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Barnaby back: Why it’s a disaster for climate policy | ticker VIEWS

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Australia has a new Deputy Prime Minister, with Barnaby Joyce now controlling the Nationals Party. Joyce has previously been at the forefront of controversy and has been known for his lack of recognition of climate change. So what does this represent for Australia’s climate policy and targets?

A bad move for Australia’s climate change policy

Australia is increasingly divided and isolated on its climate policies and targets. The rest of the world is moving towards reducing its carbon footprint, well before 2050. The UK has recently moved towards 78% carbon reduction by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison was inching closer towards 2050 targets, after the G7 summit. The Nationals party didn’t like this, and now Barnaby Joyce is reappearing in the Deputy Prime Ministers seat.

Australia is expected to step up its ambitions in a constructive way at the global climate conference in November. Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says Joyce is not the right person for the role.

“Australia is going to be expected to play a constructive and important role there. But those, like Barnaby Joyce, who don’t even believe in the science on climate change. He doesn’t think its a problem. He doesn’t think Australia needs to transition from fossil fuels. It puts Australia at stark odds to our closest allies… It leaves us out in the cold… this is going to be embarrassing.” 

“It makes Australia a laughing stock on the world stage”

“It’s bad for the climate, its bad for gender equality, its bad for Australian women.” 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Road to net zero: Environment Minister insists there will be no change

Australia’s environment minister is insisting there’ll be no change to the government’s climate policy, despite the return of Barnaby Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister.

The environment minister Sussan Ley insists the preference to reach net zero emissions by 2050 is still the government’s position.

Mr Joyce was elected as Nationals leader in a spill on Monday. He’s expected to demand greater control over future climate change policy.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Joyce will negotiate terms for a new agreement this week

On tickerCLIMATE this week

Scott Hamilton and Holly Stearnes spoke with the director of IEEFA, Tim Buckley. IEEFA is the institute for energy economics and financial analysis and are accelerating the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.

Buckley says the decision to put Barnaby in this leadership position, is going to cause chaos for Australia.

“The fact that any Australian political leader can talk about climate science denial and can talk about fossil fuel subsidies, is ludicrous in this day and age.”

Tim Buckley, IEEFA

https://twitter.com/tickerNEWSco/status/1406884202289668100

Joyce’s return to this leadership position has sparked major concerns. Energy expert and co-host of Ticker Climate, Scott Hamilton, is baffled by the decision and says it will be a challenge for the Australian Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison can’t even get bipartisanship within the coalition on climate policy.” 

Scott Hamilton

The end of coal

The International Energy Agency roadmap to net zero emissions says the world can afford to have no new unabated coal, oil or gas developments in the world from now on. All major training and military partners are now taking action by subscribing to the Paris agreement. When considering what this means for world coal exports and what the future of coal in Australia looks like, Buckley says there will be no use for coal at all.

“All of our major trading partners have committed to net zero emissions. The writing is on the wall for this industry. We need to talk about solutions. ” 

Tim Buckley, IEEFA

One of Australia’s largest hoped for coal export markets is Vietnam, but even they don’t need Australia’s coal. Vietnam recently installed 9 gigawatts of rooftop solar in one year, that’s three times more than Australia did in ten years. Australia is heavily relying on Vietnam to import its coal, but why would they do that when they can do their own domestic zero emissions solutions at are at a lower cost?

“There is no future for thermal coal at a 20 year view”

Tim Buckley, IEEFA

[International Energy Agency, Net Zero by 2050]

Other climate news this week:

In Australia, the NSW Government will put an end to stamp duty on electric vehicles, to increase uptake. Drivers will also be offered thousands of dollars in other incentives, as part of the $500 million plan.

The extraordinary plan will be revealed this week, with a plan for battery-powered vehicles to account for more than half of all new car sales by 2031. However, there’s a catch, EV drivers will be hit with a road-user tax within six years to fund road and infrastructure spending.  

“We’re charging up the nation to make NSW the Norway of Australia when it comes to electric vehicles.”

Environment Minister, Matt Kean 

South Korea has now committed to a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030. They have also committed to net-zero by 2050. This is a bold statement against climate change from South Korea, who are a really important trading nation.

Climate

Concerns a Typhoon will hit Tokyo during the Olympics

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It’s the last thing Tokyo needs right as the Opening Ceremony is getting underway

Meteorologists are watching out for a typhoon which is forming off the south coast of Japan.

It could reach Tokyo by the end of the weekend, on day two of the Games.

The storm is yet to be fully formed, making trajectory predictions extremely difficult for storm trackers.

Japan is experiencing tropical conditions with temperatures over 30 degrees celsius expected throughout the Games.

Here’s where it’s heading

The area of low pressure southeast of Japan is expected to gather strength and move northwestward

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Tesla strikes deal with BHP Group, protecting an EV future

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One of the worlds biggest EV carmakers has protected itself from a future supply crunch

Tesla has struck a nickel-supply deal with BHP Group.

The Elon Musk-led company is seeking to protect itself from a future supply crunch.

BHP will provide the electric-carmaker with the metal from its Nickel West operation in Western Australia.

In a statement, BHP stated that the two companies would work together to make the battery supply chain more sustainable.

Growing concern of future nickel supplies

Telsa’s billionaire boss, Elon Musk, has repeatedly expressed concern about future supplies of nickel due to challenges in sustainable sourcing.

Musk has pleaded with miners to produce more nickel, with demand set to skyrocket as the world increasingly moves toward electric vehicles and phase out internal combustion engine cars.

Nickel is a key component in lithium-ion batteries

The product is used in electric vehicles – and Tesla needs it greatly.

It packs more energy into batteries and allows producers to reduce use of cobalt, which is more expensive and has a less transparent supply chain.

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Climate

Australia blocks UNESCO from ruling the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” from climate change

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Australia now has enough global support to avoid UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” World Heritage Site until at least 2023

In June, the 12 countries in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted for a draft ruling that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger of losing its World Heritage status due to the impacts of climate change.

Since then, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been busy lobbying Europe. During her tour, she visited eight countries in a bid to gain support to reject the danger listing.

The Australian government successfully garnered support from 12 other countries to delay the decision until 2023. This is enough for a clear majority.

The countries include Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, and Uganda.

Ley’s defence is the original process was politicised and didn’t follow due process including a site visit. She also alleges that UNESCO “unfairly targeted” Australia over its climate policy.

“If it is being proposed on the basis of the very real threat of global climate change, then there are any number of international World Heritage Sites that should be subject to the same process,” Ley said.

“I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world’s reefs. But it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger’ listing.”

“The question is why does the Australian government need two years to report back to the Committee if it accepts urgent action is needed?”

Coral experts in Australia have largely praised UNESCO’s suggestion to list the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’. Global warming poses an immanent threat to the reef’s survival.

One climate change expert Scott Hamilton believes the Australian Federal Government isn’t doing enough to protect the reef.

“It’s time the Australian Federal Government started fighting the causes of the disease when it comes to climate change, rather than dealing with the symptoms.”

“If the Australian Federal Government spent as much effort tackling climate as it does fighting the UNESCO World Heritage body, we might actually stop destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.”

If passed, the amendment would give Australia until December 2022 to submit its case for the health of the reef. The Committee would then consider the proposal at it annual session in 2023. This typically happens in the middle of the year.

If UNESO decides to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef to ‘in danger’, it could mean trouble for Australia’s federal government. The country is due for a federal election June next year. There are also concerns that the decision could hurt international tourism.

The reef is a major income source for Central Queensland, raking in over $6 billion every day. The Great Barrier reef also supports approximately 60,000 jobs.

WWFA’s head of oceans, Richard Leck, rejected Australia’s proposed amendment.

He said, “it doesn’t change UNESCO’s technical and scientific advice recommending urgent action on climate change and water pollution”.

One report found that if the earth warms by 2 degrees, it will mean certain destruction for 99% of the reef. Three major bleaching events since 2016 have also posed a huge risk to the reef.

Although most developed countries are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier, Australia is yet to set a deadline to reach net zero emissions.

Author

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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