Australia’s climate change vulnerability and inaction

2018-08-15

in Politics, Rants, The environment

You would think a country where the entire state of New South Wales, responsible for a quarter of their agricultural output, is currently in drought and where water scarcity threatens their long-term viability as a country wouldn’t be such a climate change villain. Their wildfires keep worsening and their most important river is drying up. Alas, as with Canada’s oil-selling obsession, Australia seems more concerned about selling as much coal as possible to China as with maintaining a habitable continent.

Even without factoring in such exports, their emissions of greenhouse gas pollution have been steadily rising since 2013 after a period of general decline going back to 2005. Perhaps that’s unsurprising as they repealed their carbon tax in 2014.

This ties into a frightening possibility: as the most vulnerable rich countries are hit harder and harder by climate change they may not draw the lesson that international cooperation is necessary, retreating instead into self-defeating selfishness.

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. August 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Malcolm Turnbull removes all climate change targets from energy policy in fresh bid to save leadership

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has staged another dramatic retreat on energy policy in the face of a dire threat to his leadership, removing climate change targets from the National Energy Guarantee in his second policy reset in four days.

The revised scheme will go ahead without federal legislation to stipulate a 26 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions under changes aimed at averting a challenge from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

. August 22, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Australia Wilts From Climate Change. Why Can’t Its Politicians Act?

SYDNEY, Australia — Mile after mile of the Great Barrier Reef is dying amid rising ocean temperatures. Hundreds of bush fires are blazing across Australia’s center, in winter, partly because of a record-breaking drought.

The global scientific consensus is clear: Australia is especially vulnerable to climate change.

And yet on Monday, Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, abandoned a modest effort to reduce energy emissions under pressure from conservatives in his party. And on Tuesday, those same conservatives just missed toppling his government.

What on earth is going on?

Australia’s resistance to addressing climate change — by limiting emissions in particular — is well documented. Mr. Turnbull could yet be turned out of office as rivals rally support for another challenge as soon as Thursday. If that happens, he will be the third Australian prime minister in the last decade to lose the position over a climate dispute.

Despite the country’s reputation for progressiveness on gun control, health care and wages, its energy politics seem forever doomed to devolve into a circus. Experts point to many reasons, from partisanship to personality conflicts, but the root of the problem may be tied to the land.

. September 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Australia on track to miss Paris climate targets as emissions hit record highs

NDEVR Environmental data suggests Australia will miss targets by 1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide under current trajectory

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