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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.

Senate Estimates: As climate change accelerates in 2023, Climate Change Department executive says no change in emission reduction plans

On Monday, 23 October 2023 during Senate estimates for Environment and Communications Legislative Committee, a question was put to the Department of Climate Change Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) whether plans had changed due to the accelerated global warming seen during 2023. 

The executive replied "It does not change our approach to emissions reduction because, in essence, we are already pushing our emission reductions to go as fast as is possible for Australia."

The evidence is clear: Global temperatures throughout mid-2023 have shattered records (Carbon Brief), September smashes monthly temperature record by record margin (WMO) See also: Climate Breakdown has begun warns UN Secretary General as world experiences hottest June-August period on record.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Turning a corner on fossil fuels, but energy transition needs still to ramp up further to keep 1.5C alive says IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2023 (IEA report) 

Quick summary:

  • Just based on current policy settings, by 2030 clean technologies play a significantly greater role.
  • This includes almost 10 times as many electric cars on the road worldwide;
  • Solar PV generating more electricity than the entire US power system does currently;
  • Renewables’ share of the global electricity mix nearing 50%, up from around 30% today;
  • Heat pumps and other electric heating systems outselling fossil fuel boilers globally;
  • Three times as much investment going into new offshore wind projects than into new coal- and gas-fired power plants.

But stronger measures would still be needed to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

The report projects the share of fossil fuels in global energy supply, declines from around 80% to 73% by 2030, with global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions peaking by 2025.

Without an acceleration in action, Global emissions would still push up global average temperatures by around 2.4 °C this century, well above the key threshold set out in the Paris Agreement.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Australia rejoining Green Climate Fund after 4 year absence

Green Climate Fund at COP22

This morning the Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong announced that Australia would be rejoining the Green Climate Fund and make a modest contribution.

The Green Climate Fund is the main vehicle for global climate finance and a key part of the Paris Agreement.

Australia is the only developed country not part of and contributing to this multilateral climate finance fund.

The Fund is presently going through a second round replenishment process with a high level pledging conference taking place in Bonn on 5 October.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Submission on BHP Caval Ridge Mine Horse Pit Coal Extension in the Bowen Basin: an additional lifetime 440 megatonnes of CO2

Aerial view: existing Caval Ridge mine in the Bowen Basin, Queensland

Submissions for this coal mine extension closed 29 September 2023. The Labor Federal government has already approved 10 new coal or gas projects since coming to power in May 2022. The BHP Caval Ridge Mine Horse Pit Coal Extension is in the approval queue with about 100 other coal and gas projects. 

The Labor Government has promised a refresh of Australia's environmental laws in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), but those reforms continue  to be deferred. During the Howard government in 2005 Anthony Albanese proposed a Climate Trigger be inserted in the EPBC Act. It failed of course. Labor did not revisit a Climate Trigger amnedment in 2007-2013 when in power with the Rudd and Gillard governments, and has not raised it as a priority in the current term of the Albanese Government.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s proposes to extend the Caval Ridge Coal Mine and operate it for more than three decades, to 2056. The mine is located  approximately 5 km south west of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin, Queensland. It is an open cut mining operation that supplies hard coking coal product for the export market.

The Proposed Project will extend one of the two pits and will involve extraction and combustion of approximately 15 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of coal.

The proposal aims to commence in 2025 and extend to 2055. The mining schedule indicates extraction of approximately 158.3 million tonnes of coal over the life of the Proposed Project. The total combustion CO2 emissions for the product coal of the Proposed Project is estimated to be 440.64 million tonnes of CO2 added to the atmosphere that will exacerbate global warming.

My submission was one of 147 submissions co-ordinated by the Mackay Conservation Group.

Minister Plibersek and her department are now reviewing public comments about this proposal, alongside the large volume of scientific evidence that  Environment Council of Central Queensland Inc (ECoCeQ)  submitted with its reconsideration request