Welcome to this blog, the story of a great big Australian adventure. It documents my travels, life in Australia, and a subject close to my heart – environmental conservation. 

Newman's slash and burn

Today I was all set to continue writing about beautiful places in Tasmania.

But I cannot ignore the fact that the rot has already set in in the State Premier's office. Campbell Newman hasn't even been endorsed by the LNP yet – he wasn't a member of Parliament when he announced he was leader months back – and he's off, axing green energy programmes here, appointing his conservative cronies to administrative office there.

(I need to lie down: once again, I am quoting from The Australian.) So, yesterday ol' Can-do pulled the plug on a $75 million state funding pledge for the Solar Dawn solar thermal project near Chinchilla (west of Brisbane), as well as seven other carbon reduction programmes under the auspices of the Office of Climate Change, set up in 2007. Newman says these are now redundant following the carbon tax coming into law.

'We now have a federal government that is imposing a great big carbon tax on us and the rest of the country that is meant to solve all these (environmental) problems.'

Surely this simplistic, childish, tit-for-tat justification insults Queensland's voters?

Also gone are the Queensland Climate Change Fund; the Renewable Energy Fund (which supports the Geothermal Centre of Excellence); the Smart Energy Savings Program, which encourages energy efficiency; the Waste Avoidance and Resource Efficiency Fund; the Local Government Sustainable Future Fund; and the Solar Initiatives Package.

Obviously the LNP were too busy with the state election to catch the publication of State of the Climate – 2012, published by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on 13 March. Many Australians dismiss this country's eminent scientists, especially climatologists, as much as they do the Greens when it comes to facing up to climate change. But just how long can they continue to ignore the warnings?

The paper reports that the trend to long-term warming has continued: each decade has been warmer than the preceding one since the 1950s. Australia's warming is consistent with global warming trends, even though La Niña events in 2010 and 2011 made those years the coolest since 2001 (probably the result of greater cloud cover). 2011 was the warmest year during a La Niña event on record, however. Sea-surface temperatures around Australia have increased faster than the global average. After a slight decline during the GFC in 2008-09, global fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions increased by 5.9 per cent 2009-10.

You can read the full report here.

It is two years since the CSIRO produced its first paper on this topic. Given that I heard no one discussing climate change during Queensland's state election last weekend, and Campbell Newman has just binned all these renewable energy plans, I wonder if anyone's read either of them.

post script

The following day, Campbell Newman vetoed two coal projects, protecting areas of strategic cropping land. New Hope had planned to double coal production at Acland in the Darling Downs, where one man has held out and refused to sell up to the mining company (go see the movie Bimblebox for more information). And a coal liquefaction project in the Felton Valley southwest of Toowoomba will be opposed by the new Premier. This is indeed good news, reported by The Australian and businessspectator.com. Perhaps environmentalist Dew Hutton was correct when he predicted Newman would look after the LNP's rural voters.

This post was last updated on 31 March 2012

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