Yves here. The photos of the pall over Sydney are distressing, particularly if you’ve ever been there:
Australia is burning.
Downtown Sydney was partially evacuated due to the smoke. Ferry service was cancelled due to low visibility. Fire alarms are randomly going off inside buildings. Schools are keeping children inside.
This is a climate emergency.https://t.co/DjL7YueIQw
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) December 10, 2019
Via e-mail, consistent with other accounts:
Been following the NSW bushfires. Smoke in parts of Sydney yesterday 10xs over hazard rating (200 = hazardous; some parts of the city over 2200!). Smoke alarms in buildings being triggered by the smoke (150 falseallarms between 11:30 am-1:30pm. https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/sydney-smoke-alarm-train-station/
Read a lot of angry tweets how the government is on radio silence. PM refused additional help for firefighters. Held a press conference yesterday to discuss religious freedom bill. Incredible.
By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat magazine, now the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics website. Originally published at MacroBusiness
Sydney has disappeared, at The Guardian:
The New South Wales environment minister Matt Kean has split from his federal Coalition counterparts, arguing climate change is behind the bushfire crisis and calling for greater emissions reduction.
Kean’s intervention piles pressure on Scott Morrison to do more on emissions reduction and disaster management after his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull urged him to step up his government’s response to the “national security issue” and former emergency services chiefs pushed for a national summit.
As Sydney suffered through air quality 11 times worse than hazardous levels on Tuesday, Kean told the Smart Energy Summit that weather conditions were “exactly what the scientists have warned us would happen”.
“Longer drier periods, resulting in more drought and bushfire,” he said. “If this is not a catalyst for change, then I don’t know what is.
“This is not normal and doing nothing is not a solution.
“We need to reduce our carbon emissions immediately, and we need to adapt our practices to deal with this kind of weather becoming the new normal.”
At least the pollies are now choking too, via Canberra Times:
ACT school principals have been urged to keep students indoors during recess and lunch and to cancel all physical activity, as the smoke haze engulfs Canberra.
In a letter to principals, the ACT Education Directorate has recommended all outdoor activities at schools be cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the smoke.
The smoke haze from bushfires burning near Braidwood and on the South Coast has blanketed the city since Saturday, causing air quality in Canberra to plummet.
No relief in sight, at The Australian:
There will be no relief for drought-ravaged regions over the summer, with Bureau of Meteorology officials telling a meeting of state and federal ministers there would be no significant rain until at least April.
The ministers gathered in Moree, in NSW’s northwest, to discuss the best strategies to combat the enduring drought.
Federal Drought and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud vowed to work with drought co-ordinator-general Shane Stone by February to cut bureaucratic red tape so desperate farmers did not have to make separate state and federal applications for assistance.
Meh, at SBS:
Australia’s climate change record has been ranked among the bottom five nations in the world in a global assessment of countries’ emissions trajectories.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) measures the emissions, renewable energy share and climate policies of 57 countries and the European Union.
It has been released at COP25, the UN climate summit being held in Madrid, as nations attempt to thrash out the way forward on the global Paris framework responding to the crisis.
More, at Domain:
Here at the 25th UN climate conference in Madrid, Australia’s plan to use leftover Kyoto credits is seen as an attempt to conceal that the government is not trying to meet the Paris target. We could do so much better.
The government expects national emissions in 2030 to be 16 per cent lower than in 2005, the headline Paris target is a 26 per cent reduction. The actual target is framed as an aggregate reduction during the 2020s, nevertheless a large gap remains. This is to be filled with “carry-over credits” from the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty that preceded the Paris Agreement.
…We are the only country planning to “carry over”. Almost all countries that care are opposed to it. It reminds the world of the “Australia clause” which the Howard government pushed through at the 1997 Kyoto summit, allowing Australia to count land-use change reductions. It is what created the Kyoto carry-over credits in the first place.
Let them eat ash.