Tag Archives: UNFCCC

Can Christiana Figueres persuade humanity to save itself?

Sometimes personalities matter. What if the ‘hanging chads’ in the Florida vote had been counted differently and Al Gore had become President in 2000 instead of George Bush. It was a sliding doors moment for climate change.

Elizabeth Kolbert takes a look at the state of play in international climate negotiations, and the woman who directs the UN effort to strike a climate agreement in Paris. Continue reading Can Christiana Figueres persuade humanity to save itself?

Is 1.5°C attainable?

With increasing appreciation that limiting global temperature rises to 2°C amounts to folly, is 1.5°C attainable? Is 2°C the best remaining scenario on offer?

For the Bonn UNFCCC climate talks in June a report was presented from 70 scientists gathered together in a process called the “structured expert dialogue”. It warned that even current levels of global warming of around 0.85°C are already intolerable in some parts of the world: Continue reading Is 1.5°C attainable?

Climate clippings 128

1. Hot and cold

My sister in Toronto tells us how cold it has been. She can’t remember the last time it reached -5°C.

Yet NASA finds that Feb 2014 to Jan 2015 was the hottest 12 months on record. The picture tells the story:

NASA1-15-550

2. Record megadroughts predicted

The American Southwest and the great Plains could experience the worst megadroughts in ancient and modern times.

According to the findings, future droughts in both regions will be more severe than even the hottest, driest megadroughts of the 12th and 13th centuries, which are believed to have contributed to the fall of ancient Native American civilizations that inhabited the Southwest, such as the Pueblo Indians.

Climate Central gives the odds.

The chances of a megadrought (lasting 35 years or longer) are up to 50%.

The odds of a decade-long drought are around 90%.

There’s also a 5-10 percent chance that parts of the region could see a state of “permanent” megadrought lasting 50 years or longer under the highest-warming scenario, a greenhouse gas emissions path we’re currently on.

3. New era of climate action and hope

Christiana Figueres reckons 2015 is going to be a transformational year in climate change action. She of course is the boss-person of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is sponsoring the Paris talks in December.

Amongst other things she mentions the June Live Earth concerts initiated by Al Gore and Kevin Wall (reviving their 2007 effort) to be held in New York, South Africa, Australia, China, Brazil and Paris.

She also plugs the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative, including Lighthouse Activities.

4. UK parties in pact on climate change

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have agreed to work together to tackle climate change, as they warned it posed a threat to national security and economic prosperity.

In what might be seen as a surprising move in the run-up to the general election, the three party leaders have pledged to work “across party lines” to agree cuts to the UK’s carbon emissions.

They have also signed up to seeking a “fair, strong, legally binding” international climate deal, set to be negotiated in Paris at the end of the year, to limit global temperature rises to below 2C – the level beyond which “dangerous” climate change is expected.

And they pledged to move to a low-carbon economy, ending the use of coal without technology to capture and store its emissions for power generation. (Emphasis added)

5. Tesla’s fancy home battery

Tesla will start production in about six months, all going well.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon.”

“Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”

Thanks to Geoff Henderson who linked to this one recently at Saturday Salon. Yes, it could indeed be a game changer.

6. Laser ignition to replace spark plugs

A team at Princeton Optronics working on replacing conventional spark plugs with laser igniters has produced a running engine and they claim that replacing spark ignition with lasers could improve the efficiency of gasoline powered engines by 27%. Considering that the basic design of the spark plug hasn’t really changed in over a century, this would be a revolutionary step, frickin’ lasers or not.

Because the spark plug is located on the edge of the combustion chamber, not all of the fuel is combusted. Laser ignition can be directed to the centre of the chamber, or in fact to multiple parts of the chamber in extremely rapid succession. Ignition can also be more accurately timed in relation to the movement of the piston. The result is a more complete burn and greater fuel efficiency.

7. Climate oscillations and the global warming faux pause

Michael Mann posts on research he was conducted, with others, on multidecadal climate oscillations in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. They found that the Pacific dominates and was the predominant cause of a slight slowing in predicted warming over the past decade-and-a-half or so.

It is possible that the downturn in the PMO [Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation] itself reflects a “dynamical response” of the climate to global warming. Indeed, I have suggested this possibility before. But the state-of-the-art climate model simulations analyzed in our current study suggest that this phenomenon is a manifestation of purely random, internal oscillations in the climate system.

This has implications for the future.

Given the pattern of past historical variation, this trend will likely reverse with internal variability, instead adding to anthropogenic warming in the coming decades.

The “false pause” may simply have been a cause for false complacency, when it comes to averting dangerous climate change.

Reminder Climate clippings is an open thread and can be used for exchanging news and views on climate.

Weak climate deal salvaged in Lima

Seems the most important thing that can be said about the Lima climate change conference (earlier post here) was that it did not fail. The prospect is still there for a deal in Paris next December, but it looks like being a weak deal – a deal that does not limit warming to two degrees, a deal that will not be legally binding, and a deal that may lack some of the major participants.

The most exciting thing about the conference was that the reference to ensuring the world has net-zero emissions by 2050 is still there:

The mitigation section of the draft text states countries must aim for “a long-term zero emissions sustainable development pathway” that is “consistent with carbon neutrality / net zero emissions by 2050, or full decarbonization by 2050 and/or negative emissions by 2100.”

Giles Parkinson says this was explicitly supported by over 100 countries. Julie Bishop was not bloody-minded enough to insist that it be removed.

The phasing out of fossil fuels as a reality is now part of the conversation and capital for fossil fuel exploration and development should begin to dry up.

Once again The Carbon Brief provides a handy summary:

  • Lima Call for Climate Action outlines main aspects of a new global climate deal.
  • Keeps goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees.
  • Contains reference to ensuring the world has net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Doesn’t clarify if a new deal will be legally binding.
  • Doesn’t give countries the power to alter other country commitments.
  • Doesn’t offer new assurances on the flow of climate finance.
  • Leaves all options on the table regarding compensation for countries worst hit by climate change.

Ambition

The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ is enshrined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Accordingly in the Kyoto deal only the developed countries were required to limit emissions.

This time everyone is going to have to front with a climate mitigation plan, but

countries must work to ensure a 2015 deal “reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.”

Initial plans should be submitted by March. Australia has said that we will submit ours by June. Work has not yet begun, but it is clear that Tony Abbott himself is going to take control of the process.

The UN will do an analysis and report on the overall impact of the country targets by November. There is no chance that it will add up to a plan to limit warming to two degrees.

The EU wants ‘contributions’, once established to stand for 10 years. Some other countries favour five years, for greater flexibility.

Legally binding

The EU, some of the smaller countries and Australia want targets, once set, to be legally binding. There seems no chance that this will happen. Luke Kemp at The Conversation says that for the US to agree two-thirds of the Senate have to vote in favour. They won’t vote for a legally binding agreement and China won’t sign up unless the US does.

Frankly, I can’t see the US Senate agreeing to any kind of a climate deal in the foreseeable future, so the Paris deal, like Kyoto, may have to start without some of the major players.

Kemp says that Australia was softening its stance, so fears that Australia was playing a game to torpedo the talks seem to be misplaced.

Accountability

Each country’s official plan to cut emissions and tackle climate change will be known as an ‘intended nationally determined contribution’ (INDC). The conference could not agree whether INDCs should be scrutinised.

The EU is willing to agree to the INDC system if governments can scrutinise each country’s INDCs, and suggest how they may need to change to increase ambition. Other countries, such as China and India, are very much against such scrutiny, known in the process as ‘ex-ante review’.

Lima’s draft text doesn’t determine whether the INDCs will be subjected to official review.

I’d say forget it.

What next?

There was more, of course, including financial assistance (never satisfactory). The draft document contains as many as 11 alternative versions of the text. There is masses of work to do.

Work will continue in various working parties and in a major conference in Bonn in June. No doubt discussions will continue in other forums, such as the G20 in Turkey. The next step is to submit INDCs by March. We’ll cheat by looking at everyone else’s homework. So will the Abbottistas be proudly recalcitrant, or will we track near the back of the peloton but try to pretend we are in the middle?

Elsewhere Graham Readfearn has annotated Julie Bishop’s speech.

Lima climate change conference update

The UNFCCC Conference of Parties (now 194 countries, I think) has reached the midway point. I’ve compiled some news coming out of the conference in the style of Climate clippings.

Here’s the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres in action:

Figueres speaks_500

1. The first five days of the Lima climate change conference

Mat Hope sums up at The Carbon Brief.

    1) The need to get a deal is being talked up

There is an upbeat feel as the Paris conference next December looms, where a deal is scheduled to be cut.

    2) Expectations are being managed

They hope to complete a draft text at Lima, but it is only a stepping stone.

    3) The US-China climate deal means the spotlight is on India

With the US, China and the EU making positive pledges, eyes now turn to India. So far they have been true to form, grumbling that the developed countries should do more and provide finance for adaptation.

    4) Record temperatures and typhoon threat are framing the conference

In Copenhagen in 2009 it was freezing. At Lima the atmospherics a quite different with looming record world temperatures and typhoon Hagupit making its way towards the Philippines.

    5) Old divisions persist

The EU wants countries’ pledges to cut emissions to be legally binding. The US is adamant that this can’t be the case as it would then have to ask Congress to ratify the deal.

A group comprising Saudi Arabia, China, India and 30 other ‘like minded nations’ continues to call for more transparency in the process. The group has used such pleas as a delaying and blocking tactic at previous negotiations.

2. Australia drags the chain at Lima

Australia has distanced itself from the Cartagena Dialogue, a group of 30 or so “progressive” countries Australia helped found five years ago seeking an “ambitious, comprehensive, and legally binding regime in the UNFCCC, and committed, domestically, to becoming or remaining low carbon economies.” You’re right, that’s not Australia now.

Giles Parkinson thinks that Australia’s main aim is to keep selling coal. That’s why Andrew Robb is there as Minister for Trade.

Effectively and, from Robb’s tweets and other evidence, in fact Australia is channelling the thoughts of their favourite thinker, Bjorn Lomborg:

who as others have pointed out has made quite a nice career casting doubt on the seriousness of climate change, arguing the problem is overstated, and concluding that on a cost-benefit analysis there is no need to do anything. That pretty much sums up current Coalition government policy.

3. China fingers Australia

One point of permanent discontent has been that developing countries would like more effort to be put into the Green Climate Fund designed to help them to adapt and mitigate climate change. China has called the $9.7 billion contributed so far by 22 countries as “far from adequate”.

In doing so China has fingered Australia as a climate bludger. Australia’s policy is to contribute nothing. So far the GFC

has received funding pledges of $3 billion from the United States, $1.5 billion from Japan, $1 billion from the UK and France, $900m from Germany as well as pledges of at least $100m from Sweden, Italy, Norway, Holland, South Korea, Switzerland and Finland. It has even received a small contribution from New Zealand.

Even Canada has stumped up $300 million.

The original pledge at Copenhagen in 2009 had been $100 billion per year by 2020 from public and private sources.

4. Newsweek report

One thing they are discussing is the form of each country’s pledge of climate action to be submitted in draft by march 2015. The only way they will agree on anything is to use the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ adopted in Copenhagen. This leaves countries to make it up as they wish, which means different base and target dates.

This makes comparisons difficult.

They also have yet to decide whether the basic division of Annexe 1 used in the Kyoto agreement will be retained. With Kyoto only the developed Annexe 1 countries made pledges. The US wants to eliminate subcategories. Brazil has proposed three concentric circles:

In the innermost circle, developed and Annex I Parties would commit to absolute, economy-wide mitigation targets. In the next ring, developing countries would commit to economy-wide targets that are relative to national gross domestic product, business-as-usual emissions trends or population size. In the outermost ring, the least-developed countries would commit to objectives on reducing emissions that are not economy-wide.

I’m betting on one undifferentiated blob, because they won’t all agree on anything else.

Similarly on whether pledges should be legally binding, they’ll never agree, because the US will point blank never agree to it, and all countries must agree for a decision to stand. Perhaps the New Zealand option of making reporting legally binding, but not the content of the contributions themselves, will get up.

5. Ban Ki-moon singles out Canada

Meanwhile UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has told Canada to get its finger out and start setting goals. Leadership is expected of G7 countries.

6. The bottom line

Emily Williams writing in the Santa Barbera Independent points to the sad truth – the proposals coming forward, the US-China announcement notwithstanding, “would mean ‘game over’ for the planet and the most vulnerable communities.”

The pressure is for an agreement, any agreement, to avoid “Nopenhagen” in Paris. Her article carries this image of young protestors in Lima:

protesters_Lima_COP2014_t479

Perhaps this image would be more appropriate:

Head_in_Sand_500

Abbott’s climate play: dropping off the back of the peloton

peloton-1-200

In road cycling terms, Australia’s climate effort is dropping off the back of the peloton. More than that we are now spreading tacks on the road up front.

Abbott, with his soul-mate from “Canadia” Stephen Harper, is proposing to build an alliance of conservative world leaders to block what he calls job-killing carbon pricing.

Dr Robyn Eckersley of Melbourne University who has been conducting research on climate change leadership finds that this would be “a very retrograde step at a very crucial time in international climate negotiations”. She also finds that he may struggle to find partners. The UK under David Cameron are unlikely to join. New Zealand has a conservative leader, and a carbon pricing scheme. Perhaps he’ll enlist the support of Saudi Arabia, who Eckersley sees as the biggest spoiler of all.

Eckersley points out that British Columbia, Quebec and California, one of the biggest economies in the world, have carbon pricing. China is launching seven provincial pilot emissions trading systems.

Abbott claims that the world is moving away from carbon pricing to ‘direct action’ type policies. Sophie Vorrath at RenewEconomy cites the World Bank as saying that carbon pricing is here to stay with more than 60 carbon pricing systems currently in operation or development globally.

At a press conference Abbott said that climate change is “not the only or even the most important problem that the world faces.”

Abbott doesn’t realise that the economy exists within the environment.

In this post last November on the outcomes of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Warsaw I referred to a graphic by Climate Tracker:

Climate-Action-Tracker-Visual-COP19-FINAL_cropped_500

There is Australia at the back of the peloton. If everyone did what we are doing the world would be toast, and with no economy to speak of. Climate Tracker currently sees Australia’s effort as “inadequate” and getting worse. With our performance the world would be heading towards 600 ppm and 4°C.

Abbott’s Canadian performance was no doubt intended to be one in the eye for Barack Obama, who Abbott sees next. The signal is that Obama would be wasting his time persuading Abbott to put climate change on the G20 agenda.

Laura Tingle, talking to Phillip Adams, opined that addressing climate change in the G20 would be a precedent since the G20 so far has restricted itself to economics. She also said that there was nothing doing in terms of international co-operation, and they were all off doing there own thing.

That would be news to the people currently attending climate talks from 4 to 15 June in Bonn under the auspices of the UNFCCC. In the Warsaw post I laid out the sequence as follows:

The timetable is that leaders will meet with the UN Director General in New York on 23 September 2014 with a show and tell of their thinking on contributions, and no doubt receive some jaw-boning from him in return.

There will be more talking at the 20th COP in Lima from 1-12 December 2014, where a draft new climate agreement will be tabled. Then in April 2015 countries will seriously start putting their “contributions” (rather than “commitments”) on the table “without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions”. These “contributions” might be targets but could be other efforts to keep emissions down.

All this is aimed to get a legally binding agreement which reflects the “common but differentiated responsibility” of each state to be concluded at the Paris COP at the end of 2015 – for implementation in 2020 when the Kyoto Protocol officially expires.

So the leaders meet in September, but then not again before the deal is sealed in Paris in December 2015. In Lima I believe only the ministers will attend, noting that we did not bother to send a minister to Warsaw.

A new climate agreement is mainstream in policy and planning for the economy.

In spreading tacks on the road and trivialising the issue of climate change, Abbott and his government have form. In opposition in 2012 they would not grant Greg Combet a pair to attend the Rio+20 conference. In Warsaw, without a minister (who would have been Julie Bishop, since Greg Hunt is not allowed to conduct international negotiations) the Australian delegation was notorious, earning four “Fossil of the Day” awards and the overall “Colossal Fossil” for the meeting. Civil society groups like Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth, took the unprecedented step of simply walking out with a day still to go, muttering “Australia” as they went.

Being serious about climate change, the last thing Barack Obama would need is that kind of leadership at the G20.

The end of coal?

This post started out as four related items in Climate clippings. When a fifth showed up I decided to extract them and put them in a separate post. Hence it is a collection of opinions and perspectives rather than an analysis of the future of coal as such. Still, a message seems to emerge.

BHP calls for carbon pricing

Believe it or not Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, has called for a price to be put on greenhouse gas emissions to address the threat of global warming.

Talking in Houston Texas on the future of fossil fuels and carbon emissions Andrew Mackenzie said BHP needs to think carefully about controlling its carbon emissions. He wants BHP to lead the way. BHP is the world’s largest mining company and the third biggest company in the world.

Beyond coal the company is also a major player in shale gas in the USA, investing a cool $US20 billion in 2012.

Mackenzie was on message about ‘clean coal’, spruiking the virtues of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Rio weighs in

Rio Tinto’s head of energy, Harry Kenyon-Slaney, also weighed in saying “Idealistic discussions” about climate change should be abandoned and Australians should recognise that coal will remain an important energy source for decades.

Coal will continue to “do the lion’s share of heavy lifting” to meet energy demand, he says.

Rio has invested $100 million in carbon capture and storage.

Martin Ferguson, now an adviser to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association:

stepped up criticism of the Coalition government’s emissions-reductions policies and called for the watering down of the renewable energy target, which he said was undermining the national electricity market.

Tristan Edis comments

Tristan Edis comments on Rio Tinto’s clean coal idealism.

He reckons CCS would be great if you could also retrofit it to existing coal-fired power stations, implement it at large scale and a reasonable cost and start doing it by, say, 2025.

The Australian Coal Association instituted an industry-funded initiative to progress zero-emission coal with a levy and created ACA Low Emissions Technology Ltd (ACALET) to undertake initiatives. Unfortunately from 2012-13 the requirement to pay the levy was suspended and ACALET is now concentrating on promoting the use of coal in Australia and overseas.

Edis reports that Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane seems to be willing to acknowledge that carbon capture and storage is a pipedream.

One senior Liberal referred to it as ‘vaporware’ (new computer software promised by companies to be delivered in the future that never eventuates but scares off competing software development).

The end of coal?

Paul Gilding has called the end of coal and the dawn of renewables, especially solar.

He believes the fossil fuel industry live in a delusionary analytical bubble, convinced of their own immortality. They are about to be swept away. Markets can be brutal.

The top 20 European utilities have lost $600 billion in value over the past 5 years.

Tesla, presumably because it makes electric vehicles (see also below), is now worth more than half GM although GM makes 300 times as many cars.

HSBC’s Global Solar index rose 65% last year and is already up 23% in 2014.

Underground coal gasification

Trials are underway or planned in diverse parts of the world in burning in situ coal that can’t be mined, according to an article by Fred Pearce in the New Scientist (paywalled). The process is underground coal gasification (UCG).

The potential is enormous, with enough coal available to supply the world with energy for 1000 years. For example, 70% of the coal in the UK has never been mined. One company has a licence to prospect for UCG sites beneath more than 400 square kilometres of the North Sea.

The attraction of UCG is not just power production. The process produces methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen as well as CO2. The Brits see potential to use these chemicals as feedstock to revitalize their industrial chemicals industry. The article lists the following uses:

  • Gas to electricity Power stations can burn methane to produce electricity for the grid
  • Gas to chemicals Hydrogen, methane and CO all have value as feedstock for the chemicals industry
  • Gas to liquid Methane can be liquefied (LNG) for storage or transport, or the CO and hydrogen converted through the Fischer-Tropsch process to synthetic diesel fuel for vehicles
  • Gas to tech Hydrogen can provide an alternative transport fuel

CO2 can be reinjected into the void created by the burnt coal.

The article refers to a 2007 MIT study which found that commercial CCS was unlikely before 2030. Undaunted Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist, reckons that CCS is the “only practical way forward”.

Christiana Figueres is hopeful

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), points to 60 countries with 500 pieces of climate legislation, and is confident that an international climate change agreement will be delivered on time in 2015. She looks forward within 20 years to the time where everything new we do will be carbon neutral.

She does see a need for research into energy storage – batteries – and into CCS.

It is only with marketable CCS that we will be able to use the fossil fuels that we need. Storage and CCS would be my top two choices for technology investment.

If so someone, for example BHP and Rio, get cracking.

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile

Investment bank Morgan Stanley says it has been overwhelmed by the response to its recent analysis which suggested that the falling costs of both solar modules and battery storage presented a potential tipping point that would encourage huge numbers of homeowners and businesses in the US to go off grid.

And Tesla is building a $5 billion ‘gigafactory’ for battery production, then providing an

emergency power service by monitoring the power levels in home batteries and delivering replacement batteries in the event home batteries run out of power.

Someone should tell Andrew Mackenzie and Harry Kenyon-Slaney they’ll need to shake a leg with CCS. Schumpeter’s creative destruction seems to be at work in the energy industry.

Update: Murray Energy, the largest independent coal producer in the US, is suing the EPA for not taking into account job losses when formulating emissions regulations.

Copping out at COP 19 in Warsaw

Back in 2002 an Earth Summit (World Summit on Sustainable Development) nick-named “Rio + 10” was held in Johannesburg. As I recall there was a big push on to transfer the main carriage for environmental matters from the UN to the WTO. There was dancing in the aisles by environment ministers when the move failed. The mind boggles for those who recall our environment minister at the time, one rather stiff and formal Dr David Kemp.

One wonders, though, whether climate change negotiations would now be in better shape. Probably not. Since Cancún in 2003 the WTO has had its own problems. Not surprising then that there has been a report suggesting a radical rethink of the UNFCCC process. Problem is the UNFCCC would have to agree and that would take at least 20 years.

There is always much talk of ‘pathways’ and ‘stepping stones’ at UNFCCC meetings. Graham Readfearn on the way to this year’s Conference of Parties (COP) in Warsaw asked Will Australia cause a slip on the climate change stepping stones in Warsaw? He suggested that Australia may be there using its elbows to push the process off balance. According to his final report How rich countries dodged the climate change blame game in Warsaw he was on the money: Continue reading Copping out at COP 19 in Warsaw

Climate clippings 87

Climate clippings_175These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.

This edition picks up the theme of activism mentioned in Climate change: reconnecting politics with reality.

1. Blue sky

After the last election some friends of my younger brother, feeling blue, decided to turn blue into an optimistic colour, and invented the Blue Sky movement. To join all you have to do is ‘like’ the Facebook site put something blue on your front footpath visible from the road, take a photo and post it on the site. Yes, and take the Blue Sky Pledge, which includes reducing your own emissions, displaying blue for 12 months, and encouraging others to join.

Here’s one example:

Blue Sky_1395958_234410770055917_951721907_n
I notice that people have been using the site to share links.

If you click on “Community” or “About” at the head of the Blue Sky FB page and then click “more” you’ll get the full Blue Sky spiel.

2. Go Getup!

Ben Eltham thinks GetUp! is currently Tony Abbott’s most dangerous opponent. Continue reading Climate clippings 87

Climate clippings 86

Climate clippings_175These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.

This edition is mainly about politics and policy rather than the science.

1. Anti renewables tirade

As the forces of darkness are unleashed upon us under the rule of Tony Abbott, people attending the Eastern Australian Energy Outlook Conference were subjected to a “venomous rant” against the renewable energy target from Burchell Wilson, a senior economist at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The tragedy of this is that Wilson’s presentation may have been plain wrong, nasty, manipulative and ideological, but he’s not alone in Canberra….

As Wilson (rightly) pointed out, there is a vast reserve of anti-renewables passion in the rump of the National Party and the Liberal party backbench open to such rhetoric– which insiders say is being whipped up by new Liberal MP Angus Taylor.

Wilson expressed his hope that these views would overwhelm those of moderates such as Environment Minister Greg Hunt, and Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane. He hoped that the economic rationalists at the Productivity Commission would have carriage of the next RET review.

2. Mining lobby targets RET

In the current political climate the RET is under serious threat, being targeted directly by the mining industry.

This is how John D sees it:

Australia’s RET is one of the few emission trading schemes in the world that is actually working. For years it has been steadily driving investment in utility scale renewables. Better still, because it is an offset credit trading scheme that does not generate government revenue it is achieving this with negligible changes in power costs. (The fossil power companies are actually complaining that it is pushing wholesale prices down!)

For this reason it is of some concern to see that the Minerals industry is pushing for the repeal of the RET.

We should all be campaigning for an increase in the RET target and against any attempt to eliminate or scale back the RET.

Continue reading Climate clippings 86

Climate clippings 84

Climate clippings_175These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.

This edition is mostly about the doings of our new government, prospective EU targets, a statement by religious leaders and a couple of items on health implications.

1. Greg Hunt’s role diminished

Whether or not Greg Hunt gets to go to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of Parties (COP) in Warsaw from 11 to 22 November. Julie Bishop will henceforth be the lead negotiator in international climate talks.

The story in the AFR says Hunt has been “stripped of responsibility for global climate change negotiations”. He still gets to go and hang out at the talks. One might say that Australia’s representation has been upgraded. Suspicious minds might also think that Hunt couldn’t be trusted. He actually believes human activity causes global warming and might join the warmist urgers if not kept on a tight leash. Continue reading Climate clippings 84