Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

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

Weekly salon 23/10

I’ve been meaning to do a new open thread for a while (last Salon was 12 January). When I saw news of the first entry below I thought it was too good to pass up!

1. Morrison’s ultimate gift to the world

His agent described him as “virtuous globalisation mastermind”

Continue reading Weekly salon 23/10

Farewelling the Great Barrier Reef

In January this year when David Spratt took a look at whether tipping points had already been passed for critical climate systems he found that coral reefs were in death spiral. From reef ecology scientists:

    “The time between recurrent events is increasingly too short to allow a full recovery of mature coral assemblages, which generally takes from 10 to 15 years for the fastest growing species and far longer for the full complement of life histories and morphologies of older assemblages.”

Mass bleaching occurred in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020. Continue reading Farewelling the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef: a “living, resilient, beautiful system” under growing threat

Scientists told us in early February this year that at 1.5°C the Great Barrier Reef would be toast. See Catastrophic worldwide reef warning is ‘even more dire than we’d previously thought’:

On fossil fuels, Queensland needs to pause and consider

The Queensland Government has put out for comment a Queensland resources industry development plan, Draft for consultation, November 2021with a consultation deadline of 11 February 2022.

My concern is that the future plans for coal and gas do not sit well the latest science and with what the world must collectively do to prevent the current climate crisis from becoming a tragedy. Within that I have a specific concern about the plans relating to the fracking of gas in the Channel Country. Relevant to these concerns I’ll make four statements with some supporting notes. (Last updated, 27 February 2022) Continue reading On fossil fuels, Queensland needs to pause and consider

Methane worse than we thought, will wreck the planet


Gas has been seen as a transitional fuel and an opportunity to make money. We now know that it is a major contributor to the climate crisis and should be seen as a planet wrecker. This calls for a reset of climate policy.

I go the long way around (sorry, we have 3,500 words in this one) but context is the most important factor in this reset. Continue reading Methane worse than we thought, will wreck the planet

Weekly salon 12/1

1. 2021 in graphs

Peter Martin has assembled 10 graphs from articles he has edited in 2021.

Each tells a powerful story. For example, it is clear that sooner or later something will have to be done about JobSeeker when it is forecast to become a mere fraction of the old age pension, which is miserly by international standards. Remember around a third of pensioners already live in poverty. Continue reading Weekly salon 12/1

Cleaning out coal

When Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen stated at the Press Council that no jobs would be lost in coal or gas through Labor’s policy he received a strong challenge from Mike Foley of the SMH and The Age (from about 40:00 on the tape) who pointed out that the Government’s modelling showed coal-fired power reducing from 25GW to 14GW, which was more than can be accounted for by stated station closure timelines. Labor is going harder on renewables and claims that 82% of power generation will be renewables by 2030. Surely this means early closure of coal.

Bowen said stations may close, the market will decide, but there was no causal relationship with the policy, and the small percentage is explained by the fact that if we follow the call to ‘electrify everything’, especially heating and transport, much more power will be needed.

Coincidentally AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) has just produced it’s 2022 Draft ISP Consultation plan which show coal disappearing, evaporating before our eyes. Continue reading Cleaning out coal

COP26: Aspiring to failure

A theme of the Glasgow Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been to ‘keep 1.5°C alive’ knowing that they would fail. This is where the new pledges would take us by 2100 according to Climate Action Tracker:

My point, however, is that in choosing the goal of 1.5°C the UNFCCC is choosing failure. Back in 1994 the UNFCC was set up to prevent dangerous climate change. This is a simple ‘burning embers’ chart produce by the IPCC in 2018:

Any child can see that for a safe climate 0.5°C is plenty far enough. Continue reading COP26: Aspiring to failure

Morrison goes to Glasgow: what’s new?

PM Morrison: AAP/Dan Himbrechts, from The Conversation

Last week our PM, one Scott (“Scotty from Marketing”) Morrison, scrambled to wrest control of our borders from a disruptive new Premier of NSW, one Dominic Perrottet, who effectively sidelined the PM, while announcing that he will indeed go to Glasgow to spruik our newly minted policy on climate change, that is, if his recalcitrant coalition partners, the Nationals, agree to have one.

Laura Tingle’s AFR opinion piece The most abject failure of leadership in living memory (published under a less pungent title at the ABC) asks “Who is in charge now?” since the states and the Nationals seem to be running the show. Continue reading Morrison goes to Glasgow: what’s new?

Australia must leave 95 per cent of coal in the ground

In March this year UN chief Antonio Guterres said he wanted:

    all OECD countries to commit to phasing out coal by 2030, and for non-OECD countries to do so by 2040. Science tells us this is essential to meet the Paris Agreement goals and protect future generations.

He wants the main emitters and coal users to announce their phase-out plans well before the Glasgow UNFCCC COP26 conference in November this year. Continue reading Australia must leave 95 per cent of coal in the ground

Just transition in the Hunter Valley region

At a LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network) Zoom meeting recently I was privileged to witness a presentation from Tim Lang, an environmental activist in Newcastle, active through the NSW branch of LEAN and a co-founder of the Hunter Jobs Alliance. This post of 03 November, 2020 on the National LEAN site recorded the Hunter Jobs Alliance Launch: Continue reading Just transition in the Hunter Valley region