Category Archives: Climate Policy & Planning

Reflections on climate policy

I’m looking for a paradigm shift in the climate change goal from (a) ‘limitation of warming to 1.5°C’, thus escaping the worst of an already dangerous climate, to (b) ‘restoration of a safe climate’.

A safe climate may be described as ecological sustainability within planetary boundaries to include preservation, restitution and enhancement along with responsible economic, social and personal growth and development.

It’s the difference between hope and despair.

How can we say we will preserve the Great Barrier Reef when scientists tell us that 1.5°C will destroy up to 90% of it?

How can we stop our Pacific neighbours from being swamped by the ocean when we are told that current levels of greenhouse gases have an implied warming of 1.75–1.95°C (p13) and longer term equilibrium warming of~2.4°C?

That is with greenhouse gases at ~490 ppm CO2e. Right now they are at 508 ppm. Continue reading Reflections on climate policy

Our beds are burning

Ask yourself a simple question. Can you give hope to future generations that the Great Barrier Reef will be protected if your policy is to limit warming to 1.5°C when the GBR is already disappearing before our eyes?

With about 1.1°C of warming we are told that Unprecedented fires in California and Australia signal the dawn of the ‘fire age’. Richard Flanagan talks of a Tasmanian rainforest burnt in 2018, now desolate shale with no sign of regrowth.

As I write, pristine Fraser Island is burning on a front about 46 km long, with reports that water from water bombers is evaporating before it hits the ground.

We have now reached a point where the cost of insurance alone in flood and bushfire-prone communities makes it impossible to live there.

Dangerous climate change is already here.

How can we set a target of 1.5°C temperature (actually a 50% chance of limiting the increase to that level) when we know that during the Eemian interglacial sea levels rose 6-9 metres with 300ppm of CO2, and we have already broken through the 410 ppm? Continue reading Our beds are burning

Should Biden’s election cause Australia to pivot on climate change?


Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison refuses to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and Joe Biden’s election as US president will not change Australian climate policy.

Joe Biden calls climate change the ‘number one issue facing humanity’:

    “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” the former vice president said. “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation.”

Continue reading Should Biden’s election cause Australia to pivot on climate change?

Rudd shunted 10 years ago: reflections and reappraisals

It was 24 June 2010. I was the dentist chair watching Kevin Rudd giving his tearful exit speech, played on the TV in the ceiling. Rudd recounted the achievements of his term. Quite a long list, it was.

Peter Brent tries to make sense of what happened after that in Regrets? We’ve had a few.

To leave aside for a moment whether shunting Rudd was a good idea, and how all that worked out, Brent thinks the reason for our quick turnover of PMs is the Senate and our propensity to elect third party senators.

Currently the Coalition needs three out of five from One Nation’s two, Centre Alliance’s two and Jacqui Lambie’s one.

A lot of the time One Nation lines up, after some histrionics, with the Coalition. Which then leaves it up to Jacqui Lambie. I find that just a bit terrifying. Continue reading Rudd shunted 10 years ago: reflections and reappraisals

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

Climate emergency – the next (political) step

Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit, 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.

She also said:

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

Continue reading Climate emergency – the next (political) step

Labor needs to rethink the climate emergency

I pinched that cartoon from the Townsville Bulletin from Facebook, where it was doing the rounds. I think it’s tragic rather than funny, but may go some way to explain why Labor, in Queensland and federally, is over-reacting to the ‘message’ that was sent on Adani, and the prospect of jobs flowing from the resources industry as against climate change and saving the planet. Both Queensland and federal Labor appear to be caving in to coal interests, and both appear to be clueless about the urgency of the climate emergency. Continue reading Labor needs to rethink the climate emergency

Weekly salon 4/5

1. Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again

Thailand is happy about being the least miserable country in the world in the in the Bloomberg Misery Index, which is an economic indicator devised by Arthur Okun, and is derived by simply adding the forecasts of unemployment and inflation for the following year.

However, Thailand’s performance in the index is due to the Thai government’s unique way of tallying unemployment. More noteworthy are the performances of Switzerland, Japan and Singapore. For what it’s worth, here are the 10 least miserable: Continue reading Weekly salon 4/5

Election 2019: follies 1

The Grattan Institute found that providing 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 will necessitate 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?”

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?

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