Clarifying ‘climate’ – and what we do about it

2023 stands out. So what are our reponses?

How is the understanding of ‘climate’ being clarified by various climate groups and advocates? – and what are climate campaigners suggesting we should do about it? Some recent examples below.

The Great Disruption has begun

We have entered a period of crisis, chaos, and disruption – to the climate, to the economy and to our lives. This moment was always coming.

By Paul Gilding

We’re living through a virtual tsunami of terrifying climate news. Extreme fire, flood and heat events are smashing records across the globe. Simultaneously, monitoring of various natural processes that regulate our climate indicates unprecedented system changes are underway.

As a result, I argue here we have hit a multi-system tipping point – the “crash” that I have long argued would trigger “the great disruption”. We can now expect a destabilisation of the global climate system at a scale that is so chaotic, unpredictable and costly, it will trigger cascading disruptive change in the global economy, national politics, investment markets and geopolitical security. The implications are profound.  

Spoiler alerts:

  • The future is terrifying, but paradoxically exciting because of the pace and scale of positive change that is now inevitable. We have everything we need to fix this, if we choose to.
  • It will be a wild ride, on a tight rope between transformation and spiralling chaos.
  • There should be no surprise in any of this, it was always the most likely outcome.
  • This is not the apocalypse. The human species is here to stay.

Click here to continue reading 

Breaking the suicidal impasse

By Ian Dunlop

In the last few months events have occurred globally which indicate an astonishing, but not unexpected, acceleration in the pace of climate change. The world has now entered a new era of extremely dangerous climate impacts which are already proving catastrophic in many parts of the world. The factors which hitherto have constrained warming, such as the inertia of the climate system and the cooling effect of atmospheric aerosols, are fading, pushing the global climate system into uncharted territory.

This dire situation is made even more dangerous by the fact that political and business leaders, having collectively decided to preserve the status quo, do not want to understand the implications, despite having had access for years to the best possible scientific advice. (…)

As former UK Chief Scientist, Sir David King, emphasised in 2021 “What we do (on climate action) in the next 3-5 years will determine the future of humanity”. In 2023, accelerating climate impacts prove him right.

The two main Australian political parties, in government and opposition, have clearly demonstrated they are both incapable and unwilling to address the greatest threat facing the nation in the short time available. Independents and most of the minor parties push hard for action to fill the policy vacuum, but it is not enough.

Mass community pressure is needed now to support them in breaking this suicidal impasse, create genuine leaders prepared to act in the public interest, and to seize the opportunity for Australia to take global leadership in promoting international climate mobilisation.

Click here to continue reading:

→ Pearls and Irritations – 5 September 2023:
Breaking the suicidal impasse

Betting against worst-case climate scenarios is risky business

By David Spratt

As the world is hit by mind-boggling, even-more-extreme climate events, records are busted and some events are way beyond scientific expectations, it’s time to ask the question: Are the worst-case scenarios coming true too often, and what does that for the way we approach climate risks in policy making?

And this is relevant to the way the Australian government constructs its emission-reduction targets, based on some very risky analysis.

The IPCC and the climate-economy models it uses to produced carbon budgets and emission scenarios focus on the probabilities, not the possibilities. Is this a fatal mistake? These issues are explored in a new article in the “The Bulletin” (US): 

“Would you live in a building, cross a bridge, or trust a dam wall if there were a 10 percent chance of it collapsing? Or five percent? Or one percent? Of course not! In civil engineering, acceptable probabilities of failure generally range from one-in-10,000 to one-in-10-million.

“So why, when it comes to climate action, are policies like carbon budgets accepted when they have success rates of just 50 to 66 percent? That’s hardly better than a coin toss.

“Policy-relevant scientific publications, such as those produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focus on the probabilities—the most likely outcomes. But, according to atmospheric physicist and climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “calculating probabilities makes little sense in the most critical instances” because “when the issue is the survival of civilization is at stake, conventional means of analysis may become useless.”

“Have scientists and policy makers given too much weight to middle-of-the-road probabilities, instead of plausible-worst possibilities? If so, it’s an appalling gamble with risk. Humanity could end up the loser.”

Click here to continue reading

Bushfire survivor: Stop spending public money on fossil fuels

ACF Community member Jack Egan wrote on 6 September 2023:

“Here in Australia, our spring and summer forecast is dry and hot with a high chance of fire.¹

The last time we had a hot, dry summer was 2019/20 when a climate-angered hungry beast of a firestorm ate my home on the NSW South Coast. Those Black Summer bushfires took 33 lives, destroyed over 3,000 homes and killed or displaced 3 billion animals.² ³

In the aftermath, all I could think was that surely the first duty of any government is to protect its citizens from harm.

But since Black Summer, our governments have spent over $40 billion supporting the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry through subsidies and tax breaks – and that’s a conservative estimate.⁴ Our governments cannot keep funding the industries most responsible for climate damage and putting our communities and wildlife at risk.

Imagine if our governments invested billions of dollars in our public money into climate solutions, instead of climate pollution.

We could transition to clean energy quicker, we could protect and restore our forests to store carbon.

Thirty-eight countries including the United Kingdom and the United States of America have signed the Glasgow statement, committing to stop subsidising international fossil fuel projects.

But Australia’s signature is missing.

If all the signatories meet their commitments, it would shift an estimated $28 billion a year out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy.

Let’s send a message to our Climate Change Minister that the time for talking about climate action is up, we the Australian people want real action now to create a safe future.”

Jack Egan
ACF Community member

Add your name to ACF’s petition: No more fossil fuel subsidies

¹ ABC News: ‘Large parts of Australia put on high alert for significant bushfires in spring

² University of Western Australia: ‘after the fires fact sheet

³ World Wildlife Fund: ‘3 billion animals harmed by Australia’s fires

The Australia Institute: ‘Fossil fuel subsidies in Australia 2023

Pause all new coal and gas projects

Bushfire survivors ask Federal Government to “pause” all new coal and gas projects until Australia’s national environment laws have been reformed

Media release from Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action on 7 September 2023

As Australia faces another season of drought, extreme heat and catastrophic fires, Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA) is calling on the Federal Government to pause all new coal and gas approvals, including expansions, until it reforms, as promised, the existing environmental regulatory framework and establishes a new national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Nearly a year ago, Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek MP,  announced the establishment of a new EPA in response to a review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act which found the Act was ineffective and not fit to address current or future environmental challenges. A public consultation period concerning those reforms is due to start this year.

BSCA believes a robust regulatory framework is critical in ensuring high carbon emitting fossil fuel projects are assessed properly for their climate impact, and not just given the green light. Fossil fuel projects pollute our environment and drive climate change, creating extreme weather events that put our communities at risk from intense bushfires like the Black Summer fires of 2019-2020.

With fire authorities, the World Meteorological Organisation and the Bureau of Meteorology all predicting a return to extreme heat and drought this spring and summer, federal and state governments must be doing everything they can to protect our communities from more frequent and intense climate-fueled bushfires.

Serena Joyner, CEO of BSCA, co-founder of Resilient Blue Mountains and wife of a volunteer firefighter, said: “Those of us on the frontline of past bushfires have been watching the recent fires across the northern hemisphere with horror. Now as our summer approaches the worrying predictions from fire authorities and warnings of a possible El Nino are really scaring people. It wasn’t that long ago that the catastrophic Black Summer fires of 2019-20 devastated communities up and down the East Coast of Australia – and many people are still struggling with the financial and bureaucratic burden of rebuilding.

“The scale and intensity of those terrible fires will become the norm unless we reduce emissions this decade. The Federal Government must not make the situation worse. All new coal and gas project approvals must be paused while the right regulatory framework is put in place that ensures our communities and the places they love are protected.”

Jann Gilbert, from Mallacoota on the NSW South Coast, said: “Three-and-a-half years after losing my home in the Black Summer fires I’ve finally moved into my rebuilt house. I should feel safe, but I don’t. 

“Staring down the barrel of the same conditions that produced Black Summer, I’ve made the difficult decision to sell and move from Mallacoota. We need real action on climate change and that means investing in renewable energy and reducing emissions as quickly as possible. Until we have that no Australian will be safe from these worsening fires.”

This week members of BSCA travelled from Queensland, Victoria and NSW to attend meetings in Canberra with MPs and Senators from across the political spectrum – asking them to support a pause in fossil fuel approval until Australia’s flawed environmental assessment laws are reformed.

“If we know the system isn’t up to scratch, it just makes sense to stop making the problem worse,” Ms Joyner said. “That’s why we’ve launched a petition calling on the government to do what it has promised and pause approvals of polluting projects until the reforms are done.” 

BSCA is asking for the Federal Government to:

  • Pause new coal and gas approvals, including expansions, until Labor’s promised environmental reforms and the new EPA are in place.
  • Ensure a climate trigger is included in the EPBC reforms, requiring thorough assessment of all such projects against their impact on climate.
  • Take responsibility for progressing all 80 recommendations of the Bushfires Royal Commission, for coordination and monitoring of all measures, and facilitating faster implementation across federal and state/territory jurisdictions.

About Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA)
BSCA is a nonpartisan community organisation. We are people who have been threatened by fire: some of us lost our homes, some of us are firefighters, some of us are their families and neighbours. We have members across the country, especially from bushfire impacted regions along the east coast. 

In 2021 we took the NSW Environment Protection Authority to court challenging them on their lack of action on climate change and won. Our landmark win in the NSW Land and Environment Court  was the first time that an Australian Court ordered a government to take meaningful action on climate change. 

Additional links:

Nature Positive Plan: better for the environment, better for business

AFAC (National Council for Fire and Emergency Services) Spring 2023 Seasonal Bushfire Outlook

Another month, another coal mine approval

Move Beyond Coal wrote in their newsletter on 7 September 2023:

Last week, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek approved Labor’s fourth new coal mine, the Gregory Crinum Coal Mine in the Bowen Basin, set to run until 2073. It’s truly shameful.

At this rate, the Albanese Labor government is approving a new coal mine every month, despite overwhelming scientific evidence from the International Energy Agency, the IPCC and the United Nations that no new coal mines can be dug if we want to stop runaway climate chaos. 

Our government must start taking climate science seriously and stop approving new coal mines, that’s why it’s time to come together as the Move Beyond Coal movement, to build the next wave of plans to stop the 68 new coal projects across the country and phase out all fossil fuels this decade. 

Since launching in September last year, this bold people-powered movement has been a huge success – together we stopped NAB and 12 other banks from providing a $1 BILLION loan to Whitehaven Coal. However, alongside our finance campaigns, we need to work with the wider movement to rapidly accelerate the pressure on our political leaders. So it’s time to make a plan.

Throughout October, Move Beyond Coal team members from across the nation will be coming together to plan the next steps for our movement. And we want you to be there! 

BRISBANE: Sunday 1 October, 10am – 4pm. RSVP here!
SYDNEY: Sunday 8 October, 10am – 4pm. RSVP here!
ONLINE: Tuesday 3 October, 6.30pm – 8.30pm AEDT. RSVP here!
MELBOURNE: Details to come!

Together at these events we’ll:
Keep building the vision of a movement that ends all coal in Australia.
Connect with the injustices we are fighting and the solidarity we are building to stand together. 
Discuss and cement our strategy for the next 6-12 months on political and corporate targets.
Build momentum towards the next big mobilisations in the lead up to this year’s climate talks & the angry summer. 

With Australia on track to host the global climate talks in 2026, we have 3 years to build the kind of movement power that will push our Government to actually take serious action on fossil fuels, rather than using greenwash and political spin to help the industry expand for decades to come. 

Our movement is powerful, we have momentum and it’s time to plan our next steps. Will you join us? 

Josh for Move Beyond Coal

P.S. These events are free for all to attend. If you would like to chip in to support our movement, you can donate here. 

Move Beyond Coal
Move Beyond Coal · Australia
Move Beyond Coal is an unstoppable community movement to solve Australia’s biggest contribution to the climate crisis. We are made up of dozens of local groups across the country and thousands of community members – all working to protect a liveable world by keeping coal in the ground. Donate to power the movement here.

Who we are | Privacy Policy | Donate now

OXFAM AUSTRALIA – 5 September 2023:

Time to step-up for the climate crisis

Countries on the front line of the climate crisis face the effects of floods, fires, and droughts. They are calling for more climate finance and loss and damage funding. But what do these terms mean?

By Nina Crawley, Campaigns and Advocacy Lead, Oxfam Australia

Climate finance provides tools so at-risk populations can protect themselves from the impacts of more frequent droughts, fires, floods and famines, and respond quickly when they occur.

In 2009, Australia and other wealthy countries committed to mobilising USD 100 billion per year in international climate financing by 2020. But today, many of these promises remain unfulfilled.

In truth, Australia needs to do more. Our latest report found that Australia’s international climate funding is just one-tenth of our international fair share. Factoring in our capacity as a wealthy nation that has contributed to the climate crisis, Australia should annually provide AUD$4 billion, but our average contributions sit at just AUD$400 million per year (from 2020 to 2025).

So, what can you do? Oxfam Australia is calling on the Australian Government to pull our weight. With your support, we can make a powerful case for our government to provide at-risk communities with the resources they need to ensure climate-fueled disaster doesn’t deepen inequality.

This will have a real impact. For Phelina in Vanuatu, additional financial support has allowed her community to create cyclone response plans and prepare for disasters through programs like shoreline plantings to slow beach erosion.

Loss and Damage refers to finance that directly addresses unavoidable climate change catastrophes. This type of funding is especially important from the perspective of fairness as it acknowledges the massive and irreparable loss many communities have already experienced. To learn more about loss and damage you can check out our blog which digs into the humanitarian cost of the climate crisis.

Let’s make climate finance part of the climate conversation!

In solidarity
Nina Crawley
Campaigns and Advocacy Lead, Oxfam Australia


Banks fuelling the climate crisis

A new report reveals for the first time that the world’s banks including HSBC, Citigroup and Barclays are channeling an astounding 20 times more finance into the major causes of climate change than governments in the Global South are receiving as funding for climate solutions.

How the Finance Flows: the banks fuelling the climate crisis shows that bank financing provided to the fossil fuel industry in the Global South reached an estimated US$3.2 trillion in the seven years since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted, with US$370 billion provided to the largest industrial agriculture companies operating in the Global South.

This report comes at a time when new polling conducted by ActionAid showed that 3 in 5 Australians care if their bank invests in fossil fuel and industrial agriculture companies that contribute to climate change. With over half of Australians wanting banks to stop funding fossil fuel companies (56%), and almost half (46%) wanting banks to stop funding harmful industrial agriculture.

The report calls for:

Banks to immediately stop project and corporate financing for all new deforestation, coal and fossil fuel expansion activities, and rapidly phase out financing of all other fossil fuel and harmful industrial agriculture activities

Banks must strengthen polices against human rights abuses and deforestation to protect the rights of communities most impacted by climate change.  

Governments, like Australia, should regulate the banking and finance sectors to stop the financing of fossil fuel expansion, and scale up support and planning for just transitions to real solutions such as renewable energy and agroecology.

Join the New Economy Network Australia (NENA) and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) for “Earth Economics Week”.

From 11-14 September, guest speakers will critically analyse our current economic system, and explore more Earth-friendly alternatives, including Indigenous Economic systems, degrowth, steady state and ecological economics and more.

Book your FREE tickets for any or all of these fantastic webinars.

Climate for Change
Climate for Change wrote in their newsletter on 25 August 2023:

1. Our climate is changing, with devastating consequences now and in the immediate future.
In the last few months we’ve seen unprecedented and extreme global weather patterns, impacting lives, properties and livelihoods:

July was the world’s hottest month on record, particularly driven by exceptionally hot summers in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tropical storm Hilary has hit Mexico and California, causing widespread flooding and mudslides.

Bushfires are already raging in NSW as early as August, with the RFS fighting more than 70 bush or grass fires as of Sunday evening. Many are fearing the worst for Australia’s upcoming summer.

Devastating bushfires are also being seen worldwide, from Canada, to Hawaii and the Canary Islands.

A new paper published in the scientific journal Nature Communications warns that a major climatic system that helps to regulate weather in Europe and North America could reach its tipping point by 2025. 

Temperatures in Sydney were around 2 degrees above average in August this year, sparking fears for a hot end to 2023 and beyond.

Canada is suffering its worst wildfire season in history, and new analysis has confirmed that the warming climate more than doubled the likelihood of the fires.

Early sea ice breakup in Antarctica this year is estimated to have killed thousands of emperor penguin chicks.

Hurricane Idalia touched down in Florida last week, fueled by warmer waters and an increasing trend of what scientists call “rapid intensification”.

2. Solutions are available and affordable – many are already being rolled out around the world.
Worldwide heat records are being matched by renewable records, with Australian solar farms setting new output records yet again.With records like that, it’s no surprise that wind and solar projects are likely to supply more than a third of the world’s electricity needs by 2030, according to a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Importantly, this signals that the energy sector is on track to meet global climate goals!

Google is using satellite imagery and AI to help pilots route flights, cutting down contrails – “those streaks that planes leave in the sky” – by 54%. Contrails account for about 35% of the aviation sector’s global warming impact. Early evidence from a new trial in the UK has found that feeding daffodil extract to cows reduces their methane emissions. 

3. But people with the power to make the changes we need aren’t acting fast enough – in fact, some are actively holding us back.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has shut-down misinformation spread by campaigns from conservative media, which claimed that renewables are not low cost. A new study in PLOS Climate has revealed that the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households are responsible for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s largest oil- and gas- producing state, Alberta, has announced a pause on new wind and solar projects for the next six months, prompting outrage from environmental groups and economists. Amazon has been removed from the Science Based Targets Initiative’s list of companies taking climate action after failing to implement its carbon target commitments. The Initiative is a UN-backed entity that validates net zero plans. 

4. All over the world, people from all walks of life are building a movement for the changes we need.
Youth in the U.S. State of Montana have had an historic win after a judge ruled that the government had violated its constitution by not considering greenhouse gas emissions from energy and mining projects. The State has a legal obligation to protect Montanans’ right to a clean and healthy environment. The nonprofit ClimateVoice is campaigning for big tech to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has a track record of opposing climate measures in Congress and the executive branch.

The nonprofit Climate Fresk has been running climate workshops in Paris for people to learn about climate change and its solutions. Since 2018, more than 1 million people have attended these “trendy nights out”. 

Community pantries are being rolled out across Geneva to promote food sharing and tackle food waste.

5. But it’s a race against time. We need everyone. Here’s what you can do to join them: 
Stay tuned to C4C’s socials for more details. ACF is asking community members to share tip-offs to help them investigate unethical, illegal and damaging environmental behaviour by government and private sectors. Find details on how you can get in touch here.

REACH OUT: Have you signed up to host a Climate Conversation yet? Invite friends or colleagues in your home or workplace – C4C will do the rest! 

Pressure on MPs works! This is how change at government level happens. Now is always a great time to sit down and write to your local representatives about the issues that matter to you. We regularly update our MP engagement resources to help you – check them out here, then get emailing!

GET INFORMED: Is your bank funding fossil fuels? What about your superCheck Market Forces. They do all the research so you can move your money to support the world you want.

The referendum on a Voice to Parliament is being widely debated across the country. One way you can get informed is to complete this 30min online training run by From the Heart. If you want to do more, you can learn how to run kitchen table conversations about The Voice or join a door knocking campaign

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
(Hillel the Elder, 1st Century AD)

Until next time, Emily Banks,
on behalf of the team at Climate for Change.

→ Visit C4C’s website  |  Take action with C4C  |  Follow C4C on InstagramFacebook & LinkedIn

→ To learn about C4C’s volunteer-led model and what it means, check out this page.

→ Click here for a PDF version of this newsletter

→ You can subscribe to C4C’s newsletter here

Climate for Change · 1 Tripovich St, Brunswick, VIC 3056, Australia

Books on climate psychology

Charlie J. Gardner, a climate and nature communicator, activist and writer, posted on

“Despite everything we know, many people are still not making climate action much of a focus of their work or lives.

Why not? Because the whole thing is scary and difficult to comprehend, and taking it seriously would require us to change things up and leave our comfort zone.

So it’s not surprising that many people unconsciously put up mental barriers to keep them safe from this troublesome knowledge. We convince ourselves that it’s not happening, or that someone has it under control, or that technology will save us, or that it’s someone else’s problem… anything to allow us to just keep calm and carry on.

As communicators and change makers, we need to understand these barriers if we are to empower people to shift from being passive bystanders to active participants in shaping the world as it transforms. To help, here are six great books on #ClimatePsychology

Just published, this 2nd Edition of Margaret Klein Salamon’s ‘Facing the Climate Emergency’ is a beautifully clear-headed guide to dealing with our own mental barriers as we face up to the emergency we’re in and commit to entering ‘emergency mode’ ourselves

George Marshall’s (2014) classic ‘Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change’ looks at things from an evolutionary perspective to understand why we struggle to comprehend a threat of such enormity

Per Espen Stoknes (2016) ‘What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming’ provides a brilliant overview of why people choose to ignore climate change, and how we can overcome those barriers by reframing the issues

Katharine Hayhoe’s (2021) ‘Saving Us’ explores how climate how climate action threatens many people’s sense of identity, and provides brilliant guidance on speaking about the issues with people of different beliefs

Rebecca Huntley’s ‘How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference’ is an excellent overview of the emotional aspects of talking about climate action

Lastly, Kari Norgaard’s (2011) ‘Living in Denial’ is a classic academic study of a Norwegian community ignoring the changes to their climate even as they live through them. It develops the concept of ‘disavowal’ – not denying anything, but simply blocking it out completely

Happy reading, and many engaging climate conversations to you all!”