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Bishop readies for Lima by picking a fight with China

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flies into Lima on Monday seemingly determined to pick a fight – or at least a shirt-front – with Australia’s biggest trading partner, China. Many of the other 194 countries at the climate talks here would like to do the same to Australia.

Ever since Australia was blind-sided by the US-China climate deal unveiled by their two leaders just before the G20 meeting last month, and Barack Obama dared to mention the “C” word in Brisbane, the Abbott government has been determined to down-play the groundbreaking pact between the world’s two biggest emitters.

In reported remarks that stunned delegates and observers at the talks here in Lima, Bishop described China’s commitment to cap its emissions before 2030 as nothing more than business as usual.

“China has already said that it will continue business as usual until 2030,” Bishop told Associated Press in an interview, in comments that seemed deliberately calibrated to antagonise the Chinese, and to puncture the positive momentum that the deal has brought to these talks.

China and Australia have already crossed swords this past week over the issue of climate finance, with Australia refusing to contribute to the UN Green Climate Fund, which aims to raise $100 billion a year in government and private finance and is seen as critical to gain agreement between developed and developing countries. China’s lead negotiator Su Wei last week described Australia’s decision as “disappointing.

Analysts and observers say that Bishop’s assessment of China’s efforts is plain wrong. Even before the China-US deal, experts such as Bernie Fraser and Ross Garnaut, noted both the US and China were clearly doing more than Australia, and that was reason enough for Australia to do more.

“If implementing carbon pricing, seeing a peak in coal consumption around 2020, and building renewable energy capacity the size of its current coal capacity is business as usual for China, Australia should be reconsidering its own business as usual path,” the Climate Institute’s Erwin Jackson said.

But that’s not Australia’s intentions. Its position as an outlier – acquired since the election of Abbott delivered domestic slogans to the international stage – has been reinforced at these talks by a series of provocative actions and remarks.

In what appears to have been a deliberate pattern of moves, Australia has refused climate finance, downplayed the actions of the two most influential players at the talks, cut funding to a key UN body, distanced itself from a group of progressive nations, joined with others to delete text that would require a review of its pre-2020 commitment, and sent a climate skeptic minister (Andrew Robb) to accompany Bishop at the talks.

Bishop has even contradicted Australian scientists and the UN scientific body by claiming the Great Barrier Reef was not threatened by climate. And Environment minister Greg Hunt has described Australia’s emission reduction actions to date – it hasn’t actually lowered industrial emissions, and has been given a free pass by a generous interpretation of its land use – as the country’s “great gift to the world”.

They are all clear signs that Australia is digging in to resist calls for greater action. Negotiators says that Australia’s insistence that any agreement in Paris be legally binding on all countries – an issue reinforced by Bishop in the AP interview – will be used as an excuse to reject higher targets. There is little expectation that the Paris treaty will binding, but strong arguments to suggest it will still be effective.

Australia is digging in because it would find it difficult to increase its ambition beyond and before 2020 because it has little means to do so under current policy. If it was to engage to more ambitious targets next year, the question to be put to the Coalition would be, well how the hell do you expect to reach that without a carbon price.

One option it has is to use the “Safeguards” mechanism under Direct Action to adjust its baselines and set up a de-facto carbon market in a so-called baseline and credit scheme. It would be the carbon price Australia has when it’s not having a carbon price, like the levies which not really taxes, or the funding cuts to the ABC which are in fact “efficiency dividends.”

Climate finance is the biggest and most immediate issue for Bishop at Lima – because of its importance to developing countries – and Bishop is certain to meet a cool response to Australia’s stance.

Another issue will be Australia’s emission targets. It is resisting calls to submit its  Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in the first quarter of 2015, partly because it chooses to ignore the work done by the Climate Change Authority, which it wants to dismantle, and has yet to start its own internal review of its options.

Australia, however, has sought to recast its emissions target, by swapping the starting date from 2000 to 2005. Bishop, again in the AP interview, quoted figures presented by Origin Energy CEO Grant King on Friday that says Australia is pulling its weight among its peers.

Origin is a key investor in the massive LNG plants that analysts say will make Australia’s 5% reduction target almost impossible to meet, and has also been trying to recast comparisons away from per capita assessments (which make Australia look bad, and India and China look good), to per GDP assessments (which makes rich country like Australia look good and developing and undeveloped economies in Asia, Africa and South America look bad).

The Abbott government has been as quick to pick up Origin’s talking points as it has to pick up Big Coal’s PR spin on coal being the answer to energy poverty, and the fossil fuel attack on renewables as a cost impost on consumer bills.

bishop origin

Indeed, this graph above suggests that Bishop may have gotten her talking point about China being focused on nothing more than business as usual from King himself. Note the comments on the right, and the big red line of China’s emissions, which Origin presumes will accelerate when most others thing it will moderate in come years.

But analysis from The Climate Institute contradicts Origin’s assessment. It suggests that if economy wide emissions are taken into account, and not just energy emissions, Australia is trailing most of its peers. (Click graph to enlarge).

TCI emissions comparison

But these are just details. And like the assessments of Australia’s dumping of the carbon price, the limits of Direct Action, the attack on the renewable energy target, the proposed dumping of the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the big cut to funds in the CSIRO, and the omission of cleantech from international trade deals, it will likely be ignored.

Australia’s position is set. It ain’t for moving. Bishop’s visit should be interesting.

 

 

   

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  • michael

    perhaps instead of disagreeing with everything China wants (which seems to be a moral outrage to some), we should instead agree with them and match their carbon reduction targets? we should aim to be stopping the rate of increase in carbon emission of Australia by 2030, then have some sort of period were it may go sideways or perhaps start reducing, that should keep everyone happy

    • MarathonMan

      Sounds reasonable to me Michael! In the meantime, (to 2030) that should afford ample time to revisit the science that claims CO2 is a pollutant & primary driver of global warming which appears to be non existent over the past 18+ years, despite increasing levels of CO2!

      • renewableguy

        This 18 years is the biggest myth on earth.

        http://insideclimatenews.org/carbon-copy/20141203/2014-destined-hottest-year-world-weather-agency-says

        The earth can store energy in the oceans for awhile before it shows up in the atmosphere.

        • Pied

          Except the missing het isn’t in the oceans either.

        • Setthepeoplefree_start_with_me

          The sky is falling,
          The sky is falling,
          The sky is falling,

          How many of those people at the socialistic gravy train that represent your flawed point of view are supported by big green corporations and Saudi Oil money? 40 Years ago it was the “ice age is coming”. You fraudsters (in my opinion 😉 ) are the ones that are killing the poor in developing countries. You are racists and hateful people with an agenda that will have ramifications for millions.
          You may spout off that your fraudulent and dangerous diatribe is gospel, praising your demigods like “science expert” Gore, and fruit fly “nature of things” climate expert Suzuki. However, You will have the “Realists” battling you “Climate whores'” bunk every step of the way. …stop pollution, not energy. And on that note, other than breaking off about green initiatives, what are YOU doing for the environment?…..Do you drive a car? Is your bicycle made from pressed hemp fibres using the tears of unicorns to lubricate the drive chain made of vines?….You hypocrites drive my passion to refute your drivel because most will stay silent due to your Saul Alinsky tactics. ….. Get a REAL job, and stfu.

          • Alex

            What planet are you on? The evidence for climate change is all over the Earth! It has basic physics as it’s premise, and millions of data points from all over the Earth confirming the modelling. A scientist who was able to prove it wrong would be an instant billionaire, feted by the fossil fuel industry all over the world. Instead, all they have are shills like Monkton and yourself.

          • Setthepeoplefree_start_with_me

            Climate has, and will always will change. It happened millions of years before industrialization, and will happen long after your scams are revealed to be what it truly is. A massive wealth shift from the poor citizens of the world to hucksters like Al Gore, Maurice Strong, and David Suzuki.You hateful racists and snake oil salesmen are disgusting. There are brave Scientists have refuted the falsified and misinterpreted and misrepresented research. They don’t require the energy industry to reward them. They also don’t have to fly around to conferences all over the world to pat each other on the back. They tend to communicate using technology like Skype to discuss their points of view and save energy and minimize pollution.
            But you Climate Whores and zombies also have an ally that only makes money peddling doom and gloom. That would be the socialistic/progressive/communistic media. The Realist scientists will never get the “fish wrap” and CNN/MSNBC love you fraudsters (in my humble opinion 😉 ) do.

          • renewableguy

            There is no magic wand theory as deniers would have us think. There are good scientific explanations that stand up to all scrutiny. After you and I are in our graves, AGW will hold true.
            No denial changes what is true.

          • Marc Pacillo

            Worst case scenario if we are wrong we end up with cleaner air and water and cheaper power coming from renewables. which is a thriving new industry. why are you people insisting on digging all our resources up and leaving nothing for future generations

          • Alan Baird

            Your brave scientists are better paid than “standard” ones. The real climate “whores” are the “scientists” who are paid by (guess who) fossil fuel extractors to denigrate science and (strangely) have included in their ranks the same risible types who sneered at smoking as a cause of cancer. The very same. There are whores all right and you’re one of their followers. Fool.

          • Setthepeoplefree_start_with_me

            Alan, your extremism is showing….. Alen T says you climate whores don’t call people names. Yet you trot out your fudged data and progressive talking points and “Saul Alinsky” those that question your diatribe. The real fool is looking back at you when you stand in front of the mirror. The ponzi scheme of the green agenda is crumbling as we speak. Hence, why you morons light your hair on fire and dance around like a whirling dervish when people question the nonsense that “the science is settled” and ALL scientists agree with your bunk, etc. Global cooling/global warming, you twits can’t find a fresh scam quick enough. News flash, climate has been changing long before any of those filthy coal fired generators that are coming on line at a rate of 1 per week in China were operating. Every libertarian I speak to loves the environment, does not want a garbage filled city or countryside, or smoggy skies. Yet after every “green” climate protest your brothers and sisters leaves the zone they occupied like a garbage dump, use generators, burn fires etc. A bunch of phoney hypocrites. When hardcore leftwing nuts (such as yourself) champion a cause, generally if you follow the money, the truth is revealed to your agendas. Make the rich, richer. Like Gore, Strong, Suzuki. And keep the poor in poverty burning what few twigs of trees are available and animal dung. Botton line, the green movement is anti-human and massive control over the populations and pro tax-shift from the poor and average citizen to big brother government and big green corporations. It really has nothing to do with pollution control. It is tax shift, wealth grab, and control the masses with grotesquley priced green energy. Stop pollution, not energy. If it was about pollution control, you losers would not have tried to destroy the nuclear energy industry. The cleanest large scale power generation source that is available.

          • Alen T

            The physics of heat-trapping GHG is simple and has very very long ago been first demonstrated, and the natural greenhouse effect is an established fact. I don’t understand then why you struggle to understand or believe that adding more GHGs to the already present natural effect would not result in more energy retained within Earth. The evidence is there and the science is there, why then is there still an argument.

            Unless your directly involved or funded by the fossil fuel industry, in that case a quote from Upton Sinclair seem to apply perfectly, ‘‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.’’

          • Setthepeoplefree_start_with_me

            My mantra…..”Stop pollution, not energy”…..And your “evidence” is really nothing more than fudged statistical propaganda. “Useful idiots” like you are at the bottom of that ponzi scheme….hahaha!!!

          • Alen T

            Resorting to name calling and insults, very mature and effective way to argue your point. Proves the thesis that deniers do not rely on facts to make their point, but on alternate disruptive, unsubstantiated and recycled (disproven) arguments to make any sort of case.

            By the way, the IPCC does actually conduct its own scientific research, but rather the reports are a mass collection interpreting the views of 1000s of scientists and their peer-reviewed papers.

          • Peter Thomson

            Should read “…IPCC does NOT actually conduct its own scientific research”.

          • Setthepeoplefree_start_with_me

            Now Allen, I am referred to as a “DENIER” by your ilk..a label……you should wear the term “useful idiot” as a badge of honour. I am presenting you with a label. The left-wingers/progressives/socialists etc like to refer to Wiki for their info…so here is why I think of you, Alex, and “screwable
            renewableguy” as useful idiots:
            In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause. Despite often being attributed to Vladimir Lenin,[1][2][3] in 1987, Grant Harris, senior reference librarian at the Library of Congress, declared that “We have not been able to identify this phrase among [Lenin’s] published works.”[4][5]

            In the Russian language, the equivalent term “useful fools” (полезные дураки, tr. polezniye duraki) was in use at least in 1941.[6]

            The term has been used in a similar sense as fellow travellers and other Communism or Soviet Union sympathizers in Western countries during the Cold War. The implication was that, although the people in question naïvely thought of themselves as standing for a benign socialist ideological cause, and as valued allies of the Soviet Union, they were actually held in contempt and were being cynically used by the Communist Party of Soviet Union for subversive activities in their native Western countries. The use of the term in political discourse has since been extended to other propagandists, especially those who are seen to unwittingly support a malignant cause which they naïvely believe to be a force for good.[7]

          • Alen T

            Your ilk to me seems nothing more then puppets that repeat the same tiring arguments over and over for their masters. Very simple fact is, that if there was any evidence and if someone could disprove aGW they would not only be instantly wealthy, but would go down in history that disproved the greatest movement in our time. Enough incentive if you ask me, so rather the problem lies in the fact that there is no evidence disproving aGW.

            As Abbott said: “Obviously, it goes without saying that G20 leaders, all of us, support strong and effective action to address climate change.” So by your logic do you consider him an idiot (even though he undeniably is)

          • renewableguy

            Your paranoia is not real. Renewable energy is replacing fossil fuels whether you like it or not.

          • Marc Pacillo

            Ignorance is bliss. why don’t you go and live in Morewell or taralgon and check it out for yourself and then try to argue that coal burning is a good thing

          • renewableguy

            My mantra, stop dirty energy, replace with clean renewable energy.
            The utility operators have lots of levers to pull to keep the power level above running voltage. With clean renewable energy, we no longer have to poison the earth to have modern living. Bringing RE to the poor who have no modern energy will improve the lives of the world over. Coal would like to have that mantle to continue their sense of self importance, but it is only a path that makes living on earth more difficult.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100%25_renewable_energy

            Asthma is on the rise in the United States amongst children. Coal would clearly be an aggravator of that.

          • renewableguy

            Everything you are paranoid about isn’t real.
            co2 is a green house gas, that is real.
            Humans have put more ghg’s in the atmosphere, real
            coal burning bad for health, that is real
            scientific consensus on mmgw, that is real
            water vapor is a ghg gas, that is real
            water vapor is increasing in the atmosphere, that is real
            co2 is the regulator of wv in the atmosphere, real
            ice cores validate co2 to temperature on earth, real
            deniers looking very stupid, very real, embarrassingly so

        • MarathonMan

          Really! When can we expect it (the missing heat that’s hiding in the oceans) to reappear? &
          What will be the impact upon average global temperatures?
          I’m sure the UN IPCC modelers would like to know so that can include your predictions within their so far flawed models?

          • renewableguy

            This year is expected to be a record setter so far. We have abnormally warm oceans

      • Ronald Brakels

        MarathonMan, you are a liar. It is possible to be ignorant of, or not understand the data, in which case one might write something like, “I thought there had been no global warming for over 18 years, but I don’t really understand these things.” Or you could have heard or read something that was incorrect in which case you might write something such as, “A man who smells of urine and lives under a bridge told me there had been no global warming for over 18 years.” But instead you’ve stated that, “Global warming appears to be non existent over the past 18+ years.” That implies that you actually have examined the evidence and so are able to confidently state that. But that conclusion does not follow from the evidence. Here is NASA’s GISS data:

        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20110113/509796main_GISS_annual_temperature_anomalies_running.gif

        The civilised thing to do is to admit you lied and apologise. But I suppose you could always instead try to explain just how many times global warming has appeared to be non existent over the past 100 years or so according to your criteria. That could be entertaining, although immoral.

        • MarathonMan

          Ronald Brakels – I don’t make a habit of lying, nor denigrating others. Global warming appears to be less than significant when compared to past UN IPCC Assessment Reports (AR1-5 inc.) V’s empirical data. Indeed the UN IPCC’s ‘confidence levels’ appear to be departing more and more from reality http://www.energyadvocate.com/fw95.htm

          • MarathonMan

            Oops – My apologies. The link above should be http://www.energyadvocate.com/fw95.htm

          • Peter Campbell

            Ho hum, more tedious climate change denial.

          • Miles Harding

            Its still important to keep playing “Whack-A-Troll”

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wonder if we could develop a standardized reply that allowed us to not engage with denier-trolls and give them the attention they desire.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Just to be clear, you are looking at the graph of the NASA GISS data I provided above and standing by your claim that global warming “appears to be non existent over the past 18+ years”. You’re absolutely sure that’s what you’re saying?

          • MarathonMan

            Thanks Ronald Brakels for your NASA link which show average global temperatures in recovery mode since the Little Ice Age and continue, albeit, with unsurprising shifts up/down in keeping with natural variability.
            Nor am I alone in my comment that GW “appears to be non existent over the past 18+ years” relative to UN IPCC predictions (as highlighted in the graph repeated again here http://www.energyadvocate.com ) that begs the question… “UN IPCC Certainty increases whilst correlation Decreases – Really, how does that work?”.
            Meantime, the journal ‘Nature’ highlighted the question of the missing heat in their article of 15th Jan 2014 http://www.nature.com/news/climate-change-the-case-of-the-missing-heat-1-14525

          • Ronald Brakels

            MarathonMan, I’d like you to take your finger and put it on the graph of the NASA GISS Global temperature annomalies that I linked to at around 1997 and move your finger along the five year running mean which is the thick red line until you get to the end. Now is your finger HIGHER than when you started or is it LOWER than when you started? If it is HIGHER then why did you write that global warming “appears to be non existent over the past 18+ years” when moving your finger along the five year mean clearly shows it isn’t?

          • Bob_Wallace

            So are you saying that you made an exception and lied this one time?

      • Rob G

        Shezzz you ignorance is just amazing… Are you living underground?

      • Marc Pacillo

        The more CO2 you have in the atmosphere and in the sea water lowers your PH levels. that means the sea water is slightly more acidic. Any one who has an aquarium knows that. if ph in my fish tank were to drop from say 7 to 6, my fish would start dying. the science is true and correct so just face the facts that we have to lower levels of CO2. planting heaps of trees to replace all the forrests that we have destroied would be a good start

      • Alan Baird

        Assert MM as much as you like. Believe MM, follow Alan Jones and Rupert Murdoch. Yeah, they’re the real scientists. Those fellows that study climate for years are such buffoons and have so little influence on credulous folk such as your good self. Keep reading your Tele / Hun / Oz.

    • George Takacs

      Or we could just agree with China by aiming to have per capita emissions in 2030 the same as they have.

      • michael

        I guess everyone has a different metric they would choose to standardize against. Perhaps while we are at it we could enforce all of the Australian environmental standards on Chinese industry? And while we’re at it, why not enforce our enviro standards on India too, that would be as good or better for the environment than limiting co2

        • George Takacs

          Agree with your last two sentences. As for the metric, we should choose one which is equitable. I have never understood why so many Australians seem to think we have a right to emit more than people from other countries.

          • michael

            depends whether per capita is the accounting or per country is the basis, if per country, no-one is arguing we should be allowed to emit as much as say USA, China etc

            when framing an agreement in the international sphere, aren’t our politicians duty bound to try to gain australia advantage where possible?

          • nakedChimp

            ‘advantageous’ in what sense?

            The kind of spin you want to put on it is comprehensible only, if one assumes none or a relatively small influence of humans on their environment by being here and ‘doing’ things..

            As I always say: In the very big picture it doesn’t matter what we naked chimps do here on this dirt-ball, it’s really only just for and about us as sentient lifeform.
            No one and nothing a couple of parsecs out will care for or be distracted by us.

          • Alan Baird

            There is a typo. There should be no comma between “only” and “if”. I prefer to give lots of parsecs to inconsequential things. The extreme right is now seemingly trying NOT to foam as does The Oz and the IPA but affects indifference. What we do now with our climate does have a significant effect and your indifference will harder to to sustain in the fullness of time if you’re young enough. I’m old enough to not care but I do note the stupidity of the current govt and its followers while I still have a pulse. You should also keep in mind that naked chimps are EXTREMELY numerous and have lots of fossil help to modify things. You simply don’t have a sense of scale. Don’t worry… it’s quite common in the Murdoch press and Macquarie Radio. You’ve got plenty of “good” company.

          • nakedChimp

            Sry for the typo, it did read funny but I left it in 🙂

            As for the remainder, I usually pull back to that kind of mindset when I see what kind of idiots we naked chimps are on a national/global scale.. so it’s more cynical/sarcastic than anything else.It’s not meant to be understood as ‘we can’t influence/harm this “dirt-ball’s” ecosystem’ – if you’ve taken that from it you misunderstood me 100%.
            It’s the contrary and I’m amazed time and time again that the ‘top of the cream’ of the chimps seems to think that it can buy/extract itself free from any repercussions/effects of stuff they do..

  • Alen T

    Abbott has played quite a number on Bishop, my guess is that she was the favourite to replace him as leader, but now after her brain-fart comments – rebuking Obama on the GBR comments, even though he was absolutely correct, and now this China BAU comment- well her international standing and reputation is going off a cliff and it won’t be long before this culminates into her domestic standing.
    Is this Abbott’s ultimate plan for protecting his leadership? He’s already taken care Turnbull and Hockey, although admittedly Hockey did most of the work without Abbott’s guiding shove.

    • michael

      hasn’t this publication basically been saying that it is business as usual for china to meet the 2030 target and more than likely will do so even earlier? due to their unprecedented uptake of renewables which has the enviro/lefts fawning over china and all statements from their leaders. not sure how what Bishop said is controversial in the slightest.

      • nakedChimp
      • Alan Baird

        Fawning over China. We-e-e-ll not quite. Julia Gillard would call that hyper-bowl. China IS better than it was but. Now building at a rate of two coal-fired power stations a week and this thread STILL congratulating them… THAT would be fawning. They are cutting coal usage growth far more quickly and this no doubt is what animates you. Your financial cut for supporting coal usage in threads like this will now be reduced. As coal profits reduce, the paid sycophants will have less reason for renting their keyboards. We, on the other hand, are paid a fortune by the scientists who get fabulous grants from leftist governments such as the current Libs. Oh, that’s right,they cut funds for the CSIRO and paid a quarter billion for the “priests in schools” scheme. Clever. That’s who YOU’RE fawning over.

        • michael

          Wow, interesting response, would live to see some of this money I’m being paid to write comments! Haha, where do you get that from?

          • Alan Baird

            I made it up. As a non-fawner. If you’re not being paid, your comments on this thread are worth every cent.

  • Macabre

    Sending the Foreign Minister instead of the Environment Minister already looks very strange to international eyes. It is clear that there is great international pressure being placed in the lead up to Paris 2015, and Abbott needs people there who are through and through deniers. Hunt is clearly a no-no. It seems Bishop is considered dodgy too.

    I really struggle to understand where Abbott is coming from on this. He seems so lacking in any kind of conviction (other than his own greatness) that I suppose he distrusts anyone with conviction. But is he prepared to follow that path right up to his own destruction?

  • barrie harrop

    Everyone in Lima knows the Aust Govt leadership is in climate change denial, what’s the point of sending an empty handed Minister or two?

  • Steve Fuller

    Anyone contemplating reading the comments below – don’t – trolls abound.