Reminder: A New Government is Not a Solution to the Climate Emergency – Action is Required!

Since Australia’s 21 May national election, I’ve been too busy working on a series of articles on the genesis of the ‘Teal Tsunami’ of climate friendly community independents that is transforming Australian government to post much else. However, replacement of the COALition Government whose solution to the climate emergency was denial by one that at least accepts that the emergency is real still does not solve the problem. Today’s post is a reminder that effective action becomes more urgent with every day that passes.

By David Spratt, 10/08/2022 in Climate Code Red

High-profile paper on “catastrophic” climate impacts echoes our “What Lies Beneath” analysis on fat-tail, existential risks and IPCC reticence, published four years ago

Last week, just as a new paper on catastrophic climate risks was hitting the media, I received an email:

It would appear some scientists are now, finally, openly speaking about what you yourself have long been describing as the ‘high end’ or ‘fat tail’ risks associated with climate change and want UN scientists to look into the risks of catastrophic climate change. Here’s the link to the article on the BBC website…  On two occasions when reading this article I did punch the air on your behalf; when it mentions the need for more emphasis on tipping points and for the IPCC to produce a special report on catastrophic climate failure..

It wasn’t the only one. 

So what does this new paper say?  Well, in essence, some very similar things to our report What Lies Beneath: The underestimation of existential climate risks.

Read the complete article: http://www.climatecodered.org/2022/08/high-profile-paper-on-catastrophic.html

As early as 2016 based on my backgrounds in evolutionary biology and technology, I was beginning to publish the same message. If we humans don’t stop and reverse global warming we face near-term (i.e., in less than a century) global mass extinction, including the extinction of our own species and families. See

And, as if this wasn’t enough to highlight the reality of the dangers we face from inaction, the bulk of my posts here in Climate Sentinel News present the ever growing evidence that the impacts we are already facing from the climate emergency are increasing in magnitude, frequency, and death tolls. We are clearly approaching a physical point of no return, beyond which we can do nothing to escape the one-way road to mass extinction.

Parliament needs to declare a state of emergency and begin total mobilization to stop all carbon emissions and begin works to scrub excess carbon from the atmosphere. The latter will require more research, but the most promising technologies I can see from my wide general knowledge all involve either:

  • biological sequestration in the oceans, especially fertilizing ocean ‘deserts’ with iron to grow algae and farming of zooplankton and fish to take the captured carbon to the sea floors along with their deaths; or
  • reflecting solar radiation away from our planet, perhaps using carbonate aerosols (e.g., chalk dust), which in addition to reflecting light will when it falls out help neutralize excess acidity of the oceans produced by its absorption of excess CO2.

PARLIAMENTARIANS NEED TO BEGIN ACTING NOW, AND VOTERS IN UPCOMING STATE ELECTIONS NEED TO ELECT MORE CLIMATE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY INDEPENDENTS TO RE-ENFORCE AND EXECUTE CLIMATE ACTION AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

July 2022 Climate – still on road to extinction

Australia has a new government. Every month we fail to stop global warming is a month closer to global mass extinction. Still no visible progress towards solution.

https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

The graphic above downloaded today shows the current state of sea-ice surrounding the Antarctic continent. Despite what seems to be a cold winter in Victoria, its coverage indicated by the teal blue line in the chart is 530 km2 smaller than it has ever been before for this time of the year. There are many more indicators that the climate is still deteriorating towards making Earth uninhabitable for its present life forms (including humans!) at an accelerating rate.

The following news items underline the dangers this represents for humans.

Model-analyzed temperatures at 12Z Tuesday, July 19, 2022 (noon GMT) were transcending average values for the time of day and season by 12 to 24 degrees Celsius—or 22 to 33 degrees Fahrenheit—over large parts of northwestern Europe. (Image credit: tropicaltidbits.com) [from the article]

by Bob Hensen, 17/07/2022 in Eye on the Storm, Yale Climate Connections

Horrific heat descends upon Western Europe: 104°F in London

Dozens of all-time record highs melted on Monday and Tuesday under a searing, deadly European heat wave that has caused at least 1,169 heat-related deaths in Spain and Portugal. The heat wave has also brought the hottest day on record for many locations in France and the hottest temperatures — by far — ever observed in the United Kingdom.

The record-smashing heat in Europe’s normally mild, maritime northwest corner was eerily comparable to the astounding heat wave in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and far southwest Canada in June 2021. The latter was found to have been “virtually impossible” without human-produced climate change.

By 9 a.m. GMT on Tuesday, July 19, London’s Heathrow Airport had already surged past 90°F, and at 12:50 p.m., the airport’s official observing site for London recorded what, if confirmed, would be the hottest temperature in London history: 40.2 degrees Celsius, or 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read the complete article

Record high temperatures and extreme weather events are being recorded around the world. Photograph: Ian Logan/Getty Images [from the article]

by Robin McKie, 31/07/2022 in the Guardian

‘Soon it will be unrecognisable’: total climate meltdown cannot be stopped, says expert

Blistering heatwaves are just the start. We must accept how bad things are before we can head off global catastrophe, according to a leading UK scientistRobin McKie.

The publication of Bill McGuire’s latest book, Hothouse Earth, could not be more timely. Appearing in the shops this week, it will be perused by sweltering customers who have just endured record high temperatures across the UK and now face the prospect of weeks of drought to add to their discomfort.

And this is just the beginning, insists McGuire, who is emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London. As he makes clear in his uncompromising depiction of the coming climatic catastrophe, we have – for far too long – ignored explicit warnings that rising carbon emissions are dangerously heating the Earth. Now we are going to pay the price for our complacence in the form of storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves that will easily surpass current extremes.

Read the complete article

In the run-up to the May 21st Federal Election, I posted many more articles documenting the increasing risk of mass extinction that humans face if we do not stop and reverse the runaway acceleration that is flipping our global climate to the Hothouse Earth state.

In the Election Australians replaced the Liberal/National COALition with a more climate friendly Labor government supported by an extensive cross-bench of climate-friendly independents (‘teals‘) and Greens.

The Government has very little time (if any – see the article above) to act to stop carbon emissions and to do what we can to remove some of the past excesses from the atmosphere.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Featured image:

Time series graphs showing the variation in the three most important greenhouse gases as observed and recorded by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Global Monitoring Laboratory at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii.

The carbon dioxide data on Mauna Loa shown in the top row constitute the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. They were started by C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in March of 1958 at a facility of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Keeling, 1976]. The first graph shows atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last five complete years of the Mauna Loa CO2 record plus the current year. The second graph shows annual mean CO2 growth rates for Mauna Loa. In the graph, decadal averages of the growth rate are also plotted, as horizontal lines for 1960 through 1969, 1970 through 1979, and so on.

The middle row charts the growth of atmospheric methane: the first graph shows the full NOAA time-series starting in 1983, The red circles are globally averaged monthly mean values centered on the middle of each month. The black line and squares show the long-term trend (in principle, similar to a 12-month running mean) where the average seasonal cycle has been removed.The second graph summarizes annual increases in atmospheric CH4 based on globally averaged marine surface data.

The bottom row charts the growth of atmospheric N2O (Nitrous oxide) beginning in 2001, when NOAA began to have confidence in the data. Values for the last year are preliminary pending recalibrations of standard gases and other quality control steps. The second graph plots the annual increase in atmospheric N2O in a given year, i.e., the increase in its abundance (mole fraction) from January 1 in that year to January 1 of the next year, after the seasonal cycle has been removed (as shown by the black lines in the first figure). It represents the sum of all N2O added to, and removed from, the atmosphere during the year by human activities and natural processes.

As yet, there is NO evidence that any of these values are beginning to stop increasing, let alone decrease, as the result of any human actions.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

We also need to vote climate 1 in state & local elections

Route Fifty (Connecting state and local government leaders) on issues of climate change, state and federal relations, and campaigns and elections.

The Rise of the State and Local Climate Candidate

Daniela Altimari, 24/07/2022 in Route Fifty

With action at the federal level stalled and their communities hit by drought and extreme heat, a growing cohort of down-ballot candidates are prioritizing climate policy. Donor and activists groups are taking notice and lining up to back them.

Environmental groups say city and state leaders play a pivotal role in developing strategies to tackle the global climate crisis, even though they lack the broad power—and deep pockets—of the federal government.

“This problem is too big for any one area of government,’’ said Nick Abraham, state communications director for the League of Conservation Voters, whose 30-plus chapters across the U.S. endorse candidates in state and local races. “We’re going to all have to be pushing at the same time.”

Read the complete article

Featured Image: Buoys that read ‘No Boats’ lay on cracked dry earth where water once was at Lake Mead, Nevada on July 23, 2022. Faced with drought, heat waves and wildfires, a growing number of state and local government candidates are prioritizing climate issues. Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images / From the article

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

S Hemisphere already seeing 2080 storms now

New studies show winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere are already reaching intensities predicted for 2080. Climate emergency is real!

Winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere. Credit: NASA Worldview (from the article)

By Weizmann Institute of Science, 26 May 2022 in Phys Org

New data reveals climate change might be more rapid than predicted

A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, will certainly make the IPCC—and other environmental bodies—take notice. A team of scientists led by Dr. Rei Chemke of Weizmann’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department revealed a considerable intensification of winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere. The study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Yi Ming of Princeton University and Dr. Janni Yuval of MIT, is sure to make waves in the climate conversation. Until now, climate models have projected a human-caused intensification of winter storms only toward the end of this century. In the new study, Chemke and his team compared climate model simulations with current storm observations. Their discovery was bleak: It became clear that storm intensification over recent decades has already reached levels projected to occur in the year 2080.

Chemke, Ming and Yuval’s study has two immediate, considerable implications. First, it shows that not only climate projections for the coming decades are graver than previous assessments, but it also suggests that human activity might have a greater impact on the Southern Hemisphere than previously estimated. This means that rapid and decisive intervention is required in order to halt the climate damage in this region. Second, a correction of the bias in climate models is in order, so that these can provide a more accurate climate projection in the future.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: NASA. Remote sensing from orbit has now been observing for decades how our planet is changing and providing massive amounts of data for increasingly accurate forecasts of climate change. Our futures depend on taking these predictions seriously…..

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

News media: not helping to keep the bastards honest

Conversation article highlights how poor journalism has missed giving us facts highlighting what our Government has been failing to do for us

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne does not smile for the cameras while presenting his banking royal commission report to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in February 2019. Kym Smith/AAP (From the article)

by Rodney Tiffen, 19/05/2022 in the Conversation

The media have reached ‘peak passivity’ in the lead up to the 2022 election

With severe staffing cuts, pressures for instant productivity and a priority on producing clickbait, few would think we are in a golden age for journalism. Few, either, would think that the media have distinguished themselves in this election campaign.

There have been periods in the past – such as the last three years of Menzies’ reign or the first four to five years of the Fraser government – where the Canberra press gallery achieved peak passivity.

In my view, sadly, those periods are now matched by the gallery’s poor performance in the lead up to the 2022 election. Exploiting this passivity has also become a key part of the government’s re-election strategy.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: Mick Tsikas/AAP (from the article)

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Let’s hope a flock of teals peck the COALition to hell

The Conversation observes that the LNP is only getting its just rewards from its treatment of and condescension to women

From the article – What the election is about….

by Michelle Arrow, 18/05/2022 in The Conversation

Hey, guess what, guys? Women vote too – and they may decide the outcome of this election

Since 1999, Australia’s parliament has become less, not more representative of women: we have plunged from 15th in the world to 57th on this measure. In the early 1990s, both major parties had around 11% female MPs: now, the ALP has 47%; the LNP has just 26%.

The rise of (mostly) female independent candidates has highlighted the LNP’s cultural problems with women. Faced with a government that bullied and humiliated many of the women in its ranks, and which has proved intransigent on climate change and corruption, a group of highly capable women have steadily built grassroots campaigns in formerly safe Liberal seats.

The teal independents are highly accomplished, white female professionals, running against “moderate” or self-described “modern” Liberal MPs. They are not former staffers or party hacks. They have tapped a deep well of frustration about politics but have channelled it to build positive, inclusive and local campaigns.

Monique Ryan is one of the ‘teal’ independents contesting historically blue-ribbon Liberal seats. AAP/James Ross from the article.

The men of the Liberal party have responded to them with a mixture of outrage, misogyny and petulance. These women had the temerity to challenge Liberal MPs who, in the words of Alexander Downer, “could become truly great men”.

Liberal MP Jason Falinski suggested the money independents were spending on their campaigns was “immoral” because they could be directing their resources to women’s refuges. Matt Canavan even described gender equality as a “luxury” that only the teal seats, not “bogans”, could afford.

The treatment of the independents by the men in the LNP has provided a telling insight for the ways they have treated the women in their own party. It has also offered a glimpse of the ways they regard women, even ones who would normally be inclined to vote for them. Women are fine, provided they know their ‘place’.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: AAP/Diego Fidele from the article – Handing out how to vote cards at a polling place.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Climate emergency! The one election issue that matters

Today’s Breakthrough Institute report shows we are tipping climate thresholds like dominoes as we slide down runaway warming’s road to Hell

Featured Image: Cover picture from the emailed announcement received 17/05/2022 of Breakthrough Institute’s new publication “Climate Dominoes“, by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop. This report summarizes the vast array of evidence showing that the climate emergency we currently face is truly existential as we progressively trip over important thresholds increasing the rate of warming as we slide down the road to a global mass extinction event in Earth’s “Hothouse” Hell.

Where the current election is concerned, stopping the warming and managing the associated climate emergency are genuinely the only issues that matter. If we fail to stop the warming we started as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, there will soon be no humans left to be concerned about anything. Making the economy the most important election issue without putting climate repair as the absolute first priority only ensures there will soon be no economy at all.

[Climate Dominoes] should be read and acted on by governments and their advisors, by the financial communities of the world, and by scientists, engineers, social scientists and philosophers. Precautionary action is needed now to avoid, to the extent possible, further tipping points being triggered.

This is a code red situation. No government is taking it seriously enough. We must urgently seek productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed.

From the Forward by Prof. Sir David King, Fellow of the Royal Society

Good leaders are guided by physical reality, not belief and dogma; and history has proved that science is our best tool for understanding that reality

Climate Dominoes encapsulates the body of Earth and climate science that our would-be Parliamentary leaders and members should consider as Australia progresses through time into evermore threatening climatic future …. A future that will be determined by the laws of physics and biology; irrespective of whatever fables, faith, belief, dogma and a miasma of self-serving humbug, bulldust, misrepresentation, and outright lies made by a bevy of puppet politicians representing super-wealthy vested interests.

Who would you prefer to have in government to represent you in the current climate emergency? — ranting puppets of narcissistic special interests (e.g., fossil fuel multi-billionaires) trying to make you believe in fairy tales about how good life is now and how much better their magic future will be for you while they squeeze the last cent of profit out of killing the world? … Or the alternative: qualified, ethical, independent thinkers and doers from your own community who understand how science works in order to see and understand the actual reality you live in……. Which kind of candidate would you trust to manage the real and growing climate emergency you can see and feel around you seriously look at the reality around you? E.g. increasing heatwaves, raging wildfires, dust storms, windstorms, floods, pandemics, dying reefs and forests, eroding shore lines, etc….

Following is the text of the Climate Dominoes’s overview that describes the main thesis of the work, and its absolute relevance to our upcoming election in Australia and the would-be leaders we are electing. Other than some added emphasis (in italics) and parenthetical comments, I have not changed the text. It is here because I completely agree with it, and so readers will understand that many scientists besides myself also see the same dangers. Superscript numbers refer to references that can be found at the end of the published document.

OVERVIEW: WHEN TIPPING POINTS COLLIDE

As global heating reduces the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice each northern summer, heat-reflecting ice is replaced by heat-absorbing dark ocean water, adding energy to the Arctic system, and driving more melting. This is a “positive feedback”, a self-reinforcing change. Examples abound in the climate system. On Greenland, for example, warming is reducing the height of the ice, and this lower elevation means it will melt more, because the temperature is higher at lower altitudes.

Sixteen years ago, James Hansen warned that: “The problem that we face now is that many [climate] feedbacks that came into play slowly in the past, driven by slowly changing forcings, will come into play rapidly now, at the pace of our human-made forcings, tempered a few decades by the oceans thermal response time.” ” 4

Those feedbacks can drive non-linear (or abrupt) change that is difficult to forecast. That happened to Arctic sea-ice in the summer of 2007, when a collapse in the ice extent led one experienced glaciologist to exclaim that it was melting “100 years ahead of schedule”;5 actually, the scientific understanding was 100 years behind reality! The same thing is happening in Antarctica now, according to the new observations of the Thwaites Glacier.

A group of eminent scientists point to “biosphere tipping points which can trigger abrupt carbon release back to the atmosphere… permafrost across the Arctic is beginning to irreversibly thaw and release carbon dioxide and methane… the boreal forest in the subarctic is increasingly vulnerable”. [Note: Working directly with the satellite record, I have made an extensive study of rapidly growing frequency, size and ferocity of wildfires in the Siberian Arctic that totally validates this point.] They say that other tipping points could be triggered at low levels of global warming with “a cluster of abrupt shifts between 1.5 °C and 2°C…” 6

Positive feedbacks, with or without abrupt change, can drive a system past its tipping point, which is a critical threshold at which small change causes a larger, more critical change to be initiated, taking components of the Earth system from one state to a discreetly different state. In other words, the system has reached a point of fragility such that it will move to a different state due to its own internal dynamics, even if there is no further external forcing (such as additional warming). [Climate Sentinel News has a number of articles on tipping points.]

An overview from Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes describes a number of key aspects of tipping points:7

  • The implications of tipping points are not thoroughly quantified in the major IPCC analyses. [See my review of the limitations in the IPCC’s scientific methodology and publishing. Their work almost inevitably understates the magnitude of the climate emergency.]
  • Some tipping point changes are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.
  • We do not know exactly how close we are to a tipping point, or even whether we have already passed it. We also do not always know if the changes are reversible, and if so, on what timescales.
  • There are tipping points that while not yet triggered may already be fully committed to. For example, the warming required for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to permanently melt might have already been reached.
  • Climate models lack the mechanisms to robustly simulate many tipping points, and the interactions between tipping points that could lead to cascading impacts. Therefore our understanding of the risks is limited.
  • Since the risk is hard to quantify, global negotiations around climate change have not appropriately taken into account the risks of initiating tipping points, which is essentially a gamble on the future of the Earth’s climate.

Tipping may be irreversible on relevant time frames, such as the span of a few human generations. For example, ice sheets can disintegrate abruptly — and drive up sea levels — much faster than they can gain mass. So whilst sea levels could rise two or three metres this century — and rates as high as five metres per century have been recorded in the past — it could take thousands of years to reset the ice and get sea levels back down.

This is an example of hysteresis, or bifurcation of a system, where it may be more difficult, or impossible, to return to its previous state. Extinctions are an example of the latter. Carbon Brief explains: “In some cases, there is evidence that once the system has jumped to a different state, then if you remove the climate forcing, the climate system doesn’t just jump back to the original state – it stays in its changed state for some considerable time, or possibly even permanently.” 8

Major tipping points are interrelated and may cascade,9 as illustrated. Interactions between these climate systems could lower the critical temperature thresholds at which each tipping point is passed.10

For example, Earth is approaching a temperature range above which the photosynthesis rate is projected to decline, affecting the storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere (the “land sink”).11 This will accelerate the warming rate, trigger further sea-ice loss, more melting on Greenland and freshwater injection into the North Atlantic, helping to further slow the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), often known as the “Gulf Stream”. This in turn would change rainfall patterns over the Amazon and further weaken its carbon stores and Earth’s land sink. And so it goes on.

Physical interactions among the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, AMOC and the Amazon rainforest tend to destabilise the network of tipping elements. The polar sheets are often the initiators of these cascade events,12 with evidence that Greenland and West Antarctica have passed their tipping (see following sections).

In 2012, James Hansen warned of scientists’ fear about the Arctic and the cascading of tipping points triggered in the Arctic: “Our greatest concern is that loss of Arctic sea ice creates a grave threat of passing two other tipping points – the potential instability of the Greenland ice sheet and methane hydrates… These latter two tipping points would have consequences that are practically irreversible on time scales of relevance to humanity.” 13 [Note: there is even more to the methane story than just methane hydrates as discussed in my presentation on the Siberian wildfires linked above.]

Cascading events may in turn lead to a “Hothouse Earth” scenario, in which climate system feedbacks and their mutual interaction drive the Earth System climate to a “point of no return”, whereby further warming would become self-sustaining (that is, without further human-caused perturbations).14 This planetary threshold could exist at a temperature rise as low as 2°C, possibly even in the 1.5°C–2°C range.15

The problem, elaborated in a 2019 paper, “Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against”, is that time is close to running out: “We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent” (emphasis added).16

Likewise, former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King warns that: “What global leaders do in the next three to-five years will determine the future of humanity.”17

Tipping point analyst Prof. Tim Lenton says that the evidence from tipping points alone “suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute… If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization”.18 [As discussed in my IPCC presentation, linked above, few scientists will actually point out what should be emphasized is that they are actually discussing is a threat to the continued existence of the human species — i.e., near term human extinction]

Who is most qualified and likely to lead “productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed”? Our existing COALition Government of spin merchants, clowns, knaves and fools representing special interest, or an alliance government led by Labor kept focused on the climate emergency by Greens and a ‘teal’ flock of genuine community-based independent thinkers and doers forcing the career politicians to stay focused on the job of solving the climate crisis.

Just how extraordinary many of the teals are is documented in earlier articles in this series (click title to open link):

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present COALition government will govern in your interests rather than their patrons in the fossil fuel and related industries, then go with the flow and don’t concern yourself with the likely consequences of going down their fossil fueled road towards runaway global warming. On the other hand, if you think it is better to work for a sustainable future where your children and their children can hope for a happy future, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this effort.

Our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking; and our Traffic Light Voting System gives you easy to use factual evidence about where each candidate in your electorate ranks in relation to their commitment to prioritize action on the climate emergency. This should make it easier to decide your voting preferences before confronting a long ballot paper in the voting booth.

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Teal Independents: birth and spread of the movement

ABC Australian Story’s account of Cathy McGowan’s remarkable rise in the Liberal’s safe rural seat of Indi and several of the current teal independents applying her model

Independent candidates’ secret weapon to win election seats | Cathy McGowan | Australian Story

Australian Story, 16/05/2022 in ABC News in Depth

Independent candidates’ secret weapon to win election seats

When Cathy McGowan won the seat of Indi in 2013, she had no idea that she would become a lightning rod for an independent movement that is now dominating Australian politics. More than 23 so-called teal or community independent candidates are standing in this election and it’s McGowan who has been their “secret weapon”. Join Australian Story as we go on the hustings with the 68-year-old farmer from Victoria to two seats where she’s helping guide candidates and rallying their armies of more than 20,000 volunteers.

Read more: https://ab.co/38vURgr

Featured Image: Cathy McGowan’s run for Indi started and grew through dinner table conversations in the local community wanting to distant ‘representatives’ to deal with locally important issues. / Still image from the ABC video (https://youtu.be/TIxf8Sr6x8I?t=414)

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Elect climate savvy teals to force climate action

A “teal” infested minority government may be our best path towards ensuring effective action to manage the climate crisis before it is too late to stop warming

Independent candidates pose a challenge to incumbents in several key seats. Joel Carrett/AAP / from the Article. / Dr Monique Ryan seems likely to take the heartland streets of Kooyong electorate from Liberal Treasurer and PM heir apparent, Josh Frydenberg.

by Kate Crowley, 16/05/2022 in The Conversation

No, Mr Morrison. Minority government need not create ‘chaos’ – it might finally drag Australia to a responsible climate policy: Labor might be leading in the national polls, but a hung parliament after the May 21 election remains a distinct possibility

So-called “teal” independents, whose blue conservatism is tinged with green concern for climate change, may well join Greens MP Adam Bandt and current independents on the lower house crossbench. Under that scenario, any minority government would need their support.

With the support of advocacy group Climate 200, the teals are campaigning on issues relevant to their electorates and raising funds locally. But high on their agendas is a strong, science-based response to the climate crisis.

A weekend report by Nine newspapers suggested most independents seeking a lower house seat would not strike a formal power-sharing deal with either the Coalition or Labor. This would leave a major party in minority government negotiating with the crossbench on every piece of legislation it wants to pass.

Almost all the 12 independents who were polled nominated climate change as a key priority they would seek progress on in any negotiations with a minority government.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: Zoe Daniel rally. Diego Fedele/AAP image from the article,

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Hung Parliament: chaos vs independent thinking

Politicians threatened by community-based independents warn of CHAOS, but these thinking independents have ideals rather than ideologies.

Depending on how people vote, we may be headed towards a major revolution in the structure and functioning of our form of Parliamentary government.

Under 9+ years of LNP COALition government, major policies have been heavily influenced by special interest patrons and puppet masters in the fossil fuel and and development industries. As the climate emergency grows ever more stark, and the COALition offers little besides humbug, misrepresentation and blarny together with blatant lack of ethics towards solving the crisis an unprecedented number of well-established professionals and business owners/managers in local communities decided they could do better jobs as independents representing their communities than any of the political incumbents or nominees. A few of these independents are men, but most are emotionally mature and thoughtful women and mothers with practice juggling the responsibilities of managing important jobs together with preparing their children to face a seemingly dismal future.

Because many of these independents are progressive moderates, politically falling between Greens (adopting the color green) and small ‘l’ Liberals (normally adopting blue), they soon became characterized by the intermediate blue-green color ‘teal’ – henceforth termed ‘teal’ independents. According to many news reports and even incumbents, more than enough teals are running that even if only a few of them are elected in place of major party candidates, no party or currently existing COALition would be able to form government in its own right.

Today’s featured article looks at the teal phenomenon in depth, and explores just what kind of people have become teals and what has motivated them to put aside their comfortable and rewarding jobs in the community or business to run for a place in the cesspit of our current government.

As I write this and somewhat facetiously, the fact that on top of other qualifications I’ll discuss, many of the women have successfully raised (or nearly raised) families suggests they are not fazed by dealing with childishly irrational tantrums and cleaning out dirty dirty bathrooms.

In any event, if you still haven’t totally made up your mind how to vote next Saturday, read the featured article and what I write here, and think about what it might be like to have several of these capable people representing their communities in a Parliamentary balance of power. See also the caption of the Featured Image at the end of this post.

Zoe Daniel. Photograph by Mia Mala McDonald

by Margaret Simons, 04/2022 in The Monthly

Independents and the balance of power: The federal election may hinge on a new crossbench of professional women in wealthy inner-city seats and a rural revolt against the Nationals.

… [A] wave of credible local figures [are] running as independent candidates in the forthcoming federal election. Nearly all of them are taking on electorates normally regarded as safe for the government. Their cumulative impact, and the prospect that some of them might just win, is one of the things that will make the coming contest different. If neither the Coalition nor Labor win in their own right, newly elected independents and those of the existing crossbench who are re-elected will decide who forms government. “Foment” might be a better word for the phenomenon than “wave”, since it is a multiple bobbing up rather than a single, connected thing. There are different issues in each electorate, and a different ecosystem surrounding each candidate.

There is a new ecology surrounding this phenomenon. It includes grassroots community groups promoting political discussions in electorates. In some cases, that is all they do, but other groups actively seek out and endorse independent candidates. Hybrid political organisations are springing up as part of this ecology. There are groups such as Climate 200, founded and convened by entrepreneur and climate philanthropist Simon Holmes à Court, which is raising money and funding carefully picked “values aligned” candidates. Climate 200 has what might be described as nascent policies – on climate change, government integrity and women’s rights – but insists it is not, and will not become, a political party. Meanwhile, candidates in Tasmania have founded the Local Party, which is running candidates but has no policies, instead existing to promote participatory democracy.

So what’s going on? Is this a transitory thing born of particular circumstances, or is it a permanent change to Australian politics? And if the latter, what does it mean for the way we are governed? Is it a good thing, or a harbinger of instability?

Read the complete article – long but very thoughtful….

The ‘teal’ phenomenon

In this article I want to share some thoughts about this quandary from my studies of the electoral landscape as Editor of Climate Sentinel News. I am not a political scientist. My bias here comes from a lifetime study of evolution and change: of life as a whole, of human culture from our primate ancestry, and of the growth and evolution of knowledge and wisdom in human organizations. If you are an ‘undecided’ voter, how I answer the ‘how to vote’ quandary can be expressed in one short paragraph:

Where you have a choice between an established and known political devil versus a politically untested but demonstrably rational thinker and doer from your own community, which candidate will create the most chaos when faced with a growing emergency?

  • An established politician who you know will reliably try to enforce their party policy/dogma/beliefs and the desires of their largely unknown financial patrons on citizens, no matter what.
  • A rational thinker and doer who has demonstrated their capabilities for successful decision and action while working together with others in the existing chaos of their communities and families to successfully solve whatever problems that face them.

Which candidate will be more likely to help solve problems not precisely covered in party dogma?

However, before I begin my spiel, for an ‘op ed’ report on what I will have to say about the teals, I suggest you see consider how Sky News reports on a threatened Liberal candidate supported by the ‘special interests’ including Sky News’s own parent organization Murdoch Press. This “news” report clearly demonstrates how the COALition and their supporters are responding to the threats.

● Tyrone Clarke, 09/05/2022 in Sky News: Liberal MP Tim Wilson says Climate 200-backed independents are trying to ‘sneak Labor into government’ [also watch the embedded videos].

Contrast this with a more pro-teal article

● Amy Nethery, 03/05/2022, in The Conversation – Why teal independents are seeking Liberal voters and spooking Liberal MPs

Some history

Successful progressive independents are not unknown in recent Australian Parliaments, and have even played important roles in minority governments:

Frank Bongiorno & David Lee, 22/04/2022 in the Conversation: Could the 2022 election result in a hung parliament? History shows Australians have nothing to fear from it.

Whatever the case, it is entirely possible a hung parliament might provide the circuit-breaker for a parliament that needs to grapple with much needed national reforms.

Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in The Guardian: Will a hung parliament lead to ‘chaos’? What a Gillard v Morrison comparison reveals

Using records published by the parliament of Australia, it’s possible to see a summary of the number of bills introduced by the government and how many were passed by both houses. This excludes private member’s and senator’s bills. You can read more details about the methods below.

The data shows that despite having to negotiate with independents to pass legislation through the House of Representatives, Julia Gillard’s government has the second-highest percentage of passed legislation.

Lowest on the list are the Abbott, Turnbull-Morrison and Rudd governments – all of which involved governments having to make deals with Senates described as “hostile“ and “feral”.

The 2019 Morrison government has had notable struggles passing its own legislation, with the voter identification legislation lacking support, and its religious discrimination bill failing to move through the Senate. Another key policy, legislation to establish a federal anti-corruption body, was not introduced at all, with Morrison blaming a lack of support for the government’s preferred approach.

Gillard’s government also scores higher than Morrison’s when looking at the overall rate of legislation passed a day, an index I’ve previously described as “productivity in parliament”.

Last month Frydenberg warned in a media conference this was not the time to take a chance on “the chaos of a hung parliament”.

Similarly, when asked during an interview on Tuesday whether he would negotiate with independents, Morrison said he would not.

“This is a real question for the people who are voting at this election,” he told 3AW. “Voting for the independents is a vote for chaos.”

It should be noted that both of the above analyses do not count the number of bills lost to failed negotiations prior to the introduction of legislation.

However, in the context of minority governments, or governments that have a minority in the upper house, these indexes may give us an indication of which governments were better and worse in their negotiations with crossbenchers or the opposition.

Read the complete article….

See also ● Matthew Liddy, 08/09/2010 in ABC News: Labor’s minority government explained.

Julia Gillard’s government never had a majority in either the house or senate during its life time, but in terms of legislation passed during its lifetime it was the second most successful government in Australian history! It depended on all Labor members present and agreeing, plus ‘alliance’ agreements with the Green’s Adam Bandt, and three greenish independents: Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie was an intelligence officer in the Office of National Assessments who resigned because of his disagreement with the Government of the day’s joining the Iraq invasion. He is still in office as an independent today! Oakeshott and Windsor both represented rural NSW. Oakeshott was a National Party representative until he resigned to become an independent, and Windsor and a long-time independent for his areas in both NSW and Federal Parliaments. (see ● Sally Warhaft, Tony Windsor & Rob Oakeshott, 14/04/2015 in The Wheeler Centre – Fifth Estate: Independents Day: Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott). This year both Windsor and Oakeshott are key advisors to ‘Voices’ groups.

Some numbers

According to Vote Climate One’s Voting Guide approximately 100 of the than 1203 registered candidates for the lower house are ‘independents’ (i.e., don’t belong to any specified group or party), and of these approximately 30 by my count have been ranked as green-light for first preferences.

The numbers are a bit fuzzy, but most of these have been promoted by various electorate-based voices groups and/or part funded by Climate 200 as ‘teals’. None of us agree wholly agree on our first-preferences lists. Also, even within Vote Climate One there a few candidates we haven’t given the green light to, but that one of the other organizations would support for a first preference. In any event, the fact that there are 20-30 independents (+ more Greens, + a few other green minor parties running that may also be electable) is suggests we may see a totally new kind of government in less than a week!

As noted previously, around 90% of these green light independents are women, the majority of whom are also mothers of growing families with teenage children.

The general processional competence of these independents is also quite remarkable: 6 have medical or other doctoral qualifications and practical experience.

  • Sophie Scamps (Mackellar) Australian Athletics record holder and Gold Medalist World Junior Championships; GP Medicine, Sydney Uni; Masters with Hons from College of Surgeons – Dublin; Masters of Science – Oxford; Masters of Public Health, Uni NSW; mother of three teens.
  • Monique Ryan (Kooyong) Medical degree Uni Melb; pediatric training at Melbourne & Sydney; Director of Neurology, Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne); pediatric neurology at Boston Chldrens; Director of Neurology Royal Childrens, Melb – specialist in nerve and muscle disorders of childhood, and pioneering genetic therapies for these ailments; mother of three teen and young adult children
  • Caroline/Kaz Heise (Cowper) Registered Nurse; Director Nursing/Midwifery; Director Cancer Institute, Manager Mission Australia / cancer survivor / 2 adult children
  • Helen Haines (Incumbent, Indi) Nurse/Midwife, PhD Medical Science Uppsala Uni Sweden, Postdoctoral Fellow Karolinska Institute, Stockholm / other exec. positions; farmer, with 3 children
  • Sarah Russell (Flinders) Critical care nurse; BA, PhD University of Melbourne; Principal Researcher at Research Matters focused on public health, mental health, ethics and aged care. See also My successful advocacy.
  • Hanabeth Luke (Page) PhD in Environmental Science, Southern Cross Uni; main specializations – surfer, regenerative agriculture, impacts of fracking, coastal environment; two school children

All these women are products of and still are (or are again – after international experiences or training) associated with their local communities. All are clearly self-motivated thinkers and doers with years of experience working in the community to make life better for their communities. All have considered what the climate crisis means for their families and what the existing politicians are (not) doing to solve the crisis. Accepting that this is the only thing that really matters of their families are to have future – they have put their successful careers aside to run for Parliament, where they may actually be able to apply their skills to making government work to solve problems.

If you are still undecided who to vote for between teals, Greens, Greenish parties, and spin merchants of the fossil fuel industry trying to convince you that these ladies and their teal friends are evil lefty conspirators belonging to a secret political party funded by a hidden patron, a lot of their humbug and bull dust is built around two names: “Voices” and “Climate200”.

Voices

Basically, “Voices of …” are emergent and politically unaffiliated groups of people in local communities gathering around kitchen tables to discuss their concerns about the future and what our politicians are not doing about it – especially in terms of the climate emergency, sexism and sexual harassment, and the growing lack of ethics in government. Thanks to the model provided by the independent Kathy McGowan in Indi (Victoria) and perfected by her successor in Indi, Helen Haines and Kerryn Phelps (Wentworth – by election following Turnbull resignation) and Zali Steggall (Warringah – defeating ex PM Tony Abbott), many of the new flock of teals emerged from voices groups in several more ‘safe’ electorates held by the COALition.

Incidentally my colleagues and I published several academic papers on how such community organizations emerge and manage their growth and community actions:

The emergence of Voices groups would seem to fit this model very well – especially where the use of social networking technology is concerned.

Teal” independents Allegra Spender, Zoe Daniel, Kylea Tink, Sophie Scamps and Kate Chaney.Credit:Jessica Hromas, Elke Meitzel, Wolter Peeters, Nick Moir, Tony McDonough (from the article)

Royce Millar, 06/05/2022 in the Age

A secret party? Immoral? Explaining who the ‘teal’ independents really are

The independents, their backers and local supporters do, however, share resources and strategies across seats, not unlike an embryonic party – co-operation that has been encouraged by trailblazing former independent MP turned teal mentor, Cathy McGowan.

The teal movement started more than a decade ago with the founding of the Voices of Indi, a community organisation that helped McGowan take the Liberal-held Victorian seat of Indi in 2013 from its incumbent, Sophie Mirabella. This inspired others such as Zali Steggall, who successfully challenged former prime minister Tony Abbott for the Sydney seat of Warringah in 2019.

McGowan describes the current independent phenomenon as a movement. “There is definitely a thread there,” she says. “Community engagement, quality candidates and effective campaigns.”

As they argue that the teal movement is an undeclared party, their Liberal detractors point out that they also share policy priorities of climate, government integrity and gender equality – especially in wealthier urban electorates.

The urban independents insist this is simply because such issues are the high-order concerns in their communities, and one which the sitting conservative MPs are not adequately addressing. McGowan notes that in rural seats such as Indi, water, infrastructure, health and social services are more important.

In keeping with the Indi model, Voices groups have emerged wherever communities are frustrated enough to organise. Typically, Voices groups withdraw after choosing a candidate and a separate campaign group is formed. In reality, the two often overlap.

University of Sydney political scientist Anika Gauja says the allegation that the independents are a party makes no sense because their very point is that they are the antithesis of the major parties – top-down organisations in which members have to toe the line.

“The teal independents”, on the other hand, “have been backed by grassroots organisations that have chosen them”.

Read the complete article….

Climate 200

The second thing threatened COALition members are terrified by is that some of the teals are outspending them on campaign advertising. As noted in the article below, Jason Falinski claims that there is something “immoral” about the amount of money available to teals – completely ignoring the fact that huge amounts of untraceable funds flow into the COALitions coffers for every election.

Actually it is well publicized that the very wealthy Simon Holmes a’Court has put millions of dollars of his own money in play to draw matching funds from community sources. How and why he has done this publicized on the Climate200 web site as well as who the large donors are and the amounts donated – totaling around 1,400,000 plus a similar amount from Holmes a’Court himself. See also a summary of Holmes a’Court’s National Press Club talk on 16/02/2022 in F&P (Fundraising & Philanthropy), published 01/03/2022: David and Goliath – the Realities of Political Fundraising, where he compares what he is doing and his reasons compared to what the established political parties are doing.

Catherine Murphy’s Guardian article here, gives her take on what the COALition is screaming about.

● Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian: Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats.

From the article

Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian

Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats

… The Liberal MP Jason Falinski, who is being challenged in his northern beaches seat of Mackellar by Climate 200-backed Sophie Scamps, said the amount being spent by independents was “immoral”.

It is expected that Scamps will spend more than $1m trying to win the seat, with a combination of traditional and digital advertising.

Falinski suggested that the independents could instead be directing their financial resources to charity, giving the example of much-needed emergency accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence as one worthy cause.

“I just think it is an immoral use of money; we have real problems in the world and for these guys to be spending $2m against members of parliament, when, according to them, they agree with their member profiles, is just immoral.

“They agree with us on climate, they agree with us on equity for women, and they agree with us on integrity, but instead of helping us they are trying to knock us off.”

Scamps suggested Falinski was “plucking figures from out of the sky or from the depths of social media rumour mills”.

“Our campaign began two years ago with conversations at kitchen tables across the electorate to listen to the concerns of people who had been taken for granted for too long,” she said.

“We are immensely proud and humbled by the way it has grown into a campaign supported by over 900 eager volunteers including some who have left their jobs to volunteer full-time on the campaign, as well as 640 donors who have collectively donated $565,644 to date.

“Additionally, Climate 200 is matching those community donations to help level the playing field against the resources and advantages held by the major parties.”

Read the complete article….

You may also be interested to read ● RMIT FactLab, 12/05/2022: Online misinformation wars: the Goldstein electorate, where copious examples are given of the political blather and humbug posted on social media re the contest between Tim Wilson and Zoe Daniel.

How would teals respond to a hung parliament

This is the last major component of the bull dust, blather, misinformation and overall humbugging spewed by COALition members in fear of losing their once ‘safe’ seats to the teal tsunami. The next three articles cover this issue off quite well:

● Michelle Grattan, 20/04/2022 in the Guardian: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Wilkie invites independent candidates to call him for a chat about approaching a hung parliament

Christopher Knaus, 12/05/2022 in The Guardian: What happens if there is a hung parliament: how would independents approach talks and what is non-negotiable?

● Michelle Grattan, 17/04/2013 in The Guardian’s View from the Hill: Looking Back on the Hung Parliament

Oakeshott says that the great lesson for him out of this parliament has been that “bipartisanship is the best and politically the only way to achieve long-standing reform”.

He admits that he’s had disproportionate power. “Because others stayed true to their party first, they’ve handed me more influence than any one MP should have”, he says, adding, “If they are going to hand it to me, I’ll take it and use it – and I have”.

From the article….

If you are still undecided how to vote in your electorate, but are concerned about action on climate change – you have nothing to fear from giving your first preferences to green light candidates

Think about this: Teals are practiced rational thinkers and doers. They understand science and are concerned enough about the futures of their families in a world being progressively heated by the continuing profligate burning of fossil fuels, and the integrity and ethics of a government continuing to promote the fossil fuel industry. Their ideas and ideals have driven them to set aside highly rewarding careers to run for Parliament where they might be able to actually fix things. Then there are the Greens Party nominees who are wedded to these ideal as a matter of party policy as well as (normally) by personal belief. And finally there are nominees of a few other minor parties also claiming to support climate action as a matter of policy.

Vote Climate One ranks all of the people fitting these categories as green light candidates that should be given your top preferences. We do not tell you how to rank such candidates in your electorate, but only that all green-light candidates should be numbered before numbering any of the red or orange light candidates.

Parties supporting the fossil fuel industries or other carbon emitting activities and/or lacking evidence of major activities to work towards zero emissions are marked with red lights. These should be numbered last.

Orange light candidates are those that have weak climate credentials theemselves or else are nominees of parties such as the Labor Party that are both relatively weak on climate and still beholden to support fossil fuel interests, but are potentially willing to support more effective actions in a green colored alliance.

A final thought: Teal independents are driven by ideals, thoughts and ethics; party members are driven by ideologies, beliefs and historical decisions;) populists and their believer followers are driving by narcissism, greed and hate (e.g., Clive Palmers United Australia Party, Pauleen Hanson’s One Nation Party and or other faith & humbug micro parties).

Who is most likely to solve the climate crisis to avoid the existential risk of runaway global warming?

Featured Image: Hung parliaments can provide very effective government. Julia Gillard’s ‘hung’ government was the second most successful government in Australia’s history, based on the objective measurements of the proportion of bills passed, and absolute most successful based on the number of bills passed per parliamentary sitting days. This was in the face of incredibly vicious misogyny bulling of PM Gillard by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, not helped by the poorly united and faction ridden Labor Party / Source: Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in the Guardian.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.