Fossil fuels reserves remain in the ground? No way says Australia!

Just a week ago, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, emphatically stated that most fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if the rise in the world’s average temperature is to be kept within 2 Degrees Celsius. Carney’s words don’t have much weight in Australia. Prime Minister, Tony Abbott declared at a ceremony for …

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A Canadian speaks to “Down Under” Countries

Australia is retreating from a strong climate change policy. New Zealand is wavering.  Why should Canadians worry about such developments down under? Gordon McBean, a Canadian climatologist who is the President elect of the International Council for Science, encouraged New Zealand to take a strong stand on climate change.  He referred to the world wide increase in …

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Climate Change Policies “down under”

So – has Australia progressed in reducing GHG emissions to meet its 2020 targets?  And, if not, what steps will it take to do so? Australia is the source for about 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  On a per capita basis these emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world …

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If the cap fits, wear it!

What do you call a report on climate change prepared by 830 scientists around the world?

“Group think”, according to the head of a business panel that advises the Australian Government.

No, this gentleman is not attempting to describe the arrangements that enable these scientists to share their conclusions with each other. Nor is he describing the rigours of the scientific method, and the contribution of peer reviewed papers.

Group think is a “put down” of experts that global warming sceptics don’t agree with.

It is puzzling how anyone could use the term in the context of the consensus of 97% of scientists who advise us about global warming and its causes.

Read moreIf the cap fits, wear it!

The Climate Change link for Globe & Mail Headlines

“Crash renews oil-by-rail fears”

In June of this year President Obama stated that the he will not approve the Keystone XL pipeline if that would lead to increased GHG emissions.

The North American fossil fuel industry notes that tar sands oil is already moving and will move by rail to US refineries on the Gulf Coast.  This means that approval of Keystone would not result in significantly increased emissions.

The recent Lac Megantic disaster and now the derailment of tanker cars near Gainford, Alberta, raise the question whether the fossil fuel industry will find the risks of rail transport of tar sands oil acceptable.   The industry may change tacks and justify approval of Keystone for safety reasons.

“Canada to push resource development”

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, is chair of the Arctic Council, which includes other polar nations. She will be pressing for “responsible resource development” and safe Arctic shipping.

According to the Minister, “safe circumpolar communities” will be free from “short-lived” climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane.  Still the real risk is that warming of the Arctic will result in the release of large quantities of methane from the permafrost.

Responsible resource development includes extraction of oil and natural gas from the Arctic Ocean seabed. Scientists advise that a large part of fossil fuels reserves  must be left “in the ground” to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming.  Embarking on a mammoth program for extraction of fossil fuels from Arctic regions would make any limit on global warming impossible to achieve.

“Officials warn that blaze may reach Sydney”

Last month, Australians rejected a government that was very committed to reducing GHG emissions. Clearly a majority of Australians did not accept the warnings of climate change science.

As promised in its election platform, the new Government immediately disbanded the  Climate Commission, which was established in 2011 with the task of communicating the dangers of climate change to the Australian public.  The Government is also dismantling the Climate Change Authority, which provides advice on emission reduction targets, and the Clean Evidence Finance Corporation, which invests in renewable energy.

Nature “responded” with an enormous blaze that could merge with others and create a “mega fire” as weather conditions worsen!  What hubris: this blaze threatens the great Australian city of Sydney!

Read moreThe Climate Change link for Globe & Mail Headlines

A Carbon Tax bites the Australian dust!

A week ago we thought that a non-political, reasonable discussion about a carbon tax was possible. BUT that may not be so in Australia, where a carbon tax is a “hot-button” issue!

Canadians voters rejected a Federal carbon tax in the 2008 Federal Election.  New Zealand considered a carbon tax in 2005, but instead opted for an emissions trading scheme that imposed minimum financial burdens on industry. Two days ago Australian voters rejected a carbon tax that had been in effect for several years.

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Down-Under Drama!

Australians are never uninteresting people, and Australian politics is a fascinating story of palace coups, policy flip-flops and personality battles. In this exciting environment it is easy to lose sight of the need for action to reduce climate change.

Australians vote in a general election scheduled for mid-September of this year. Tony Abbot, the leader of the opposition Liberals, is relying heavily upon one principal promise: if elected his party will repeal the Carbon Tax enacted by the current Labour Government – within days. Just recently Abbot has made public a letter that re-iterates and repeats this promise in many different words. He claims that repealing the Carbon Tax will ease cost of living pressures on families, help small business and restore confidence to the economy.

Read moreDown-Under Drama!