Climate change in Australia

The latest Climate of the Nation report, an annual national survey of almost 2,000 voters that has been running for 13 years, will be launched on Wednesday by the New South Wales environment and energy minister, Matt Kean.

Battling a global pandemic and the first recession in 30 years has not prompted Australians to worry less about the impacts of climate change, and a substantial majority of voters believe we are already experiencing the effects of warming, according to an authoritative snapshot of community attitudes.

The survey finds that 74% of the sample remains concerned about climate change, which is the same level as last year, and 80% of respondents think we are already experiencing climate change impacts.

Over the past five years, the number of Australians saying they believe climate change is already happening has increased by 15 points. The survey shows the number of Australians who think we are experiencing the impacts of climate change “a lot” has increased from 33% in 2016 to 48% in 2020.

The survey also suggests Australians are cool on the Morrison government’s “gas-led recovery”, with 59% of respondents saying the recovery should be powered by renewables compared to 12% who favour gas.

But the results indicate that Australians think the gas industry is larger than it is. Survey respondents on average believe that gas mining and exploration makes up 8.2% of Australia’s total workforce, when the reality is the industry accounts for 0.2% of employed Australians. People also think gas makes a more substantial contribution to economic growth that it does in reality.

Voters remain wary of coal seam gas developments, with majorities saying CSG has a negative effect on water resources (61%), farmers (56%), climate change (55%), and human health (54%). But again, Australians believe the industry makes a positive contribution to the economy, and contributes to job creation.
While the Morrison government continues to resist calls for it to adopt an emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050, a majority of the sample (68%) supports that course of action, and the target has majority support across all voting cohorts, except One Nation voters.

People also want Australia to lead on global action, with a noticeable shift in attitudes over the past couple of years: 71% say Australia should be a world leader in finding solutions to climate change, up from 62% in 2019. Just under two-thirds (62%) of the sample disagree that Australia should wait for other countries before strengthening our emission reductions targets, up from 54% in 2019.

Voters are more inclined to see the energy transition as opportunity than they were in 2019, with 77% of the sample saying reducing emissions creates opportunities in clean energy for new jobs and investment, which is up seven points in a year.

A smaller majority (52%) opposes government subsidies to expand coal, oil and gas, which is up seven points in 12 months. But only a small percentage of people (11%) have noticed that fossil fuel companies have performed worse on the Australian stock exchange than the top 300 listed companies over the past 10 years.

A majority of respondents (68%) say power generated by coal should be closed down within 20 years, and 39% want obsolescence in a decade. Fourteen percent of respondents say coal-fired power should never be completely phased out.

The research project this year also includes a one-off survey in response to the January bushfires. That work indicates people who experience catastrophic events are more likely to be concerned about the risks.

Kean will launch the survey at a webinar hosted by the Australia Institute, the progressive thinktank that now funds the survey initially commissioned by the now defunct Climate Institute.

The NSW Liberal minister, who is a vocal advocate for renewable energy, was recently rebuked by Scott Morrison for describing the recently approved, controversial, Narrabri coal seam gas development as a “gamble”.

Richie Merzian, the climate and energy director at the Australia Institute, said: “Our research shows that far from dampening the call for climate action, the Covid-19 crisis has strengthen Australians’ resolve for all levels of government to take action on climate change.

excerpt from The Guardian

Covid-19 Hard Border Causing Hardship

Passengers from Qantas flight QF583 are escorted to waiting Transperth buses by Police Officers after being processed following their arrival at Perth Airport from Sydney, before being driven to a CBD hotel for quarantining on October 19, 2020 in Perth, Australia

(Perth) – Strict restrictions imposed by the Western Australian government since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic on people entering the state are causing undue hardship for families, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should make more exceptions for compassionate cases, prioritize family reunions, provide greater transparency about the approval process, and provide clearer explanations to people who have been refused permission to return to their home state.

“Governments can restrict people’s movement for compelling public health purposes, but any restrictions on these rights should be strictly necessary and proportionate,” said Sophie McNeill, Australia researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The process in Western Australia is opaque, confusing, and arbitrary. Western Australians who want to return home for compassionate family reasons and who are willing to abide by quarantine restrictions should not be blocked from doing so.”

Australia has done very well in managing Covid-19, with less than 28,000 confirmed infections nationwide since the start of the pandemic. According to the Acting Chief Medical Officer, as of October 23, there were just over 200 active cases across Australia, of which 19 were in hospital and none in intensive care.

In Western Australia, efforts to contain Covid-19 have been particularly successful, with no community transmission registered in the state since April. Part of the region’s strategy has been the creation of a “hard border,” where, since April, any Australians wanting to enter the state, even Western Australians who wish to return home, are required to request travel approval from police through a system called the “Good to Go process” (G2G). Police only grant permission to enter Western Australia in limited circumstances, including on compassionate grounds for “urgent and essential medical treatment, visiting a relative who has suffered a serious medical episode, or whose death is imminent, and to attend a funeral.” However, many compassionate cases do not meet these narrow criteria, or even when they do, some individuals have been rejected several times. Anyone granted permission must also undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a separate premise from others and provide proof of their quarantine arrangements.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 17 applicants who said police denied their request to enter Western Australia. Some reported being denied multiple times. A father in Queensland who has been separated from his three young children for 10 months now, and who has been refused entry twice, said: “My little three-year-old cries sometimes and the other two [children] are always asking me when I will go back. Being able to talk to someone or get help is near impossible.”

Interviewees reported confusion over exactly what information was required by police, which exemption category to apply for, or to whom to turn for advice about their application. Some say they applied for entry because of mental health hardship as a result of separation from loved ones, but this is not on the list of exemption criteria. Many applications for travel exemption reference mental health conditions but decisions are being made by police personnel, not qualified health professionals, and the rules do not specify whether a letter from a health professional is required. There is no formal review process when applications are refused.

Western Australia’s Police Minister Michelle Roberts did not respond to questions or a request for a meeting from Human Rights Watch. Western Australian police provided some explanation of the process but advised that a Freedom of Information request would be required to obtain data related to applications for the “Good to Go” process. Border restrictions are in place in most other Australian states and territories, but they have shown more flexibility in allowing entry based on active case numbers.

“Western Australia police continue to deny requests even though applicants are willing to comply with quarantine conditions,” said McNeill. “Other regions in the country have successfully cut transmission without adopting such harsh restrictions, showing that Western Australia’s tactics are neither necessary nor proportionate.”

According to public health experts, preventing the introduction of Covid-19 into regions which have eliminated local transmission is possible by carefully monitoring individuals prior to travel and upon arrival. Specific strategies can include exit and entry screening, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, and a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Western Australia has adopted these strategies successfully for those that they currently allow entry, so it is unclear why this cannot be maintained while increasing the number of people allowed in.

The consequences of the restrictions have been significant for those affected. “I respect the hard border because it’s kept loved ones safe, but it seems unjust that I can’t move home even if I quarantine,” one rejected applicant told Human Rights Watch. A Western Australian woman who applied to come back from New South Wales said: “The authorities are polite on the phone but avoid giving any certainty or comfort or guidance whatsoever. The website also does not specify what sort of documentation they might want to see, or how much.”

Dr. Andrew Miller, the President of the Western Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association told reporters last week that he had concerns over the fairness of the process. “I think Western Australia needs to keep its borders under control, but it does need to adjust to keep them fair. How can this process be fairer so people can appeal if they need to and it can be more transparent?”

People who have proven employment in Western Australia appear to receive approval quicker than those who are citing mental health or compassionate reasons for their entry. One woman received an email from Western Australian police stating, “If you could acquire employment in Western Australia your chance of a successful application would be greatly strengthened.”

“Whether applicants have employment or not is not relevant to the risk they may pose in introducing the virus into the region,” said McNeill. “The government can continue to successfully control this virus while being fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory.”

Additional Examples of Rejected Applicants

The below individuals interviewed by Human Rights Watch say they are willing and able to comply with two-week quarantine orders upon entry into West Australia but were denied permission to enter the state.

A father from Western Australia who was temporarily living in Queensland for work, whose application has been rejected twice. He has not seen his children (2, 6, and 8) who live in Perth with his ex-wife for 10 months.
A father of three from Western Australia who had been living and working in New South Wales when the pandemic began, and all his work opportunities in the eastern states dried up. He has had his application to move home to Perth rejected four times, despite his three children are living there.
A young couple living in Melbourne, one whose mother in Perth has multiple sclerosis and the other whose mother in Perth is recovering from cancer. Their application to relocate back to Perth has been rejected twice.
A mother working temporarily in Victoria, separated from her teenage daughter in Perth who is suffering severe mental health issues. The mother’s application has been rejected twice.
A new young mother from West Australia who has been living in Melbourne for three years who is attempting to relocate back to Perth to be near her family support network. She had her application rejected twice.
A young teacher from Western Australia who has lived in New South Wales for three years. Police have rejected her application to move back to Western Australia three times. She is suffering undue mental hardship being separated from family and is desperate to return home.
A retired couple stuck at a caravan park in Darwin who have been rejected twice from returning back to their home in Western Australia.
A young woman living in Melbourne attempting to visit her father in Western Australia who had a stroke last year and broke his spine in March. She was refused entry four times before she was finally successful.

Dr Scott Gottleib warns

“We’re about maybe three weeks behind Europe. Maybe a month at the most, so we’re on a trajectory to look a lot like Europe as we enter the month of November, so I think things are going to get worse,”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb warns says U.S. coronavirus trajectory looks ‘a lot like Europe’ as cases rise

“We’re about maybe three weeks behind Europe. Maybe a month at the most, so we’re on a trajectory to look a lot like Europe as we enter the month of November, so I think things are going to get worse,” Gottlieb said “The density of the epidemic underway in European countries like France, Italy and the U.K. right now far exceeds what’s underway in the United States,” he said. “For the most part, it’s a little bad everywhere in the United States. It’s not really, really bad anywhere with the exception of maybe Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Utah.””We’re at the beginning of that steep part of the epidemic curve right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if we challenge 100,000 diagnosed cases this week.
We’ll certainly get above 90,000 towards the end of the week if all the states report,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA from May 2017 to April 2019 in the Trump administration.
“What we should be doing is trying to implement things now that are easy, or easier, to get ahead to not wait for this to truly become very dense. My concern is that we’re not doing that,” Gottlieb said.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic-testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean’s Healthy Sail Panel.

Support for populist beliefs in Europe has fallen

The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, a survey of about 26,000 people in 25 countries designed with the Guardian, showed a more or less steep decline in populist tendencies in 2020 in all eight of the European countries also surveyed last year.

Political scientists expressed surprise at the size of the fall but said since the main reasons for it were most likely related to the coronavirus pandemic, support for populist beliefs could recover as the focus of the crisis becomes more economic.

“You could think of the virus like a volcano,” Matthijs Rooduijn, a political sociologist University of Amsterdam

African Climate Burning

Temperatures in Africa have been rising in recent decades at a rate comparable to that of most other continents and thus somewhat faster than global mean surface temperature, which incorporates a large ocean component.
The year 2019 was among the three warmest years on record for the continent.

Annual rainfall exhibited sharp geographical contrasts in 2019, with totals remarkably below long-term means in Southern Africa and west of the High Atlas Mountains and above-average rainfall recorded in other areas, in particular in Central and East Africa.

There is significant regional variability in sea-level trends around Africa. Sea-level increase reached 5 mm per year in several oceanic areas surrounding the continent and exceeded 5 mm per year in the south-western Indian Ocean from Madagascar eastward towards and beyond Mauritius. This is more than the average global sea-level rise of 3–4 mm per year.

Africa was severely hit by extreme weather and climate events in 2019, including Tropical Cyclone Idai, which was among the most destructive tropical cyclones ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth resulted in severe humanitarian impacts, including hundreds of casualties and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.

The areas most severely affected by drought in 2019 were in Southern Africa and were many of the same areas that were also affected by a protracted drought in 2014–2016. In contrast, a dramatic shift in conditions was experienced in the Greater Horn of Africa, from very dry conditions in 2018 and most of 2019 to floods and landslides associated with heavy rainfall in late 2019. Flooding also affected the Sahel and surrounding areas from May to October 2019.

In addition to conflicts, instability and economic crises, climate variability and change are among the key drivers of the recent increase in hunger on the continent. In the drought-prone sub-Saharan African countries, the number of undernourished people has increased by 45.6% since 2012 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The state of the climate in Africa in 2019, as depicted in this report, was characterized by continued warming temperatures, rising sea levels and impacts associated with extreme weather and climate events. It constitutes a snapshot within a continuum of rapidly rising longer-term climate-related risks associated with global warming. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy and accounts for the majority of livelihoods across the continent. Africa is therefore an exposure and vulnerability “hot spot” for climate variability and change impacts. Projections under Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 suggest that warming scenarios will have devastating effects on crop production and food security.

Post-2015, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement have become the main instrument for guiding policy responses to climate change. The African countries have submitted their first NDCs and are in the process of submitting revised NDCs in 2020. Africa and the small island developing States are the regions facing the largest capacity gaps with regard to climate services. Africa also has the least developed land-based observation network of all continents.

The poor are highly affected by extreme weather and climate events and are often overrepresented in the number of individuals displaced by these events. One promising approach throughout the continent to reducing the impacts of these events has been to reduce poverty by promoting socioeconomic growth, in particular in the agricultural sector.
In this sector, which employs 60% of Africa’s population, value-addition techniques using efficient and clean energy sources are reported to be capable of reducing poverty two to four times faster than growth in any other sector. Solar-powered, efficient micro-irrigation, for example, is increasing farm-level incomes by five to ten times, improving yields by up to 300% and reducing water usage by up to 90% while at the same time offsetting carbon emissions by generating up to 250 kW of clean energy.

Women constitute a large percentage of the world’s poor, and about half of the women in the world are active in agriculture – in developing countries, this figure is 60%, and in low-income, food-deficit countries, 70%. Reducing poverty by means of growth in Africa’s agricultural sector is therefore of particular benefit to women. It also may be the case that in some instances, women do not have access to weather and climate services; it is important that all individuals be provided with access to these services in order to enhance their individual resilience and adaptive capacity.

Lessons learned highlighted in the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 also show that efforts need to be pursued to build resilience against high-impact events through effective Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS) and appropriate prevention and risk management strategies. MHEWS should be based on risk knowledge, detection, monitoring and forecasting, communication of actionable warnings, and preparedness at all levels and should complement other long-term prevention and resilience activities. Clearer roles and responsibilities should be defined for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and other government agencies responsible for different aspects of disaster risk management and response.

#Environment

Climate change

‘Dangerous and dirty’ used cars sold to Africa. Millions of highly polluting used cars from rich countries are being “dumped” on developing nations, according to a UN report. – Matt McGrath, BBC

African debt to China

A major drain on the poorest countries’
Over the past two decades, China has emerged as the biggest bilateral lender to Africa, transferring nearly $150bn to governments and state-owned companies as it sought to secure commodity supplies and develop its global network of infrastructure projects, the Belt and Road Initiative. -Financial Times

Indian financial scams, Public Dissatisfaction & Gloomy future of Modi Govt.

With the advent of the #ModiGovt in 2014 rise in the financial scams, Non Performing Assets NPA’S of Public sector banks, falling GDP, financial turmoil, Economic crisis, all were visible on rational statistics & data’s even before Covid Lockdown in #India. Financial plunders by private entities viz. DHFL, ILFS, PMCBANK, HDIL, YESBANK have given big blow to entire financial systems in #India. The rise in NPA’S in Public sector banks are also the outcome of loans & advances non repayment by private business houses. Moreover million dollar frauds by fraudsters tycoons in India viz. Vijay Malaya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Chokshi, Rotomac etc. have added more losses to the public money. In simple words, on one side this fraudsters, business houses, politically savvy businessman’s are creating losses or say looting public money,, but on the other side the this looted public is crying for their hard earned money & seems dissatisfied by the present financial situation handled by the central government & its machineries.
People has question that How centre govt easily accepted public losses but not easily accepting the cries of the millions of Public whose money is looted. If ModiGovt really worked to bring justice to the public then till today Indian public would have not shouted cried to get their money in cases like PMCBANK, DHFL etc. The last bailout was of YESBANK that too was funded by Public money whereas if govt. have really worked properly entire hijacked funds by defaulting promoters would have been recovered. So in entire financial turmoil ModiGovt gets 0 zero in working out to safeguard public money. This grown turmoil of public sentiment if not restored by #ModiGovt then future of this government seems gloomy in near future.

Coronavirus second wave Europe

Europe facing second wave of Corona virus, evenings, nights, all quiet in markets. France have also announced lockdown due to second wave erupting in several European countries. As winter looms Covid is spreading in several parts of Central Europe, Western Europe.
With the deaths crossing 250000, Europe is on Second level in Coronavirus pandemic. Leaders are warning people as second wave of COVID-19 spreading.

Bureau, Covid-19, EU, VOP Global