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We cannot afford to flout the grave risk posed by climate change and a government who wants to “do us slowly”

According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, who, for some reason, have taken over from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in reporting on Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, “The 2019-20 bushfires will have negligible impact on Australia’s progress towards its 2020 or 2030 target.”

This is despite that same department saying that the fires up to February 11 emitted “around 940 Mt CO2‑e, comprised of carbon dioxide emissions of 850 Mt CO2‑e, 81 Mt CO2-e of methane and 9 Mt CO2-e of nitrous oxide.”

To put that in perspective, that’s about 2% of global annual emissions. In Australia, emissions for the year to September 2019 were estimated to be 530.8 Mt CO2-e.

The department seems to be relying on the ability of the burnt-out areas to quickly recover and provide a significant carbon sink in coming years.

“The recovery of the forest is expected to be complete.”

However, it comes with the warning that “Climate change impacts, including droughts or more frequent and more intense fires, can affect the ability of forests to recover after fire.”

Much of their modelling about regeneration in the report comes from the aftermath of the 2003 fires in the ACT where 1.73 million hectares were burnt. The 2019-20 bushfire season affected around 7.4 million hectares.

Conditions in 2003 were very different to now. Nine of the ten hottest years on record in Australia have occurred since then with 2019 being the hottest.

According to the Bureau of Metereology:

2019 was also the driest year on record for Australia at 277.6 mm, well below the previous record in 1902 (previous lowest was 314.5 mm). Nationally-averaged rainfall for 2019 was 40% below the 1961–1990 average of 465.2 mm. The national rainfall dataset commences in 1900. Although every period of rainfall deficiency is different, the extraordinarily low rainfall experienced this year has been comparable to that seen in the driest periods in Australia’s recorded history, including the Federation Drought and the Millenium Drought.

Now, the fires are out and some rain has come.

But so has a deadly virus that has temporarily shut down the global economy.

As we deal with this latest crisis, it should be a time for reflection of values, a time to rethink priorities, a time to learn and plan for a better future.

Instead, we are being subjected to a full court press from those who want a return to old habits that we can no longer afford.

We are being told there will be a “gas-led recovery”, that we will invest in “dirty” hydrogen produced using fossil fuels, that we will subsidise fertiliser factories and aging coal-fired power stations, that we must stockpile oil, that we will get rid of “green tape” and “red tape” to facilitate mining, rampant land-clearing, over-development, habitat destruction, water extraction and contamination.

Temporary increases to welfare payments will be removed. Protection for workers and for the environment will be cast aside in the haste to get businesses back to making record profits that somehow never translate into wage rises for their employees or tax for the government.

We have an opportunity to change direction.

If the government doesn’t take it, then it will be up to the voter in 2022. The people of Eden-Monaro will have an opportunity to start the message.

We cannot afford to flout the grave risk posed by climate change and a government who wants to “do us slowly”.

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19 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    The next round of floods, droughts, fires, cyclones, illegal logging and land clearing, water theft, degradation of soil, pests, plagues, psetilences, pollution, all these are around the corner, soon, impending. Conservatives dominate Australian politics, corporations, religious superstitions, retail, media, management, transport, and they live in a world they perpetuate, create, dominate, and worst still Believe in. They want the orthodox world, the old, profitable, enriching, controllable one to be restored. Back to misery, failure, earnings, hoardings, controls, repressions, dominations, implied future ruination by brainless expansion, exploitation, ruination. No sense there…if we want different, better, we’ll have to fight.

  2. Neil

    When I think ‘ugly’, Scromo comes to mind

  3. Baby Jewels

    Phil, we’ve got into the mess we have because Australians have no fight in them, as a general rule. It wasn’t always thus.

  4. DrakeN

    Baby Jewels, I disagree completely that Australians were ever other than weak as piss when it comes to sticking their heads above the social acceptancy parapet.
    There are quite a few notable exceptions, but in general our population is a herd of forelock tugging sychophants for whom any departure from community “norms” – often those dictated by religions, politicians and advertising agencies – is a foreign land to be circumnavigated at all costs.
    P.S. I’ve been treading this soil for over 55 years, have read extensively on Australian history and had rather too much time on my hands in which to observe the behaviours of common folk.

  5. ajogrady

    Conservatives have engineered an economy that for the vast majority of people is extremely fragile for them. Most are fighting to survive from week to week or some day to day. Conservatives have created this perfect storm of fear and angst in an economy that has been virtually privatised into a user pays system to control the masses. Many people are far more interested in keeping what work they have rather then a pay rise let alone the effects that Climate Change is having. Caring for their children’s future does not take into account Climate Change in the future. It is the future of putting a meal on the table tomorrow or a roof over their heads next week. Conservatives or those who believe in the status quo have diligently and patiently worked away at creating this shit storm of uncertainty for the masses not only in Australia but in Democracies throughout the world. If there is a battle between good and evil then evil is winning hands down.

  6. Matters Not

    Re:

    people of Eden-Monaro will have an opportunity to start the message

    Indeed they will with Albo having much to lose while Morrison having much to gain at a number of levels – including boasting rights. Well known that no government has taken a seat from the opposition in a century, not since the special circumstances of the Kalgoorlie by-election in 1920.

    Will Morrison overcome his unpopularity due to lack of judgement shown during the bush fires? For Albo the loss of a popular candidate, as shown by the gap between the HoR and Senate results, be able to preserve the historical record. Morrison, no doubt, will be in search of a modern day Bridget McKenzie but the pork barrel looks almost empty and besides, it would be so obvious.

  7. Matters Not

    Politicians are focused on the immediate – minds preoccupied with the next election and little else. While climate change, as manifest in bush fires and floods, was center stage for a time it has now exited as more pressing matters like COVID-19, unemployment numbers and the economy more generally suck up the political oxygen.

    Politically, it’s about today. Tomorrow is another day. That’s the reality that most construct.

  8. Phil

    “P.S. I’ve been treading this soil for over 55 years, have read extensively on Australian history and had rather too much time on my hands in which to observe the behaviours of common folk.”

    You must have missed the election of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating. There is no doubt Australians are gullible but, all is not lost.

    The Labor party and the Greens got 450.000 more votes than the coalition at the last election, with the Greens getting 1,5 million votes and one seat. A scandal. Morrison does not have a mandate. If my memory serves me well, Joh Bjelke Peterson who ruled Queensland for years, biggest share of the vote at any election was, 26%. This gerrymander btw was introduced in Queensland by the Labor party. In South Australia before Don Dunstan, country seats were weighted 8 to 1. When Labor finds a leader that can lead and articulate themselves properly, the Labor party will be back in business. Morrison is a creep but as cunning as a shit house rat, , he has tried to buy the next election with the stimulus. The trouble is, it is all going to turn to shit before the next election, he’s finished.

  9. Kaye Lee

    So Andrew Constance is running for Eden-Monaro.

    This is the same Andrew Constance who said he had mental health issues and no longer wanted to struggle with politics. It was March 10 when he said “I am not running for anything else.”

    It’s the same Andrew Constance who said Prime Minister Scott Morrison got the “welcome he probably deserved” in Bega during the bushfires.

    Could be an interesting campaign.

  10. Matters Not

    Captain’s picks (Kristy McBain) are always problematic and Albo knows that but the Liberals might have even bigger problems with Jim Molan (not a well known feminist) possibly entering the lists. Last year’s candidate Fiona Kotvojs who made it a very close race only last year will also have high expectations. Will the Liberals bump another female from a winnable seat? One imagines the phones are busy.

  11. Harry Williams

    Phil,
    If you put Hawke and Keating in with Whitlam then all is lost. Even though Whitlam was from the NSW right faction his achievements were far and above the neo liberal agenda of the other two class traitor charlatans.

  12. Jack Cade

    But Morrison – in his own eyes, at least – walks on water. Fair enough, he’s used it as an escape often enough.
    The only Australian PM who was believed to be able to walk on water was Gough, who scoffed at the idea. ‘The holes in my feet haven’t healed yet!’, he said.
    Constance will have a touch of the ‘I don’t remember’ if it’s ever raised in the campaign.

  13. Geoff Andrews

    Baby Jewels and DrakeN

    Here are some random lines written over 100 years ago by C. J. Dennis in “The Glugs of Gosh”, a thinly disguised satire of the stupidity of Australians (the Glugs who live in Gosh, Australia). The Swanks are the ruling class and Sir Stodge is the Prime Minister.

    “When a Swank walks down the street;
    Every Glug takes off his hat,
    And whispers humbly, “Look at that!
    Hats off! Hats off to the Glug of rank!
    Sir Stodge, the Swank, the Lord High Swank!”

    His brain is dull, and his mind is dense,
    And his lack of saving wit complete;
    But most amazingly immense
    Is his inane self-confidence
    And his innate conceit.
    But every Glug, bowed to Sir Stodge,
    the fuddled Swank, the muddled Swank of Gosh–
    The engineering, peeping, peering,
    Sneering Swank of Gosh.”

    Reminds me of someone – no, it’s gone!

    Just google “Glugs of Gosh”: The whole book with all poems is freely available.

  14. Phil

    ” If you put Hawke and Keating in with Whitlam then all is lost. Even though Whitlam was from the NSW right faction his achievements were far and above the neo liberal agenda of the other two class traitor charlatans.”

    All true but that was not known at the time of the election. I am well aware of Hawke’s failings. Pilger and Tom Uren both knew and put in print what they thought of Hawke. With Hawke ready to sue for anything, what Pilger had written must be the truth, his only defense. Anyone with a mortgage in the Keating years knows Keating. The rest I stand by. That the Labor party has to fight a media that is owned by the right in this country and a Gerrymander, it is a wonder they get elected at all. Btw Johnson only won by 2750 votes. Their first past the post system and seat division is as bad. I will say it will be close with Albanese he may win on default, he is useless and that is not up for debate with me anyway.

  15. totaram

    Phil: “That the Labor party has to fight a media that is owned by the right in this country and a Gerrymander, it is a wonder they get elected at all.”
    Hear, hear! And did Labor do anything to prevent or reduce the ownership of the press by the right? Not at all. It’s all very well to fire off broadsides at Murdoch after getting out of politics, like Rudd and Turnbull are doing now, but what did they do when they were in there?

  16. Phil

    ‘ Hear, hear! And did Labor do anything to prevent or reduce the ownership of the press by the right? Not at all. It’s all very well to fire off broadsides at Murdoch after getting out of politics, like Rudd and Turnbull are doing now, but what did they do when they were in there?’

    They did nothing They will do nothing. Most of them are just opportunists, keep your head down, don’t make waves and grab a nice pension after sitting on your arse for years doing SFA. It’s the best gravy train going. I have and I’m sure I’m no orphan, penned letters, sent e mails, with constructive ideas no criticism, no foul language and no reply from politicians, who are supposed to represent me. I am well aware most of them are self serving lay about’s most of whom couldn’t work in an iron lung . Hanson and Lambie should get an academy award for their acts. Funny I put a comment on a Liberal party MP’s Facebook page today. It was about the Gerrymander and the vote totals. He didn’t censor it, he put it in the middle of the thread where it wouldn’t have been read, from the top position. Subtle censorship. I despair.

  17. Andrew Smith

    Speaking of Hawke wasn’t he one of the three influencers or inside sources whom allegedly liaised with US Consulates on a regular basis in previous decades, i.e. Bob Hawke, Bob Carr and Bob Birrell? Apparently…… No idea why? You’d think the latter two have been advising Kristina Keneally on immigration…..

  18. wam

    “We cannot afford to flout the grave risk posed by climate change”
    But for the gov they can flout’ because there is no short term risk to their votes.
    For them the loonies and labor can battle over ‘the climate’ and against “It was the biggest, most powerful spin campaign in Australian media history—the strategy was to delay action on greenhouse gas emissions until ‘coal was ready’—with geo-sequestration (burying carbon gases) and tax support” (Alan Tate)
    more
    https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p303951/html/Chapt07.xhtml?referer=&page=12
    That may be old but fits the bill:
    NB
    Global warming is real and visible NOW no risk.
    have a look at the videos:
    “kiribati a drowning paradise in the south pacific”
    The rising sea level are the result of the seas expanding from global warming and land ice melting. global warming

    “a government who wants to “do us slowly”.
    That was a great statement but it was a desperate dying labor who were saved at the last minute,, not by a caravan like snirko, but by a bloody cake that gave us 3 years of keating and a disastrous 12 years of howard..
    Keating did well in his years but this slime will have another 8 years to consolidate his poorly thought out actions to ‘snap into the future with no opposition or evaluation. Even making the IPA list look left wing.

  19. Phil

    ‘ Speaking of Hawke wasn’t he one of the three influencers or inside sources whom allegedly liaised with US Consulates on a regular basis in previous decade ‘

    From Pilger’s a ‘ Secret Country ‘ During the Whitlam years The American Ambassador Marshall Green said. Bob Hawke was so amenable to our ‘ Common Cause ‘ Bob gave me his private telephone number that if anything that came up that needed immediate attention, he was the man to call. Bob Hawke as was Neville Wran were close allies and friends of the CIA. Hawke and Wran were treated like Royalty by the Yanks. Their ‘ Common Cause ‘ was to destroy the union movement and infiltrate the left or what was left of it in the Labor Party. Pilger’s book makes a great read, Any suspicions of the high rollers in the Labor party were truly confirmed and exposed in this book. Pilger as far as I know has never been successfully sued. Even more surprising is there has been no attempt as far as I know on his life.

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