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Sunday, December 24, 2023

Gas field and Coal mine extension approvals on eve of 2023 Christmas.

So on the Friday before Christmas both the Federal Labor Government and New South Wales Labor Government have approved new Fossil Fuel Projects. It is called putting out the trash. To try and limit scrutiny and media coverage of these actions. To release them when the public are focussed on christmas and holidays.

NOPSEMA approved Shell Australia Crux gas field development in the northern Browse basin off the North West shelf of Western Australia.

The Minns Labor Government in New South Wales recommended approval of an expansion of Idemitsu's Boggabri coal mine which will be responsible for 63 million tonnes of GHG pollution. The expansion proposes to increase annual direct greenhouse gas emissions by about 14% from 2023 to 2036.

And Some positive news: the new Queensland Premier announced a ban on new oil and gas drilling in the Lake Eyre Basin and floodplains.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Australia has 117 new coal, gas, LNG projects in the pipeline at the end of 2023

Australia is expanding oil, gas, coal, despite the 'transition away from Fossil Fuels' decision at the UN Climate Conference COP28.  In a Climate Crisis the first best action is to stop digging. 

A new report released by the Federal Government on 18 December - Resources and Energy Major projects 2023 - outlines some 117 new coal and gas projects across the continent. Some of these may not get through the approvals process, or the Safeguard Mechanism. Some may prove uneconomic to proceed to the final stage. But many are still on the cards and may go into production. 

Most of these fossil fuel projects are driven for the export market.

The Albanese government has approved or extended eight fossil fuel projects and two carbon capture projects since taking office in May 2022 reports Callum Foote for Micheal West Media in September.

Documents released under Freedom of Information last week show the $1.5 billion allocated by the Federal Government for the Darwin Middle Arm petrochemical development of common use infrastructure may balloon out to $3.5 billion. This is an incredible fossil fuel subsidy for Fossil gas expansion.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Queensland sets 2035 emissions reduction target of 75% below 2005

The new Premier of Queensland Steven Miles has announced for Queensland  a new emissions reduction target of 75% below 2005 levels by 2035. This will be a legislated target.

Queensland already has a commitment to deliver 50% renewable energy by 2030, 70% by 2032, and 80% by 2035.  

The Premier Steven Miles said, “By legislating this target, we will create certainty for industry and bridge the gap between the city and the bush. This announcement is only possible because of the landmark Queensland Energy and Jobs plan, which will see 80 per cent of our energy generated by renewables in 2035."

Update: A first crunch point will come on 22 December when Queensland Labor's Environment Minister Leanne Linard may sign off on Whitehaven’s Winchester South coal mine. The Winchester South coal project is one of over 100 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline in Australia - fuelling catastrophic climate change and leading to more heatwaves, floods and fires.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

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.


18 December - Full Negotiations summary Report from IISD/ENB 

This is a detailed summary of the negotiations and outcomes. Most of the focus has been on the energy package and its loopholes in the Global Stocktake package. But there were many other decisions that were also made, but not really covered in reporting. Island states and least Developed Countries particularly highlight the lack of progress in Adaptation, adaptation finance, and general climate finance. ENB listed these other outcomes:

  • the adoption of the framework for the GGA established in the Paris Agreement, which aims to guide the implementation of the goal and, among other things, establishes impact, vulnerability, and risk assessment (by 2030), multi-hazard early warning systems (by 2027), climate information services for risk reduction and systematic observation (by 2027), and country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory, and transparent national adaptation plans (by 2030);
  • the designation of the consortium of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN Office for Project Services as the host of the Santiago Network on loss and damage;
  • the launch of the implementation of the work programme on just transition pathways, with at least two hybrid dialogues to held prior to the two annual sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies;
  • the decision to continue and strengthen the dialogue to exchange views on and enhance understanding of the scope of Article 2.1(c) of the Paris Agreement (on aligning finance flows with low-GHG climate resilient development) and its complementarity with Article 9 of the Paris Agreement (on climate finance); and
  • the decision to convene an expert dialogue on mountains and climate change and an expert dialogue on the disproportionate impacts of climate change on children at the Subsidiary Bodies meetings in June 2024.

A Functional Creature or Unwieldy Beast?

In the GST process, countries had to take a hard look at the Paris Agreement. They found gaps and weaknesses on implementation, ambition, and provision of finance. The delayed action by developed countries on finance and mitigation eroded trust among parties. With little common ground on the history or the future, countries could not agree if the Paris Agreement, as reflected through the GST, was fit for purpose, or a beast unable to pivot in light of science.

While many hailed the decisions adopted in Dubai as a triumph for multilateralism, small island developing states felt left behind, unwilling to trust the promises of developed countries that “we see you and stand with you.” The way forward, as charted by the GST, is unlikely to live up to the Paris Agreement’s goals. The sources of the problem—fossil fuels—still have ample footing to fight for survival. The creature revealed is a Paris Agreement better able to deliver a climate-safe world, and with more strength to fight the monsters threatening this future. But there is a long way to go, especially on support and leaving no one behind.

As historic as the first GST was, no one meeting can save the world. A trifecta of Presidencies will undertake a “Mission for 1.5°C” to try to catalyze early action in line with science. The finance goal to be agreed on in 2024 will not only sort out the direction for the next decade, but likely also to the middle of the century, and could constitute an important step toward actually accelerating a just energy transition and adaptation action—giving meaning to the words celebrated in Dubai. In turn, 2025, which is when countries are supposed to submit their more ambitious, hopefully 1.5°C aligned, NDCs, will show whether the fundamental idea of the Paris Agreement’s ratchet up mechanism allows the creature to walk into the future with its head held high. 

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 | climateambassador | Mayors

COP28 Closing Plenary: Transition away from Fossil Fuels, but major loopholes in package

The second major draft of the Global Stock Take has been presented, and negotiators are preparing for a final plenary at the UN Climate Change Conference.

Much of the discussion at COP28 has centred around the Energy Transition Package and the key debate  Phase Out of Fossil Fuels to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5C temperature target. Enabling climate finance for developing countries to transition has been recognised in the draft text but no developed pathways forward to address this problem. Global Goal of Adaptation has also largely gone under the radar, but is eqaully important for all countries, but especially developing countries

There are many loopholes in the energy package to continue fossil fuel use, but it is a major signal that the Era of fossil fuels is ending and a transition is underway. Will it be fast enough? Most likely not.

The Global Stock Take has been gavelled as a decision, to applause.

However, it was done without Samoa, speaking for AOSIS in the room. Who requested the floor and raised their concerns on  deficiencies in the GST. They received an even greater applause. But the decision had been adopted.

CCPI: Australia improves 5 places to the low category in the 2024 Climate Change performance Index

Two years in succession Australia has improved its total ranking in the Climate Change Performance index. In 2022 it jumped 4 places and in 2023 jumped another 5 places. This still places Australia at 50th ranking of 67 countries assessed, in the Low overall rating..

In 2023 CCPI report Australia still ranked very low, but was starting to improve in some categories.

For the 2022 CCPI report Australia was listed way down the bottom on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, energy use and very last (64th) on climate policy. We ranked 58th overall. Changing to the Labor Government in May 2022 has improved our rankings the last two years and is likely to improve the rating again for 2025. The report makes clear that Stopping new fossil fuel projects and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies as part of phasing out fossil fuels would bring substantial improvement in the rating.

Australia pushes for Unabated Fossil Fuel Phaseout at COP28, while Australia opens offshore CCS opportunities to expand Fossil gas

Santos Bayu-Undan carbon capture
and storage project
Australia's Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen has been forward in supporting Fossil Fuel Phaseout or phasedown at COP28. But his statements almost always come with a qualifying words: unabated, or abatement. 

On 12th December Bowen said "“Some of the world’s largest economies have now called for a phase out of unabated fossil fuels,” 

On 11th December press conference Bowen said "Where we've come from is of course, we came to this COP with the G7 having agreed to a phase out of unabated fossil fuels in energy systems by 2050, a position that the Umbrella group decided to support which I chair obviously, at the beginning of the negotiations, contrary to an erroneous report I read suggesting the Umbrella group does not support that position, let me make it very clear - the Umbrella group supports the phase out of fossil fuels of energy systems by 2050, that's very important - that group of United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Israel, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Japan, Iceland, and Norway.

Bowen was a little more forthright in the Majlis discussion, saying "We don’t need to phase out fossil fuel emissions, we need to end the use of fossil fuels in our energy systems, with abatement as a backstop and goalkeeper, not as an excuse for delay or inaction,”

It is never explained what abated fossil fuels actually means, but this is likely to entail either carbon offsets or carbon capture and storage, both of which are problematic in different ways and come with large integrity issues.

Tuesday, December 12, 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 of the COP
Dec 3 New Zealand USA Japan
Dec 4 Brazil South Africa
Dec 5 USA Russia Japan     
Dec 6 Alberta Norway South Korea
Dec 8 Israel Australia Russia
Dec 9 Europe Vietnam
Dec 10 Israel USA
Dec 11 Saudi Arabia
Colossal Fossil USA OPEC

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.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Bowen delivers Australia's national Statement to COP28 stressing renewables path, but it is what was not said on fossil fuels that is crucial

Chris Bowen at COP28
Australia's Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen has delivered Australia's National Statement to the UN Climate Conference COP28. There is much to applaud in this statement, and Australia has changed its ambition and domestic and international climate policy positions. 

But it is in what was not said that is equally important.

  • Australia is the 3rd largest fossil fuel exporter globally
  • Since May 2022 Australia has approved 10 new or extended coal and gas projects.
  • Exploration for new oil and gas gields has been approved and is being undertaken, including seismic blasting in offshore marine environments of Western Australia and Victoria
  • Australia subsidises Fossil Fuel extraction through the tax system by around $11 billion per year with no plans to phase out these subsidies. There is also a $1.5 billion subsidy for the Darwin Middle Arm petrochemical hub that will enable new LNG processing.
  • It was pleasing to see Australia joining the Green Climate Fund and a modest contribution of $50 million and the $100 million to the recently established Pacific Climate Resilience Fund is welcome. But Australia has failed to announce any contribution to the new Loss and Damage Fund established, even though Australia was represented on the Transitional Committee.
  • Bowen didn't mention the cap on pollution by Australia's top 215 emitters - the Safeguard Mechanism - relies on these companies ability to buy carbon offset credits in Australian Carbon Credit Units. Many of these carbon offsets have questionable integrity. 
  • He didn't mention Australia's Federal Parliament passing Sea dumping legislation which allows carbon capture and storage under the seabed, and 9 days later Santos signed a deal with ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to investiage taking CO2 for sequestration, when most CCS projects have been a failure. 
  • The government has refused to release a Climate Security assessment by the Office of National Intelligence, even in a redacted form.
  • Government has promised Fuel Efficiency standards, but has yet to deliver, to help decarbonise transport emissions.

Don't misinterpret me, Chris Bowen is heaps better than previous Ministers/Prime Minister who delivered Australia's national climate statement to COP. 

Bowen acknowledged the importance of indigenous knowledge to inform solutions, and acknowledged escalating climate impacts, including drawing attention to current events with 42C temperature heatwave in Sydney while he was addressing the COP plenary. 

More importantly, he acknowledged that while progress has been substantial in the last 18 months of the Labor Government, he is still not satisfied and conceeds there is still much more to do. "I’ll be frank – this is more progress for Australia in 12 months than in 10 years. While I am pleased with this I am still not satisfied. Because there is still so much more to do." he said.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Climate protests in Melbourne culminate in civil disobedience with 72 arrests - a personal statement

Being arrested - Courtesy ABC News
Why I am being arrested in Melbourne CBD today, 9 December, 2023, with Extinction Rebellion – Statement by John Englart. 

I’d like to say a few words why I am disrupting business as usual today, to block the traffic in Melbourne CBD. I am 68 years old and have been concerned about the lack of climate action for 20 years. 

I have written letters and emails, I have signed petitions, I have been on delegations to my Federal MP Peter Khalil, and my former MP Kelvin Thomson. Since 2015 I have attended Merri-bek Council meetings each and every month as a witness for their actions on climate. I have decarbonised my personal carbon footprint by increasing cycling, using Solar PV, eliminating gas from my home, composting, and reducing plastics use.

Whales in Hot Water: The Impact of Climate Change on the Cryosphere’s Climate Engineers: Cetaceans

Whale Pump diagram cycling carbon to deep ocean storage

There are many benefits to conserving whales including biodiversity and carbon sequestration benefits. They are another biological Nature based solution to addressing climate change.

Whale numbers were decimated through the 19th and 20th centuries from commercial whale hunting. Many species are still recovering from this slaughter.

Among the recommendations, is the need to "Accelerate efforts to stop the expansion of new fossil fuel production and commit to a phaseout of existing fossil fuel production in order to reach net-zero by 2050."

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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.”

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.