Finkel fail at Inside Story

Two of the best articles on the Finkel Review are at Inside Story – Giles Parkinson’s On climate, the consumer’s vote will be more important than the party room’s and Tim Colebatch’s The devils in Finkel’s detail.

Parkinson highlights the difference between promise and performance. Back in December, when the interim report came out, Finkel’s future looked exciting: Continue reading Finkel fail at Inside Story

Climate clippings 208

1. Coal India closes 37 coal mines

Coal India, the largest coal mining company in the world, has announced it will close 37 mines because they are no longer economically viable. That’s around 9 per cent of the state-run firm’s mines.

Also:

    The government has announced it will not build any more coal plants after 2022 and predicts renewables will generate 57 per cent of its power by 2027 – a pledge far outstripping its commitment in the Paris climate change agreement.

Continue reading Climate clippings 208

Saturday salon 24/6

1. Swear allegiance to clean coal

I got a heads-up from John D, Mark’s Facebook was onto it also. Prospective migrants would be asked questions about clean coal, according to RenewEconomy, who don’t normally do satire. They got it from The Australian, and the man from The Monthly on RN Drive says it was real, so was it?

The link was to this site, so was it real, or a spoof? Surely the latter!

So I Googled IELTS and found that Peter Dutton says the idea that an academic test is required for citizenship and migration is a load of cobblers. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/6

Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

We have been told over and over by respected journalists that Labor is only opposing the Coalition’s Gonski 2.0 schools funding scheme for base political reasons. Laura Tingle, Phillip Coorey, Bernard Keane and others said it. Andrew Probyn on the 7.30 Report last week, crossed the line from reporter to judgemental pontificator last week, basically saying that Labor was a disgrace. Back in May, when Gonski 2.0 was announced, Paula Mathewson declared that Labor had “lost it’s soul to Abbott-style negativity”. Tingle and Coorey accused Labor of voting against its own policies.

Excuse me, that was never the case. Labor had worked hard against rabid opposition to sign up the 27 entities involved in funding schools in Australia. The deal was to roll out the funds over six years, albeit backloaded in the last two, just beyond the budget estimates. Now Turnbull comes up with a cheaper deal, snatching away the final realisation of needs-based funding schools have been preparing for over the last four years, extending it out over another 10 years. Labor had signed agreements delivering the funding to the relevant school funding entities. Were they expected to rat on the deals they had entered in good faith? Continue reading Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

When the wind does not blow

When Barnaby Joyce talked to Barrie Cassidy on Insiders last Sunday he said:

    I flew in this morning Barrie, it was a beautiful day, not a puff of wind and if memory serves me correct, it was dark last night, so you switched off your coal-fired power stations, how do you switch on the lights?

Giles Parkinson worked over his “idiocy” in Coalition’s war on cheap power: When fools design energy policy, and everything Parkinson says is true. Renewables, even with “firming” as required by Finkel, are cheaper than coal, but Barnaby may still have a point. You see there has been a ruddy great high sitting over the continent for the last couple of weeks. Continue reading When the wind does not blow

Finkel flunks climate targets

Turnbull and Frydenberg kept telling us that the review of the national Electricity Market had to serve three ends. We need energy security to keep the lights on, we need cheaper prices, and we need to reduce emissions. In view of the science outlook on climate change, reducing emissions is a sine qua non, literally ‘without which nothing’ – in short an indispensable element.

Michael Slezak at The Guardian says that Australia’s policies on climate change have become poisoned by pragmatism. Bill Hare from Climate Analytics took a look and was horrified. The cuts modelled by Finkel stick out like a burning coal stack:

Continue reading Finkel flunks climate targets

Climate litigation goes global

From the New Scientist:

    If you can’t beat them, sue them. Citizens are increasingly taking governments to court over climate change inaction, with financial lenders – and possibly big firms – next in the firing line.

    Some 894 climate change cases have now been filed in 24 countries, according to a report published last week by the United Nations Environment Programme and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in New York.

    By some distance, most – 654 – have been in the US. Australia sits in second place, with 80 cases, and the UK third, with 49. The number of countries with climate cases has tripled since 2014.

Continue reading Climate litigation goes global

Saturday salon 17/6

1. Towering inferno

A shocker this week was the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower in London, a 24-storey building with 120 apartments. The latest count is 30 dead, but the final toll could be much higher as people were incinerated, many difficult or impossible to identify.

Unfortunately people were told to stay in their units, until it became apparent that the fire was spreading up the cladding on the outside of the building – then it was too late for many. Continue reading Saturday salon 17/6

Science shows the need for urgent climate action

In August last year in Climate clippings 181 (Item 5) I linked to a report by Climate Analytics examining the impacts on Australia of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and 2°C.

For me the crux of the report is this, from a discussion piece at The Conversation:

    The report predicts that half of the world’s identified tipping points – such as the collapse of polar ice sheets and the drying out of the Amazon rainforest – would be crossed under 2C warming, compared with 20% of them at 1.5℃.

If we go to 2℃, we will have a very different climate and there is a good chance we won’t be able to stabilise there. The bad news is that if we just carry on we’ll reach 1.5C by 2024, and 2C by 2036. Continue reading Science shows the need for urgent climate action

Scientists say go, Finkel says slow, Christensen says no

In this post I meant to show how the science has been showing for years now that we need rapid and concerted decarbonisation for a safe climate, and any hope of keeping global warming to 1.5˚C, in order to frame a consideration of the Finkel review. However, Abbott’s climate denialism is dramatically on full show and now George Christensen has thrown a grenade into the ring by saying he won’t vote in favour of Finkel’s Clean Energy Target. He says that most other Nationals won’t vote for it either. Indeed:

    He said that, rather than legislating a clean energy target, the government would be better off building high-efficiency coal-fired power stations to replace the ageing coal fleet. Christensen contended that approach would reduce carbon pollution.

Indeed Finkel’s review, which was carefully crafted to meet the full range of views in the LNP including climate deniers, looks dead in the water. Continue reading Scientists say go, Finkel says slow, Christensen says no

CO2 is scrambling our brains, but will it kill us all?

Ootz’s recent comment raised the question:

    should we be seriously looking at what the safe levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are for human beings?

That was in the context of an informed comment that we have not seen CO2 levels above 320 ppm for 27 million years, which predates hominid evolution. Studies indicate that 600 ppm globally, which is where we could be by 2050, might just render us extinct.

To jump to the chase, we don’t really know what the full effects of elevated CO2 will be, or indeed what they are now. However, indications are that as CO2 rises, our brains will work less well and we will become more limp and sluggish. A bit like a frog in a pot of water gradually being heated. Continue reading CO2 is scrambling our brains, but will it kill us all?

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff