Climate Council warns of wet future for Oz

Climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels, contributing to the Great Deluge, is consigning Australia to escalating climate disasters

Most of Australia’s East Coast from Cape York south to the Victorian border has had over a meter of rain by the end of October — with the rains still continuing. Some of these areas have had more than 2 meters, and a few more than 3 meters! Many rainfall records have been smashed in all of the eastern states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania; leading to almost constant flooding through the whole area that is continuing today. The latest reports from the BOM tell us the rains will continue into summer.

This is clearly a function of global warming. Physical laws dictate that as air temperatures rise, the air can carry more water vapor before it begins to condense as rain. Higher temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water from soils and standing water – encouraging drought. Seemingly contradictory warmer air can precipitate more water in areas where it is raining. As the water condenses out as rain it also releases its ‘heat of fusion’ — and more heat is available to drive more extreme winds able to carry rain to high elevations before the rain freezes to fall back to Earth in devastating hail storms. Over larger areas there is also more energy available to fuel increasingly powerful cyclones.

Increased water means increased plant growth, increased temperature increases the rate at which soils and vegetation dry out — ensuring ever more catastrophic wildfires.

Ever more floods, fires and tempests cause increasing damage to infrastructure and people’s livelihoods and property until the catastrophes follow one another so closely that there are simply not physical or human resources left to repair the damage from one catastrophe before the next catastrophe causes even more damage. If the warming is not stopped this progression leads inevitably leads to social collapse (as we are already seeing in parts of the world), agricultural collapse (and famines as we are already beginning to see in Africa and the Middle East), ecological collapse (as we are already seeing in marine habitats with coral reef communities, kelp beds, sea grass meadows), and finally, population collapses when the land has literally been swept bare (areas in Africa are already on the edge of the cliff).

With the collapse of society, humans will quickly lose the scientific and engineering capabilities to fight further climate change already dialed into the system, such that there will be little hope of avoiding near-term global mass extinction. Continuing ‘business as usual’ support of the fossil fuel industry more-or-less ensures this grim outcome.

The Climate Council’s report, presented below, presents the facts and explains what they mean here in Australia, and some of the things we can to moderate and mitigate the expected damages. This is a good start, but I would be a silly liar if I said this was all we need to do in order to keep from utterly destroying our future.

Vote Climate One will continue to do whatever we can do to encourage serious government leadership and action to fight climate change. Please do what you can to pressure your representatives to counteract the self-serving special interests who consume our resources and return little or nothing from the super-profits they take overseas.

If we can help get climate savvy governments on the problems that really matter, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured Image: Rainfall and Flooding 2022 – Queensland to Tasmania. Current year data from 1 January to 2 November, sourced from Bureau of Meteorology, 2022. Graphic from Chapter 2, The Great Deluge: Climate Extremes in Action, in the featured article.

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

VC1 red lights some parties and candidates on ethics

Crooked systems encourage dodgy players

Victoria’s use of politically corrupt group voting tickets for Legislative Council elections fosters unethical parties and practices. In Corruption of ‘Above the Line Voting’ for the Victorian Parliament’s upper house I explained how Victoria’s group voting tickets (GVTs) gives political parties the unbridled power to allocate preferences from every single above-the-line vote they received to whatever other parties or individuals they wanted — irrespective of what the voter might have wished. These allocations were often made with or among minor and micro on the basis of back-room ‘preference deals’ – many of them brokered by Glen Druery, the well known “Preference Whisperer”. See also Malcolm McKerras’s Chapter 6: “The Preference Whisperer” from his unpublished book: UNREPRESENTATIVE SWILL – Australia’s Ugly Senate Voting System, introduced here and here. The following excerpt quoting Druery re the 2019 Federal Election, sourced from Kate Legge’s article from the 16 March 2019 issue of The Weekend Australian Magazine, says it all:

“Voters want disruption and that’s what I’ve given them. I’ve put the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the sex worker into parliament. . .I won’t say my cross bench, that wouldn’t be appropriate, but the cross benchers that are there, that I had a hand in putting them there, all of them except for Nick Xenophon, in one way or another they had my fingerprints.”

p. 7, Chapter 6: The Preference Whisperer – Read the complete article….

Druery did it for money and power. And he has found many takers wanting to be elected under their micro party logos willing to pay him for advice ….. and much more on getting elected.

Monday’s article in the Guardian by Benita Kolovos describes a beautifully just ‘sting’ by the Animal Justice Party that both gives Mr Druery a very black eye, and demonstrates the fundamental corruptness of Victoria’s election legislation still being supported by the major parties. The sting may also represent a win for pro climate-action in the Victorian Parliament. Please read the article:

Preference whisperer Glenn Druery says the Animal Justice party pulled off the ‘most elaborate sting in minor party history’ ahead of the Victoria state election. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian | from the article

By Benita Kolovos, Mon, 14/11/2022 in The Guardian

‘It was a charade’: preference whisperer Glenn Druery falls for Animal Justice party’s Victorian election sting

Exclusive: Having successfully attracted the support of Druery’s clients, minor party switched its allegiances at last minute

It is, as victim Glenn Druery puts it, the “most elaborate sting in minor party history”. For months the Animal Justice party was “negotiating” with the so-called preference whisper to gain the support of other parties working with him – only to direct its own preferences to others at the last minute.

But for Ben Schultz, the state election manager for the Animal Justice party and its lead candidate in the southern metropolitan region, undermining Druery’s preference arrangements just minutes before group voting ticket registration closed on Sunday was a case of righting what he described as some “wrongs”.

“The Animal Justice party does not agree with the wheelings and dealings of a preference whisperer and the backroom deals of predominantly older, white males. That time has come to an end,” Schultz said.

“It’s time that we move Victoria to full proportional representation and abolish group voting tickets so that we don’t have people like Glenn Druery setting up people.”

Victoria’s Legislative Council is the only jurisdiction in Australia still using a group voting system that allows parties to allocate voters’ preferences [read this linked article too!] when they choose to vote above the line on the ballot paper.

Read the complete article….

In Victoria the politically corrupt major parties have no interest in reforming a system that helps them stay in power. In 2018 despite the Greens polling 9.25% of the Upper House first preferences Greens went from 5 seats to 1, losing all 5 seats they won in 2014 and winning only one new one. By contrast, micro parties won 10 seats, where Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (where Druery was a paid staffer) won 3 seats with 3.75% of first preferences, Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Vic won 1 on 3.02%, Liberal Democrats won 2 on 2.50%, Animal Justice won 1 on 2.47%, and 3 other parties each won 1 seat with between 1.37% and 0.62%.

By arranging their group voting tickets to ensure that their residual preferences were distributed to a micro party ahead of Greens candidates, Druery’s cabal kept any of the incumbent Greens in the Upper House from being reelected, despite the fact that a fair proportional distribution of preferences would have seen them stay in place.

Many parties will discourage voting below the line, because the law grants each party voted [1] above the line the right to distribute that vote’s preferences as they see fit.

The susceptibility of the legal but politically corrupt voting practice to being gamed by backroom preference swaps gives fundamentally sleazy micro parties a real chance to win the fifth seat in one region in turn for helping backroom swap partners win a seat in another region. Almost any ratbag ego tripper with a burning passion who can con 500 people into signing a nomination petition can enter the race. If enough of ratbags make it to the cross bench in Parliament and hold the balance of power between the major parties, the rabble are then in a very strong position to trade their Parliamentary votes with whichever major party forms government for supporting their respective burning passions.

Although this is all quite legal within the current law, it certainly does not ethically represent the voters’ interests. Major parties have to give out promissory notes to ratbags in order to enact legislation. And, of course, the ratbags have to support whatever other legislation the major party may want to enact irrespective of what their electorate might want — and why should the ratbags care about the electorate? Hardly anyone voted for them in the first place. Any allegiance they owe is to the other ratbag parties in the back room and the preference ‘broker’ they paid and who organized the deal(s) that got them elected.

In our ranking of the minor parties, Vote Climate One does not hold any gains against them that the party may have received from preference swapping. In Victoria, to win you have to play the game. However, this underscores and emphasizes why we warn that if you care about your voting, you must vote below the line!

For the latest information on how the various parties will allocate THEIR “preferences” for distributing YOUR vote in their group voting tickets for the present election, see The Bludger article by William Bowe. Short circuit their dodgy deals by voting below the line!


Who are the ratbags

Vote Climate One has looked at the kind of game the major parties have organized. And, given the nature of the game, it is inevitable that whichever major party is in power will work to maintain the benefits it provides to the leading party. It is now time to look at the parties and candidates sucked into playing the game. Some are basically ethical and some aren’t. But all of them have to play the politically corrupt game if they are serious about getting elected (why else would you run for Parliament?).

I would argue that there are only four fully developed political parties with complete platforms in Victoria: two major parties (Labor, Liberals); and two middle sized parties (Greens – 88 Lower House candidates incl. 3 incumbents and 40 Upper House candidates incl. 1 incumbent; and Nationals – 10 Lower House candidates incl. 4 incumbents and 6 Upper House candidates with no incumbents).

And then, thanks to the possibilities group voting tickets give them for being elected, there are 20 minor and micro parties, including some working to become fully developed, a host of ratbags, and a few ‘community independents’ that cobbled some friends so they could be listed as a party for above-the-line, single choice voting.

Given my background in biology, I cannot help but try to group parties with common features to make them easier to discuss [the color of the bullet in the right hand column indicates Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light assessment of each party]:

Group nameCharacteristicsParties
“Don’t tread on me!”Anarchic libertarians: anti-government, anti regulation, antivaxers, anti-Dan Andrews Angry Victorians Party;
Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party
“Follow God!”“Put the family first”: Hard-line conservative values with tendencies towards theocratic enforcement (e.g., anti abortion, public health mandates/anti science, strong policing, militaristic Democratic Labor Party [Catholic];
Family First [Protestant]
“Follow the Leader”Personality cults following the founder’s extremist ‘thinking’, generally with a strong law and order and enforcement component Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party;
[Isaac Golden’s] Health Australia Party;
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation;
[Clive Palmer’s] United Australia Party
“Follow Mammon”Pro development (especially fossil fuels, forestry & environment), remove & prevent public health regulations (support ‘alternative’ medicine’ practices) Freedom Party of Victoria;
Liberal Democratic Party
“Single track mind”Virtually total focus on a single issue Companions and Pets Party [commercial breeding, racing & farming];
Legalise Cannabis Victoria [commercialization of cannabis]
“Follow the Community”Party representing a particular ethnic or economic community National Party [rural people and interests];
New Democrats [Aspirational Indians & South Asians];
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party;
Transport Matters;
“Sustaining our Futures”Party focused on sustaining human welfare into the future — more-or-less in the face of global warming and the climate emergency Animal Justice Party;
Australian Greens;
Reason Australia;
Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption;
Victorian Socialists;
Categories of minor parties

The following section summarizes where I think each party (excepting the majors, Labor and Liberal) stands in relation to action on the global climate emergency — the only issue that really matters. These assessments are based on my scientific understanding of the crisis, assessment of the parties’ policies and the parliamentary performances of any elected representatives on climate and environmental issues. Finally, the views expressed here are mine, and do not necessary represent those of other Vote Climate One members.


Comments on all the parties

Green Light

  • Animal Justice Party: Going along with care and respect for the animals we share a planet with, Animal Justice has a strong policy of care, respect, and protection of our common environment. They also have the best voting record next to the Greens. This is backed up with a very strong policy on the climate emergency.
  • Victorian Greens. The Greens have strong, considered, and progressive policies on almost everything founded on humanistic and science-based deliberations. This is backed up with significant Parliamentary experience. Well qualified to inform and stimulate actions to deal with the climate emergency.
  • Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption: They have initiated legislation in the Upper House to support and empower local government planning policies, which are often negated or overruled by the State Government, or completely disregarded in VCAT and legislation to insert environmental and native species protection into the planning scheme. Further, they have proposed legislation to force responsible authorities who issue permits for developments, large and small, to take into account mitigation and adaptation to climate change. All of these environmental issues have been resisted so far by the major parties. Finally, they have a strong progressive platform with a practical focus on science, technology, government operations including climate.
  • Victorian Socialists. The most urgent item on their policy agenda is to recognize the magnitude of the climate emergency and to respond to it in ways that are as fair as possible to those who are directly affected. Overall broad, humanistic, and well thought out policies on climate and many other areas.

Orange Light

  • Reason Australia. Focus on humanism and feminism. “Reason commits to backing any policy, from any government, of any political persuasion that will improve the health and wellbeing of women in Australia”. Strong policy on the climate emergency but state explicitly that will horse-trade anything for what they really want.

Red Light

  • Angry Victorians. Spinoff of Australian Values. Ego trip for Chris Burson? Victorians “focused on rebuilding the economic and social foundations of our State responsibly, with strong priorities on Mental Health, Small and Family Businesses and our Veteran Community”. Australian Values has reasonable climate & energy policies, but individual candidates seem to have their own independent agendas – especially in Victoria. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Companions and Pets Party. Could equally be placed in the ‘Follow Mammon’ category. I can’t prove it, but it looks like CPP was formed by commercial interests specifically to counter the Animal Justice Party. Mirage News makes this very clear. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Democratic Labor Party. Supports “traditional family values”. See policies: “Energy Affordability” – strongly pro fossil fuel generation and denigrates renewable energy; “Restoring Agriculture” – remove all government controls on land use and farming. Strongly anti controlling anything relating to human ‘freedom’, but for the strong enforcement of biblical sexuality well to the right of the Coalition parties. Would probably fight to stop action on the climate emergency.
  • Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. Derryn Hinch’s policies to harden policing, courts, imprisonment, and tracking for sexual crimes and family violence. Anti-public health regulations relating to Covid. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Family First. Fighting “against the radical anti-family attitudes and policies of modern politics”. Policy supports “family, life and faith” from “radical political correctness”: “Economic freedom for families” strongly and specifically promotes the fossil fuel industry. “Education” – “Centre the curriculum around the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Restore the primacy of Western Civilisation and the Australian achievement”. No mention anywhere of environmental concerns or issues. To Hell with climate science and climate action??
  • Freedom Party. The movement: “Freedom Party of Victoria is the result of three years of dedication towards building a credible and reliable alternative for Victorians who have suffered enormously under the watch of an incompetent and corrupt government that needs to be changed.” Policy: Energy – deregulate and promote fossil fuel industry; Pandemic Management – repeal all regulations; Timber Industry – protect timber production not the forests; Fire Arms – “gun ownership is a right not a privilege”, “hunting is a divine right” No mention anywhere of environmental concerns or issues. To Hell with climate science and climate action??
  • Health Australia Party (HAP). I’ve done a lot of research on this party, because they appear to have a good progressive health policy, but they gave us a slightly ambiguous response to our Climate Lens question as to whether they would “support a national declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.” The assessment committee took this to represent a somewhat ‘libertarian’ response, so I investigated further to reveal a real can of worms.
    Much more concerning is that HAP has many features of a personality cult around its leader, Isaac Golden: National Secretary, Victorian President of the party, and First Candidate for the Western Metropolitan Region. [Isaac’s daughter Leiah Golden is the second candidate for this Region]. Questions to HAP candidates in other regions and in the districts, seem to end up being answered by Isaac.
    According to several of his autobiographical profiles, after “an early career in finance and financial accounting, Isaac changed career paths to natural medicine and has been a practitioner of “Hannemannian homeopathy” since 1984, and teaching it since 1988. The only educational qualification he lists in his Linked-in profile is his “PhD” on “homeopathic immunizations” from 2000-2004 at Swinburne University. To be completely clear, homeopathy has been proven scientifically many times over to be fake or fraudulent medicine.
    The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, in its article in its 2006 article, A Brief History of Homeopathy, states: “If there was ever a medical system which cried out for a careful scientific trial it is homeopathy. One of the early trials, carried out in 1835, is astonishing because it was very close to a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, undertaken with great care long before the mid-twentieth century when most of us believed that such randomized trials were first devised and carried out. It showed, incidentally, that homeopathy was ineffective.”
    At best, homeopathic medicine is a placebo. Anyone practicing it is either a gullible fool or a total fraud. Isaac Golden has been in this kind of business for a long time and has exploited many different spin-offs (e.g., explore what he is claiming on his Homstudy and other web sites: Isaac Golden Education, Natural Immunization Research, Dr Isaac Golden – World Authority on Homeopathic Vaccination).
    I do not think Isaac Golden is a fool. He established the Health Australia Party in 2015 as a vehicle to help deny the science that shows homeopathy to be more than a placebo. See his paper, “A Political Response to Attacks on Homeopathy in Australia” that unequivocally describes his aims for the party.
    Beyond Isaac Golden’s practice and promotion of fake medicine, there are a variety of published allegations that Isaac Golden is not a person of good character that that he has not refuted in court. The most telling allegations are in Chris Johnston’s 21/12/1019 article in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Cult member, homeopath, Senate candidate: The bizarre past of Isaac Golden“. Johnston alleged that Golden was a “key member of of a bizarre quasi-religious cult whose leader [Ian Lowe, now deceased] was jailed for sex crimes against the children of cult members”…. “Corporate records show Lowe was a business partner of Dr Golden’s in a Victorian-based natural medicine business called Aurum at the time the child rapes were occurring”. The article provides a lot of additional detail on Lowe and the cult.
    Most of HAP’s other candidates I have checked are associated with various alternative medical practices or show some direct association with Golden. The fundamentally narcissistic nature of [Isaac Golden’s] Health Australia Party is also evident in his Official Statement to Party Members of 29/09/2022.
    The bottom line is that although Health Australia Party appears to have a good climate policy, nothing they say they will do should be trusted. We recommend that you do not vote for any of their candidates!
  • Legalise Cannabis Victoria. Other than decriminalizing the sale, possession, and all forms of Cannabis use, the bulk of policy seems to be focused on commercializing all aspects of the plant. The Victorian Party seems to be indifferent to climate issues. We recommend that you do not vote for them
  • Liberal Democratic Party. Policies to eliminate government restrictions – especially on fossil fuel development and use and land use. End gov’t support for renewable energy. Minimize uses of gov’t emergency powers. “Every candidate for the Liberal Democrats takes a public pledge to never vote for an increase in taxes or a reduction in liberty if elected.” LDP would probably work to inhibit government responses to the climate emergency. Do not vote for them.
  • National Party of Australia. Where Victoria is concerned in terms of their existing representation and 2022 contests, the Nationals for Victoria are clearly an average sized micro party seeking to maintain their representation of country electorates. They say nothing about climate, but surprisingly are offering households subsidies to take up renewable energy: “Our Power to the People Plan will provide 1 million households, including for at least 100,000 rental properties, with a rebate of up to $1,400 for solar panels and $3,000 for a home battery”. Nevertheless, given their affiliation with the Liberals and history in the Federal Parliament, we consider Nationals to be a dangerous choice if you are concerned to see action on the climate emergency.
  • New Democrats. This party fits quite well in three different categories.
    First, [Kaushaliya Vaghela’s] New Democrats has many signs of the “Follow the Leader” personality cult. She is the an incumbent member of the Legislative Council, elected as the third Labor Party MLC in the Western Metropolitan Region, apparently recruited into the party by Adem Somyurek and was caught in the crossfire following on from the IBAC hearings on “red shirts” and branch stacking. She resigned/was expelled from the Labor party, accusing Dan Andrews’ office of persistent bullying, and went on to establish the New Democrats on 28 July as the Party Secretary. Using her high profile in the widespread community of aspirational Indian and South Asian immigrants, she was able to find candidates for the party to run in all Victorian Upper House Regions and most of the Lower House Districts in the Western Metropolitan Region. As founder and Party Secretary she is the designated contact person for all candidates.
    As a Labor MP, Vaghela established herself as “the” representative for this extensive community throughout Victoria and seems to have done a very good job of this. Now, as an independent member of Parliament she with some justification presents herself as the Indian/South Asian community independent.
    However, there is little doubt that much of Vaghela’s core policy places the New Democrats firmly in the “Don’t Tread on Me” category of anti-Dan Andrews parties with a strong emphasis on libertarian values.
    I have found no mention anywhere that New Democrats have any policy relating to the climate emergency. Even if you are a member of Vaghela’s “Indian and south Asian community”, if you are concerned about the future of your family, we suggest that because of their angry libertarianism the New Democrats will be a dangerous option where effective climate is concerned, and that you put them near the last in your below-the-line preferences.
  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON). The Party is definitely Federal Senator Pauline Hanson’s angry, bigoted and racist personality cult that particularly appeals to the far right fraction of Queensland’s population. Additionally, PHON also provides a trumpet mouthpiece for Federal Senator Malcolm Roberts. I have had several personal exchanges with him over years. Roberts is a ‘retired’ coal mining engineer who is one of the most rabidly antiscientific climate science deniers in the whole Australian Population. PHON’s Climate and energy polices reflect this. Thanks to Roberts, PHON will likely fight climate action tooth and nail. Put them last!
  • Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party. Ex Labor Party staffers and whistleblowers totally focused on removing Dan Andrews. “The Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party intends to do what it says on the tin, and stands for:” No perceptible interest in climate and energy issues, so probably could not be trusted on climate issues. Put them near the bottom of your preferences.
  • Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party represents and promotes rural libertarians and could just as easily be placed in the “Don’t tread on me” category. Compared to the more measured Federal Policy, The Party’s Victorian policy wants no legal rights for animals, strong limits to councils’ abilities to manage land use and to declare climate emergencies, opposes pandemic related mandates and lockdowns, no limits to land use and forestry, absolutely minimize restrictions to hunting and shooting, promotion of fossil fuel extraction, etc., maximize farmers’ rights to exploit their lands. This Party will clearly try to prevent effective actions against the climate emergency. Put them close to the bottom of your preferences!
  • Transport Matters Party (TMP). This party fits clearly in my “Follow the Community” category, as its national policies and those expressed by the Party’s founder Rod Barton, a Victorian incumbent MLC, almost exclusively represent the broad community of transport workers. Unlike other red-light parties, TMP is not especially libertarian or anarchic, and it actually has a reasonable favorable climate and environment policy: federal / Barton. Vote Climate One has given TMP a red-light flag, because of Barton’s voting record in the Victorian Parliament. However, he offers an interesting justification for his support of the EV Road Tax that should be considered:
    In May 2021, I negotiated with the government regarding the Electric Vehicle (EV) road user charge to ensure that there would be a substantial investment and subsidy package in place to encourage EV uptake in the short term. This became a $100 million package that provided 25,000 subsidies for EV buyers and investment in charging infrastructure. Subsidies do not need to be provided once price parity is reached, which is expected to occur anywhere between 2025 and 2030.
    Nevertheless, in other Parlamentary votes he has sided with measures to protect the fossil fuel industry, suggesting that TMP would not reliably support the kinds of climate action we need to save our species. Considering everything, we advise that TMP candidates should still be preferenced near the bottom of your list, but among the least worse of the red-light candidates.
  • [Clive Palmer’s] United Australia Party Victoria. Definitely multi-billionaire Clive Palmer’s personality cult. A con job financed to the hilt to support his passions: fossil fuel, anti-science (e.g., vaccination, Covid mandates, climate emergency), and general libertarian anarchy. None of his promises can believed. It is very likely that any one he elects will be obliged to fight climate science and any strong action against climate change. Put this party at or near the bottom of your preference list.

How they voted for their parties

The following graphic (prepared by Rob Bakes) shows how minor party and independent incumbents voted on several climate-related issues during the current Parliament. It is discussed in more detail on our How They Voted page.

Ranking the many independents

The insidious implications of Victoria’s electoral laws relating to Group Voting Tickets for so called ‘preferential’ voting in the Upper House led to the formation of an unusually large number of parties. We had to spend substantially more effort evaluating parties than we anticipated to understand the legal but highly unethical and secretive preference swapping that gives (and even encourages) microparties to apply the voter’s above-the-line [1] vote to apply THE PARTY’S preferences to elect 4 other candidates in the voter’s region.

Given the large number of micro parties, each of these parties then had the opportunity to endorse their own candidates in many or even all Lower House districts as well. Many of these micro party candidates will have strong anti-climate action biases due to their party affiliations. Also, it is likely some of the independents will be distractors encouraged to nominate by anti-climate major parties to draw votes away from pro-climate parties and independents. And then, there are a large number of genuine “community independents” encouraged to nominate by the success of the “teal” independents in the federal election, where Climate200 supported 23 independents and 10 were elected/reelected. Note that all these independent candidates were nominated by and worked to represent what their local communities wanted from government — Climate200 supported them because they had similar values.

Because the Victorian electoral law gravely minimizes the support independent candidates can receive compared to what major parties can do Climate200 is only able to provide limited support to four candidates in the present election. And even then there is a great deal of misrepresentation from the major parties as to what community independents are.

The fact is that there other community independents running that deserve green-light ranking for their climate policies, but are not necessarily easy to identify because they lack Climate200 support.

The above is a long-winded way of saying the Vote Climate One has lacked the resources in time and effort to rigorously survey all independent candidates for their climate action credentials. Some of these may be flagged with our default red-lights in our Voting Guides simply because we not seen evidence to rank them any other way.

If you are an independent candidate and think you deserve better than we have marked you, please contact us immediately with your climate credentials, and we will reassess your ranking

Hopefully, before Election Day itself, we will be able to complete our assessment of all independents. As this assessment work progresses, rankings updated.


Why are we at Vote Climate One going to all this effort to try to help you?

If we don’t stop global warming soon, we’ll have fueled enough positive feedbacks that runaway warming to Earth’s ‘Hothouse Hell’ state will virtually guarantee human extinction.

However, if we can help get climate savvy governments in power soon enough, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

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.

We’re racing down “highway to climate hell” (UN Chief)

UN Chief, Antonio Guterres warns world leaders at COP 27 summit that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” from climate change.

Guterres pulled no punches in his opening address to heads of state and other national leaders attending the climate summit: “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” he added…. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,”

Chart showing a collection of indicators of human action and impact on the climate / AFP — from the article

by Laurent Thomet and Kelly Macnamara, 7/11/2022 in PhysOrg/Earth/Environment

World risks ‘collective suicide’, UN chief warns climate summit

The UN’s chief warned Monday that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” in the fight against climate change, at a summit where developing countries reeling from global warming demanded more action from rich polluters.

Nearly 100 heads of state and government are meeting for two days in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, facing calls to deepen emissions cuts and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told the UN COP27 summit.

Read the complete article….

In his own words:


These are no empty words — Guterres is reporting on what the best science available to us we must do to avoid the highway to climate hell

Supporting Guterres’s stark warnings is a vast array of physical evidence (i.e., satellite and direct measurements) on climate change and theoretical modeling. This shows beyond any reasonable doubt that humanity is indeed accelerating down the “highway to climate hell”. Some of this evidence was reviewed in David Spratt’s series of articles in Climate Code Red, beginning in January. Those articles and my contextual comments covering them discussed some of the tipping points we may be passing on our progress towards the point of no return where positive feedbacks in Earth’s climate system.

The featured image in the present post and in my seven posts on the Spratt series is from a 2018 article by Steffen et al. in the prestigious science journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“. The image is a highway map showing the alternative roads: to “climate hell” and suicide, or to planetary stewardship and survival on a “Stablized Earth”.

The “Trajectories” paper identifies various tipping points in the climate system where intrinsic temperature-related positive feedbacks would continue driving global temperatures higher when global warming reached those points. If the warming is not stopped, a “planetary threshold” (i.e., ‘point of no return’) will soon be reached where the intrinsic feedbacks become so strong that nothing humans could plausibly do would stop global temperatures being pushed high enough to produce a “Hothouse Earth” and global mass extinction (including humans). Fig. 1 (below) and the featured image provide a map illustrating how humans might be able to divert the evolution of our climate away from the heat driven highway over the planetary threshold (point of no return) where societal collapse and extinction becomes more-or-less inevitable.

Fig. 1. A schematic illustration of possible future pathways of the climate against the background of the typical glacial–interglacial cycles (Lower Left). The interglacial state of the Earth System is at the top of the glacial–interglacial cycle, while the glacial state is at the bottom. Sea level follows temperature change relatively slowly through thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers and ice caps. The horizontal line in the middle of the figure represents the preindustrial temperature level, and the current position of the Earth System is shown by the small sphere on the red line close to the divergence between the Stabilized Earth and Hothouse Earth pathways. The proposed planetary threshold at ∼2 °C above the preindustrial level is also shown.

As Guterres said, if we act soon enough and with enough vigor to stop carbon emissions and do whatever else is necessary, we may be able to find the left turn off the highway to climate hell. By being good stewards of our limited resources we may be able to find our way along the less probable road to a “Stabilized Earth” where Earth’s climate can return to the kinds of tolerable conditions humanity evolved and flourished in. After 45 years of hiding from the problem and allowing it to become progressively worse, saving our species from the highway to hell will take global mobilization of a monumental effort.

Otherwise, If we continue with business as usual supporting our fossil fuel puppet masters, the highway to hell will inevitably take us over the cliff to our doom. We have a choice. “Cooperate or perish”.


What must we do?

In Australia our present governments are still at least partially in league with the fossil fuel industry. Science tells us that we must stop all carbon emissions as fast as we possibly can. Yet all of our governments continue various subsidies for the industry, allowing them to continue developing new projects, trying to extend the life of coal-fired generators and selling cheaply produced natural gas (even in the states where it is produced) for some of the world’s highest prices to make astronomical profits for mostly foreign owners. Most of these schemes were perpetrated under COALition governments, but today’s national and Victorian Labor governments continue to support them.

We need to work to ensure no major party/coalition can achieve government without Greens and/or climate friendly community independents in the balance of power. This was achieved by one vote in the Senate (the ACT’s David Pocock). In Victoria, Labor’s Dan Andrews enjoys a presently dictatorial lead over a Liberal/National Party coalition. If we are to achieve the kinds of sweeping climate goals we need, Community oriented climate activists are going to need to be elected in both COALition and Labor Party held seats. Vote Climate One’s Climate Lens is designed to help you select climate friendly and trustworthy candidates, and to use Victoria’s preferential voting scheme most effectively to give your selected candidates the best opportunities to win the seat.


Using our Climate Lens in Victoria

In Australia, states probably have more capacity for effective climate action than the national government. Victoria’s upcoming state election should be an election focused on the only issue that really matters, climate.

The Victorian ballot is far too complicated and is deliberately designed to keep all the power in the hands of whichever major party is in the majority.

Vote Climate One emerged to help people cope easily with complex ballots to focus on electing the kinds of candidates who we think can be trusted to legislate and lead effective climate action. We do this in two major ways: using our Climate Lens help you assess who is pro climate vs those who are not; and using Climate Sentinel News’s searchlight to highlight and explain the facts that show why climate change is so dangerous and climate action is so important.


Featured Image: Stability landscape showing the pathway of the Earth System out of the Holocene and thus, out of the glacial–interglacial limit cycle to its present position in the hotter Anthropocene. The fork in the road in Fig. 1 is shown here as the two divergent pathways of the Earth System in the future (broken arrows). Currently, the Earth System is on a Hothouse Earth pathway driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and biosphere degradation toward a planetary threshold at ∼2 °C (horizontal broken line at 2 °C in Fig. 1), beyond which the system follows an essentially irreversible pathway driven by intrinsic biogeophysical feedbacks. The other pathway leads to Stabilized Earth, a pathway of Earth System stewardship guided by human-created feedbacks to a quasistable, human-maintained basin of attraction. “Stability” (vertical axis) is defined here as the inverse of the potential energy of the system. Systems in a highly stable state (deep valley) have low potential energy, and considerable energy is required to move them out of this stable state. Systems in an unstable state (top of a hill) have high potential energy, and they require only a little additional energy to push them off the hill and down toward a valley of lower potential energy.

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

I’ve asked for years. Why won’t we save ourselves?

For 45 years we have known that fossil fuel emissions caused global warming that could kill us — and have done nothing effective to stop them. Why?

In today’s Conversation three social scientists explore this conundrum that is both horrifies and fascinates them to consider. We’ve known the dangers. “Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?” Their article tries to answer the question.

How long can fossil fuel hegemony continue as weather events become more extreme? Marcus Kauffman/Unsplash, CC BY / from the article

by Christopher Wright, Daniel Nyberg, & Vanessa Bowden, 7/11/2022 in The Conversation

A technologically advanced society is choosing to destroy itself. It’s both fascinating and horrifying to watch

We’ve had decades to act.

Like watching a slow-motion train crash, the world’s leading climate scientists have for decades warned of the dangers of ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Political and corporate leaders knew of the threat more than a decade before it was key public knowledge. Back in 1977 [follow this link – it is important!], United States President Jimmy Carter was briefed on the possibility of catastrophic climate change. That same year, internal memos at one of the world’s largest oil companies [ditto] made it clear that continued burning of fossil fuels would dramatically heat the planet.

So why, in the 45 years since, has there been so little action in response? Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?

Read the complete article….

Most of the articles in Vote Climate One’s Climate Sentinel News explore aspects of this conundrum. Our condensed answer to “What can be done?” is that we have to begin acting by changing our governments. We must evict the puppets of the fossil fuel industry who have largely worked to BLOCK effective action, and replace them with candidates who take the climate emergency and the need to act on it seriously.

In Australia, states probably have more capacity for effective climate action than the national government. Victoria’s upcoming state election should be an election focused on the only issue that really matters, climate.

The Victorian ballot is far too complicated and is deliberately designed to keep all the power in the hands of whichever major party is in the majority.

Vote Climate One emerged to help people cope easily with complex ballots to focus on electing the kinds of candidates who we think can be trusted to legislate and lead effective climate action. We do this in two major ways: using our Climate Lens help you assess who is pro climate vs those who are not; and using Climate Sentinel News’s searchlight to highlight and explain the facts that show why climate change is so dangerous and climate action is so important.

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

We’re almost out of time to save our species!

The Guardian article shows we’re perilously close to the point of no return where global warming will be unstoppable. The UN says act now! Victoria needs to have a successful climate election as this is the only issue that really matters.

The featured image (from the Guardian article) shows no hint that the rising greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming have even slowed, let alone begun to reverse. In fact, as evidenced over the last three years (shown in the circle) methane emissions are currently accelerating. Over 100 years methane has more than 30 times the greenhouse potential than CO₂ (more than 80 X over 20 years!). Accelerating methane release from soils and permafrost is a highly dangerous source of temperature related positive feedback capable of driving temperatures higher than humans can possibly stop – to produce ‘runaway’ feedbacks forcing Earth’s climates into the ‘Hothouse Earth‘ state within a century or so that would most probably cause human extinction.

We face a real and existentially stark climate emergency. For humanity to have a future, WE MUST STOP AND REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING. Because this is a global phenomenon to have any hope of success, governments must coordinate and lead actions.

The UN environment agency’s report found there was ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’ amid ‘woefully inadequate’ progress on cutting carbon emissions. / Photo Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

by Damian Carrington, 28/10/2022 in the Guardian

World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies

Key UN reports published in last two days warn urgent and collective action needed – as oil firms report astronomical profits

The climate crisis has reached a “really bleak moment”, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has said, after a slew of major reports laid bare how close the planet is to catastrophe.

Collective action is needed by the world’s nations more now than at any point since the second world war to avoid climate tipping points, Prof Johan Rockström said, but geopolitical tensions are at a high.

He said the world was coming “very, very close to irreversible changes … time is really running out very, very fast”.

All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days. The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.

Read the complete article….

However, as dire as the UN’s predictions are, they almost certainly understate the magnitude of the risks. Government action is essential and urgently needed! Where Victoria is concerned we can elect such a government in less than three weeks.

In Australia, state governments probably have the most power to control and stop human sourced greenhouse gas emissions (CO₂ and methane) through licensing, permitting, and regulating (environmental and development). Even though the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria is doing a lot to act on the climate emergency, the voting record and its campaigning shows that Labor continues to support fossil fuel developments that will continue adding yet more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This will keep pushing us ever closer to the point of no return beyond which warming will run away to a Hothouse Earth and likely human extinction. This is a very real climate emergency!

Thus, the upcoming State Election gives Victorian voters a chance to shift our government towards prioritizing action on climate change. What we need to do is to elect enough climate friendly independent, minor party and Green representatives in present Labor seats to put climate activists into the balance of power. As demonstrated federally, fossil fuel puppets and other losers will undoubtedly shout to the rafters that a hung parliament is a recipe for chaos and disaster, but recall that in terms of passing legislation the Gillard Minority Government was arguably one of the most successful governments in Australian history.

Vote Climate One shows Victorians how you can use your preferential voting system to maximize the power of your vote to elect a climate friendly representative.

Our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment process has determined where every candidate in every electorate stands on climate issues and ranks them in one of three classes: Green Light – trustworthy supporter of a strong climate policy; Red Light – bad climate policy, voting record or other history suggests can’t be trusted to support a good strong climate policy, or position on climate cannot be determined; Orange Light – weak climate policy and/or record but definitely better than those ranked Red Light.

For the Victorian Election, our Voting Guides for each electorate do not tell you who to vote for. However, if you want to elect a climate friendly government, we provide information about every candidate’s climate policies and an easy to follow voting strategy to maximize the chance to elect a person with a good policy.

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

Corruption of ‘Above the Line Voting’ for the Victorian Parliament’s upper house

Assessing parties and individuals running for Victoria’s Legislative Council (upper house) for Traffic Light ranking on climate policies reveals murky deals and unethical behaviors with strong odors of corruption. This corruption is made possible or even ‘encouraged’ by Victoria’s unique and arcane ‘group voting tickets’ (GVTs).

Group Voting Tickets defeat voter intentions

Some facts

Wikipedia gives a good explanation of how Group Voting Tickets work, and problems arising from them. Basically, they encourage establishment of a plethora of minor and micro parties and allow preference deals to be set up amongst groups of micro parties that more-or-less assure that at least one of the group is elected even with less than 1% of voter first preferences. This puts put single issue candidates from the far fringe into Parliament that otherwise wouldn’t have a hope of being elected in a fair proportional distribution of votes.

Ben Raue in Tally Room posts, “Victoria 2018 – the preference cabal is back” and “Vic 2018 – group voting tickets triumph over voters“, shows how GVTs grossly distorted the result of the 2018 State Election, with major deviations in seat counts from what might be expected from a ‘fair’ distribution of votes under proportional representation methods (i.e., D’Hondt and Saint-Laguë).

The most notable result in the election was that the Green voters were well and truly robbed. Although the Australian Greens had 4 seats in Parliament prior to the election and lost some votes going into the vote, after distribution of GVT preferences they ended up with only 1 seat, despite having 331,751 votes, coming 3rd in the count of first preferences. Eight (8) minor parties won 11 seats. Of these the largest number of preferences won by any one of them was, Hinch’s Justice Party with only 134,413 votes. Hinch’s Justice won 3 seats with 3.8% of the total votes, while the Greens won only 1 seat with 9.3% of the votes (the two ‘fair’ distribution methods both would have given 4 seats to Greens); and the Liberal Democrats won 2 seats with 3% of the vote. In other travesties, Sustainable Australia and Transport Matters Parties both won seats with substantially less than 1% of the first preference votes.

Quoting Raue,

If you look at the ratio of votes to seats, the discrepancy is massive. Transport Matters won one seat off a statewide vote of 22,228, while the Greens only won one seat off 331,751 votes.

My objection is not to small parties winning seats – but to the arbitrary and undemocratic way that this is decided. If the Victorian upper house was elected by the Saint-Laguë method (a variation on D’Hondt which gives a boost to smaller parties) we would have seen two less Labor members, one more Liberal, and three more Greens. But we would have still seen two members of Hinch’s party win seats, along with six others. This would have included members of the Democratic Labour Party and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, both of whom received more votes than Sustainable Australia or Transport Matters but missed out thanks to unfavourable preference flows.

One of the most extreme results was Transport Matters in East Metro. They won off 0.6%, thanks to preferences from almost every other group. Eleven other candidates started ahead of them in the race for the final seat, with the Greens leading on 9%.

It’s also worth looking at the result in the South-Eastern Metro region, where the Liberal Democrats won off 0.84% of the primary vote. If every vote flowed according to the group voting tickets, the Transport Matters party would have won a second seat off 1.3%, but enough below-the-line votes flowed elsewhere to knock out TMP before the Greens, at which point preferences instead favoured the Lib Dems.

Read the complete article….

For formal results of the 2018 election, see the Victorian Electoral Commission (scroll down to Overall Upper House results and further to Individual Upper House results for the results in each electoral Region.

Chanel 6 News blog from 10 October (with more recent updates) lists candidates for all upper and lower house electorates with comments on changes of status. This item includes an interesting interview with the Deputy Leader of the Freedom Party, Aiden McLindon, discussing motivation and lack of ethics enabled by Victoria’s Group Voting Tickets in the Upper House:

Finally, there is a useful Age article from July 28 by Rachel Eddie, The blocker v the whisperer: Prizefight for preferences before state poll.

How can this affect you?

The Victorian State Legislative Council (Upper House) consists of 40 MPs, elected from eight multi-member electorates known as regions. Each region returns five members for a four-year term. How these are elected is unique to Victoria.

To understand how your one vote is apportioned to elect 5 different people, you need to understand what a Group Voting Ticket actually is. According to the Victorian Electoral Commission:

Two or more upper house candidates can register a group in a State election. Registering a group means that these candidates will be listed together on the ballot paper and will have a box above the line. Candidates who are not part of a group will appear below the line only.

Groups can contain members of one political party, multiple parties, or independent candidates. Groups appear before ungrouped candidates on the ballot paper and the group name appears above the line.

When completing the group registration form you can specify the order that members of your group will be listed on the ballot paper. Candidates can only be part of one group.

Group voting tickets are used to determine how your group wants to direct preferences when someone votes above the line.

The boxes above the line are groups of candidates that have registered one or more group voting tickets.

To vote above the line, write the number 1 in the box for the group you want to support.

When you vote above the line, your preferences will be decided by the group voting ticket.

A group voting ticket is a statement on how each party or group gives preferences to candidates. Every registered group voting ticket is made available on this website before an election and is also on display in every voting centre.

All group voting tickets will be published on [the VEC] website from Sunday 13 November.

Ungrouped independents are ONLY listed below the line.

In voting for the Legislative Council (Upper House) if you vote above the line, no numbers other than your 1 will be counted; and nothing you put below the line will be counted. i.e., there is no way you can vote above the line for an ungrouped independent.

If you want to vote for an ungrouped independent, you must vote below the line, and for your vote to count, you must number at least FIVE candidates below the line in your order of preference. Do not put any numbers above the line!

In 2018 Labor probably contributed largely to knocking out three of the four Greens candidates that would have won on a fair proportional vote: According to the Tally Room, “Labor is preferencing the Greens quite highly [so they look good to people concerned about the climate], but in every region they are preferencing a [micro party] candidate listed above ahead of the Greens, which means if they end up in a head-to-head race with the Greens at the end of the count, Labor’s preferences would help elect the little-known micro-party candidate.”

Personally, I would call this definitely unethical even though it entirely conforms to the provisions of the law!

This makes it clear why neither major party has shown any interest in reforming the ethically corrupt Group Voting Ticket law that wins them an extra upper house seat or so, and significantly reduces the number of Greens elected compared to what would result from a true proportional distribution. Keeping this law on the books also seems definitely unethical to me.

Summing up, if you are not a donkey or are voting only because you might be fined if you don’t, you will want your vote to elect candidates or parties who you think will support issues you deem to be important. If you vote above the line, your single vote will also go towards electing four other candidates below the top name on the party ticket – and you have NO SAY in deciding who these four candidates may be. Each party then allocates your vote to any other 4 candidates THE PARTY prefers. For large parties, this is why their tickets normally include 5 people. However, as the articles referenced above point out, based on largely hidden back-room preference deals among the parties, if you voted above the line your remaining 4 votes may be allocated by the group ticket you voted for to any one, such that the fifth choice may well go to a party whose policy is diametrically opposed to your interests.

E.g., if you voted above the line in the Eastern Metropolitan Region for Labor because you thought it has a better climate policy than the Liberals, Labor preferenced Transport Matters ahead of the Greens and successfully replaced the sitting Green member with the Transport Matters candidate:

EASTERN METROPOLITAN 
2014: 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters
Projection: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters

Summary: In this count the major parties have two quotas each and Rodney Brian Barton (Transport Matters) appears to snowball from 0.62% of the vote to beat all others including the Greens (9.03%).  Although Barton at one point falls to third-last, no threat to his victory has been identified.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters.
Update: This result has been declared.

Your vote above the line for Labor because they appeared to have a better climate policy than the Liberals, shifted the balance of votes by two further away from reliable supporters of climate action.

How Vote Climate One can help you elect the candidates YOU want

Group Voting Tickets encourage a plethora of micro parties to nominate candidates, because several of them actually have a chance of being elected in the Upper House even with microscopic numbers of first preferences if they make the right preference deals. Thus, if you want to vote below the line you may end up having fifty to perhaps a hundred boxes to number if you want to allocate all your preferences. Our TRAFFIC LIGHT VOTING system, VOTING GUIDES – VIC and pro-forma ballots make doing this something you can do in a straight forward way and relatively quickly at home, so that all you need do in the polling booth is copy your pre-decided numbers from your Upper House pro-forma to the formal ballot paper. We also provide similar help with the Lower House ballot in every district. Use these tools, and you’ll then have time for your Democracy Sausage after if you vote on Polling Day.

Why are we at Vote Climate One going to all this effort to try to help you?

If we don’t stop global warming soon, we’ll have fueled enough positive feedbacks that runaway warming to Earth’s ‘Hothouse Hell’ state will virtually guarantee human extinction.

However, if we can help get climate savvy governments in power soon enough, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

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.

We don’t want majority governments!

If single parties can pass legislation on their own, it’s hard to stop them from becoming puppets of obscenely wealthy special interests

The climate scientist, Bill McKibben in his Critical Years blog article, “Big Oil is addicted, but it’s killing the rest of us“, explains that fossil fuel industry is ‘addicted’ to the super-profits it can generate by continuing to increase its production of products and their lethal greenhouse gas emissions. The industry will do anything it can to stay in this business, including using its vast wealth to corrupt government.

The Sacramento working group of Third Act held a die-in this weekend outside the fossil-fueled Chase Bank. For them it was powerful guerilla theater; for millions around the world it is reality / From the article

By Bill McKibben, 26/10/2022 in The Crucial Years

Big Oil is addicted, but it’s killing the rest of us

A shocking new summary of fossil fuel’s assault on public health

Yesterday afternoon, the British medical journal The Lancet published a vast and remarkable assessment of the health impacts of climate change. (Produced in Britain, the Lancet is among the world’s most venerable journals—it’s where Joseph Lister published his plan for antiseptic surgery in 1867.) Assembled by a team of more than a hundred researchers, the report found that

“Because of the rapidly increasing temperatures, vulnerable populations (adults older than 65 years, and children younger than one year of age) were exposed to 3.7 billion more heatwave days in 2021 than annually in 1986–2005, and heat-related deaths increased by 68% between 2000–04 and 2017–21.”

and also that

“the number of months suitable for malaria transmission increased by 31.3% in the highland areas of the Americas and 13.8% in the highland areas of Africa from 1951–60 to 2012–21, and the likelihood of dengue transmission rose by 12% in the same period. The coexistence of dengue outbreaks with the COVID-19 pandemic led to aggravated pressure on health systems, misdiagnosis, and difficulties in management of both diseases in many regions of South America, Asia, and Africa.”…

…[T]he fossil fuel industry has spent decades blocking the way—a massive three-decade campaign of deceit, denial and disinformation; an ongoing lobbying effort against renewables that the industry boasts will get even more powerful if the GOP wins the midterms; endless support for rightwing lawmakers to make sure that lobbying will work.

I think the question I get asked the most may be: why do these vast oil companies not simply convert to energy companies? Why don’t Exxon and Chevron decide to own the renewable future, instead of investing at most a few percent of their research budgets on clean tech?

And the answer is, if you think about it, sadly logical. You can make some money putting solar panels on people’s roofs—there will be solar billionaires. But you can’t make Exxon money, because once the panel is up there, the sun delivers the energy for free every day when it rises above the horizon. From Exxon’s point of view, this is the stupidest business model ever: they made their fortune by selling you more energy, every week for your entire life. They are hooked.

Read the complete article….

Because the fossil fuel producers are hooked, they will use their immense financial power in any way they can to ensure that governments make life easier for them to feed their daily addictions for their ever growing fortunes. This is irrespective of how many people are killed and the biosphere is damaged in other ways. The craving for the daily fix is more important than any concern about the future of life on Earth.

Majority governments are easy pickings. Political parties are addicted to power and will do almost anything to stay in power. Fossil fuel interests can do a lot (‘ethically’ or unethically) to help a party to gain majority power or (especially) to stay in power. Climate Sentinel News has given many examples of how Fossil Fuel subverts governments to feed emission producing addiction. Here are three:

It is much harder to corrupt a minority government that depends on the cooperation of several independent (and often shifting) entities to pass legislation. Probably the most difficult government of all to corrupt is one where the balance of power is held by community independents ethically representing the community of voters that selected and elected them. Such independents will work for the interests of those who voted for them rather than a party line representing special interests of major patrons working to keep the party in power.

Vote Climate One is working to provide Australian (and Victorian) voters with the information you need to elect representatives who will work for you rather than for the lethal addictions of the fossil fuel industry. See our Voting Guides – Vic for the upcoming Victorian State Election on 26 November 2022.

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

Proof that humans caused rapid global warming

US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency summarizes evidence that humans are responsible for huge CO₂ emissions driving rapid global warming.

Rock solid evidence leaves no other explanations able to explain the observations. Humans caused the problem. Humans should be able to do something about it!

By Rebecca Lindsey, October 12, 2022 on Climate Q&A

How do we know the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is caused by humans?

The most basic reason is that fossil fuels—the equivalent of millions of years of plant growth—are the only source of carbon dioxide large enough to raise atmospheric carbon dioxide amounts as high and as quickly as they have risen. The increase between the year 1800 and today is 70% larger than the increase that occurred when Earth climbed out of the last ice age between 17,500 and 11,500 years ago, and it occurred 100-200 times faster.

In addition, fossil fuels are the only source of carbon consistent with the isotopic fingerprint of the carbon present in today’s atmosphere. That analysis indicates it must be coming from terrestrial plant matter, and it must be very, very old. These and other lines of evidence leave no doubt that fossil fuels are the primary source of the carbon dioxide building up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Read the complete article….

Carbon dioxide over 800,000 years

The featured image is from the article above. It shows the variation in atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last 800,000 years of time. The caption explains:

Global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in parts per million (ppm) for the past 800,000 years based on ice-core data (purple line) compared to 2021 concentration (dark purple dot). The peaks and valleys in the line track ice ages (low CO2) and warmer interglacials (higher CO2). Throughout that time, CO2 was never higher than 300 ppm (light purple dot, between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago). The increase over the last 60 years is 100 times faster than previous natural increases. [my emphasis] In fact, on the geologic time scale, the increase from the end of the last ice age to the present looks virtually instantaneous. Graph by NOAA Climate.gov based on data from Lüthi, et al., 2008, via NOAA NCEI Paleoclimatology Program.

Also from Climate Q&A, see two related articles: What evidence exists that Earth is warming and that humans are the main cause?; and Which emits more carbon dioxide: volcanoes or human activities?


Why is this important?

Many articles on Climate Sentinel News provide evidence that global temperatures are already reaching very dangerous thresholds. If we do not stop human generated/activated carbon emissions, positive feedbacks driven by the increasing temperatures will increase natural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fast enough to keep temperatures rising even if we completely stop human GHG emissions (e.g., the warming process will run away – see Climate Crisis! The only issue that matters, Tripping down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and Global Mass Extinction, and Apocalypse will come if global warming is not stopped.

If we do not stop global warming, there is probably enough carbon readily available for emissions in soil, permafrost, and biomass to drive temperatures high enough to exterminate most complex life on Earth (the 6th global mass extinction).

What can we do about it?

Because the climate crisis is a global threat for the whole of humanity, there is very little a single human can do in isolation to stop and turn around the warming process. Effective action has to be guided and managed at international, national and state levels before individual actions become effective. Consequently, the single most effective things individual people can do is to elect representatives to government who will respond actively and seriously to ensure that our governments are taking appropriate and effective actions.

Where governments are concerned, state governments probably have the most power to directly manage and control responses to climate change through their controls of environmental regulations, planning and permitting. In Australia, Victorians will have an opportunity around a month from now (on on 26 November 2022) to elect members for the next Parliament of Victoria. All 88 seats in the Legislative Assembly (lower house) and all 40 seats in the Legislative Council (upper house) will be up for election. The most important thing you can do to respond to the climate crisis is to elect upper and lower house representatives committed to effective action on the climate crisis.

Voting in Australia’s preferential voting system requires careful consideration if you care about the result.

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present Victorian Labor government will govern in your interests rather than their corporate and union 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 long and happy lives, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this work.

In general, we think a minority government led by Labor, where the balance of power is held by Greens and pro-climate community independents will give us the parliamentary representation that will give us the best outcome.

The trouble with party led majority governments is that the large parties are all disciplined to follow a party line. All too often super wealthy special interest patrons including non-citizen overseas entities strongly influence parties via large ‘donations’ and campaign support. Far better to give the last word on parliamentary decisions to MPs owing allegiance to the citizens who elected them than to people constrained to follow party disciplines..

Vote Climate One was formed for the specific purpose of studying and ranking all political parties and independent candidates on their policies and promises relating to climate and related environmental issues. What are they committed to do, and can you trust them to keep to their commitments. This is expressed in our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment process. (The results and their presentation are still being processed for the Victorian Election as this is being written).

Questionnaire used along with other kinds of evidence in our evaluation of candidates.

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 developed through our assessment process 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 do the work so you can easily cope with Victoria’s complex party-based preferencing to plan your voting before you enter the 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.

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. As individuals, our most effective fire axe is to elect the right people to government who can lead and coordinate the fire fight.

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.

Climate Crisis! The only issue that matters

We live in dangerous times. Our state and federal parliaments will make life and death decisions about the climate crisis

Global warming is real. It was triggered by the ‘greenhouse effects’ in the atmosphere of exponentially increasing amounts of CO₂ emitted by humanity’s prodigious burning of fossil carbon beginning with the Industrial Revolution. The rate of warming is also slowly accelerating to a point of crisis, where positive feedbacks driving further acceleration may be unstoppable by anything humans can do. If the warming runs away, there is no evidence that natural processes will stop heating before the ensuing Hothouse Earth condition causes global mass extinction – including our own species.

These statements are real world facts substantiated by a vast array of scientific evidence. We deny the reality at our own peril.

Here is a tiny bit of the evidence:

Plot of global average temperature superimposed on plot of CO2 concentration
Estimated changes in annual global mean surface temperatures (°C, color bars) and CO2 concentrations (thick black line) over the past 150 years relative to twentieth century average values. Carbon dioxide concentrations since 1957 are from direct measurements at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, while earlier estimates are derived from ice core records. The scale for CO2 concentrations is in parts per million by volume (ppm), relative to the twentieth century mean of 333.7 ppm, while the temperature anomalies are relative to a mean of 14 °C. Also given as dashed values are the preindustrial estimated values, where the value is 280 ppm, with the scale in orange at right for carbon dioxide. From Trenbarth & Cheng (2022), A perspective on climate change from Earth’s energy imbalance. Environ. Res.: Climate 1 013001 (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license)

Berkeley Earth corroborates Trenbarth & Cheng’s temperature observations above in great detail.

The rising concentrations of CO2 and other important greenhouse gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere are meticulously plotted by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Monitoring Laboratory’s Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases project’s Trends pages:

The Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases – Trends pages show the most up to date measurements and rates of changes of the three most important greenhouse gases. Links to the individual graphs are: (1) Atmospheric CO2; (2) Annual Increase of CO2; (3) Global Monthly Mean CH₄ / Annual Global Increase of CH₄; and (4) Global Monthly Mean N₂O / Annual Global Increase of N₂O. These links also explain how the data were collected and analyzed to produce the graphs.

The ‘pump handle’ graph below begins by showing monthly readings from the various sampling sites around the world on the left (with the distance from the equator – S to N plotted on the horizontal axis), and the global averages on the graph to the right.

The northern (right) end of the plot of monthly readings jumps up and down showing the marked annual variation in the atmospheric CO2 as the gas is consumed by plants’ photosynthesis in the spring and released by dead and decaying vegetation in the fall. More CO2 is released into the atmosphere in each year than plants can use, causing the average to ratchet upward each year. The excess CO2 is mostly from the burning of fossil fuels that has exceeded the biosphere’s capacity to use it to support plant growth.

The inset map shows the the location of each site from which the CO2 in each month.

When the present time is reached the graph begins looking backwards in time. The different colors represent the different sources of information for the older readings back into the Ice Age.

History of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years ago until the end of the most recent GLOBALVIEW+ CO2 collection. From NOAA’s Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases / Trends in CO2.

As shown by the first series of graphs, CO2 is currently the dominant GHG because of its high concentration, but on a molecule-by-molecule basis methane (CH₄) and oxides of nitrogen (mainly N20) are much more powerful. At the rate methane is being released compared to the other gases, it will soon replace CO2 as the dominant GHG. Because permafrost and frozen soil above and below sea level presently holds vast amounts of methane inertly as ice-like hydrates, a warming Arctic has the capacity to release many times the present volume of atmospheric methane.

All three gases are released from natural sources at a greater rates as the ambient temperature rises. This causes positive feedbacks on global average temperatures that are effectively beyond human control. To slow the natural emissions we must reduce those GHG emissions we can control FASTER than positive feedbacks are driving them higher or reduce the strength of the greenhouse either by actively removing and safely sequestering GHGs or by actively cooling the WHOLE PLANET by some kind of geoengineering process(es) that reflects solar energy before it is trapped in the Earth System. The point beyond which we cannot stop the warming process is literally a point of no return on the road to runaway global warming.

The observations show that there is actually a very real and very high risk of near term human extinction (i.e., an EXISTENTIAL RISK) if we do not act to stop global warming

Ample evidence shows there is enough carbon readily available for release in a runaway warming scenario in the Earth System to to raise global average temperatures by 5-10 °C within a century or so of passing the point of no return.

I have reviewed the scientific evidence supporting this scenario at some length in two detailed presentations: (2021) Portents for the Future – 2020 Wildfires on the Siberian Permafrost; (2022) Some fundamental issues relating to the science underlying climate policy: The IPCC and COP26 couldn’t help but get it wrong. And then, even the hyper-conservative UN is beginning to understand the risks despite all the pressures to downplay or ignore the all too likely consequence of runaway warming and the urgency with which governments need to act to stop and reverse global warming. But even then they avoid stating the all too likely reality — GLOBAL MASS EXTINCTION – INCLUDING HUMANS.

The truth is so dire and scary that even most scientists fear (consciously or subconsciously) to use the EXTINCTION word

As I argued in my 2022 presentation, linked above, this is especially the case of academic modelers with training in physics (rather than, say, systems engineering). Three issues likely have significant influences:

  • Scientific reticence – you don’t win grants or tenure or get promoted if you work too far outside the boundaries of your academic furrows (i.e., what your academic peers expect of you) – and this is especially true of you come to scary or unpopular conclusions,
  • Failure to understand how to deal with risks associated with non-linear feedbacks and mathematical chaos in complex dynamical systems: e.g., discarding models that sporadically ‘blow up’ and break, rather than accepting that these are more likely valuable indicators of how such system can behave in the real world. Systems engineers know systems break, and observe/test them until they do break (preferably many times in many different ways), and even have a discipline dedicated to that approach: ‘Failure Modes and Effects (Criticality) Analysis‘. Mathematical modelers work very hard to remove real-world chaos from their models because the underlying belief of most physicists is that physical processes should be exactly repeatable.
  • Failure to accept that an ‘existential’ risk is actually actually a factual statement that personal, species, and global mass extinction is a very real and even likely result if a runaway situation occurs. Physics happens irrespective of what any human might wish.

Mathematical models are useful for understanding possible behaviors of complex climate systems, but should not be accepted and acted on as accurate representations of how probable or costly a particular event or excursion might be. If an existential event occurs, its cost to humans will literally be infinite, because the denominator will be zero. The cost to society will huge in that no society will be left to pay it…..

However, even the prestigious science journal Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) does not take the consequences of civilization’s collapse in the face of runaway warming to the logical conclusion. Nevertheless, it follows from the substantial array of evidence on Climate Sentinel News and covered in the presentations linked above that we are already trending towards collapse. It follows from these considerations that:

  1. Only mobilization of a massive and coordinated effort to stop ongoing human carbon emissions will suffice to stop the feedbacks from running away.
  2. As temperatures continue rising increasing ecological changes will begin debilitating an increasing percentage of the human population, making areas of our planet effectively uninhabitable; and lead to the effective extinction of keystone species in natural and agricultural ecosystems – leading to their effective collapses.
  3. Human organizations, economies, nation states, civilizations will be increasingly stressed until they too begin to collapse as a consequence of mass disablements and deaths from heat stress, famine, social disruption, disorder and lethal conflicts probably including nuclear warfare over dwindling resources.
  4. As 3 progresses, at some (probably relatively early point in the process), humanity would no longer have the resources, coordination or physical capacity to mount the massive and coordinated effort to stop and reverse the accelerating warming process.
  5. Given that surviving humans are no longer capable of stopping the warming process, the planet will continue to strengthen greenhouse warming until
    • the feedback is slowed as most of the readily available inert carbon in the Earth System has been burned and converted into greenhouse gases; or
    • some currently unknown process will kick in at some point on the temperature scale that allows Earth to shift its radiation balance from absorbing more solar energy than it can emit to emitting as much or more heat energy than the solar energy it is absorbing.
  6. Earth’s geological record shows several heat spikes occurred over an ‘instant’ of geological time (e.g., the End Permian is the most obvious case) where global temperatures peaked so fast that most life on the planet could not adapt genetically fast enough to survive when their physiological limits were exceeded — resulting in global mass extinction events. Given the exponential nature of feedback-driven processes, runaway warming could easily raise global temperatures by 10 or more degrees within a century or two, that large, slowly reproducing organisms like humans simply could not adapt to genetically in 5 or 10 generations. This is because the knowledge for genetic engineering and the capacity to make the very sophisticated high technology required would be lost in the very early stages of societal collapse.
  7. Thus, if humans fail to stop and reverse global warming very soon, human extinction within a century or two is highly probable. At the very best a few subsistence hunters and gathers might survive along with a few other remnant species in far polar regions. However, their chance of surviving with an intact knowledge base, infrastructure, and resources for any kind of industrial or high technology would seem to be nil. Fossil fuels will have been burned up into greenhouse gases even assuming other mineral resources could be found within the still livable areas of the planet.

The truth is….

As grim and frightening as this prospect should be to anyone facing the future reality with a family of loved ones, humans as we know ourselves would be fully extinct with no progeny, or at best our heritage would be no more than a few implausible myths and fairy tales told around camp fires in a few tribes of hunters and gatherers……

The truth also is we have a choice…. If humans can start working together with enough determination and effort, we probably still can stop and reverse the warming…

Personally, I do not think we have passed the point of no return, but that we are already close enough to it that by implementing world-war scale global mobilization of people and industry, and the expenditure of massive resources we, still have the capacity to turn the warming process around. Human efforts might seem to be too piddling to have any effect on planetary scale processes. However, consider this…. Accidentally, without thinking, human activities have managed to increase atmospheric CO₂ concentration from around 316 ppm to 416 ppm since (around 30%) since controlled measurements began to be made in 1958; or from an inferred 280 ppm (around 49%) since the beginning of the industrial revolution as shown in the Featured Image – a snapshot showing growth since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that began around 1750.

Given that humans were able to have this degree of impact on Earth’s atmosphere more or less by accident, to me it is reasonable to believe that with total mobilization of human and modern technological resource we have enough knowledge to stop and reverse the warming. If the alternative to doing nothing is extinction, there is a strong business case for doing whatever it takes to stop extinction, however much it costs.

Unavoidably an intensely political process will be required to achieve the necessary mobilization and expenditure of resources.

How can this mobilization be achieved?

We have 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 truly 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.

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.

In our present situation where most of our governments are still supporting and even funding fossil fuel production and use, the most effective actions we can take as individuals is to change our governments to prioritize action on climate change above all other things. Nothing else matters if we have no future….

States are probably even more important than the Federal Government where climate action is concerned

States permit, enable and regulate mining and production of fossil fuels, and many of the important sources of emissions. Planning, industrial, rural, public safety and others are all primarily state concerns where political and administrative decisions may have considerable impact on regulating carbon emissions. Thus, if you are concerned to influence how your state acts in relation to the climate emergency, you need to elect representatives who will do this rather than bow down to wealthy patrons and vested interests who want to protect their short-term profits rather than humanity’s longer-term future.

The Victorian state election on 26 November is our next opportunity to begin focusing our state parliaments on the need to prioritize climate action. For Victorian voters, this may be the most important vote you ever make: Do you support major parties in their business as usual financial and regulatory support of the fossil fuel industry, or will you vote for a minor party or independent who is clearly focused on promoting and facilitating climate action?

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present Labor government or the Liberals will govern in your interests rather than protecting and supporting 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 life, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this effort.

Our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment process will help you to do this most effectively in both houses of Parliament. Also, our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking, In the May Federal Election, our Traffic Light Voting System made it 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. We have modified this for the Victorian State Election in November. Part of our assessment process asks independent candidates the following questions:

Peter Trusler’s Self Portrait: Reduction

If we can get climate savvy governments in power soon enough, we may be able to mobilize enough action to survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in…

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured Image. Annotated snapshot from the from the Trends in CO2 video above. The pre 1958 measurements in orange were made from trapped air bubbles in precisely dated ice cores cut from the Law Dome in Antarctica as explained on the Trends in CO2 website.

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

VC1’s submission to UN’s First Global Stocktake

Vote Climate One submitted Dr Andrew Norton’s 22 Aug. paper, “Recipe for disaster: ‘We are only responsible for our domestic emissions’” to the UNFCCC’s First Global Stocktake.

Dr Norton is a specialist in theoretical physics and applied mathematics who has applied his analytical mind to issues relating to climate change and its dangers to humanity.

The UNFCCC is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – The intergovernmental body responsible for COP and IPCC processes relating to the understanding of and acting on the ongoing process of climate change.

The Global Stocktake established in the Paris Agreement (GST) is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals (Article 14).Decision 19/CMA.1 outlines the modalities and sources of input for the GST.

The Vote Climate One submission states:

3.1 Best available science shows that supply-side action is required [Q5a]


The Paris Agreement has been relying on demand-side action (via emission reduction NDCs) to reduce the global GHG pollution rate. The world’s governments have been too slow to respond. Best available science shows that supply-side action to reduce fossil fuel (FF) production is now also urgently required: it is now physically impossible for reductions in GHG emission rates to alone suffice in preventing the climate chaos and catastrophic environmental losses that will ensue if warming is not limited to 1.5◦C.


3.1.1 Planned over-production of fossil fuels [Q1, Q4]


The Production Gap Report [1] — first launched in 2019 — tracks the discrepancy between governments’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5◦C or 2◦C. Key findings of the 2021 report (page 4) include,

• “the world’s governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030
than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5◦C”
• “Global fossil fuel production must start declining immediately and steeply to be consistent
with limiting long-term warming to 1.5◦C”


The question of which countries need to take action on fossil fuel production is answered in the report (March 2022), Phaseout pathways for fossil fuel production within Paris-compliant carbon budgets [2].


From the Headline Finding on page 6: Based on a 50:50 chance of not exceeding 1.5◦C,


• “The report makes absolutely clear that there is no capacity in the carbon budget for opening
up new production facilities of any kind, whether coal mines, oil wells or gas terminals.”
• “A transition based on principles of equity requires wealthy, high-emitting nations to phase
out all oil and gas production by 2034 while the poorest nations have until 2050 to end
production.”

Read the complete submission…..

The bottom line is that:

the Federal Government is still planning to rapidly expand Australia’s FF production and FF exports:

• There are 114 fossil fuel major projects in the Australian Government’s approvals pipeline [4]
• The report (May 2022), “Carbon Bombs” – Mapping key fossil fuel projects [5], finds that Australia is planning 23 of the world’s 425 carbon bomb projects (each exceeding 1Gt CO2).


When Prime Minister Albanese was recently asked why Labor would not consider the Greens policy of “no new FF mines”, the final point he made to terminate the discussion was that the UN, “measure emissions based upon where they occur, not where the product comes from” [6].
Similarly, when Australia’s new Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, was asked if the fastest way to reduce emissions wasn’t simply to say “right, no more coal mines”, she was obliged to reiterate Labor’s position [7]:

“We are responsible for the carbon pollution that we emit here in Australia.” [i.e. Our governments have no responsibility for Australian produced carbon that is burned overseas….]

Read the complete submission…..

Both Federal and State governments have many levers available to them that could stop or reduce the production of fossil fuels, irrespective of their claims (or not) to be working to reduce or eliminate fossil fuel emissions that are driving the climate towards lethal runaway global warming. Clearly, both major political parties are still working hand in glove with the special interests to keep the fossil fuel industry growing through subsidies and permitting activities.

This is likely to continue as long as the special interests’ supporters are comfortable that they can work for their patrons and still get re-elected. This cozy connection between Parliamentarians and the fossil fuel industry will continue until the puppets are replaced by genuine representatives of voters who care about the future of our climate and the world their children and grandchildren will live (or die) in.

Stopping and reversing global warming is the only issue that really matters

There is a vast array of scientific and observational evidence showing that not only is the world growing ever warmer (thanks to the profligate burning of fossil carbon beginning with the Industrial Revolution), but that we have now warmed our planet enough that we are beginning to cross ‘tipping points’ for a number of positive feedback processes in the Earth System that will continue driving temperatures still higher even without further human intervention. Once positive feedback takes control of the thermostat, Earth’s temperatures will continue rising at an accelerating rate in a runaway global warming process until semi-stable ‘Hothouse Earth’ temperatures are reached. These temperatures will like be too hot and be reached too fast for large slowly reproducing organisms like humans to survive. The result will be our planet’s 6th global mass extinction event. At least two or three of the previous mass extinction events in our fossil record also seem to have been the result of runaway global warming.

Note: Straightforward laws of physics will produce this result unless humans can stop and reverse the process – and we are approaching a point of no return where no conceivable human intervention will be able to stop the feedback process before the fuel is exhausted or the system self-destructs.

Given that we are major users and producers of greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels, we have to take the responsibility to do something about this….

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing cosy relationships with fossil fuel producers and consumers.

In our present situation where most of our governments are still supporting and even funding fossil fuel production and use, the most effective actions we can take as individuals is to change our governments to prioritize action on climate change above all other things. Nothing else matters if we have no future….

States are probably even more important than the Federal Government where climate action is concerned

States enable and regulate mining and production of fossil fuels, and many of the important sources of emissions. Planning, industrial, rural, public safety and others are all primarily state concerns where political and administrative decisions may have considerable impact on regulating carbon emissions. Thus, if you are concerned to influence how your state acts in relation to the climate emergency, you need to elect representatives who will do this rather than bow down to wealthy patrons and vested interests who want to protect their short-term profits rather than humanity’s longer-term future.

The Victorian state election on 26 November is our next opportunity to begin focusing our state parliaments on the need to prioritize climate action. For Victorian voters, this may be the most important vote you ever make: Do you support major parties in their business as usual financial and regulatory support of the fossil fuel industry, or will you vote for a party or independent who is clearly focused on promoting and facilitating climate action?

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present Labor government will govern in your interests rather than protecting and supporting 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 Lens Traffic Light Assessment process will help you to do this most effectively in both houses of Parliament. Also, our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking, In the May Federal Election, our Traffic Light Voting System made it 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. We have modified this for the Victorian State Election in November.

Peter Trusler’s Self Portrait: Reduction

Featured Image Fig. 1 from Dr Norton’s submission to the UN’s Global Stocktake for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27, etc.). Shows that when a country like Australia produces fossil fuel, the carbon emissions from that fuel end up in the atmosphere, wherever in the world

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