the closure of Victoria's brown coal in the early 2030s. It also adds momentum to Victoria's achievements in emissions reduction in future climate targets.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Guest Post: Australia violated the rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to act on climate change, the UN says. Here’s what that means

Shutterstock
Guest post by Kristen Lyons, The University of Queensland via the Conversation.

In a landmark decision, a United Nations committee on Friday found Australia’s former Coalition government violated the human rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to adequately respond to the climate crisis.

The Torres Strait Islanders ‘Group of Eight’ claimed Australia failed to take measures such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and upgrading seawalls on the islands. The UN upheld the complaint and said the claimants should be compensated.

This decision is a breakthrough in Indigenous rights and climate justice, including by opening up new pathways for Indigenous communities – who are often on the frontline of the climate crisis – to defend their rights.