Climate Change Update 11th May 2024

An exclusive Guardian survey has revealed Greenpeace reported that hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists expect global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5C above pre-industrial levels this century, blasting past internationally agreed targets and causing catastrophic consequences for humanity and the planet. It has prompted the UN to warn the world is on the verge of a ‘climate abyss’.

The Independent reports that hundreds of millions of people across South and Southeast Asia have been facing scorching high temperatures over the past few weeks with many countries recording their hottest April ever.  Temperature records have been broken in dozens of countries, millions of children are at home as schools have been forced to close and heatwaves have been blamed for nearly three dozen deaths across the vast region at the start of this month. 

And this is a shocker: At a private meeting, Donald Trump told oil executives and lobbyists to donate $1 billion to his campaign because, if elected, he would roll back environmental rules.

Here’s the weekly wrap from Climate Media Centre, by Jemimah Taylor:

The nightmare before Christmas ????

Twas the week before budget, and the Federal Government eased us in with stocking fillers across active transport and drought resilience. But trouble struck when Resource Minister Madeline King announced the ‘Future Gas Strategy’ now set to underpin our ‘clean’ energy plans for a Future Made in Australia. Today’s wrap gives you a brief summary of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

The good. A welcomed pre-budget announcement, the Albanese Government this week announced a commitment of $100 million on a new national ‘Active Transport Fund’, in the biggest active transport boost in more than a decade. With safer footpaths and cycle lanes on the horizon, it’ll help Aussies ditch their gas guzzlers and say hello to cleaner air. 

Farmers will get more support to help them prepare for drought in the second phase of the Future Drought Fund, with the Government promising $519.1 million over the next eight years. Labor has restructured the fund’s objectives to recognise the role of climate change in fuelling drought. 

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Natalie Collard responded by saying: “It is a big step forward for the future drought fund to acknowledge the reality that climate change is driving more frequent and severe droughts in Australia.”

SBS has this handy wrap of other budget announcements so far. 

I hate to end on a stinker, but the Albanese Government really dropped one on us on Thursday. This one’s taking the crown for ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’. Resource Minister Madeleine King announced the ‘Future Gas Strategy’ via none other than the AFR and The Australian along with an opinion piece in the AFR that’s reminiscent of a gas lobby pamphlet. 

The future gas strategy claims the fossil fuel will play an integral role in the move to net zero and announced it will remain a central part of Australia’s energy and export sectors to 2050 and beyond.

Unsurprisingly, the plans have been met with heavy criticism from climate and conservation groups, and caused internal revolt from Labor’s backbench. Particularly those in inner city seats who feel “blindsided” by the decision.  

Meanwhile, Samuel Sandy, chair of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, says the treatment of its submission to the strategy consultation was ‘wrong and upsetting’. Quotes from the submission were cherry-picked in the final report to make them look supportive when their full submission called for solar not gas.

The $566 million investment in Geoscience Australia may also be a cause for concern, this Crikey op-ed pointed out that when this announcement was made yesterday, Madeleine King and the prime minister said it would be used “to find new deposits of minerals and sources of energy to help build a Future Made in Australia”, calling into question whether taxpayers will now be funding the mapping of gas reserves.  

This is feeling a little more like a nightmare before Christmas than a Christmas miracle. But fear not, where there’s a will there’s a way and the movement is already rising up and hosting snap rallies against the gas plans across parts of Australia today. All eyes on Treasurer Jim Chalmers to deliver some better news on budget night that supports genuine action on climate change, rather than putting our future into something that could go up in flames.