Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Aussie schoolkids on strike to save the environment from climate change

November 26, 2018

Why aren’t they doing anything?: Students strike to give climate lesson, Peter Hannam,  24 November 2018 This Friday, November 30, thousands of Australian students will go on strike, demanding their politicians start taking serious action on climate change.The movement, School Strike 4 Climate Action, has been inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting classes before parliamentary elections in her nation on September 9, and continues to skip school every Friday. She also has a particular message for Australia.

Students in each state capital and across 20 regional Australian centres will walk out of their classrooms this week to tell politicians that more of the same climate inaction is not good enough.

Here are some of the lessons they hope to teach.

‘If we really want a better planet Earth’

Lucie Atkin-Bolton, 11, who will soon graduate as school captain at Sydney’s Forest Lodge Public School, says Australia should be sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from solar power: “I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.”

“Right now the political leaders aren’t doing very much at all,” Lucie says. “They’re more promoting coal-sourced energy when, if we really want to have a better planet Earth, we need renewable energy.”

Climate change “is a crisis”, she says. “It’s not going to happen in two or three decades – it’s happening now.”

Lucie says “whole islands will disappear” as warming lifts sea levels, and the time for thinking is running out.

“We can’t just talk about it, we have to act,” she says. “We have to make a change.”

While Lucie hopes to attend the main strike event at NSW Parliament, school principal Stephen Reed has been supportive, she says. Students remaining behind are expected to be involved in school-wide activities.

Fear’ is a motivator

Vivienne Paduch isn’t waiting for Friday’s gathering – where the Manly Selective school student will also be a speaker  – to get active. This Sunday, she’ll be busy at a “Crafternoon”, creating banners and honing her speech.

The 14-year-old says Australia needs to cut its carbon footprint “dramatically” and soon. The run of “crazy, extreme weather events” – from the NSW drought to destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and recent unusual fires within the Arctic Circle – are part of her motivation.

“Firstly it’s fear,” Vivienne says. “I’m really scared for me and for my generation and the generations that are going to come after me from the implications of what climate change will mean.

“It’s only going to get worse if we don’t take action now.

“Striking for climate action is more important [to me] than missing a day of school.

“With all the support we’ve got this year, I can see it happening again next year,” Vivienne says. “It’s very important to keep pressure on the politicians.”

‘Young people have to step up’

For Aisheeya Huq, a year 10 student at Auburn Girls High School, the School Strike is a natural extension of her volunteer work for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The 16-year-old says her generation can’t ignore climate change and environmental destruction and the justice issues that flow from them.

“We’re going to have to face the consequences [from the work of] a lot of the policymakers and politicians … due to their lack of understanding and perhaps care for the future,” Aisheeya says.

“Young people have realised that because we are going to be affected, we have to step up, and we have to do something about it.”

Politicians talk about the importance of education and shouldn’t be surprised when students join the climate dots. “If you care so much about our education and what you’re teaching us, why aren’t you doing anything about it?” she says.

‘Massive emergency’

Students from Castlemaine, a town in the Victorian goldfields north-west of Melbourne, were the originators of the School Strike movement in Australia after reading about Greta Thunberg and also the special Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 degree report.

Tully Boyle, a 15-year-old at Castlemaine Secondary College, has already taken part in several school boycotts, and this week took a train into Melbourne with other students to deliver demands to politicians.

“It’s a massive emergency,” Tully says. “We want all governments to take it seriously.”

She says heatwaves, flooding and worsening bushfires are a portent of much worse to come if temperature rises reach 4-5 degrees – the course they are now on.

Tully would like to see support for renewable energy and greater promotion of electric vehicles given priority.

“Climate change matters more for us,” she says. “We need to fight for our future.”

Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot, an 11-year-old student at Castlemaine Primary School, has also taken part in four strike activities already.

“Sacrificing a little bit of my education will help in the long term,” Callum said. “I work really hard when I’m at school.

“Any political leader can really make a difference – they have much more power than we do,” he says. “Right now what they are doing is not enough.”

Greta’s actions were a key inspiration. “I was really moved,” Callum says. “It was really brave and very powerful.”

It was so easy’

Greta Thunberg has seen her Friday vigils for action on climate change copied in many parts of the world, including Finland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Canada and Britain. “And Australia of course!” she says.

“The thing I think surprised me the most was that it was so easy,” she tells Fairfax Media, via email.

“I remember thinking before I started ‘why has no one ever done this before?’”

The solution, she says, is to keep climate change in front of the public’s attention.

“All we need to do is treat it like a crisis with headlines and news reporting all the time. And I mean A L L the time,” she writes. “As if there was a war going on.”

Greta wants her Australian acolytes to know she is aware of their actions: “I would tell them that they are making a huge difference. I read about them in newspapers up here in Europe and it’s hopeful beyond my imagination.

“And Australia is a huge climate villain, I am sorry to say. Your carbon footprint is way bigger than Sweden and we are among the worst in the world.”

Greta says leading by example is important, as is “saying the things that are too uncomfortable to say”.

“We may not like that we have to change some of our habits, like flying or eating meat and dairy. But we do have to. Because our carbon budget has been spent and there is nothing left for future generations or the ecosystems we rely on,” she says.

Australia’s Turnbull Government releases transparent video on Climate Policy and Coal Mining

December 11, 2016

Honest Government Advert – Carmichael Coal Mine

Nuclear power as climate treatment – a cure worse than the disease

September 13, 2016


Let’s pretend that nuclear power is really “zero carbon” (which it isn’t)

Let’s pretend that thousands of “conventional” nuclear reactors, or millions of little geewhiz new Small Modular Nuclear Reactors could be set up within just  a few years, in time to be effective against climate change ( we know they would take from about 70 years at the earliest)

Do we need a dirty,  dangerous, unsafe, land and water polluting industry as an environmental cure?

(Especially when clean renewable energy and energy efficiency can be set up quickly)

The web of climate denialism, and Australia’s part in it

July 13, 2016

liar (2)

US Senators detail a climate science “web of denial” but the impacts go well beyond their borders Australians have been both helpers and victims of the fossil fuelled web of climate science denial being detailed in the U.S Senate,Guardian, , 12 July 16, By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic Senators in the US will have stood up before their congress to talk about the fossil fuelled machinery of climate science denial.

The Senators are naming the fossil fuel funders, describing the machinery and calling out the characters that make up a “web of denial”……

Australia has been a consumer, a contributor and a victim of the web of climate science denial.Australia has long provided personnel and contributors to the efforts of several of the key groups being named in the US Senate.

The late Dr Robert Carter, once of James Cook University, was an advisor and active contributor to several of the groups, including the Heartland Institute and the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Malcolm Roberts (the wannabe One Nation Australian Senator) and bloggers JoNova and her husband David Evans have all written reports for the SPPI that claim human-caused climate change is some sort of elaborate hoax.

Retired Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth is also an SPPI science advisor.

Australian politicians have flown over to the United States to speak at conferences for climate science denialists hosted by the Heartland Institute – the group that once compared the acceptance of human-caused climate science to the values of terrorist and mass murderer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.

Former Family First Senator Steve Fielding, current Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and the current Nationals MP George Christensen have all spoken at Heartland’s conferences. The conferences themselves have been enthusiastically sponsored by several Australian groups over the years.

Australia’s role in the web of denial has been running since the 1990s, when groups like the CEI flew staff to Australia to firm up opposition to greenhouse gas regulations around the world.

Partnerships were formed with groups like the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, which has hosted and supported many visits from US-based climate science denialists.

Once here, those speakers will write columns for newspapers, do radio and television interviews and travel around the country to give talks.

In 2011 when the Gillard Government was trying to introduce laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the enlisted Pat Michaels, of the Cato Institute, as a science advisor. Cato is another member of the web of denial. Michaels once estimated that about 40 per cent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.

The impact of all this on the Australian public and the way the media covers climate science is clear.

There remains a split among Australians about the cause of climate change, despite multiple studies showing that more than 90 per cent of climate scientists are in agreement that it’s the burning of fossil fuels that’s driving up temperatures, fuelling weather extremes, raising sea levels, melting ice sheets and killing corals (and that’s just a few of the impacts).

The public becomes doubtful and the media, so often looking for controversy and conflict, has been a conduit for the fossil fuelled messages.

The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, retain a grip on their so-called “social licence to operate.”

When Senator Whitehouse said the web of denial is “so big, because it has so much to protect” we might also think that we have so much to lose.

In failing to unravel the web of denial and by allowing our public discourse to be polluted by fossil fuelled PR outfits, ideologues and pseudo-science, who knows how much time we may have lost.

Twenty five years

Australia’s embarrassment: govt praising coal at Paris Climate Summit!

November 30, 2015
Australian Delegation To Present ‘Coal Is Amazing’ Video At Climate Conference   Australia’s contribution to the Paris climate change talks will be a short animated  video explaining the benefits of coal.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he was looking forward to sharing the ‘little gem of a video’ on the conference’s main stage. “The broader global community has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to understanding coal’s amazing qualities. This video will be the talk of the conference I feel,” he said before leaving for Paris.

A Rational Fear – This Little Black Rock is gonna F you Up!

[Oh dear, I think I might have put up the wrong video – what  a shame!]

Mr Hunt said the little black rock provided endless possibilities. “It can provide light. And jobs,” he said, holding up a piece of coal for reporters to see.

Following Australia’s presentation, delegates will receive a take-home bag containing a genuine piece of Australian coal. “It’s a little memento to remember the Aussies by,” Mr Hunt said.

Wangan & Jagalingou Aboriginals join with Kiribati for climate action, and against coal

November 23, 2015

Kiribati 15Wangan & Jagalingou leader in historic meeting with Kiribati president November 19, 2015 Joins president’s call for no new coal mines; seeks support to defend W&J’s rights and country

Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owner, and senior spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, will this morning meet with President Anote Tong of Kiribati and offer support to his call for a global moratorium on new coal mines. The meeting will bring together for the first time two leaders of traditional peoples in the region vulnerable to the devastating impacts of coal mining and burning.

President Anote Tong has called for no new coal mines, as coal-driven climate change and resulting sea level rise present a grave existential threat to his people, and to continued life on his island nation.

Mr. Burragubba said “My people have heard the concerns of the President on behalf of the people of Kiribati and empathise with them. As traditional people, we too face devastation of our lands, our culture and our people by coal”.

Mr. Burragubba said the Federal and Queensland Governments must put  a halt to Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine on Wangan and Jagalingou traditional lands – the biggest mine in Australian history – which will destroy W&J’s ancestral Country, and escalate climate change.

“The W&J people have said No to Adani’s Carmichael mine, time and again, yet our Governments have overridden our rights and are giving it their approval. This mine  would obliterate our country and drain and poison our waters. It would destroy ancient and irreplaceable cultural landscapes and heritage sites. It would sever our deep and abiding connection to our ancestral lands. And it would play a massive part in detonating ‘a carbon bomb’, fueling run-away climate change and leading to the very thing President Tong fears for his nation”.

Mr. Burragubba will seek President Tong’s support in the struggle of the W&J people to stop this devastating project. “As first nations people, Indigenous people, we have rights recognised under international law and the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People – including to withhold our consent to mining on our land. We ask President Tong to join us in our efforts to ensure this destructive mega-mine never goes ahead; to use his good offices to encourage Governments in Australia to respect our rights, and to consider the catastrophic global impacts of their support  for Carmichael, and for coal more generally”, he said.

“We welcome this dialogue with President Tong”, said Mr. Burragubba, “as an important first step in the collaborative efforts of our traditional peoples to draw a line in the sand, say “enough is enough”, and fight to preserve our homelands, our ways of life, and the very future of our children from the impacts of coal. ”.

Is it sane to locate a nuclear waste dump in bushfire prone South Australia?

November 21, 2015

bushfire & rad gif

Bushfires threaten South Australia. After the hottest October on record, in what will be the hottest year on record, South Australia already faces an extraordinarily dangerous fire season.

text-cat-questionIs it sane for the South Australian government and its Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission to be contemplating setting up this State as the world’s radioactive trash dump?

Are they not aware of the agonies that went on in Ukraine over the forest fires threatening Chernobyl region. and radioactive waste sites in California?

It is simply crazy, in view of climate change and increasingly hot, dry , long bushfire seasons to  suggest placing dangerous radioactive trash in South Australia

Catastrophic fire danger warning as SA faces extreme heat Another day of extreme heat has been forecast across South Australia for Thursday and total fire bans have been imposed for 10 districts, with catastrophic ratings in four of them.

Adelaide is expecting a high of 35 degrees Celsius, after the mercury peaked above 40C on Wednesday….. The Education Department said catastrophic fire danger ratings meant it would close some state schools and preschools in bushfire-prone areas of the Riverland, mid-north, Flinders and North-West Pastoral regions on Thursday.

Some national parks and reserves would remain closed on Thursday, the Environment Department said, on eastern Eyre Peninsula, in the far north, and through the mid-north, Flinders Ranges, Riverland and Murraylands.

Firefighters will be on high alert and crews are still at a blaze south of Adelaide, which first broke out on Tuesday.

The Country Fire Service said the scrub fire at Yundi on the Fleurieu Peninsula was yet to be controlled.

Country Fire Service crews continue to tackle fires as South Australia goes on full alert for 2015 bushfire season, Advertiser, 18 Nov 15  POLICE are patrolling bushfire-prone areas and aerial bombers remain on standby as extreme fire conditions are forecast across the state just days into the fire-danger season.

Operation Nomad patrols and other police will target known firebugs and ask that anyone who notices suspicious activity or people in fire danger areas to contact the police assistance line on 131 444.

“Landowners are also asked to adhere to local harvest codes of practice which are available from your local council,’’ a police spokeswoman said.

Total fire bans are in place across most of the state as the temperature is tipped to soar into the 40s in the north and west of the state…….

CFS volunteers are currently monoriting a grass fire at Burma Rd, Kyeema, near Hope Forest, that began on Tuesday.

The blaze, which has burned about 75ha of scrub, is burning in Kyeema National Park, about 15km away from Wilunga. It is not threatening any buildings but is creating smoke across land around Willunga and Aldinga.

Residents are advised that changing conditions may cause the fire to threaten their safety.

The fire is not controlled and is burning in a south-westerly direction towards the Yundi township.

On Tuesday, more than 130 firefighters in 36 trucks, with the assistance of three aerial bombers, battled to contain the blaze.

A fire at Cleve, on the Eyre Peninsula, is under control after burning about 600ha of scrub.

In an ominous sign of the summer ahead, Country Fire Service crews fought several large grass fires throughout Tuesday.

Crews managed to contain a fire sparked by a header at Woolshed Flat near Rhynie, which burnt 360ha……

extreme fire danger ratings in the Mt Lofty Ranges, Northwest Pastoral, West Coast and Lower Eyre Peninsula districts.

Severe fire conditions are predicted in the Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Flinders, Mid North, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Riverland, Murraylands and Upper South East regions……..

Landowners are urged to ensure they have their bushfire plans ready and have taken steps to prepare their properties for the bushfire season

South Australia’s pro nuclear Premier – to tout “nuclear for climate” in Paris?

November 14, 2015


Beware that little phrase “low carbon” . These days it is code for “nuclear”

They used to use the term “renewable” to mean nuclear – so including it with clean energy  as in solar, wind power. They still tout “clean” quite often, but can get pulled up on that.

Note that Jay Weatherill, pinning his political future on nuclear, could have chosen the term “renewable”, but he didn’t.

Energy plan: Jay Weatherill wants the State Government powered totally by “low carbon electricity” PREMIER Jay Weatherill wants the State Government to be powered totally by“low carbon electricity”, as he prepares to leave for an international climate change conference in Paris next month.(subscribers only)

Malcolm Turnbull all tangled in knots over Paris Climate Conference

November 9, 2015

Turnbull straightjacket
Malcolm Turnbull: Verbal acrobatics required for Paris climate

Independent Australia, 8 November 2015, Malcolm Turnbull will need to utilise his obvious talent for rhetoric to convince a global audience at the Paris climate talks in November, as there is no substance to the Government’s “Direct Action” climate policy, says Noel Wauchope.

Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has an appealing and glib turn of phrase. He’s going to need that talent when he speaks at the United Nations Paris Climate Conference in late November.

The thing is, Malcolm has to sell to the conference Australia’s current policy on climate change. The Government’s “Direct Action” climate policy is unchanged, despite the departure of climate sceptic Tony Abbott. Its flagship is the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

The ERF boils down to tax-payer handouts to polluting companies that volunteer to cut their greenhouse emissions. There is no enforcement policy, meaning that the companies get the money, and for a year or more, do not need to show that they have reduced emissions.

After a year, the government proposes a ‘safeguards mechanism’, to be explained fully then, so allowing the companies plenty of leeway to lobby to make it meaningless. ……..

What happened to Turnbull? Mark Kenny & James Massola wrote in The Age in February:

‘Amid feverish speculation over the leadership, unconfirmed reports also claimed Mr Turnbull had moved to assuage fears in the conservative wing of the party that his return to the leadership would see a reprise of the carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. It was claimed Mr Turnbull had promised, in a secret deal, that there would be no such reprise if elected.’

More recently, Kenny expressed it in this way:

‘Turnbull has his hands tied, having lost the leadership in 2009 to Abbott for supporting emissions trading, and then having regained it in 2015 on the express condition of opposing it. Release from such Houdini-esque chains will take some doing.’…….

Turnbull’s support for nuclear waste dumping in Australia might go down okay at the Paris talks. There will be a strong push there for nuclear power to be portrayed as cure for a climate change. At present, “new nuclear” is hamstrung in the U.S. because there has to be a waste solution before it can go ahead. ……

However, to persuade the world on Australia’s entire climate inaction package is a task that will demand Turnbull’s very best linguistic acrobatics.

Malcolm Turnbull faces an epic task to keep faith with Liberal Coalition climate denialists, while making Australia’s pathetic climate policy look at all reasonable to the global audience.,8356

Climate change making the South Australian nuclear plan unviable

August 1, 2015

As the global nuclear lobby, and Kevin Scarce’s South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission continue their machinations, there is a powerful force ensuring that their new “nuclear renaissance” is not going to happen in Australia, or anywhere.

Climate change is bringing  extreme temperatures and weather events, and sea level rise, to Australia.

bushfire & rad gif

For Australia, the threats from global warming are very real:

  • bushfires would pose the greatest threat to any nuclear facilities, (as Ukraine and USA are already finding out).
  • Droughts bring water shortages, meaning that precious water is not easily available for water guzzling nuclear reactors.
  • Where inland reactors are water-cooled – the threat to river life of heat pollution becomes greater.
  • There would be increased danger to the Great Artesian Basin , especially  for any nuclear facilities located in South Australia
  • For coastal nuclear facilities, sea level rise and storm surges are dangers.
  • For many nuclear facilities ( reactors, fuel processing, waste disposal), coastal or inland, flooding brings more danger.