carbon emissions

Catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland have come early in the fire season, which usually starts in October. Climate scientists and frontline fire fighters agree: they are a consequence of climate change.

The climate emergency is already impacting all our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more catastrophic floods and storms, bushfires and droughts. Globally there will be less clean water and farmland available. It is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies’ profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments.

When renowned ecosocialist Ian Angus came to Australia in 2011 he observed that for most people it is “easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism”. 

Unfortunately, imagining the end of the world is getting easier. There are almost daily reports of the accumulating effects of climate change, to choose just one source of potential apocalypse.

Another United Nations climate conference (COP23) is over — though many people would have barely noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Paris Climate Agreement is locked in and, contrary to the Coalition’s inetrpretation, Australia needs to ratchet up its emissions reduction.

This is a useful time to reflect on where Australia sits globally on climate action and what areas are of concern.

ENGIE, the French company that owns two of Victoria's coal power stations, announced on November 2 it will close the oldest, Hazelwood, by March, and is selling the other, Loy Yang B. The power stations are in the Latrobe Valley, east of Melbourne.

Author Ian Angus at the launch of 'Facing the Anthropocene'. Sydney, May 13. Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism & the Crisis of the Earth System By Ian Angus Monthly Review Press New York, 2016 We are living in a time of unparalleled ecological breakdowns and the crisis is much worse than most people realise. There are other books that tell this harrowing story, but Ian Angus's Facing the Anthropocene is different.
Experts have laughed at a prediction by the environment minister Greg Hunt that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked 10 years ago. Hunt told the ABC’s AM program: “I believe that we have reached what is sometimes known as peak emissions. In my best judgment … we reached peak emissions in 2005-06 ... and the course of history to come for Australia is that we will continue to be below that figure.” Experts have laughed at a prediction by the environment minister Greg Hunt that Australia's greenhouse gas emissions peaked 10 years ago.
Yale’s environmental performance index has placed Australia so low in its rankings that only Saudi Arabia has a worse ranking among wealthy nations. The index ranks countries’ performance in protecting human health and ecosystems, and looks at nine areas including air quality, climate and energy, forests and water resources. Australia was ranked 150th out of 180 countries for its carbon emissions for electricity generation. Overall in the climate and energy category, Australia was ranked 82nd.
In the past few years, private investors backed by corporate interests such as global banks, financial firms, hedge funds and food giants have bought a huge amount of farmland across the global South.
This is a reply by GetUp!’s Anthony Gough to Andrea Bunting’s article “GetUp, Oxfam’s Powershop partnership raises questions” printed in Green Left Weekly #1064. It has been about 12 months since we at GetUp! launched the Better Power campaign, and so far we have encouraged 12,000 people to switch their household electricity away from Australia's biggest polluters.

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