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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

COP28 Fossil of the Day Awards. Who will be the colossal Fossil of COP28?

The Fossil of the day Daily count for COP28. The best of the worst....

Day Gold🥇 Silver🥈
Bronze🥉 Mention Ray
Dec 3 New Zealand USA Japan
Dec 4 Brazil South Africa
Dec 5 USA Russia Japan

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), nominate and vote for countries judged to have done their ‘best’ to block progress in the negotiations in the talks, or in a wider context for actions in their own country at odds with implementing climate action n alignment with the Paris Agreement and its targets..

Below are the CAN International Medias Releases for all the Fossil Awards, available 

This page will be updated daily.

Australia at COP28 Climate Diary

UN climate conference, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) is ocurring in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from Monday November 30 to Friday December 12, 2023 (but may also go into overtime). 

This is my digital diary of Australia at COP28 in Dubai. I have attended four previous COPs (2015-2019) in person. For COP26 Glasgow in 2021 and COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt in 2022, I kept a Digital diary of Australia at the climate conference.  I will be following whats going on at COP28 in Dubai online. Follow with me. I'll be updating this blog post regularly over November-December 2023. 

President-Designate for COP28, is Dr.Sultan Al Jaber, who is the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC Group), and chairman of Masdar, a state owned renewable energy company.

Australia will be represented at the ministerial level by Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Assistant Minister Jenny McAllister. See Tracking Australian Ministers and Australian pledges at COP28.

UNFCCC COP28 website for documents. UAE COP28 website. Civil Society COP28 Climate Justice Hub, DCCEEW international climate action page. Australia at COP28. Carbon Brief Negotiating Text Tracker | Fossil of the Day awards leader Board

I'll be including detail from IISD Earth Negotiating Bulletin for each day. I might pluck details from the full report, especially relevant to Australia, and will post the 'In the Corridors" section which provides a concise  'vibe' summary on the negotiations. I might include details from other sources as needed.


Negotiations Report on 5 December.

IISD/ENB Negotiations summary 5 December In the Corridors:

It’s the day before what’s looking to be a long final day for the Subsidiary Bodies. They close on Wednesday, 6 December, meaning that negotiations across the board were scheduled and rescheduled. For discussions to select a host for the Santiago Network, an agreement seems close at hand. Gender reached an agreement, although few seemed pleased. But they are largely outliers.

In research and systematic observation and the Adaptation Committee, the specter of Rule 16 looms. It signals that no agreement could be reached at all. Negotiators on agriculture, response measures, and the Global Goal on Adaptation continued discussions to try to overcome entrenched disagreements. Article 6.4 had “merely started,” in the words of one observer. At least in finance, one Co-Facilitator observed that “everyone seems equally unhappy, as always at this stage.”

For some issues, it’s a matter of getting texts in shape for political engagement. GST negotiators expected to “be here all night” to prepare a text to be forwarded to ministers. The current version is replete with options—89 and more to come—and the crucial section on how to take the GST’s messages forward is a compilation of options and 29 bullet points. In informal informals all day, the just transition work programme talks seemed far from their goal to define, let alone refine, some options that delegates were comfortable sending to the ministers.

The mood was nervy. One negotiator blankly stated “everyone is in the dark” on the process for the second week. Another worried negotiator said once the texts are handed to the Presidency “the process becomes a little bit unclear at that point,” joined by another who “wanted to preserve the progress we’ve made.” The finance negotiators even heard one group call for “protecting the Presidency” to ensure it can focus on the many issues that will require its engagement.

The Presidency will likely convene a stocktaking session after the Subsidiary Bodies close. Several hoped this will be worth staying up late for.

5 December - Scientists call for citizens to become activists. 33 IPCC authors among 1,447 scientists and academics in signing an open letter calling on the public to take collective action to avert climate breakdown. Scientists are becoming angry that their research warning us of climate breakdown has been essentially ignored for over 30 years. (Guardian)

5 December - 2,400+ Fossil Fuel lobbyists at COP28. Kick Big Polluters Out campaign reveals there are almost four times as many fossil fuel lobbyists as registered as COP27!!!! Seven times as many as official Indigenous delegates, and more than all the people brought by the 10 most climate vulnerable countries. Australia ranks 34th with 8 Fossil Fuel lobbyists (Kick Big Polluters Out)

5 December - At least 360,000 people are estimated to die prematurely before the end of the century from one year of greenhouse gas emissions from nine major European oil and gas companies. This is due to the increasing extreme heat. This is shown by research. study analyzes the 2022 self-reported greenhouse gas emissions of Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, Equinor, Eni, Repsol, OMV, Orlen and Wintershall Dea. They emitted 2.7 billion tons of CO2 in 2022. (Greenpeace Netherlands)(CAN International)

5 December:  Reliance on carbon capture and storage (CCS) could release an extra 86 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050, finds a new analysis published today (Climate Analytics). 

5 December - Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance announced the joining of 3 new members: Kenya (first African country), Samoa and Spain, as well as the implementation of the BOGA fund, through which Colombia and Kenya will receive 1 million dollars each of technical assistance to explore ways to manage the transition.

5 December - Carbon Capture At the high-level roundtable 'Carbon Management Challenge: Essential Pillar to Keep 1.5ºC Alive’ joining countries announced a pledge to scale the expansion of carbon capture and storage, to a gigaton CO2 by 2030 (on track for the IEA pathway) under the heading of the Carbon Management Challenge (CMC)

5 December - Initiative to support the phasing out of a coal plant in the Philippines. The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI), which has support from The Rockefeller Foundation, announced a new collaboration with ACEN Corporation to explore a pilot project in the Philippines that would leverage carbon finance to phase out a coal-fired power plant and replace it with renewable energy, while supporting livelihoods of vulnerable people.

5 December - Dairy Methane Action Alliance. Industry leaders the Bel Group, Danone, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Lactalis USA, and Nestlé together with the Environmental Defense Fund announced the launch of the Dairy Methane Action Alliance with the aim of reducing and accounting for methane in their dairy supply chains.(Environmental Defense Fund)

5 December - Australia rejects nuclear path to focus on renewables for decarbonisation (Climate Citizen)

5 December - Australia joins the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP) - also known as the Glasgow Statement. This will help end the billion dollar pipeline of taxpayer money to fossil fuel companies coming from federal export finance and foreign aid programs. Australia is joining at least 39 countries and institutions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Fiji, to align international investment strategies with net zero priorities. (DCCEEW)(Jubilee Australia)

5 December - Labor and Greens strike deal to establish nature repair scheme. Government also committed to supporting fast-tracked legislation to strengthen the water trigger so that it applies to all forms of unconventional gas, such as fracking for tight gas like in the Beetaloo Basin. (Guardian)

5 December - Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson comments on Al Jaber furore:

5 December -  Climate Action Tracker 2023 Update highlights that there has been no improvement to warming projections since COP26 Glasgow. The CAT’s “optimistic scenario” would result in warming of 1.8°C, still well above 1.5˚C. CAT also notes that we are “unlikely to see any movement in this pathway.” Without any major policy improvement in this critical decade, end of century warming remains at 2.7°C. The report also draws attention to the fossil fuel industry and some governments “still trying to support every unrealistic techno fix to see if one of these false solutions sticks”, with specific cautions on reliance on CCS, co-firing ammonia with coal in thermal power plants, E-fuels, the use of carbon credits to offset domestic emissions and meet NDC targets, and reliance on carbon removal to reach net zero targets.Warns on language: ""Abated" is not a phase-out. COP28 must agree to phase out fossil fuels: everything else is a distraction."(Climate Action Tracker)

5 December - Fossil of the Day awards: (CAN International)

🥇 USA 🇺🇸 - world’s largest oil & gas producer, responsible for > one-third of all planned oil & gas expansion
🥈Russia 🇷🇺 - gas is not green, it certainly isn’t a transition fuel
🥉 Japan 🇯🇵 - doubling down on coal


Rejecting nuclear path at COP28, Australia focusses on tripling renewables for decarbonisation

COP28 Nuclear Pledge
Australia has continued to reject taking a nuclear path, but supported the Pledge to triple renewables and double energy efficiency, at the UN Climate Conference COP28.

On 2 December  22 countries call for tripling of nuclear energy by 2050. 

The list of nuclear advocates include : Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

18 of these nations already have a nuclear energy industry. Only four: Moldova, Morocco, Poland and Mongolia, signed the pledge as countries without nuclear power. A number of countries with nuclear energy industries did not sign the pledge.

On the same day 117 other countries signed a pledge to triple global renewable energy capacity, and double energy efficiency, including Australia.

Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen  said Australia had joined other major energy exporters, including the US, Canada and Norway, in supporting the renewables and energy efficiency push.

“We know that renewables are the cleanest and cheapest form of energy, and that energy efficiency can also help drive down bills and emissions,” he said in a statement. “For emissions to go down around the world, we need a big international push. Australia has the resources and the smarts to help supply the world with clean energy technologies to drive down those emissions while spurring new Australian industry.”

On 23 November Climate Minister Chris Bowen announced 32GW boost to Renewables to meet Australia's 82 percent renewables by 2030 target reports Climate Action Merribek.

Meanwhile Skynews and the Australian are strongly pushing the Coalition Party line on development of nuclear power to address the climate crisis, ignoring the overwhelming economic costs, opportunity costs, and the escalation of costs of living this would bring to Australian electricity consumers.

Dave Sweeney, Nuclear policy analyst, Australian Conservation Foundation said about the Nuclear Push at COP28:

“Pro-nuclear voices have put a lot of money and effort into this CoP to promote nuclear power as a climate response. We don’t agree. Existing nuclear technology is high cost and high risk and new or ‘next generation’ nuclear, including the heavily promoted small modular reactors (SMR’s), is unproven and not in commercial deployment anywhere in the world. We need effective climate action, not nuclear distractions. The Australian experience of communities and First Nations people with the impacts of uranium mining, nuclear testing and waste dumping has shown the gap between nuclear industry rhetoric and lived reality. Our shared energy future cannot be built or based on industry assurances or politicians promises. Renewable energy is proven, popular, safer, cheaper and far more deployable. Our low carbon energy future is renewable, not radioactive.”

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Tracking Australian Ministers and Australian pledges at COP28

This is a subpage of Australia at COP28 Climate Diary and will be updated throughout the conference.

Australia will be represented at the ministerial level at COP28 by Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Assistant Minister Jenny McAllister. Jenny McAllister has already been assigned a key role at the conference: co-facilitate with Chile’s Minister for the Environment, Maisa Rojas, outcomes on adaptation.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Albanese attend? Well COP28 is more of a technical conference focussed  on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, this year looking at the Global Stock Take, Implementing the Loss and Damage Fund, as well as mitigation and Adaptation work programs. 

Chris Bowen | Jenny McAllister | Pledges | Mayors

Monday, December 4, 2023

Launch of Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy at COP28

Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, launched Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy at the United Nations climate Conference COP28. 

The Strategy lays out a plan to manage the health impacts of climate change, reduce the carbon footprint of the health system, promote the health co-benefits of emissions reductions, and to collaborate internationally to build sustainable, climate-resilient health systems and communities.

This is the first COP where health is a major theme. 127 nations, including Australia, have now signed a COP28 Declaration on Health and Climate.

Corporate 'Net Zero' BS is all the rage. Top Net Zero Corporates for greenwashing revealed

Influence Map study: Top 5 net zero greenwash companies

New InfluenceMap research published 28 November finds that corporate net zero or similar targets are rarely matched by support for government climate policy, with 58% of almost 300 companies from the Forbes 2,000 list found to be at risk of “net zero greenwash” due to their policy engagement.

Chevron, Delta Air Lines, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Glencore International, Nippon Steel Corporation, Repsol, Stellantis, Southern Company, and Woodside Energy Group Ltd are in the top ten dirty greenwashers. They are among the 21.5% of companies assessed to be at significant risk of “net zero greenwash” due to their policy engagement. 

The High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities released its report to the UN Secretary-General at the UN climate talks, COP27, in Egypt in November 2022. The Influence Map uses this as guidance and standards for assessing companies. Read the Climate Citizen report of the launch.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Cryosphere in peril: Calls by Scientists, President of Chile, Prime Minister of Iceland, UN Chief to phase out Fossil Fuels at COP28

Before attending COP28 in Dubai, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did a flying vist to Antarctica with Gabriel Boric, President of Chile, to see and talk with polar scientists on the changes to the Cryosphere and Antarctica in particular.

 "What happens in Antarctica doesn’t stay in Antarctica. " Guterres said.

"Without changing course, we’re heading towards a calamitous three-degree Celsius temperature rise by the end of the century. That means losing the West Antarctica Ice Sheet almost entirely. This alone could ultimately push up sea levels by around five meters." said the UN Chief.

The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative published its latest State of the Cryosphere report 2023 on 16 November 2023, outlining in 6 detailed chapters covering the changes and impacts of Ice Sheets, Mountain Glaciers and Snow, Sea Ice, Permafrost and Polar Oceans. The report included a forward by the President of Chile and Prime Minister of Iceland calling for a phaseout of fossil fuels to limit damages to the cryosphere, and consideration of the issue in the Global Stocktake at COP28. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

COP 28 climate conference satirical Humour

Okay, I'm going to add satirical humopur to this page as the UN climate conference proceeds...

First up, this entry from Canada: COP 28 LEAKED: Honest Big Oil Ad | The Goose

and of course there is The Juice Media : Honest Government Ad | COP31 🇦🇺 & the Pacific

"We are living through climate collapse in real time and the impact is devastating" UN Secretary General calls for phase out of Fossil Fuels at COP28

Rather than attend the Opening Plenary of COP28, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres provided a video message for the  World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) launch of their Provisional State of the Global Climate 2023 report.   

He carefully summarised some of the main points of the report and said "We are living through climate collapse in real time and the impact is devastating". He called for committing at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels, with a clear time frame aligned to the 1.5-degree limit.

Describing the provisional WMO report, WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taala said, 

“Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low. It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records,” 

“These are more than just statistics. We risk losing the race to save our glaciers and to rein in sea level rise. We cannot return to the climate of the 20th century, but we must act now to limit the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this and the coming centuries,” he said.  

“Extreme weather is destroying lives and livelihoods on a daily basis – underlining the imperative need to ensure that everyone is protected by early warning services,” said Prof. Taalas.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Stop climate 'virtue signalling' and move past fossil fuels now says Mining Billionaire Andrew Forrest on his way to COP28

Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest is no saint regarding his mining interests, with allegations his companies destroyed sacred indigenous cultural sites. 

Increasingly, he has championed climate action, energy transition, phase out of coal, oil and gas, phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, and Australia becoming an energy superpower based on our excellent renewable energy sources, and critical minerals. In this interview he calls for the old guard in fossil fuels to get out of the way, and calls Australia a Petro-state.

Forrest is non-executive Chaiman of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG). He has a strong interest in maintaining the health of the oceans and in 2019 was awarded a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Western Australia.

Australia's second annual climate Statement by Climate Minister Chris Bowen

With the election of a Labor Government in May 2022, Australia's headline climate policies also changed.

The new Government set an interim emissions target of 43 percent emissions reduction by 2030 based on 2005 levels. To help achieve this a Renewables target of 82 percent by 2030 was also set. The government outlined that a Fuels emission standards would be introduced, but we are yet to see this.

The speech outlines the positive actions on renewables and energy transition already taken, critical minerals and steps to become a renewable energy super power. But the elephant in the room is that Australia has approved 10 new or extended fossil fuel projects in the last 18 months. 

The Australian Conservation Foundation has highlighted that Emissions from coal and gas projects backed by the Albanese government outweigh emissions cut, 7-to-1.

While Chris Bowen warned global heating will fuel political instability with national security implications, the government has refused to release a Climate Security assessment by the Office of National Intelligence, even in a redacted form.

Watch the broadcast:

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Momemt of truth for Fossil Fuels: Warning from IEA that Fossil Fuel companies need to transition or die

The IEA report on The Oil and Gas Industry in Net Zero Transitions is worth while reading and taking note of in regards to fossil fuel production and energy transition. For many years the IEA was seen as a conservative body supportive of fossil fuels, but increasingly it has advocated for a strong energy transition based on the science and the Paris Agreement targets.

The report advocates that the Fossil Fuel Industry is at a turning point,  and must do much more to respond to the threat of climate change. The report articulates that:

  • less than 1% of global clean energy investment comes from oil and gas companies
  • Nations and Companies need to consider scaling back oil and gas operations over time – not expanding them. "There is no way around this." said Fatih Birol. 
  • Fossil Fuel producers need to embrace the clean energy economy, and the opportunities involved.

The IEA is throwing the Fossil Fuel companies a lifeline, to be part of the clean energy transition through investment, the utilisation of skills in related areas. The report does not detail the result if companies choose to resist and are aided by corrupt and bought off governments. A very bumpy ride for the companies and all of us as the planet cooks.

While the IEA supports efforts at Carbon Capture and Storage both in the report and in comments by IEA head Fatih Birol were very pointed about the unrealistic expectations of carbon capture and storage for abating continued fossil fuels.

“The oil and gas industry is facing a moment of truth at COP28 in Dubai. With the world suffering the impacts of a worsening climate crisis, continuing with business as usual is neither socially nor environmentally responsible,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Oil and gas producers around the world need to make profound decisions about their future place in the global energy sector. The industry needs to commit to genuinely helping the world meet its energy needs and climate goals – which means letting go of the illusion that implausibly large amounts of carbon capture are the solution. This special report shows a fair and feasible way forward in which oil and gas companies take a real stake in the clean energy economy while helping the world avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.”

Fossil Fuel lobbyists are likely to be at their peak at the Dubai climate conference. Will they listen to reason from the International Energy Agency? Will the Petro States listen to the IEA or the companies wanting to extract maximum profit in cooking the planet?

70% chance that global greenhouse gas emissions start falling in 2024 if clean energy and EV trends continue.

Ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Dubai, COP28, Climate Analytics researched when global greenhouse gas emissions may peak. There is a 70% chance global emissions may peak in 2023.  COP28 needs to push strongly for tripling renewables, doubling energy efficiency, cutting methane emissions, and phasing out fossil fuels.

Based on the science, The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. 

Emissions are set to rise again in 2023.

The analysis shows there is a 70% chance that emissions start falling in 2024 if current clean technology growth trends continue and some progress is made to cut non-CO2 emissions. 

This would make 2023 the year of peak emissions – meeting the IPCC deadline.

The report says that the "continued explosive growth of wind and solar in particular would push fossil fuels out of the power sector, leading to peak coal in 2023 and peak gas in 2024. Meanwhile, continued growth in electric vehicles could lead to peak oil in 2025.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Thousands protest at Peoples Blockade of coal at the Port of Newcastle

Image: Peoples Blockade - Rising Tide Australia

An estimated 3,000 people gather at Newcastle, the world's largest coal port this weekend, for a 30 hour blockade of coal ships. 

They came in sail boats, canoes, kayaks to block the shipping channels to stop any ships this weekend. Authorities were notified of the protest, and blockades have been held in previous years which stop shipping movements during the blockade hours.

The Peoples Blockade has 3 basic demands:

  1. Immediately cancel all new fossil fuel projects
  2. Tax fossil fuel export profits at 75% to fund community and industrial transition, and pay for climate loss and damage
  3. End all coal exports from Newcastle – the world’s largest coal port – by 2030

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Coalition and Greens pushing NSW Labor Government for 70% emissions reduction by 2035 target

It seems the NSW Minns Labor government is under pressure to include a more ambitious 2035 emissions reduction target in its climate legislation about to be debated in the NSW Parliament. The legislation as currently written will entrench targets of 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

But Coalition parties and the Greens want a 2035 target included of cutting emissions by 70% on 2005 levels by 30 June 2035.

NSW Liberal Party opposition environment spokesperson, Kellie Sloane, “The Minns government has introduced a climate change bill with less ambitious targets than the Coalition had, they’ve cut electric vehicle subsidies,” she said.

The NSW 2035 target is still less than Victoria's climate action targets put forward before the election in 2022, and legislated in May 2023 in Victoria. 

Victoria's 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. (Climate Citizen)

Read more at The Guardian

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Climate Minister Chris Bowen outlines Australia's priorities in global climate action in lead up to COP28

Climate Minister Chris Bowen at Lowy Institute
Speech by Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen to the Lowy Institute on Australia's climate change priorities in the lead up to the United Nations climate conference COP28 in Dubhai, United Arab Emirates.

"This November, the world's attention will be on the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28) on climate change held in Dubai. As countries convene to agree on efforts to mitigate the consequences of climate change, questions arise: what are the implications for Australia and what role does Australia play?

"Minister Bowen will speak on the international dynamics affecting global climate action and how Australia’s ambition to become a Renewable Energy Superpower can help the world in the rapid transformation to reach net zero emissions. After his remarks, the Minister spoke in conversation with the Lowy Institute's Executive Director, Dr Michael Fullilove AM."

While Bowen said Australia would support a tripling of global renewables capacity and doubling of global energy efficiency efforts, he failed to address Australia's expansion of coal and gas which is at odds with the secretary general of the UN, António Guterres, and his urgings for countries to commit to  phasing out fossil fuels with a clear timeframe, and taking in information in the UNEP Emissions Gap and Production Gap reports.

"In Dubai, we will again be arguing for a strong position and stronger mitigation outcomes.  We want this COP to be about stronger, practical outcomes, not just maintaining the status quo.'

"Alongside our friends from Canada, another traditional fossil fuel-based economy in the middle of a major transition and arguing for progressive outcomes in international fora, we can play the role of a country that is dealing with the practical implications of the transition each and every day. "

Australia would be arguing for “stronger mitigation language” in the Global Stock Take debate..

Australia has also rejoined the Green Climate Fund this year and intended to contribute to the new Pacific Resilience Facility.

Bowen mentioned the recent China-US Sunnylands statement on climate co-operation. 

While Australia may not be pushing Santos Carbon Capture and Storage exhibit like at the Australian Pavillion at COP26, it is supporting offshore CCS with its Sea Dumping legislation to enable Santos to use sequestratuion if the Barossa Gas Field near the Tiwi Islands is allowed to proceed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

APEC 2023 and the Sunnylands statement for US-China cooperation to address the Climate Crisis in leadup to COP28

APEC 2023 San Fransisco

Last week on the 16-17 November Pacific Nation leaders met under the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum and and issued the 2023 APEC Leaders’ Golden Gate Declaration. President Biden (USA), President Xi (China), Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Australia) were all there.

Of greater importance has been the ongoing dialogue between US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua who met in early November in California, following by bilateral discussion by Presidents Biden and Xi before APEC. 

Dialogue and actions by USA and China are key for setting ambition at the United Nations Climate conference COP28 in Dubai.

China's emissions are likely to fall in 2024, according to analysis published at Carbon Brief.

Emissions Gap Report 2023: Emissions dangerously increasing and heading for 2.9 degrees C global warming on current policies

This is the 14th Emissions Gap Report. It is published ahead of the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28).  Definitely a broken record with the United Nations and scientists continually warning of the emissions gap between national policies, pledges (Nationally Determined Contributions- NDCs) and what the science says the targets we need to achieve in reducing emissions.

The report's main highlights are:

  • Predicted 2030 emissions must fall by 28-42 per cent for pathway to 2°C and 1.5°C 
  • Relentless mitigation and low-carbon transformations essential to narrow emissions gap 
  • COP28 and Global Stocktake provide an oportunity to build greater ambition for next round of climate pledges 

UN Secretary General called the emissions gap "more like an emissions canyon.  A canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives, and broken records.  All of this is a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the vulnerable, and a massive missed opportunity."

Until the beginning of October this year, 86 days were recorded with temperatures over 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. September was the hottest recorded month ever according to the WMO, with global average temperatures 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels.  In a record first, 2 days during November exceeded 2.0C of warming based on Global average temperatures reported by .Copernicus ECMWF.

The report finds that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by 1.2 per cent from 2021 to 2022 to reach a new record of 57.4 Gigatonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (GtCO2e). GHG emissions across the G20 increased by 1.2 per cent in 2022.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Global Plastics Treaty INC3 in Nairobi starts from a Zero Draft, ends with Petro States blocking and delaying progress

The United Nations  Intergovernmental Negotiationg Committee for a Global Plastics Treaty is meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from 13-19 November 2023. Global Plastics pollution is an escalating Crisis that interlinks with the Biodiversity Crisis and Climate Crisis. The process for a Global Plastics Treaty was started in March 2022 at the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2).

A Zero Draft of the treaty has been prepared with elements of both common rules for all parties, and a nationally driven policy framework, and many procedural issues still to sort out.

UNEP third session INC3 website } CIEL preparatory work | Break Free From Plastic | IPEN

Australia is a member of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastics Pollution

19 November - Day 7 

INC3 concludes with no intersessional work approved, petro states blocking consensus, negotiating in what some call in bad faith. New revised zero draft authorised to be prepared by the Secretariat by 31 December 2023 for INC4 in Ottawa in April 2024

Plenary suspended and delegates
continued deliberations in informal groups.

Photo: by IISD/ENB | Anastasia Rodopoulou
Read IISD/ENB report on Sunday negotiations

Magnus Løvold (@magnuslovold) from Norwegian Academy of International Law, tweeted:

The third round of the #PlasticsTreaty #INC3 negotiations just concluded in Nairobi with no plan for how to move the process forward. This is a deeply disappointing, but not unexpected, outcome. For too long, ambitious countries have failed to face up to the reality that a meaningful treaty on plastic pollution cannot be achieved as long as the least ambitious countries are allowed to control the pace of the process.

The Nairobi round will go down in history as an unqualified failure of multilateral environmental diplomacy. It did nothing but record in elaborate detail the magnitude of the committee’s disunity. The week’s proceedings have swept away all doubt that some of the countries involved in this process — notably Iran   Saudi Arabia  and Russia — are negotiating in bad faith. It is impossible to develop a treaty on plastic pollution under such circumstances.

As they prepare for the next negotiation round in Ottawa, @HACplastic  and other ambitious countries must muster the courage to move ahead, even if those least willing to join stay behind. 

We cannot afford to let a small minority of countries continue to hold this process hostage. It is time to overrule their spoiler tactics, and take future substantive decisions to a vote #ConsensusKillsDemocracy

Centre for International Environmental Law: Ambition Meets Inertia in Third Session of Global Plastic Treaty Talks. Argues that Absent a Major Course Correction, Ottawa will host a “Polite but Massive Failure.”

“This week made clear that an overwhelming majority of countries demand an ambitious treaty that covers the full lifecycle of plastics,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett. “That treaty is still achievable in these talks, but only if negotiators acknowledge and confront the coordinated campaign by fossil fuel and petrochemical exporters to prevent real progress of any kind.”

Alongside exporting countries themselves, INC-3 saw a massive presence in the industries that make plastics and plastic feedstocks. A CIEL analysis revealed that 143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered for the negotiations – including on country delegations.

“The results this week are no accident,” said David Azoulay, Program Director for Environmental Health at CIEL. “Progress on plastics will be impossible if Member States do not confront and address the fundamental reality of industry influence in this process.” 

There was also criticism of the High Ambition Coalition in the CIEL statement. Australia is a member of the High Ambition Coalition.

a troubling number of wealthier countries, including members of the 60+ member “High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution,” suggested a willingness to prioritize short-term consensus over long-term success.

“‘High Ambition’ is not a brand — it’s a commitment,” Azoulay said. “High Ambition countries in the Global North must follow the lead of Rwanda, Uruguay, and Pacific Island states in fighting to ensure ambition is reflected not just in empty political commitments but in the final treaty text.”

Break Free From Plastic (@brkfreeplastic) tweeted:

The #INC3 missed a vital chance for ambitious action on plastic reduction. A few loud voices held sway, blocking advances in setting targets, baselines & schedules.

We need a strong #ConflictofInterest policy to overcome deliberate obstruction.

In a statement they called for a strong conflict of interest policy and reassess how to deal with the countries deliberately blocking the ambition of the negotiation process. 

Despite a mandate for a revised draft, Member States failed to reach an agreement on priorities for intersessional work ahead of INC-4, despite an 11th-hour attempt, jeopardizing significant advancements for the treaty process. 

With the petrochemical influence in the treaty negotiations, including the ‘low ambition’ of a group of ‘like-minded’ plastic-producing countries, and the lack of ambition by the so-called ‘high ambition’ countries, the INC-3 concluded without concrete headway towards the mandate adopted at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) to negotiate a comprehensive and legally binding treaty that will cover measures along the entire life cycle of plastic.

Greenpeace Canada responded: UN INC3 ends in frustration as governments allow low ambition countries to derail Global Plastics Treaty

“This round of Global Plastics Treaty talks proves once again the toxic influence the petrochemical industry has on global governments and our future. Between now and the next round of negotiations, high ambition countries have their work cut out for them to counter the damage done by the problematic low ambition countries. Unless the Treaty dramatically reduces plastic production, we cannot make gains on the worsening climate, pollution and biodiversity crises and their associated harms to people worldwide.

“The Global Plastics Treaty must reduce plastic production by at least 75% by 2040 to stay within the 1.5 degree threshold."

GAIA statement - Plastics Treaty Negotiations held Hostage by small handful of Oil Producing Countries -  excerpt:

At the start of INC-3 the Zero Draft was a balanced document representing a range of views to provide Member States a basis for negotiating; by Sunday afternoon the draft more than tripled in size. A minority of Member States–particularly oil-producing nations in the newly formed informal “group of like-minded countries” including Iran, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia– undermined the previously agreed upon mandate for a plastics treaty, seeking to include low-ambition language and trying to run out the clock. 

Such interventions include inserting language on “national priorities,” “national circumstances,” and a “bottom-up approach,” which could lead to voluntary measures overpowering legally-binding measures – a thus far failed approach to international environmental policy, as evidenced by the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The same Member States, and some others, worked hard to undermine the mandate for a treaty covering the “full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal” (Res. 5/14), to focus solely on waste management approaches, claiming that the problem is not plastic itself, but its disposal. 

“There is no difference between plastic and plastic pollution– plastic is pollution,” says Rafael Eudes, Aliança Reziduo Cero, Brazil. Plastic pollutes from the moment fossil fuels are extracted from the earth, to when the waste is thrown away.”

Friday, November 17, 2023

State of Climate Action Report 2023 finds World behind on almost every policy required to cut carbon emissions

This is a major science based assessment of global efforts for climate action to reduce emissions. It found that Coal must be phased out seven times faster, Deforestation must be reduced four times faster, public transport around the world built out six times faster than at present, to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown. Altogether it found that 41 of 42 indicators assessed were not on track to achieve their 2030 targets. 

Progress for more than half of these indicators remains well off track, such that recent efforts must accelerate at least twofold this decade. Worse still, another six indicators are heading in the wrong direction entirely.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Fossil Fuel grand coalition of Labor, Liberal & Nationals pass Sea Dumping bill in the Senate for carbon capture and storage, throwing a lifeline to Fossil Gas expansion

On Monday 13 November a grand coalition of fossil fuel supporting parties: Labor Liberals and Nationals, voted to pass the Sea Dumping Bill without amendment. This is a loophole in the Safeguard Mechanism allowing the Fossil Fuel companies to open up new Fossil Gas projects and putting Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction targets in jeopardy.

Labor has pushed this bill through - Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill 2023 - rather than enhance the Water Trigger in the existing Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (an election promise), or to add a climate trigger to that Act. Anthony Albanese even proposed a Climate Trigger amendment bill in 2005.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Inger Andersen, opening remarks at INC-3: Plastics Treaty needs to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic

Inger Andersen speech at the opening plenary of the 3rd conference meeting of the  Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Negotiate a Global Plastics Treaty sets out the broad arguments and need for the Global Plastics Treaty. Inger Andersen is  Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Follow progress of INC3 at the main article: Global Plastics Treaty in Nairobi starts from a Zero Draft - INC3 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Production Gap 2023 Report: Australia's disconnect on net zero emissions while expanding fossil fuel production

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released the Global Production Gap Report on 8 November 2023. Governments in aggregate are planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. This includes Australia.

The assessment for Australia highlighted that Ministers had rejected calls to ban new fossil fuel projects, that some 69 coal projects and 49 new oil and gas projects are in the pipeline which represent nearly 5 GtCO2eq of potential emissions. Fossil fuel production is a major source of Australia’s domestic emissions, accounting for 19% of the total in 2021.

The Federal Labor Government has approved 10 new or extended coal or gas projects since coming to power in May 2022.

At the launch UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called it "a startling indictment of runaway climate carelessness." 

Earth's hottest 12 month period with most of the temperature increase due to burning fossil fuels

Analysis by climate scientists at Climate Central has highlighted we have just gone through the hottest 12 month period in recorded history (November 2022-October 2023), with an average global  temperature of 1.3C above pre-industrial temperatures.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) also reported that 2023 is on track to become the warmest year after record October. They report that October 2023 was 1.7°C above the average for 1850-1900, designated as the pre-industrial reference period. October marked the fifth consecutive month of record temperatures globally.

"October 2023 has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated. We can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, and is currently 1.43°C above the preindustrial average. The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher," said Samantha Burgess, C3S’ Deputy Director.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Australia - Tuvalu sign resettlement treaty over existential rising seas climate threat: Australia –Tuvalu Falepili Union

Australia –Tuvalu Falepili Union
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has signed an agreement with the Tuvalu PM, Kausea Natano, to set up “a union” between the two countries.

The arrangement will offer a special visa that offers safe residency to the people of Tuvalu so they can work, live and study in Australia because of the impacts of climate change.

The agreement was made at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands. It will see 280 people per year given a "special mobility pathway" to "live, work and study" in Australia. Tuvalu is a low lying Pacific nation with about 11,000 people.

In return, Australia will have effective veto power over Tuvalu's security arrangements with any other country.

The Australia-Tuvalu Falepili Union comprises a bilateral treaty between Tuvalu and Australia, as well as a commitment articulated in a joint leaders' statement (see below) to uplift broader bilateral partnership.

"Falepili" is a Tuvaluan word for the traditional values of good neighbourliness, care and mutual respect.

The Treaty comes as the Queensland government approved new fossil fuel projects: incentivised a new frontier in gas exploration program in the Bowen and Galilee Basin and granted a coal mine extension. Since the Federal Labor Government has come to power it has approved 10 new or extended coal and gas projects, and committed $1.5 billion for the Darwin Middlearm petrochemical hub that will include an LNG plant for export of Beetaloo fracked Gas.

Queensland announces cash grants for new gas exploration, new coal mine extension, to ramp up ocean warming destruction of Great Barrier Reef

Cash grants for gas exploration in Queensland announced by the Queensland Labor Government, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick, and Minister for Resources Scott Stewart.

"$21 million in funding is available through the Frontier Gas grants program for companies looking to explore and unlock new reserves in the Bowen and Galilee basins and bring Queensland gas to market sooner." said the media statement.

At the same time the Queensland Government granted a mining lease for Anglo American to expand its Lake Lindsay coal mine operation near Middlemount in the Bowen Basin. It will extend the life of the mine producing 5.6 million tonnes of coal and affects 500 jobs. But the loss of tens of thousands of Tourism and hospitality jobs oon the Great Barrier Reef? They are going.

New fossil fuel projects are at odds with climate science for meeting the Paris Climate Temperature Targets. The Queensland Government incentivising fossil fuel exploration and granting extended mining leases is adding to global warming that is cooking the planet, and warming oceans destroying the Great Barrier Reef. It is destroying long term jobs and biodiverrsity.

Guest Post: The unsafe Safeguard Mechanism: how carbon credits could blow up Australia’s main climate policy


James Adams/Unsplash
Andrew Macintosh, Australian National University and Don Butler, Australian National University

This article is part of a series by The Conversation, Getting to Zero, examining Australia’s energy transition.

A time bomb is ticking inside the Albanese government’s climate policy. When it explodes, Australia will fall short of its climate targets and leave a gaggle of investors shirtless.

The problem arises from a poorly understood aspect of the net zero transition: carbon credits or offsets.

The centrepiece of Australia’s climate policy is a carbon pricing scheme known as the Safeguard Mechanism. It places caps on the emissions of around 220 of the country’s largest mining, gas and industrial facilities, based on the emissions intensity of their operations. Every year through to 2030 these caps will decline by between 1% and nearly 5%.

The facilities have two ways to keep their emissions within the caps. They can reduce them, or they can buy and surrender one of two forms of credits, the most significant being Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) issued under Australia’s carbon offset scheme.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Guest Post: 26 years ago, Howard chose fossil fuels over the Pacific. What will Albanese choose? Wesley Morgan explains

Aitutaki island lagoon and sea and island
One issue, two prime ministers on the same island, 26 years apart. Shutterstock

Wesley Morgan, Griffith University

Hot on the heels of trips to Washington and Beijing, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is now in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Island Forum. There, he will aim to strengthen relations with Pacific countries and reaffirm Australia’s place as a security partner of choice.

But to do that, he’ll have to repair a historic split from when former prime minister John Howard met with Pacific leaders on the same island, Aitutaki, a quarter of a century ago to defend his choice to expand Australia’s fossil fuel industries.

Pacific leaders see climate change as by far their greatest security threat. Sea level rise, stronger cyclones, marine heatwaves and ocean acidification pose existential threats. They will ask Albanese to support a regional declaration for a phaseout of fossil fuels.

What will happen on the atoll? We could see history repeat – Pacific outrage, Australian intransigence. Or we could see a better outcome, if Albanese signals Australia is at last ready to move away from fossil fuels.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Critical minerals processing, battery technologies, Green hydrogen, and green metals key priorities for Australia says Australian Treasurer

Treasurer Jim Chalmers on ABC Insiders 5 November 2023

On 2 November Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers outlined in a speech major direction and priorities for the Labor Government with regard to Climate Policy, Energy policy and Industry Policy. 

Australia's abundance of cheap renewable energy sources gives a definite global advantage in refining and processing critical minerals, manufacturing of batteries and other storage technologies, producing green hydrogen for adding value in energy intensive metals production like green steel and green aluminium.

Here is what the Treasurer said:

To make it very clear, in making decisions about net zero industry policy we will now be guided by these tests:

  • Whether Australia can be competitive in the industry, by leveraging and building up our comparative advantages.
  • Whether it contributes to an efficient and orderly pathway to net zero.
  • Whether it builds the capabilities and resilience of people and regions.
  • Whether it improves Australia’s national security and economic resilience and supports the strategic objectives of our global partners.
  • And whether it recognises the key role of the private sector and delivers genuine value for money for government.

Applying these five principles has led us to four initial priority areas. All underpinned by and dependant on abundant, cheap, reliable, renewable energy.

  • Refining and processing critical minerals.
  • Supporting manufacturing of generation and storage technologies, including batteries.
  • Producing renewable hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia.
  • And forging green metals.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Warning of health crisis if we don't address Fossil Fuels and Climate Crisis: WMO report

The World Meteorological Organisation report on climate services this year focusses on health. It argues the need for tailored climate information and services to support the health sector in the face of more extreme weather and poor air quality, shifting infectious disease patterns and food and water insecurity.

If climate information is not used by the health sector for adaptation, population health can easily move backwards. 

“Practically the whole planet has experienced heatwaves this year. The onset of El Niño in 2023 will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records further, triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean – and making the challenge even greater,” says WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“It is clear that by channelling investment and boosting collaboration, there is huge potential to go further and faster by enhancing the impact of climate science and services so that health partners get the support they need at a time when unprecedented changes to our climate are having an increasing impact,” says Prof. Taalas.

The report shows that integrated climate and health action makes a very real difference in people’s daily life. This includes early warning systems for extreme heat, pollen monitoring to help allergy sufferers and satellite surveillance for climate-sensitive diseases.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Progress at 35th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol

I am always surprised by the Montreal Protocol, the little treaty addressing ozone depletion in the atmosphere. It is heavily overshadowed by its big cousin, the UNFCCC, which struggles not to be seen as dysfunctional. 

Going under the radar, the Montreal Protocol  appears to make positive progress. Not only addressing the ozone issue but also acting to reduce climate change. Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are also strong greenhouse gases adding to global warming.

The 35th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP35) has been meeting last week: 22–27 October 2023- in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Freight Decarbonisation for Australia addresses transport emissions says new ClimateWorks report

Decarbonising freight is critical to decarbonising the transport sector and meeting Australia's climate targets. ClimateWorks has just published a report on Delivering freight decarbonisation: Strategies for reducing Australia’s transport emissions.

In 2021, the transport sector contributed approximately 20 per cent of Australia’s domestic emissions and is likely to become the largest contributor by 2030. Freight makes up a considerable share of transport emissions, estimated by Climateworks to be just under 40 per cent of the transport total. This represents approximately 7 per cent of Australia’s total emissions.

Passenger transport emissions can be addressed through uptake of Electric Vehicles, Fuel Efficiency standards, policies that encourage active transport (walking and cycling) and micro-mobility and use of public transport. This report does not focus on passenger transport emissions.

Global Forests action failing says report with increase in deforestation in 2022 putting at risk 2030 Forests target

In 2022, global gross deforestation reached 6.6 million hectares worldwide and was 21 percent higher than needed to eliminate deforestation by 2030 says a new report..

The loss of primary tropical forests reached 4.1 million hectares and is even further off track—the loss was 33 percent higher than the needed trajectory to halt primary forest loss by the end of the decade.

This backslide puts forest goals even farther out of reach after the small but insufficient progress made in 2021.

Nothing less than a radical transformation of development pathways, finance flows, and governance effectiveness and enforcement is required to shift the world’s trajectory to achieve the 2030 forest goals advises the report.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Victoria’s renewable energy generation reached 37.8 per cent of Victoria’s electricity generation in 2022/23

A Progress report tabled in the Victorian parliament highlights that Victoria has doubled its renewable electricity generation in the last five years to supply 37.8 percent of the electricity grid. The state is well on target for over-achieving its 2025 target of 40 percent renewables.

But we need to be aware the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2023 World Energy Outlook report, has called for a tripling of renewables generation based on 2022 data.

Earlier this year Victoria formerly announced its 2035 climate targets that included a VRET of 95 per cent renewable generation by 2035 (The 2035 targets were an implementation of an election promise announced in October 2022). The legislated VRET 2030 target has also been increased from 50 per cent to 65 per cent. The state also set new Victorian energy storage targets for at least 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of energy storage capacity by 2030 and at least 6.3 GW by 2035 to support an accelerated renewable energy transition in Victoria. 

As at 30 June 2023, there were 17 renewable energy generation projects under construction or undergoing commissioning in Victoria. These projects have a combined capacity of 1,734 MW. There was also one utility-scale storage project – the 150 MW Hazelwood battery – undergoing commissioning. These projects generated around 662 jobs in these renewables projects in 2022/23, many of them in regional areas of the state.