Photo credit: go_greener_oz
This appalling decision has drawn trenchant criticism from Australian scientists and environmentalists (indeed a courageous young woman protestor who shouted â€œNO!â€ was hauled from the Australian PMâ€™s press conference. This appalling decision is in stark contrast to the Climate Emergency Facts (from top Australian and world climate scientists) and the Climate Emergency Actions required to deal with the Climate Emergency that are summarized at the end of this article (see â€œClimate Emergency Facts and Required Actionsâ€ on the Yarra Valley Climate Action Groupâ€™s website.).
I have presented below a very detailed critique of this appalling, irresponsible, selfish and incompetent decision by the extreme right wing, Bush-ite Rudd Labor Government - a decision which, if adopted globally, would be tantamount to Terracide (destruction of the Earthâ€™s Bisophere) and global Climate Suicide. A top Australian climate scientist Professor Andy Pitman responded to the Australian Governmentâ€™s â€œ5% off by 2020â€ by saying that we need to keep atmospheric CO2 to below 450 ppm to avoid a catastrophic 2 degrees C temperature rise and that means global 25%-50% reduction on 2000 GHG pollution by 2020.
According to data from â€œCoal Facts Australia 2008â€ of the Australian Coal Association. Australiaâ€™s Domestic greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 totalled 559 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2-e) or about 1.24% of estimated global emissions (45 Gt CO2-e = 45,000 Mt CO2-e).
Australiaâ€™s greenhouse gas production in CO2-e in 2000 was 535.3 million tonnes (Mt) according to â€œGreenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries. Where does Australia stand?â€ by Hal Turton (Discussion Paper 66, The Australia Institute, June 2004). Based on an annual growth rate of 2% this indicates a 2008 value of 627 Mt.
However Australia is the worldâ€™s biggest coal exporter and is also a major exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that is Exported and thence burned to produce CO2 . Using a 2008 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimate of 627 Mt (derived from the 2000 value and assuming an annual growth rate of 2%) plus CO2 emissions estimates from exported coal and LNG in 2008 of 474.3 Mt and 28.4 Mt, respectively (see US Energy Information Administration data), one can estimate that Australiaâ€™s 2008 Domestic and Exported greenhouse gas emissions totalled 1130 Mt CO2-e or 2.5% of estimated global emissions.
Extrapolating from US Energy Information Administration data on Australian coal and liquid natural gas exports in the last decade (beautifully LINEAR and UPWARDS when plotted versus time and hence permitting qualified extrapolation), this decision of "5% decrease on the Domestic 2000 GHG pollution value by 2020" and official Labor policy of "60% decrease on the Domestic 2000 GHG pollution value by 2050â€ means that Australia's annual Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas pollution (in Mt CO2-e = million tonnes of CO2-e) will INCREASE from 885 Mt (2000) and 1130 Mt (2008) to 1245 Mt (2020; an INCREASE of 41% over the 2000 value) to 1586 Mt (2050; an INCREASE of 79% over the 2000 value).
If one supposed that sanity broke out globally and that the rest of the world, except for Australia, immediately stopped any increase in greenhouse gas emissions, then it is estimated that Australiaâ€™s share of annual global GHG pollution would increase from 2.5% (2008) to 1245 x100 /44,115 = 2.8% (2020) and to 1586 x 100/44,456 = 3.6% (2050).
2000 per capita greenhouse gas production with land use change considered (or without land use change) was 25.9 (25.6) for Australia versus 3.9 (3.9) for China (see â€œList of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capitaâ€).
However Australia is the worldâ€™s biggest coal exporter, the worst per capita greenhouse gas polluter in the developed world, and one of the worst annual per capita greenhouse polluters in the world as a whole â€“ and it accordingly would be disingenuous and indeed dishonest to IGNORE Australiaâ€™s huge Exported CO2 pollution in calculating Australiaâ€™s annual per capita GHG pollution. Thus if Australia didnâ€™t extract fossil fuel and sell it then it this fuel wouldnâ€™t get burned - we are responsible for our actions and the only way Australia would be innocent of the GHG pollution consequences of coal and LNG burning would be if it sold the coal and LNG overseas on the strict condition that it would NOT be burned).
Accordingly, in 2000 Australiaâ€™s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) was 44.2 versus 3.9 for the annual per capita GHG pollution by China. Based on US EIA data projections and Labor GHG pollution policy (and assuming population stasis at 21 million) Australiaâ€™s Domestic plus Exported CO2-e pollution will reach 59 in 2020 (15 times Chinaâ€™s 2000 annual per capita GHG pollution value) and 75.5 by 2050 (19 times Chinaâ€™s 2000 value of 3.9; 33 times Pakistanâ€™s 2000 value of 2.3; 40 times Indiaâ€™s 2000 value of 1.9; and 84 times Bangladeshâ€™s 2000 value of 0.9) (see Wikipedia).
The extraordinary international disparity and the extraordinary current Australian â€œexceptionalismâ€ (it is operationally OK for Australia but not for others; Australia will reduce its per capita GHG pollution only if China reduces its too) brings to mind other extraordinary mathematical statements of White Australian â€œexceptionalismâ€ in relation to Chinese from Australiaâ€™s non-politically correct (non-PC) past.
Thus in 1947 then Labor Immigration Minister (and later Labor leader) Arthur Calwell notoriously stated that â€œTwo Wongs do not make a Whiteâ€ (for context and documentation see p183, â€œJane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainabilityâ€œ:http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ )â€“ however, as indicated above, current Australian Labor is evidently aiming for a circa twenty (20)-fold disparity.
Indeed way back in 1901, Edmund Barton (Australiaâ€™s first Prime Minister and Father of the notorious White Australia Policy aka the 1901 Immigration Restriction Act that was finally abolished by the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act) stated: â€œThe doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of an Englishman and a Chinamanâ€ (for context and documentation see p179, â€œJane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainabilityâ€œ. See: janeaustenand.blogspot.com).
The effectively â€œbusiness as usualâ€ â€œ5% reduction on 2000 GHG pollution level by 2020â€ must be unequivocally seen in the context that 16 million people already die avoidably annually due to increasingly global warming-impacted deprivation (see â€œBody Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950â€: ) and that, according to top UK climate scientist Professor James Lovelock FRS (the Gaia hypothesis, â€œThe Revenge of Gaiaâ€), over 6 billion people will perish this century due to unaddressed man-made climate change.
Indeed the scale of the actual and potential lethality of First World tardiness in response to the Climate Emergency â€“ exemplified by the appalling conduct of Australia, the worst First World per capita GHG polluter - and First World demands that they will reduce their extremely high per capita GHG pollution if Developing countries reduce their already very low per capita GHG pollution, demands a new Climate Lexicon e.g. Climate Racism, Climate Politically-correct Racism, Climate PC Racism, Climate Exceptionalism, Climate Terrorism, Climate Terrorists, Climate Terror, Climate Criminal, Climate Crime, Climate Criminality, Climate Injustice, Climate Justice and Climate Genocide.
This formal complaint pointed out that
Australian â€œexceptionalismâ€ is put into stark contrast by the following values of â€œannual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollutionâ€ (tonnes per person per year) estimated for 2004 using data from the US Energy Information Administration: 19.2 (for Australia; 40 if you include Australiaâ€™s coal exports), 19.7 (the US), 18.4 (Canada), 9.9 (Japan), 4.2 (the World), 3.6 (China), 1.0 ( India),Pakistan (0.7) and 0.25 (for Bangladesh).
Of course â€œannual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollutionâ€ is but one â€“ albeit a very important â€“ indicator of climate impact. The Germanwatch Climate Change Index 2008, a comparison of the 56 top CO2 emitting nations, takes other parameters into account in ranking. In this ranking of 56 top CO2 emitting nations, Sweden and Germany are #1 and #2 for greenhouse responsibility, while shale-oil-rich Canada (a US ally), coal-rich Australia (a US ally), the USA and oil-rich Saudi Arabia (US-linked) rank #53, #54, #55 and #56, respectively.
To assist public understanding of the issue here are some key estimates relating to â€œannual per capita GHG pollutionâ€ and deriving from authoritative primary data provided by the US Energy Information Administration and the UN Population Division and taking into account the OFFICIAL Australian 2020 targets of â€œ5% reduction on 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2020â€ and â€œ60% reduction on 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2050â€.
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual LNG exportsâ€ (Mt CO2 produced): 21.8 (2000), 28.4 (2008), 38.2 (2020), 62.8 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual coal exports) (Mt CO2 produced): 327.6 (2000), 474.3 (2008), 609.7 (2020), 1255.4 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual Domestic GHG pollution) (Mt CO2-e produced) : 535.3 (2000), 627.2 (2008), 508.5 (2020), 267.7 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual Domestic & Exported GHG pollutionâ€ (Mt CO2-e produced): 884.7 (2000), 1129.9 (2008), 1245.4 (2020), 1585.9 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s population (Millions): 19.1 (2000), 21.0 (2008), 23.4 (2020), 28.0 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual per capita Domestic & Exported GHG pollutionâ€ (tonnes CO2-e per person per year): 46.3 (2000), 53.8 (2008), 53.2 (2020), 56.6 (2050).
Australiaâ€™s â€œannual Domestic & Exported GHG pollution as % of 2000 valueâ€: 100% (2000), 128% (2008), 141% (2020), 179% (2050).
As indicated above, Australia needs to REDUCE its â€œannual per capita Domestic & Exportedâ€ GHG pollutionâ€ by 90% to bring it back to the World average â€“ but, in stark contrast, is set to INCREASE this under its quite FALSELY labelled â€œGHG pollution reductionâ€ policies.
According to Professor Andy Pitman (University of New South Wales, a top Australian climate scientist and a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
In response to the Labor Government announcement of â€œ5% reduction on 2000 GHG pollution by 2020â€ Professor Pitman has stated on Australiaâ€™s ABC Radio National that we need to keep atmospheric CO2 to below 450 ppm to avoid a catastrophic 2 degrees C temperature rise and that means global 25%-50% reduction on 2000 GHG pollution by 2020.
The Australian Governmentâ€™s falsely named â€œCarbon Pollution Reduction Schemeâ€ has a highly flawed Emissions Trading System (ETS) as an INDIRECT mechanism of Government intervention in â€œthe marketâ€ to supposedly get â€œthe marketâ€ (the actual source of the Climate Emergency problem) to moved to a solution. The Australian ETS is highly flawed Cap and Trade system and, in short, is based on a Cap that will destroy the Great Barrier Reef , ignores 2/3 of Australian GHG sources and absurdly RETURNS a large part of the Government receipts for â€œlicences to polluteâ€ to the major polluters (for detailed critique see â€œAustralian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will INCREASE Carbon Pollutionâ€) .
The self-absorbed and â€œexceptionalistâ€ Australian Government, media, politicians and people simply donâ€™t understand the International Legal principle that just as we are held responsible for out actions that damage others at a national level, so this also applies at an International level (as exampled by huge compensation cases for disasters associated with pollution from mining). Thus a UK organization Bring Climate Criminals to Justice (BCCJ) has an aim â€œTo establish a legal process in the UK and abroad to facilitate the criminal prosecution of Government Ministers and key business leaders whose policies and activities contribute to the mass loss of life which Climate Change is certain to now causeâ€ and is particularly concerned with ALREADY HAPPENING damage to Bangladesh and â€œWorking to ensure UK environmental campaign groups re-focus campaigning, uniting to call for the criminal prosecution and imprisonment of the worst offendersâ€ (see: http://climate-criminals.co.uk). As outlined above, a formal complaint outlining Australian complicity in Climate Genocide was sent to the International Criminal Court in 2008 (see: http://climateemergency.blogspot.com).
Sanctions and Boycotts were successfully applied to the Apartheid rÃ©gime of South Africa for denying equal rights and one-man-one-vite to Africans, Chinese and Indians in South Africa. Australia, accordingly, must be at serious risk of Sanctions, Boycotts, Green Tariff and Reparations Demands over the damage it is already causing and the huge threat it poses to billions of people and the very existence of some Island States through its remorseless, world leading per capita greenhouse gas pollution.
A fundamental key issue is Public Honesty in Word and Deed. Thus it is egregiously dishonest for the Australian Government to call a scheme that will INCREASE Australiaâ€™s GHG pollution as a â€œâ€Carbon Pollution Reduction Schemeâ€. Further, the Rudd Labor Government was elected in 2007 with Climate Change as a major public concern â€“ however, in 2008 Australiaâ€™s annual Domestic and Exported Greenhouse Gas (GHG) pollution INCREASED by 2.1% from that in 2007 under the Coalition Federal Government and , barring recession effects, is expected in 2009 to have increased by 6.5% over that in 2007 (see â€œAustralia INCREASED Greenhouse Gas pollution in 2008 by 2% over 2007â€).
Even if we set aside the argument about required GHG pollution reduction between expert scientists VERSUS industry, the coal industry and the Liberal-Labor (lib-Lab) political consensus, there is a fundamental issue of public honesty and zero tolerance for lying (by omission or commission) that is absolutely required for rational risk management in the interests of public safety and national security. Unfortunately a Letter recently sent to about 3,000 State and Federal MPs, many non-science academics, media and other influential Australians â€“ a Letter that made this fundamental risk management point with numerous examples of huge realities (including Climate Emergency realities such as the likely destruction of the Great Barrier Reef) that are IGNORED by Mainstream media, politicians and academics and pleaded for them to inform others (see â€œClimate Emergency, Exceptionalism & Ignoring Downunder. Letter to eminent Australians over public honestyâ€) â€“ resulted in a mere 0.2% of recipients responding by saying that they would inform others about the shocking but IGNORED facts I reported.
Finally, the sheer IRRESPONSIBILITY, GREED and policy FAILURE implicit in the Developed Worldâ€™s worst per capita GHG polluter, Australia, committing to a derisory â€œ5% reduction on 2000 GHG pollution by 2020â€ is in STARK CONTRAST to the Climate Emergency Facts (from top Australian and world climate scientists) and the Climate Emergency Actions required to deal with the Climate Emergency that are summarized below (see â€œClimate Emergency Facts and Required Actionsâ€ on the Yarra Valley Climate Action Groupâ€™s website: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-emergency-facts-and-required-actions ; for other detailed, quantitative and well-referenced analyses relating to the Climate Emergency see the following articles and fact sheets placed on the Web by the Melbourne-based Yarra Valley Climate Action Group).
Climate Emergency Facts and Required Actions
Just as we turn to top medical specialists for advice on life-threatening disease, so we turn to the opinions of top scientists and in particular top biological and climate scientists for Climate Change risk assessment and Climate Emergency Facts and requisite Actions as exampled below (for detailed documentation of everything below see the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group website).
Professor James Hansen (top US climate scientist, head, NASAâ€™s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): â€œWe face a climate emergencyâ€.
Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty: â€œWe are in real danger.â€
Professor David de Kretser AC (eminent medical scientist and Governor of Victoria, Australia) â€œThere is no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest problem confronting mankind at this time and that it has reached the level of a state of emergency.â€
Dr Andrew Glikson (palaeo-climate scientist, ANU): â€œThe continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has â€¦ raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date, leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2â€“3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres.â€
Major Climate Emergency Facts
1. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has increased to 387 parts per million (ppm) as compared to 280 ppm pre-industrial and is increasing at about 2.5 ppm per year with average global temperature about 0.8 degrees C above the pre-industrial.
2. Man-made global warming due to greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides is already associated with major ecosystem damage (Arctic, ocean, coral reefs), melting of glaciers and Arctic sea ice, sea level rise, methane release from melting tundra and positive feed-back effects accelerating GHG pollution and warming.
3. Consequences of atmospheric CO2 concentration increase and warming to current 387 ppm: major ecosystem damage; current species extinction rates are 100-1,000 times greater than previously; to over 400 ppm: â€œnew territoryâ€ not seen for millions of years with acute dangers from positive feedbacks; to over 450 ppm: major damage and death to coral reefs and associated fisheries; to over 500 ppm: major loss of ocean phytoplankton, ocean life, cloud seeding, the Greenland ice sheet and densely populated global coastal regions due to massive sea level rises.
Climate Emergency Actions URGENTLY Required
1. Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying.
2. Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of less than 350 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists.
3. Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth.
PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW.