Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

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

Election 2019: follies 1

The Grattan Institute found that in order to provide tax cuts in the never-never while reducing government expenditure from 24.9% of GDP in 2018-19 to 23.6% during the next decade amounts to cutting existing programs by more than A$40 billion a year in 2029-30. That should have been the story of the week, but somehow it wasn’t.

That’s Scott Morrison saying the claim is “absolute complete rubbish”. I’ll come back to that. Worse was to come. By the end of the week Bill Shorten was accusing the Liberal Party of running a “low-rent, American-style fake news” campaign on a “ridiculous death tax scare”. Continue reading Election 2019: follies 1

Labor’s climate action plan 2019 – a “dog’s breakfast?”

While Labor’s 2019 Climate Acton Plan has been completely rewritten compared to the plan they took to the 2016 election the target of 45% emissions reductions (from 2005) by 2030 remains the same. I can’t recall whether they espoused zero emissions by 2050, as they do now, I think it may have been 90%. Their overall strategy is, I think, based on six considerations.

Firstly, Labor acknowledges the cost of doing nothing:

    Failure to act on climate change will expose the Australian people and environment to devastating costs for our economy, society, security, health and environment. Experts at the ANU, University of Melbourne and CSIRO estimate failing to keep global warming to below two degrees will eventually cost the average Australian household $14,000 per year.

Secondly, they say:

    Labor accepts the science of climate change and endorses the Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius as well as a more qualified commitment around a 1.5 degree threshold.

Continue reading Labor’s climate action plan 2019 – a “dog’s breakfast?”

The original Brexit

The first Brexit happened a very long time ago. According to Richard Webb in Brexit, 10,000 BC: The untold story of how Britain first left Europe (New Scientist), the white cliffs of Dover did not exist 450,000 years ago, just rolling hills. However, as usual, there was an ice age, and a glacial lake was formed in what is now the North Sea:

Continue reading The original Brexit

Cloud tipping point could yield a cataclysmic 14°C warming

Clouds could trigger a feedback effect. Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Commonly 2°C has been seen as the threshold for dangerous climate change, although last year the IPCC report on 1.5°C revealed that at that lower level we enter a zone where tipping points may take us to 4°C and beyond.

Levels of 4°C threaten civilisation as we know it. At 6°C we worry about the survival of the human race. However, at that point Tapio Schneider and his team at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, have found that there may be a further tipping point which heats the planet another 8°C to make it 14°C above pre-industrial levels (New Scientist, so probably pay-walled.)

How is this so? Continue reading Cloud tipping point could yield a cataclysmic 14°C warming

What would give hope to Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit?

Greta Thunberg … ‘I have always been that girl in the back who doesn’t say anything.’ Photograph: Michael Campanella/The Guardian

Photo and story from The Guardian.

She was asked to talk to the billionaire entrepreneurs in Davos.

    “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act,” she told them.

Continue reading What would give hope to Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit?

School strike 4 climate

That image is from the School strike 4 climate Facebook page. On Friday the School Strike 4 Climate website invites people to Join school students to strike for a safe climate!. It’s part of a Global #ClimateStrike which will involve action in over 90 countries.

    Pupils from hundreds of schools in over 55 cities and towns across Australia are using the action to call on all politicians to stop Adani’s coal mine, say no to all new fossil fuels and power Australia with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Continue reading School strike 4 climate

Climate clippings 231

1. ‘Time is Running Out’

According to Sharon Kelly at Desmog, that is a quote from a speech in 1965:

    “The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.”

The speaker was concerned that by the year 2000 the heat balance would be so modified as to possibly cause marked changes in the climate. Continue reading Climate clippings 231

Cheap accounting tricks and sovereign risk: the Morrison government’s climate policy

After a summer of record heat and wildfires, the Australian people along with business and industry are looking for concrete, responsible climate policies.

    Business and consumer groups have accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of “nakedly political pork barrelling” and “an egregious lack of process” over $3.5 billion in energy announcements.

Continue reading Cheap accounting tricks and sovereign risk: the Morrison government’s climate policy

BP sees coal demand continuing, even more so oil and gas

The headline is that oil giant BP sees global demand for coal continuing for decades in the face of dynamic growth of renewable energy.

That is what BP thinks will happen on the basis of projecting forward what we are doing to date. However, in what they see as a Rapid Transition Scenario, BP still sees around half of our energy needs in 2040 coming from fossil fuels in the form of gas and oil. Here from the BP Energy Outlook, 2019 in a nutshell is the story:

Continue reading BP sees coal demand continuing, even more so oil and gas

Climate clippings 230

1. NSW Labor pledges state-owned renewable energy company to power three million homes

    A New South Wales Labor government would establish a state-owned renewable energy company to support the rollout of enough renewable energy to power more than three million homes across the state in the next decade.

    On Monday the NSW opposition leader, Michael Daley, announced that if elected on 23 March, Labor would deliver seven gigawatts of extra renewable energy by 2030.

Continue reading Climate clippings 230

Blackouts are not increasing, keep calm and carry on!

A myth has been vigorously stoked by Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg that an irrational frolic with renewables has made the electricity grid unreliable, as demonstrated conclusively by the state blackout in South Australia in 2016. This is now being taken into actual policy by Angus Taylor and Scott Morrison with “big stick” penalties and government intervention to produce “fair dinkum 24/7” power.

This myth has now been thoroughly debunked by a Grattan Institute report Keep calm and carry on: Managing electricity reliability. Blaming renewables for reliability issues is “wrong and dangerous”. Continue reading Blackouts are not increasing, keep calm and carry on!

Angus Taylor is trying to steal the electricity system

When I logged on Tuesday there was an alert from John Davidson of a lead article at RenewEconomy Coalition energy plan “unworkable”, as Taylor charges into coal. It sent shivers up my spine.

There is PM Scott Morrison, shallow, ignorant and complacent, when first asked about climate change he admitted he’d never really thought about it.

There is Angus Taylor, bull-headed, supremely confident, and just plain wrong.

While Taylor’s “big stick” Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2018 is the subject of Senate Standing Committee on Economics hearings (see submissions here) he is pressing on with establishing tenders for “24/7” reliable power in what appears to be a mad rush to lock in contracts before the expected “caretaker” period begins in mid April, ahead of the anticipated mid-May poll. Continue reading Angus Taylor is trying to steal the electricity system