We Want To Learn About Climate Change From Weather Presenters, Not Politicians

The Conversation | 

Melbourne’s ABC weather presenter Paul Higgins discussing a trend towards warmer April days. ABC/MCCCRH
One of the great paradoxes of climate change communication in Australia is that politicians command the most attention on the issue, yet are among the least trusted sources of climate information.
Research has shown that domestic politics has the strongest influence on Australian media coverage of climate change. In contrast, in India and Germany media attention is driven by factors such as international climate meetings and the activities of environmental advocacy groups.
In Australia, the four most trusted information sources on climate change are climate scientists, farmers, firefighters, and weather presenters, according to Monash University research.
This suggests people want to hear more from scientists about climate change - if only they had greater visibility. Farmers and firefighters may have won the public’s trust because they work at the frontline of climate change, in figuring out how to grow our food with diminishing rainfall or put out fires in an ever-expanding fire season.
Then-Treasurer Scott Morrison hands then-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce a lump of coal during Question Time in Parliament in 2017. Research shows that politicians are not a trusted source of information on climate change. Mick Tsikas/AAP
Of this exclusive group, only weather presenters have the distinction of being both trusted and skilled communicators, and having access to large audiences. As such, they can play a very important role in delivering factual, apolitical information to millions of Australians.
Our research at Monash shows that even Australians concerned about climate change have surprisingly low levels of climate literacy, relative to the immense scale of the problem. This is not to say that simply giving people more facts will improve their knowledge - the assumption that underpins the “deficit model” of science communication. Facts, in themselves, will not necessarily influence people. But when they are delivered by trusted sources they can be very powerful.

People still love the nightly news
In the age of ubiquitous media coverage, it is remarkable that television remains the single largest source of news in Australia. People enjoy the ritual of news delivered at a dependable time that marks the end of the working day.
Veteran news anchors and weather presenters can fill the same place in a viewer’s day for decades, providing a sense of constancy. Weather presenters in particular deal with variations of the same serialised story, and many find that incorporating climate information improves the bulletin.
Channel Seven’s Melbourne weather presenter Jane Bunn, presenting a graphic charting the city’s dry February days. Seven News/MCCCRH
Monash University’s Climate Change Communication Research Hub has engaged weather presenters to present climate information in more than one-third of Australia’s media markets across three major networks.
Similarly in the US, the Climate Matters project, established in 2008, has engaged more than 500 weather presenters to present climate information, aided by research from the Center for Climate Change Communication.
Just as these broadcasters present the day’s observed temperatures, they also present observed climate trends over a longer time scale.
The research hub offers graphics and information that weather presenters may use. Channel Seven weather presenter Jane Bunn and the ABC’s Paul Higgins, both of whom are broadcast in Melbourne, were the first to sign up to the Australian pilot program. See video below.
In an article in The Age newspaper in February this year, Bunn said she wanted to communicate only “the facts, quietly put through in a straightforward way that people can understand”.

A reel of Australian weather presenters improving their broadcasts with climate information.

This point touches on another finding of our research - that the public is most receptive to information that is “non-persuasive” or does not attempt to advocate one way or another.
Bunn told The Age that viewers were “generally fascinated with weather trends anyway and this is just giving them more of what they want”.

Weather presenters get it
When surveyed, 91% of Australia’s 75 weather presenters were interested in presenting local historical climate information.
Those participating in the Australian program generally present observed climate trends over 30-50 years: more than 30 years, because that is what the science says is needed for a strong climate signal, but less than 50 years because most people don’t care about the time scale beyond that.
The Monash project examines long-term climate trends in each month of the year, such as how many March days in Sydney have been hotter than 25℃, or the coldest September night Melbourne has experienced.
Chris Mitchell removes flood-damaged items in Townsville, February 2019, after days of torrential rain. Dan Peled/AAP
Notably, the project presents only local trends in climate relating to cities, towns and regions in Australia. Our research consistently shows that audiences connect with local information much more than national and global data, because the local information is seen to be far more relevant.
Audiences may also link the information to stories about local extreme weather events associated with climate change, such as floods and more violent storms.

Audiences hungry for more in weather reports
A farmer surveys a cracked riverbed on his drought-stricken property near Cunnamulla, Queensland. Dave Hunt/AAP
The appetite of Australians for information about climate trends is also very high. A 2017 survey of Australian television audiences found that about 88% of respondents were interested in learning about the impacts of climate change in a weather bulletin. Almost 85% would continue watching their main news program if it started presenting climate information.
More importantly, 57% of respondents said they would switch from their regular news program that wasn’t presenting on climate change to a rival channel that did.
The communication of climate information to audiences can help overcome a little-understood phenomenon known as “pluralistic ignorance”, sometimes also referred to as “perception gap”. It refers to the fact that while more than 75% of Australians say they are concerned about climate change, just 50% believe others have the same level of concern.
This phenomenon is more common in nations such as Australia and the US where there is a strong denialist lobby, or merchants of doubt - groups that may be small but can strongly influence a person’s confidence to discuss climate change in their everyday life. The point is that if others are perceived to be unconcerned, it leads to strong self-silencing among the vast majority of Australians.
So if trusted sources such as weather presenters can show leadership in the public conversation by normalising climate information, this will help bridge the perception gap - and hopefully prompt more discussion of how to respond to the climate crisis.


Climate Council: This Is What Climate Change Looks Like

Climate Council |  | 

Download the Report
The word “unprecedented” has been in regular use lately.
As predictions about climate change increasingly become observations, we are witnessing firsthand the impacts of more frequent and severe weather events.
These events are playing havoc with our health, our agricultural systems, our communities and our economy. But they are also having devastating impacts on our natural ecosystems and unique wildlife.
The Climate Council’s new report, ‘This is What Climate Change Looks Like,’ highlights recent examples of these impacts. In many cases, our ecosystems and species were already under threat from other human-associated causes – like land clearing, over-harvesting, and invasive feral animals and weeds.
Climate change is adding to this litany of woes, in some cases providing what might be the last straw for species and systems already under grave stress.

Key Findings
Australia is home to more than a million species of plants and animals, yet our track record on conservation is woeful; climate change is making it even harder to protect our natural ecosystems and unique wildlife.
  • Our natural ecosystems and unique wildlife are already under grave stress from land clearing, over-harvesting and invasive feral animals and plants; climate change is adding to this litany of woes and is proving to be the last straw for some systems and species.
  • The status of biodiversity in Australia is considered ‘poor and deteriorating’ according to the most recent State of the Environment Report, which also found that the traditional pressures facing the environment are now being exacerbated by climate change.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, Australia was among the top 7 countries responsible for 60% of global biodiversity loss. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ranks Australia fourth in the world for species extinction and first for loss of mammals.
Australia has one of the highest rates of species extinction in the world and it now holds the first record of a mammalian extinction due to climate change. Other species are in grave danger because of our warming climate.
  • The Bramble Cay melomys was listed as endangered but no active steps were taken to protect the native rodent found on a low-lying atoll in the Torres Strait; storms and rising sea levels led to its extinction.
  • Green turtles are in grave danger because the animals hatching in the northern Great Barrier Reef are 99% female due to warming. The complete ‘feminisation’ of the population may occur in the very near future with disastrous consequences.
  • Bogong moths are in decline in the Australian alps because drought has affected the grass on which the larvae of the moths feed. These moths are a vital part of the food chain for many alpine birds and mammals.
Image showing the death of iconic red river gums along the waterways and floodplains of the Murray-Darling River. Credit: Bill Bachman; Amy Toensing.
Droughts, ‘dry’ lightning strikes and heatwaves are transforming many Australian forests.
  • Ignitions from ‘dry’ lightning storms are increasing in frequency because of climate change, sparking many remote bushfires. Thousands of dry lightning strikes in early 2016 caused bushfires that devastated nearly 20,000 hectares in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
  • The Murray-Darling Basin has suffered a long-term drying trend, seriously affecting the magnificent river red gums that line the waterways. Climate change-exacerbated droughts, on top of water mismanagement, are depriving the gums of the flooding they need every few years to remain healthy.
  • The jarrah forests of Western Australia are suffering as a result of long-term rainfall decline, as well as drought and heatwaves.
  • Giant kelp forests that support rich marine biodiversity are declining around the southern mainland coast and Tasmania due to underwater heatwaves and the impacts of changes in the distribution of marine herbivores.
Australia needs to take a far bolder approach to conservation to ensure our species and ecosystems are as resilient as possible to worsening extreme weather. 
  • Australia’s high greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to increasingly severe changes in the climate system, which means further deterioration of our environment is inevitable. 
  • Creating and connecting new habitats and the translocation of some species will be necessary to prevent further extinctions. 
  • Australia must achieve deep and rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperature rise to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. 
  • Australia needs to accelerate the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technologies and ramp up other climate solutions in transport, industry, agriculture, land use and other sectors. 

National Geographic: This Is What Climate Change Looks Like In Australia

National Geographic

Climate change scientists say Australia needs to take a far bolder approach to conservation to stop further deterioration of our environment in a new report by the Climate Council
Dead Carnaby’s Cockatoos collected after Esperance heatwave. Photographer unknown.
A NEW REPORT released by the Climate Council today has compiled catastrophic images of what climate change looks like in Australia.
Among the images are dead cockatoos and flying foxes, dying river red gums, bleached coral reefs and devastated kelp forests, which the council says shows us “our life support system on life support.”
“Australia’s ecosystems are being transformed before our eyes,” the report reads.
“Already bruised and battered by multiple human-induced stresses including land clearing, invasive species and freshwater diversion, climate change is adding insult to injury.
“Solutions are at hand. We need to accelerate the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technologies and ramp up other climate solutions in transport, industry, agriculture, land use and other sectors.
“Our health, economy, communities, and precious natural icons depend on it.”

Animals:  Heat stress impacts
Mountain pygmy possum with dead pouch young. (Image credit: Dean Heinze)

Dead ringtail possums. (Image credit: Alyse Huyton)

Mass death of spectacled flying foxes in Cairns during November 2018 heatwaves. (Image credit: David White)

Ecosystem collapse
TOP Healthy seagrasses at Shark Bay (Image credit: Jordan Thomson, Shark Bay Research Project)
BOTTOM Dead seagrasses at Shark Bay (Image credit: Robert Nowicki, Shark Bay Research Project) 

Mangroves of the Gulf of Carpentaria before and after a marine heatwave (Image credit: Norman Duke)
Royal penguins make their way up and down the trail, at the royal penguin colony, at Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island, Southern Ocean (Image credit: Brett Phibbs) and Dieback of Azorella (Image credit: Dana Bergstrom)
Camiguin Island corals (Image credit: Klaus Stiefel. License: CC BY-NC 2.0) andLizard Island, GBR May 2016 (Image credit: The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey)

River red gums, Murray Riverland, South Australia (Image credit: Bill Bachman) and
Dead river red gums (Image credit: Amy Toensing)


‘I Hope The Politicians Hear Us’: Millions Of Youths Around The World Strike For Action

Washington PostSarah Kaplan | Lauren Lumpkin Brady Dennis

The strikes come three days before world leaders are set to gather at the United Nations on Monday for a much-anticipated climate summit.

Thousands of young people took to the streets of the nation’s capital demanding more action from world leaders to combat climate change. (Luis Velarde, Alice Li/The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — In one of the largest youth-led demonstrations in history, millions of people from Manhattan to Mumbai took to the streets around the globe on Friday, their chants, speeches and homemade signs delivering the same stern message to world leaders: Do more to combat climate change. And do it faster.
From small island nations such as Kiribati to war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, from small towns in Africa to major European capitals, and across the United States, young people worried about the future that awaits them left behind their classrooms to collectively demand that governments act with more urgency to wean the world off fossil fuels and rapidly cut carbon dioxide emissions.
“Oceans are rising and so are we,” read the sign that 13-year-old Martha Lickman carried through London.
“Whose future? Our future!” shouted students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, as they made their way to protest outside the U.S. Capitol.
“I hope the politicians hear us. They don’t really seem to be doing anything,” said Albe Gils, 18, who skipped high school to join the crowds of protesters in front of Copenhagen’s copper-towered city hall.
Despite a monumental turnout that stretched across every continent, it remains unclear whether the high-profile demonstrations can fundamentally alter the global forces contributing to climate change and compel elected leaders to make the difficult choices necessary to halt the world’s warming. But transformative change is precisely what those behind Friday’s marches have demanded — including a swift shift away from fossil fuels toward clean energy, halting deforestation, protecting the world’s oceans and embracing more sustainable agriculture.
Friday’s far-reaching strikes, which spanned more than 150 countries, come three days before world leaders are set to gather at the United Nations on Monday for a much-anticipated climate summit. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has insisted that countries bring with them promises of meaningful action such as vowing to reach net zero emissions by 2050, cutting fossil fuel subsidies and ceasing construction of coal-fired power plants.
The summit will offer a key test of whether the world’s nations, which came together to sign the Paris climate accord in 2015, can actually muster the resolve to scale back carbon emissions as rapidly as scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
On Friday, the resolve of millions of young people around the world was hardly in doubt.
A growing amount of research suggests that young voters in democracies are increasingly frustrated with political processes, which they feel have failed to address their concerns, most notably climate change.
“I have the feeling that politicians are often just [focusing on] the next vote,” said 25-year-old student Jakob Lochner, who was attending the protest in Berlin on Friday. “If you look around, there are so many people on the street; there is kind of a social tipping point.”
In Australia, where hundreds of thousands rallied in Melbourne, Sydney and other cities, the impact of inaction on climate change and environmental degradation has made young people lose “faith in our leaders and decision-makers,” according to a UNICEF report this year. Researchers examining the same phenomenon in Europe reached similar conclusions. Almost half of all young European respondents said in a recent survey that they had no trust at all in politics.

The climate strikes on Sept. 20 swept across many capitals three days before world leaders gather at the United Nations for a much-anticipated climate summit. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

That frustration was palpable Friday among the young protesters, who are part of a generation that has become increasingly vocal in their demands that leaders take climate change more seriously — and act more swiftly. The demonstrations came more than six months after hundreds of thousands of students staged a similar coordinated effort to demand urgent action on climate change, and the latest iteration was larger and just as fervent.
In London, tens of thousands marched past 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, some holding aloft signs that read “Winter is NOT coming” and “I’m taking time out of my lessons to teach you.”
“We’re doing our bit, eating less meat, using less plastic,” said Lickman, the 13-year-old demonstrator. “But it’s still on the government to do something.”

After taking a solar-powered boat from England to New York to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Thunberg discussed what activists need to do. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

Protesters in climate-conscious Germany held more than 500 events to mark the global climate strike on Friday, including a large demonstration at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. The demonstrations in Germany come as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government faces increasing public pressure to take bold climate action following heat waves and protests dubbed Fridays for Future throughout the country.
As the demonstration swelled, drawing citizens of all ages, Merkel announced a wide-ranging package aimed at getting Germany back on track to meet its climate targets. Berlin has pledged to cut its emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. The package includes more than $60 billion in investment in areas such as trains, electric vehicles and subsidies for green buildings, according to German media.
In Moscow, Arshak Makichyan, a 24-year-old violinist, staged a one-man protest after the government rejected his application to hold a group demonstration, the BBC reported. Russia, which has been hit hard by climate change, ranks as the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, the United States and India.
In Brussels, the young and not-so-young protested with signs in English, French and Dutch.
“I am here because we want adults to act,” said Caroline Muller, 13, who has protested in the past. “It is time to do something.”
Back in Washington, 35-year-old Allyson Brown pulled her 5-year-old daughter out of school and headed toward the Mall, where she planned to join a mass of other protesters and impart a lesson on how to push for change.
“This,” she said, “is education for today.”
Among the largest, most high-profile protests Friday was the one in New York, led by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired the burgeoning protest movement with the solitary school strikes she undertook outside her country’s parliament beginning last summer.
Even before the strike in Manhattan officially began Friday, Foley Square teemed with colorful signs and shouting teenagers, and the swelling crowd spilled into the surrounding streets.
“Climate change is not a lie, we won’t let our planet die,” the masses chanted.
“Our planet is not for profit!”
Organizer Alexandria Villasenor, the 14-year-old who helped spark New York’s climate strikes when she began protesting in front of the United Nations 10 months ago, smiled as she took in the teeming crowd.
“The strike today is going to change the conversation [at next week’s U.N. climate summit],” she said. “They have to listen to us now.”
Ultimately, organizers estimated that more than a quarter-million protesters crammed into Lower Manhattan. In Battery Park, a sweaty throng waited beneath the fierce midday sun in front of a stage where Thunberg would later speak.
The speeches from teenagers were fiercely critical of those in power, both in government and in the corporate world.
“Their complacency is killing me,” said Isabella Fallahi, a young organizer from Indianapolis, who said Democrats and Republicans are equally culpable for the lack of climate action. “Both parties are guilty of silence. Politicians don’t simply get a medal for believing in facts.”
Kevin Patel, a fellow youth organizer from Los Angeles, leaned toward the microphone: “You are either with us in this fight or you are against us.”
Thomas Jimenez, 16, Lola Allen, 15, and Crystal Lantigua, 16, juniors at Fort Hamilton High School, had raced to secure a place in front of the stage.
“Adults have a lot of opinions about our generation,” Jimenez said. “But I think we’re strong and powerful. It blows my mind to see kids our age make such a big difference.”
Behind him, a sea of handcrafted signs hinted at the sense of anger and frustration among his peers.
“You know it’s time for change when the children act like leaders and the leaders act like children,” read one.
“I’ll take my exams if you take action,” read another.
“Policymakers don’t get it,” said Yujin Kim, a 17-year-old South Korean student who had traveled to New York for a U.N. youth summit. “They’re not going to be here in 30 years. And we are. We’re going to keep speaking out until they listen.”
Organizers said more than 1,100 strikes took place across all 50 states on Friday. The strikes were planned largely by teenagers, in between soccer practices and studying for math exams, but a growing number of adults also have begun to offer their support.
New York and Boston public schools granted students permission to skip school for the strikes. For students in other districts, more than 600 physicians signed a “doctor’s note” that reads, “Their absence is necessary because of the climate crisis.”
Numerous companies, including Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and the cosmetic company Lush, closed their doors in solidarity with the youth and encouraged employees to attend the Friday’s strike.
After hours of marching and chants and speeches, the sea of protesters roared late Friday afternoon, as Thunberg herself finally took the stage.
“The eyes of the world will be upon them,” she said of the national leaders gathering next week at the U.N. summit. “They have a chance to take leadership. To prove they actually hear us.”
She paused.
“Do you think they hear us?”
The crowd screamed back: “No.”
She smiled.
“We will make them hear us," Thunberg said, adding, "Change is coming. Whether they like it or not.”


Climate Change Protests Spread Around The World On Global Day Of Action

ABC News

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, left, takes part during the Climate Strike in New York. (AP: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Key points
  • Protests began in the Pacific on Friday, with an estimated 300,000 Australians taking to the streets
  • Climate change rallies spread to Asia, Africa and Europe throughout the rest of the day
  • The day of action is being held ahead of the United Nations climate summit in New York next week
Students worldwide are taking to the streets to demand more action against climate change after an estimated 300,000 Australians gathered at rallies around the country.
As Friday began around the world, rallies spread across Asia into Africa and Europe, with school students joined by supporters of all ages.
The global day of action was called ahead of a United Nations climate summit in New York next week.
In Nigeria, 37-year-old Seye Adegbpye, 37, told the BBC she joined the climate change protest in Lagos as she had noticed water levels getting higher and flooding getting worse every year.
"The city is also getting hotter and hotter," she said.
Research shows Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period weren't globally coherent periods of warming or cold.
"Even though there aren't many of us here today, I'm hoping our Government will hear our requests and implement policies such as increasing the number of trees that are planted around the city."
Banashree Thapa, 23, joined climate protests in Delhi, outside the Lodhi garden.
"I am the daughter of a forest ranger but what will he protect if there is nothing left to protect?" she asked the BBC.
"This is beyond climate change," she says.
"This is nature's wrath. And it's coming for us. That's what brought me here."
Around a thousand protesters march to demand action on climate change, in the streets of downtown Nairobi, Kenya. (AP: Ben Curtis)
Children hold placards and signs while in front of a historic building in London

An activist displays a placard during a rally to coincide with the global protests on climate change at the University of Philippines campus in suburban Quezon city in the Philippines. (AP: Bullit Marquez)

Hundreds of people marched in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, to demand the Government take measures to deal with the climate change crisis. (AP: Thanis Sudto)
A young protester shouts slogans with others in front of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in New Delhi, India. (AP: Manish Swarup)
Climate protesters demonstrate in Athens, Greece. (AP: Thanassis Stavrakis)
Several hundreds of protesters gathered in Prague's Old Town Square. (AP: Petr David Josek)
Activists of the group 'Extinction Rebellion' shedding red liquid, symbolising blood, on the stairs of a recently opened promenade in Hamberg, Germany. (Jonas Walzberg/dpa via AP)
People hold signs as they demonstrate at the march to the US Capitol during the Climate Strike. (AP: Kevin Wolf)

'No Planet B': Hundreds Of Thousands Join Global Climate Strike

Al Jazeera - Kate Walton | Bilal Kuchay |Ylenia Gostoli | News Agencies

Protesters across Asia Pacific demand governments take urgent steps to prevent climate change catastrophe.

An estimated 10,000 people turned out in the Australian capital, Canberra, as a global day of climate protests got under way in the Asia Pacific region [Kate Walton/Al Jazeera]

Hundreds of thousands of protesters, many of them students who skipped school, have gathered in cities across Asia, kicking off a day of worldwide protests calling for action against climate change ahead of a UN summit.
From the Pacific Islands to Australia and India, protesters took to the streets on Friday, demanding their governments take urgent steps to tackle the climate crisis and prevent an environmental catastrophe.
Organisers estimated 300,000 people turned up for the "global climate strike" in Australia, the world's largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas.
Protests were staged in 110 towns and cities across the country, with crowds calling on the government to commit to a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who inspired the climate strike, tweeted her support.
"Incredible pictures," she wrote from New York. "This is the huge crowd building up in Sydney. Australia is setting the standard!"
Protests are planned in some 150 countries on Friday and will culminate in New York when Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel prize for her activism on climate change, leads the march in the city where the United Nations has its headquarters.
The UN Climate Action Summit brings together world leaders to discuss climate change mitigation strategies, including the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
An estimated 100,000 people turned up on the streets of London as part of what is expected to be the largest mobilisation in a worldwide series of climate-focused events, organisers said.
According to the UK Student Climate Network, which is coordinating the strikes in this country, more than 200 demonstrations took place across the UK on Friday as workers were actively encouraged to join the youngsters.
"I felt like climate change is so important, but I hadn't really seen anything to reflect that," Lola Fayokun, an 18-year-old from Avery in south London, told Al Jazeera at the protest.
"It's already killing people and having so many horrific impacts, especially in the global south. Yet nothing is being said. There is complete radio silence on the issue," she added.

'I want to live'
In Canberra, the Australian capital, a 12-year-old primary school student told an estimated 10,000 people said she and her classmates had decided saving the planet was more important than classes.
"Politicians worry about us not going to school," said Alison. "But we're learning about the world, the danger we're in and what we can do about it. We know it's important to go to school and learn, but we know it is more important to save the planet for future generations to learn on."
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Whitbread attended the Canberra protest with a banner saying she was "hoping for a cooler death".
"I'm here because I want to live," she said. "We all have the right to the life we set out to have. I don't want to die young."
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said students should be in school.
"These sorts of rallies should be held on a weekend where it doesn't actually disrupt business, it doesn't disrupt schools, it doesn't disrupt universities," McCormack told reporters in Melbourne.
"I think it is just a disruption," he added.
Australia's conservative government - while stopping short of outright climate change denial - has sought to frame the debate as a choice between jobs or abstract CO2 targets.
School students ignored politicians who told them to stay in their classrooms to join the global climate strike on Friday. These young women attended the protest in Canberra, Australia [Kate Walton/Al Jazeera]
Pacific Islanders attend a protest march as part of the world’s largest climate strike in Sydney, Australia [Peter Parks/ AFP]
'No Planet B'
As Friday's day of action got underway across the scattered Pacific communities, students holding placards in Kiribati chanted: "We are not sinking, we are fighting". Children in the Solomon Islands rallied on the shoreline wearing traditional grass skirts and carrying wooden shields.
Hours later in Thailand, more than 200 young people stormed the Environment Ministry in Bangkok and dropped to the ground feigning death.
"This is what will happen if we don't stop climate change now," said 21-year-old strike organiser Nanticha Ocharoenchai.
In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, students called for action against wildfires on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, which have caused health problems for people across the region.
"The youth here are saying they want the government to deal with this issue more urgently and take more action," said Al Jazeera's Raheela Mahomed, reporting from the protest site.
An Indonesian climate activist takes part in a global climate change campaign in Jakarta [Goh Chai Hin/AFP]

In India's New Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities, dozens of students and environmental activists chanted "We want climate action" and "I want to breathe clean" at a rally outside the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
They carried banners with some displaying messages like "There is no Planet B".
"I have come to this protest today because I live in the world's most polluted city and our government is doing nothing to change that," said Asheer Kandhari, a student. "Not taking action, a government doesn't realise that they are taking away our futures. It's my future that is being affected by the government's inaction regarding the climate change policy."
School children shout slogans as they participate in a climate strike in New Delhi [Laurene Becquart / AFP]
No protests were authorised in China, the world's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, but Zheng Xiaowen of the China Youth Climate Action Network said Chinese youth would take action one way or another.
"Chinese youth have their own methods," she said.
"We also pay attention the climate and we are also thinking deeply, interacting, taking action, and so many people are very conscientious on this issue."
Rallies were also held in Kenya's capital Nairobi, Johannesburg and the South African capital, Pretoria.
Banners in Nairobi ranged from angry to playful, with one reading: "This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend."
Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from Nairobi, said: "Out of the 10 countries most affected by climate change, seven of those are on the African continent. It has already started with hurricanes sweeping through Mozambique, flash floods in South Africa and Sierra Leone and droughts in the Sahel.
"Here in Kenya, 200 species are at risk of going extinct every day because of these droughts. So many young people here are going impatient with their leaders for not doing enough."
Environmental activists march carrying placards as they take part in a protest calling for action on climate change, in Nairobi [Simon Maina/ AFP]

Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has already led to droughts and heatwaves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and floods, scientists say.
Carbon emissions climbed to a record high last year, despite a warning from the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October that output of the gases must be slashed over the next 12 years to stabilise the climate.
US President Donald Trump said in 2017 that he would pull the US out of the Paris Agreement under which countries have committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to tackle rising global temperatures.



The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: The Nations Leading And Failing On Climate Action

The Conversation

Children play near a coal-fired power plant in the town of Obilic, Kosovo, in November 2018. EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj 
It is almost five years since the landmark Paris deal was struck. Nearly 200 countries agreed to work towards limiting global warming to 1.5℃, beyond which the planet is expected to slide irreversibly towards devastating climate change impacts.
But few nations are on track to reaching this goal. Right now, we’re heading to warming above 3℃ by 2100 - and this will have catastrophic consequences for the planet.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called a major climate summit in New York on September 23, where countries are expected to announce more ambitious climate targets than they set in Paris, and solid plans to achieve them.
Ahead of the summit, let’s take stock of the world’s best and worst performers when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.
A man standing near a wind farm near Urumuqi, China. Qilai Shen/EPA
Australia is keeping poor company
The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis produced by two research organisations tracking climate action since 2009. It monitors 32 countries, accounting for more than 80% of global emissions.
We looked in detail at who has made the most progress since 2015, and who has done the least. Australia sits firmly in the group of governments we labelled as actually delaying global climate action, alongside the United States (which under President Donald Trump has walked away from the Paris agreement altogether).
Other countries delaying global climate action with highly insufficient targets and no progress since 2015 are the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia.
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, past and projected. Data drawn from Department of the Environment and Energy report titled ‘Australia’s emissions projections 2018’ Department of the Environment and Energy
Today, Australia’s emissions are at a seven-year high, and continue to rise. The government’s commitment to fossil fuels remains unwavering - from coal projects such as Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in Queensland to huge new gas projects.
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, providing 29% of coal’s global trade, and last year also became the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Its exported fossil fuel emissions currently represent around 3.6% of global emissions.

The surprising success stories
Ethiopia, Morocco and India top the list of countries doing the most to tackle climate change. In total, eight international jurisdictions have made good progress since 2015, including the European Union, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, and Argentina (although they still have a lot of work ahead to meet the 1.5℃ goal).
While India still relies on coal, its renewables industry is making huge leaps forward, with investments in renewable energy topping fossil fuel investments. The country is expected to over-achieve its Paris Agreement target.
Lightning in the night sky over the Odervorland wind farm near Sieversdorf, Germany. Patrick Pleul/DPA
So what are they doing right? Costa Rica’s national decarbonisation plan covers the entire economy, including electrifying the public transport system, and huge energy efficiency measures in the industry, transport and buildings sectors. Costa Rica has also put a moratorium on new oil production.
The EU is set to overachieve its 2030 target of reducing emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and is in the process of considering an increase in this to at least 50%. It has recently increased its renewable energy and energy efficiency goals, and is sorting out its emissions trading scheme, with prices of emission units increasing.
This, together with past investments in renewable energy, have helped to achieve a 15% reduction in German electricity sector emissions in the first half of 2019. Whilst Germany has missed its 2020 targets, it has begun a process to phase out coal no later than 2038 – still a number of years too late for a Paris-compatible pathway.

Quitting coal is key
An increasing number of countries are adopting net zero emissions targets, many of them in the European Union, and some outside. Some, like the UK, have dumped coal, and are well on the way to achieving those targets.
A global phase-out of coal for electricity is the single most important step toward achieving the 1.5℃ warming limit. At the latest, this should be achieved by 2050 globally, by 2030 in the OECD and 2040 in China and other Asian countries.
There are some signs of optimism here. On one estimate, the number of coal projects in the pipeline shrunk by nearly 70% between 2015 and 2018, and investors are increasingly wary of the technology. Yet coal is still set to boom in Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and Turkey.
Under current polities, the world is set for more than 3°C of warming by 2100. Climate Action Tracker

In 2018, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached a historic high. While coal reversed its recent decline, emissions from natural gas surged by 4.6%.
Renewable energy is the key to unlocking rapid decarbonisation. It already supplies more than 26% of global electricity generation and its costs are dropping rapidly. To accelerate this fundamental transition, more governments need to adopt and improve policies that enable renewable technologies to be rolled out faster. This would contribute to low-carbon economic development and job creation.

Don’t forget about trees
Nowhere is the alarming rate of global deforestation more obvious than in Brazil, now in the middle of a record fire season. It adds to damage wrought by President Jair Bolsonaro who has weakened his country’s institutional framework preventing forest loss.
In 2018, Brazil recorded the world’s highest loss of tropical primary rainforest of any country - 1.3 million hectares - largely in the Amazon. The deforestation reached 7,900 square km in 2018, a 72% increase from the historic low in 2012.
Fire fighting efforts this month in an indigenous reserve in Humaita, in Brazil’s Amazon forest. FERNANDO BIZERRA/EPA
The past few weeks have shown us what 1℃ of global warming means. Hurricane Dorian, fuelled by high sea-surface temperatures, wiped out the northern Bahamas. Temperatures in the 40s set records across Europe. And in Queensland, the earliest fire season on record destroyed homes and razed rainforests.
The predicted 3℃ of warming by 2100 will bring a lot worse: widespread crop failures, dead coral reefs, more extreme heat waves and major threats to water supply and human health.
The world can avoid this, but time is running out.


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