The climate this week – 14 Jun 2021

The climate this week – 14 Jun 2021

A weekly report on the politics, economics and science of climate action

By Jenny Goldie, CCL member from the electorate of Eden Monaro, NSW.

Featured image: Climate policy was a key topic of discussion at the last G7 meeting, held in the UK over the past weekend. Credit: Number 10 (cc).

PM on the defensive at the G7

The G7 nations are meeting in Cornwall this weekend and our Prime Minister has gone off to join them, though we are not a G7 member. Mr Morrison will likely protest the imminent imposition of carbon border tariffs against nations like Australia, which do not promise strong climate action. It is estimated that in Australia 43 export industries are expected to be affected by these new tariffs. Let’s see how that goes.

Also on the international front, a critical joint report by the top organisations on climate (IPCC) and biodiversity (IPBES) concluded that both crises must be solved together, or not at all. The full report – with a harrowing picture of a starving polar bear – can be found here.

The highest CO2 level ever recorded

We had hoped that Covid might have had reduced overall levels of carbon dioxide in the air. However, that’s not the case. All that happened was that annual emissions fell, but net emissions did not go negative. The Mauna Loa station in Hawaii, well away from all pollution in the mid-Pacific, recorded 419ppm CO2 levels in May, the highest level in 63 years of operation.

It was freezing cold – snow even fell – earlier this week. This prompted the pro-coal and gas former Resources Minister Matt Canavan to sneer at the idea of global warming. “Why is fire climate change but snow not climate change?” he asked on Twitter. Good question, I guess, given snow is rare in Queensland. Nevertheless, it is a common phenomenon on the Central and Northern Tablelands of NSW so, no Mr Canavan, the world is not on a cooling trend.

Battles won

There were a couple of victories through the week. A court sided with Greenpeace after AGL had taken them to court alleging breach of copyright. Greenpeace had parodied AGL’s logo. The other victory was the NSW Planning Department strongly recommending against Hume Coal’s proposed mine at Sutton Forest, since it would not be compatible with rural land use in the area.

In the absence of effective climate action at federal level, the states are doing the work for them. The Queensland government announced a $1.86 billion jobs fund, a feasibility study for 1GW of pumped hydro, and a $2 billion investment for renewable energy and hydrogen.

In NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance promised to electrify the entire NSW railway fleet by 2025 and eventually all vehicles, though more for air quality and health reasons than climate. NSW’s Treasury also predicts coal will be dead in 20 years.

Petitions to sign

  • Call on the NSW Government to sign the Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation Treatyhere.
  • Call on all governments to commit to climate and environmental literacy at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow in Novemberhere.

Webinar

Manufacturing for a zero-emissions economy. Tuesday June 15 1 to 2pm. Register here.

Further resources

The views and wishes expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and not necessarily of CCL Australia.

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