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The Great Global Warming/Cooling Thread Part 2

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"climate change" hits the nail on the head, never been a "global warming" man.... the deniers use the cold temps in other regions to distract from CHANGE. This arguement has been used in this thread before....and everywhere else...lol

I agree with you Sally when global warming detracts from climate change

Hydrological changes be it rain,snow,mist and such are also out of whack worldwide as another example. Changes in flooding recurrence intervals are another example....like in the UK.

The infographic is what is going on on the home front though....and cooling it aint....thats what the average aussie cares about really - what's affecting them directly. People tend to give a fck about something when it starts to affect them I've found.....

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More than three-quarters of the cut in greenhouse gas emissions needed for Australia to meet its international commitments on climate change would be left to the last minute under the government's direct action plan, a budget analysis suggests.

The Climate Institute study found almost the entire 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 would be left to the final two years under the funding plan laid out in the budget. It has prompted fresh claims that the government is not serious about meeting the target, as it prepares to face budget estimates hearings for the environment portfolio on Monday.

While the government says it is committed to spending $2.55 billion on its emissions reduction fund, the budget indicates it only expects to spend $1.1 billion of that in the next four years.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has expressed confidence the fund will achieve the target by paying businesses that cut their emissions. But the institute said that by 2018, Australia's emissions would only be cut by a seventh of what is required by 2020.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/budget-analysis-shows-climatechange-commitments-to-be-left-to-the-11th-hour-20140525-38wvx.html

so we're down o $1b now. they should just get rid of it and save the money, no one believes this "direct action" horse-shit. although i wonder which one of their mates will get $1b of taxpayer money without having to do anything?

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http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/11/-sp-el-nino-weather-2014

The global El Niño weather phenomenon, whose impacts cause global famines, floods – and even wars – now has a 90% chance of striking this year, according to the latest forecast released to the Guardian.

El Niño begins as a giant pool of warm water swelling in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, that sets off a chain reaction of weather events around the world – some devastating and some beneficial.

India is expected to be the first to suffer, with weaker monsoon rains undermining the nation’s fragile food supply, followed by further scorching droughts in Australia and collapsing fisheries off South America. But some regions could benefit, in particular the US, where El Niño is seen as the “great wet hope” whose rains could break the searing drought in the west.

summer's going to be fucking horrible this year. 2009 (the last el nino) saw the black saturday bushfires, baseline temps are higher now so that's a concern

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http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/fall-in-greenhouse-gas-emissions-biggest-in-24-years-20140613-zs7be.html

Australia posted its biggest annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 24 years of records in 2013 as the carbon tax helped drive a large drop in pollution from the electricity sector.

The latest greenhouse gas inventory, released online without fanfare by the federal government, showed annual emissions excluding changes in land use were estimated at 538.4 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent in 2013, down 0.8 per cent on the previous year.

While the final figures may be revised, the annual drop is likely to exceed the only two other years of emissions falls – in 2009 and 2010 – since the tally began in 1990.

The electricity sector reported emissions fell 5 per cent last year, with all but one other sector showing an increase. The carbon tax has its most direct impact on power generators, which account for about one-third of Australia’s emissions outside changes to forest cover.

The carbon price, now at $24.15 a tonne, will rise to $25.40 a tonne from next month and will apply until its likely scrapping when the new Senate votes on the Abbott government’s repeal bills, expected soon after July 1.

The government’s climate policies have been in the spotlight as Prime Minister Tony Abbott headed to Washington this week, soon after President Barack Obama introduced the most ambitious emissions cuts in US history – forcing power plants to slash 2005-level emissions 30 per cent by 2030.

Mr Abbott, forced to defend the government’s alternative policy to a carbon tax based on paying polluters to curb emissions, said he would avoid climate action that would “clobber the economy”.

But Greens leader Christine Milne said: “The price on pollution is working and it is time Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt stopped lying to Australia and the world.

“The government is trying to hide the fact that the price on pollution is the cheapest and most effective way to do something about global warming, and mitigate the future extreme storms, droughts and floods that will ravage Australia over the coming decades.”

A spokesman for Mr Hunt said national emissions had fallen only 0.1 per cent in the first full year of the carbon tax, showing that the price “does not work”.

“Comparing years with and without the carbon tax, we see a negligible difference in emissions,” he said. “We're implementing a policy that will actually work.”

Electricity emissions

Since the start of the carbon tax in July 2012, total carbon emissions from the National Electricity Market – which serves eastern Australia – have fallen 17.2 million tonnes, or about 11 per cent, according to Hugh Saddler of energy consultancy Pitt & Sherry.

Slumping electricity demand, in part because of closures of aluminium smelters and other manufacturing, has contributed to the emissions drop.

The carbon price, though, has also discouraged some energy use while spurring more production from low-carbon energy sources, particularly wind and hydro.

However rising gas prices will prompt a switch to coal-fired power plants in coming months, suggesting emissions falls from the power sector are likely to taper off even if demand extends its slump, Dr Saddler said.

“I don’t think it will continue,” Dr Saddler said. “It’s as good as it gets.”

John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, said the drop in 2013 emissions indicated existing policies were doing the intended job.

“We have a stable, set-and-forget default mechanism, that’s going to work,” Mr Connor said.

By contrast, the government was “ripping away” at other policies curbing emissions, with plans to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corp, and energy efficiency programs.

Any weakening of the Renewable Energy Target, now under review by a government-appointed panel led by climate change doubter Dick Warburton, would also undermine emissions reduction efforts, Mr Connor said. On current settings, the mandatory clean energy goal will cut emissions by another 70 million tonnes by 2020, he said.

Research released this week by RepuTex, a markets consultancy, estimated the government’s main climate policy – the Emissions Reduction Fund – may only meet a third of the emissions reduction challenge if Australia is to cut 2000 levels by 5 per cent by 2020.

Even if the government spends most of the $2.55 billion earmarked for the ERF by 2020 – with only $1.147 billion set aside in the budget for the coming four years – the fund will likely only achieve about 30-120 million tonnes of carbon abatement by the end of the decade, RepuTex estimated.

Mr Hunt has said Australia will easily meet the 5 per cent reduction goal, and was reported by News Corp on Friday saying the rural sector may account for as much as $1.9 billion, or about three-quarters, of the ERF, mostly through the carbon farming scheme.

yes i agree with with toned up and gre ghunt that the carbon price is not doing anything for anyones emissions, except theirs, which have skyrocketed

booyah seewhatididthere?

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Support for Australia's carbon pricing laws has grown as the Abbott government prepares to repeal them next month, with more people now in favour than opposed.

An annual poll by the Climate Institute found the number of Australians who disagree with the laws fell to 30 per cent, down from 52 per cent in 2012 when the Coalition's attack on the carbon tax was at its peak. It also represents an 11 per cent decline in opposition from last year.

At the same time the percentage of Australians who supported the carbon price rose six per cent, to 34 per cent, over the past year. It is the first rise in support under the Climate Institute poll since the laws were first introduced by the Gillard government.

But more people were indifferent than supportive or opposed, with 36 per cent of people saying they neither agreed nor disagreed with the laws.

The poll - carried out by JWS Research, which surveyed 1100 people online late last month - also found just 22 per cent of people supported the government's Direct Action scheme, which will replace the carbon tax.

Australians were also cynical of both major political parties when it came to climate change. Voters were particularly sceptical of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with only 20 per cent saying they believed him when he said he was concerned about action on climate change. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten performed only slightly better, with 31 per cent trusting his approach to climate change.

In other results the polling found 61 per cent of people wanted Australia to be a global leader on solutions for climate change.

It comes as the independent Climate Change Authority said in a new research paper the international community expected Australia to present credible targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions after 2020 as part of the push to strike a historic new global deal on climate change.

In the paper, looking at what the new treaty could look like, the authority says if Australia led positively on targets and other issues it would enhance its influence in crafting the new agreement, which is due to be finalised at a meeting in Paris late next year, to come into effect from 2020.

Authority chairman and former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser said Australia had played an active role at past international negotiations and ''as a wealthy developed country and a high per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, it will be expected to carry a fair share of the post-2020 emissions reductions''.

In its report the authority says given Australia's relative wealth and capacity it will be expected to produce an unconditional post-2020 target by April next year, as some countries were invited to do at United Nations climate negotiations in Warsaw last year.

In a previous report the Climate Change Authority - which the Abbott government plans to close - recommended Australia adopt a 40-60 per cent emissions cut on 2000 levels by 2030.

The Abbott government has so far committed to a five per cent cut in emissions from 2000 levels. A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the government would review the 2020 emissions target next year considering further action and targets on the basis of ''comparable real global action''.

The authority paper also warns insisting on a global agreement similar to the current Kyoto Protocol - a universal, prescriptive, enforcement-oriented legal agreement - would likely be counterproductive as it is not achievable in the short term.

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/poll-finds-support-growing-for-carbon-pricing-laws-20140622-zsi40.html

smfh, unbelievable

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Biologists at UC San Diego have solved a long-standing mystery concerning the way plants reduce the numbers of their breathing pores in response to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

In a paper published in this week's early online edition of Nature, they report the discovery of a new genetic pathway in plants, made up of four genes from three different gene families that control the density of breathing pores—or "stomata"—in plant leaves in response to elevated CO2 levels.

Their discovery should help biologists better understand how the steadily increasing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere (which last spring, for the first time in recorded history, remained above 400 parts per million) are affecting the ability of plants and economically important crops to deal with heat stress and drought. It could also provide agricultural scientists with new tools to engineer plants and crops that can deal with droughts and high temperatures like those now affecting the Southwestern United States.

"For each carbon dioxide molecule that is incorporated into plants through photosynthesis, plants lose about 200 hundred molecules of water through their stomata," explains Julian Schroeder, a professor of biology who headed the research effort. "Because elevated CO2 reduces the density of stomatal pores in leaves, this is, at first sight beneficial for plants as they would lose less water. However, the reduction in the numbers of stomatal pores decreases the ability of plants to cool their leaves during a heat wave via water evaporation. Less evaporation adds to heat stress in plants, which ultimately affects crop yield."

Schroeder is also co-director of a new research entity at UC San Diego called "Food and Fuel for the 21st Century," which is designed to apply basic research on plants to sustainable food and biofuel production.

"Our research is aimed at understanding the fundamental mechanisms and genes by which CO2 represses stomatal pore development," says Schroeder. Working in a tiny mustard plant called Arabidopsis, which is used as a genetic model and shares many of the same genes as other plants and crops, he and his team of biologists discovered that the proteins encoded by the four genes they discovered repress the development of stomata at elevated CO2 levels.

Using a combination of systems biology and bioinformatic techniques, the scientists cleverly isolated proteins, which, when mutated, abolished the plant's ability to respond to CO2 stress. Cawas Engineer, a postdoctoral scientist in Schroeder's lab and the first author of the study, found that when plants sense atmospheric CO2 levels rising, they increase their expression of a key peptide hormone called Epidermal Patterning Factor-2, EPF2.

"The EPF2 peptide acts like a morphogen which alters stem cell character in the epidermis of growing leaves and blocks the formation of stomata at elevated CO2," explains Engineer.

Because other proteins known as proteases are needed to activate the EPF2 peptide, the scientists also used a "proteomics" approach to identify a new protein that they called CRSP (CO2 Response Secreted Protease) which, they determined, is crucial for activating the EPF2 peptide.

"We identified CRSP, a secreted protein, which is responsive to atmospheric CO2levels," says Engineer. "CRSP plays a pivotal role in allowing the plant to produce the right amount of stomata in response to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. You can imagine that such a 'sensing and response' mechanism involving CRSP and EPF2 could be used to engineer crop varieties which are better able to perform in the current and future high CO2 global climate where fresh water availability for agriculture is dwindling."

The discoveries of these proteins and genes have the potential to address a wide range of critical agricultural problems in the future, including the limited availability of water for crops, the need to increase water use efficiency in lawns as well as crops and concerns among farmers about the impact heat stress will have in their crops as global temperatures and CO2 levels continue to rise.

"At a time where the pressing issues of climate change and inherent agronomic consequences which are mediated by the continuing atmospheric CO2 rise are palpable, these advances could become of interest to crop biologists and climate change modelers," says Engineer.

1x1.gif Explore further: Biologists develop nanosensors to visualize movements and distribution of plant hormone

More information: Carbonic anhydrases, EPF2 and a novel protease mediate CO2 control of stomatal development, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13452

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-discovery-insights-elevated-co2.html

although on the plus side this may be a great business opportunity for monsanto. stymie action on co2 reduction and then cash in by bio-engineering the only food crops that will grow. diabolical.

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http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/fight-climate-change-by-building-away-from-sea-rupert-murdoch-20140713-zt66s.html

Fight climate change by building away from sea: Rupert Murdoch

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has dubbed Prime Minister Tony Abbott an admirable, honest and principled man, and said Australians should not be building windmills and "all that rubbish".

In an interview on Sky News on Sunday, Mr Murdoch spoke candidly about climate change, Australia's political environment and its relationship with China.

1405292825217.jpg-620x349.jpg

Climate change should be treated with ''much scepticism''" Rupert Murdoch. Photo: AFP

He said climate change should be treated with "much scepticism".

If the temperature rises 3 degrees in 100 years, "at the very most one of those [degrees] would be man-made," he said.

"If the sea level rises six inches, that's a big deal in the world, the Maldives might disappear or something, but OK, we can't mitigate that, we can't stop it, we have to stop building vast houses on seashores.

1405292825329.jpg-300x0.jpg

Climate prevention: Australians should not be building windmills and "all that rubbish". Photo: Bloomberg

"We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn't be building windmills and all that rubbish," he said.

"The world has been changing for thousands and thousands of years. It's just a lot more complicated because we are so much more advanced."

On Mr Abbott, Mr Murdoch said he had met him "three, four times, and the impression is that he is an admirable, honest, principled man and somebody that we really need as Prime Minister who we can all look up to and admire.

"However, how much does he understand free markets and what should be happening? I don’t know. Only time will tell. It's too early to make a judgment on this government."

Mr Murdoch then praised Australia for its entrepreneurial attitude, encouraging the country to work with its Asian neighbours, particularly China.

"We have to come to terms with the Chinese and live with them," he said.

"I don't believe they are aggressive. I don't believe they want to take us over."

His sentiments came as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also reiterated how important Australia's engagement with the "Asian Century" was.

"We are close to Asia. We should be deepening our cultural, economic ties with all of Asia, and I think that is a challenge for all political parties," Mr Shorten told the ABC on Sunday.

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1405292825217.jpg-620x349.jpg

hi rupert!

:wave-finger:

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Tony Abbott battles the future on climate change by axing carbon tax

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-battles-the-future-on-climate-change-by-axing-carbon-tax-20140710-zt2d2.html

Australia is in a climate coma. The bitter five-year political tussle over carbon pricing has left us numb and weary of the debate.

The repeal of the carbon price in the Senate on Thursday had been coming for many months - many years really. It was probably a fait accompli the moment bipartisanship was abandoned late in 2009 when Tony Abbott became federal Liberal Party leader.

But we should not underestimate the moment’s significance.

1405562151377.jpg-300x0.jpg

The cancellation of the carbon tax was probably inevitable once Tony Abbott became Liberal leader.

A major reform, established in law and largely working, has been rescinded. This is not unheard of in Australian political history. But it is rare.

So with repeal, what has been lost?

Australia no longer has a hard cap on the amount of planet-warming gases that can be released by Australia’s largest companies.

The requirement for industry to take account of the broader social cost of their emissions is gone.

There is no longer an efficient mechanism to meet our domestic emissions reduction goals. Nor one that can also be easily scaled up to meet deeper cuts, the kind science demands to limit global warming to relatively safe levels.

There is no longer an architecture that can endure for decades to tackle a problem that requires a solution to be achieved over that time frame.

And Australia no longer has a long-term emissions reduction target enshrined in law – it was an 80 per cent cut by 2050 until today.

Peel back the edges and the Abbott government’s agenda on climate change is bigger than just ‘‘axing the tax’’, and more destructive.

It attacks clean energy. A self-described climate sceptic has been appointed to review the renewable energy target, with the suspicion it will be watered down. The profit-making Clean Energy Finance Corporation is up for abolition. As is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

A program forcing big energy users to become more efficient with their power use was closed. International aid commitments to help the poorest countries with climate change are sneered at. Independent agencies advising on climate matters have been shut or are in the gun.

And the pretence that we may still seek to achieve anything more than a five per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 on 2000 levels (Australia has long had on the table an option to move to an up to 15 or 25 per cent cut) is largely gone. A government review of targets, both short and longer term, is due next year, but nobody is holding their breath.

To replace all this we are given direct action - a still not fully–formed incentives scheme with limited scope. It is not even second-best to carbon pricing. Hard regulation to cut emissions from transport, power plants and industry would be more effective.

The Coalition’s approach to climate change is political management. It seeks to avoid embarrassment on the domestic and world stage by doing the bare minimum and fiddling at the margins.

But what is the long-term plan? Even if direct action can get us to the 2020 goal (and many believe that it can’t) what comes next?

The science demands that emissions cuts do not stop in six years. To make the deeper cuts required we will need wholesale reform to the way our energy is produced. How we move ourselves around. How we make things.

Nothing in the Coalition’s cannon prepares us for this. The fact that some of its excesses have had to be corrected in part by Clive Palmer – a grandiose populist of William Randolph Hearst proportions – is an indictment.

Carbon pricing could endure. Alone it was not a panacea, but it was an effective central pillar to a long-term emissions reduction strategy. This is the view of the OECD, World Bank, the United Nations and many institutions like them.

On carbon pricing, Australia had got itself ahead of the curve, as it has so often on major economic reform. Doing that has always been to our advantage. We restructured ahead of others, lessened the associated pain and got on with embracing modernity.

In the two years since Australia’s carbon price came into effect, seven pilot schemes have been launched in China and perhaps the best scheme in the world started in California. Next year South Korea – our fourth largest-trading partner – begins its own national trading scheme.

Instead we have become the first country to roll back a carbon price.

This repeal is fighting against the future. That is a battle that is rarely won.

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hi rupert!

:wave-finger:

Is it just me or is that emperor palpatine?

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this is disturbing....she must be asleep or something...maybe just has shares in plastic bottles and waste disposal...

"Michelle Obama is expanding her push for America to drink more water, as the White House claims partial responsibility for helping to boost nearly $1 million in bottled water sales among consumers since the national "Drink"

sooo they think this is a good thing ? :BANGHEAD2:

Edited by Dreamwalker

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the way they're destroying the water supply with fracking i'm not surprised bottled water sales are up

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Romanian city opens plastic bottle bridge in litter protest

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-romanian-city-plastic-bottle-bridge.html

I like the idea of using these bottles to build giant rafts or personal islands maybe.....maybe if the islands all join up you could create a whole new country :scratchhead: The Democratic Republic of Plastica

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/kenyas-own-plastiki-boat-made-plastic-bottles-old-flip-flops.html

Edited by Dreamwalker.
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"According to the researchers' calculations, one scenario suggests that all of California's 2050 power demands could be met with a mix of sources,


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-power-california-sun.html#jCp"
Edited by Dreamwalker.

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Emissions from energy generation jump most in eight years after carbon price axed
Carbon emissions from the country's main electricity grid have risen since the end of the carbon tax by the largest amount in nearly eight years.
Data from the National Electricity Market, which covers about 80 per cent of Australia's population, shows that emissions from the sector rose by about 1 million tonnes, or 0.8 per cent, at an annualised rate last month compared with June.
That is the biggest two-month increase since the end of 2006, and came as a result of an increase in overall demand and a rise in the share of coal-fired power in the market, according to Pitt & Sherry's monthly Cedex emissions index.
"It is highly likely that the trend directions of electricity demand, generation and emissions seen in the last two months will become set in place," the consultancy said, adding that the emissions intensity of the power industry was rising after six years of falls.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt did not comment on the rise in emissions when contacted on Wednesday.
Australia's bipartisan goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent below 2000 levels by the year 2020. The government scrapped the two-year-old carbon price in July.
Greens leader Christine Milne said the figures are "yet more evidence that Tony Abbott has delivered for the big polluters".
"Every tonne rise in emissions is another wad of cash in a coal baron's pockets while driving extreme weather events that everyone else will pay the price of," Senator Milne said.
The share of black and brown coal in the national market rose to 73.3 per cent from a historic low of 72.9 per cent in July, and will probably rise further as gas and hydro start to shrink.
The addition of new wind and solar energy capacity is also about to grind to a halt with the industry anticipating the Abbott government will take an axe to the Renewable Energy Target.
The latest emissions figures come as the 20-megawatt Royalla solar plant, the country's largest solar farm to be added to the grid, was officially opened in the ACT on Wednesday.
About 370 megawatts of wind in NSW and Victoria and 170 megawatts of large-scale solar are under construction, but "after that, there's very little in the pipeline", Pitt & Sherry principal consultant Hugh Saddler said.
Emissions from the power sector account for the largest emissions share of any industry, making up about one-third of Australia's total. The industry is expected to see a rise of millions of tonnes of emissions in coming months as gas in Queensland starts to be diverted to exports rather than domestic use and the main hydro plants scale back output.
If Hydro Tasmania's production drops back to levels just after the last drought, output will be about 9 terawatt-hours a year – down from about 12TWh levels before the end of the carbon price.
"If that switches to brown coal, it will be nearly 4 million tonnes" of extra emissions annually, Dr Saddler said.
The share of gas in the market was little changed last month from July at 13 per cent, while hydro's share dropped to 9.1 per cent from 9.3 per cent, Dr Saddler said.
Wind energy's share last month eased to 4.6 per cent from 4.9 per cent a month earlier. A windy July saw record wind energy production in the country.

well i never

Edited by bot6
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The ten worst environment decisions in Abbott's first year

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/southern-crossroads/2014/sep/05/abbott-first-year-environment-climate-ten-worst-decisions

This Sunday marks a year since Tony Abbott was elected. The prime minister is riding low in the opinion polls as the least popular prime minister in twenty five years, with a net dissatisfaction rating of minus 19.

There's little doubt that Mr Abbott's unpopularity is driven by many things; he was unpopular even before his election in 2013. The litany of broken promises could be one reason. His attempts to unravel the Australian social compact, mostly encapsulated in his first budget, could be another. Judging by the fights he has picked, Abbott has decided he needs enemies like a thirsty man needs water: the environment, unions, Russia, asylum seekers, the unemployed, and more.

A contributing factor in my view is that Tony Abbott and his government have not just failed to responsibly steward Australia's natural heritage, but has actively treated the environment as an enemy. Several of the attacks were promises that Mr Abbott decided not to break, but others are surprises that were sprung only after the election.

The active, purposeful attacks by Abbott against Australia's natural heritage is not just a political issue that has contributed to his low standing with the public, but have real impacts that may last for decades. This negligence is reckless and endangers our air, water, soil now and for future generations.

There have been many potentially disastrous decisions made by the Abbott government since the 2013 election on 7 September. Here's my top ten worst decisions.

1. Repealing the carbon price

The repeal of the carbon price was perhaps the single biggest act of negligence and misanthropy from the Abbott government to date. It is quite simply a betrayal of current and future generations, and sets Australia back more than a decade. The globe is moving towards pricing carbon, whether through emissions trading or through shadow pricing schemes. The Clean Energy Future Act, while not perfect, had the essential elements needed to decarbonise the economy. Since the abolition of the carbon price, carbon pollution emissions has increased:

In the year to August 2014, emissions were 1m tonnes higher when compared with the year to June 2014. This is equivalent to an increase of 0.8% in emissions.


This disappointing but predictable increase follows reductions in carbon emissions from 2012-13. Needless to say, carbon pollution is the primary cause of dangerous global warming. Unfortunately, the replacement policy proposed by the Coalition, "direct action", is a sham that could only be proposed by a government that believes global warming is a hoax.

2. Winding back, freezing or abolishing the renewable energy target

Before the 2013 election, the renewable energy target was a bi-partisan policy originally introduced by the Howard government. The target would see 20 percent or 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy generated by 2020. Leading up to last year's election, both Tony Abbott and environment minister Greg Hunt made clear commitments that they would keep, unchanged, the renewable energy target. On 19 June 2013, Hunt said on Sky News:

We agree on the national targets to reduce our emissions by five per cent by 2020. We also agree on the renewable energy target. And one of the things we don't want to do is to become a party where there is this wild sovereign risk where you are, where businesses take steps to their detriment on the basis of a pledge and a policy of Government.


The renewable energy target was responsible for increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy in our electricity grid, the creation of thousands of jobs from new energy projects, and downward competitive pressure on energy prices. Upon his election, Mr Abbott appointed a review panel chaired by climate denier Dick Warburton, who has proposed the scheme be dramatically cut back. If Abbott accepts these recommendations, it would effectively shut down Australia's renewable energy industry future. The beneficiaries of any freeze or reduction in the renewable energy target would be the fossil fuel energy producers.

3. Abolishing the Climate Commission

The Climate Commission was created to provide independent, accurate and relevant information to the public about global warming. The commission's abolition was announced just a few weeks after Abbott's election, when Greg Hunt abruptly called the commission's chief professor Tim Flannery.

A major challenge facing policy reform on global warming is the virulent and hardened propaganda campaigns run by climate deniers. There is a strong need for accurate information to help better inform the Australian public about the risks of climate change, and to correct the misinformation that is given airing in mastheads like The Australian.

A well informed public is inherently meritorious, even more so when it concerns an issue as complex and contested as climate change policy. It is exceptionally disappointing that the government abolished the Climate Commission, and doing so has not altered the facts of global warming or silenced the likes of Tim Flannery.

4. Attempting to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Renewable Energy Agency

Both these organisations, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Renewable Energy Agency were created to assist in the rapid commercial development of renewable energy projects. The Renewable Energy Agency finances research and development for renewable energy projects, and currently supports around 180 projects worth $1 billion, many of which are in regional areas.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation alone has financed billions in renewable and energy efficiency investments; the Abbott government's argument is that these investments "crowd out" private investment and that the investments it does make are "highly speculative". Both criticisms have been refuted by the corporation itself, and far from crowding out private investment, it has actually spurred it, attracting "A$2.90 from private funds for every A$1 it has invested in projects". According tostrategic management professor John Matthews:

The problem facing most renewable energy projects is that financial institutions are too conservative to back their projects. But if a project is "proofed" by the CEFC then it becomes much more attractive to conventional finance.


The Abbott government's abolition attempts for both the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Renewable Energy Agency were blocked in the senate by Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party "coalition" (including Ricky Muir). Nevertheless, the Abbott government's ideological opposition to clean energy and the jobs it creates is openly apparent with their brutish attempts to force the finance corporation to cease its investments before legislation was even introduced to parliament to abolish it

4. Keeping fossil fuel subsidies

The Abbott government declared that the "age of entitlement is over" when Joe Hockey said that "everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting". This clearly excluded fossil fuel and mining companies, the main beneficiary of enormous and unneeded subsidies. Despite the severe cuts in the federal budget targeting everyday people, the government decided to keep $10 billion per year in subsidies to fossil fuel companies.

These handouts take the form of direct subsidies, cash, tax breaks and publicly funded infrastructure. The most egregious is the diesel fuel rebate, primarily used by mining companies to the tune of $2 billion per year. Highly profitable, mostly foreign-owned mining companies pay just $0.06c per litre for fuel, compared to the $0.38c per litre that everyday people pay.

It's not just mining companies. The major fossil fuel companies get tax-payer funds for their oil, coal and gas projects, which over the next four years will add up to more than $4 billion. This includes exceptionally favourable depreciation laws for assets like drilling rigs, which costs Australians money and helps fossil fuel companies make their massive profits.

5. Wrecking the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the truly wondrous natural wonders of the world, and the Abbott government decided to approve the expansion of a coal terminal near the reef. The reef is not only at risk of ocean acidification and extreme weather, but industrial development and shipping along the reef puts it under considerable pressure. There is a real possibility that the reef has already been irreparably damaged.

While it now appears the worst elements of the Abbot Point coal terminal,which involved "the dumping of three million cubic tonnes of dredge spoil in the marine park area" may not proceed, the threat of climate change and environmental problems from increased shipping of coal exports remain.

6. Tearing up the Tasmanian forest deal and attempting to de-list the Tasmanian World Heritage forests

For a generation, Tasmania was divided between pro-logging and conservationists, with conservationists opposing logging of old-growth forests. After many years of negotiation, the major conservation groups came to an agreement with the forestry industry, ensuring World Heritage protection for large parts of Tasmania's forests, and a path for Forest Stewardship Council certification for the industry.

After his election, Tony Abbott tried to have the United Nations de-list Tasmania's 74,000 hectares of World Heritage listed forest, and the recently elected Liberal state government has also committed to tearing up the forest deal. The UN rejected the Abbott government's attempts at a meeting this year in Doha, with a delegate saying "accepting this delisting would set an unacceptable precedent". These actions show that the Abbott government is attempting to reignite the bitter conflict between industry and conservationists.

It is worth noting that the Tasmanian forest industry supports the existing deal, suggesting that Abbott's actions have been driven by anti-environmental ideology.

7. Reviewing the marine national reserves

The former Labor government significantly expanded Australia's marine national parks, growing the commendable work done under the conservative Howard government. The marine network is now being reviewed by a panel, with pro-fishing groups expecting the current marine park process to be "suspended". As we have seen in other places, reviews under the Abbott government are often stalking horses to provide cover for more extreme agendas, and the risk is that Australia's network of marine reserves will be weakened beyond repair.

This issue has sadly received relatively little coverage by major mastheads, although Fairfax's Bianca Hall did cover the original decisionin December 2013.

8. Attempting to handover environmental powers to the states

The referral of environmental powers to the states would be a betrayal of Australia's natural heritage, under the paltry guise of removing "green tape". The cumbersomely named Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act creates requirements for federal approval for major projects. The referral proposal would see the federal government hand over approval powers to state governments, many of whom are hopelessly conflicted or incapable of assessing major projects adequately.

In practice, the referral would leave Australia's environment at the mercy of major mining and fossil fuel interests. The furphy of "green tape" was dreamed up by conservative business interests to undermine legitimate protections for the environment and communities. What's more, handing these powers is an abdication of the federal government's responsibility to steward our national heritage, many of which cross state boundaries.

9. Defunding the environmental defenders office

A small network of community legal centres exists to empower local communities to protect themselves and their environment. They do public interest work, like running cases to ensure that governments abide by existing conservation laws, or protecting endangered species. These environmental defenders offices were funded through federal government grants (like most community legal centres) but upon the election of the Abbott government, George Brandis, the new attorney general, defunded them.

This is disappointing because it reduces the ability of communities to hold the government and big business to account and to protect their local interests.

10 Creating an unsafe and underpaid "green army"

The "green army" is an election promise to recruit around 15,000 volunteers to opt into working on environmental projects. In lieu of payment, participants receive an allowance. In addition to there being doubts to the merit of the environmental projects the "green army" will undertake, the participants of the program lack basic employment protections.

The aim of the program is to provide work experience and training to volunteers aged 17-24. The program has been legislated to ensure that volunteers do not receive social security payments but instead receive an allowance, paid by the program service provider (which are companies or other organisations that are contracted by the federal government). Participants are not characterised as employees, and are therefore denied rights and protections taken for granted by other workers, including health and safety laws, workers compensation, superannuation, leave, unfair dismissal, and anti-discrimination protections.

The real shame of this program is that it puts vulnerable young people in potential danger without any real rights or protections just to provide a green-wash for the federal government.

Edited by Halcyon Daze
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Does anyone here subscribe to Suspicious Observers on youtube? He has an interesting take on climate change with a lot of informative and educational links for reference in his videos. The channel is mostly used for daily space weather updates.

iatd

Edited by iatd
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Fucken weird times to be alive lol. The latest report from the IPCC is some what sobering, relating the need to decarbonise within the next several decades too see a rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius which within itself would instigate massive laregly irreversible changes in global climate.

To be honest i just dont see it happening heh and i really hope im wrong! but the momentum of the machine just seems to be set towards such, imo i think no real challenge will come until we see the economy being hit by the effects.

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yeah nah, the planet's screwed,

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Just another piece of shit to keep the herds divided. You wont find any mushrooms on that lump.

Or to put it another way - satan on a mountain top beating his cock to the sound of erotic stupidity.

Edited by AnthromorphicGerbil

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yes thank goodness for the pure hearts of people like gina rinehart and the koch brothers to spread truth and light and stop the relentless march to communism by those leftist green fascists

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Climate funds for coal highlight lack of UN rules

The money for coal highlights one of the biggest problems in the U.N.-led effort to fight climate change: A lack of accountability. Climate finance is critical to any global climate deal, and rich countries have pledged billions of dollars toward it in U.N. climate talks, which resume Monday in Lima, Peru. Yet there is no watchdog agency that ensures the money is spent in the most effective way. There's not even a common definition on what climate finance is.

Japan, a top contributor of climate finance, denies any wrongdoing and has done nothing illegal. Despite a growing backlash against supporting coal power in developing countries, there are no rules against counting such projects as climate finance in the U.N. system.

However, even U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres admitted she was unaware that Japan was building coal plants with climate money, and concerned.

"There is no argument for that," Figueres told AP. "Unabated coal has no room in the future energy system."

The newly launched Green Climate Fund, a key channel for billions of dollars of climate finance in the future, also has only vague guidelines as yet on how to spend the money. Board member Jan Cedergren said he didn't believe the fund would support fossil fuels but acknowledged no decision has so far been made.

"The point is to not invest money in things that have a negative impact on climate," Cedergren said.

The story of how Cirebon and the other coal plants became climate projects starts at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen in 2009, where rich countries pledged $30 billion in climate finance over the next three years, with Japan providing about half. They also agreed to scale up the flow to $100 billion a year by 2020.

An analysis of the 300 top climate finance projects reported to the U.N. during that time showed Japan was the only country to include direct support to coal plants, among its many other contributions. Japan says it will continue to count its new coal plants as climate finance because without its financial and technological help, many developing countries might build cheaper, more polluting coal plants.

"There are countries ... that cannot afford to have other methods than coal," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Takako Ito. "For these countries, we'd like to provide the best method of reducing carbon dioxide. We believe ... this is a very practical and realistic and effective way to reduce carbon dioxide."

The second-largest project reported to the U.N. for 2010-2012 was a $729 million loan for what Japan described as a "high energy efficient thermal power plant project in East Java." AP found that the loan from Japan's Bank for International Cooperation, or JBIC, was used to build an 815-megawatt coal-fired unit next to two existing units at the Paiton power plant, which is partly owned by Japanese firms Mitsui and Tokyo Electric Power Company.

Also among the top 30 projects globally was a $214 million loan from JBIC for the construction of another "thermal power plant" in West Java, which AP confirmed was the Cirebon power station. The plant is co-owned by Marubeni Corp., a Japanese company that was fined $88 million this year by the U.S. Department of Justice for bribing Indonesian government officials to secure a separate power project.

Japan's development agency gave another loan of $15 million for a plant in Indramayu, West Java, among more than a dozen smaller projects related to coal, including studies linked to high-efficiency coal power in India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Those were identified as coal projects in documents submitted to the U.N., while the larger projects in Paiton and Cirebon were not.

JBIC, which is under the Ministry of Finance, said there was no specific reason they were labeled thermal power plants, a term that includes coal, nuclear and natural gas-fired plants.

"We don't have anything to hide or disguise," a Foreign Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the topic.

The Foreign Ministry compiled the list of climate finance projects that Japan presented to the U.N. in consultation with other ministries.

While noting that Cirebon and Paiton plants are cleaner than older coal plants, JBIC is upfront about saying that financing them met its mission to keep Japanese industry internationally competitive. Indonesia is also Japan's second-largest supplier of coal, and JBIC says it believes supporting infrastructure projects overseas can help efforts to buy resources from the same countries.

Marubeni and Mitsui declined requests for comment. Tokyo Electric, a major utility that helps run the Paiton complex, said transferring Japanese technology can lead to a substantial reduction in carbon emissions.

However, many climate scientists say even "clean coal" technology will not achieve the goal of U.N. climate talks: keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees (3.6 F). For that, overall emissions will likely have to drop to zero by the end of the century. Coal-fired power plants can lock in emissions for more than 30 years because of their life span.

The only way for the math to work with coal is through technology that sucks carbon dioxide from the air and stores it underground, said Niklas Hoehne, an energy and climate researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. But this latest technology is expensive, reduces the efficiency of a plant, requires a lot of space and is not yet commercially available on a large scale.

Neither Cirebon nor Paiton has it.

The Cirebon plant has brought the debate over coal to a village in West Java province in the fourth-most populous nation in the world, where smog, acid rain and air pollution are common.

People living in Kanci Kulon village, less than 1 kilometer (1 mile) from the Cirebon plant, told AP that when the wind is right, they can feel a sooty grit in the air. Although no environmental studies have been done, local fishermen say their catches of shrimp, crab and green mussels have shrunk. Daud, a 50-year-old fisherman who like many Indonesians only uses one name, said he used to bring in 45 crabs a day. Now the most he gets is 10.

"I believe this is because of the coal sludge" from the Cirebon plant, he yelled, struggling to be heard over the jet-like roar from the power station.

Cirebon officials told AP journalists touring the site that the plant is safe and denied that any sludge is released into the Java Sea. They also pointed to cooling towers that are used to prevent warming of the surrounding coastal waters.

Heru Dewanto, vice president of the utility that runs Cirebon, acknowledged that the plant had caused some problems for "200 to 300 green mussel farmers or fishermen," but said this drawback should be weighed against the benefit of providing electricity to half a million homes.

Edi Wibowo, Cirebon's senior environmental engineer, said emissions from the plant were between 856 and 875 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of energy produced — 20 percent lower than from an old coal plant. However, that still compares with 600 to 700 for oil, which nowadays is rarely used to generate electricity, 400 for natural gas, and near zero for renewables like solar and wind power.

Japan stands out among rich countries for its investment in coal. The U.S. and many others have cut public funding for coal projects in developing countries. Germany still supports coal projects in poor countries, but unlike Japan it doesn't count them as climate finance.

Coal provides a relatively cheap, abundant and reliable source of energy to meet growing demand in China, India and Southeast Asia, said Keith Burnard, a technology expert at the International Energy Agency.

"Ideally coal, or more precisely, emissions from coal, would be removed from the equation," he said. "But there is also a reality there."

Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, said the climate finance money provided in 2010-2012 was a trial, and acknowledged the need to discuss and define climate finance in Lima.

"Over time, what we should be seeing is a very, very clear trend of investment into clean renewable energy," she said.

Environmental groups, most of whom were not aware of the coal plants when asked, are also pushing for more transparency.

"Climate finance is such a mess. It needs to get straightened out," said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth. "It would be such a shame if those resources went to fossil fuel-based technologies. It would be counterproductive."

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fbf13d1a68b9416bb1ebd0195a493b4d/climate-funds-coal-highlight-lack-un-rules

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