23 April 2019

Support for action surges, majority say we face climate emergency

by David Spratt

In the first-ever poll of its kind, new research from The Australia Institute (TAI) has found that a clear majority of Australians agree the nation ‘is facing a climate emergency’ requiring emergency action and that, in response, governments should “mobilise all of society” like they did during the world wars.

It is an extraordinary finding that shows public sentiment is well ahead of the major political parties, and ahead of the large climate advocacy organisations.

22 April 2019

Is the Australian Public Service fit-for-purpose to handle existential climate risk?

by Ian Dunlop and David Spratt, first published at Pearls and Irritations

Credit: One World House
The first duty of a government is to “protect the people”, their safety and well-being. Nowhere is this duty more important than in addressing climate change, which now constitutes a near-term existential threat to human civilisation. It is an open, and pressing, question whether the Australian Public Service (APS), and particularly the intelligence services, currently have the capacity to properly consider and assess the climate threat to the people of Australia, and to offer sound advice on action to minimise that threat.

17 April 2019

Battle for climate emergency action starts on the Home Front

 Former Australian defence and security experts say if we are serious about national security then we must decarbonise our economy within a decade.

A new powerful and eye-opening short documentary series presents some of Australia's former security, defence and political leaders who warn us that climate change is 'a catalyst for conflict' and a 'threat multiplier' as it fuels instability in the world’s most vulnerable regions.

08 April 2019

Existential risk, Neoliberalism and UN Climate Policymaking (2)

On the current high-emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), most of the tropical zone experiences many months each year of deadly heat, beyond the capacity of humans to survive in the outdoors. Source: Global risk of deadly heat
International climate policymaking has failed to avoid a path of catastrophic global warming. Two often-overlooked causes of this failure are how climate-science knowledge has been produced and utilised by the United Nation’s twin climate bodies and how those organisations function.
Part 2 of 2
| Read Part 1.

by David Spratt

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces science synthesis reports for the primary purpose of informing policymaking, specifically that of the UNFCCC. This may be termed “regulatory science” (as opposed to “research science”), which Sheila Jasanoff describes as one that “straddles the dividing line between science and policy” (9) as scientists and regulators try to provide answers to policy-relevant questions. In this engagement between science and politics, say Kate Dooley and co-authors, “science is seen neither as an objective truth, nor as only driven by social interests, but as being co-produced through the interaction of natural and social orders”.

Existential risk, Neoliberalism and UN Climate Policymaking (1)

International climate policymaking has failed to avoid a path of catastrophic global warming. Two often-overlooked causes of this failure are how climate-science knowledge has been produced and utilised by the United Nation’s twin climate bodies and how those organisations function.
Part 1 of 2
| Read Part 2.

by David Spratt

It is now widely understood that human-induced climate change this century is an existential risk to human civilisation. Unless carbon emissions are rapidly reduced to zero, it is likely that global warming will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.
While policymakers talk about holding warming to 1.5°C to 2°C above the pre-industrial level—a very unsafe goal given that dangerous climate-system tipping points are being activated now at just 1°C of warming—by their lack of action they are in fact setting Earth on a much higher warming path that will destroy many cities, nations and peoples, and many, if not most, species.

25 March 2019

New study shows IPCC is underselling climate change

Note: Last year, we published a detailed report on scientific reticence, What Lies Beneath: The underestimation of existential risk, particularly as it applies to the IPCC reports. So this new study adds to the body of knowledge about conservatism in this field. - David. 
 A new study has revealed that the language used by the global climate change watchdog, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is overly conservative – and therefore the threats are much greater than the Panel's reports suggest.

Published in the journal BioScience, the team of scientists from the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the University of Bristol (UK), and the Spanish National Research Council has analysed the language used in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (from 2014).

08 March 2019

SHOCK, HORROR: Poll finds strong majority support for declaring a climate emergency

Panel discussion at the City of Darebin's climate emergency conference, September 2018. Photo: John Englart.
by David Spratt, published at RenewEconomy on 8 March 2019

In five countries —  Australia, the USA, Canada, the UK and Switzerland  — an impressive 382 local government authorities covering more than 33 million people have recognised or declared a climate emergency. And now polling conducted in Melbourne shows that a sizeable majority in that city support declaring a climate emergency.

That will be a shock for some of Australia’s largest climate advocacy organisations, who have steadfastly refused to use the climate emergency framing, saying that such language is not plausible, is not supported by market research or that appeals to fear do not work.

Perhaps they should tell that to David Wallace-Wells, the author of the just released book, “The Uninhabitable Earth”, which is destined to become a runaway best seller.

18 February 2019

With climate protection, Labor can turn the table on government’s fear agenda

French Polynesian President Edouard Fritch and Australian Foreign Minister,Marise Payne leave their handprints during the signing of the Boe Declaration in September 2018 at the Pacific Islands Forum

by David Spratt

National security is a defensive issue for opposition leader Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor  Party. Their approach is to mimic the government at almost every step, lest a crack of difference between the two parties becomes a conservative wedge. We saw this again last week with the fear campaign on the medivac law.

But Labor can turn the table on the government’s security agenda by framing climate change action as the duty of government to protect the people — their livelihood, security and health — from the greatest risk of all to their future well-being and human security.

It will take courage from Labor, but the crushing impacts of climate change — devastating floods in Queensland, destruction of precious World Heritage forest in Tasmania, vital river systems without water, and an extraordinary, month-long, record-breaking heatwave blanketing most of Australia —  are the material conditions on which a new climate and human security narrative can be built.

17 February 2019

Best climate video ever? A Swedish Teenager's Compelling Plea on Climate

On an email list I am on,  this video was described as "the best climate video ever".  Best ever?  I don't know, but it's very, very good. A must watch. -- David

14 January 2019

COP24: Capricious foes, Big Sister and high-carbon plutocrats

Note: If you want to know what really went on at the December UN climate policy talks in Katowice, Poland, Prof. Kevin Anderson, with his characteristic direct and insightful analysis, tells it like it is: the good, the bad and the ugly.  This article was first published at kevinanderson.infohttps://kevinanderson.info/blog/capricious-foes-big-sister-high-carbon-plutocrats-irreverent-musings-from-katowices-cop24/. Kevin described it as “irreverent musings from Katowice’s COP24”, but it is more than that!
by Kevin Anderson

Four weeks on and the allure of Christmas and New Year festivities fade into the grey light of a Manchester January – a fine backdrop for revisiting December’s COP24.

An Orwellian tale: myths & hidden enemies

A quick glance at COP24 suggests three steps forward and two steps back. But whilst to the naïve optimist this may sound like progress, in reality it’s yet another retrograde bound towards a climate abyss. As government negotiators play poker with the beauty of three billion years of evolution, climate change emissions march on. This year with a stride 2.7% longer than last year – which itself was 1.6% longer than the year before. Whilst the reality is that every COP marks another step backwards, the hype of these extravaganzas gives the impression that we’re forging a pathway towards a decarbonised future.