Climate Newsletter 14 Oct 2018

I went to a packed out seminar organised by the Climate Change Institute at ANU on Tuesday where Prof Mark Howden spoke to the IPCC report and the need for ‘urgent, transformational’ change to hold global warming to 1.5°C. You can find his article relating to this here.

The response of the federal government to the IPCC report on 1.5oC warming issued on Monday has been appalling. The report said keeping warming to 1.5oC or below will require deep and urgent cuts in emissions, and a rapid phase out of coal. The government basically said that coal was still very important, they weren’t going to throw money at the Green Climate Fund, and the Prime Minister said he had no intention of spending money on global climate conferences and “all that sort of nonsense.”

The report had called for a phase-out of coal over the next 30 years. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed this would cause widespread blackouts. The head of The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Audrey Zibelman, quickly responded, saying there would be no interruptions to supply if coal was phased out.

Former Prime Minister of (soon-to-go-under-the-waves) Kiribati, Anote Tong, reacted with rage while UN’s 47-member of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, pleaded with Australia to keep up funding for the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist, whose recommendations from his report last year were accepted apart from the critical one on a Clean Energy Target, pushed the idea that we can meet our commitments by adopting hydrogen as a fuel.

Meanwhile, campaigning for the Wentworth by-election rolls on with former sitting Member and Opposition Leader John Hewson, as well as the son of resigned Member Malcolm Turnbull, Alex Turnbull, calling on voters to vote for the climate and thus not the Liberals.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) held an Energy Summit through the week with business concluding that they had to “go it alone” on climate.

Meanwhile, SE Queensland, particularly around Kingaroy, was battered with destructive hailstorms and another El Nino was confirmed for the summer and beyond. This means we should be prepared for a ‘seven month summer’. Overseas, the Florida panhandle has been hammered by Hurricane Michael with several dead.

Neither swayed by the above, nor by the IPCC report, the NSW government approved the proposed Bylong coal mine near Mudgee within hours of the IPCC report.

Good to see the Swedish Academy awarding William Nordhaus and Paul Romer the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize for work in integrating climate change and technological innovation into economic analysis.

Some more good news. Climate Action Monaro has been nominated for an award at the forthcoming Nature Conservation Council (NCC) conference in Sydney on Saturday. I’ll be attending on behalf of CAM and, before the awards ceremony, will be speaking to motions that we have put to the conference.

At a local level, we’re likely to see a change in species with climate change. To help the science along, come to the Frogwatch seminar at the Cooma Bowling Club on Thursday 18 October 6-8pm. See attached flyer.

Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

In a canter? Climate experts say Australia will not meet emissions targets

Australian politics

Guardian Australia spoke to 12 economists and scientists – almost all reject government’s claim to be on track

‘Tipping points’ could exacerbate climate crisis, scientists fear

IPCC report ‘underestimates potential of these key dangers to send Earth into spiral of runaway climate change’

‘You can’t keep arguing this is just a cycle’: Farmers struggling to manage impacts of climate change

Peter Mailler is a third-generation farmer but if the effects of climate change continue on their current path, he doesn’t expect anyone will be farming his 6,000 acres property in the future.

Voters split on Scott Morrison, but a clear consensus on climate action

Peter Lewis

Australia is divided on the prime minister, the ABC and the detention of children on Nauru – but not on climate change

Political leaders have little to lose in ignoring climate change

Canberra Times editorial

The impact of climate change will be felt by the poor and the young; not the grey eminences trying to water down our response to the challenge of the century.

The economic case for climate action is strong

SMH editorial

The Nobel Prize awarded for economics shows again that the government is wrong on climate change.

Coal is on the way out, the only question is how quickly

Mark Howden and Frank Jotzo

The question that governments should ask is: how can we make the transition socially acceptable and economically attractive?

Coalition’s breathtakingly stupid response to IPCC climate report

Giles Parkinson

It wasn’t too hard to predict what the Coalition government’s responses to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report would be – you just needed to know where they would be making them.

The Guardian view on climate change: a global emergency

Guardian editorial

The consequences of catastrophic warming will be political and even military, not just environmental

We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods

Nicholas Stern

The world heating up by even 1.5C would have a brutal impact on future generations

Letter published in the Canberra Times, 11 October 2018.

Behind the eight ball

According to your report (“Coal-based power must be phased out”, October 8 , p5) Australian officials allegedly sought to remove references to phasing out coal from the final version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) report on 1.5°C warming. This is an outrage if true.

The Minister for Environment, Melissa Price, denies it but who can believe someone who sits on a report for weeks about Australia’s emissions rising before releasing it late on the eve of grand final day? I certainly don’t.

According to the IPCC report, it will take enormous effort to limit warming to 1.5°C. All countries have to phase out coal and other fossil fuels as fast as possible and they will have to pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

It means an immediate end to deforestation and massive reafforestation. We will have to get on a war footing to achieve the changes needed. Unfortunately, the situation is even worse than the report suggests, and the report itself is pretty dire. Capping warming at 1.5°C is still going to wreck the Great Barrier Reef and inundate low-lying islands and deltas. It will see a reduction in food yields. Millions will have to retreat from coastlines.

Does the minister have a copy, I wonder?

Jenny Goldie, Cooma

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