Saturday, August 25, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Ousted Over Climate Policy Fiasco

Global Surge In Coal Use Scuttling Climate Change Efforts

In this newsletter:

1) Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Ousted Over Climate Policy Fiasco
CNN, 24 August 2018
2) Divisions Over Climate Policy That Brought Down Australia’s Turnbull
The Wall Street Journal, 20 August 2018


3) Andrew Bolt: Can Scott Morrison End The Liberals’ Civil War?
Herald Sun, 24 August 2018
4) Global Surge In Coal Use Scuttling Climate Change Efforts
Pratch Rujivanarom, The Nation, 20 August 2018
5) Angela Merkel's Economic Council Warns Against "Hasty Exit" From Coal
Westphälische Rundschau, 23 August 2018
6) Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Climate Rules
Alex Guillén, Politico, 21 August 2018
7) Nuanced Climate Views Of Presidential Science Adviser Concern Some U.S. Senators
Nature, 23 August 2018

Full details:

1) Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Ousted Over Climate Policy Fiasco
CNN, 24 August 2018

Australia's Malcolm Turnbull has been ousted as prime minister following a week of chaos in the capital, as the nation watched the ruling Liberal Party tear itself apart over ideological differences.

His replacement is former treasurer Scott Morrison, one of the architects of Australia's tough immigration policy, who is now the country's sixth prime minister in just over a decade.

The main challenger to Turnbull, former home affairs minister and factional conservative Peter Dutton, was defeated by Morrison 45 votes to 40 in a closed door leadership ballot shortly after midday local time, the party's whip Nola Marino announced.

The Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, was elected deputy leader.

The events on Friday followed days of speculation and confusion over whether Turnbull could maintain his grip on the premiership in the face of a conservative uprising.

His position was thrown into doubt on Monday as a right wing faction in the party refused to support his climate change policy. Despite backpedaling on the bill, Turnbull found his leadership in crisis by Tuesday.

"There was a determined insurgency from a number of people both in the party room and backed by voices, powerful voices, in the media," Turnbull said on Friday after the news of Morrison's ascension was known.

The former prime minister attempted to delay the ballot as long as possible, imposing demands such as written evidence he had lost the support of his party, but in the end a vote was called for Friday.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Morrison promised to "bring the Parliament back together." "We're an optimistic, we are a passionate, and we are an ambitious people, full of aspiration for ourselves, our families, and for our great nation," he told reporters.

Party members belonging to the Liberals' conservative faction had called for changes in the government's policies, including greater investment in the country's coal sector as well as policies to lower Australians' electricity bills.

Full story

2) Divisions Over Climate Policy That Brought Down Australia’s Turnbull
The Wall Street Journal, 20 August 2018

The country has changed prime ministers five times since 2007, with climate-policy disputes fueling leadership instability

SYDNEY—Australia’s prime minister, facing a rebellion within his conservative ranks, backed away from attempts to mandate emissions-reduction targets in a bid to save his leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull, 63 years old, has struggled to pass key parts of his legislative agenda and maintain his authority since elections in 2016 left his coalition with a wafer-thin majority. …

With the resource-rich nation facing spiraling power bills and unreliable supply, Mr. Turnbull’s government last year proposed a policy that aimed to deliver affordable electricity while reducing emissions in line with a target set by the Paris climate agreement.

Some conservative lawmakers wanted to abandon Australia’s commitment to cut emissions by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to provide more support for the coal industry.

Mr. Turnbull attempted a compromise to secure support from his own party, including dropping plans to legislate the emissions target in favor of regulating it.

On Monday, the prime minister acknowledged those efforts had failed. “We aren’t going to present a bill into the House of Representatives until we believe it will be carried,” he told reporters.

One of the energy bill’s most strident critics is former prime minister Tony Abbott, whom Mr. Turnbull ousted in 2015. In a tweet Sunday, Mr. Abbott said emissions targets that “made sense three years ago” in Paris when other countries were on board and Australia didn’t face economic dislocation “do not make sense now.”

The Trump administration last year said it would take the U.S. out of the accord, and is taking steps to roll back regulations passed under President Barack Obama that aimed to achieve the Paris emissions-reductions goals.

Climate policy has proved a hot-button issue in Australia, where exports of coal and other commodities have underpinned 27 years of economic expansion. Some of the most closely contested electoral districts are in coal-rich regions.

Coal is the source of 63% of Australia’s power, down from roughly 80% at the turn of the century. But it is also one of the leading sources of greenhouse gases that scientists blame for climate change.

Australia has changed prime ministers five times since 2007, with disputes about climate policy factoring in leadership instability. No leader in the past decade has survived a three-year term without being ousted by their own party.

Full post

3) Andrew Bolt: Can Scott Morrison End The Liberals’ Civil War?
Herald Sun, 24 August 2018

SCOTT Morrison today became Australia’s seventh prime minister in 11 years, without asking voters or even giving a single interview to tell us why he should get the job. That alone will deepen public disgust with Australian politics, but for Morrison the first challenge is this — will his win end the civil war that’s tearing apart his Liberal party?

Morrison’s task is huge.

This Pentecostal Christian who stopped the boats as Immigration Minister is nevertheless not trusted by many conservatives, especially after ratting out on Tony Abbott in the Malcolm Turnbull coup in 2015.

Abbott despises him. Peter Dutton, defeated in today’s ballot, will resent him.

But Morrison did get the votes of the Liberal Left after Turnbull used his last 24 hours as Prime Minister to desperately still holding the leadership challenge to buy his Treasurer time to win more votes.

If Morrison can now heal old animosities with the conservative wing, he may yet get some pretence of unity in the party that today seems utterly shattered by hatred and ideologies.

Dutton immediately pledged Morrison his “absolutely loyalty”, but Abbott in declaring there was now a “government to save” did not congratulate Morrison on his win.

But much depends on what policies Morrison now comes up with, especially on electricity prices and global warming — the issue that destroyed Turnbull’s leadership when 13 Coalition MPs threatened to vote against his National Energy Guarantee in Parliament.

Here, the omens aren’t good, especially with Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, architect of the NEG, overwhelmingly elected Morrison’s deputy.

Frydenberg is very able, with at least grudging respect on both sides of the party.

But unless Morrison and Frydenberg now junk or drastically revise the NEG they’ve spent months selling, a critical rift remains between the Liberal Leftists who preach global warming and the conservatives who warn that the NEG is all pain for no gain.

And what of that other hot-button issue that Turnbull dodged and Dutton and Abbott raised: immigration?

Morrison trashed the idea of cutting back on the huge numbers of immigrants coming in when Abbott demanded it, and kiboshed a modest cut when Dutton last year suggested it.

But now what, with polls showing wide opposition to the level of immigration today?

Most commentators will judge this contest as a popularity contest. But the rest test will be policy.

Morrison may sell things better, but that means nothing if the public doesn’t want what’s in his shop. That will be the key: will Morrison just sell the same Turnbull stuff, but better? Or will he offer something different? Will he be more spin or more substance?

Full post

4) Global Surge In Coal Use Scuttling Climate Change Efforts
Pratch Rujivanarom, The Nation, 20 August 2018

A worldwide rebound in coal trading is disrupting efforts to mitigate global warming and prevent climate change.

Energy analysts expect coal consumption in Southeast Asia and India to grow, as demand for the cheapest fuel is driving rapid economic expansion and offering big profits to investors in the electricity sector.

Environmentalists across the world are watching this rebound in the coal industry with great concern because it runs counter to international efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by 2050 in order to stem the rise in global temperatures.

“Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and phasing it out is a key step in achieving the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Paola Yanguas Parra, policy analyst at Climate Analytics.

Parra insisted that, in order to achieve the carbon-emission reduction milestone of the Paris Agreement, Climate Analytics research suggested that every country must stop burning coal by mid-century, so efforts to get rid of coal must start now.

The Global Coal Exit List, which was released at the UN Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany, last year, revealed that more than 770 companies were still actively engaged in coal-related business, that 225 firms were planning to expand coal mining and that 282 were planning new coal-fired power stations.

Full Post

5) Angela Merkel's Economic Council Warns Against "Hasty Exit" From Coal
Westphälische Rundschau, 23 August 2018

BERLIN   The Christian Democrat's Economic Council has warned that a rash exit from coal power could increase electricity prices and that Germany still needed the power plants.

On the occasion of the meeting of the federal Government's so-called coal commission on Thursday the CDU's Economic Council warned against a "hasty exit" from the coal power generation.

"Coal has saved our country over this summer," said Secretary General of the Economic Council, Wolfgang Steiger. "Without our coal-fired power plants, we would not have managed so well to deal with the heat wave and the wind lull. We need this reliable source of energy for a long time."

Steiger emphasized that a "precipitous exit" from coal-fired power generation by national unilateralism would further increase electricity prices and endanger the security of supply for industry.

International competitiveness would be jeopardized without saving carbon dioxide in the European Union. "Often enough our energy supply has to be secured by Polish coal or French nuclear power plants."

The Economic Council emphasizes in an internal paper particularly the "enormous economic importance" of the coal: "A hasty and unilateral exit from coal on ideological grounds endanger established value creation chains and put hundreds of thousands of industrial jobs on the line," it says.

Translation GWPF

Full story (in German)

6) Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Climate Rules
Alex Guillén, Politico, 21 August 2018

The Trump administration rolled out its proposal for gutting former President Barack Obama’s most sweeping climate change regulation Tuesday — a move that could also block any future Democratic president from trying to put it back together.

The proposal from the EPA goes to the core of the criticisms that the coal industry and conservatives lodged against Obama’s 2015 regulation, which used a novel reading of the Clean Air Act to require states to cut greenhouse gas pollution from the power sector.

The replacement from President Donald Trump’s EPA would give states far more leeway to meet more modest climate goals — or even to opt of the program entirely.

But the new rule’s biggest impact could come from the inevitable lawsuits that environmental groups and Democratic-leaning states will file against Trump’s proposal. If they lose, the result could be a court decision enshrining the Trump administration’s hobbled approach to climate regulation as the only reasonable approach under the law — slamming the door shut on any later attempts to recreate Obama’s handiwork.

At the very least, experts say, the proposal from Trump’s regulators would mean years of delay in curbing one of the world’s most dire problems — the greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change.

“They’re trying to put in place approaches that would undermine in the long term EPA’s ability to do what many of us think is its responsibility under environmental laws to protect the public health,” said Janet McCabe, the EPA air chief under Obama who oversaw the 2015 rule’s development.

EPA said the proposed rule would “more appropriately balance federal and state responsibilities” to regulate air pollution.

Full Post

7) Nuanced Climate Views Of Presidential Science Adviser Concern Some U.S. Senators
Nature, 23 August 2018

Kelvin Droegemeier, seen here at the University of Oklahoma, is US President Donald Trump's nominee for science adviser. Credit: Travis Caperton, Univ. Oklahoma

Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, US President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), says that science should be conducted without political interference or influence.

“I am absolutely firm on the point,” Droegemeier told a Senate committee during his nomination hearing on 23 August. But he equivocated on whether views that are in the minority, such as doubts about the human role in climate change, should be included in policymaking decisions. “Science never provides immutable evidence about anything,” he said. “I think science is the loser when we tend to vilify and marginalize other voices. We need to have everyone at the table.”

Republican and Democratic committee members asked Droegemeier multiple questions regarding climate change. But the extreme-weather researcher offered little, other than saying that bringing the weather and climate-modelling communities together could improve forecasts for activities such as agriculture. “There’s a real symbiosis there,” Droegemeier said.

“I thought in related questions about climate, Kelvin handled them very well,” said physicist Neal Lane, who served as science adviser to former US president Bill Clinton. The meteorologist used the senators’ questions to make points that he thought were important, Lane added.

Full post

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

1 comment:

Collin Bl said...
Reply To This Comment

Nice to see Australia follows the USA in stumbling over the lie 'that CO2 did it.'

10 years of political turmoil over the emissions lie - one would think the ockers would heed Bertie Einsteins definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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