I posted this to the Australian Climate Change Authority today – just before deadline which is today, 29 November. You can do it too.
Dear Climate Change Authority,
Thank you for doing this extremely important work and for allowing us to comment on the Draft Report of your Targets and Progress Review.
Along with the majority of Australians, I and my family would like to see much stronger action on climate change than what the current government has proposed.
Sydney has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent (below 2006-levels) by 2030. London’s target is 60 percent cuts by 2025, by which year Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, intends to have become the first carbon neutral capital in the world.
Australia as a nation need to set an example to the world and lead the way with a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at this kind of rate.
The American climate scientist and activist James Hansen pinpointed our current problem with our elected leaders when he explained that, “people profiting from business-as-usual fossil fuel use are waging a campaign to discredit the science. Their campaign is effective because the profiteers have learned how to manipulate democracies for their advantage.”
The age of these “fossil dinosaurs” has got to be over now. The stakes are high, and more and more Australians are prepared to take action on climate change.
The majority of Australians support to stronger action has continually been reaffirmed in polls and research, including ABC’s Vote Compass that showed that 61 percent of Australians believe the government should do more to tackle climate change, and a Fairfax-Nielsen poll of 1,400 voters, released 25 November 2013, which showed that 87 percent of Australians want to see Australia take stronger action on climate change than the target being proposed by the Coalition.
Emissions must be reduced to zero by 2050 at the very latest. The Climate Authority should make this explicit in its recommendations to the Australian Government.
As such, the government’s proposal to reduce emissions by 5 percent or less by 2020 compared with 2000 levels is absolutely ridiculous – and dangerous. I recommend that the Climate Change Authority adopt a 40 percent emission reduction target by 2020 as a minimum short-term target, as suggested by the leading scientists and economists who wrote the book ‘Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World’.
The latest report from the IPCC, released in September 2013, tells us that currently we are on the wrong track, heading for a 4 to 6°C degrees warmer world with catastrophic consequences to life on this planet.
The IPCC report made clear, yet again, that the world is warming rapidly, humans are the primary cause, and very substantial action is immediately required.
In particular, the IPCC report found that a hotter climate is already increasing the frequency and severity of many extreme weather events, and is changing rainfall patterns, creating risks for human well being, the global economy and the environment.
Australia is on track for its warmest ever year, according to a recent study, which showed that the past 12 months have been 0.22°C warmer than any other equivalent period prior to 2013.
This is of great concern to us, and it is very worrying to observe that the government – solely because of its ties to a rich and powerful fossil fuel industry – is not taking this threat seriously at all.
It is clear that the risks of a +2°C world for Australia are significant, putting Australians, our natural environment and key industries, like agriculture, at risk. Climate change represents by far the greatest threat to Australia’s future economic prosperity. Abbott and his fellow politicians are currently getting away with a criminal act of ‘steeling the future’, they are profiting on a destruction that we might not see, but which our children and grandchildren will have to struggle and suffer with.
Unlike the Australian government, I am not prepared to take that kind of risks with the future and prosperity of my children, grandchildren and coming generations. If we don’t find a way to tackle this problem, then anything else we might be doing and aiming for to improve our lives and protect our families’ health and livelihood, to create jobs and prosperity in our society, will turn out to be a complete waste of time, money and energy.
This is also about restoring Australia’s role as a respectable player in the international community – as a country of wise, responsible, caring and civilized people with a good heart and love for our children.
In short: Australia needs an ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions – not some time in a distant future, but starting now, with strong action, including lots of policy and taxation changes, so that we begin heading for a 70-80 percent cut in carbon emissions within the next two decades.
3220 Geelong – www.climatesafety.info
40 percent reduction
Australia must drastically increase its emissions reduction target to 40 percent by 2020 to avoid “almost unimaginable social, economic and ecological consequences” from climate change, a new book penned by leading scientists and economists, including Ross Garnaut, has warned.
The book, ‘Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World’, sets out a series of stark scenarios facing the country should global temperatures rise by 4°C above the pre-industrial average.
With temperatures rising by 3 to 5°C in coastal areas and 4 to 6°C in inland areas, Australia’s future will be a “disturbing and bleak vision of a continent under assault”, according to the book, which was compiled following two years of original research by its authors.
The Guardian – 2 December 2013:
Australia must cut emissions 40% by 2020 to avoid ‘dramatic climatic shifts’
China: 45 percent
China has a target of cutting its emissions by up to 45 percent per unit of GDP by 2020.
» Read more: smh.com.au
Even the reputed 2°C: too high
Humanity is choosing to destroy a livable climate, warn 18 of the world’s leading climate experts in a new study:
“We conclude that the widely accepted target of limiting human-made global climate warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial level is too high and would subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use must be reduced rapidly to avoid irreversible consequences such as sea level rise large enough to inundate most coastal cities and extermination of many of today’s species.”
ThinkProgress – 3 December 2013:
350 or bust: Scientists warn even 2°C warming leads to ‘disastrous consequences’ and must be avoided
Notes from Tonystralia
“It’s been said that the most common way that people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any, but we do. We have real power, and it’s not coal-fired or reactor based. It’s community power, and community power is baseload power because it’s always there.”
Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation
Published on youtube.com on 28 November 2013
“This is the critical decade. Australia must strive to cut emissions rapidly and deeply to join global efforts to stabilize the world’s climate and to reduce the risk of even more extreme events, including bushfires.”
Climate change and bushfires in Australia
How absurd it must be for Australians to find themselves in a situation where their elected leaders are deliberately lying and cheating to the very nation it was assigned to protect, look after and care for.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, for example, has stated in public that he sees no connection between bushfire and climate change. He has stated it directly: he thinks climate change is “crap”.
The scientists in the Climate Committee, (which was able to survive Abbott’s scandalous attempt to eradicate it thanks to generous financial support from wise, individual Australians, now renamed The Climate Council) have quite another understanding of these matters.
If you recide in Australia, you must educate yourself on these matters. For a start, you can download this new report from the Climate Council, ‘Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat’, and when you do, make sure in particular to read the last chapters.
“Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, and we’re about to become the world’s biggest gas exporter. The idea that we are too small to impact climate change is a lie. We need to keep these fossil fuel deposits in the ground if we are to stay below 2 degrees of warming.”
The Wilderness Society, Australia’s biggest environmental group
» Learn more about The Wilderness Society’s Fossil Fuel campaign
» Watch their #gamechanger event live: wilderness.org.au
Sydney Morning Herald – 30 November 2013:
Wilderness Society plans legal fight over fossil fuels in shift to tackling global warming
In a controversial move, the group will aggressively target Australia’s multibillion-dollar oil, gas and coal exports.
Joke about melting ice poles
The Australians are watching ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. Huge show.
A stand-up comedian is trying his luck.
“With the ice poles melting, at least it means it will become easier to sell ice cream to the eskimoes,” he says.
The judges praise his talent and humour.
There’s climate change for you in Australia in 2013: If we can’t deal with it, we can at least crack some jokes about it.
The Australian carbon-criminals
Here is how I perceive the carbon- and climate crisis in this country of 23 million people
Even though a majority of voters voted for Tony Abbott and slashing the country’s carbon-reducing policies, a large part of the the Australian people is concerned about climate change. It shows in the polls. It showed in November 2013 when 60,000 people demonstrated in the streets at a national climate action day organised by the organisation GetUp. An increasing number understands that Australias carbon emissions, and its recent climate policy, is a problem with catastrophic consequences in the form of flooding, drought, heat waves, worse and worse bushfires, and destructive windstorms.
However, a small group of cynics directly from or closely tied to the fossil fuel industry are literally ruling the nation. The Australian ‘carbon-criminals’ are busy using huge amounts of taxpayers money to expand their coal mining projects and the coal export infrastructure in what seems a desperate last attempt to squeeze some more profit out before all doors will slam internationally in just a few years from now.
It literally stinks.
Crosby Textor is company which has declared it is paid to lobby on behalf of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you find out that Crosby Textor’s co-founder Mark Textor was the man who helped Tony Abbott to shape his messages, according to an article in The Guardian.
“Public doubt about the science is not an accident. People profiting from business-as-usual fossil fuel use are waging a campaign to discredit the science. Their campaign is effective because the profiteers have learned how to manipulate democracies for their advantage.”
James Hansen, American climate scientist and activist
It is absolutely shocking when you realise what is going on. It really shouldn’t be too much to ask that we demand of our elected leaders that they care about the future of our children – and fundamentally about human survival. The catastrophic consequences of climate change, Mr Tony Abbott, are not in the national interest of Australia.
Tony Abbott’s extremely weird concern over wind turbines
“I absolutely understand why people are anxious about these things that are sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields of our country. I absolutely understand the concerns that people have.”
Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister
Now, Mr Abbott was not talking about his country’s oil refineries or gas pipelines. Because he doesn’t seem to think there is anything wrong with their contribution to the landscape aestetics. He was talking about these tall, white wind turbines that threaten the reign of the wealthy Fossil Fuel Dynasty and therefore should be labelled as ‘ugly’ and unwanted.
In fact they are quite beautiful and certainly much cleaner and healthier in comparison with the dirty fossil fuel based energy infrastructure. In Europe, the wind mills from the 19th century are preserved and valued as if they were castles. Show me a kid that doesn’t think wind mills are great to look at.
What’s worse about these wind turbines, in Abbott’s fossil-fixed view, is that the wind will keep providing clean energy for decades and decades with no profits to his stakeholders – an energy which only will get cheaper each year that goes by. Frightening scenario when you run a profitable company in the fossil fuel industry.
Tony Abbott’s talk about the “mushrooming wind turbines” as if it was a plague which ruins the Australian landscape really is peculiar, if not absurd, at a time when the planet is in a global emergency because of fossil fuel emissions.
Not only are gas pipelines being allowed to ruin the Australian landscapes, they are dangerous too, as we recently saw examples of in Texas, Missouri and China:
» Grist, 18 November: Entire Texan town evacuated after pipeline explosion
» ThinkProgress, 22 November: Oil Pipeline Explodes In China, Killing 35 And Setting The Ocean On Fire
» Huffington Post, 29 November: Missouri Gas Pipeline Explodes Near Hughesville, No Injuries Reported
But of course, Mr Tony Abbott, we do understand why “these things” (which actually have a name, such as “wind turbines”, or “wind mills”) make you much more anxious and concerned. Only, it is just not good enough. There is too much at stake now, and we can’t wait any longer to get the transition to 100 percent renewables started with full speed.
“Abbott’s bizarre notion that planting (even lots of) trees and paying polluters to be a little bit less dirty will arrest, let alone begin to reverse, the trajectory towards catastrophic climate change on which this planet is hurtling, borders on criminal negligence.”
Anne Summers, in Sydney Morning Herald on 29 November 2013
Extraordinary decisions being made
“Wind energy is, and solar soon will be, cheaper to build than new fossil fuel generation. The incumbents want to stop any new generation for the simple reason that it will reduce their own profits, because they have already built too much.”
All Australians ought to read the article by Giles Parkinson, published by reneweconomy.com.au on 19 December 2013, about the Abbott-government’s ideological and self-interested rant against green energy: ‘Why Tony Abbott may spark an Australian energy revolution’. An excerpt:
The government in Germany has “unveiled even more ambitious ‘renewable energy’ corridors, that will see Europe’s biggest economy powered 60 per cent by renewables within two decades.
Australia is already moving down the path to its own, people-driven Energiewende. Those one million solar households (more than two million voters) now have 3GW of capacity on their rooftops. Price falls in battery storage will increase the ability of households to manage their own production – new financing offers will bring these options to the lowest income households and to renters and apartment dwellers.
The other ingredients that sparked the Germans to take action now exist in Australia: expensive gas, dirty coal, and utilities who are no longer trusted to do the right thing.
The Queensland and WA governments are the most vocal opponents of renewable energy and rooftop solar. Yet it is they who are managing what are quite possibly the most unsustainable fossil fuel grids in the world. Both states rely hugely on subsidies (totaling $1 billion a year) to deliver the fossil fuel to the socket, and the government-owned entities still make losses.
The fact that they are trying to stop the rollout of solar and storage, and extend the life of moribund assets, beggars belief. The bizarre decisions taken in WA, where the government proposes to extend the life of its main mis-firing coal-fired generator, to subsidise the construction of diesel-fuelled peaking plants that may never be switched on, to retrospectively change solar tariffs, and declare it is no longer interested in large-scale renewable energy development, is just a taste of the extraordinary decisions being made.”
» Continue reading: www.reneweconomy.com.au
Independent Australia – 1 December 2013:
More than the market needed to stop the world warming
To keep global warming to below 2 degrees centigrade by 2100, much more mitigation efforts than just market based mechanisms will be needed, writes Dr Ted Christie.
Australian summer of ‘direct action’
“We are mothers and fathers, grandparents, church leaders, lawyers, teachers, nurses and students. We aren’t a movement of radical activists. We are a community standing up to a radical industry that is trashing our future.
The fossil fuel industry plans to triple Australia’s coal and gas exports. Mines such as those proposed in the Galilee Basin and at Maules Creek will lead to more pollution, higher sea levels and more extreme weather events such as the recent bushfires in New South Wales and the typhoon in the Philippines.
That’s why, with the Abbott Government failing to lead, we’ll be taking our own direct action. As the temperature rises over Summer, people from communities right across Australia will be stepping up campaigns to target the industry and their radical plans.
Already hundreds of people have pledged to take on the fossil fuel industry this summer and beyond. Yesterday, we projected their images on to the heart of the industry lobby – the Minerals Council of Australia headquarters – to launch our Summer Heat campaign and to demonstrate the diverse and inspiring movement that is building to halt fossil fuel expansion in Australia.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott: Let us show you what Direct Action really looks like