Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

Posts on aspects of climate science, climate action and climate policy & planning.

Joel Fitzgibbon forces the issue on Labor climate plans

Yesterday my heart sank when I heard that shadow resources minister Joel Fitzgibbon was going to make a speech at the AFR National Energy Summit proposing that Labor end the climate wars by adopting the Coalition’s target of 28 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. Frankly, I knew Mark Butler would be spewing, but Fitzgibbon is a senior cabinet minister, so which way would Anthony Albanese choose?

By the end of the day the matter was settled. I’ll link to a couple of articles later, but the most important media piece came in Patricia Karvelas’s interview with Pat Conroy, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Minister Assisting for Climate Change, on ABC RN Drive. Labor will honour our Paris commitment, that means a meaningful contribution rather than the pathetic formal commitment by the Abbott government made. labor will take a backward step on it’s 2019 election commitments. Continue reading Joel Fitzgibbon forces the issue on Labor climate plans

Good news ignored by Queensland media

In a one newspaper town, the Courier Mail will never miss an opportunity to slam the Palaszczuk Labor government, even if they have to distort or mislead, while generally neglecting good news.

So we’ve had another front page headline:

Screenshot of Courier Mail Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Continue reading Good news ignored by Queensland media

UN meeting failure, so what now?

This is the final version of a post first published on Thursday 26 September. This version contains additional material, and a considerable amount of the earlier version has been pruned.

I hope to do a specific post on the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Meanwhile we have a closing media release from the summit. While it tells us that “77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, [and] while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so”, none of the large emitters were included. Matt McDonald, Associate Professor of International Relations at the The University of Queensland, gives a neat summary with lots of links in Highly touted UN climate summit failed to deliver – and Scott Morrison failed to show up.

One success of the Summit was Greta Thunberg’s amazing speech:

Greta Thunberg “We’ll be watching you!”
Continue reading UN meeting failure, so what now?

The urgency of now

Our country is burning up and the powers-that-be refuse to help, so it’s time to show them we’ve had enough (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

In 1988 James Hansen addressed the US Senate warning of the danger of climate change. Ostensibly the world took notice in the Earth Summit at Rio and the establishment of the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) which meets in the Conference of Parties for two weeks in early December each year. It gave us the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. However, as I indicated in Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency: bonus edition, the effect on rising CO2 emissions is invisible:

    The emissions are increasing and that is the only thing that matters.

This is what was shown for July 01, 2019 at Muana Loa:

Continue reading The urgency of now

Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency: bonus edition

This is an updated version earlier post, slightly shorter, where I have deleted some material in favour of new material, especially towards the end, and sharpening some points along the way.

First graph

Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit, said:

    The emissions are increasing and that is the only thing that matters.

This is what was shown for July 01, 2019 at Muana Loa:

Continue reading Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency: bonus edition

Weekly salon 7/9

1. Storms for Hansen’s grandchildren

(From Hurricane Dorian: devastation and destruction in the Bahamas – in pictures)

John Schwartz at the NYT (posted at Lethal Heating) asks How Has Climate Change Affected Hurricane Dorian?

Michael Mann and Andrew E Dessler respond in Global Heating Made Hurricane Dorian Bigger, Wetter – And More Deadly. With warm seas and more moisture in the atmosphere hurricanes can intensify faster, contain more moisture, more wind power and move slower. This means greater flooding and a increased possibility of coinciding with high tides. Continue reading Weekly salon 7/9

The price of protest in fashion waste

When I was young, we wore clothes until the wore out. I had an elder brother, and got to wear hand-me-downs.

This all changed, possibly in the 1970s and 1980s. Now we have the phenomenon of single-use clothing, ironically often T-shirts worn by people crusading to save the planet. Richard di Natale is, I think, the Australian politician most often seen in T-shirts. During the last election he often looked like this:

Continue reading The price of protest in fashion waste

Weekly salon 1/9

1. Waiting for Godot

Part of my delay in completing this week’s edition was waiting for something that wasn’t ridiculous to happen. There is plenty like Boris Johnson suspending parliament, and Trump attacking Fox News, and Fox News hitting back.

To be honest, I’ve been knocked a bit askew by the David Spratt’s question At 4°C of warming, would a billion people survive? The answer according to some respected scientists is, in brief, probably not, something less than a billion, and 4°C seems to be where we are heading.

That would mean on average more than a million deaths from global warming each week for the next 90 years. Continue reading Weekly salon 1/9

Keeping the lights on

Last week began with a front page article in the AFR Victoria prone to blackouts this summer as grid wilts and ended with an AFR editorial How can Australia have third-world power blackouts?

The answer to that question is easy – we don’t have to avoid third-world blackouts because we don’t have them. The more important question is, why is Michael Stutchbury’s head in such a muddle? Stutchbury is editor in chief of the AFR and appeared on ABC Insiders this morning. Other panelists asked whether he had read “the report”. Continue reading Keeping the lights on

Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster

In the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) climate change is seen as an existential threat. ‘Existential’ in the sense that life for the Pacific islanders is embedded in community and place. Shifting to higher ground somewhere else is not a solution. (See Geoff Henderson’s excellent guest post Climate refugees in the Central Pacific -the Republic of Kiribati)

To put the best construction on what happened, Pacific leaders and Australia agreed to disagree about action on climate change.

PIF chair, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, said to Australian PM Scott Morrison:

    “You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.”

Continue reading Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster

Water from thin air

As I reported recently, ten towns in northern NSW and the Southern Downs in Qld are at high risk of running out of water. Indeed news.com reports that Stanthorpe could be dry by Christmas, with nearby Warwick at risk of running out in 17 months’ time.

Nature worked out how to extract water from desert air with the evolution of the Namibian fog beetle (above). The image is from my files, so I’ve posted about it before, I reckon about 10 years ago. I googled and found this article: Continue reading Water from thin air