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Thousands of people gathered on the steps of the Opera House for an outdoor concert and formed a giant 350 with their bodies, one of more than 200 events to be staged across the continent, said spokeswoman Blair Palese.
"Our global emissions are now perilously high, at 387 ppm [she means, of course, the current proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 387 ppm, which has absolutely nothing to do with "global emissions", but that is just the kind of sloppy thinking we are used to from environmentalists who do not have a clue what they are talking about - Ed]," Palese said. [And a good job she wasn't around in the Cambrian period, when CO2 reached seven THOUSAND ppm, or even the more recent Cretaceous, when CO2 was still well over two thousand ppm - she would have probably expired with the shock - Ed]
"The majority of expert scientists now say this has to come down to 350 ppm to avoid dangerous climate change. 350.org is calling for our political leaders make this their target."
The next few weeks are crucial. Australians can choose to assist the creation of the World Carbon Rationing, Tax and Redistribution Authority, administered by the United Nations, or we can take a step on the road back to energy and climate sanity.
The first step to sanity is to ensure that the opposition votes at all times to REJECT whatever Ration-N-Tax Scheme the Rudd government tries to get on the law books before the Copenhagen Climate Conclave. We must give no encouragement whatsoever to this international cabal of levellers.
Malcolm Turnbull and the warmist wing of the Liberal Party think that they are being politically savvy and achieving something useful by negotiating with the devil on a few clauses of the ETS (Extra Tax System). In matters as crucial as this, compromise is defeat.
''The motivating factor was that I'm just ... terrified about climate change. I think it's a massive problem looming on the horizon and the two main parties are oscillating between being weak and being pathetic on the issue,'' Dr Hamilton told The Canberra Times.
He became a Member of the Order of Australia this year for ''contributions to public debate and public policy'', was the ACT finalist for Australia of the Year two years ago and finalist for the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year in 2001.
Australia will lead a day of international climate protests calling on world leaders to cut the planet's pollution and deliver a climate deal in December.
More than 170 countries are taking part in today's demonstration, with more than 3,000 events planned around the world.
Protesters are concerned that world leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have not delivered strong enough emissions targets to avoid runaway climate change.
The day of protests kicks off in Australia with thousands expected to attend more than 230 events organised across the country.
JAPAN cautioned that it could water down planned 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if other rich nations fail to make deep reductions as part of a UN deal due in Copenhagen in December.
In Brussels, a draft report showed that European Union states were preparing to endorse an estimate by the European Commission that developing countries will need about €100 billion($150.1 billion) annually by 2020 to tackle climate change.
Disputes over 2020 emissions cuts by developed nations and the amounts of cash to help developing nations combat global warming are among the main sticking points in sluggish UN talks meant to end in Denmark on December 18 with a new treaty. [Ha, ha, stop it! My aching sides!]
"The possibility is not zero," Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa said when asked if Japan could change its 2020 target of cutting emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels if Copenhagen falls short on ambition.
He declined to say what alternative target Japan, the world's fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, had in mind for cutting emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.
Japan's 25 per cent offer made last month is tougher than that put forward by the previous government and among the deepest by any rich nation.
"As environment minister, I want to go ahead with this pledge, but the government announced it with a precondition at the United Nations (climate change summit last month) so of course it could change," he said.
BRITISH Foreign Secretary David Miliband has unveiled an interactive map demonstrating the impact of global warming in decades to come, to underline the looming threat.The map, presented at London's Science Museum, shows graphically how climate change could lead to water and food shortages, mass migration and conflict if action is not taken at a landmark summit in Copenhagen in December.
"The reason for publishing this map is that for many people, not only in our own country but around the world, the penny hasn't yet dropped that this climate change challenge is real, it's happening now," Mr Miliband said.
The effects of climate change are not in "some far flung future" but would affect hundreds of millions of people within his lifetime, he added, unveiling the map with his brother Ed, Britain's climate change minister.
A 4 degree celsius increase could happen in his children's lifetime, Mr Miliband warned.
"The penny hasn't dropped that Copenhagen is the chance to address - on a global scale - the challenge," he said.
The map shows sea level rises and storm surges with temperatures rising up to 15 degrees, bringing increased risks of forest fires and droughts in Europe, and slashing harvests by up to 40 per cent in southeast Asia and Africa.
Vicky Carroll of the Science Museum said: "We thought it was important for visitors to understand the whole picture. [Only the alarmist side of the whole picture, clearly - Ed]
"There's so much information about climate change but many people are still confused, so this gives them the evidence in a clear and accessible way."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned on Monday the world faces "catastrophe" if action is not agreed to curb the greenhouse gases held resposnible for global warming at the UN talks in Copenhagen.
"If we do not act, average temperatures across Australia are expected to rise by over five degrees compared to 1990 by the year 2100," he said.
"To put this in perspective, a one degree [rise] in temperatures risks a 15 per cent reduction in stream flow in the Murray-Darling Basin.
"Australia is highly exposed to the impact of climate change, the impacts of Australia's environment and economy will be serious, the health of our population, the security of our water and energy supplies and impacts on coastal communities and infrastructure all face unprecedented tests."
"They have said behind this is this feeling that if the ETS comes in, you'll save the Great Barrier Reef, there'll be no more droughts," he said.
"That's all just a load of rubbish. That is just a second hand vacuum cleaner salesman guilt trip that they're putting you on to try and get you to get behind the ETS, when really what it is, is just a massive tax grab."
As I’ve pointed out on WUWT several times, the study is terribly flawed, because they haven’t considered other possible factors, such as DDT and other pesticides being transported into the lake from nearby military outposts and settlements, plus the tendency for transport or organotoxins into glacial ice which ends up in meltwater lakes. Plus the nearby weather station shows no significant warming.
WUWT reader “Ecotretas” points out this July 2009 peer reviewed study Evidence for a warmer period during the 12th and 13th centuries AD from chironomid assemblages in Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada by Nicholas Rolland et al, which uses the same techniques, but just one island west of Baffin… The Rolland et al study temperature reconstruction shows a significantly different result than that of Axford.
A £6m government ad warning about climate change is to be investigated by watchdogs over claims it is misleading and too "scary" for children.
The Advertising Standards Authority has received 357 complaints about the Department of Energy and Climate Change's "bedtime stories" ad.
The ad aims to make adults feel guilty about the impact their carbon emissions are having on their children's future.
The government has already been prevented from screening the ad during children's programmes.
But the ASA has still received complaints from parents saying it is too frightening, although most complainants questioned the scientific basis of the claim that climate change is man-made.
An ASA spokeswoman said: "It is not just about the issue of climate change in this particular case. We have had a huge number of complaints about the science but also whether the ad itself is scary for children."
She said the watchdog would be investigating whether the claims about climate change could be substantiated and whether the ad complied with taste and decency rules.
And let us, for Heaven’s sake, lift the terrible psychological burden that you and your predecessor have placed upon the shoulders of all people in the Maldives, who are now living with the imagined threat that flooding will soon drive them from their homes, a wholly false notion that is nothing but an armchair fiction artificially constructed by mere computer modelling constantly proven wrong by meticulous real-world observations.
Your cabinet meeting under the water is nothing but a misdirected gimmick or PR stunt. Al Gore is a master in such cheap techniques. But such misconduct is dishonest, unproductive and certainly most unscientific.
Global satellite data is analyzed for temperature trends for the period January 1979 through June 2009. Beginning and ending segments show a cooling trend, while the middle segment evinces a warming trend. The past 12 to 13 years show cooling using both satellite data sets, with lower confidence limits that do not exclude a negative trend until 16 to 22 years. It is shown that several published studies have predicted cooling in this time frame. One of these models is extrapolated from its 2000 calibration end date and shows a good match to the satellite data, with a projection of continued cooling for several more decades.
"The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores,'' University of Colorado glaciologist Yarrow Axford said.
"We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on Earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes."
Mr Axford is the chief author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For thousands of years, environmental changes in a remote lake on Canada's Baffin Island closely matched natural, cyclical climate changes such as those caused by the Earth's periodic wobble as it swings around the sun, the researchers said.
However, lake sediment cores dating from 1950 show that expected climate cooling was overridden by human activity like greenhouse gas emissions.
Why study the Arctic?
The Arctic is changing rapidly today. And ongoing changes in the arctic cryosphere (ice and snow) and hydrosphere (water) have important ramifications for global climate. Understanding how the arctic environment has changed in the past may shed light on both the future of the Arctic, and the future of the wider world.
My dissertation research focused on the climate histories of Iceland and Baffin Island. The economies and natural environments of Iceland and Nunavut are potentially very vulnerable to future climate change. It is important to understand the nature, rate, and magnitude of past paleoenvironmental changes in these regions in order to help constrain future risks. Paleoenvironmental records from the warm early Holocene provide glimpses of what the environments of Iceland and Nunavut might look like in a future greenhouse world. (source)
The intensity of cosmic rays also correlates better with the changes in tree growth than any other climatological factor, such as varying levels of temperature or precipitation over the years.
"The correlation between growth and cosmic rays was moderately high, but the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible."
Liberal Party federal president Alan Stockdale warned that his party had power to take action against MPs who damaged its brand.
Commenting on a recent call by former Liberal staffer Grahame Morris for the party to re-examine its endorsement of MPs who attacked the party, Mr Stockdale said he would not publicly canvass the issues of disloyalty and bad behaviour.
But he said: "People should be aware that at both state and federal level there are mechanisms for reviewing preselections where people take action that damages the party.
"There are a whole raft of stages of counselling and disciplinary issues that arise before preselection."
Asked whether he believed any MP should face censure over the ETS issue, Mr Stockdale repeated his position that he would not discuss such issues in public, saying they should be handled between party officials and individual MPs. (source)
So may as well fight for what’s right, rather than what seems safe - since it’s better to lose just an election, rather than your dignity and principles, too. (source)
The economic modelling, commissioned by WWF Australia, has found that an emissions trading scheme is not enough to drive the change needed to sufficiently cut global emissions.
Instead, it says governments must rapidly put in place greater incentives for industry to make the transition.
Karl Mallon, a scientist with Climate Risk and one of the key authors of the report, says 2014 has been calculated as the point at which there is no longer enough time to develop the industries that can deliver a low carbon economy.
"The point of no return," he said.
"If we wait until past 2014 or that's what modelling shows, then simply put, it will be impossible for industries to grow to the scale that has to be achieved in the time that is available.
"So essentially, we'll miss the target and I guess then we are left with the consequences of what happens if we go about two degrees warming."
Senator Wong and her counterpart climate change spokesman Ian Macfarlane will hold talks this afternoon after the Coalition agreed yesterday to allow the party leadership to negotiate with Labor over possible amendments to the legislation.
Pledging to protect jobs and limit expected rises in electricity prices for small business, the Coalition yesterday released its wishlist for reform.
It includes protecting farmers by permanently excluding agriculture and treating food processing as an emissions intensive industry.
Electricity generators and the coal industry will also get more compensation, raising the prospect that the scheme will cost taxpayers more if a deal can be struck with the Coalition - a prospect Nationals and some Liberals insist is still unlikely.
Senator Wong said today they intended to continue negotiations in good faith.
"I intend to meet with him today and we will outline what the government’s timetable is," Senator Wong told ABC radio.
Coalition MPs have backed amendments to negotiate with the Government on its emissions trading scheme (ETS).
The MPs have just emerged from a marathon party room meeting in which Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull detailed the proposed amendments.
As Mr Turnbull left the meeting he said shadow cabinet had received strong support from the party room for the amendments.
He is due to hold a press conference at 8:10pm (AEDT).
The issue had threatened to derail Mr Turnbull's leadership in recent weeks with increasing backbench resistance to his desire to negotiate with the Government on the scheme.
More to come.
The Federal Opposition's emissions trading spokesman says he is optimistic that today's special party room meeting on emissions trading will accept the amendments he has drafted.
Ian Macfarlane will present amendments that he says protect jobs and industry but would still meet the target of cutting greenhouse emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.
Some in the Coalition argue the Opposition should not be negotiating with the Government on the issue.
But Mr Macfarlane says he expects the Coalition will accept the amendments he is putting up today and he says it will then be up to the Government.
"If the party room accepts the amendments as I lay them out then the negotiation with the Government will begin," he said.
The Maldives' government held an underwater cabinet meeting on Saturday in a bid to focus global attention on rising sea levels that threaten to submerge the low-lying atoll nation.
President Mohamed Nasheed plunged first into the Indian Ocean followed by his ministers, all clad in scuba gear, for the nationally televised meeting in this archipelago known as an idyllic holiday getaway for the rich.
Nasheed and his deputy, Mohamed Waheed, and a dozen ministers sat behind tables arranged in a horseshoe at a depth of six metres (20 feet) and approved a resolution urging global action to cut carbon emissions.
Tropical reef fish swam among the ministers and the nation's red and green flag with white crescent moon was planted in the seabed behind Nasheed.
After surfacing, he called for the UN's climate summit in Copenhagen in December to forge a deal to reduce carbon emissions blamed for rising sea levels that experts say could swamp the Maldives by the century's end.
In 2004, Stockholm University professor Nils-Axel Mörner, of Sweden, published a paper in Global and Planetary Change (hardly a bastion for global warming deniers) regarding his extensive research of the ocean around the Maldives. He noted, "In our study of the coastal dynamics and the geomorphology of the shores we were unable to detect any traces of a recent sea level rise. On the contrary, we found quite clear morphological indications of a recent fall in sea level."
Dr. Mörner's research indicates that sea level about the Maldives has fallen approximately 11 inches in the past 50 years. In fact, additional research indicates that about the time the leaders of Tuvalu created headlines in 2001, the sea-level surrounding the nine atoll islands of their country had recently fallen 2.5 inches.
So what's really behind the complaints? In the case of the Maldives, the problem is idiotic development.
The Maldivian islands are relatively flat atolls, composed of coral. Tourism was only introduced to Maldives in 1972 with the opening of the plush Kurumba Village Resort on the North Malé Atoll. Now there are 87 beach resorts scattered primarily on three islands: the North and South Malé Atolls and the Ari Atoll. Tourism has become the largest industry in the Maldives and the primary construction material used to build the expansive resorts is locally mined coral. Digging up the local coral to build plush hotels and large conference centers is as stupid sucking the air out of your lifeboat to breathe. The mining has severely compromised the atolls, creating the impression that the islands are sinking, when in fact they're being dug up. The problem the Maldives faces is engineering lunacy -- not a rising sea. (source)
IMAGINE if John Howard and Peter Costello had proposed a GST with an indeterminate variable rate, with the "variation" left hostage to the manipulation of clever investment bankers and other main-chancers, and you might begin to understand "Kevin Rudd's GST" -- his Emissions Trading Scheme, or ETS.
"His GST?" If we get the ETS, it is going to add to the price of everything -- not just power and not just carbon-based power in particular. On that point, it's worth noting that it is specifically designed to increase the price of all power -- quite deliberately, to make wind and solar power "competitive". That's to say we pay more for them, but they become "cheaper" than coal-based power.
Indeed, the ETS is intended to be, and will be, even more punitively pervasive than the GST. Because once we get past the early, politically driven, subsidies to hide its real impact and real cost, there will be no carve-outs, as is the case with the GST and fresh food and medical services. They will all become more expensive.
The pervasiveness and very significant impact on your everyday costs make Rudd's ETS the elephant in every living room. What will turn it into a dangerous, unpredictable rogue is the way it becomes hostage to market manipulation.
So what's happening? Are sceptics having a serious impact? Is the drawn-out argy bargy over the proposed emissions trading scheme anesthetising [sic] public engagement? Have scientists failed to cut through because they've been too cautious or too inaccessible? [Ha, ha, my aching sides - Ed]
A couple of recent US books argue that scientists need to loosen their lab coats. Unscientific America by Chris Mooney urges young scientists to undertake communication courses.
What I am sensing right now is a very high level of anger and frustration particularly at the 'sceptics' who continue to derail the discussion. That frustration is probably at the forefront, and from many I've heard a real sense that to play the nay-sayer in the face of such serious consequences is deeply unethical. I've heard this directed both at scientists of various stripes and at members of the press.
The Arctic ice cap will disappear completely in summer months within 20 to 30 years, a polar research team said as they presented findings from an expedition led by adventurer Pen Hadow.
It is likely to be largely ice-free during the warmer months within a decade, the experts added.
Veteran polar explorer Hadow and two other Britons went out on the Arctic ice cap for 73 days during the northern spring, taking more than 6,000 measurements and observations of the sea ice.
The raw data they collected from March to May has been analysed, producing some stark predictions about the state of the ice cap. [Gee, there's a surprise - you could have bet your house on it NOT saying the opposite - Ed]
"The summer ice cover will completely vanish in 20 to 30 years but in less than that it will have considerably retreated," said Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the polar ocean physics group at Britain's prestigious Cambridge University.
"In about 10 years, the Arctic ice will be considered as open sea."
Loss of sea ice cover will "set in motion powerful climate feedbacks which will have an impact far beyond the Arctic itself," he added.
"This could lead to flooding affecting one quarter of the world's population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emission from massive carbon pools and extreme global weather changes." [One quarter of the world's population??! I think you've got frostbite on the brain, pal - Ed]
"Today's findings provide yet another urgent call for action to world leaders ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in December to rapidly and effectively curb global greenhouse gas emissions."
Mr Costello said the "ring of fire" that had exploded in our region in recent weeks, including the tsunami in Samoa, the earthquake in Indonesia and flooding in the Philippines and India, was directly related to changes in global weather patterns. (source)
Some suggested climate engineering technologies - in particular, marine cloud-whitening technology - could be cheap, fast, and effective. (Boats would spray seawater droplets into clouds above the oceans to make them reflect more sunlight back into space, reducing warming). Remarkably, the research says that a total of about $US9 billion spent implementing marine cloud-whitening technology might be able to offset this entire century's global warming. Even if one approaches this technology with concerns - as many of us do - we should aim to identify its limitations and risks sooner rather than later.
It appears that climate engineering could buy us some time, and it is time that we need to make a sustainable and smooth shift away from reliance on fossil fuels. Research shows that non-fossil-fuel energy sources will - based on today's availability - get us less than halfway towards a path of stable carbon emissions by 2050, and only a tiny fraction of the way towards stabilisation by 2100.
If politicians change course and agree this December to invest significantly more in research and development, we would have a much greater chance of getting this technology to the level where it needs to be. And, because it would be cheaper and easier than carbon cuts, there would be a much greater chance of reaching a genuine, broad-based - and thus successful - international agreement.
CALTEX chief executive Julian Segal has criticised the federal government's proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme, warning that it could mean the end of petrol refining in Australia.
Mr Segal described the government's proposed scheme as "flawed."
He said that if it was introduced, Caltex would not invest more funds in its two Australian refineries, as it would be cheaper to operate refineries in Singapore, where there were no plans to introduce an emissions trading scheme.
Mr Segal also said the price of petrol would fall after the scheme came into operation, because the federal government would be reducing the fuel excise.
He said this would provide an incentive for people to use more petrol, rather than less.
"From Caltex's point of view we do support an emission trading scheme of some kind as a tool to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases," he told the forum. [Turkeys voting for Christmas again - Ed]
"However, the CRPS in the form it is in today is, I believe, flawed."
THE Nationals have given Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull the go-ahead to negotiate amendments to the federal government's emissions trading scheme.
But they have vowed to vote against Labor legislation - amended or unamended - setting up the carbon pollution reduction scheme.
The Nationals and Liberals will thrash out amendments proposed by the shadow ministry during a special joint coalition parties meeting in Canberra on Sunday.
"Well, you support amendments to try to tone it down," Nationals senate leader Barnaby Joyce told ABC Radio, adding it was "a safety provision".
"You do everything in your power to turn the volume on this ridiculous tax down."
The federal government has dismissed criticism of its planned emissions trading scheme by the man who helped develop Labor's model.
Ross Garnaut has described the carbon pollution reduction scheme as "one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia".
Professor Garnaut, the government's former climate change adviser, said it was extraordinary how political debate about emissions trading had broken down.
AUSTRALIANS' anxiety about climate change is falling substantially, even as the issue dominates political debate in Canberra.
The latest Lowy Institute poll shows that tackling climate change is viewed as only the seventh-most important of 10 foreign policy goals, and global warming the fourth of a dozen "threats to Australia's vital interests", just a point or two above other threats.
In 2007, tackling climate change was perceived as the joint top foreign policy goal, together with protecting the jobs of Australian workers.
In 2007, 75 per cent of those surveyed said climate change was a very important issue. Last year, this fell to 66 per cent, and this year to 56 per cent.
Global warming was viewed as "a critical threat" by 68 per cent in 2007, 66 per cent last year and 52 per cent this year.
The Greens would rather send Australia back to the Stone Age than use common sense in negotiating on an Emissions Trading Scheme, Family First’s Senator Steve Fielding said today.
“I don’t know what planet the Greens are on, but by the look of their ‘Safe Climate Bill’ they look like they’re lost in space,” Senator Fielding said.
“If Bob Brown and his hippy friends really believed in their cause they’d ride their bikes to Parliament House instead of using the Commonwealth’s petrol-guzzling V8s.
“If we did what the Greens propose Australia would no longer exist because there’d be no industries left to drive our economy.
“I still think the Rudd Government’s idea of moving on climate change before Copenhagen is economically reckless.
“But what the Greens have put forward is just plain ludicrous and I can’t see how anyone could see this as a realistic alternative.
“The Greens’ proposed 40 percent reduction in emissions would cripple our economy and boot thousands of jobs offshore.
“The hypocrisy of the Greens beggars belief with the way they carry on about the environment yet show no evidence of doing anything about it in their personal lives.”
From 1 July to 31 December 2008 Greens Senators spent $164,240 flying around the country, Senator Fielding said.
“The carbon footprint the Greens leave behind jet setting across the country is just another minor detail they forget to include when they campaign about lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
“The Greens should either practice what they preach or just shut up and go away." (source)
The Federal Government says it has found a $3 billion black hole in the Opposition's economic modelling on emissions trading.
Treasury has analysed modelling from Frontier Economics which has formed the basis of the Coalition's ETS figures.
Its conclusion will not help an Opposition Leader who is struggling to convince his backbench that he has a credible position on climate change.
Mr Turnbull unveiled the Frontier Economics modelling in August, saying it outlined a greener, cheaper and smarter emissions trading scheme.
The modelling was funded by the Coalition and independent Senator Nick Xenophon.
Malcolm Turnbull has been delivered a slap in the face by the West Australian Liberal Party, with near unanimous hostility towards his plan to amend Labor's emissions trading scheme before the Copenhagen summit. A fiery annual state conference of the West Australian state Liberals last night passed a motion that the federal Liberal Party should "not conclude" negotiations with the Federal Government until after the December summit and, even then, support for an agreement should not be considered a fait accompli. The motion represents yet another serious headache for the embattled Liberal leader, who has been struggling to gain broader support from an openly hostile backbench and is now facing speculation that he could be replaced as Opposition Leader before Christmas.
Only one delegate out of an estimated 400 in attendance backed the Turnbull position that it would be "most unwise" to do nothing to amend Labor's scheme.
Speaker after speaker at the conference expressed scepticism about the science of climate change and warned that the Rudd Government's scheme would be disastrous for the West Australian economy, which is heavily dependent on mining and agriculture.
Liberal senator Mathias Cormann also spoke strongly in favour of the motion, saying Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's claim that the scheme would help reduce emissions was a "fraud, a scam, a con on the Australian people … In the absence of a comprehensive global agreement, it will push up the price of energy, it will cost jobs, it will place pressure on our economy, it will put our energy security at risk … and it will do nothing to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions."
The UK Government has lost all sense of realism and decency. As a father of two young children myself, I’d like to smack the person(s) responsible for this upside the head and say “what were you thinking!”.
Even normally pro AGW Nature calls it the Worst. Climate. Campaign. Ever. Watch this.
The United Nations climate talks in Bangkok have failed to deliver consensus between the world's developing and developed nations.
The meeting finishes today after two weeks of intense negotiations.
The gathering of more than 190 nations was hoped to deliver the foundations for a new global climate agreement to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December.
Instead, the world's two biggest polluters are deadlocked, with the United States calling for the existing Kyoto protocol to be abandoned, and a new treaty to be discussed. China disagrees.
Bangkok climate talks end in recrimination
Global climate change talks came to an end in Bangkok today in an atmosphere of distrust and recrimination, with the rift between rich and poor countries seemingly wider than ever. After two weeks of negotiations there have been no breakthroughs on big issues such as money or emissions cuts.
With just five days of negotiating time now left before the concluding talks in Copenhagen in December, delegates said it appeared a weak deal was the most likely outcome, and no deal at all was a possibility.
What happened to global warming?
This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.
So what on Earth is going on?
Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man's influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming.
One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say its hotting up.
Before negotiations have even begun over the emissions trading scheme, the Opposition has hardened its stance - warning the Government that it needs to move its position a long way if it wants to secure Liberal party votes.
The strong opening gambit may be an attempt to move on from the leadership woes dogging Malcolm Turnbull and appease those within the Liberal Party who oppose any talks on the ETS.
LIBERAL backbencher Julian McGauran has become the latest coalition MP to defy Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, saying he will not support an emissions trading scheme under any circumstance.
On a day when Mr Turnbull argued unity was vital for the Liberals on the issue of climate change, Senator McGauran joined a growing chorus of unhappy Liberals.
He confirmed he would cross the floor and vote against an emissions trading scheme, with or without amendments.
"I will not be supporting the bill under any circumstances, and I've made that clear to my leader," he told ABC Television.
"And I think there'll be more than just one senator doing it."
He was the latest Liberal to publicly defy Mr Turnbull, joining party colleagues Wilson Tuckey, Mitch Fifield, Cory Bernardi and Mathias Cormann.
Senator McGauran also sent a word of warning to his leader, urging him to listen to dissenters.
"Any leader that blindly disregards the greater majority of the party room invites trouble, so this is all in Malcolm's hands," he said.
"Given that this legislation has been before the Parliament for well over six months it's about time the Liberal Party demonstrated their bona fides and made a commitment not to use procedural tricks and filibusters in the Senate to frustrate discussion of this very important legislation," he said.Yeah, like we were born yesterday… Fortunately, the Opposition are having none of it:
"Malcolm Turnbull and the shadow cabinet must rule out using their numbers to block a vote on the [ETS] in the Senate - they must do that today."
Speaking ahead of today's shadow cabinet meeting, deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has told Radio National the Opposition will not be rushed through debate on the bills in the Senate.
"If this is the greatest challenge of our generation, it should be subject to one of the greatest debates of our generation," she said.
"I believe we should allow the Senate to do its work thoroughly. The Australian people can only benefit from extensive debate, rather than the suppression of debate."
If the big countries (including developing countries) don't agree to reduce emissions, then nothing Australia does will have the slightest impact on global emissions. The only thing affected will be Australian jobs (which will go overseas) and prices (which will go up).
And that's why it's plain silly to say Australia must finalise the design of its scheme before the forthcoming negotiations in Copenhagen. The shape of our scheme will not affect what happens at Copenhagen. What happens at Copenhagen will determine the shape of our scheme. Let's get a sense of perspective here. The cock crows because the sun rises. The sun does not rise because the cock crows.
THIS mad global warming scare could at last be over. And all thanks to just 10 trees in Siberia.
Unreported in any newspaper here - and how typical that is - is a startling challenge to the central claim underpinning this greatest scare of our lifetime.
McIntyre found that Briffa could have used 34 more tree ring cores from Yamal that he'd actually referred to in other papers, and which had been collected by his colleague Schweingruber himself.
McIntyre then checked what difference that bigger sample of tree rings would have made, had Briffa added them to his sample of just 10. Answer: the bigger sample showed no warming at all over the past century, with temperatures today lower than in medieval times. The past 12 years don't include 11 of the hottest in history.
Briffa, who is ill, has not said why he did not include Schweingruber's trees but denies "cherry-picking" samples.
It's too early to say if his hockey stick is now broken, but not too early to say that the global warming theory is unproved.
Rather the reverse. The big scare now is not that we're heating the world to hell, but that so few journalists and scientists refuse to see the growing evidence that we're not.
The Opposition's Leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, is now warning the Government that it might not get a vote this year.
"The Government knows it's taking a risk in bringing such significant legislation back into the Parliament in November and that's on the Government's head," Senator Minchin said.
"We believe it's arrogant and cynical of the Government even to be using the last two weeks of sitting of this year's Parliament to seek to debate its emissions trading scheme. We don't think it should be debated until February.
"We're not saying we're going in there to delay debate, but our responsibility as legislators in the Senate is to vigorously subject this legislation to significant cross examination."
Delaying a vote in the Senate until next year would appease many disgruntled Liberal Party members who do not want any action until after the climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December, and it will frustrate the Government.
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says it is too important an issue to play "tricky procedural games with".
"Mr Turnbull has said to the Government he wants to negotiate in good faith. Well, there are too many members of the Liberal Party who appear to be scheming to prevent this from happening," Senator Wong said.
"It's time the Liberal Party stopped doing anything they can to avoid action on climate change and are prepared to actually have the discussion and the debate with the Government in the Parliament."
A younger, passionate scientist argued that such niceties were not observed by climate change deniers and corporate opponents of greenhouse gas mitigation who regularly launched sweeping statements with no facts at all. Those campaigns were holding back vital, stronger political measures, he said. Wasn't it time scientists spoke out more?
Many of them have. NASA scientist James Hansen is probably the best known. He's even been arrested during an anti-coal mining protest. Less than a year ago I interviewed some of the world's other leading climate scientists who live in Australia. Even then they were willing to describe how the pace of global warming had left them gobsmacked: "... many, many scientists now ... are frantically, hysterically worried," said Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, the former head of the UN's World Climate Research Program, now at Macquarie University.
From melting polar caps to acidifying oceans to increased frequency of drought, floods and bushfires, climate scientists have worked harder than ever this year to bridge the communication gap between what they know, what the rest of us think and what the politicians are doing. There are so many science updates lately that I've decided to provide a summary of some of the most significant in this blog each week.
Here's one recent example from The New Scientist:
"BY 2055, climate change is likely to have warmed the world by a dangerous 4 deg C unless we stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the way we do now. This is the startling conclusion of a study by the UK Met Office, unveiled at a conference in Oxford.…
I'm contacting many of Australia's most prominent [alarmist] climate scientists to hear directly how they're feeling about their research, public advocacy and the likelihood of political success at Copenhagen in December. Already one of the most common themes in some early replies is the yawning gap between the science and proposed political responses. I'll bring you their comments in greater detail next week.
In short we have a prime minister who wants to destroy the most basic foundation of a modern civilised society - cheap and available power. And then ' finish the job' some time in the future by destroying our export industries.
Along the way, Rudd's typically bureaucratic 'clever' alternative to closing our power stations, is to 'allow us' to pay billions of dollars to foreigners to let us keep them open.
I have to stress this, because the utter stupidity of what is proposed is so breathtaking, that the average person wouldn't believe it.
We would get nothing, repeat nothing for the billions of dollars potentially shipped overseas. Except the 'right' to keep emitting CO2. To keep our power stations open.
That any government would only be dragged kicking and screaming by global force, to reluctantly accept such a direct and massive assault on not just the prosperity of every Australian but the very basis of what makes this country work, would be bad enough.
But to have a government and a prime minister actually proposing such an attack on the country is beyond rational or even irrational belief.
Then there are no superlatives to capture the government actually demanding that proposal become implementation before anyone in the rest of the world has signed on.
MALCOLM Turnbull is facing a rebellion from the Liberal Party's West Australian branch, which is demanding he drop his plan to negotiate with the Rudd government on an emissions trading scheme before the UN summit on climate change to be held in Copenhagen in December.
The looming revolt in Western Australia this Saturday comes as divisions on the ETS spread to the Coalition front bench and the Liberal leader remained locked in a desperate battle with the Queensland branch of the Liberal National Party to save the career of promising frontbencher Peter Dutton.
The first item on the agenda at Saturday's West Australian Liberal Party state conference demands a rethink on the ETS, urging Mr Turnbull to "delay any negotiation with the federal Labor government on the design or introduction of any emissions trading scheme until after the climate change conference in Copenhagen". The motion from the state party's influential rural policy committee, which appears to have wide support among the West Australian Liberals, further declares: "We also ask that any future decision to introduce an ETS be in line with the actions taken by Australia's major trading partners." The motion follows shadow parliamentary secretary Mitch Fifield's call that any vote be deferred until after the Copenhagen conference. (source)
LAST week Malcolm Turnbull had one of his brain snaps that so many Liberals feared he would have.
He put his leadership "on the line" over an emissions trading scheme, accused some colleagues of being climate change deniers and called others "anonymous smartarses".
It was a public expression of frustration and a determination to assert his authority and impose his leadership through force of personality.
His bold endeavour - to simply tell the Liberals they couldn't have him as leader without his ETS policy - was also based on the belief that because there was no leadership alternative he would prevail.
He may be right but his strategy may be careering out of control because now the Liberal Party is snapping back. The Nationals have been snapping for some time and it's showing in the latest Newspoll surveys. (source)
LIBERAL Party support has slumped back to the level it was at early in Brendan Nelson's embattled leadership, as Malcolm Turnbull loses economic credibility with the public and fights his own back bench over an emissions trading scheme.
The slump in party support - which would wipe out the Coalition at an election if it does not improve - will increase tensions between the Liberals and Nationals as the Opposition Leader tries to impose his authority on the Liberal National Party in Queensland, rebellious Liberal MPs and Nationals threatening to split the Coalition. (source)
At the heart of this is the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will be supported by a new division created within the Department of Climate Change.
Informed sources say that about 100 staff and officials will initially be involved in this operation, but this is likely to blow out dramatically when the full implications of what will effectively amount to a federal consumption tax on carbon emissions become clear.
This new regulatory agency will have sweeping powers to enforce the government's climate change regime. It will also issue and auction emissions permits and collect the revenue from these. The bill to provide for this agency went up to a Senate committee inquiry earlier this year but it received little attention as the focus was largely on the scope of the CPRS proposals. (source)
Let's recap what is being proposed here: a major reform of the nation's economy that, for the first time, will put a price on the carbon emissions that underpin Australia's prosperity.
The Coalition will not be implementing this. The Rudd Government will.
It is Mr Turnbull's job to hold the Government to account, to expose the flaws in the scheme and to speak up in the interests of Coalition voters.
Instead, he was suckered into negotiating the shape of the ETS by the Government in a classic example of the kind of wedge politics that Labor used to accuse John Howard of playing in government.
He shouldn't have been co-opted.
The Opposition should have simply waited until the legislation was presented and decided on its stance. Instead, Mr Turnbull was too keen to distance himself from the Howard Government and the allegations that the Liberals were slow to act on climate change.
He forgot that governments govern and oppositions oppose. Now he has been forced to stake his leadership on the success of a Government initiative.
It is needless and strange and a position in which he should never have allowed himself to be put in the first place.
"I think that the science is far from settled but on the insurance principle you are prepared to take reasonable precautions against significant potential risks, and that's I think why it makes sense to have an ETS," he said.
"But it's got to be the right one not one that destroys Australian jobs and damages Australian industries."
Mr Turnbull has missed the point entirely, and in breathtaking fashion.
No-one is suggesting doing nothing about climate change. Calamitous natural climatic events such as this year’s bushfires and floods have properly convinced the general public that a national policy to deal with real climate events and change is clearly needed. And surely this week’s tragic news from Indonesia and Samoa underlines the reality that government’s responsibilities lie with dealing better with real natural hazards, not worrying about Playstation-4-created imaginary ones.
A proper hazard reduction and adaptation policy to deal with known future climatic threats is a very different matter to the political question implicit in today’s headlines - which is whether introducing an emissions trading system will do anything to prevent hypothetical, dangerous, human-caused global warming. (Answer: an ETS will have no measurable effect on future climate but will have a hugely damaging effect on the livelihoods and standard of living of all Australians).
The Southern Cross Climate Coalition - which includes the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Institute, World Wildlife Fund, Australian Council of Social Service and ACTU - has written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warning its support will disappear if the legislation is made ''ineffective or irresponsible'' by amendments.So what will Rudd do now? Negotiate amendments with the Opposition to get the ETS through, but lose the support of the alarmist environmental groups, or cave in to their demands, refuse to make concessions to industry and lose support of the Opposition?
Mr Rudd made much of Labor's alliance with the group when it was announced in May, appearing in a joint press conference with ACF executive director Don Henry and others to spruik his environmental credentials.
But the letter, which was also sent to Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and cross-bench senators Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding, warns that big polluters should not be offered further concessions.
''It's not effective or responsible to give windfall gains to booming coalminers or to give billions extra to businesses who bought brown coal-fired generators knowing a carbon price was coming,'' the group's spokesman, John Connor, said.
''We've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull to say these industry proposals would make the [carbon pollution reduction scheme] ineffective and unsupportable,'' he said.
Loss of support from the high-profile group would be a significant blow for Labor, leaving it facing widespread hostility from environmental, welfare and union groups, with only parts of the business community onside.
By bowing to Rudd's threat of a double dissolution and announcing his ETS ultimatum to the media instead of to the party room on Thursday, Turnbull hasn't even tried to bring the party with him.
But the fact is that you can articulate a position on climate change that does not dispute man's contribution without buying into a complicated ETS, which benefits global financiers but has doubtful value for the environment. You don't have to be a climate sceptic to oppose a new stealth tax on Australians before we even know what the rest of the world plans.
But that is the false dichotomy Turnbull has created and on which his future rests.
A top aide to US President Barack Obama said there was virtually no chance Congress would have a climate and energy bill ready for him to sign before negotiations on a global climate treaty begin in December in Copenhagen, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The newspaper said the prediction was offered by Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, during an onstage interview in Washington.
It was the first definitive statement by the administration that it saw little chance of congressional passage of this bill this fall, the report said.
At the beginning of the week The Australian surveyed the entire Liberal Party back bench. It is something the leadership team should have done a long time ago. Of the 59 parliamentarians contacted, a staggering 41 said they did not support Turnbull's desire to negotiate with a view to passing the government's ETS legislation ahead of the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December. Only 12 MPs agreed with their leader's position. That's one in five.
Initially Turnbull chose to question the survey's findings instead of learn from them. At a press conference on Wednesday, soon after returning from a short holiday in Italy, he said: "We can have journalists, you know, ringing up backbenchers and purporting to do surveys. Who knows how accurate they are?"
If Turnbull wants to question the findings of the survey, then that is his prerogative; shooting the messenger is one way to deal with a leadership crisis. Another would be to take stock of the findings and try to do something about it.
Perhaps Turnbull is more persuaded by established survey operations such as Newspoll, which for many months has shown him to be the least popular opposition leader in our nation's history.
After initial attempts to cast doubt on the findings of the survey, Turnbull turned half circle and realised he should probably emulate it and began ringing his colleagues to better understand their views on the ETS. Better late than never.
However, by the end of the week, Turnbull had had enough with soundings and consensus building, choosing instead to describe backbench colleagues critical of his leadership as "anonymous smart-arses". He boldly declared that if his party didn't support his position on ETS negotiations he didn't want to be leader. (Why he wants to be leader now anyway is another matter.) That was the threat.
So where to from here for Turnbull and the Liberal Party? He can't let the partyroom discredit his leadership by blocking him from even negotiating with the government, but the partyroom won't want a vote on the ETS legislation ahead of Copenhagen.
So the face-saving compromise is likely to involve getting the partyroom to support tough amendments that the government won't accept. The vote could then be delayed in the Senate by the Coalition dragging out debate and using its numbers to deny the government the chance to speed up the process. That would effectively meet the backbench desire to wait until after Copenhagen without embarrassing Turnbull (well, not too much anyway).
Turnbull would thus get to the end of the year before being forced to choose between supporting the wishes of his back bench and his desire to pass an ETS, thereby avoiding a double-dissolution election on climate change. In a sign late in the week that he was planning for the worst on this score, he weakened his rhetoric on the chances of the ETS passing, noting that he might well end up voting against it.
There is no easy way out for the besieged Opposition Leader. He has certainly made the situation harder for himself.