OCC Weather July 2008

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OCC Weather July 2008 Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                     JULY 2008

OCC Weather
Executive Director’s note
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing today’s world. So it is no surprise that
there is a high level of activity taking place in the climate change arena throughout Australia.

Some of the big ticket items this month have been around the release of three key publications:
  • Professor Garnaut’s Climate Change Review Draft Report;
  • the Commonwealth Green Paper in response to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
      (emissions trading); and
  • Climate Change in Queensland – What the Science is telling us report (which summarises the
      latest peer reviewed science on climate change with specific reference to Queensland).

This month's edition of OCC Weather includes a good balance of state and federal updates, and I
encourage you all to seek further information on the content listed here to keep a breadth of the
many issues.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the OCC Weather.

Premier’s Council on Climate Change
The Premier’s Council on Climate Change met for the second time on 25 June 2008. The Council is
chaired by the Premier, with the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation as
Deputy Chair. The Office of Climate Change provides secretariat support to the Council.

The Council delivered its first working paper - Achieving early and affordable greenhouse gas
reductions in Queensland: strategies for voluntary household and lifestyle changes. The paper
examined how the Queensland Government can best encourage householders to take up
opportunities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and will inform the ClimateSmart
Communities Program campaign. The paper can be viewed at www.climatechange.qld.gov.au

The Council also resolved to consider greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities, through papers on
building and regulatory reform and innovative urban development in Queensland, at future meetings.
The OCC will work closely with the Department of Infrastructure and Planning to provide support for
the Council’s work on these issues.

Queensland Climate Change Fund
Climate change Abatement Cost Curve for Queensland

The EPA has called for tenders for the development of a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for
Queensland. This Queensland specific cost curve will identify the extent of cost effective abatement
opportunities within the Queensland economy and will be a valuable input to Queensland’s
consideration and development of future complementary measures.

The development of the cost curve will be resourced through an allocation from the Queensland
Climate Change Fund. Details of the tender process can be accessed through the Queensland
Government’s E-Tender system at www.qgm.qld.gov.au

Queenslanders given carbon weight-loss challenge
The $3 million ClimateSmart Communities program was launched last month by the Minister for
Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara.

The program includes an innovative Low Carbon Diet initiative which is designed to equip
Queenslanders with the know-how they need to make energy savings at home and reduce their
carbon footprint.

The message for communities is simple: small things add up to make a big difference.

Funded by the Queensland Climate Change Fund, the ClimateSmart Communities program is a
social marketing strategy designed around the Premier’s Council on Climate Change
recommendations to support household and community level behaviour change.

For those wanting to do more, the Low Carbon Diet – developed by renowned behavioural change
expert David Gershon – provides a menu of options for householders to reach a carbon-loss target of
2000 kilos a year. The government is calling on all Queensland sporting groups, community
organisations, local governments and schools to get participate.

Queenslanders will be able to assess the level of greenhouse gas their household is generating by
using the online calculator on the ClimateSmart website. Individuals will also have the option to
manage their carbon profile by updating their information as they progress through the ‘diet’.

The goal is to have 500,000 Queenslanders take the Low Carbon Diet by 2010. If this goal is
achieved, the greenhouse gas reductions could be as much as 1 million tonnes.

AFL Queensland, Greening Australia and Keeping Australia Beautiful have already signed up as
program partners. Groups throughout the state will be eligible to apply for grants between $2000-
$10,000 to implement the Low Carbon Diet within their communities.

For more information about the program go to http://www.climatesmart.qld.gov.au/your_community

Policy Update
Garnaut Climate Change Review
A major milestone of the Review of Climate Change by Professor Ross Garnaut occurred on Friday 4
July with the release of the Draft Report. The Report is available at www.garnautreview.org.au

Key features of the report are summarised at the back of this edition of the OCC Weather.

The 530 page report includes chapters on:
   • Impacts of climate change on Australia
   • The modelled economic consequences of climate change in Australia
   • The wider costs and benefits of climate change mitigation in Australia
   • Australian mitigation: overview of the policy challenge
   • An Australian Emissions Trading Scheme
   • Income distribution effects of climate change mitigation policy
   •   The energy transformation.

Professor Garnaut visited Brisbane on 11 July to host a public forum at City Hall to outline and take
questions on the Draft Report. The OCC was proud to assist his office with the event, which attracted
more than 1,200 attendees – the second highest attendee rate for the forums behind Melbourne. It
was a great opportunity for a range of stakeholders and members of the public to hear Professor
Garnaut and also pose questions directly to him.

A Supplementary Draft Report will be released at the end of August with the Review’s economic
modelling results. New chapters on roles and responsibilities between the Commonwealth and the
states, adaptation, and economy-wide transition will be included in the Final Report due for release in
late September.

Solar and Energy Efficiency in Queensland State Schools Program
The Bligh Government has selected the first 10 state schools to have solar panels and other energy-
efficiency measures installed under the $60 million Solar and Energy Efficiency Program.

The program will deliver significant educational benefits to Queensland students allowing them to see
first-hand the benefits of solar power in the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas

Queensland is the first Australian State to implement this initiative, which will see the Queensland
Government install solar panels and other energy efficiency measures in all Queensland state
schools over the next three years. Energy efficiency measures will include energy efficient bulbs,
installing energy meters and timers on power circuits to turn off non-essential power at night and on

For more information, go to http://education.qld.gov.au/facilities/solar/faq.html

Science Update
Climate change in Queensland: what the science is telling us
On 25 June, Minister McNamara launched a key report that analyses international and national
climate change science and assesses its significance to Queensland.

Climate Change in Queensland - What the Science is telling us draws on two main sources: the
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and the CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology Climate
Change in Australia — Technical Report 2007.

Queensland has one of the most naturally variable climates in the world, and our climate is projected
to become more variable and extreme in the future.

The report brings together the latest science on climate change, and outlines the projected impacts
for Queensland so we can all understand the situation and response appropriately to climate change.

Queensland is particularly vulnerable to climate change because:
   • Many of our important sectors (agriculture, tourism) are climate-dependent
   • Most of our population lives on the coast and are at risk from more extreme weather and
      rising sea levels
   • Our ecologically rich areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics, are vulnerable to
      a significant loss of biodiversity.

Copies of Climate Change in Queensland - What the Science is telling us are available for download
at http://www.climatechange.qld.gov.au/downloads/downloads/ClimateScienceReport_WEB.pdf
    Key impacts in Queensland

    Far North Queensland
    • Natural environments sensitive to small changes in temperature
    • Significant loss of biodiversity in Great Barrier Reef and Queensland Wet Tropics by 2020
    • Increase in rainfall intensity with more summer rain
    • Towns, infrastructure and resorts in low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to higher flood or storm surge levels
    • Higher risk of Cairns being inundated by 1-in-100-year storm surge by 2050
    • Sea-level rise to cause salt-water intrusion in Torres Strait Islands
    • More frequent extreme weather and flooding could make isolated Indigenous communities in far north and Torres Strait inaccessible more
    • Changes in rainfall and hotter temperatures increase risk of water, food and vector-borne diseases

                                                                Central Queensland
                                                                • Drying projected to continue
                                                                • Strong decline in rainfall and increased evaporation could affect soil moisture
                                                                  and availability and quality of water
                                                                • Significant proportion of state’s agricultural, industrial and mining activity
                                                                  located here and are highly dependent on water resources

                                                                        South East Queensland
                                                                        • Marked drying trend since 1950s
                                                                        • Potential for more significant increases in inundation as a result of
                                                                          storm surges due to higher mean sea level and more intense weather
                                                                        • Increase in 1-in-100-year storm tide events projected to be 0.45 m
                                                                          along the Sunshine Coast, mostly due to sea-level rise
                                                                        • Less water available in future for cities, industries, agriculture and
                                                                          natural ecosystems
                                                                        • Number of days over 35 ° expected to increase in future, potentially
                                                                          affecting peak energy demand
                                                                        • Less frost damage to crops and higher wheat yields but lower wheat
                                                                        • Increased pest and disease risk

Western Queensland
•   Warming projected to be greatest in this region, particularly in south-western Queensland
•   Strong decline in rainfall could affect water quality, availability, and soil moisture
•   More severe droughts and heatwaves but increased rainfall intensity when it does rain
•   Will potentially affect region’s productivity and social cohesion

(Source: Figure adapted from Local Government Association of Queensland, 2007, p7. Content updated from CSIRO et al., 2007)

Visiting scientist lecture
QCCCE Indooroopilly hosted a seminar in June by Dr Leon Rotstayn from CSIRO Marine and
Atmospheric Research. Dr Rotstayn addressed attendees about why aerosols matter for Australian
climate change. CSIRO studies suggest that Australian climate trends have been affected by aerosol
pollution in the northern hemisphere.

If you would to be notified of future visiting scientist lectures at QCCCE Indooroopilly, please email

Queensland-China Climate Change Fellowships 2008
The Premier launched the fellowships in early 2008 to foster closer scientific collaborations between
China and Queensland on climate change. Through the Program, Queensland and Chinese
researchers and other professionals will be able to participate in a short-term reciprocal exchange to
scope out projects, share knowledge and ideas, cultivate strategic links, to improve mutual
understanding of climate change, its potential impacts, mitigation strategies and adaptation

Applications for Queensland participants closed on June 30 2008. Eleven applications have been
received. A selection process is currently underway to choose six successful applicants.

Federal Government update
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme – Green Paper

The Commonwealth’s public discussion paper (Green Paper) on the Carbon Pollution Reduction
Scheme was released on 16 July.

In a recent media release, Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water, said that the Green
Paper sets out options and identifies the Government’s preferred positions on emissions trading and
the support proposed to help households and businesses adjust to this economic transformation.

The public and all affected industries are encouraged to provide submissions.

The Department of Climate Change is holding public information sessions in capital cities around the
country to discuss the Green Paper. The public information sessions will also cover the National
Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme that came into effect on 1 July 2008.

A public forum will be held in Brisbane Friday 25 July 9 am – 12.45 pm.

To register phone 1800 057 590 Monday-Friday from 14 July between the hours of 8.30 am - 7 pm
AEST. Venue details will be provided when you register. Please note that seating is limited.

A series of public information sessions will be held in major regional centres around Australia in
August 2008.

Renewable Energy Target Design Paper
The Federal Government is seeking public feedback on a Design Paper for the design of a Renewable
Energy Target Design Paper.

The target, which will help deliver on the Government’s commitment to ensure at least 20 per cent of
Australia’s electricity supply, comes from renewable energy by 2020. It will also support the carbon

pollution reduction scheme which will encourage industry and business to reduce their greenhouse
pollution because there will be a cost to pollute.

The Government is working with the states and territories to design an expanded renewable energy
target that incorporates the existing and propose state and territory targets.

The Design Paper was developed as part of COAG’s Climate Change agenda with input from all states
and territories.

The deadline for public submissions is 30 July. A copy of the paper and information about making a
submission are available on the Department of Climate Change website at www.climatechange.gov.au

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System (NGERS)
Australia’s new National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System came into effect on 1 July.

Under the system, businesses emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases are required to monitor
and measure the emissions ahead of reporting them to the Government by October next year.

While the first reporting period under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007
(NGER Act) commences on 1 July 2008, relevant corporations will have until 31 August 2009 to
apply to register under the scheme, and until 31 October 2009 to submit their first annual greenhouse
and energy report.

NGERS is important as it will underpin the information requirements of the Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme when it comes into affect from 2010. It will also provide a single, centralised point
of reported for energy and emissions information, which should simplify individual reporting

A free public information session will be held in Brisbane Friday 25 July 9 am - 12.45 pm. To register
your interest in attending call 1800 057 590 Monday-Friday between 8.30am and 7.00pm AEST -
venue details will be provided when you register

For further information about the new reporting system, or to obtain a copy of the guidelines, visit the
Department of Climate Change’s website http://www.climatechange.gov.au/reporting/index.html or
call 1800 018 831.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The Australians National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, under Kyoto accounting, was released in late
June. The report revealed that Australia’s emissions for 2006 and preliminary estimates of emissions
in 2007 remain on track to meet Australia’s Kyoto target.

Australia’s net greenhouse emissions in 2006 were estimated to be 576 million tonnes. This is a 1.0
per cent decrease on net emissions from 2005.

The inventory also showed that Queensland’s emissions are the highest in Australia.

Queensland’s net emissions in 2006 are estimated to have been 170.9 million tonnes (Mt) CO2-e.
While this is lower than the revised 2005 figure of 175.2 Mt, they are slightly more than the 1990
figure value of 169.8 Mt – representing a growth of 0.6 per cent from 1990 to 2006.

Queensland’s largest sources of emissions are from energy at 96Mt and deforestation at 41.7Mt and
agriculture at 26.4Mt

For more information on Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts, go to
Events Update
The Queensland Government and the EPA is proud to support three key upcoming climate change
and sustainability related events lat the Gold Coast Convention Centre:

Topic                                                                     Date

The 2008 EPA Sustainable Industries Awards Gala Dinner -                  31 October 2008
celebrating sustainable business practices

Carbon Market Expo Australasia 2008 – providing an opportunity for        30 to 31 October 2008
private sector and government businesses to showcase their activities,
services and products in the emerging carbon market

Clean Energy Council National Conference 2008 – Australia’s               24 to 26 November
premier clean energy forum in 2008

For further information and ticket details for these events, go to

Staff update

OCC welcomed new four staff in July:

   •    John Ridgway – has joined us from the Department of Trade as Senior Director, Policy
        Implementation. John comes with significant experience in environmental policy both in
        central and line agencies. He has also worked at a senior level in the NSW Cabinet office
   •    Kirsten Lovejoy – joins the OCC as Senior Policy Officer from the Department of
        Communities, Reconciliation and Reconnections Unit. Kirsten will manage the coordination of
        Climate Change Impact Statements.
   •    Henry Boer – has joined us from Queensland Transport and will be working on integrating
        climate adaptation and mitigation into the impact assessment processes.
   •    Kirsten Macey – joins the OCC to assist in the review of ClimateSmart 2050, and brings
        seven years experience on climate change issues to the OCC.
   •    Djalinda Burroughs – has joined the Program Management team, working on the
        Queensland Climate Change Fund and assisting with secretariat duties for the Premier’s
        Council on Climate Change.


OCC said goodbye to two staff members in July and we wish them well with their future endeavours:

   •    Nicole Moffatt – Nicole worked with QCCCE/the OCC since January 2007, and recently as
        Manager Adaptation Policy. Her new role is with Maunsell/AECOM as Principal Consultant –
        Climate Change.
   •    Kate English – Kate worked with the QCCCE/the OCC since October 2007 and played a key
        role in the introduction of the government’s new Climate Change Impact Statements. Kate will
        take up a new position as a climate change consultant with Arup Sustainability on the
        Sunshine Coast.

    Garnaut Climate Change Review
    Below is a summary of Key Themes of the Garnaut Review’s
    Draft Report and Implications for Queensland.
    A full copy of the Draft Report is available from www.garnautreview.org.au
Impacts of climate change on Australia

•   Unmitigated growth in emissions is expected to have a severe and costly impact on agriculture,
    infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystems in Australia. For the next two decades the impacts are likely
    to be dominated by stressed urban water supply, effects of changed temperature and rainfall on
    agriculture, reliance on high cost infrastructure for alternative water sources.
•   Importantly, the Draft Report highlights that without mitigation is likely to see the effective destruction of
    the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by mid century. The report includes a GBR case study that explicitly
    outlines that an atmospheric concentration beyond 450 ppm and a global temperature rise of 1 degree
    will see a major decline in reef-building corals. Under these conditions, these corals would be unable to
    keep pace with the rate of physical and biological erosion. As a result, the three dimensional structure
    of the coral reefs would slowly crumble and disappear.
•   Some climate change impacts to 2030 are considered locked in because of our present level of
    greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change impacts beyond 2030 can be significantly reduced with
    ambitious global mitigation.

The modelled economic consequences of climate change in Australia

•   Unmitigated growth in global emissions will result in higher median temperatures and rainfall and a fall
    in GDP from the reference case of around 4.8 per cent household consumption by 5.4 per cent and
    real wages by 7.8 per cent by 2100 (with particular impacts on infrastructure, agriculture and
    international terms of trade).
•   Preliminary analysis of GSP impacts show that Queensland is projected to be the most affected state
    by climate change. Export oriented mining (especially coal) and agriculture sectors (primarily beef and
    sugar) are expected to be hit hard by the impacts of climate change.
•   Global demand for coal is expected to decline sharply (almost 18 per cent) and beef and sugar
    production is expected to fall significantly as rainfall declines. Reduction in economic activity and
    employment opportunities also slow interstate migration.

The wider costs and benefits of climate change mitigation in Australia

•   This report contains an assessment of the economic impacts of unmitigated climate change on the
    Australia economy. The modelling covers 65 – 85 per cent of the expected market impacts. It does not
    cover non-market impacts such as biodiversity, quality of life and unique environmental assets (GBR
    and wet tropics).
•   Using the extreme low rainfall scenario, GDP costs could be in the order of 8 per cent in 2100, with
    household consumption of around 9.1 per cent in 2100 and reduction in real wages of around 14.8 per
    cent relative to the reference case.
•   The modelling indicates that economic disruption in developing countries from climate change could
    also exacerbate economic effects in Australia - for example food security issues, sea level rises,
    climate change refugees and increased geopolitical instability.

Australian Mitigation: Overview of the policy challenge

•   Australia’s mitigation effort is our demonstration of international leadership to influence an effective
    global agreement on mitigation. Australia’s active engagement and commitments are aimed at
    encouraging action and commitments from key players including the United States, China, India and
•   Complementary measures will be required to correct market failures not addressed through the ETS,
    eg. building standards, transport planning, product labelling.
•   Once the ETS is fully operational (reached the appropriate price) the mandatory renewable energy
    target will not longer be required.

An Australian Emissions Trading Scheme

•   Some key design parameters include:
    − The Draft Report proposes five-year fixed trajectories for emissions, extended each year by one
       year, with longer-term indicative caps.
    − Coverage should be as broad as possible, unless costs of measurement and verification are
    − Transport is proposed to be included with the point of obligation potentially set ‘upstream’ at the
       point of excise.
    − Full inclusion of agriculture, waste and forestry at the outset requires further analysis and will be
       considered in the final report.
    − The Draft Report recommends allowing banking of permits for use later and limited borrowing from
       future years – approved by the regulator.
    − It also recommends linkages with international schemes, particular in the future as international
       agreements are realised.
    − Forestry offsets should be unlimited, and agriculture and waste offsets should be considered.
    − Measurement difficulties with coal mining should be investigated as a matter of priority and proxy
       measures used in the interim.

Income Distribution Effects of Climate Change Mitigation Policy

•   Low income households spend much higher proportions of their incomes than other households on
    emissions-intensive products.
•   Approximately 50 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of all permits could be allocated to
    households. Thirty per cent should be allocated to protecting trade exposed emission intensive
    industries from the affects of an Australian ETS in the absence of carbon prices in competition markets
    and 20 per cent for research and development into key energy technologies such as CCS, Geo
    Thermal and Solar Thermal.
•   The Draft Report adds that the impact is likely to be greater on people outside capital cities due to
    increased transport costs. This is likely to disadvantage Queensland more than other states with its
    high rural and regional proportion of the population and vast distances.

The Energy Transformation

•   Rising capital costs (60 per cent increase per kilowatt since 2004) and energy commodity price
    increases for coal and natural gas mean that low energy prices will not continue. This will be further
    compounded by energy price increases as a result of the introduction of the emissions trading scheme.
•   The report also suggests that nuclear power is a practical option for part of Australia’s electricity
    production. The conclusion is based on cost estimates for nuclear power between $40 - $65/MWh.
•   The future for coal-based electricity generation, both domestic and exported, and for mitigation in
    developing countries depends on carbon capture and storage becoming commercially effective. The
    report suggests that Australia should lead international efforts towards the testing and deployment of
    these technologies.


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