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Cantering towards destruction

Whoever wins the next election is going to face a monumental task to reduce our emissions in order to tackle the existential threat posed by climate change.

In one way, it would serve Scott Morrison right to have to face the consequences of his lies.  But the country cannot afford someone who thinks prayer is the answer to the drought.

Our Prime Minister, the man charged with making the decisions on how to keep us safe, is a bald-faced liar.

When Barrie Cassidy asked ProMo on what he had based his claim that we would meet our Paris emissions target “in a canter”, we were subjected to the greatest load of waffle.

“..one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and I know that plenty of people will leap on that and say that you need to do X and Y and use those numbers for that purpose, but it means that we’re going to meet Kyoto 2 and we’ll smash that number. We smashed Kyoto 1.”

Aside from the fact that Kyoto 1 allowed us to actually increase our emissions by 8%, and that the only way we might meet Kyoto 2 is by fancy accounting practices, ProMo is deliberately and knowingly falsifying the information his own departments are giving him.

According to the report on Australia’s emissions projections produced by the Department of the Environment and Energy in December last year, “Total emissions in 2030 are projected to be 570 Mt CO2-e, which is 5 per cent below 2005 levels.”

Hang on.  Weren’t we supposed to be cantering past a 26% reduction?

Far from increasing our modest 2030 target, as most of the rest of the developed world is doing, the report further states that “emissions in 2030 are projected to grow by 3.5 per cent above 2020 levels.”

Huh?  How is a projected growth in emissions being sold as us meeting our commitments to reduce them?

Every five years, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) produces a national report on the status of Australia’s forests.  This is extremely important as the vast majority of our claimed reductions are coming from the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector (an emissions reduction of 114.9% since 1990 supposedly).

According to the 2013 State of the Forests report, “The best available source of such data is currently satellite imagery interpreted for Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory,” yet the latest National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report says “Processed satellite images are not yet available to support the calculation of emissions estimates for 2017 and 2018.”

But that hasn’t stopped them from claiming even more reductions.

In 2016, a group of leading ecologists voiced their alarm at new data which showed the clearing of 296,000 hectares of forest in 2013-14. This was three times higher than in 2008-09, kicking Australia up the list as one of the world’s forest-clearing pariahs.  Then Queensland’s Department of Science report on land cover change, published in September 2017 showed a staggering 395,000ha of clearing for 2015-16: a 133 per cent increase on 2014-15.

Alarmingly, land clearing in the Great Barrier Reef catchment in the year to June 2017 was at its second highest level in 10 years.  152,000 hectares were cleared in the catchment last year, marginally less than the amount cleared in 2015/16.

That takes the total land cleared in the catchment in the last five years to 770,000 hectares — an area about three times as large as the ACT

When asked about these figures, Environment Minister Melissa Price said it was mainly a state issue and that net land sector emissions had declined since 2004/05, ignoring the fact that, in May, the Federal government approved the bulldozing of nearly 2,000 hectares of forest on Cape York’s Kingvale Station despite warnings that the clearing would add to the sediment load running onto the Great Barrier Reef.

“This declining trend reflects lower emissions from forest clearing and native forest harvesting, and more sequestration in regrowing forests,” Ms Price said in a statement.  “We know climate change is a big issue for the Reef and this is why we have invested more than $400 million to help protect the reef through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.”

Except the GBRF have specifically stated that they will have nothing to say, let alone do, about climate change.

When asked whether the foundation would be willing to lobby governments for policies to reduce emissions, land clearing and stopping coalmines, head of the GBRF Ms Marsden said: “It’s absolutely not in our strategic view at the moment.”  Their goal is “boosting the Reef’s resilience so it can bounce back from and survive challenges like a changing climate and water quality issues.”

Ms Price has also heralded a return to Direct Action, once again ignoring the fact that just one year of clearing has removed more trees than the bulk of 20 million trees painstakingly planted, at a cost of A$50 million.

As Greg Jericho points out, including LULUCF figures in our emissions reduction targets is “disgraceful” because we used years when there was very high land-clearing as our base years and are allowed to “bank improvements merely due to us being less bad now than we were, not because we have actually improved our emissions.”

What is even more disgraceful is the lies being told.


28 comments

  1. Babyjewels

    Thank you Kaye. We have to point out all the obvious failings of Morrison and this government, relentlessly because we are actually worse off now than we were under Turnbull. When we thought we’d already reached rock bottom. So I’ll be sharing, sharing, sharing.

  2. SteveFitz

    Once again, thanks Kaye Lee – Now I can throw my bit in…

    CARBON EMISSIONS – INTERNATIONAL BACKLASH

    So, if you’re a religious nut it’s O.K. to lie through your teeth because, you will be forgiven at the next confessional. What I don’t get is how the Liberal Party leadership manage to keep a straight face? Or maybe they don’t, which accounts for the smug look on Malcolm Turnbull’s face and the Cheshire cat grin on Scott Morrison’s face. They must practice for hours, in front of the mirror, how to camouflage their lies with a stupid look.

    People usually lie for personal gain or, in order to solve a serious mental conflict. While a part of them wants to fulfil a certain need, another part believes that their goals can’t be achieved. In such a case those people hang on to the first lie they find then, believe in that. Of course, to be able to do this you need a personality where shame, empathy and a sense of what’s right can be easily brushed aside.

    Once again, we see political puppets manipulated and controlled by corporates and the greed of the fossil fuel giants. The Liberal Party leadership continue to bring nothing but shame upon themselves and our beautiful country Australia as they mindlessly threaten global climate stability.

    Morrisons emission stance is “anti-science” – Nicole Hasham (SMH)
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/architect-of-paris-climate-accord-says-morrison-government-s-emissions-stance-is-anti-science-20181002-p507bb.html

    A key architect of the landmark Paris climate deal has lambasted the Coalition government’s inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, saying it “goes against the science”, squanders economic opportunity and risks Australia’s international standing.

    Laurence Tubiana, a respected French diplomat and economist, also says Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that Australia will meet its Paris targets “at a canter” is contradicted by international scientific opinion.

    Her comments follow an official report on Friday showing Australia’s climate pollution rose by 1.3 per cent in the year to March – the highest quarterly rise in eight years. The troubling findings were released on the eve of the long weekend in some states and on the same day as the banking royal commission interim report – timing critics say was designed to bury the report.

    WORLD NEWS: Critics dismiss Australia’s per capita and GDP reduction as irrelevant because overall national emissions continue to rise. The Australian Federal Government delayed an emissions report, for 6 months, due to the country’s failure to lower it greenhouse gas pollution. Something a bunch of seriously challenged school kids would think of.

    Since assuming the prime ministership last month Mr Morrison has dumped the National Energy Guarantee, which would have curbed emissions from the electricity sector, and declared Australia would not join other signatories to the Paris deal in ratcheting up emissions reduction targets by 2020 in line with climate science.

    “[Mr Morrison’s stance] goes against the science, spirit and letter of the Paris agreement. As we see other countries preparing to increase their levels of ambition, I strongly urge Australia not to fall behind,” Ms Tubiana told Fairfax Media. The Australian government, along with all others, needs to listen to the science and the economics, and lead the country towards decarbonisation.

    “Failure to do so will have profound consequences on the country’s standing in the international community and its future prospects in terms of innovation and economic opportunity.” Mr Morrison has repeatedly insisted Australia will meet the 2030 Paris commitment, despite projections from organisations including the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, as well as the government’s own forecasts, showing emissions are set to badly overrun the target.

    So, this is what we get from a Liberal Party government. It’s called bullshit, crap and lies. All for me and screw the rest of you, screw Australia and screw the planet. Thanks Scott, what a fabulous leader of men, so easily manipulated, controlled and corrupted for a buck. Yet another shameful disgrace and, that’s how history will see you Mr Morrison.

  3. SteveFitz

    Once again, I’ll add this bit of logic for the sceptics and members of the Liberal Party…

    There are compelling arguments for and against the reasons for increased global temperatures but, one thing that can’t be dismissed is the ever-increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. Up from 278ppm, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, to 412ppm today and, rising at 2ppm per year.

    Increased atmospheric CO2 from, primarily, the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation, runs parallel with increased global temperature. The very least we can do for future generations is to contain the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Every government has an obligation and a responsibility, including you Mr Morrison, on behalf of the Australian people and the global community.

  4. helvityni

    I read somewhere ( oh, the fading memory) that if you are given a permission to cut a tree down in France, you have to plant three to replace it…

  5. MöbiusEcko

    A Wentworth poll shows that climate change is top of the list for voters coming up to the byelection. Also, most voters want the refugee children on Nauru bought to Australia.

    Illustrates how out of touch Morrison and his government are.

  6. Christopher J Ward

    If MöbiusEcko is correct, can we ask the bourgeoisie what needs to be done about the homeless, poverty, mental health (3000 suicides in NSW in a year!) the banks, building societies, and so on? I should think the climate would change with the de-Turnbullisation of Wentworth and by all means, let’s get refugees out of Manus and in particular, the children. I would not propose making a “thing” about refugees because my taxes prop up this stinking government and in addition, I donate to several causes. Those donations are between me and the organisations concerned but I do what I can when I can. My biggest problem is with television and some of the devastating footage about refugees. This was transcended only by the tragedy in Indonesia. It seems incredible that so many people lost their lives without any defence against extreme weather. I recall the Christchurch earthquake a few years ago and happened to be staying in a hotel that was to be used for incoming help. My wife and I moved out straight away to a motel in order to make room. Australians, Japanese, Americans all came in and assisted with this disaster. I was a short distance from Christchurch when the memorial service took place and nothing made me more proud of my Australian citizenship than the dignified Maori and other New Zealanders who spoke; then Prince William (very moving) and above all I think, Julia Gillard, who didn’t have to say much and was there! I very much regret that she was taken out by Rudd and the machine. With her there was hope but I’m not so sure that applies anymore.

  7. Kaye Lee

    The next five-yearly State of the Forests report is due this year. I rang the department to ask when it would be released. When I finally found someone who knew what I was talking about (after being wrongly told by someone else that it was probably a state thing until I suggested she look at her own department’s website for past reports), he confirmed that a report would be due this year but he could give no indication of a release date. Is somebody hiding the satellite information perchance? It seems very odd that “Processed satellite images are not yet available to support the calculation of emissions estimates for 2017 and 2018.”

    I will be watching closely for its release…..if it ever comes.

  8. John Hermann

    All narcissistic con artists and sociopaths are liars. That is their nature. And since these types tend to gravitate towards the top of the tree in politics, it could be said that party politics is – in large measure – organised lying.

  9. Christopher J Ward

    John Hermann: I think you are spot on but look at the psychopaths as well. No names, no pack-drill,

  10. paul walter

    Funny I was thinking back to how this stuff got going during the Howard years, when they sabotaged AQIS and CSIRO, and persevered with the dumbing down of education and public broadcasting. Things no longer revolved around the public good or communities or Donald Hornes big Project or Keatings politics of vision, but with the whims of a new category, “the stakeholder” defined through purely financial criteria.

    It has all been about elimination of a more considered approach to what value and meaning may be, as we see in the downgrading of environment, heritage, art and culture and human relationships including as resources, in advancing the interests of people like Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart, people who have the vision and sensibilities of house bricks.

    Getting rid of the likes of Stalin and Hitler never eliminated fascism, just drove it underground for a bit while the pig got lipsticked.

    It is like the Cosmic Noise. No one notices it but it thrives like the Bubonic plague in 1350.

  11. Matters Not

    Re:

    even more disgraceful is the lies being told.

    One wonders what is the nature of the big lie being told by Stuart Robert and his internet bill paid by government. Given his track record re conflict of interest for which he was sacked – does he have a commercial interest in the company providing the service? Will it be investigated? If so, will we be told as to the outcome? If not – then why not? Who writes the brief for the investigation? Have the police been officially informed? And so on.

    That he is going to refund $20 000 (a nice round guesstimate figure) suggests that he’s been caught with his hand in the till once again. The notion that the crime of theft can be wiped away by repayment after the thief’s been sprung is a travesty.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/06/liberal-mp-stuart-robert-to-repay-huge-home-internet-bills

    Stuart’s residence in semi rural Nerang is within a stone’s throw from Queensland’s Gold Coast. As are any number of State and private schools who presumably don’t pay such prices.

  12. David Bruce

    Climate change is real; what is not real is the politicizing of science to suit an agenda set by the group who want to reduce the world’s population. Carbon dioxide is not the problem, it is just easier to measure. Sulphur gases, fluorocarbons and fly ash are causing more damage. Scientists who are now predicting an ice age are being sidelined. Emirates and other airlines are pumping fly ash to increase cloud cover. I could go on and on and cite numerous authorities and technical publications: all in vain because the media message has been repeated so often in so many places, including the United Nations, it must be true!

  13. Terence Mills

    The disturbing thing about this new regime under Morrison is that they have no discernible policy on emissions or climate change, just a few weeks ago every other statement was about the dire need to get electricity costs down and all of a sudden there is no longer a NEG and no plan.

    Bill Shorten has very sensibly written to Morrison calling for a bipartisan policy on population growth with an independent expert panel set up to advise government on immigration numbers, necessary infrastructure, decentralisation of population into regional areas, planning for education, health and housing needs to accommodate our growing population. Typically, Newscorp are painting this as an attempt to wedge the coalition.

    Strange isn’t it, when we have no current immigration or population policy, when our population has just turned 25 million years before predictions, when big city congestion is at an all time high, when until recently we had given immigration to Peter Dutton to absorb into his national security portfolio, all Murdoch’s trolls can say is it’s a wedge ?

  14. Jexpat

    The widespread promotion and acceptance of dishonesty as a virtue to be rewarded is the single definining and most dangerous characteristic of the 21st Century

  15. Jexpat

    @David Bruce

    I’m really hoping that was satire… as the alternative is delusion.

  16. helvityni

    Good post, Christopher Ward, Oz was not rushing to help the disaster victims in Indonesia…

    We sweetly paid Stuart Robert’s internet bill, Dastiary was sent packing for less, and I still don’t understand what Emma Husar’s sins were…Ok, OK, I see, she is a mere female and attractive to boot, we can’t have that.

  17. Kaye Lee

    David Bruce,

    Show me one credible scientific paper that says increasing carbon dioxide levels doesn’t cause global warming and hence climate change. Show me one credible scientific paper suggesting an ice age is coming. Show me where the claim about airlines pumping fly ash came from. I would be interested also to see the information about “Sulphur gases, fluorocarbons and fly ash are causing more damage.” One really needs to be vigilant about the credibility of one’s sources of information so please provide links..

  18. MöbiusEcko

    Carbon Dioxide is a problem because of all the greenhouse gases, with some worse in forcing such as methane, it is by far the most persistent and it is the one man can do the most to alleviate.

  19. Matters Not

    helvityni re:

    We sweetly paid Stuart Robert’s internet bill

    Don’t think so – and at any number of levels. First, as individuals we were never asked to okay (or not) the payment of monies to Stuart Robert. Second, he never asked us for such payment, presumably because he understands (consciously or not) we have no immediate say in the matter. Third, it’s pretty obvious that he asked the government, broadly defined to include agencies, for payment because he knows that’s where both the dollars and the legal authority reside.

    As I watched the ABC news tonight, assertions appeared at the bottom of the screen that Roberts would repay the taxpayer the sum of $20 000. Actually, he won’t because he didn’t get any direct money from the taxpayer and rest assured not a cent will suddenly appear in your account. And neither should it. We didn’t give it to Roberts – so why should we expect any return? We are not the government. Yes we have a chance every three years or so to decide who that government might be but when that decision is made … The government takes a swag of decisions away from us. Including how government dollars will be spent.

    When entities (individuals, companies, corporations etc) pay taxes to government, they lose control over how that money is spent. Why – because it’s no longer legally theirs. The monies now belong to government – in much the same way one loses control over the dollars when one buys a hat, rides on a plane or engages a professional that, for example, has clients… take your pick.

    Just sayin …

  20. helvityni

    MN, do not worry, just my usual flippant, exaggerating style of communicating,….guilty as accused…

  21. Matters Not

    helvityni – sincere apologies. Just looking for a hook to hang a rant and yours was the first I stumbled upon. It’s part of the current common sense to equate citizenship with taxpaying.

    Seems to me the next logical step is: the more tax you pay the more votes you get. Or if you don’t pay a certain amount of tax (indexed) then you can’t vote. People can’t seem to grasp that taxpaying or not has nothing to do with citizenship and voting rights. Seems to me they have no understanding of neoliberalism

    As a further aside – Soros is at it again apparently.

    The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others

    Where does Soros find the time?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-kavanaugh-fbi-investigation-amy-schumer-arrested-george-soros-conspiracy-a8570316.html

  22. ChristopherJ

    thank you Kaye and commenters. We’re a small, but growing number of people who care and try to make sense of what’s going on.

    Time for talk is way past and we can all see that we are cantering toward a cliff edge that is falling into the dying oceans. Even wasting time pointing out their lies and obfuscation, corruption and so on is time that you could be spending preparing.

    And, I don’t mean preparing to survive.

    They have all the power, all of it and, as soon as they can kill us all, I think they will. None of their life boats are going to work, but it won’t stop them. They know our and our children’s lives are whats at stake, but appealing to non existent empathy has been, and will continue to be, futile.

    Not a nut,

  23. Rhonda

    I takes a certain kind of complacent numbness, or stupidity, to permit our own leaders to poison our planet. I simply don’t get the shameless lack of care or urgency. Something’s got to give!

  24. helvityni

    MN, all’s well, no offence taken..

  25. Andrew Smith

    We get the politicians we deserve while most passively accept or ignore the MSM messaging, that skirts round real issues of the day, including environment, but directed towards immigrants, population growth and low personal impact e.g. not using plastic bags (conservative Central Europe managed this a generation ago…).

    Regarding Europe, according to the European Environmental Agency:

    ‘Key messages

    The area covered by forests and other wooded land in Europe (39 EEA countries) has increased for many decades.
    Forest biomass in the EEA region is also growing, and the average growth rate has increased from 1990 to 2010.
    In some central and western areas of Europe, forest growth has been reduced in the last 10 years due to storms, pests and diseases.
    Future climate change and increasing CO2 concentrations are expected to affect site suitability, productivity, species composition and biodiversity, and thus have an impact on the goods and services that the forests provide. In general, forest growth is projected to increase in northern Europe and to decrease in southern Europe.’

    https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/forest-growth-1/assessment

    Further, environmental journalist Fred Pearce in Counter Punch:

    ‘Postscript: “Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.”

    “But as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests that this hitherto neglected impact of deforestation could in many continental interiors dwarf the impacts of global climate change. It could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.” (Fred Pearce- eminent UK author and science journalist)’

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/05/drought-laden-rainforests/

    Pearce knows Australia, influence of Club of Rome astro turfing (sustainability, limits to growth etc.), seems sceptical of past decades and many environmental stakeholders or their appointments, i.e. conservative conservationists by various govts. Further he is quite informative on population, demographics and development in The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet’s Surprising Future:

    Yet, surprisingly, it appears that the explosion is past its peak. Around the world, in developing countries as well as in rich ones, today’s women are having on average 2.6 children, half the number their mothers had. Within a generation, world fertility will likely follow Europe’s to below replacement levels—and by 2040, the world’s population will be declining for the first time since the Black Death, almost seven hundred years ago.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7788578-the-coming-population-crash

    However, in Australia, many people (including a committed Green one knows) have a one track view of environment, it’s all about immigrants and population growth (with some expressing fear about ‘brown people outnumbering white people’), playing on existential fears and ignoring real environmental issues that may require personal compromise.

    Labor have already, like Gillard govt., signalled putting resources into population planning etc. One hopes this does not mean a Minister for Eugenics and Racial Hygiene (exactly what ‘sustainable population’ emanates from), while retaining the mega Ministry of Home Affairs?

  26. Kaye Lee

    Andrew,

    I have been blathering on about natural limits to population for years. If you educate and empower women, if you decrease poverty, fertility declines. If we keep girls in school and encourage them to work, they breed later and less.

    As for the colour of people, I remember that song from the 60s ….

    What we need is a great big melting pot
    Big enough enough enough to take
    The world and all its got
    And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
    And turn out coffee coloured people by the score

  27. Andrew Smith

    Paul ‘population bomb’ Ehrlich and John Tanton allegedly knew fertility rates were stabilising or declining when ZPG was founded in early ’70s (in lock step with Club of Rome); then the focus became ‘immigration’.

    Hans Rosling of Gapminder has shown most population growth is due to the cumulative effect of lower fertility and longevity from increased education and health outcomes.

    Black media in US, since ’70s has been highly critical of Ehrlich and Tanton, due to their (well documented) antipathy towards people of colour.

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