Climate Newsletter 28 Oct 2018

The Wentworth by-election is still not finalised but on Thursday independent Dr Kerryn Phelps was 1783 votes ahead. We may safely assume she will win which, from a climate point of view, is excellent. She will aim “to reinstate the funding and the scientific credibility of the Climate Change Authority,” she has said. “It’s very important that we do have an independent authority looking at the evidence and providing advice to governments.”

Good to see the Alex Turnbull, son of former Member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, putting the boot into the government’s energy policy. The energy minister, Angus Taylor, has signalled the Australian government could indemnify new power (coal and gas) generation projects against the future risk of a carbon price, and support the retrofitting of existing coal plants. As Turnbull Jnr asks, what is a Liberal government doing interfering in the free market?

ANU’s Climate Change Institute is running another Climate Café at lunchtime on Monday 12 November and this one is called “How can music encourage people to engage on climate change?” You need to register and can do so here. And the ever-worthwhile ANU Energy Update and Solar Oration 2018 will be all day Thursday 29 November. I recommend you get in early if going – you can register here.

Last bulletin I said that the Queanbeyan Age had given an unfair impression of Monaro MP John Barilaro’s stance on renewables (which he favours despite past support for coal and nuclear). I wrote a letter on behalf of CAM (see attached) saying the problem lay more with his colleagues in the National Party and with his Coalition partners in the NSW government. It was published Wednesday, along with a letter from Minna Featherstone of Nature Conservation Council who is organising a door-knock in Queanbeyan today in support of renewables.

Meanwhile, Barilaro took a step backwards through the week by promising that NSW Nationals would back a private members bill to change the 41,000-hectare Murray Valley National Park back into state forest and thus allow logging. The recent IPCC Report on 1.5oC warming, however, made very clear that we had to stop deforestation. A number of studies have shown that forests must remain intact to maximise their capacity to store carbon.

Repower-Monaro (of which CAM is a part) met with Labor candidate Bryce Wilson on Thursday to discuss his stance on renewables. As a graduate in environmental science, he is very knowledgeable on the issue as well as supportive. We urged him to get his Labor colleagues to provide strong climate and energy policies at both the upcoming state (March 23) and federal elections (possibly May 2019). Since then I have written to him and federal MP Mike Kelly with the article by David Spratt (see below) which provides six pointers on what Labor must do.

Repower-Monaro will meet with other candidates for the seat of Monaro (Greens, Shooters and Fishers etc) as they are announced. And on 21 November we will hold a public meeting in Queanbeyan with excellent speakers on why and how we can make the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables. More information later.

It is becoming increasingly evident that what is needed is a carbon price. Australia had one, of course, and then got cold feet and dropped it without ever replacing it with anything of worth. Canada, however, has now taken the lead and will introduce a carbon price beginning next year.  It will start at $20 per ton in 2019, rising at $10 per ton per year until reaching $50 per ton in 2022. The carbon tax will stay at that level unless the legislation is revisited and revised.

Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro


‘First thing’: Phelps set sights on reviving fortunes of climate body

Kerryn Phelps, the likely new member for Wentworth, will push for the revival of the near-defunct Climate Change Authority as part of her efforts to advance action on global warming at a federal level.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/first-thing-phelps-set-sights-on-reviving-fortunes-of-climate-body-20181027-p50cd3.html


Government could support new coal power ‘where it stacks up’ – Morrison

Prime minister announces plan to boost investment in new ‘reliable’ power

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/23/government-could-support-new-coal-power-where-it-stacks-up-morrison


Coalition embraces economic vandalism with worst possible energy policy

Alex Turnbull

We joked the ACCC’s good advice could be turned into a policy to subsidise companies that own coal. Turns out that’s what happened

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/27/coalition-embraces-economic-vandalism-with-worst-possible-energy-policy


Coalition could indemnify new coal projects against potential carbon price

Angus Taylor will look at overcoming financing problems new generation projects face

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/24/coalition-could-indemnify-new-coal-projects-against-potential-carbon-price


NSW Nats to back national park reversal

NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro says his party will back a plan to change a national park to state forest – opening it up to the logging industry.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/nsw-nats-to-back-national-park-reversal


Fair bunkum

Saturday Paper editorial

The condescension in this video is not just to the Avrils and Colins who people Morrison’s Australia, whose bills and service records he uses as props. The condescension is to climate change and to energy policy. The price control is a fiddle: some bills will go down, others will go up. The cost to the environment is the cost of a country with no policy on climate change, willing to destroy the Earth for politics. “Renewables are great,” Morrison says, his expression unchanged, as if calibrating a polygraph. “But we’re also needing the reliable power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.”

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/10/27/fair-bunkum/15405588007045


World wakes up to scale of climate challenge, so what should a Labor government do?

David Spratt, Renew Economy

Quite suddenly, in the wake of the recent IPCC report, it’s become commonplace to talk about a global climate emergency.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/world-wakes-up-to-scale-of-climate-challenge-so-what-should-a-labor-government-do-19670/


Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

By rebating the revenue to households, disposable income rises, which can be a boon for the Canadian economy

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/oct/26/canada-passed-a-carbon-tax-that-will-give-most-canadians-more-money


Meteorologist expects severe drought and heavy rain events to worsen globally

Meteorologists expect severe drought and long-lasting rainfall events to worsen in the future. Researchers have determined how frequent, intense and long lasting these types of events will be in the future.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181025141009.htm


We need a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty – and we need it now

Andrew Simms and Peter Newell

Climate breakdown is an imminent threat. But an international treaty could avert calamity

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/23/fossil-fuel-non-proliferation-treaty-climate-breakdown


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