This week has seen Tony Abbott rebuff new Pacific calls for a coal moratorium, and then laugh at rising sea levels; Swiss Bank UBS says No New Coal Mines; the Minerals Council debated the internet on the amazingness of coal; Alan Jones gets stuck into the government's anti-environmentalism; and Adelaide joins the race to become the world's first carbon neutral city.
In Case You Missed It
Here’s our top takeaways from this week --
1/ New support for moratorium
Over the past week 11 Pacific Island states have backed President Tong's call for a moratorium on new coal mines. At the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) in Suva, Fiji, the historic Suva Declaration called for
a new global dialogue on the implementation of an international moratorium on the development and expansion of fossil fuel extracting industries, particularly the construction of new coal mines, as an urgent step towards decarbonising the global economy.
This week, where Australia and New Zealand were also in the room, at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Papua New Guinea, the moratorium was again on the agenda.
2/ Abbott being Abbott at Pacific Islands Forum
Small pacific island states called on their "big brothers" Australia and New Zealand to do more on climate change -- to aim for a 1.5C temperature target and support a moratorium on no coal mines. On ABC's Radio National, the President of Kiribati argued this is not about development or politics, but survival.
Unsurprisingly, Tony Abbott rebuffed the moratorium, stating "Pacific leaders will be reassured by the seriousness with which Australia is approaching this issue." The meeting ended without an agreement.
As soon as he got home, Abbott was recorded laughing with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton about rising sea levels.
3/ Coal is amazing says Minerals Council, no it isn’t says the internet
Blogger Ketan Joshi had this analysis:
The more I think about the logical heart of this campaign, that we ought to love something that is both dominant and harmful, the creepier it sounds, and I think the public recognise this, too.... This campaign isn't designed by communicators or thinkers or PR professionals - it's designed by the industry, for the industry. It's therapeutic.
Well, the coal industry know more than most the troubles they are facing!
4 / Swiss Bank says No New Coal Mines...
That's the blunt analysis in a new note from UBS, Swiss banking giant, on the turmoil in the coal markets. Recent booms in production and falling demand for seaborne coal have left markets oversupplied. Prices are far too low to make sense dumping more coal into the market.
Even before thinking about climate change, the last thing the market needs right now is more coal mines. But Abbott says we would be "crazy" if we don't get the Carmichael mine built.
5/ Alan Jones is not thrilled with Abbott Government’s anti-environmental legislation
Alan Jones has starred in an anti-coal ad, telling viewers that the Abbott Government’s legislation in response to the Carmichael coal mine court judgement would mean people were ‘not allowed to care’ about such decisions.
It seems most voters agree with him:
Voters are not buying the Abbott government’s argument that environmental laws must be changed to stop green “sabotage” of job-creating projects, with 62% believing the Coalition is simply trying to silence conservationists to promote mining interests.
6/ Adelaide joins race to become world’s first carbon neutral city
The South Australian government has launched a new strategy to decarbonise its economy, and has set a goal for Adelaide to become the first carbon neutral city in the world. It also released a new strategy paper, setting a goal of attracting $10 billion in low-carbon investment in South Australia. They're looking for your feedback!
7) Newcastle City Council backed by residents, sticks to investment decision
Newcastle City Council's decision to include environmental and social factors into account, as well as financial returns, when choosing investment options triggered divestment hysteria not seen since the ANU's decision last year. Tony Abbott, local Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon, Westpac and the CFMEU all piled in on what they saw as the council turning its back on coal. Newcastle City is home to the world's biggest coal port. Councillors argued they were aiming to diversify their economy.
The Australia Institute ran a poll to of residents of Newcastle. The results were stunning:
- Almost half (47.3%) of Novocastrians supported the council’s decision, while 24.8% were opposed.
- Additionally, the majority (51.9%) thought that coal investments were financially risky (25.8% thought coal investments are financially safe).
The Council met this week to reconsider the investment decision, but despite Liberal Councillor furor, the Council stuck to their guns - 6 to 5.
8/ California divests coal
And finally, following last week's bill passing the Californian state legislature to ban state investments in coal, now University of California has also said it will divest coal and oil sands.