Finkel and the Australian climate deadlock: still not heading towards zero emissions

In their submission to the Finkel Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, the Climate Council made it clear that a rapid transition to net zero emissions is the priority:

To protect Australians from worsening climate impacts (eg more destructive storms, intense heatwaves and worsening bushfire conditions) and in line with our Paris Agreement commitments and carbon budget constraints, Australia needs pathways to transition as rapidly as possible away from coal, oil and gas to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

But the Finkel review has little to say about our Paris Agreement commitments. Instead it focuses on ensuring a reliable electricity grid and reducing the price of electricity.

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Vandana Shiva – seed freedom

At WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks, Vandana Shiva, Paul Sutton and Tim Jarvis will be challenging the values that we place on our land, food and water, and what these values mean for the health of our planet and ourselves.

I spoke to Dr Vandana Shiva about seeds and freedom.

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Wanted: political leader with a vision for a sustainable future

A sustainable future remains within our grasp but – thanks to the way human brains work – only governments can implement many of the necessary strategies. Our political leaders have a unique responsibility.

Consensus politics and compromise may well be the only way that we can deal with existential threats such as climate change, food and water scarcity, and the social disruption that would inevitably follow. If the current election campaign is anything to go by, these concepts do not come easily to Australia’s political leaders. But perhaps that will change.

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How Do We Face Extreme Climate Change?

Day 1 in Oslo began on foot, getting my bearings on an early morning walk past neat houses nestled into the undulating hills around the harbour.

I soon found myself pondering the human condition on a bridge over Frogner-dammen, face to face with sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) that display the full range of our capacity for love, tenderness, anger, cruelty, compassion, friendship, family loyalty.

The power of human emotions was a recurring theme that afternoon, with the first conference session on “Extreme Dialogue on Climate Extremes – Building a Bridge to the Future” in the expert hands of Nisha Pillai, former anchor of BBC World News.

To set the scene, a few selected participants shared their vision of what future “climate extremes” looked like from their perspectives:
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Imagining a nation free of fossil fuel investment - New Internationalist magazine cartoonist – New Internationalist magazine cartoonist

It’s simple really. If you want good things to happen, invest in them. If you want to stop bad things happening, cut off their funding.

But that’s not yet occurring. Banks, super-funds and governments keep investing in activities that we know are rapidly destroying the life-support systems of our planet, and it must stop.

That’s why the Bill McKibben Tour this week is so powerful and so important. Bill is a passionate advocate for divestment – getting out of investments in fossil fuels – and his presentations are clear and memorable. If you know a banker, a superannuation fund employee or a government worker, invite them to join you at one of the events on the Bill McKibben Do the Maths roadshow. You can book now for live events in Canberra – June 5th (with internet simulcasts to Adelaide, Hobart and Perth), Canberra National Press Club – June 6th, Melbourne – June 7th and Brisbane – June 9th.
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Where to From Rio+20?

Twenty years ago, Australian journalist Lenore Taylor was in Rio for the first Earth Summit.  I was nine years old. I knew – and cared – about environmental problems. But I assumed that by the time I was an adult, the grown-ups would have solved them.

It wasn’t just youthful optimism; I had evidence for my hope. Every politician, no matter what party, talked about leaving a better future for young people. They said they cared about our futures; that they’d do whatever it took to protect us.

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