Haiku

To #SaveTheReef we must stay below 1.5C Global Warming! UNESCO Update #auspol #qldpol #nswpol @TheCairnsPost @cairnscouncil @BobManningMayor #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal

LIMITING GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE TO 1.5° ABOVE PRE-INDUSTRIAL LEVELS CAN PREVENT WORLD HERITAGE-LISTED CORAL REEFS FROM EXPERIENCING DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF RECURRENT SEVERE BLEACHING THIS CENTURY.

UNESCO Update

Conclusion

Bleaching and mortality of corals due to heat stress, resulting from global warming and observed over the past three decades, is expected to continue and intensify in the coming decades unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, all 29 World Heritage-listed coral reef properties are expected to experience annual severe bleaching this century, leading to dramatic deterioration in ecological functioning and associated decline in the quality and quantity of ecosystem services provided to humanity.

In contrast, under the RCP2.6 scenario, which reflects the long term goals of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, exposure of World Heritage-listed coral reefs to annual severe bleaching would be prevented this century.

Furthermore, nearly all of the 29 analyzed World Heritage-listed coral reefs (86%) would escape twice-per-decade severe bleaching this century.

Maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage- listed coral reef properties will continue to require strong on-site management of pressures as well as national and/or regional enabling legislation to restore resilience and reduce local human stressors while climate stabilization occurs.

However, this update confirms that delivering on the UNFCCC Paris Agreement target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” is essential to secure a sustainable future for World Heritage-listed coral reefs.

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Newcastle anti-coal activist camp a sign of the times #auspol #nswpol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal Don’t be a Fossil Fool

CARE should always be taken when speaking in terms of the “national good” or the “national mood”.

But when it comes to coal and climate change, there is no doubt that the national mood has swung substantially towards the acceptance and promotion of renewable energy, and away from the industry that has been the backbone and lifeblood of this region since colonial times.

As a news outlet, the Newcastle Herald has to react to this change by reporting – in depth when necessary – on issues that the coal industry might wish would go away.

To report on things like hostile submissions to mining applications, or training camps for mine protesters – as is the case today – is not to be anti-mining.

In covering these subjects, we are acknowledging that a substantial and growing part of the Hunter’s population is no longer comfortable with much that the coal industry represents.

Even the industry’s usual fall-back in these situations – that most of our coal goes overseas to meet international demand – is no longer an acceptable answer for many.

At the same time, it needs to be remembered that the industry has a right to exist.

Yes, there are hostile headlines, but progress is being made on a range of operational fronts, and the income that coal provides to tens of thousands of Hunter workers makes a substantial contribution to this region’s economy.

And despite the gains in renewables, the domestic electricity industry will still need the baseload stability provided by our coal-fired generators for some years to come.

While some in the renewable camp recognise this inconvenient truth, it is perhaps harder to find voices in the pro-coal camp who will accept the march of progress as an inevitable thing: the federal Coalition’s failure to come to grips with climate policy is an example of this, and a sign of how far the conservative side of politics has shifted away from the broader electorate, when public opinion about climate change and renewables is polled.

There was a time, not so long ago, when climate campaigners were on the radical fringe, but the 500 people descending on Newcastle this week will come in all ages, and from all walks of life.

With a belief that history is on their side, they are the enemy, personified, for an industry that is struggling to retain its once unquestioned social licence.

But that industry is still very much part of who we are, here in the Hunter.

Press link for more: The Herald

By 2030, We Will Pass The Point Where We Can Stop Runaway #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateEmergency @scheerlinkeva

But a big economic transformation now could bring 65 million jobs and save 700,000 from early death linked to air pollution, says a new report.

Arthur Neslen

James Stone via Getty Images

A polar bear stepping onto sea ice.

Melting Arctic sea ice may not only threaten the habitat of animals like polar bears but could also create areas of dark water that absorb more heat.

The world is on the cusp of a green economic renaissance that it must embrace ― or else face a nightmare future of runaway global warming, according to a report commissioned by several governments including the U.K., Norway and South Korea.

The next two to three years are a “critical window” for bold climate decisions that can usher in a new era of economic growth by 2030, says the study by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, an international green growth initiative fronted by former political leaders, including former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and onetime Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“This is more than just a report,” Calderón said. “It is a manifesto for how we can turn better growth and a better climate into reality.

It is time we decisively legislate, innovate, govern, and invest our way to a fairer, safer, more sustainable world.”

On Wednesday, Calderón, Ngozi, and economists Lord Nicholas Stern and Helen Mountford, the paper’s lead author, will present the report to the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres.

The study has been endorsed by several former government and business leaders and finds that a grand economic transformation could bring a $26 trillion economic windfall, create 65 million new jobs, and avoid 700,000 early deaths linked to air pollution ― by a conservative estimate.

Surging renewable energy production, the impending end of the internal combustion engine and efficiency overhauls are all rapidly combining to make a new world possible, it points out.

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Solar panels of the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant in Rabat, Morocco, one of the largest solar plants in the world.

But it’s all too slow, and the report warns that we have reached a one-time “use it or lose it” moment. “By 2030, we will pass the point by which we can keep global average temperature rise to well below 2C,” it says.

So key investment decisions made in the next two to three years will determine whether we lock the world onto a path to resilient growth or climatic ruin by 2030, according to the report.

One of its authors, professor Nicholas Stern, the chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said he is very optimistic that humanity can avoid dangerous global warming but is “greatly worried as to whether we will move fast enough to do so.”

“Global emissions could peak within the next five years ― and it is extremely important that, indeed, they peak earlier than that,” he told HuffPost.

This is important not just for investment decisions but for bending the curve of humanity’s emissions downward. Climate scientists say that we can only emit another 800 gigatonnes of carbon ― or 20 years of business-as-usual pollution ― if we are to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Anything more could trigger domino effects set off by rising temperatures that reinforce further warming as escalating feedback loops push the Earth into a “hothouse” state, according to a terrifying report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) published last month.

This could involve melting Arctic sea ice creating areas of dark water that absorb more heat, or thawing permafrost releasing methane hydrates that in turn speed up the global warming process.

Johan Rockström, PIK’s newly appointed co-director ― and one of the hothouse Earth report’s lead authors ― said the effect could be to create a future climate unlike any the planet has experienced for 50 million years.

In a worst-case scenario, this would mean a new equilibrium 4-5 degrees warmer than at present within 200 years. “It would be a planet without permanent ice sheets, with 20 meter-plus sea level rise ― so, a completely different configuration of coastal and land areas,” he told HuffPost.

“Droughts and extreme heatwaves would make large parts of the tropics uninhabitable,” he said. “Of course, that would push the world’s population toward the north and south poles, which would likely become concentration zones ― the only places you could have reasonable living conditions.”

“And there would be enormous difficulty in producing food because of the extreme uncertainty in rainfall patterns and unreliable yearly growing seasons,” Rockström continued. “The most extreme events we can fathom today would be the average. Oceans would have lost all coral reefs. Water scarcity, forest fires, new configurations of disease and vegetation … that is the type of world we would have.”

Fred Greaves/Reuters

An out-of-control fire burns in Lakeport, California. Events like 2018’s California wildfires could become average.

If this grim scenario is to be avoided, emissions would have to peak within two to three years and then decline by 6-7 percent a year, Rockström said.

Far from peaking, though, energy-related greenhouse gas emissions hit a new record high last year, as cuts in the U.K., the U.S. and Japan were offset by continued carbon dioxide pollution, particularly in China.

“What matters now is getting much better incentives in place to make the [global] market work well,” Stern said. “At the moment we are subsidizing pollution activities by not charging for it. That is not a market-oriented approach.”

“Investment around the world in the renewable energy sector has now been greater than in old-fashioned fossil fuels for some years even with very weak [climate] policies. If we toughened them up ― and provided good incentives ― the move to a low-carbon society would be even stronger.”

The annual commission study, which this year focuses on inclusive growth, recommends an action plan that would include: ramped up carbon pricing, fossil fuel subsidy phase-outs, mandatory disclosure of climate-related financial risks, and a doubling of sustainable development banks to at least $100 billion per year by 2020, the same year that all Fortune 500 companies would have to set science-based climate targets.

Jason Lee/Reuters

The Datong coal-fired power plant in Shanxi province, China. Carbon pricing would mean polluters would have to pay for their carbon emissions.

Mountford, the lead author of the new report, pointed to “an unprecedented momentum” in moves to a low-carbon economy.

“We don’t think it’s too late yet,” she said. “The window is closing, but there are opportunities. The cost of renewable energy is dropping dramatically and we are seeing action on the ground by cities and states, which is exciting … New York City is divesting its $189 billion pension fund from fossil fuels and Ireland has announced that it will become the first country to completely divest from fossil fuels.

However, ripples from President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement in 2017 continue to be felt around the world, from Australia to Brazil.

Key financial players ― such as the European Central Bank ― remain reluctant to disclose climate-related financial risks, significant energy producers such as Norway are under pressure to retreat from divestment plans, and studies suggest that U.S. cities and states will, in practice, not be able to offset Trump’s climate-wrecking tactics.

Asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how confident he is that global warming could be contained below 2C ― with 10 the most confident ― Rockström responded:

“From a scientific perspective, I am on a 7 or an 8. There is a 70-80 percent chance that we could steer ourselves back to a safe operating space on earth, based on the fact that the planet is still resilient [and] we haven’t touched the tipping point buttons yet. But on the ‘will we do it?’ ranking, I become much less optimistic and fall down to a 6.”

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HuffPost’s “This New World” series is funded by Partners for a New Economy and the Kendeda Fund. All content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundations. If you have an idea or tip for the editorial series, send an email to thisnewworld@huffpost.com

Press link for more: Huffington Post

Mock Trial held in Cairns Today. Superannuation Trustee on trail for not disclosing #ClimateRisk #ClimateChange #RiseForClimate #asi2018 @aistbuzz #StopAdani #EndCoal #auspol #qldpol

A mock trail was held today outside the Superannuation Trustees Conference currently being at the Cairns Convention Centre.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/435215796851135/permalink/667101590329220/

Several Wanted Posters were seen around Cairns in the lead up to the Trail.

As a result of these posters along with a Twitter Storm using the Hashtag #asi2018 the CEO of Australian Institute Superannuation Trustees Eva Sheerlinck called a meeting last night between Stop Adani Cairns, herself and several Superannuation Trustees.

Selfie of John Pratt and Eva Scheerlinck with Australian Superannuation Trustees

I attended this meeting along with Margie Pestorius from Stop Adani Cairns we were reassured that Climate Risk was high on their agenda.

We asked for more transparency and education.

We were pleased grassroots climate activists could meet with corporate leaders and work together for climate action.

2030 Court House with Superannuation Trustee on trial

A stern prosecutor with police escort.

Climate Risk is serious business

Call for investors to step up action on climate risk

Investors have been urged to “step up the pressure” on companies to act on climate change as annual meeting season approaches, with a report arguing corporate Australia is paying lip-service to the issue.

Environmental non-profit Market Forces says many of Australia’s 100 biggest listed companies are continuing to take a “superficial” approach to disclosure and action on climate change and emissions, despite warnings by regulators and lawyers of potential business and legal risks.

Press link for more: SMH

Biggest US pension funds ‘must consider climate-related risks’ #ClimateRisk #asi2018 @aistbuzz @del_irani #Superannuation #auspol #StopAdani #EndCoal #Divest

Biggest US pension funds ‘must consider climate-related risks’

The US state of California has passed a landmark bill requiring two of the country’s biggest pension funds to consider “climate-related financial risk” when making investment decisions.

Senate Bill 964 was passed last week.

It requires the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to identify climate risk in their portfolios and report on that risk to the public and to the legislature every three years.

The first report is due before 2020.

The two funds – which oversee $590bn (€508bn) between them – must also report their portfolios’ carbon footprints and their progress towards meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, as well as California climate policy goals.

They should also include a summary of engagement activities undertaken by the pension funds in connection with climate-related financial risks.

The bill was the first of its kind passed in the US, according to campaign group and co-sponsor of the bill Fossil Free California, and provided a statutory definition of climate-related financial risk.

Under the state’s new definition, climate-related risks include material financial risk posed to the fund by the effects of the changing climate. These included intense storms, rising sea levels, higher global temperatures, and economic damages from carbon emissions.

The bill also covered other financial and transition risks emanating from public policies to address climate change, shifting consumer attitudes, and the changing economics of traditional carbon-intense industries.

The bill must get the approval of California governor Jerry Brown before it can become law.

Fossil Free California, which campaigns to end financial support for fossil fuels, co-sponsored the bill with environmental advocacy organisation Environment California.

“The risk the changing climate poses to the solvency of large institutional investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, is both inevitable and unpredictable,” said Janet Cox, director at Fossil Free California. “Fund beneficiaries need and deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing their future security is protected from that risk.”

CalPERS and CalSTRS are actively involved in a number of climate change initiatives, including Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk.

Most recently, both funds were part of a coalition of investors voting for improved governance at Rio Tinto’s annual general meeting, relating to the company’s membership of lobbying organisations in relation to climate change – although this resolution was defeated.

However, both CalPERS and CalSTRS slipped down the Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s 2017 ranking of investors’ climate risk management. CalPERS was ranked 28th out of more than 300 pension funds, 19 places lower than a year before.

Investors in Europe and the UK are also facing legislation over climate change and sustainability investment issues.

Press link for more: IPE.COM

#Pacific leaders to turn up heat on #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #RiseForClimate #StopAdani #EndCoal Standby our neighbours.

he 18-member Pacific Islands Forum includes countries such as Kiribati, which are only metres above sea level and risk being swamped by rising oceans

Climate change will dominate discussions when the leaders of vulnerable Pacific nations hold their annual meeting in the Samoan capital Apia this week, with global warming threatening their existence, officials say.

The 18-member Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) includes countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are only metres above sea level and risk being swamped by rising oceans.

Others, such as Vanuatu and Fiji, have been battered in recent years by devastating cyclones that have become more extreme as global warming affects weather patterns.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said there was no subject more important to the people of the Pacific.

“This is an issue about our existence… climate change threatens our very identities,” he said.

PIF secretary general Meg Taylor said the summit, which opens Tuesday, was an opportunity for small island nations to speak as one voice.

“We can do more together than we can alone, I think this will be at the heart of the discussions,” she said.

Taylor said the unified approach had already proved successful when Pacific nations successfully pushed for strong aspirational goals at the UN climate talks in Paris in 2015.

“That was led by the champions of the Pacific… (we) were able to persuade the world that this was so very important,” she said.

The Pacific’s next chance to prick the world’s conscience and demand further action on climate is at UN talks being held in Bonn in November.

Fiji, as one of the island nations on the frontline of climate change, has been invited to chair the talks, making this week’s PIF an important forum for Pacific leaders to discuss strategy.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama earlier this year offered permanent refuge to the peoples of Tuvalu and Kiribati.

But Sopoaga said the bigger issues of global warming and sea-level rise needed to be addressed and relocation was not the answer.

“It’s not as simple as that because you have to be concerned of your protection and sovereignty rights, human rights and therefore you have to be very careful and you have to prioritise this issue,” he said.

Conservation International’s Sue Taei said leaders arriving for the Samoa meeting needed to examine how to pay for climate change mitigation.

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the “Blue Pacific” theme of this year’s summit put specific focus on placing the region at the centre of international policy making.

“Embracing this as a unique opportunity in the history of the region, the Blue Pacific provides a new narrative for Pacific regionalism and how the Forum engages with the world,” he said.

The PIF links Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Explore further: Paris climate talks our last chance, Pacific leaders say

Press link for more: Phys.org

Australia a big part of ‘greatest threat’ to the Pacific #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal #RiseForClimate

Australia is a big part of ‘greatest threat’ to the Pacific

Jackson Stiles Deputy Editor @JacksonStiles10:00pm, Sep 4, 2018

The Pacific islands have declared climate change their “single greatest threat” and the latest data on carbon emissions show Australia to be a major contributor.

Climate change will dominate discussions at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum on the tiny island nation of Nauru, where Foreign Minister Marise Payne is representing Australia.

Her prime minister, Scott Morrison, is staying away as he tries to build popularity back home.

Before the talks, the forum’s general secretary Meg Taylor declared climate change to be “the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of our people”.

“Some of the countries may not be happy about” that statement, she added, perhaps a veiled reference to Australia, where action on climate change helped bring down Malcolm Turnbull.

“But all of us who come from island states know that it is a threat.”

A senior Liberal minister, Christopher Pyne, admitted the issue was a fraught one for Australia.

“There’s no doubt the Pacific islands would have a dim view of Australia reducing its commitment to climate change measures – reducing our emissions footprint – but we have no plans to do so,” Mr Pyne said on Tuesday.

This “dim view” is explained by Australia’s high amount of carbon dioxide emissions per person.

For every Australian, 15.4 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year, according to The World Bank, a UN body that loans money to developing countries to reduce poverty.

This makes Australia the world’s 15th worst emitter, per person.

This is largely because it has a relatively small population for its size, and produces over two-thirds of its power and heat by burning coal.

A piece of coal can be anywhere between 50 and 90 per cent carbon.

In 2017, Australia emitted a total of 533.7 million tons of carbon, according to official estimates.

The Australian government insists it is on track to meet its emissions reduction target, set by former prime minister Tony Abbott at between minus 26 and 28 per cent on 2005 levels by the year 2030.

“We don’t have to be concerned about that and neither do the countries in the Pacific islands,” Mr Pyne said on Tuesday. “We take it very seriously.”

Australia’s new Foreign Minister Marise Payne meets French Polynesia’s President Edouard Fritch at the Pacific forum on Monday. Photo: Getty

A major aim of the Pacific Islands Forum is the signing of the ‘Biketawa Plus’ declaration. Its contents will be agreed over the four days of talks, and the current draft says climate change is the “central greatest threat”.

In addition to Australia and New Zealand, the forum is attended by 16 smaller nations: Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Perhaps the best explanation for how big emitting, coal-burning nations impact on smaller neighbours remains this New Zealand article from 1912:

Other major issues on the forum’s agenda include the rising influence of China in the region – and Australia’s detention of children on host nation Nauru.

A New Zealand journalist, Barbara Dreaver, was interviewed for several hours by Nauruan authorities and stripped of her media accreditation on Tuesday for interviewing a refugee outside a restaurant.

The island’s government had earlier warned journalists not to speak to detainees.

Amnesty International denounced the incident as a “wall of secrecy”.

Press link for more: The New Daily

The mothers of all battles: how the fight against #climatechange is being led by moms #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #RiseForClimate

The mothers of all battles: how the fight against climate change is being led by moms across America

Kelsey Wirth03 September 2018

Credit: @MothersOutFront

The news on the climate grows bleaker every day.

In the United States (and Australia) , the current administrations not only deny human-caused climate change, they actively works to roll back any progress made on environmental standards or climate change policy implemented in the past few decades.

Five short years ago, I founded Mothers Out Front with a handful of other mothers in the Boston area.

We came together out of a deep fear of what the future held for our children in the face of climate change and a shared determination to do something about it.

Today, we are a strong and growing movement of more than 19,000 mothers and other allies, with teams in nine states.

It is clear that we must step up to fill the leadership void left by elected officials at the highest levels of our government—and that the opportunity to effect change lies at the state and local levels.

In Australia mothers are also worried about their children’s future.

We believe mothers have the power to overcome the greatest challenge of our time.

Our growing record of campaign wins demonstrate the strength we have when we work together.

As mothers join this critical work, their common refrain is that “for the first time I feel hopeful in the face of climate change.”

Knitting Nannas

We break down the enormity of our changing climate into simple steps.

We make it possible for any mother to take action.

We coach and encourage.

We lead.

We get things done.

In city halls and statehouses, we are seen and heard. When we speak, we amplify a different voice.

We call on our elected officials to create policy that ends our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and focuses on clean, renewable sources of energy.

We hold leaders accountable to their commitments.

Example: Last fall, Mothers Out Front and our allies pushed to bring community choice energy to Boston.

Mayor Marty Walsh called the withdrawal from the Paris Accord “irresponsible” and committed with other “climate mayors” to “stay in.” A perfect next step to achieving these goals would be 200,000 households and small businesses with access to clean energy for their electricity.

The Boston City Council passed the measure unanimously and the mayor signed it into law. Along with our allies, we savoured the victory and looked forward to implementation. It never came. Our “climate mayor” hasn’t taken the next steps to enact CCE in Boston. Today, we continue our push to bring it and other bold climate measures to the city. We will not stop until real action is taken to move us towards clean, renewable energy.

This summer we turn our focus to holding all those leaders who vowed to “stay in” accountable to their promise. In advance of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, mothers will take action to remind their governors, mayors and legislators of their commitment to a livable climate for all children.

Together, mothers are powerful, and we won’t give up. The lives of our children are at stake.

Kelsey Wirth is the Co-Founder and Chair of Mothers Out Front

Press link for more: The Elders

Is #Neoliberalism in it’s death throes? #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal

All Hail The Progressive Parrots

Dr Richard HilSeptember 4, 2018

Is neoliberalism in its death throes?

Dr Richard Hil thinks so, based in part on the level of squawking from the parrots who promote it.

Neoliberalism is the dead parrot of our times.

It’s been knocked off its perch by a combination of greed, ineptitude and public disquiet over inequality.

It was meant to deliver greater prosperity for all – that at least was the official line – but ended up deepening social and economic divisions, and stoking widespread anger and resentment.

According to economists Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty, levels of economic inequality across Western countries are on par with those of a century ago.

Wealth is increasingly concentrated among the rich while the poor, marginalized and most of those in work are doing it tough.

Wage stagnation, record levels of household debt, the abolition of penalty rates, underemployment, casualization etc are the hallmarks of a deeply iniquitous society. Rising energy, housing and food costs have merely added to social suffering.

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of what US economist, Paul Krugman, refers to as “shareholder capitalism” are CEOs and, of course, shareholders.

But it hasn’t all be plain sailing. In a recent Quarterly Essay, the Australian Institute’s Richard Dennis observed that the neoliberal parrot has been killed off largely by the free marketers themselves.

Gone are the days when, for them, government intervention was regarded as an anathema to free market economics – not that the market was ever really free (witness the generous subsidies handed to the fossil fuel industry, and the obscene support for the Adani mine).

The Coalition government intervenes at will in the energy, finance, agriculture, education and telecommunications markets, largely in the interests of powerful corporations.

(IMAGE: Naoki Nakashima, Flickr)

The privatization of public assets – a key plank of the neoliberal agenda – has resulted in diabolical outcomes, not least declining quality of service, labour casualisation and shonky work conditions sometimes bordering on slavery. Many of these workplaces are devoid of union membership, making workers even more vulnerable to greedy bosses.

Like everything else in the parrot cage of economic liberalisation, the mantras of cost effectiveness, workplace flexibility and increased productivity are cover for profit maximisation.

As we all know, the lust for profit at any cost is most evident in the so-called finance industry where greed and sometimes criminal deception are what pass for business.

The greed of our banks has been spectacularly exposed by a Royal Commission that was, you’ll recall, resisted by the Coalition government headed at the time by an ex-merchant banker with investments in an off-shore tax haven.

Corporate self-enrichment has occurred under the watch of both Labor and Coalition governments. Despite Paul Keating’s recent declaration that neoliberalism has “run its course” it was he as treasurer, egged on by PM Bob Hawke, who presided over the privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank and the marketisation of the university system.

We now see the consequences: in the case of universities, an alarming slide in standards and the growing indebtedness of students.

So, who or what gave birth to the squawking parrot?

It was conceived in a small Swiss village circa 1947 by a gaggle of economists, philosophers, billionaires and conservative ideologues. Confronted by Keynesian interventionism, these dogged advocates of the open society set a course that culminated in the ascendency of neoliberalism in the late 1970s to the present day.

It was in the post-hippy era of glam rock that we saw the election of PM Margaret Thatcher and US president Ronald Reagan. Aided and abetted by the likes of Frederick von Hayek and Milton Freidman, these anti-communist crusaders set out to create a global free market characterised by small government, deregulation and the privatisation of public assets. But this iteration of capitalism was much more than a simple economic doctrine with its origins in the 18thcentury Enlightenment.

Thatcher put it this way to The Sunday Times in 1981: “Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.” In other words, what the free marketers were after was a radical transformation in the way we thought about ourselves and our relationship with others. So, you become my competitor and the name of the game is wealth maximisation with only me and my family in mind.

Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

“There is no such thing as society,” Thatcher once opined in a moment of breathtaking candour. It was a message so infused with interpersonal rivalry (or “competitiveness”) that few in Thatcher’s Britain escaped its pernicious influence. Ask folk in the UK what Thatcherism did to Britain and they’ll tell you: more selfishness, competition and greed, and less community, belonging and attachment.

There’s no room in the world of neoliberal capitalism for namby-pamby ideas like sharing, caring, cooperation, collaboration or community. Thatcher’s vision, extolled still by nutters on the far right of Australian politics, is neo-Darwinism on steroids, devoid of the social and immersed in the quest for wealth accumulation: “Greed is good”.

Which brings me to the goings on in our Federal parliament. We’re witnessing a lot of squawking from a flock of parrots who want to take us back to the neoliberal stone age or something like it. By the time you read this, the right-wing crazies will have ditched their leader (a closet socialist according to many in the Coalition) and installed someone much more attuned to the interests of private enterprise.

The planet can go to hell as long as there are profits to be made, and if you don’t like it, well, we’ll just lock you up – that is the message coming out of Canberra.

As Noam Chomsky pointed out long ago, neoliberalism has always been at odds with democracy – you can’t have both, they simply don’t fit together. So, if the neolibs rattle on about freedom, don’t believe them.

What is to be done in the face of all this: click hereto see Australia remade, a manifesto for a decent, fairer, liveable future.

Participate in the movement to rid ourselves of neoliberalism, and please read my article: ‘Twenty things you can do to roll back neoliberal capitalism’.

Hail the progressive parrot!

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Progress Urged As Bangkok Climate Talks Open To Prepare Paris Agreement Implementation | UNFCCC #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange @MarisePayne #StopAdani #EndCoal Time for #ClimateAction #RiseForClimate

Bangkok, 3 September 2018 – Against the backdrop of severe and record heatwaves, bushfires, droughts and floods across the world, governments are convening a supplementary meeting in Bangkok to prepare the implementation guidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The guidelines are needed to make the Paris Agreement work fairly and transparently for all.

Following a two-year negotiation process, the implementation guidelines are set to be adopted at the annual climate conference, COP24, to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.

While the talks have made modest progress, the Bangkok meeting is the last opportunity before COP24 to accelerate negotiations.

“Building on progress made, countries now need to take a decisive step forward in preparing the ambitious and balanced outcome that we need in Katowice,” Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, said at a press conference on Monday 3 September.

Reaching success at COP24 will be challenging without the preparation of an official negotiating text on the implementation guidelines.

“It will be critical for negotiators in Bangkok to produce solid text-based output that can function as the basis for the concluding negotiations in Katowice and be turned into the final implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP24. The texts capturing progress to date are not yet refined enough for this purpose,” Ms. Espinosa said.

“With only six additional days for negotiations in Bangkok, UN Climate Change is carefully coordinating demands to fully support countries in their important task,” she added.

Highly technical in nature, the implementation guidelines are needed to monitor progress on climate action.

Such action includes measures to deal with climate impacts such as droughts or floods and urgent support to enable developing countries to contribute to climate action.

They are also essential for determining whether emissions are being reduced at an ambitious rate to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C, and as close to 1.5 °C as possible this century.

Importantly, the guidelines are also needed to make the agreement’s institutions fully operational beyond COP24.

“Every year, the impacts of climate change are getting worse.

This means that every year, the poorest and most vulnerable, who have contributed almost nothing to the problem, suffer more,” Ms. Espinosa underlined.

“Completing the operational aspects of the Paris Agreement and unlocking practical climate actions by putting in place the implementation guidelines represents a key opportunity for the multilateral process and society at large to address a global problem, while leaving nobody behind,” she stressed.

UN Climate Change

Patricia Espinosa at the press conference in Bangkok on 3 September 2018

A host of upcoming events in the period before COP24 are a clear indication that not only many economic actors, but also civil society, cities and regions are looking to accelerate climate action. More and more of these actors are aligning their strategic visions with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Governments clearly lead the climate change process. But they alone can’t rise to the challenge and need the support of all these actors. This is slowly leading to a new, more inclusive multilateralism to deal with climate change, which is increasingly becoming evident,” said Ms. Espinosa.

The 2018 Climate Weeks in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in mid-September and Climate Week in New York towards the end of September, to name a few, are all events that rally both governments and non-Party stakeholders around climate change.

Meanwhile in Australia

“These events clearly demonstrate global momentum. They show that the world is ready to implement the Paris Agreement in the way world leaders envisaged in Paris in 2015,” Ms. Espinosa stated.

Watch Ms. Espinosa’s full press conference here.

Press link for more: UNFCCC