In her Hancock Lecture for the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Frances Flanagan argues our environmental laws, in particular those comprising The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) are written with a view too narrow. This was illustrated in 2021 when a class action by children and others seeking a duty of care owed to them by the Minister for the Environment when making approvals under the EPBC Act was lost.
Woodside’s Jupiter – now Scarborough – project off the west Australian coast was originally called Jupiter for a reason. Like the planet, it is a gas giant. A methane gas giant. Gas will be extracted until 2059, releasing carbon dioxide as it is burnt, adding to the quiet catastrophe. Frances Flanagan says current laws don’t consider the dwellings of millions of people which will be inundated as sea levels rise on a warming Earth. She presents a compelling case for present laws to be widened to protect future generations.
We have just seen the impact of flooding in Bangla Desh and southern India and felt its effect on the people of the Northern Rivers of Southern Queensland and New South Wales.
Speaker Frances Flanagan Lecturer in Work and Organisational Studies The University of Sydney
Presenter Robyn Williams
Producer David Fisher
Duration: 7min 43sec
Broadcast: Sat 18 Jun 2022, 12:04pm
And on our public ABC Channel 2, on Tuesday June 21st 2022 we saw Southern Ocean Alive! The world beneath the waves. Such a vital world with so much life.
And dying – the sea kelp forests off the east coast of Tasmania
Possibly a red kelp that can survive the warming of the East Coast current of Australia is being tested in laboratories.Maybe the life-giving properties of kelp can be brought back but there will need to be environmental protection to help the process.
Miners of oil and LNG on our lands and in our oceans care nothing about the nation’s or the planet’s bio-diversity.
These exploiters of fossil fuels do not want to see legislation in place for tomorrow.
Time to go ‘Down Under’ – We learn more about kelp forests in the northern hemisphere. Can we protect this vital contribution to our bio-diversity?
Who’s heard of the Great Southern Reef?
‘Although we tend to associate the word ‘reef’ with tropical coral reefs, those found in temperate areas—regions with intermediate climate conditions that are not tropical or polar—are also significant and important.
The Great Southern Reef is a massive series of reefs that extend around Australia’s southern coastline, covering around 71,000 square kilometres from New South Wales around the southern coastline of Australia to Kalbarri in Western Australia. The reef’s main feature is its extensive kelp seaweed forests—perhaps not as colourful as tropical corals, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder: these kelp forests are some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. They support sponges, crustaceans, fish, bryozoans (small colonial animals that form exoskeletons of chitin or calcium carbonate), echinoderms (such as starfish and sea urchins) and many types of mollusc (snails and shellfish). Many species living on the Great Southern Reef—like the weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)—are not found anywhere else in the world.
Unusually hard to spot for mid-sized fish (~ 30 cm), these actually stand much less out without a strobe underwater. Like my pictures? There are more in "Sex, Drugs and Scuba Diving" and on my blog.
It’s estimated that the Great Southern Reef contributes more than $10 billion a year to the Australian economy. The major fisheries in the reef are the rock lobster (worth around $375 million/year) and abalone (worth around $134 million/year). Tourism is also important—it’s estimated that the reef directly supports activities worth nearly $10 billion/year, while the total tourism from the reef and adjacent coastal areas amounts to around $40 billion/year.
So this reef is clearly important. But parts of it look like they’re in trouble.
A recent study found widespread loss of kelp forests following a marine heatwave in 2011. Surveys of 65 reefs along the Western Austral coast found that the area covered by kelp forests declined by 43 per cent by 2013, with the range of the forests’ cover decreasing by around 100 kilometres, and their area shrinking by around 370 square kilometres. Even by late 2015, nearly five years after the heatwave, there were no indications that the kelp forests were recovering.
The Great Southern Reef extends along the southern coastline of Australia.
The researchers documented a shift from kelp to turf-forming seaweeds and sub-tropical and tropical fish species that thrive in warmer waters. Shifts in the abundance and diversity of species of sea urchins and gastropods were also noted.
Even by late 2015, nearly five years after the heatwave, there were no indications that the kelp forests were recovering.
The Indian Ocean along the coast of Western Australia is a global warming hotspot—it’s high up on the list of places around the world experiencing high rates of ocean warming. This region has seen a temperature increase of 0.65° C over the past 50 years.
Warmer temperatures are shifting southwards at a rate of 20 to 50 kilometres per decade. If this trend continues, we could soon see a complete transformation of this region of the Great Southern Reef—away from temperate kelp forests to more tropical species.
And while everyone loves tropical fish, the widespread loss of the kelp forests of the Great Southern Reef would be devastating to the rich and diverse ecosystems.’
This article has been reviewed by the following experts: Mrs Charlie Phelps School of Science, Edith Cowan University, 2018 Max Day Environmental Fellowship Award winner; Dr Thomas Wernberg UWA Oceans Institute & School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia.
Go to USA and the kelp forests off the West Coast from Alaska to California. Visit Norway. And Tunisia.
What is global warming doing to these sources of the biodiversity we need?
When the greed of the powerful destroys the lives of the many and the planet.
‘Indigenous people have protected the Earth’s rivers, forests, and grasslands for thousands of years.
This from the team at Avaaz – See what the Tanzanian government is doing to the Maasai.
Too easily we focus only on our separate lives and forget we are part of the whole.
Dear friends, The Maasai’s future is going up in flames.
They’ve been hounded by the Tanzanian government for years — hundreds of homes have been burnt to the ground.
Now the government is even more determined to get rid of them, cutting vital medical services, and threatening to evict thousands of families so a foreign company can expand trophy hunting on Maasai land.
They’re asking for our help.
Millions of us are reading this email. If enough chip in just a small amount, we could supercharge a game-changing court case to defend the Maasai. We’d fund the best lawyers, get massive media coverage, support local resistance, and create a global fund to empower other Indigenous communities threatened around the world.
Our movement helped stop huge Maasai evictions in 2014 — now let’s do it again!
The Maasai are fighting for their survival — let’s give them massive global support as they courageously defend their land and its wildlife against the trophy hunters.
Evicting the Maasai could spark a humanitarian disaster, pushing thousands of families into severe poverty while hunting explodes on the very lands they’ve protected for centuries. And over 70% of their land has already been taken!
But we helped the Maasai fight the last round of mass evictions — and they won. But now the government is back again, employing vicious, life-threatening tactics to force them out. The Maasai can’t afford to lose. But it’s not just them — 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity is safeguarded by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. We can’t end the climate and extinction crises without them. But almost everywhere we look, these communities are under attack from loggers, miners, and tourism — and too often, they’re fighting for their survival with almost no resources.
We can help change that. If enough of us chip in, we could: Fund the best lawyers to help the Maasai challenge evictions and land-grabbing in courts; Give media and advocacy support to shine a spotlight on their courageous campaign; Create an Indigenous protection fund to provide rapid-fire support to Indigenous activists defending their communities; Pay for Indigenous delegations to travel to upcoming global biodiversity and climate summits to make their voices heard, and; Power urgent campaigns to protect Indigenous communities and save life on Earth. Indigenous people have protected the Earth’s rivers, forests, and grasslands for thousands of years. Today they’re fighting for their own survival, and even a small donation will make a massive difference in this most unequal battle —
We know we can help the Maasai win. Three years ago, we supported the Waorani people of Ecuador to sue their government — and they won! And then in 2014, we helped the Maasai stop another huge round of evictions. Everything Avaaz does is thanks to millions of people around the world; beautiful things happen when we come together. And right now, for the Maasai in Northern Tanzania, it could mean the world.
Kaitlin, Marigona, Mike, Adela, Camille, Alis, Sofia, Nell, and the whole team at Avaaz
PS. This might be your first donation to our movement ever. But what a first donation! Did you know that Avaaz relies entirely on small donations from members like you? That’s why we’re fully independent, nimble and effective. Join the over 1 million people who’ve donated to make Avaaz a real force for good in the world.
“Who but a stupid barbarian could burn so much beauty in his stove and destroy that which he cannot make?” Astrov asks Yelena in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. “Man is endowed with reason and the power to create, so that he may increase that which has been given him, but until now he has not created, but demolished. The forests are disappearing, the rivers are running dry, the wildlife is exterminated, the climate is spoiled, and the earth becomes poorer and uglier every day. I see irony in your look; you don’t take what I am saying seriously, and—and—after all, it may very well be nonsense. But when I pass village forests that I have preserved from the ax, or hear the rustling of the young trees set out with my own hands, I feel as if I had had some small share in improving the climate, and that if mankind is happy a thousand years from now I’ll have been a little bit responsible for their happiness.”
[Astrov: When I plant a little birch tree and then see it budding into young green and swaying in the wind, my heart swells with pride and I—I must be off. Probably it’s all nonsense, anyway. Goodbye. [Astrovand Sophia go into the house. Yelena and Voynitsky walk over to the terrace. Yelena: You have behaved shockingly again. Really, your behavior is too petty. Voynitsky: If you could only see your face, the way you move! Oh, how tedious your life must be, absolutely tedious. Yelena: It is tedious, yes, and boring! How well I understand your compassion! As Astrov said just now, see how you thoughtlessly destroy the forests, so that there will soon be none left. So you also destroy mankind, and soon loyalty and purity and self-sacrifice will have vanished with the woods. Why cannot you look calmly at a woman unless she is yours? Because, the doctor was right, you are all possessed by a devil of destruction; you have no mercy on the woods or the birds or on women or on one another.’ ]
From 1897 to 2022. Reading what Astrov said, now in Australia in 2022, I give thanks for all who go on caring for the land. The Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, the Bob Brown Foundation in Tasmania, the Lock the Gate Alliance and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, all those fighting for marine life and the people of good will supporting them with donations. We must support them every way we can. They are having to fight against a Coalition that prefers exploitation to conservation, short-term profit for fossil fuel corporations to long-term preservation of the environment for the future.And it has threatened to legislate against charities like these with loss of the right to tax deductions for being ‘activist’ in their protests.
Now, when this President of Russia is destroying the lives of those in the democratic nation of Ukraine in his shocking, cruel unjustifiable, treacherous war. He guaranteed the sovereignty of the democratic nation of Ukraine but began this betrayal in 2014, it is time to remember the great Russians of the nineteenth century who spoke to Russia and later to us. There was Tolstoy’s War and Peace and, now, we have this excerpt from Uncle Vanya by Chekhov brought to us in Lapham’s Quarterly of Spring 2016 ‘Disaster’. Lewis Lapham takes us through history and all the warnings we ignored. See Lapham’s Quarterly, Volume XII, Number 4, – FALL, 2019 – ‘Climate’!
But ‘Down Under’ – even while we send support to Ukraine – In Australia in 2022, with a national election due in four weeks, I am glad Lewis Lapham, a wonderful American trying to help us to think about the world we are creating, is reminding us about the fears Chekhov shared in his play about another longer-term form of destruction. We have one man standing for parliament here saying we might not even need to stick to zero emissions by 2050! And we have another man shouting how much money fossil fuel corporations will make in the EU! This Coalition will help them, with subsidies, exploit the devastation and the agony in Ukraine by selling coal and LNG to energy-hungry EU nations!
Cosmos » Medicine » Living near fracking sites may have negative effects on pregnancies
6 April 2022 / ‘Cosmos’ is published by the Royal Institution Australia – the RiAus, with its headquarters in Adelaide. Those pushing for fracking in northern Australia should take note of this Canadian Report, The Australian Coalition government is putting our revenue into Empire Energy which is involved in this fracking project. Empire Energy appears to have a history, in USA, of lacking concern for the environment.
A new study by Canadian researchers has reported links between adverse pregnancy outcomes and living near fracking sites.
What is fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is an unconventional method for extracting fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, from underground rock. The technique involves drilling deep wells and using a mixture of water, sand and chemicals to generate high pressures that create fractures in the rock, through which oil and gas can escape to be harvested.
Proponents of fracking plans point to expected economic benefits. But experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the effect of continuing fossil fuel exploration and development on Australia’s ability to meet targets to reduce carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change. Opponents have cited further concerns about water contamination, the potential to trigger earthquakes, and damage to Indigenous cultural sites and practices. The health risks of fracking are also an area of active research.
The new Canadian study examined data collected between 2013 and 2018 from more than 34,000 pregnancies in rural areas of the province of Alberta.
The researchers found a significantly higher incidence of congenital anomalies (adjusted risk ratio of 1.31) and babies who were small for their gestational age (adjusted risk ratio of 1.12) born to mothers who lived within 10 kilometres of at least one fracking well. These results were supported after adjusting for several other factors, including parental age, multiple births, foetal sex, obstetric comorbidities, and the socioeconomic status of the area where the family lived.
For those living in areas within 10km of 100 or more fracking wells, the risk of spontaneous preterm birth was also significantly elevated (adjusted risk ratio of 1.64).
The authors wrote that previous studies from the United States had found associations between proximity to fracking sites during pregnancy, and increases in preterm birth and low birth weight. Do you remember Dick Cheney supporting fracking in USA, and the pictures of flames from fracking sites in national parks?
While the study design could not determine whether the adverse pregnancy outcomes were directly caused by fracking, the research team proposed several potential mechanisms that could explain the relationship. These included groundwater contamination and changes in air quality due to fracking, as well as reproductive toxicity of chemicals present in the fracking fluids that are pumped underground.
“This study from Alberta, Canada, raises some potentially very important concerns about the possible environmental risks for women who live close to fracking sites,” says David Ellwood, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Australia’s Griffith University, who was not involved in the study.
“The increased risk for babies of major congenital anomalies, and being small for gestational age, suggests an effect in pregnancy that is there from the outset and may be mediated through placental function.
“With larger numbers it is possible that other effects could be seen which are mediated via placental dysfunction such as stillbirth.”
Are there any implications for fracking proposals in Australia?
Alex Polyakov, an associate professor in medicine at the University of Melbourne, cautioned that the results may have limited application to Australian contexts.
“The risk of adverse outcomes was only significantly elevated for women who were exposed to a large number of fracking sites for significant periods of time,” says Polyakov.
“In Australia, fracking is not nearly as widespread as it appears to be in Canada. Most fracking shafts are also situated in sparsely populated locations, and it would be highly unusual to find multiple fracking sites in close proximity to residential areas, even in the rural setting.”
However, it doesn’t follow that these risks should be taken any less seriously, particularly when the population at risk already experiences health disparities. For example, the area around the Beetaloo Basin is home to several towns and communities with a large Indigenous population.
“Given the seriousness of these findings, it is important to try and replicate this work in other settings,” says Ellwood.
A challenge for remote communities with small populations and large distances to major centres is developing viable industries with secure well-paid jobs. Now, it seems, renewable energy and hydrogen power promise to solve many problems in one hit. Currently, remote communities rely on highly polluting diesel to run generators, and to run transport. But throughout Cape York, roads can be cut for weeks or longer during the wet season jeopardising supply. David Thompson, from the Cape York Institute in Cairns describes a bold plan to replace diesel with renewables and hydrogen in Cape York communities. Benefits include, reducing emissions to zero, keeping money in the local community, driving down costs, and providing employment for local people. The plan has support from power companies and government agencies and brings hope to remote communities across the top end.
Cecilia Tomori grew tired of lies and distortions which too often swirl around as scientists seek the truth. The doubt machine has been around for years. The strategies and patterns have been documented and recur across industries such as tobacco, fossil fuels, pharmaceuticals, food and more. Tomori has come up against the doubt machine in her own work in false claims that undermine breastfeeding to increase sales of formula milk. Recently we’ve all seen the doubt machine in full light, cranking out falsehoods in climate science, and now with the COVID pandemic, including assertions about ‘herd immunity’. Cecilia Tomori thinks scientists can do more, taking more care with how they present certain arguments in public. So she wrote a plea to scientists, published in Nature.
Guest Cecilia Tomori Associate Professor John Hopkins School of Nursing Director of Global Public Health and Community Health Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland USA
The world’s highest-polluting oil companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, and BP are promising big but delivering very little on climate change, according to damning new research.
And there is so much reason for us to be angry about their actions and their inactions. They will do what the loop holes in laws will let them get away with. And too often backed by governments and subsidized by us.
Note this article by Peter Milne for the journal Boiling Cold,
About decommissioning and the costs of insufficient regulation for the nation’s future
Australian company, Sweetman, is ‘greenwashing’. It calls itself Sweetman Renewables – calls logging of our native forests for wood chip for electricity ‘biomass’.
Last year, Sweetman announced it planned to export 60,000 tonnes of woodchips from Newcastle to burn in Japanese power stations.
“Deplorable” — that’s how Japanese energy giant Sinanen described an attempt to tie it to a plan to burn Australian native forests in Japanese power stations.
Woodchip company Sweetman told the media they had signed contracts with Japanese energy companies, including Sinanen, to burn native forest “biomass” for electricity.
Working with Friends of the Earth Japan, the NSW Nature Conservation Council discovered that this claim was untrue and potentially misled investors and the public.
Sinanen chief executive Masaki Yamazaki wrote to the Nature Conservation Council stating:
“We don’t/will not have any contract with Sweetman on wood chips supply. We deplore the announcement that Sweetman had signed an agreement with us (Sinanen Holdings) to import wood chips.”
If that happened, the New South Wales North Coast forests would be flogged even harder, destroying the habitat of koalas, gliders, birds and other animals — all for a few minutes of electricity.
Sweetman calls itself ‘Sweetman Renewables’ ‘The company has closed a deal on the purchase of the 100-year-old sawmill business, all assets and real estate at the historic Millfield site in the NSW Hunter Valley.] Our Coalition government doesn’t seem to care.
Australia’s Coalition government is not willing to take Federal action to prevent extinction of plants and animals. Check how its Members of Parliament voted.
Thank heavens for watch dogs like the NSW Nature Conservation Council and the Friends of the Earth Japan and this international collaboration for our survival.
Japan’s goal to reduce emissions might not be sufficient but at least they do have a 2030 target for some areas. Australia had no 2030 target in the plan it took to Glasgow!
Three cheers for our Nature Conservation Council investigating these claims.
The Nature Conservation Council has referred Sweetman to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, which is now assessing the company’s behaviour. We must make them aware of Sweetman’s destructive woodchipping plans.
It’s a revelation that strikes at the heart of this deplorable industry, and will raise the attention of potential investors and the corporate regulator.
Our investigations team are digging into Sweetman because if Sweetman’s plans succeed, it would drive a doubling of native forest logging in NSW.
The Nature Conservation Council will continue to work with Australian and Japanese environmentalists to expose this proposal and ensure it never happens.
We are targeting investors, authorities, customers, consumers and the public.
Already, the Port of Newcastle, Sinanen, and the City of Newcastle have all distanced themselves from this destructive proposal
Thank you to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Friends of the Earth Japan.
Friends of the Earth International, Secretariat, P.O.Box 19199, 1000 GD Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Phone +31 (0)20 6221369.
If only the Australian Coalition government would prepare the national environmental and biological diversity legislation required by the Graeme Samuel Report about the state of the ‘not fit for purpose’ 1999 -2000 legislation still conveniently being used by this pro fossil fuel government.
In December 2021, over fifty Nobel laureates and presidents of learned societies signed an appeal for a “Global Peace Dividend”. Taking stock of the accelerating global arms race, they proposed that all member states of the United Nations negotiate a common 2% reduction of their yearly military expenditure. They also suggested that one-half of the resources saved by this reduction be allocated to a global fund to fight against climate change, pandemics, and extreme poverty.
In the period 2025-2030, the ‘peace dividend’ generated by the laureates’ proposal would exceed one trillion US dollars — an amount comparable to total investments in renewable power worldwide, and six times greater than the funds available to research and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
In an era of mounting challenges to human welfare, these new resources could positively impact the lives of millions, at zero cost for nations.
We, the signatories of this petition, strongly support the Nobelists’ initiative and ask you, Messrs. Guterres, Biden, Johnson, Macron, Putin and Xi, to start negotiating such an agreement as soon as possible.
Albert Einstein noted that one “cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war”. Today, leading intellectuals are laying out a path to prevent war and prepare for a prosperous common future. As Secretary-General of the United Nations and leaders of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, we ask you to take this path in our names.
Please share this petition widely! It’s the best way to make change happen.
For more information about the #GlobalPeaceDividend, visit www.peace-dividend.org or follow us on social media:
Interesting. Australia is a founding member of the United Nations. Thank you Dr Evatt. But, in Australia the Australian national Coalition government is budgeting for $270 billion over a decade for armaments. In addition it is now to buy nuclear submarines from the UK and USA through what they call AUKUS. The Coalition’s Minister for Defence has just spent $3.5 billion on tanks. From 2013 Coalition governments cut billions from public health and adopted a policy of ‘Trade. Not Aid’ and decreased to the lowest level their contribution to foreign aid, while talking about ‘our Pacific family’.
Australians, however, might have more foresight than their Federal government and share and sign this petition and let their Members of Parliament know how they feel about its current military priorities, particularly now we see the impact on Tonga and across the Pacific of that underwater volcanic eruption and the tsunami that has come with it in the midst of this pandemic.
‘A most interesting and worthy initiative ‘(from ‘Nature’)
Meet Carlo Rovelli – quantum physicist connecting sciences and humanities. See his books.
He has done everything he can to get rid of what he calls the ‘pernicious modern’ separation of the sciences from the humanities. And his humanity and depth of understanding is here.
Put defence money into planetary emergencies, urge Nobel winners The Global Peace Dividend initiative was launched last month by more than 50 Nobel laureates and the presidents of 5 major science academies.
It calls on all countries to jointly reduce military spending by 2% each year and instead contribute to a global fund to tackle climate change, pandemics and extreme poverty.
Theoretical physicists Carlo Rovelli and Matteo Smerlak, the organizers of the initiative, encourage more people to sign the petition here: peace-dividend.org.
Illustration by Marc Blazewicz. Credit: Zbruch / Getty (map), Getty Images (vectors).
‘New research reveals the economic viability of developing and developed countries partnering to reach enhanced emissions reduction goals.
‘Chile, New Zealand and Switzerland may be half a world apart geographically, but researchers say they share many of the same challenges when it comes to reducing their carbon emissions.
From the opportunities of geothermal energy to the challenges facing the high-emitting dairy and forestry industries, to the need to consult and cooperate with local indigenous groups, these countries have more similarities than you might think.’
Suzi Kerr, chief economist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), says the Climate Action Teams model partners wealthier developed countries with developing countries to reduce emissions globally. It is about increasing ambitions at an affordable cost, and not about using the mechanism to replace or avoid domestic targets and objectives for net zero.
“By 2030, more than 70% of emissions will be in developing countries,” she says. “That means that the mitigation action that has to happen will be in developing countries.
“If we allow the wealthier countries to support and work with developing countries, and increase mitigation in the developing countries, through that support we can double the amount of mitigation for the same cost. So you can massively increase climate change ambition, making it much more likely that we will achieve our 1.5°C goal.”
What are Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?
Nationally Determined Contributions are actions that individual countries have committed to take in order to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to below 2° Celsius, as part of the UN-led 2015 Paris Agreement.
Kerr says the teams would most likely be successful when the partnerships were between countries with similar industries and economies – to facilitate the sharing of policies, information and technology – or where there was an existing and historical relationship.
But she says both host (developing) and partnering (developed) countries would need to show a genuine and ongoing commitment to emissions reduction policies and frameworks for the plan to work.
“Chile already has quite an ambitious target – they would be mitigating beyond that, which would then put them on a path to be more ambitious,” she says.’
Suzi Kerr, EDF
One of the challenges would be to ensure that the price paid for emissions reduction in developing countries was fair and sustainable – not ridiculously low targets, but more sustainable long-term carbon emissions reductions based across whole sectors of the economy.
“Some countries are engaging in bilateral agreements with other countries where they are buying their low-hanging fruit – really cheap emission reductions,” says Ana Pueyo, a fellow at the New Zealand-based Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Institute.
“We would want them to collaborate in a climate team with a country that has a reasonably ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). And we would not be supporting them just to meet their NDC, we will be supporting them to go beyond.
We want to collaborate with countries that are ambitious.”
What is the Kyoto Protocol?
The Kyoto Protocol was a UN agreement adopted in 1995 that committed industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat climate change. It has been largely superseded by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Kerr says the proposal had a lot of potential in a country like Australia, where domestic politics around emissions reduction was messy and fraught with pushback from vested interests.
She says a Climate Action Teams model would enable a country like Australia to raise its ambition by partnering with neighbours like Papua New Guinea or Indonesia, or countries with similar economies and challenges like South Africa, and get a better return on investment when it came to reductions.
“Australia is going to really need to find ways to make real change without causing dramatic, politically impossible change in the Australian economy.”
Suzi Kerr, EDF
“Australia already has strong trade and aid relationships with Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, which would make them suitable candidates, or in South Africa you have many of the same challenges of large mining sectors trying to transition away from coal,” Kerr says.
“These natural affinities could be a really great thing because Australia is going to really need to find ways to make real change without causing dramatic, politically impossible change in the Australian economy. Australian climate policy has had a pretty rocky past, but this is the sort of opportunity to do something really good without having to fight the vested interests head on in the way some of the other policies might require.”
Kerr reports there has been lots of interest internationally. “Countries are really beginning to take their compliance seriously and they’re taking on much more ambitious, nationally determined contributions. They are also realising how difficult this is going to be.”