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Australia climate - March 30

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PM's forest plan 'hypocritical'

Selina Mitchell, The Australian
A PLAN to spend $200 million to help reduce deforestation in South East Asia was hypocritical, given Australia continued to log and burn its own forests, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

Senator Brown said he welcomed the announcement, but that it would address just a small percentage of the deforestation occurring around the world. “It is rank hypocrisy from the Prime Minister to have personally signed off Regional Forest Agreements in Australia promoting the aerial fire-bombing of logged ancient forests in Australia, injecting millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

Prime Minister John Howard announced today Australia is committing $200 million over five years to a global fund to address deforestation, targeting neighbours such as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. ..
(29 Mar 2007)
Forests have been breaking into the news in Australia for another reason, with Tasmania’s Labor Premier riding shotgun on the perverted assessment process for Gunn’s paper mill. Not in the news but perhaps best is that blockading to stop building of logging roads continues in the Denison Valley.-LJ


Carbon karma
The dream of hosting an authentically green festival has struck fertile ground in the central Victorian town of Castlemaine

Genevieve Barlow
WOMADELAIDE did it. The Commonwealth Games did it. Now Victoria's longest-running arts festival is getting in on the act.

On Friday, The Castlemaine State Festival, a 10-day extravaganza of opera, theatre, cabaret, music, dance and visual arts, dawns as an agent of good in the fight against global warming. It's going carbon neutral.

Patrons have been urged to buy green tickets, to take the train when coming from Melbourne or Bendigo, to use bikes (provided free) to get around town and to think about walking instead of driving between venues. Special breakfasts and lunches will offer food grown within 100 kilometres of town to demonstrate the importance of lowering food miles. ..

That's because this festival, unlike others that swear to carbon neutrality, is actually working on reducing energy use, rather than simply buying carbon offsets, which equate to permits to pollute. ..

After some argy-bargy about whether they should or shouldn't and some initial uncertainty from members of the local Rotary Club, which contributes $7500 to the festival, the festival's board, headed by chairman Michael Bottomley, supported the idea.

"We just needed someone to come and explain to us what carbon neutral is all about," said Rotary Club president Paul Malherbe, explaining their hesitation. "Seventy per cent of our members are over 55 or 60 years old and many don't know what it's about."..
(28 Mar 2007)


Carr predicts carbon trading among individuals

Staff, ABC
Former New South Wales premier Bob Carr, who chairs the Climate Institute Advisory Council, says carbon trading may one day extend to individuals, not just businesses and governments.

Mr Carr told a Property Council seminar in Sydney this morning that a national carbon trading scheme in Australia is inevitable. He says everyone will one day have a carbon entitlement.

"Every citizen a carbon credit, but if you use up yours by reliance on an inefficient, old-fashioned vehicle, for example, or a large quantity of household air-conditioning, you've got to buy your right to any further carbon," he said.
(29 Mar 2007)


Experts Warn of Climate Mayhem

Marian Wilkinson and Stephanie Peatling, Sydney Morning Herald
AUSTRALIA will be hit by more frequent and intense heatwaves, bushfires, floods, drought and landslides as global warming causes the temperature to rise this century, according to the confidential draft report of the world's leading climate scientists due for release next week.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that a rise in the sea level from global warming "is virtually certain to cause greater coastal inundation, erosion, [and] loss of wetlands".

It notes a model showing the beach suburbs of Collaroy and Narrabeen facing a 20-centimetre sea level rise, combined with a storm event causing up to $250 million worth of damage.

The bleak chapter on Australia and New Zealand, already in the hands of the Howard Government, finds that both countries are "already experiencing impacts from recent climate change".
(30 March 2007)


Howard's punt is on the money

Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald
John Howard could not have chosen a more exquisitely churlish moment to truculently, almost exultantly, dismiss the idea of setting any targets for cutting Australia's output of the greenhouse gases thought to be responsible for global warming. It was on Wednesday afternoon during the Parliament's question time. Britain's Sir Nicholas Stern was in the building and waiting to meet the Prime Minister.

Stern is the author of the celebrated Stern review last year that said global warming "could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century".

The front page of the Herald was reporting that Stern had arrived in Australia, asking that the country commit to mandatory targets to cut carbon emissions by 2020 to levels 30 per cent lower than those of 1990, and to cut by at least 60 per cent by 2050.

The Labor Party has supported a target of cuts of 60 per cent by 2050, although, crucially, it has failed to say how it proposes to achieve them. And Howard knew that Kevin Rudd is convening a so-called summit on climate change in Canberra tomorrow where Labor will parade its concern for the planetary future.

So with Howard under pressure from the rock star of climate change, Stern, and the rock star of Australian politics, Rudd, to commit to targets for cutting greenhouse emissions, what did he do? He told the Parliament:

"I am not going to join the Australian Labor Party in destroying the jobs of Australian coalminers. I am not going to join the Labor Party in committing to targets which will do disproportionate damage to the Australian economy."
(30 March 2007)
Related from the SMH:
Stern words for Australia - slash emissions now
PM scorns Stern call as jobs threat


Australia faces extreme weather rise, says leaked UN report

AFP
Australia will suffer more droughts, fires, floods and storms due to global warming and its famous Great Barrier Reef will be devastated by 2030, according to leaked extracts Friday of a UN report.

The draft UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warns that temperatures in Australia would rise by 6.7 degrees Celsius before the end of the century, the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The report, due to be released on April 6, said rising temperatures would cause more intense bushfires and lead to deaths from heatwaves.
(30 March 2007)

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