Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

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

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

Too good to be true? Is green flying really possible?

This is a long post, around 5,000 words, wherein I go down many rabbit holes. Perhaps at the end, though, there is a little pot of genuine climate gold.

At any given time there are more than half a million people in the sky, a veritable city about 11 kilometres up, strapped into seats in pressurised tubes atop gigantic flying tanks of kerosene. Looking forward, numbers of air travellers are increasing by 5% each year. Continue reading Too good to be true? Is green flying really possible?

Weekly salon 13/1

1. Saudi teen feared for life while waiting on Australia refugee ruling

Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun had applied to come to Australia.

But she told SBS News the process was taking too long and she feared for her life because her father and brother were in Thailand.

“Yes, toooooo long,” she responded to SBS News, when asked about the length of time. Continue reading Weekly salon 13/1

Climate change by the numbers

In 1999 NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from Imperial to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched. Numbers are important!

When Michael Le Page attempts to sort out the numbers in climate science (probably pay-walled) it’s not as straight forward as you might think. For starters we are given this image:

When ice melts, sea level rises – but how much, and how fast? Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Creative

Sorry, when floating ice melts the sea level does not rise. The caption is misleading. Continue reading Climate change by the numbers

Climate clippings 229

Climate stories continue to float across my viewing zone, especially lately in the New Scientist, which for us is loo reading. NS articles are usually pay-walled, so I’ll try catch up a bit.

1. There’ll be a domino effect as we trigger ecosystem tipping points

Massive icebergs are one sign that change is on the way
NASA/ Brooke Medley

There are lots of tipping points in ecosystems and the climate, and many are interconnected. That means the massive changes we are wreaking will have many unexpected consequences. Continue reading Climate clippings 229

Federal election campaigning has started

As PM Scott Morrison reels from the latest crisis, and polls show that he’s in trouble, two big events signal the election race is up and running.

In brief, we had the ALP National Conference, which ScoMo attempted to disrupt by announcing the next Governor General. Then the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2018‑19 showed the economy producing unexpected riches. However, the media were diverted by NP member and Assistant Finance Minister Andrew Broad’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ scandal, which, according to the Betoota Advocate, his leader Michael McCormack explained was a private family matter and hence none of our business. Meanwhile two opinion polls came out, which were not to ScoMo’s liking. Continue reading Federal election campaigning has started

Countries behave badly in Poland, investors behave well

It was a strange decision to hold the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, deep in Poland’s coal mining territory. The main purpose of the conference is to finalize the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement.

The conference also received the special report on achieving a 1.5°C global average temperature rise prepared on request by the IPCC. While I had some reservations about the whole exercise, the report a strong wake up call on the need for more urgent cuts. Fossil fuels had to be wound back rapidly. This from Dr. Joeri Rogelj, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria: