A weekly report on the politics, economics and science of climate action
By Jenny Goldie, CCL member from the electorate of Eden Monaro, NSW.
Encouraging pledges from the G7
Prime Minister Scott Morrison went to Cornwall for the G7 meeting and failed to convince anyone much that technology (as against reduction targets) is the answer against climate change. On the other hand, he did end up with an agreement with Germany on hydrogen-technology research. The G7 leaders did pretty well on coal but not quite well enough. They promised to collectively cut emissions in half by 2030 and to stop international funding for coal projects that lack carbon and capture technology by next year. They failed, however, to set a definite end date to coal burning.
The Nats run the show
Mr Morrison refused to set a definite target for zero net emissions for Australia, probably due to the opposition of his Coalition partners, the Nationals. Leader of the recalcitrants is Resources Minister Keith Pitt, who railed against climate activists at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference in Perth on Wednesday. He accused them of attempting to “delay major projects and potentially cripple companies.”
Meanwhile, Labor climate spokesperson Chris Bowen did well in Parliament by brandishing a solar panel and telling the Coalition not to be afraid (of renewable energy), just as PM Morrison had done with a lump of coal four years ago.
All this good work, however, was somewhat undone by Labor’s resources spokesperson, Madeleine King. Ms King mounted a defence of Australia’s gas industry at the APPEA conference, which included support for opening up new reserves “subject to independent scientific assessments and effective environmental regulation”.
Here’s another petition to sign: to stop 80,000km2 of ocean being opened up for new oil & gas exploration. (The PM announced this from the safety of Cornwall.)
- Beyond Zero Emissions held an excellentwebinar on Tuesday about Manufacturing in the Hunter. The recording is here.
- Off-shore wind energy has huge potential to help achieve the energy transition. Unfortunately, good old Energy MinisterAngus Taylor is still failing to deliver national offshore wind laws to kickstart the industry. Email his boss, the PM here.
- ‘From denial to delay’: a forehead-slapping week in Australian climate policy. Australia sees a high-profile show of political backing for gas even as world leaders and investors exert pressure to shift away from fossil fuels.
- Grim climate forecasts point to shrivelling rivers in northern NSW. Dams will fill less frequently, farmers will face water cuts and rivers will cease flowing more often as the climate warms and dries, according to draft water strategies released by the Planning Department.
- The Earth is warming faster than expected: NASA. It is now trapping an “unprecedented” amount of heat, NASA says after two measurement methods arrived at the same conclusion.
- Nationals say no to net zero in extraordinary assault on climate and renewables. The Nationals have said no to net zero targets of any sort in an extraordinary assault on climate action and renewables, and their own electorates.
- Managed retreat: A must in the war against climate change. Climate change will shape the future of coastal communities, with flood walls, elevated structures and possibly even floating cities used to combat sea level rise. New research has found that managed retreat — moving buildings, homes or communities off of the coast or away from floodplains — must be part of any solution.
- Andrew Barr says territory plan could change to allow more community batteries. Canberra’s territory plan could be altered to allow for the construction of community-owned battery storage systems, the ACT Chief Minister says.
- The long view. What will the Earth be like for our children and grandchildren, as temperatures continue to rise? We can be fairly certain of some things: Some regions will become inhospitable, as heat drives their inhabitants away or causes massive declines and changes in their ecosystems. Many other physical, chemical and biological processes will also be affected by rising temperatures that threaten critical ecosystem services such as food production, biodiversity and energy security.
- How are our cities going to look in a rapidly heating world? It won’t be long and 50C will be normal. Hot weather bakes in disadvantage. Regenerating natural and living ecosystems will help us all.
- NSW accepts thermal coal is set for major decline, now it needs to act. A moratorium on new thermal coal mining capacity is needed to avoid chaotic employment impacts.
- Even without new fossil fuel projects, global warming will still exceed 1.5℃. But renewables might make it possible. The International Energy Agency (IEA) last month made global headlines when it declared there is no room for new fossil fuel investment if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The views and wishes expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and not necessarily of CCL Australia.