Category Archives: Climate Commission

People power part 2: climate council raises $1 million in a week


Amazing response from the public:

A social media campaign to fund a replacement for the abolished Climate  Commission through private donations has proved a huge success with $900,000  raised in less than a week.

Amanda McKenzie, from the rebadged Climate Council, said the money was raised  largely from small donors, with an average donation of about $50.

The funds were raised from about 20,000 individuals and far exceeded the  original targets.

“Initially the councillors aimed to raise $500,000 in a week. That target was  met after two days,” she said. “Once we got to $800,000 we upped the aim to $1  million on Facebook”.

There is a much greater level of support for action on climate change than our conservative politicians would have us believe.

See also their report on the IPCCs recently released Assessment Report (5th edition).




Power to the people: reborn Climate Counicl raises $400k in 24 hours

Many of you would have heard of the wonderful news that the Climate Commission has been reborn as the Climate Council:

Within 24 hours the CC raised $400,000 through crowd funding. 

That speaks volumes – there are millions of Australians concerned about climate change. Tens of thousands are prepared to support good science. 

The Gosford Anglican Church summed it up nicely:


In response to the vindictive actions of the Abbott government, the Australian public has responded in kind by breathing new life into the CC.

Andrew Bolt was instantly dismissive of the CC, gloating about the lack of interest:

ABC Melbourne is furiously promoting a fund-raising drive for this new Climate Council. Flannery boasts that a huge grass-roots reaction has produced $1000 overnight.

If my grass had roots like that it would be a dust bowl.

Err, not $1000 Andrew. $400,000 in a single day.

What does that tell you and your denier mates?

Without the backing of News Corp and fossil fuel funded think tanks climate scepticism would wither on the vine.

Bolt and the sceptics wouldn’t know a true grass-roots cause if they tripped over it and fell on their face.

A little John Lennon to celebrate the continuing work of the Climate Council:

The Climate Culture War enters a new phase in Australia


It is telling that one of the very the first acts of the incoming Abbott government was the dismantling of Climate Commission and the sacking of Tim Flannery.

Moves are also under way to wind up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and repeal the “carbon tax”. The freshly minted Environment Minister, Greg Hunt has dismissed the CEFC as as a speculative hedge fund:

Mr Hunt labels the corporation a green hedge fund, “borrowed in taxpayers’ name for investing in speculative ventures”

Without doubt this little piece of Orwellian cant is meant to associate investment in renewable energy with risky financial speculation.

As Michelle Grattan noted in The Conversation, a select few high-profile public servants have been the victim of their association with Labor’s carbon price:

“One of the strikes against [Martin] Parkinson was that he headed the then Climate Change department and was at the centre of Labor’s work on a carbon price. This was particularly in the mind of some in the Abbott office.”

Grattan also expressed a fear many in the science community must be feeling:

“The CSIRO comes under the Industry department. The scientists working in the climate area might be getting a little nervous.”

Indeed, however it is not just climate scientists who are nervous.

Cheering on the planet’s destruction: the sceptic response

Of course the denial movement has been in an orgiastic state of schadenfreude in response to these cuts.

The Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt demands Tim Flannery refund his salary for his “dud predictions”; conspiracy theorist Jo Nova calls it a “win for Australia”; American blogger Anthony Watts gloats in several posts, dismissing Flannery as a “high paid fool”.

There are of course many more examples of such thinly veiled pleasure in the misfortune of others.

Sitting above this scrum of sceptic bloggers and News Corp hacks, presiding over events like a bad caricature of Ann Ryan’s John Galt, is Rupert Murdoch:


Abbott, the LNP, Murdoch and the sceptics have turned back time. They desire nothing more than to wipe from Australia’s political and cultural memory the years 2007-2013.

It is as if the last five years didn’t happen: no first woman prime minister; no Labor in power; no price on carbon; no pesky scientists to remind us of the dangers of climate change.

Down the memory hole they go.

A great first day indeed.

Climate change as lighting rod for conservative anxieties in a changing world

The culture war fought over climate science has raged for more than three decades.

During this period the forces of obstruction had the upper hand in Australia, especially during the Howard years. But their ascendancy was broken in Australia in 2007 with Rudd’s election.

For a few brief years it seemed Australia might take substantive action on climate change: the signing of the Kyoto protocol;  the introduction of the carbon price; greater public acceptance of the science and the desire to act.

Thus 2007 represented a wrong in the eyes of the LNP and conservatives that had to be righted. In response we have witnessed five years of rage and fury. 

And while some may think these events are about climate change, they aren’t.

It is about the soul of the nation: it is what Australia could or should be.

Murdoch, Abbott and the gaggle of sceptics looked out at the world and the shift in our culture and feared what they saw. They are of course differences among all these individuals and the groups they represent. But what united and drove them was hatred of the scientific consensus on climate change.

Climate change has become a lighting rod for conservative anxieties and fears about a rapidly changing world. 

What do individuals do when they feel their “culture” is under attack? 

They mount a counter-offensive. 

This is what the 2013 Abbott victory represents, a cultural coup d’etat. 

Conservatives fear the evolution of Australia’s culture: one that embraces sustainability and equality; one that rejects the values of the past; one that places the market second to the needs of society; one that embraces a post-materialist world view. 

Expunging the heresy of climate science: why we should be concerned for science in Australia

Abbott is keen to project an orderly transition to power, but his targets demonstrate a quiet rage and considered preciseness.

As Flannery noted in his press conference following his sacking:

“As global action on climate change deepens, propaganda aimed at misinforming  the public about climate change, and so blunting any action, increases.”

This should send a chill down the collective spine of scientific community. It remains to be seen how this will play out, but the signs are ominous.

When the Canadian conservatives under Stephan Harper’ got into power they began a war on science and withdrew from the Kyoto treaty. A war on science was also a feature of George W. Bush’s Presidency, notably recorded by Chris Mooney in “The Republican War on Science”.

We may see similar events play out under the Abbott government: the heavy hand of Liberal Party apparatchiks in muting or censoring reports; the defunding of climate research programs; obstruction at climate conferences; more sackings; and pressure on the science community to remain silent on climate change.

Of course it will all be done in the name of savings, efficiency and small government. It will be done in the name of a “mandate”.

But the targets make it obvious.

Welcome to a renewed phase of the climate culture wars. 

440 months: that’s how long we have to avoid a climate crisis and achieve zero emissions

The Climate Commission’s report released today is a masterful synthesis of the most recent science, offering clear evidence of both climate change and the observed impacts.

However, the report is really about the choices we make and the future we shape as a consequence. I’ll provide some more commentary this week as I’m still reading the report. Having said that, it is a very accessible document and far more approachable than any IPCC report.

There are two key passages from the executive summary I wanted to highlight. These showcase the clear choices we must make:

Most nations of the world, including Australia, have agreed that the risks of a changing climate beyond 2°C are unacceptably high. The temperature rise is already approaching 1°C above preindustrial, nearly halfway to the 2°C limit. 

The best chance for staying below the 2°C limit requires global emissions to begin declining as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest. Emissions need to be reduced to nearly zero by 2050. 

Stabilising the climate within the 2°C limit remains possible provided that we intensify our efforts this decade and beyond.

And that:

From today until 2050 we can emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to have a good chance of staying within the 2°C limit.

Based on estimates by the International Energy Agency, emissions from using all the world’s fossil fuel reserves would be around five times this budget. Burning all fossil fuel reserves would lead to unprecendented changes in climate so severe that they will challenge the existence of our society as we know it today.  

It is clear that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground and cannot be burned.

Between now and 2050, the world has a choice: to either decarbonise or face risks that will challenge the existence of our civilisation. The reserves of coal and oil must be kept in the ground.

If we fail, then the journey to 2°C and beyond will not be smooth.

It would more than likely involve a series of climate shocks as various tipping points are induced, the product of amplified feed-backs  – which in turn would also generate further changes to the climate.

The report notes the risk of tipping points:

An ice-covered Arctic Ocean is a large white surface that reflects sunlight. The loss of summer Arctic sea ice uncovers more dark ocean water that, in turn, absorbs more sunlight. This is another example of an amplifying feedback that drives further warming in the northern high latitudes, which in turn increase the rate of loss of sea ice. The loss of Arctic sea ice is happening so rapidly that it is often considered to be a fast feedback. 

As I said, there are choices to be made.

But how much time do we have to achieve zero emissions?

I did the maths.

We have 37 years to do this – 440 months (give or take).

That’s well within the lifetime of most people alive on the planet today.

Indeed, anyone under the age of 50 will share the journey to a hotter, less hospitable and different world should we fail to act.

If you’re under the age of 50, or have children and grandchildren then it is both yours and their best interest to act. It is not a problem for the distant future, the challenge is already here.

If you’re older, then you have the choice to be “an honorable ancestor“.

It is about choices: the choices you make, and the choices we can help society make.


They CC have also produced some good graphics. I’d recommend using these if you have a blog/site and sharing them via social media.

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