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Australia falls behind on climate action

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with US President Biden standing with coal

When it comes to climate action, Australia is increasingly falling way behind the rest of the world.  There’s been a renewed focus on climate change action from leaders right around the globe, with many countries upping their emission targets at the recent Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate.  However, the country failed to increase emission targets at the summit, which has prompted concern that the country is falling behind global allies.

“The Australian [emissions] target is out-of-step with the ambition of all relevant comparison countries. The US target blows Australia’s target out of the water.”

Frank Jotzo, director of the ANU’s Centre for Climate and Energy Policy

Scott Morrison refuses to commit to climate action in Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wasn’t invited to the last climate summit, because his climate targets weren’t high enough. Regardless, President Biden gave Scott Morrison the chance to step forward for Australia in the fight against climate change.

However, the Australian PM delivered what was a largely empty speech. He refused to commit to anything concrete, or make promises on the timing to a net zero carbon future. The nation made no new commitments with Australia still aiming to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels over the same period.

They weren’t alone though. Many of the countries responsible for much of the world’s fossil fuel exports and deforestation also fell short in committing to climate action. They include India, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey.

While Australia’s emissions have fallen, the country is still a world leader on a per capita basis. Australia ranks alongside the United Kingdom, despite a much smaller population.

Global leaders commit to reducing emissions in the US, Africa and China

Biden is setting the tone for other countries by aiming halve emissions by 2030. This comes after the US rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change. Biden also signed a sweeping executive order that puts the climate crisis at the centre of US foreign policy and national security earlier this year.

Other world leaders have followed suit. Japan, the UK, Africa, Canada and China have all committed to ambitious targets. The UK announced plans to cut emissions by 78% by 2035. Even China agreed to commit to climate action despite tensions with the US. China recently signed a statement agreeing to use technology to cut emissions, committing to net zero by 2060.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

Business

Europe is preparing for winter: how can you keep costs down?

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Britain is facing a surge in cold weather, with icy conditions and fog expected for much of this week

The UK Met Office has issued a Yellow warning, which means there could be damage to buildings as Britons brace for cold conditions.

Like much of Europe, the UK are bracing for very strong winds on Wednesday, causing disruption to travel and some utilities.

Drivers are also urged to take extra care on the roads, with warnings in place for icy stretches forming on UK roads.

But some residents who are seeking to heat their homes are on edge, as power prices remain high.

Peter Smith is the director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, who said the rising cost of living is impacting Britons.

“The average annual bill has almost doubled since this time last year.”

The organisation seeks to close the gaps when it comes to energy affordability. It predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty in the coming months.

This means millions of Britons will be unable to afford living in a warm, dry and safe home.

“So far the milder than usual weather has protected many from the spiralling bills as they haven’t needed to heat their homes as high or as long as usual,” Mr Smith said.

How to keep warm without blowing your bill

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged people to make their own decisions, as he met with world leaders in tropical Bali last week.

“There are things that we can do—all of us—to improve the efficiency with which we use energy, to be careful about it,” he said.

For example, an efficient heater; taking advantage of the sun, where appropriate; and rearranging furniture are some cost-effective methods to reduce the burden on gas and energy bills.

Pipes at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Germany.

In addition, there are some other cheap ways to reduce dependence on gas and electricity bills, as the temperature continue to plunge.

  • close off rooms you’re not using
  • lower the temperature of heating
  • make sure windows are fully closed
  • block cold drafts from under doors using door snakes or carpet.

The UK Government has placed a cap freeze on energy prices.

This means households will pay an average £2,500 on their energy bills. But there is a catch: if households use more, they pay more.

National Energy Action believes an additional 2.2 million homes could be in fuel poverty, when compared to the same time last year.

Why are energy prices so high?

As demand increases, so too does the cost of heating homes.

But there is another factor, which has sent prices rising across Europe: the war in Ukraine.

Russia accounts for 25% of global gas trade, 15% of global thermal coal trade and 10% of global oil trade.

However, countries are struggling to find alternative supplies after sanctioning Moscow for the ongoing conflict.

“Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.”

RISHI SUNAK, UK PRIME MINISTER

Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to double the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe.

In July, Russia cut the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20 per cent capacity.

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Ukraine Crisis

Hoax call between Polish and “French” Presidents

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Poland President Andrezj Duda spoke to a hoaxer posing as France counterpart Emmanuel Macron, on the night a missile hit near the Poland-Ukraine border.

The news was confirmed after two Russian pranksters, Vovan and Lexus, posted a recording of the incident, and Duda’s office also affirmed the incident.

During the call, Duda was asking who was responsible for the attack on November 15, wanting to avoid a war with Russia.

The missile landed six kilometres from the border.

Initial reports suggested the missile was Russian-made, but it was later discovered to likely be a Ukrainian air defence missile.

This is the second time the pranksters have targeted the Poland President, who have made their names going after celebrities and politicians, especially those opposed to the Kremlin.

ENDS

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Ukraine Crisis

Russian missiles hit NATO territory, killing two

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Russian missile hits Poland, as the west assesses the attack on a NATO member

Reports a Russian missile has landed in Poland, killing two people. A projectile struck an area where grain was drying in the village of Przewodów, near the Ukraine border. 

An anonymous U.S. intelligence official suggested a barrage of Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian power grid, and spilt into neighbouring Poland.

Poland is a NATO member, therefore, this signifies a potential escalation to the ongoing war. It also marks the first time weapons have impacted a NATO country.

Emergency talks

Currently, the Polish government are holding urgent talks. A Polish spokesman Piotr Mueller has confirmed that top leaders are holding an emergency meeting regarding the “crisis situation.”

Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack on one country is considered an attack on all.

The White House has not confirmed the reports but the Pentagon is assessing the situation.

“I don’t want to speculate or get in hypotheticals. When it comes to our security commitments in Article 5—we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”

Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon Press Secretary

While NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, including in response to the situation in Syria and the Russian invasion of Ukraine—it has only invoked Article 5 once.

For the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, NATO evoked Article 5 and came to the defence of the United States.

“Terror is not limited to our national borders.

Russian missiles hit Poland. To fire missiles at NATO territory.

This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

volodymyr zelensky, Ukraine’s president

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