Pivotal moments in climate change: Part 1-Climate Targets Panel report

In recent times the biggest pivot in climate change action has undoubtedly been the election of Joe Biden and President of the United States, whose vision and plans have been described as ‘breathtaking’. More of that later.

However, here in Oz a number of things changed within a 24 hour period.

  • There was a seeming capitulation by Labor to the demands of Joel Fitzgibbon to get rid of Mark Butler in the climate change portfolio,
  • An ad hoc group including John Hewson and Will Steffen, the Climate Targets Panel, released a report that took a look at what Australia’s fair contribution to the Paris Agreement should be,
  • The National Party issued a report arguing the necessity of building coal-fired power stations, inter alia,
  • and Dr Andrew Forrest AO delivered the first Boyer Lecture 2020 on Rebooting Australia — How ethical entrepreneurs can help shape a better future.

Seriously, Forrest’s lecture was amazing, and the Dr is not honorary, he actually completed a PhD in marine ecology last year.

In this post I’ll look at the Climate Targets Panel report.

Climate Targets Panel report

In 2014 the Climate Change Authority acting according to its charter prepared a 401-page report advising the Australian Government what target Australia needed to follow to help limit global warming to less than 2°C in preparation for the Paris Climate Agreement.

The CCA recommended that Australia’s fair share would be a reduction of 40 to 60 per cent below 2000 levels, which translates to approximately 45 to 65 per cent below 2005 levels.

The Abbott Government ignored this advice, opting for 26-28%.

The intention of the Paris Agreement was that countries would ratchet up their ambition every five years, hence there was a definite expectation of increased country efforts in conjunction with the 2020 UN Conference of Parties, COP 26 in Glasgow, which has been rescheduled to 1-12 November 2021 due to COVID-19.

The Australian Government has ignored this injunction, thinking a promise not to cheat by using carry-over credits from the Kyoto Agreement would suffice.

The Climate Targets Panel, a self-appointed group, decided to contribute to the discussion as to what Australia’s contribution should be. The report was published linked to a media release Australia’s Paris Agreement Pathways on the site of Melbourne University’s Climate Energy College. Here’s a direct link to the report.

I shall ignore their calculations in relation to 2°C, because it’s a distraction, the main game is 1.5°C. The group worked within the IPCC notion that there was a permissible budget of burnable carbon compatible with keeping warming to within 1.5°C.

The group found:

  • a ‘straight line’ trajectory from 2020 to net-zero in 2050 would consume the Australia’s entire 1.5°C budget by 2029.
  • To be consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target must be 74% below 2005 levels, with net-zero emissions reached by 2035.

For consistency The Panel used the same methodology as the CCA did in 2014, and followed their use of 0.97% as Australia’s share of global emissions.

The following graph has been adapted from the Guardian article on the report:

It shows the Government’s meandering effort, but I’ve erased the 2°C line, so as not to be distracted.

The Panel point out that the CCA in 2014 did not consider 1.5°C, because 1.5°C only came into play as a surprise result of the Paris Agreement. However, the Panel’s consideration was framed by the 2018 IPCC Report on 1.5°C, so:

    Given already-measured severe warming of 1.1°C, drastic urgent action is required to remain below 1.5°C. Recognising the challenge, the published 1.5°C carbon budgets relied upon in this analysis have presumed only a 50% (not 67%) probability of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C.

One of the reasons for failure is that “the possibility of carbon cycle feedbacks. This refers to self-reinforcing changes in nature that contribute to global warming.” These feedback reactions may become unstoppable, in other words tipping points, making further warming beyond human capacity to limit.

As it happens the Australian Greens policy includes:

    18. A nationwide, systematic response is required to drastically reduce emissions from all sectors, draw down greenhouse gases, and be greenhouse gas neutral or negative by 2035.

If zero emissions by 2035 only gives us an even chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, then we do indeed have a crisis on our hands, and should be responding accordingly.

The Greens also say they believe:

    A safer climate will require a return to an atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases equivalent to 350 parts per million of CO2, or lower.

Their quantative target will not in itself produce a safe climate.

Angus Taylor rubbished the report saying it was of poor quality.

The report was authored by:

  • John Hewson AM, who is substantively Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and inter alia Chair, Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, Chair and BioEnergy Australia.
  • Will Steffen, Emeritus Professor, Fenner School of Environment & Society at the Australian National University and the Inaugural Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, from 2008-2012. Steffen was a member of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee advising the Gillard Government on the ‘Clean Energy Future’ package. He also worked with Johan Rockström to produce a paper A safe operating space for humanity, published in Nature in 2009. The paper had 27 other co-authors, including James Hansen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and many other senior climate scientists. The paper established the concept of ‘planetary boundaries’, with 350ppm seen as the limit for a safe climate.
  • Lesley Hughes, Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Hughes has been a lead author of IPCC reports, and a member of the Wentworth Group.
  • Associate Professor Malte Meinshausen who was founding Director of the Climate & Energy College at the University of Melbourne and Co-Director of the Energy Transition Hub. Before coming to The University of Melbourne, he was a senior researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He has been contributing author in IPCC reports, and is a lead author in the current one.

It’s a very capable group. Meinshausen’s name appears on this wondrous graph showing the risk and temperature outcomes implied by GHG levels:

I found it on page 48 of the Climate Change Authority review of February 2014. As I explained in my long-read post Climate emergency – ecological sustainability within planetary boundaries, and a safe climate, the graph was graduated in CO2e, which at the time stood at 493.

I don’t think the CCA members understood what they were looking at. I’m sure Meinshausen does.

Labor has said that its climate policies will follow the science. They will need courage to follow this particular report. It would be easier to simply follow the crowd internationally.

The IPCC report schedule has been affected by COVID. The best I can find is the the Working Group 1 AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis will not be approved until late July.

Given an election is possible from August, and thought likely about October, ‘following the science’ is not a straight-forward exercise in 2021.

49 thoughts on “Pivotal moments in climate change: Part 1-Climate Targets Panel report”

  1. Brian: “A ‘straight line’ trajectory from 2020 to net-zero in 2050 would consume the Australia’s entire 1.5°C budget by 2029.” Implies doing nothing will go through the budget in 4 yrs time!! (Or a straight line trajectory would have to reach zero in 8 yrs time)
    How many people in Labor understand this?

  2. I think it is important to denounce Angus Taylor as being a person of poor quality, right along with Joel Fitzgibbon, and dare I say it Anthony Albanese too.

    Labor is perfectly set up to fail Australians, while keeping their jobs and their income. Albanese is dry, unimpressive, has very little vision, and from my experience of him (from 2007) is a closet denialist. Albanese has all of the appeal of an Australian standard sausage roll. Dry, flavorless, minimum protein, maximum carbohydrate and fat. The item you turn to when everything else on offer is too awful to contemplate.

    But Twiggy Forrest becoming a green giant? Who would have thought. He does seem serious, though, and does have a handle on the technology, though to claim that ships will run on ammonia suggests a credibility reducing degree of ambition over reach. Lets hope he can inspire some more Ethical Entrepreneurs. There might be hope for CGRPT’s after all.

  3. Bilb: Renewable ammonia has its attractions as a shipping fuel. It has similar handling properties as LPG. Energy density is lower than bunker oil but it is easy to make from water and nitrogen using long established processes.

  4. John, according to the graph a straight line trajectory from 2020 to zero is 15 years, so I’m not sure what you mean by four years.

    How many in Labor understand the full gravity of the situation? I suspect zero pollies, although Butler might, and saw himself constrained by political pragmatism.

    The report was written within the IPCC playbook. As you would know I don’t think there ever was any burnable carbon for the IPCC and the UNFCCC to play with, as we passed 350ppm in September 1988, two months after James Hansen addressed the US Senate.

    Do The Greens understand that?

  5. The problem becomes, JohnD, competition for sun light real estate and capital. Feel free to quantify how much real estate is required to produce the energy to move a ship around the world. I think you will quickly realise that if Nuclear has any place in the future, it is in shipping. We are talking about 45,000 bulk carriers and container ships.

    Nuclear powered all of those ship at 100 megawatt capacity each you see parked off cities like Singapore and Newcastle would be powering those regions while they wait for their slot to dock.

    This leaves the liquid fuels that can be produced used for aviation.

    There is so much double counting going on with sustainable solutions that it discredits the whole enterprise. The public know this intuitively rather than specifically, and it is proven over and again by the slow delivery of even the easy things such as electric cars.

  6. Bilb: “The problem becomes, JohnD, competition for sun light real estate and capital. ”
    I lived in the Pilbara for 10 yrs. Have to say there is big mobs of prime solar power area there which would cost close yo nothing. On the coast there is the industrial city of Dampier, one of our major LNG exporting hubs. It is the area I generally think of when talking about producing renewable hydrogen, ammonia etc.
    Most of Aus consists of very, very, low cost land which is suitable for solar.
    Agree that nuclear is a logical source of power for shipping. Problem is convincing people living close to ports that it is safe.
    Thinking about ships parked off shore waiting for berths I think transferring power from waiting ships may not be as easy as it sounds.

  7. Like I said, John, you have to quantify this. Roughly to produce fuel to power the world’s ship you would require some basic 4500 gigawatt of solar capacity, and if your conversion efficiency to ammonia is 60% then you need 7,500 gigawatts of electrical capacity not to mention huge amounts of water.

    Australia’s total solar capacity at present is 18 gigawatts. Can you not see the problem here? Australia doesn’t have any where near the population required to ramp up construction and servicing of 417 times the current amount of solar already installed. Australia would have to be owned and populated by China for that to happen, and that should point out the other problem with the proposal.

    Aviation requires nearly as much fuel to power the some 9000 passenger jets in the air at any one time.

    I’m not saying these things are impossible, I’m saying that the real solutions require practical evaluation and deployment of a mixture of solutions.

    Regarding nuclear, that industry is determined to go ahead with small modular reactors. Where would you prefer them to be? In the industrial area down the road from your house, or in a ship at sea?

    Regarding moving power to shore, that is what they routinely do from offshore wind farms. I think that technology is working and well enough.

    BUT if ammonia were to be the solution to powering shipping, you have just made the extended case for China to annex Australia, initially to source energy for their own fleet, then to fuel other nations’ shipping as customers.

  8. Greg Jericho has a go at the Climate Targets Panel report in Australia needs to stop thinking that setting a target of zero emissions by 2050 is good enough.

    He slices and dices the information every which way. I lost a bit of confidence when he said up front that the Panel “argues we need a 50% cut by 2030.”

    Actually they said 74%. He gets it right when he says later:

      The only way we can keep within the 1.5C budget it to target net zero emissions by 2035 – that would require cutting emissions by nearly three quarters by 2030.

    I think his main point is that by choosing to do it by 2050 or at your leisure you are choosing to fail.

  9. Bilb2: “Australia doesn’t have any where near the population required to ramp up construction and servicing of 417 times the current amount of solar already installed.” Doesn’t sound right to me. Got any figures to back it? Many of the jobs would be easy targets for robotics.
    I see ammonia as a fuel as something that may be attractive under some circumstances where relatively small amounts of energy need to be transported to places off the grid. It is a question of kWh produced per kWh consumed.

  10. Ammonia is a great product to be producing where there is surplus renewable energy. Agree 100%.

    It is about scale and best use of resources.

    The average large ship is powered between 60 and 120 megawatts. The best fuel use efficiency in a marine diesel is 50% (thermal efficiency one aspect I didn’t include in the BOTE Calc above) see Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C (80 Mw).

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/264024/number-of-merchant-ships-worldwide-by-type/ (size of the global shipping fleet)

    From there on it is basic maths, and it is best to work in mega watts for simplicity. I’ve seen various engine power figures for RR Trent 900 engines at either 24 Mw or 36 Mw so taker the lower you can say an A380 is around 100 Mw (probably less in cruise). Also I saw various Ammonia conversion efficiencies up to 87%.

    One of the biggest misconceptions with marine and nuclear is that the issue is to do with power. It is not. The Issue for NZ was to do with nuclear weapons on US ships. The US refused to say which ships were carrying them, the nuclear powered ships certainly were and the two factors, nuclear weapons and nuclear powered, became conflated around the time of the Rainbow Warrior sinking.

    The scale of the renewable energy problem is enormous, and with head in the sand morons like Scott Morrison in charge Australia has barely begun to work on the problem.

    The other measure that you can use to evaluate where we are in solving the energy problem is in the fact that every Australian man woman and child is continuously consuming 7 kilowatts of energy in fossil fuel energy. (I didn’t believe this when it was put up by a well known blogger many years ago now, but it checks out) so that means we need to be producing 8760 (hours) times 7 ((continuous energy consumption in kilowatts) times 25,000,000 (population of Australia), or 1,533 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year.

    The good news is that that is fossil fuel based energy consumption which is around 25% efficient relative to Electrical Energy equivalent so the Renewable Energy equivalent is a quarter of the wasteful Fossil Fuel figure. So the Renewable energy Production Target is just 383 billion kilowatt hours.

    Australia at its Howard years peak electricity production level was 270 billion KwHrs/Yr so 383 billion KwHrs/Yr is not that much of a stretch. I calculated years ago that an area the size of the Hunter Valley mines 600 square km was all that was required to produce all of Australia’s electricity. But the new figure must take in much more, so based on this guy’s calculation

    “ One acre if land can generate up to 400 kws of energy.

    While one sq km is around 100 hectares or 250 acres of land.

    So 400×250 = 100.000 kws maximum. But there has to be some space provided for maintainanace of panels and intermitant roads etc so 80%of this will be 80,000 kw or 80 mws of electricity can be generated .

    Or 80,000 units per hour or with tracking etc 400,000 units per day. Assuming 320 days availability it will go to

    400,000× 320 = 12.8 × crore units of electricity. Per year.

    Or 30 crore ₹ worth of electricity.

    Sriram.”

    …… the area required to produce renewable energy to replace Australia’s fossil fuels with the electrical equivalent is around 3000 square kilometers (60 kilometers by 60 kilometers) with 20% efficient solar panels.

    I think that is doable as a national project in 10 years.

    Note: that does nothing for powering the worlds shipping fleet.

  11. This is fine, Jumpy. Just be sure you understand why Nuclear is important for shipping and not land based energy production.

  12. bilb, Forrest intends to turn his whole operation over to hydrogen – mining machinery, trucks, trains and boats.

    He also plans to be a first mover world-wide in hydrogen production, and will target in the first instance geothermal and hydro power overseas.

    He says they have been thinking about it for 10 years, working on it for two, and last year in the middle of the NH summer took his team of 20 on a plane trip around the world to talk with governments. Talks included Germany, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and South Korea.

    I’d need to listen again, but his lecture is here, with transcript.

    An astonishing bit is the plan to make steel in the Pilbara, with 50,000 jobs.

  13. Bilb: The good news is that forward thinking private enterprise is yonks ahead of our beloved government and there is not much the government can do to slow them down.
    Technically, changing technology may influence choices for the way ahead.

  14. Indeed John, but Angus Taylor and Scotty’s thing about technology rather than taxes is basically a trope for avoiding climate action.

    zoot, of course the difference with Rex Connor is that Twiggy might actually do something.

  15. The world is at the stage where a real rethinking is required. The Australian government is a Climate Action Failure. If there was a Global Climate Action Czar he would be saying to Australia “if you refuse to take serious action you must allow others who will take action to take command of your essential resources”. “Australia is ordered to give China a 50 year lease on Western Australia for the rapid development of solar energy and for the production of Hydrogen, Ammonia, Zero fossil Fuel Steel, Lithium, and Aluminium”.

    Sound impossible?

    I think that it is far more probable than Australia ever becoming Carbon Neutral by its own government and the efforts of its population. Of course what is more certain is that China will Annex Australia outright in the interests of Global survival.

  16. Oops wrong name

    The world is at the stage where a real rethinking is required. The Australian government is a Climate Action Failure. If there was a Global Climate Action Czar he would be saying to Australia “if you refuse to take serious action you must allow others who will take action to take command of your essential resources”. “Australia is ordered to give China a 50 year lease on Western Australia for the rapid development of solar energy and for the production of Hydrogen, Ammonia, Zero fossil Fuel Steel, Lithium, and Aluminium”. Sound impossible? I think that it is far more probable than Australia ever becoming Carbon Neutral by its own government and the efforts of its population. Of course what is more certain is that China will Annex Australia outright in the interests of Global survival.

  17. Brian: “Indeed John, but Angus Taylor and Scotty’s thing about technology rather than taxes is basically a trope for avoiding climate action.”
    What Twiggy and his ilk are proposing doesn’t really depend on what the government thinks. By contrast what the natural gas industry wants will depend on financial support from governments.
    My take at the moment is that Morrison would have been stunned by the Newspoll 50:50 2PP and suspect that the poor result was related to his stand on climate inaction.
    Shame that the ALP is sending out impressions that its support for climate action is weakening.

  18. Shame that the ALP is sending out impressions that its support for climate action is weakening.

    John, the reverse is true, but people, including Adam Bandt and John Quiggin, don’t actually listen to what is being said.

  19. Brian: “John, the reverse is true,”
    That message is not getting thru to me and no, I rarely get my information from Quiggan or Bandt.

  20. John, I’ll take this up in Pt 2 of this post. The problem is (a), as I have said repeatedly, Labor has always said they are undergoing a policy review process which people think Albanese should pre-empt, and (b) people take notice of Fitzgibbon when Albo told them at the end of the press conference when he announced his shadow cabinet changes, “People a free to make up their minds about what Joel Fitzgibbon says, but it had nothing to do with Labor policy, which is unchanged, my shadow cabinet support it and my shadow cabinet is united.”

    Or words yo that effect. The media chose not to report him.

    His interim policy has been:

    (a) climate change action is the key to economic, social and ecological renewal to build a future for current and future generations.

    (b) Australia will join the crowd by targetting zero emissions by 2050.

    (c) Interim targets will be set, probably focussing on 2035, in view of the science, closer to the election.

    If people are concerned about Labor Right, they should read Tony Burke floats Green New Deal-style approach to Labor’s climate policy published days after Labor lost the last election couching the need in terms of intergenerational equity.

    Burke, Chris Bowen and Richard Marles are factionally Right. What they say about climate change action is no different from Plibersek, Wong, Mark Butler and Albo.

  21. Brian: “The shadow environment minister said a market mechanism, like a carbon price or an emissions trading scheme, remained optimal policy, because it was an efficient way to deal with the challenge of reducing pollution.
    But he said Labor had to accept that after successive election losses, the voting public didn’t concur. “We’ve now spent 11 years using market mechanisms to deal with climate change, and for 11 years, the Australian public have been saying no.”
    You wonder about federal Labor. The ACT has been the Australian leader in the switch to renewable energy and it has all happened under a Labor/ Green government. It hasn’t been driven by carbon prices or other economic drivel. It has been driven by “renewable energy auctions” which is essentially the standard competitive tendering process used by the contracting industry.
    Yet the dodos in federal Labor fly in and out of Canberra without asking how Canberra has been so successful in driving the switch to renewable energy. (Perhaps they should fly overseas to visit one of the many countries using renewable energy auctions.)
    Me I think the auctions should be for capacity rather for mWh and the use of this capacity should be controlled by a government corporation that decides how this capacity is used from second to second. The current marketing system is not working.
    Good to get that off my liver!!

  22. John, just about everyone thinks carbon pricing is the best way to go, but you already know that. I’m not going to call Warwick McKibbin a dodo, but personally I agree with you in the main because I don’t think carbon taxes will work fast enough.

    On reverse auctions, no need to fly overseas, or look at the ACT. State governments have been using them for years.

    I don’t want to get side-tracked on that issue, but there will be a need to purchase offsets, probably forever, unless we stop eating beef, lamb, rice, give up growing wool, and a list of other unavoidable emission-producing activities.

    The question here is whether Labor is giving up on climate change.

    The important bit about the linked article is that Tony Burke is Labor Right, and could have been deputy leader apart from his electorate bordering Albo’s. So why don’t people listen to him rather than Joel Fitzgibbon?

    I’ve tracked down the full transcript of the ANTHONY ALBANESE & RICHARD MARLES – TRANSCRIPT – PRESS CONFERENCE – PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA – THURSDAY, 28 JANUARY 2021.

    In the Q&A section he gets faintly sarcastic with the press for questioning his commitment to climate action when it has featured in every major speech he’s made as leader.

    I think the journos read each other rather than read his speeches. I know he’s not the most eloquent speaker on the stump, but he says he has been both strategic and consistent. He explains yet again why he does not consider it appropriate to have an interim target now.

    Journalists can be very annoying. They waste a lot of time asking the same question a different way. It’s rare that politicians get tricked into gotcha answers.

  23. John

    Technically, changing technology may influence choices for the way ahead.

    Exactly right. In my short blink of existence I’ve see technological innovations by the dozens radically changes human behaviours. I’m yet to a tax do that.

  24. I’m yet to SEE a tax do that…

    ( sorry about that, in my haste to furiously agree I missed a word )

  25. I’m yet to SEE a tax do that…
    That’s interesting since you were here when PM Gillard’s carbon “tax” noticeably reduced Australia’s emissions.
    Or do you now agree with Ms Gillard that it wasn’t a tax?

  26. Technology, tell me about it.

    When I were young we didn’t have a motor vehicle until I was nine. We used to ride to church on Sunday in a horse-drawn wagon.

    Had a Coolgardie safe instead of a fridge, eventually got a kerosene-fired fridge.

    Had no telephone until I was about 10, then had a party line, where others could listen in, although on our line I don’t think they did.

    When I was 11 we got 24 volt electric power system with batteries powered by the diesel milking machine, which sometimes didn’t work, so it was hand milking with all pitching in.

    In my first job in the public service committees could be no bigger than seven, because photocopiers had not arrived.

    Then they invented the silicon chip, which looked quite useless at first.

  27. zoot, I have mixed feelings about taxing smoking. I know a bloke who sometimes goes without food, and did so to buy food for his cat until it disappeared. But he smokes.

  28. There actually is a tax on carbon at present. Companies who conduct eligible emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) activities apply for exemption certificates.

    It’s the tax that Bill Shorten said was a stupid question when the journo asked him how much it would cost.

    Shorten was right, it was a stupid question, for a variety of reasons. But it arguably cost him the election.

    I think it likely that the scheme would apply if the Greens were running the show, but it is easier not to talk about it.

  29. Brian, I wasn’t arguing for taxes on anything, merely pointing out to our apparently blind Mackay correspondent that in the real world taxes do change behaviours.
    As an ex-smoker I understand addiction. I started smoking when fags were 40c for 20 and I stopped 25 years later when I was smoking 60-70 a day and a pack (of 50) cost something like $8. But it wasn’t the tax which stopped me, it was a heart attack.

  30. zoot, I understood what you were doing. Sorry to hear, but glad you survived and kicked the habit.

    I had only a 15 a day habit, but tried several times to give up through my mid 30s, and failed every time.

    Then at age 38 I met my second and present wife. She said it was her or the smokes.

    That cured me, but I dreamt about the damn things for at least 10 years.

  31. Brian: Economists think that people can be manipulated by changing prices. Sometimes it works, particularly for people with who are strapped for cash or don’t particularly care either way. Sometimes it doesn’t work because the added cost doesn’t make a great deal of interest.
    Malcolm Turnbull’s low emission globes initiative worked because it simply banned the inefficient alternative. Ditto Malcolm Turnbull’s offset credit trading system worked because it put a overall limit on power related emissions and let a permit trading system sort out how dirty capacity within the limit would be shared amongst dirty producers. (Shame they didn’t use offset credit trading to drive down car emissions.)
    The ACT renewable power contract auction system worked because it gave investors the certainty that comes with contracts. (You can drop the tax but it is expensive for governments to kill contracts.)
    By contrast there was nothing about the carbon tax that put any limit on emissions or guaranteed anything for investors. Sure, emissions dropped after the tax was introduced but it is hard to tell how much, if any, of the drop was due to the tax.
    Economists and market people haven’t helped in the setting up of a reliable, low emission power system.

  32. My main issue is that we need urgency in the system beyond what manipulation of the tax system as a main strategy can provide. And we need to think beyond electricity and power where reverse auctions work so well.

    So there will need to be a variety of measures, which could involve regulations and laws preventing some kinds of activities.

    The is a huge difference between zero emissions by 2050, and zero emissions by 2035, which is what the Climate Targets Panel and Greens policy say.

    If I said, which I have been for yonks, that we need to get to net zero by 2030, and then reduce airborne GHGs to 350 ppm of CO2e ASAP, lets aim for 2050, then we have a genuine climate crisis and the need to put things on a war footing.

  33. Brian: “If I said, which I have been for yonks, that we need to get to net zero by 2030, and then reduce airborne GHGs to 350 ppm of CO2e ASAP, lets aim for 2050, then we have a genuine climate crisis and the need to put things on a war footing.”
    Sounds like the “just vote LNP” plan?

  34. John D the other failure of the Carbon Price was that the incoming funds were squandered, not spent on building energy infrastructure.

    The real lost opportunity was not applying a levy on electricity of 3 cents per unit back in 2007 when the cost per KwHr was 13 cents, and with the funds collected put to building new renewable energy infrastructure which would have therefore been owned by the public and managed by the private sector.

  35. Bilb: “John D the other failure of the Carbon Price was that the incoming funds were squandered, not spent on building energy infrastructure.”
    I would have found a carbon tax that was used to pay for climate action acceptable. Preferably collected when the fossil carbon was taken out of the ground or imported to Australia. Any incentive to reduce emissions would have been a bonus.

  36. John, to just vote for the LNP is a choice to do nothing, which Deloitte Access Economics study found:

      will have the effect of curtailing Australia’s economic growth to the tune of $3.4 trillion and 880,000 fewer jobs in just 50 years, there is an upside – a new choice that Australia can make to create a new climate for growth. And the payoff? A bigger economy –$680 billion bigger – with 250,000 more jobs in just 50 years.

    I think the choice is bigger than that, but what would I know.

  37. Speaking of questionable action in NSW: “Deputy Premier John Barilaro to face grilling over alleged pork-barrelling of NSW bushfire grants.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-08/inquiry-to-probe-deputy-premier-on-allocation-of-bushfire-funds/13131130
    “The NSW Deputy Premier will today be grilled over why three areas in non-Coalition electorates didn’t receive any funding through the Government’s bushfire grant program, despite suffering millions of dollars in losses.
    Key points:
    The areas most devastated by the bushfires were Government-held seats
    The Premier has refused to front the inquiry into the grants
    A second round of grants of $250 million is now available
    Last year the NSW Government handed out $180 million for projects in communities affected by the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires without an open application process.
    The Blue Mountains didn’t receive any money even though Government data found the area suffered an economic loss of $65 million.
    The Central Coast also missed out and the hit to its economy was found to be $163 million.
    Both are in Labor-held seats.
    The NSW Government also didn’t provide any funds in the Greens-held seat of Ballina although the Byron economy was found to have suffered an economic impact of $88 million.”
    (Byron is part of the Ballina state seat.)

  38. Now the good news: South Australia achieves world-leading 60pct wind and solar share over last year. https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australia-achieves-world-leading-60pct-wind-and-solar-share-over-last-year/

    South Australia achieves world-leading 60pct wind and solar share over last year
    Giles Parkinson 8 February 2021 28
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    South Australia has achieved a world-leading 60 per cent share of wind and solar in its local grid in the last 12 months, reaching a level of “variable” or “intermittent” generation that is unmatched in a market of its size anywhere in the world.

    The milestone was noted by some eagle eyed “NEM watchers” (referring to the National Electricity Market) over the weekend where wind and solar met 84 per cent of local demand over the last three days and 78 per cent over the last week.

    Data compiled by the live feed operated OpenNEM shows that wind and solar met 60.2 per cent of South Australia’s electricity demand over the 12 months to February 7. Wind energy accounted for 42.2 per cent, followed by rooftop solar (13.7 per cent) and utility scale solar (4.3 per cent).

    This is despite a relatively high level of curtailment through the past year, when wind and solar farms were forced to switch off for either economic reasons (prices were too low), or because of network limits (there was simply too much wind and solar in the system).

    The network limits are likely to be eased this coming year when the first of four synchronous condensers (large spinning machines that do burn fossil fuels), come on line, reducing the need for a certain amount of gas generators to be on line for some essential grid services.

    A proposed new link to NSW – scheduled to come on line in 2024 or 2025 – will also allow for yet more wind and solar to be produced in South Australia, and exported to other states, although a recent regulatory ruling rejecting a proposed change to the way network revenues are collected may cause a delay or a rethink from investors.
    You only need to go back a little more than a decade to find critics who claimed that it was impossible to accommodate more than 10 per cent wind and solar in the grid, or just two years to hear the current federal energy minister Angus Taylor claim there was already too much wind and solar in the grid.”
    To make things worse: “Now, the South Australia state Liberal government has a target of reaching net 100 per cent renewables (wind and solar) by 2030, and if the new transmission link goes ahead it is likely to reach that target well before then.”
    Poor old Scotty the coal kisser seems to be losing control.

  39. Scott Morrison faces Nationals threat to ‘cross the floor’ over 2050 carbon cuts https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-09/nationals-agriculture-net-zero-emissions-carve-out/13133450
    Crossing the floor will demonstrate jus how out of touch these arrogant cowboys are. Also:
    And the Nationals call for agriculture to be exempt from a net-zero target now appears at odds with the National Farmers Federation (NFF), which says agriculture is “too important to leave out”.
    Nationals senator and former resources minister Matt Canavan has declared he would be prepared to “cross the floor” if the Government moved to legislate to go carbon neutral by mid-century.
    His backbench colleague Barnaby Joyce has raised similar concerns.
    There is no certainty that a bill would be required, but the incendiary remarks show that some members of the Nationals now stand in open defiance of the Prime Minister after a week of tacit approval.
    Farming of all industries stands a lot to lose from climate change. But I guess it is a long time since the Nats were a farmers party.

  40. Climate risk sees ANZ divest from Port of Newcastle, the largest thermal coal terminal in the world https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-09/climate-risk-sees-anz-divest-from-port-of-newcastle/13136462
    The NSW government is also making it harder for the port to change to non-coal uses: “The port itself has openly acknowledged the need to diversify, but its push to develop a container terminal for general cargo has so far been hampered by the NSW Government.
    When selling Port Botany and Port Kembla, the state implemented laws that would restrict any container traffic through Newcastle for the next 50 years.
    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deemed the move anti-competitive and illegal, and the matter is currently being dealt with in the Federal Court.”

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