Climate Newsletter 17 Sep 2018

Super-Typhoon Mangkhut is now causing havoc in Hong Kong after causing death and destruction in the Philippines. In North Carolina, hundreds are trapped by flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. While climate change is not wholly responsible for these mega-storms, at least one group of researchers has estimated that climate change is responsible for half of the rain falling in the Hurricane Florence’s wettest areas.  

The Coalition federal government has abandoned the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) though the ALP looks like they pick it up and run with it as industry is still demanding certainty. Meanwhile, emissions are rising in Australia and there is no long-term plan to curb them. Indeed, the federal government has been explicit in saying they will focus on power prices rather than on emission reduction. The latest report suggests we will miss meeting our Paris targets.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) produced a great TV ad last week using a drought-stricken farmer who said emphatically: “We need to stick to the Paris agreement, we need to stop burning coal and we need to commit to more renewable energy…”

ALP leader Bill Shorten on the Insiders’ program yesterday seemed to come out against the proposed Adani mega-mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, in line with the Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler’s position but not with that of all his Cabinet. Meanwhile, Gautam Adani has reduced the size of the proposed mine and rail link to the coast, possibly because he sees short-term gain in coal but not long-term (see John Quiggin’s article below). Adani has been working on Wangan and Jagalingou Land without traditional owners consent, as well as drilling for water in the Great Artesian Basin, possibly beyond what was permitted under their permits.

Climate deniers are fond of blaming renewables for high prices of electricity but instead they should be blaming the big generation companies for their gaming of wholesale electricity prices. Last week the Australian Energy Regulator confirmed such gaming in South Australia in early July when the companies jacked up their prices at a time when the interconnector between SA and Victoria was restricted by maintenance work.

Our hero for the year has to be Bill Ryan, a 92-year-old war veteran, who chained himself to the railway in an attempt to stop coal trains from reaching Newcastle’s Kooragang Coal Port. On 8 September, a global day of action for climate change, 26 protesters scaled equipment, blocked railway tracks and obstructed machinery and were duly arrested. Bravo to all of them.

And bravo to the ACT government for becoming the first jurisdiction in Australia to join the UN’s Powering Past Coal Alliance aimed at rapidly phasing out the fossil fuel. The ACT has been exemplary in its emissions reduction policy in contrast to  federal policy which has now fully imploded.

Please, if you are close to Cooma on Saturday (22 Sept), come to our AGM preceded by a short talk by me on the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change. Afternoon tea will be served. Time: 2.30pm. Venue: Uniting Church hall, Soho Street, Cooma.

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro


Scott Morrison needs a plan to cut emissions but all he has is a fairytale

Katharine Murphy

The deep feelings brigade is unlikely to permit any action on climate change, and that will cost the Coalition politically

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/15/scott-morrison-needs-a-plan-to-cut-emissions-but-all-he-has-is-a-fairytale


Adani’s rail line cut shows project is on life support but still a threat to climate

John Quiggin

The catastrophic prospect of 300m tonnes of carbon a year appears to have been averted, but even 25m poses a danger to the climate

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2018/sep/16/adanis-rail-line-cut-shows-project-is-on-life-support-but-still-a-threat-to-climate


UN Secretary General: “We face a direct existential threat” on climate for “the emergency we face”

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat…

“If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.


Sun shines on Labor’s solar scheme as Liberal energy war flares up

Victoria’s solar and wind rush has begun. On Friday, the Andrews government fired the starter’s gun on what it says will be an energy revolution for Victoria.

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/sun-shines-on-labor-s-solar-scheme-as-liberal-energy-war-flares-up-20180914-p503vf.html?crpt=index


The case for renewables has never been stronger, says Deloitte study

Deloitte report says the case for renewables has never been stronger, and smashes a few myths along the way.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-case-for-renewables-has-never-been-stronger-says-deloitte-study-24651/


ACT becomes first in Australia to join UN’s Powering Past Coal Alliance

The ACT government has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to join the UN’s Powering Past Coal Alliance aimed at rapidly phasing out the fossil fuel.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/act-un-powering-past-coal-alliance-20180913-p503l4.html?crpt=index


Global fossil fuel demand to peak in 2023, as wind and solar surge

Carbon Tracker predicts rapid growth of wind and solar will cause fossil fuel demand to peak in 2023 and then plummet, risking trillions for unwary and ignorant investors.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/global-fossil-fuel-demand-to-peak-in-2023-as-wind-and-solar-surge-77414/


Transport emissions continue to rise as Australia lags behind other nations

Exclusive: inaction on pollution standards leads to 63% rise in transport-related carbon emissions since 1990, report finds

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/13/transport-emissions-continue-to-rise-as-australia-lags-behind-other-nations


At its current rate, Australia is on track for 50% renewable electricity in 2025

Ken Baldwin, Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks

Australia could be getting half of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025, even without government subsidies for new wind and solar projects, according to a new analysis of energy industry trends.

https://theconversation.com/at-its-current-rate-australia-is-on-track-for-50-renewable-electricity-in-2025-102903


Frydenberg: government will focus on power prices over emissions reduction

The new Morrison government will concentrate on lowering power prices ahead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/josh-frydenberg-says-government-will-focus-on-power-prices-over-emissions-reduction-20180909-p502oe.html?crpt=homepage


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