It’s been quite a week:
- the Queensland fires,
- the Children’s March for Climate Action,
- Adani announcing it had the funds to proceed with its mega-coal mine,
- the UN Environment Program’s Emissions Gap Report,
- UNFCCC’s COP24 starting today in Poland,
- first birthday of South Australia’s Tesla battery, and
- the US National Climate Assessment.
Queensland fires: One man is dead and 10,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Central Queensland. To quote from the first story below: Ecologist Dr Philip Stewart says the Queensland fires were “absolutely” a result of climate change. “Climate is a driver of wildfire and of fire full stop,” he said. “So when we start to see an increase in temperature, we start see an increase in energy availability in that atmosphere, and that obviously will increase the potential for high-intensity fires and fast fires as well.” Have a look at the attached David Pope cartoon from yesterday’s Canberra Times. It’s a classic and ties in with the Adani story below.
Children’s March: Despite the Prime Minister telling children to stay in school, the march in Sydney was extraordinarily successful with thousands gathering in Martin Place. It was notable for some great placards and some, not least Jean Hinchcliffe (14), displaying admirable media skills.
Adani: The Indian company declared it had enough money to proceed with its mega (scaled down) coal mine and would do so shortly, possibly before Christmas. Clearly, they want to get in ahead of a federal election next year that may well see a change of government. Two obstacles stand in its way: native title has still not been extinguished; and Aurizon (freight rail company) is yet to give approval for Adani to use some of its rail line to take the coal to the port at Abbot Point. Let’s hope Aurizon drags its feet and that the appeal by traditional owners, yet to be heard by the full bench of the federal court, is successful.
UNEP’s report: This was critical of Australia and said Australia would not be fulfilling its commitments on emissions reduction. Prof Andrew Blakers who we had as speaker at the renewable forum on 21 November, has countered this by saying we will reach the targets because of the recent upsurge in building renewables (despite the obstacles put in the way by the federal government).
COP24: The Conference of Parties meets for the 24th time, starting today, in Katowice, Poland (a country still heavily dependent on coal). Countries are aiming to finalise the implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement. Environment Minister Melissa Price is leading the Australian delegation which is a bit of a worry as she said through the week that Adani’s mine would have no direct effect on the Barrier Reef (she ignores the 10,000 coal ships that will ply the waters of the inner reef once the mine is built). Nevertheless, she might learn something at COP24. For those who can get to Canberra, you may be interested in the forum “Explaining the Katowice Climate Change Conference” on 19 December from 6.00 to 7.30pm at ANU. You can register here.
South Australia’s Tesla battery: Happy first birthday, battery! You have been a success. It has made money, lowered prices and boosted grid security. As the article says below, it has become a major signpost to the future of faster, cheaper, smarter and cleaner grid.
The US National Climate Assessment warned that climate change would cause 10% reduction in the US economy by 2100 to which President Trump responded: “I don’t believe it.” It actually may be far worse that that because of various uncertainties, not least how climate change will affect food production.
Repower Monaro’s renewable energy forum from 21 November gained great coverage in the Queanbeyan Age on Wednesday with a full front page picture of the three speakers on page one and, on page 3, more photos of the meeting and John Hewson as well as of the audience. (You’ll have to buy a paper as I can’t get on-line!)
I attended the Energy Update at ANU on Thursday morning with very informative speeches by Sarah McNamara, Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Council (insisting in answer to a question of mine that they would support emissions reduction in any renewed NEG), and Ian Cronshaw, of the International Energy Agency (IEA), on the 2018 World Energy Outlook (WEO). I then raced off to Parliament House to a forum on “The human face of climate change” which included a memorable talk by Bega Councillor Jo Dodds who spoke of the Tathra bushfires in March.
All the best, Jenny
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
Why Queensland’s ‘mega-fires’ have been described as extraordinary
Scientists say bushfires are burning more intensely than they have before, the season is extending and heatwaves are getting worse. Their message? Climate change is changing fire in Australia, take notice.
‘I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea’: Striking students rally for climate
Students defy the Prime Minister’s calls to stay in school and instead gather in their thousands to protest against inaction on climate change. But the Federal Government says all they’re learning how to do is “join the dole queue”.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our futures. Striking from school is not a threat.
Milou Albrecht, Harriet O’Shea Carre and Jean Hinchcliffe
We are walking out for a day to send the Australian government a message: you can no longer pretend we are not here.
Forget 50% – Australia on track to reach 78% renewables grid by 2030
New report says Australia is heading to a 78 per cent renewables share by 2030 on current trajectories, and any smaller targets would lead to a huge slump in…
Tesla big battery turns one, celebrates $50 million in grid savings
The Tesla big battery in South Australia on Friday celebrates its first anniversary since swinging into action on November 30 last year – a day before its official opening.
‘We are ready to start’: Adani to begin controversial mine operation
Indian energy giant Adani announces a scaled-down version of its Carmichael mine and rail project in central Queensland will go ahead, and will be 100 per cent self-financed.
Carmichael mine: federal election, rail access and native title stand in the way
Adani’s plans to get started quickly on a scaled-down version of its Queensland mega-mine still face numerous obstacles
Coal power on way out, sooner rather than later, says AEMO
Australia’s remaining coal-fired power plants are on borrowed time, and are as likely to be retired sooner rather than later, the chief of Australia’s Energy Market Operator has confirmed, in a keynote speech outlining the core assumptions used to shape AEMO’s Integrated System Plan.
Green is the new black: how renewables and storage will replace coal
What the community really needs is for government and industry to get on with building Australia’s future energy system.
World must triple efforts or face catastrophic climate change, says UN
Rapid emissions turnaround needed to keep global warming at less than 2C, report suggests
Is there a connection between the Coalition’s resistance to the “side issue” of creating a federal anti-corruption authority and its resistance to effective action of climate change? What possible connection could there be – apart from the need to hide the existence of favours and support received and promised from the fossil fuels industry.
A letter by John Robert
Published in The Age newspaper
29 Nov 2018
- Our renewables forum on Wednesday in Queanbeyan,
- Release of Labor’s energy policy,
- The Victorian state election yesterday, and
- Forum and demo on Thursday.
Renewables Forum: It was a very good night with Profs John Hewson and Andrew Blakers giving excellent talks and my arguing that the main reason we needed to adopt renewables was because we face a climate emergency. In February, Repower Monaro will be organising a candidates’ meeting, again in Queanbeyan, to see how the various candidates compare on renewables policy.
Labor’s energy policy: This was excellent as far as renewables were concerned with a $15 billion package for fixing the transmission networks including interstate connectors (something that Andrew Blakers said was necessary as we work towards 100% renewable electricity); huge discounts on batteries to home-owners to support rooftop solar (and thereby reducing peak demand in the electricity grid); and adding $10 billion to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Labor’s policy also includes a 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target (RET) by 2030. Unfortunately, it has failed to rule out banning the Adani mega-coal mine although it will not provide finance for it. Labor leader Bill Shorten has said Adani won’t add to Australia’s emissions. This is strictly correct as the coal will all be exported but it will add to other nations emissions instead. He rejects that those emissions will help destroy the Great Barrier Reef through climate change. This attitude, understandably, has enraged climate activists who also complain the emissions reduction target and RET don’t go anywhere near the science required to keep warming to safe levels. Nevertheless, Labor at this stage is way out in front of the Coalition (though the Greens are much stronger than both on targets).
Philip Sutton summed it up well: “Our choice is now between a government that is going to actively promote fossil fuel use and a government that will let fossil fuel investment continue if the market is motivated but which will build renewables capacity so that coal fired power stations in Australia are gradually driven out of the market.”
Victorian election: Thanks to an enormous amount of work on the ground by climate activists, and Premier Daniel Andrews basically co-opting many of the Greens’ policy positions (like reinstating the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and more sustainable transport infrastructure), Labor swept back to power with three times the number of seats as the Coalition. There were other issues than climate and energy, of course, but the Liberals vowing to get rid of the RET did not help them at all. Some organisations like Environment Victoria really worked to get the climate message across on the sandbelt line (Brighton down to Frankston) and those seats saw up to 10 per cent swings, making them all safe rather than marginal Labor seats.
Action in Canberra prior to the start of COP24 in Poland next week: For those who can get to Parliament House, Canberra, on Thursday 29 November, there will be a climate briefing called “The human face of climate change” from 1.30 to 3.45pm. You have to register and can do so here. At 5pm there’s a demo on the lawns below the main entrance to Parliament House, called “It’s time for climate action NOW”.
All the best, Jenny
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
Why aren’t they doing anything?: Students strike to give climate lesson
A 15-year-old Swedish student’s demand for climate action is resonating half a world away in Australia.
Qld community prepares for new mega-mine
A north Queensland regional council is preparing for talks to ensure a company behind a $6.7 billion mega-mine operates responsibly.
Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN
Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are far above pre-industrial levels
Labor to adopt Turnbull’s energy policy and throw billions at renewables
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is set to announce Labor’s energy policy tomorrow, which will include the policy that led to Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall.
Labor to offer $2,000 rebates for battery systems in homes
Bill Shorten pledges to underwrite new renewable generation and a transition plan for coal communities
Big business laments NEG in front of PM
The prime minister has been reminded of the coalition government’s failure to pass “sensible energy and environment policy” by a big business lobby’s chair.
‘Scandal’: NSW coal power plants will kill thousands before they close
Air pollution from NSW’s five coal-fired power stations carry a “substantial health burden”, including leading to an estimated 279 deaths a year with thousands more to come before they close.
Climate change: Report raises new optimism over industry
Cutting emissions from heavy industry would generate savings and boost economic growth, commission argues.
Labor to dispense with bipartisanship in power plan targeting coal workers and energy efficiency
A future Labor government will not rely on a potentially hostile Senate in its efforts to encourage renewables investment.
Fresh thinking: the carbon tax that would leave households better off
Richard Holden and Rosalind Dixon
The UNSW climate dividend proposal will be launched on Wednesday by the Member for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps.
The death toll from the California fires rises inexorably with 76 dead and over 1200 still missing. President Trump still denies any connection with climate change, unlike outgoing Governor Jerry Brown and Los Angeles fire chief who do say there is a strong connection.
A number of school children walked out of school this week to protest inaction on climate change. Meanwhile the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has warned they may be the last generation to see coral reefs.
Some good news came from the NSW government this week. It unveiled its Transmission Infrastructure Strategy to enable a more rapid development of the state’s renewable energy potential. The Strategy aims to bring forward $2.5 billion worth of high voltage transmission projects, shore up the power grid, and accommodate a $23 billion wave of renewable energy investment.
Meanwhile, the Climate Council has issued yet another report, this time on climate change and water scarcity. It warns of worsening drought and more extreme weather events, and says the impact will be felt severely on the NSW northern tablelands.
It was startling to see Woodside CEO Peter Coleman advocate a carbon price but it may have been a case of vested interest as Woodside deals largely in gas, not coal, and a carbon price would favour lower-emitting gas. Nevertheless, gas is the guilty party when it comes to Australia’s emissions, since half of Australia’s emissions are linked to WA Gorgon’s gas plant.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), the top global energy watchdog but often slow to come to terms with reality, has finally acknowledged that the world cannot build any more fossil fuel plants. This is important, as our federal government flags new coal-fired power stations, ignoring the pressing need to reduce emissions.
Meanwhile, the insurance giant IAG has warned a failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could result in a world that is “pretty much uninsurable”, with poorer communities likely to bear the brunt of the effects.
Don’t forget the Victorian election on Saturday 24 November with Labor strengthening its renewable energy targets while the Liberals promise to get rid of them. Labor is also wanting to extend rooftop solar rebate to renters.
All the best, Jenny
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
World has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants, warns IEA
The world has so many existing fossil fuel projects that it cannot afford to build any more polluting infrastructure without busting international climate change goals, the global energy watchdog has warned.
Want to slow down climate change? Plant a tree
A new comprehensive study shows planting more trees and preserving fields and wetlands can help to combat climate change.
Longer fire seasons threaten to disrupt US-Australia firefighting cooperation
Longer bushfire seasons in Australia and the US threaten to disrupt the sharing of vital personnel and equipment between the two countries, fire experts and coordinators have revealed.
Greens policy would outlaw thermal coal as it is ‘no longer compatible’ with human life
Under Greens policy, it would no longer be legal to dig, burn or ship thermal coal by 2030
Half of Australia’s emissions increase linked to WA’s Gorgon LNG plant
Carbon emissions from nation’s largest LNG development were meant to be captured. More than two years on, the storage still hasn’t started
Climate Council issues grim warning on looming water security crisis
The Climate Council releases a report linking climate change with worsening droughts, and extreme weather events such as bushfires and floods.
Woodside CEO urges climate fix
Woodside boss Peter Coleman has some advice for politicians including a call for clarity on tax reform and global co-operation on carbon pricing.
Deluge and drought: Australia’s water security in a changing climate
Climate Council of Australia
This report argues that significant impacts on and risks to Australia’s water security are already evident, and these risks will continue to escalate unless deep and rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas pollution can be achieved.
‘Problem in waiting’: why natural gas will wipe out Australia’s emissions gains
LNG is often touted as a good alternative to coal but the increase in production means increased emissions that will cancel out any recent savings
Next generation ‘may never see the glory of coral reefs’
Undersea forests, bleached and killed by rising ocean temperature, might disappear in a few decades, experts warn
Horrific fires have been burning once more in California, for the second time this year. The link to climate change seems inextricable, with the state suffering prolonged drought and higher temperatures.
On Tuesday, Americans went to the polls for the mid-term elections that had mixed results for climate. Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives but lost ground elsewhere. At least the House Science Committee, for the first time in eight years, will be controlled by people who accept climate change. And happily, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected in New York. She advocated “transitioning the United States to a carbon-free, 100 percent renewable energy system and a fully modernized electrical grid by 2035.” Unhappily though, Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has mishandled a number of environmental issues, narrowly won his bid for the Senate, defeating incumbent Bill Nelson, who called Florida “ground zero” for climate change. There will be, however, a recount.
Democrats did win some key governorships – notably in Nevada, Maine and New Mexico – that could accelerate progress on clean energy. In the last two years, these three states passed renewable energy bills that were vetoed by Republican governors, so hopefully the bills will get through now.
On the home front, Victoria goes to the polls on 24 November where there is a clear distinction on climate and energy policy between the major parties. Labor has promised to extend its renewable energy targets from 40 per cent by 2025 to 50 per cent by 2030, spurring a rush of private sector investment in new wind and solar projects. The Liberals, however, have promised to scrap the targets if they win the election.
Interestingly, Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes said on ABC-TV’s 7.30 that Australia should reinstate a carbon price. He referred to his new green energy campaign, or movement, as ‘Fair Dinkum Power’, reclaiming the phrase from the Prime Minister. Cannon-Brookes argued it was the PM’s code for coal power. He (C-B) would like to see Australia move to “200 per cent renewable energy” and become a renewable energy super power.
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull also appeared on ABC-TV, this time for a Q&A special where he did a “double back-flip” of sorts by strongly advocating for renewable energy. Whether it was purely on economic terms or for the sake of the climate is anybody’s guess.
Meanwhile, the new-ish Energy Minister Angus Taylor went off to see the energy retailers, trying to cajole them into reducing energy prices. He failed on that, but they did offer up a standardised rate, making it easier for consumers to compare energy prices when shopping around between retailers for the best deal. The retailers apparently supported a plan to underwrite new generation – which could be coal or gas – but whether it is actually needed is another matter. Despite latest government data showed greenhouse gas emissions have climbed 1.3 per cent to their highest quarterly levels in eight years, the Minister is still ruling out policies that will help us achieve our emission reduction targets (pathetic though they be).
While the PM has been bussing around Queensland promising to lower electricity prices, it turns out that the surge in renewables is doing that for him, with no help at all from government policy. The latest National Energy Emissions Audit prepared by The Australia Institute has found wholesale power prices have peaked in most states as a surge of new renewables have come online. The Audit also found that, while Australia’s emissions from electricity are coming down, those from other sectors are growing, not least from LNG exports.
Please let your friends know about Repower-Monaro’s public meeting at the Tigers Club (Karabar/Queanbeyan) at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 November with Profs John Hewson and Andrew Blakers on the transition to renewable energy. I am also a speaker on the climate emergency that underpins the need for renewable energy.
My thanks to Andrew Gunner who kindly puts these weekly bulletins onto a website, https://www.feedbackreigns.net/news/news-titles/, where (if you are into social media) you can extend the bulletin’s life using the buttons at the bottom.
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
Small scale solar surge continues to reshape Australia’s grid
AEMO report shows big surge in rooftop solar, eating away at demand, displacing coal and depressing prices.
Why Australia needs to be a renewable energy superpower
Australia has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redefine its place in the world through the production of renewable energy.
Victoria’s first big battery charges up on state grid
Ballarat big battery, the first in Victoria, starts charging and discharging activity on the grid.
Heavyweights sound off as WA fracking inquiry enters doomsday
Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler, the band Midnight Oil, Missy Higgins, Tim Winton, Fiona Stanley, Janet Holmes a Court, Carmen Lawrence and Peter Newman have joined to call for the state government to ban gas fracking in Western Australia.
African islands send SOS as climate change worsens health
African island states say they need more help to cope with the health impacts of climate change.
Australia set to be a leader in $1.7 trillion battery industry
Australia is forecast to be a global leader in a battery storage technology boom which is growing more swiftly that previously predicted.
Greenland’s melting ice sheets: The beautiful but harrowing changes seen from above
Climate change is causing Greenland’s ice sheet to melt at a dramatic rate, and photographer Tom Hegen took to the sky to document these beautiful but devastating changes.
Farmers and environmentalists divided over Bylong Valley coal mine
Hundreds of people, including dozens of protestors, turn out to a meeting in Mudgee to have their say on the Kepco mine, which is expected to generate more than 6.5 million tonnes of coal per year.
Bigger incentives to “switch off” could drive down energy prices
South Australia is the perfect place to introduce changes to electricity market rules to give consumers a greater capacity to save on their energy bills by voluntarily “switching off.
UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time
Renewable capacity has tripled in past five years, even faster growth than the ‘dash for gas’ of the 1990s
We may safely assume the heatwave affecting Sydney and reaching down as far as us is a sign of things to come. Not just heatwaves but bushfires as well. The smoke blowing from the Pierce’s Creek fire across Canberra’s southern suburbs on Friday reminded us all too much of the 2003 fires which destroyed 500 homes. That was January, of course, in high summer. This was November – in spring – though the long drought made it all more likely.
We (CAM with Repower-Monaro) have managed to secure Profs John Hewson and Andrew Blakers for a public meeting in Karabar/Queanbeyan at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 November at the Tigers football club. The subject is ‘Making the transition from fossil fuels to renewables”. Come if you can and tell friends.
CAM’s committee met yesterday but we are without a treasurer so if you inclined to offer your services, please do so! We will receive a $2000 grant shortly from Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) for our campaign to have all candidates running for the state seat of Monaro adopt strong policies on renewable energy.
Perhaps it was to assuage its guilt at approving the Bylong coal mine within hours of the IPCC report on 1.5 degree warming, but the NSW Planning Dept has now approved a 55MW solar farm at Vales Point that will power 20,000 homes. It happens to be right next to the coal-fired power station but that has advantages, being right on the grid.
Meanwhile, Crookwell 2 wind farm has begun providing power for 42,000 ACT homes. ACT is planning to have 100 per cent of its power from renewables by 2020. When Victoria’s Hornsdale 2 and 3 wind farm come on line, starting next year, that will be achieved. ACT is showing how it can be done while the federal government languishes without a climate and energy policy.
While we need to make a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables for the sake of the climate, the transition can be painful socially. As coal-fired power stations close, workers are displaced. Thus it is great news that an electric vehicle factory will be built at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, the heart of brown coal country.
Meanwhile, Australia’s mining union, the CFMEU, has urged federal and state governments to prepare for the nation’s coal-fired power stations to be shut by 2050 with a comprehensive transition package for workers.
On a grimmer note, Adani is threatening to have work start on the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin any day now. Fortunately, Korean banks are now refusing to fund the project. Whether Adani has enough money for the project despite this remains to be seen.
All the best, Jenny
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
‘Getting close’: El Nino event seen as not far off as Sydney sizzles
The hot start to November may be a taste of the summer to come with meteorologists watching a Pacific Ocean that is being primed for an El Nino event.
Snowy Hydro dumps coal for wind and solar to pump its water
Snowy Hydro will use wind and solar energy not coal to support its pumped hydro storage generators in a deal the company says will help cut households power bills from 2020.
Renewable energy investments not thwarted
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation put $2.3 billion towards projects over the past financial year, driven by state renewable targets and cheaper technology.
Coal power in terminal decline, NSW warned
An independent economic analysis has warned NSW that thermal coal exports are stagnating and will significantly decline in the next two decades.
State governments can transform Australia’s energy policy from major fail to reliable success
Tony Wood and Guy Dundas
There could be much clearer skies ahead for energy policy if states take the reins.
Prepare workers for coal closures: report
The CFMEU has proposed a new national authority to prepare for Australia to transition away from coal-fired power generation by 2050. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/prepare-workers-for-coal-closures-report
Conservationists to target ‘middle Australia’ in election climate push
ACF aims to pour resources into three marginal seats to inflict electoral pain on major parties for policy failures
Electric cars set to bring hundreds of jobs to Latrobe Valley
Hundreds of jobs are set to be created in the Latrobe Valley, with the Victorian Government announcing a deal to manufacture electric vehicles in a new factory in the region.
We can’t save the climate without also saving the trees
Scientists agree: Preserving forests is critical to combating climate change.
Former UN climate chief says world doesn’t need Australia’s ‘toxic’ coal
Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has blasted BHP for its commitment to continue mining coal.
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.
Government could support new coal power ‘where it stacks up’ – Morrison
Prime minister announces plan to boost investment in new ‘reliable’ power
Coalition embraces economic vandalism with worst possible energy policy
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
Coalition could indemnify new coal projects against potential carbon price
Angus Taylor will look at overcoming financing problems new generation projects face
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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
As I write, the Wentworth by-election is still not completely finalised but independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps seems to have won – she’s 1676 votes ahead of the Liberal Dave Sharma on a two party preferred basis. Assuming she does win, it is an enormous upset and a victory for climate since Wentworth voters had said in a poll it was their top issue. Despite the debacle, Deputy PM Josh Frydenberg says the government will not move on climate policy although it has created tensions in the government ranks at least two of whose members – Environment Minister Melissa Price and Barnaby Joyce – who seem blithely unaware of the gravity of climate change.
Speaking on ABC TV’s Q&A last week, economist and author Jeffrey Sachs, former head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, slammed the Australian federal government as “unbelievably irresponsible” for its inaction on climate change, and suggested that policy progress in the Coalition has been held hostage by major fossil fuel interests. Got it in one, Jeff.
I have just returned from Sydney where I represented Climate Action Monaro at the annual conference of the Nature Conservation Council (NCC). State Opposition leader Luke Foley was there and in the midst of his speech said he was committed to renewable energy. I asked a question: “In light of the Climate Council report that showed NSW was behind other states in climate action, and what you have said just now about being committed to renewable energy, will you follow Victoria’s example and commit to 40 per cent of electricity coming from wind and solar by 2025?” He replied that he wasn’t going to make an announcement on it on the day of the Wentworth by-election and the start of the Invictus Games. But we’ll hold him to his general commitment.
At the conference, two of the three motions that CAM had submitted were passed. One was criticising federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor for not including emissions reduction in his policies, and the second was to call on the Labor Party to provide a real alternative on climate at the next federal election. Because of strong opposition from a few people, I withdrew a third motion relating to the separation of Energy and Environment portfolios by the Prime Minister. A late motion came opposing Snowy 2.0, based on the argument that the integrity of the Kosciuszko national park would be compromised. I spoke against it, arguing that Snowy 2.0 was going to underpin the renewable energy revolution and that there was bipartisan support for it (both our federal and state MPs support it). Despite my spiel, the motion overwhelmingly passed.
Climate Action Monaro had been nominated for an environmental group award at the conference but the prize deservedly went to Climate Action Balmain-Rozelle who have done a bit more work than us!
CAM, of course, is an integral part of Repower-Monaro, an initiative of the NCC. Last Monday, a delegation went to see Monaro MP John Barilaro who greeted us in a hostile manner as he believed we had accused him of being anti-renewables. He calmed down when we explained that we had criticised him for being opposed to subsidies for renewables, and we managed to have a decent conversation for much of the time. Indeed, he stressed he was in favour of the transition away from fossil fuels (though the time-line was missing). He was very interested in a possible pumped hydro site at Araluen and maps showing where the best spots in the state were for solar and wind.
The Queanbeyan Age covered the previous week’s demonstration outside his office. Some quotes from Repower-Monaro convenor Frank Briggs were wrongly attributed and the article appeared unduly critical of Barilaro. I have written an explanatory letter which will appear on Wednesday in the Queanbeyan Age. Meanwhile, last week’s Monaro Post published my letter congratulating Snowy Monaro Councillor John Castellari on his efforts to get solar power to low income people (see attached).
One of the predictions of what will happen with climate change is that rainfall will come less often but with harder falls when it does rain. A perfect example was the 3.4mm of rain and hail falling on Canberra in seven minutes on Saturday.
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
Coalition backing “big coal” over climate, says Sachs: “Unbelievably irresponsible”
US economist argues Australia should be exporting solar, not coal, and says Coalition government is backing fossil fuel interests. “What is the matter with these people?”
Farmers facing drought are on the front line of climate change
We need to stop digging holes in the ground and start planting crops, pastures and trees.
Look after the soil, save the Earth: farming in Australia’s unrelenting climate
Former governor general Michael Jeffery says soil health and regenerative farming is essential for security and carbon emissions
Wentworth backlash reignites tensions inside government on climate policy
“We are going to have to go to the next election with a clear plan to meet our Paris targets.”
Dear Wentworth Voters: Here’s 123 Things Our Leaders Did To ‘Confront’ Climate Change
A recent ReachTel poll commissioned by Greenpeace Australia found that for the voters of Wentworth – former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat – tackling climate change was their number one priority. With the Wentworth by-election to be staged on Saturday, Liam McLoughlin thought it timely to help the good voters of the eastern suburbs focus their minds on the Liberal Party’s action on climate change over the last five years.
‘Bad news’: IEA chief says CO2 emissions to rise in 2018
Global CO2 emissions will increase once again, according to the head of the IEA.
Bioenergy carbon capture: climate snake oil or the 1.5-degree panacea?
Delays on climate action to reduce emissions means that we may have to consider technologies that strip carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But that will come at a cost.
Environment minister accused of misleading House and insulting former Kiribati president
Witnesses say Melissa Price made disparaging remarks and said ‘For the Pacific, it’s always about the cash’
States and territories lead way on renewables, climate
A snapshot of the renewables action happening across Australia shows states and territories blitzing the field, in spite of current federal inaction.
Joyce backs coal over Snowy 2.0
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is backing a coal-led energy policy over the Snowy Hydro 2.0 ahead of a federal government vote on the scheme.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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