Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sandbag Copenhagen Target Converter

Climate Change - Copenhagen update:

Sandbag has a new tool for converting data to compare the "effort across countries using different baseline years".

It also has a Power Sector Simulation Game:

"Welcome to our simulation of the global climate change negotiations. Using this game multiple users can try their hand at agreeing a deal. The aim is to get global emissions to peak and decline within a decade."

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Climate News Murdoch Style

Melbourne's and Murdoch's Herald Sun daily was full of climate change politics this morning. Totally in denial as usual, the complete global warming atheists, to borrow Liberal parliamentarian Eric Abetz's religious metaphor for his doubts. He's an "agnostic".

There was some balance of course. The one paragraph story about the Chinese announcement of emissions targets was on page 51.

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Help Send Pacific Youths to Copenhagen

Help to send a Pacific youth delegation to Copenhagen.

Donations to GetUp! here.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Liberal Party Sinks into Low Farce

If/when Tony Abbott wins the Liberal leadership, we'll be facing the real enemy at last after 2 years of phoney war. My very first 10 second YouTube video seems a touch relevant.

Except that for the tongue in cheek 'Next Liberal Prime Minister of Australia' is unlikely to apply to any of these pretenders. Unless Turnbull does a Lazarus after the shellacking that the climate dunces are about to bring their Party.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Liberal Party High Farce Over Climate Change

I'd like to disassociate myself, from Andrew Robb's actions yesterday over the Emissions Trading Scheme, as a constituent and voter in his electorate of Goldstein.

Someone else can apologise for the Victorian Coalition Senators. We are paying for the essentially conservative nature of the Senate. It and the Liberal party, nay Coalition, are looking more like Paul Keating's "unrepresentative swill" each day.

When Labor hits the crisis or cyclical bump that puts us back into opposition, Malcolm Turnbull is the kind of Coalition leader that we would want. Imagine Australia under Kevin Andrews or Tony Abbott.

Now it's on to Copenhagen, Senate willing.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Story of Cap and Trade coming soon

Sounds familiar! From the Story of Stuff mob. Coming 1 December. Hope it's suitably subversive.

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2007 Remembered: Howard's Swift End

24 November is the 2nd anniversary of the election of Kevin Rudd's Labor governemnt in Australia. 'The Poll the Counts' videos from election day were taken around Canberra polling booths and at the National Tallyroom. My favourite is Tallyroom Spectators:

The others can be found at YouTube or Teacher Tube.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Channel 7 Sleaze as Journalism

I didn't watch last night's revelations about the private life of South Australian Premier Mike Rann. I could say who cares but we should care about this kind of reporting. Perhaps it's time that others started publishing the sex lives of journalists. Then we might hear some real debate about privacy and ethics.

Paid, published and damned!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brumby the Born Again Leader

We haven't voted in a Victorian State election since 1996 when John Brumby unsuccessfully lead the ALP opposition against Jeff Kennett. Life under Jeff was probably one of the minor factors in our decision to head to the top end. Swings and landslides have brought a new political landscape.

Apart from the perennial branch stacking debate, yesterday's Labor State Conference seems to have had little heat. The real political discussion would have taken place at the lunchtime Fringe Program:

Has the ALP moved too far from its union roots?
Who is more out of touch – politicians or journalists?
Next steps in climate change policy
Couldn't get there but feedback from those who did would be appreciated.

Unlike many unelected State Premiers such as Alan Carpenter and Nathan Rees, Brumby inherited a united party. According to the last opinion poll he has built on this. It appears that he may do an Anna Bligh and get a comfortable majority of his own at next year's poll.

Source: Brumby soaring high: poll The Age 22 Nov 2009

But as South Australian premier Mike Rann can attest, take nothing for granted.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Tony Abbott doesn't read much about Climate Change

I’m still gobsmacked by Tony Abbott’s revelations on Lateline last night. He hasn’t read the IPCC report but relies on briefings. But not from scientists because he doesn’t really talk to them. He needs to get some new staff with some scientific understanding. He hasn’t even finished Plimer’s book that he likes to quote from. I wonder if he even read the summary chapter of Garnaut.

The video is up on the program website but the transcript is still coming.

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Oz Bloggers Quiet on Oceanic Viking

A cross post from Global Voices:

Australia: Asylum Seekers test tough but humane approach

As indicated at the end of the article, very few Oz boggers wrote opinion pieces about the Oceanic Viking. There were one or two others that are not included here, such as Andrew Bartlett's Good and bad ways to reduce boat arrivals.

We obviously need to lift our game.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Warmer Hospitality: Canadian Climate Success Story

The Canadian Tourism Federation has declared a rare victory from global warming:

Global warming is great news for cool Canada! Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise, and that means warmer weather for a perfect family holiday is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to plan your next vacation in the new, warmer Canada!
Their nature ambassadors have a message:

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Organize to be heard: Climate Change

The video is called "Organize to be heard" from CONSEQUENCE09

It seems that our Senate isn't the only one with a climate problem.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Climate Change Angry Mermaid Award

Vote for the "company or lobby group ... doing the most to sabotage effective action on climate change."

There is a short list of 8 to
from which to choose.

Angry Mermaid Award

If given a chance my nominee would be Tru Energy for this effort:

Tru Energy, the operator of the coal-fired power station at Yallourn in Victoria, has said construction of a more environmentally sound gas-fired plant is unlikely without billions of dollars in additional compensation from the Federal Government's emissions trading scheme.

Tru Energy demands more ETS compensation (ABC News 9 Nov 09)

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Join Green Facebook for Copenhagen

The idea is that facebook goes green for COP15 at Copenhagen.

Join here!

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Big Week for Samson and Delilah

Good news for one of the best Australian films of 2009. Samson & Delilah will available on DVD next week and ABC1 will telecast it on Sunday 22 November at 8.30pm.

This comes on top of director Warwick Thornton's selection as the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year.

Don't miss the film. Every Australian should see it!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Australia’s Climate Countdown to Copenhagen

With just over three weeks till key climate talks in Copenhagen, there is little optimism that a binding agreement will be reached.

In Australia, Kevin Rudd’s Labor government has positioned itself uncomfortably in the middle of the national debate. Many of its supporters feel let down by what they see as weak 5 – 25 percent carbon emission cut targets and an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that rewards big polluters. Yet Big Business, especially the energy sector, is arguing for more concessions.

Meanwhile a small but vocal and influential media minority continue to question global warming and the role of greenhouse gases. For some commentators, it’s all part of a conspiracy to advance global government.

Party Politics

The politics are messy to say the least. Negotiations are taking place with the Liberal Party opposition over amendments to the ETS legislation, which was originally defeated in the Senate in August. Their coalition partners, the National Party, are implacably opposed to the bill.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is struggling to unite his own Liberal parliamentarians, a difficult task considering the party claims a significant number of climate sceptics and deniers in their ranks. His proposed amendments to the ETS bill are supposed to be about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but he really wants to see some kind of ETS for two main reasons.

Firstly he accepts the science and has a personal commitment to fighting global warming. Secondly he fears a rout at a climate change election. Some of his own leadership team such as Senator Nick Minchin are considering having a bet each way: support the amendments and vote against the amended bill. The Nationals intend doing both.

The unknown element in the government’s compromise strategy to pass the legislation is much how further they are prepared to water down their scheme. In doing so they risk completely alienating many of their voters.

The Greens have been excluded from real talks because of their unwavering commitment to 40 percent emissions cuts. Even if a deal could be hammered out with them it is unlikely to get the support of the two independents in the Senate.

PM Kevin Rudd is using the negotiations to keep several balls in the air:


A three-year electoral cycle means continuous campaigning. Cynics argue that his tactics are more concerned with short-term political advantage than long-term planning.

The Hostile Senate

The Kyoto Protocol finishes in 2012. Its replacement is supposed to hammered out at COP15. To have a real voice there, Rudd wants to establish some concrete climate change credentials through legislation but the hostile Senate stands in the way where the Greens and two independents hold the balance of power.

One solution is a double dissolution election if the ETS bill is rejected a second time. The bill could then be passed by a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Current opinion polls suggest that Labor would win well however, the election might be closer than predicted. There is the potential for the climate spoilers to use the basest tactics such as appeals to fear, ignorance and the tried and true hip-pocket nerve. In addition early elections have misfired in recent history. An even more hostile Senate could well result, even if the government is re-elected.

The Planet

Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party are committed to climate action. To have any impact on the future of the planet the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme needs to have both popular support and some guts, such as targets of 25 – 40 percent or 350 ppm.

The Economy

Jobs and economic growth are key Rudd priorities. Moreover, his own party is committed to protecting the coal industry and its unionised workforce. Clean coal research has received generous support.

The Environmental Lobbies

Australian Environmental groups have been divided in their response to the government’s target range increase to 25 percent in the event of a global agreement. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s latest Progress Report, Climate Change – the road to Copenhagen, is generally positive over the move. However Greenpeace Australia has a very different view stating in its own report Rudd’s weak targets undermine progress at UN that: “Unless countries like Australia put stronger targets on the table, it is difficult to see how we are going to get anything other than empty rhetoric from Copenhagen.”

The International Political Climate

The international scene is even more troubled. Barack Obama’s attempt to get cap and trade legislation is just one of a list of challenges along with health reform, the economy, Afghanistan and Iraq. The recent Barcelona talks and G20 meeting were inconclusive and the vexed question of how to finance developing countries is still unresolved.

Kevin Rudd has been asked to be one of the friends of the chairman, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen at Copenhagen. Like many Australian PMs before him, he likes to think that he is punching above his weight on the world stage. He is expected to use the current APEC meeting in Singapore to lobby for an agreement in Copenhagen. A recent parliamentary report into the effects of climate change on coastal Australia and a government report Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast underline what is at stake.

* Climate Change is a soup of acronyms:

COP Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)

CPRS Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

ETS Emissions Trading Scheme

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

* For more background, these links may be useful:

Linkages: Introduction to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol

Seven steps to becoming an UNFCCC expert

The Road to Copenhagen Simon Talley

tck tck tck Global Campaign for Climate Action

(This post appeared first at

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hunger Strike Against Climate Change

As preliminary negotiations broke up at Barcelona with pessimism, focus has switched to some traditional passive resistance that's going on. According to the Climate Justice Fast:

Ordinary people from Tegucigalpa to Toronto are choosing to go hungry from today until at least the end of the Copenhagen climate summit – more than 40 days – as part of a global hunger strike to 'wake the world up to reality'.
Has to be some sort of irony that it apparently started on Oz:
Climate Justice Fast was started in Australia, and has grown to include people from all ages and walks of life in the US, the UK, India, France, Germany, Canada, South Africa, Belgium, Honduras, Bhutan, New Zealand, and the Philippines. It begins at the conclusion of the Barcelona talks and is set to continue throughout the Copenhagen summit.
There hasn't been much headline coverage in the mainstream media yet. The Herald Sun picked it up yesterday:
PAUL Connor says he's worried about the hunger strike he's just started, but he's much more scared about the prospect of world leaders refusing to seriously tackle climate change.

Mr Connor, 29, insists he'll only drink water from now until an agreement is struck at global climate talks in Copenhagen starting on December 7.
Man begins climate change hunger strike in Canberra Herald Sun 6 Nov 2009

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Threatened Voices: Defending Free Speech Online

Introducing Threatened Voices is a new project at Global Voices:

Today, Global Voices Advocacy is launching a new website called Threatened Voices to help track suppression of free speech online. It features a world map and an interactive timeline that help visualize the story of threats and arrests against bloggers worldwide, and it is a central platform to gather information from the most dedicated organisations and activists
Click the link for more details.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Farewell to Great Australian

There was a State funeral for one of Australia's most respected aboriginal elders in Arnhem Land yesterday. He was a world renowned artist, hands on environmentalist, and custodian of his traditional lands and culture. For cultural reasons he is currently known as Wamud Namok.

Murray McLaughlin's tribute for the 7.30 Report can be viewed on ABC online

Remote Australia has had its first state funeral - honouring an Aboriginal man they called the professor. In death, he's known as Wamud Namok, and he was made an officer of the order of Australia five years ago. He was a famous artist who won a prestigious Telstra art award in 1999 and whose works feature in major public collections around the country.

State funeral held for Wamud Namok

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Climate Change Impact on Austalia's Coast

My article on rising sea levels, extreme weather and Australia's coastline:

Climate Change Threat to Australian Coast

If you're not extremely concerned then you're not paying attention.

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