Climate Newsletter: 13 April 2019

The three main events this week were: 1) the Environment Minister giving groundwater approval for the Adani Carmichael mine, 2) the calling of the federal election for 18 May, and 3) the EV controversy raging over Labor’s target of half of all new car sales be electric by 2030.

First, Adani. Whether or not Environment Minister Melissa Price bowed to pressure from her LNP colleagues, her approval of Adani’s groundwater plans was an outrage. Unfortunately, the election was called and Parliament rose so neither she, nor CSIRO, nor Geoscience Australia could be called by Senate Estimates for questioning. The only comfort is that the “mine faces significant additional hurdles, including seven further plan approvals, court challenges, royalties negotiations and securing access to the freight rail network”, according to the article below. Thumbs up to the anti-Adani protesters interrupting the PM’s speech through the week and to members of Farmers for Climate Action meeting with Queensland’s Environment Minister to stress the importance of groundwater to farmers.

Second, the federal election. No surprise about the date, once the PM missed calling it last week. Let’s hope it can be fought on Adani and climate but the difference between the two major parties is blurred in Queensland where both appear to be supporting the mine. Differences lie instead between voters in Central and North Queensland (pro-mine) and voters in NSW and Victoria (opposed). Bob Brown is leading a Stop Adani convoy that will reach Canberra on Sunday 5 May. A rally will be held at 10.30 am on Parliament House lawns. Speakers include the writer Richard Flanagan. Please attend this rally yourself if you can and encourage Canberra friends and colleagues to attend.

Third, the EV scare campaign. The controversy over Labor’s electric vehicle target was mostly ludicrous. About the only legitimate arguments raised against it was that the grid might not have enough power to support it (solution: build more renewable power) and that there would be a loss of $10 billion in fuel excise (solution: tax all vehicles by distance travelled).  Other claims, however, were eye-wateringly facile. The PM was bad enough with his claim that Bill Shorten wanted to end the weekend but Minister Michaelia Cash’s tweet that  “Labor need to explain to Australia’s tradies why they want to ban their favourite utes” really took the cake.

Meanwhile, Professor Ken Baldwin of the Energy Change Institute reports that ANU research has shown that opportunities abound the world over to support a 100 percent renewable electricity grid. Professor Andrew Blakers and his team have completed a global audit of 530,000 potential pumped hydro sites and  Professor Jamie Pittock has studied five planned pumped storage hydropower projects across Australia that could triple Australia’s electricity capacity. Meanwhile, the cost of the proposed Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme has blown out to $5 billion.

Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

Poll shows 50% of Australians support shifting all sales of new cars to electric vehicles by 2025

Transition to electric vehicles to cut carbon emissions has dominated the climate policy debate in the Australian election campaign.

Veteran environmentalist Bob Brown to lead anti-Adani convoy

Veteran conservationist Bob Brown will lead a convoy of hundreds of anti-Adani protesters to rally against its proposed coal mine in Queensland.

Labor candidates come out in favour of coal mines as union demands assurances

Central Queensland Labor candidates Cathy O’Toole, Zac Beers and Russell Robertson have backed new coal mines as the Coalition ramps up attacks over ALP division on Adani’s Carmichael project.

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine: what happens next?

Controversial coalmine still faces hurdles including seven plan approvals, court challenges and royalties negotiations.

Palaszczuk questions Adani over failure to submit rail plans

With the Queensland Government facing mounting pressure by mining giant Adani to give final approvals for the proposed Carmichael mine, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urges the company to fulfil its requirements and submit its outstanding rail plans.

Simultaneous heatwaves caused by anthropogenic climate change

Without the climate change caused by human activity, simultaneous heatwaves would not have hit such a large area as they did last summer.

Emergency experts issue climate warning

Emergency chiefs from across Australia are demanding the prime minister take action to deal with increased disaster risks fuelled by climate change.

Renewables are a better investment than carbon capture for tackling climate change

Solar panels and wind turbines coupled with energy storage offer a better hope for tackling climate change than trying to capture carbon from fossil fuel power stations, according to new research published by Nature Energy. New research shows that resources that would be spent on developing and installing carbon capture technologies would be better invested in creating more solar panels and wind turbines and focusing on developing energy storage options to support these instead.

New pathways for sustainable agriculture

Diversity beats monotony: a colourful patchwork of small, differently used plots can bring advantages to agriculture and nature.

Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic, as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world, are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone lost more than 9,000 billion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimetres, an international research team under the lead of the University of Zurich have now found.

The temperature graph at the top of this page

The graph shows the soaring “average global air temperatures” from 1880 onwards. See more.

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