The Meeting Place

Aussies expect more droughts and floods

Eight in 10 Australians (81 per cent) are now concerned about climate change resulting in more droughts and flooding according to a new benchmark report released on Wednesday by the Australia Institute.

The annual Climate of the Nation benchmark report has tracked Australian attitudes on climate change for over a decade. This is the second Climate of the Nation report produced by The Australia Institute, after being produced for a decade by the Climate Institute.

The report found that:

  • Eight in 10 (81 per cent) Australians are concerned that climate change will result in more droughts and flooding, up from 78 per cent in 2018
  • Majority of Australians (68 per cent) agree that the Government should plan for an orderly phase-out of coal so that workers and communities can be prepared
  • Majority of Australians (54 per cent) reject the idea that Australia should not act on climate change until other major emitters like US and China do so (25 per cent agree we should not act, 21 per cent neutral/don't know)
  • Almost two thirds of Australians (64 per cent) think the country should have a national target for net-zero emissions by 2050, similar to the United Kingdom
  • Most Australians blame increasing electricity prices on the excessive profit margins of electricity companies (57 per cent, up from 55 per cent) or the privatisation of electricity infrastructure (55 per cent, up from 52 per cent).


The report was launched by Zali Steggall, the federal member for Warringah.

“This latest report shows that Australians support far more ambitious climate and energy policies than the Federal Government is currently delivering,” Ms Steggall said.

“Australians are rightly concerned about more extreme heat waves, droughts and bushfires and they want the Morrison Government to show leadership on climate change and do more to prepare for the impacts that are already locked in.”

What do you think? Should Australia prepare for more natural disasters if climate change is not addressed?

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What beats me is the group (farmers and rural dwellers) which is suffering most from climate change is the same group that votes for and keeps in power the political party that denies climate change and is most strident in preventing Australia adopting a more ambitious climate policy. Now they've got their hands out because climate change is real and is jeopardizing their livelihoods.

Even if man made climate change was all a hoax the main result would be cleaner air, cleaner water, healthier rivers and oceans and less polluted soil. It doesn't sound like too bad a downside to me. 

I agree Viking. When you see those massive drought parched fields stretching to the horizon and hardly a tree in sight or a natural wind break to reduce wind blown soil errosion; its hardly surprising that our farmers are in trouble. A few are learning to care for the soil and environment but still there is the general belief that its not climate change. Well if its the natural, predictable cycle as many seem to believe they should be able to anticipate and prepare for it. 

The farmers need to plant back some trees that they fell to extend their farming.

GeorgeM, read the following article if you dare, it makes a fool of you, - time to wake up. Paradise is finally dying ... and that's a very good thing Mark SumnerDaily Kos Staff

Throughout my youth, my mother got up at 5AM and drove off to work on a single huge project—the construction of TV’s Paradise Steam Plant. It was at the time the largest plant in Kentucky, and the largest coal-fired plant in the world. “Largest” was the word that described everything about the genuinely massive “Unit 3.” Largest boiler anywhere, the largest generators, largest cooling towers, and the largest capacity of over 1,100 megawatts. The plant was, and is, truly gigantic. To a slack-jawed kid visiting a construction site littered with bolts the size of cars and wire-coils the size of houses, everything there seemed to have been lifted from some updated version of Gulliver’s Travels.

Now it’s closing.

While coal plants have been going down at a rapid clip over the last few years, many of them have been the smaller, older, less efficient units. Now the economic factors that are driving coal out of the energy marketplace are coming for the giants. Paradise is just one of the large plants that are on the list to close over the next year, as the percentage of electricity made from coal—and the market for steam coal—continues to shrink.

Another of those going down in the next few months is the Navajo Generating Station at Page, Arizona. It’s closure will mean the end of one of the largest single sources of carbon in American history. It’s of the same generation of plants as Paradise, with the first unit coming on line in 1974. Over it’s 45 year span, it’s cranked out carbon dioxide at a rate of greater than 18 million metric tons a year—greater than the output of three million automobiles. It’s also been a large source of both the sulfur dioxide that fuels acid rain as well as a variety of nitrates. For visitors at the Grand Canyon who have found views of the natural wonder blocked by a low-lying brown haze, the Navajo Generating Station was the primary source.

Those visitors should expect the air to begin to clear before the end of the year, because Navajo Generating Station will soon be closed. With it will go Peabody’s Kayenta Coal Mine, which is connected to the power plant by an electric railway. The plant gets all of its coal from that source. The mine serves no other plant. The two will go down together. For several years, work will continue at both the mine and the plant to remediate environmental issues, salvage materials and equipment, and reclaim the huge scars in the earth. Then, after five decades, the place will go quiet.

The total amount of CO2 production at Paradise is only slightly smaller than that of Navajo. That’s what makes these closures, and others like Bruce Mansfield in Pennsylvania, so substantial. These aren’t part-time “peak usage” plants or small plants filling in a local gap in the supply. These are the big dogs, the mainline plants that are the backbone of electrical production. But they can no longer keep up. 

The cost of building a new coal plant, which demands enormous size to achieve high efficiency, is so daunting that there have been no new plants on the drafting tables for decades. Now the cost of simply maintaining the plants is driving power companies to either shut them down or convert them to natural gas.

In fact, in the last two years, the cost of maintaining a coal powered plant has tipped past the point where it exceeds the cost of completely replacing the power produced by that plant. That’s not just replacing it with natural gas, but with wind or solar. A company could start, right now, and build a Paradise or a Navajo worth of solar, for less than it costs to keep the existing plants operating.

That kind of economics is why the closure of Paradise is expected to save TVA over $320 million.

Trump can dig all the coal he wants. Pretty soon .., there will be nowhere to sell it. Steam coal is used for power generation. You can’t eat it. It’s not a building material. The destruction of the coal industry has nothing to do with over regulation taking jobs away from workers. It has everything to do with the market simply moving along.

I don't believe in wasting my time reading biased garbage, as there is lots of it out there written by interested parties. Individual cases also don't mean anything. Technology has moved on, and there are heaps of new clean coal power stations being built as we speak by smart people in China, India & Japan. As I said, we should also use Gas and Uranium, not just coal.

Australia MUST NOT get conned by shifty Green-inspired, UN-backed self-interested rascals out to destroy Australia's economy and it's people's living standards, and even the lives of those struggling to afford power or those businesses unnecessarily going out of business.


Lookfar, an interesting comment.  Remember though that there are over 1,000 new coal burning power stations either under construction or planned around the world.  The percentage of electricty being provided by coal power stations may be going down, but not the actuall Giga Watts of power being generated.

Gross power generation capacity is increasing from many different sources as new technologies are refined and brought on line.

To date, the only reliable consistent generation sources that can ensure 24 hour year on electricity are coal and nuclear.  Nuclear remains the cleanest and safest in overall terms and the Australian quality of life can only be ensured with the withdrawal of coal is if nuclear can be brought into production.

GeorgeM, the only reason you can say the truth is if you understand both sides of the problem, otherwise what you say will always be biased garbage, so when you are confronted with a true story such as I have put before you, and which totally contradicts what you say you are virtually admitting that you are the home of the biased garbage and can't live without biased garbage.

Just be honest with your self, - if the entire American electricity system is shrugging off coal fired power and America is the home of free enterprise, then that must mean that coal fired power is way too expensive.

Because much of Australia's electricity system is very similiar to the American one, if it is too expensive for America, it is too expensive for Australia also.

If you come out with demands that Australia must not this and must not that because of biased garbage in your own mind then you need to put your feet on the ground and take stock. We can't plan the future on rant and cant, we need to study the facts.

Lookfar, your bias is clearly showing when you use selective facts. Internet is also flooded with mountains of garbage and lies, with fraudsters (as Mary quote above) and misguided people making the situation akin to a war on sensible people. America has ramped up massively the Gas production out of the ground, and that is a key reason for their lower costs, however Australia which already had the largest (or 2nd largest) offshore gas reserves in the world chose to sell it off cheap to China & Japan who get it cheaper than we get it here - blame Howard in case you wish to remember. Also, let's look at Facts as you seem to want to:

The calculation of our (Australia's) effect on the CO2 levels is as follows:

CO2 in the atmosphere = 0.04%,

Human contribution to CO2 levels in the atmosphere = 3% of the above,

Australia's contribution to CO2 levels = 1.3% of the 3% above, i.e.

.04% x .03 x .013 = 0.0000156% of the CO2 in the atmosphere.

As a result, the Chief Scientist advised that there would be no effect to the climate even if Australia fully shut down!

It's very much a con industry pushed along by vested interests who have gains coming out of such climate-based industries, all of which are heavily subsided by taxpayer (our) money.

Note also, that compared to Australia's 1.3% contribution out of all countries as noted above, China contributes 30%, USA 15% and India 7% - all these major polluters have refused to be bound by any targets for emission reductions under the Paris accord at least until 2030. It would be sensible for Australia to get out of this stupid meaningless accord.

The whole scare campaign reminds one of The Emperor's New Clothes story - when he was actually naked! 

So, to conclude Australia can do bugger-all about the climate, and MUST immediately revert to looking after the real interests of it's own people as I mentioned earlier by using the massive resources we have been blessed with.

All these are FACTS, so any biased garbage must be in your mind.

Well George M as you are in such an assertive fact based mode lets look at a few other facts. According to the UN's July 2019 figures the respective populations of the world and the countries that you mention are as follows: the World 7,713,468,100 so Australia at 25,203,198 is 0.32674 per cent of the global population but you say that we contribute 1.3% of the global CO2 so on a per-capita basis we contribute almost four times the global average of CO2. The US at 329,064,917 is 4.26611% of the global population but contributes 15% of the CO2 so it makes a per-capita contribution 3.5 times the global average. China with a population of 1,433,783,686 represents 18.58805% of the world population but emits 30% of global CO2 so its per-capita contribution is 1.6 times the global average. However, considering they manufacture almost everything except food and cars that Australia and much of the world consumes that's quite impressive compared to us. India with a population of 1,366,417,754 represents 17.77147% of the world's population but according to you contributes only 7% of global CO2 so its per-capita contribution is only 0.39 times the global average. So per-capita none of these countries contributes as much CO2 as Australia and per-capita Australia is the biggest contributor of CO2 in the world. On this basis surely Australia has a responsibility to make a bigger contribution to change than any other country? You readily accuse others of bias but don't you exibit exactly this quality yourself?  

Mondo, if however you use the metric of CO2 production on area of the country. Australia drops back to a very low producer.

Also, you would be aware that all of the human generated CO2 in Australia can be absorbed by our existing naturally occurring vegetation.  Our high limestone content soils and limestone also can absorb a similar amount.  The phyto-plankton within our 200km EEZ surrounding the country can also absorb every molecule that we create.

To a very large extent, gases and other airborne emission entering the atmosphere at higher latitudes than 40% stay there for decades.  The spill across the Equater (both the Geograpical and the atmspheric one) is limited and can take many years.

Couldabeen, lots of ideas but no facts. It could equally be argued that other countries have similar geological and marine features. One fact is that the oceans are acidifying due to their CO2 absorption and the soil does not have an infinite capacity to absorb gases. Another is that the oceans are warming, negatively affecting our climate, facilitating more vegetation burn off contributing to CO2 and further reducing the ability to absorb it.

Anyone who denies that climate change is occuring must have their ears and eyes closed and their senses turned off. Virtually every news report includes an unprecedented extreme weather event. somewhere in the world and Australia is having it's fair share. It's likely that populated parts of  our country will be uninhabitable within ten years if current trends continue. Australia's problem is we don't have the skills to economically add value to almost any raw material we produce so we cling to the lifeline of digging crude carbon from the earth. We even need foreign capital, machinery and brains to do that.. we need to smarten up while we have time.


Anyone who denies that climate change is occuring must have their ears and eyes closed and their senses turned off. Virtually every news report includes an unprecedented extreme weather event. somewhere in the world and Australia is having it's fair share. "

It is good you read and listen to the media eggspurts

...if the story sells, media keep repeating and embellishing it.

10 years ago hardly any media allowed talk of Climate change/global Warming, but too much info got around, too many 'never happened here before ' stories, eventually the media caved in to 'natural' disasters with a surge, - only rarely acknowledging that maybe global warming was to blame, - even today that side played down, - after all the media are owned by the .01% and their pronouncements have to be carefully weighed, as they have the hidden agenda's of their owners who own the fossil fuel industry lock, stock and Barrel, so kudos to you Suze, to suggest caution about the media, - an approach I found interesting is the writer Caitlin Johnston, what do you think of her approach?

 Well Suze, fortunately I don't live in an alcohol induced delusional haze dreaming that the acrid smoke from the bush fires surrounding me emanate from a Liberal Party fund raising barbecue. Some of the media that you mention is of course the LNP fund raising Channel 9, Macquarie Radio and the Murdoch press.. None of these sources seem to sugar coat the extreme weather events so if you are suggesting that their disaster reports are dishonest why wouldn't that extend to their political coverage?

Like all Australians I live in an area affected by climate change; if you think you are not, the prices in the fresh food department of any supermarket will tell you otherwise. I travel the country and see the devastation. I see regular ads and receive calls on behalf of LNP voting climate change denying farmers asking us to contribute towards feed for their starving stock. I smell the smoke from a 300,000 acre fire burning out of control nearby and it's not even summer.
Fortunately I have worked, lived and travelled around the world including many of the countries that are affected by some of the worst weather events. I still travel there and I have friends and family who are directly affected so I share neither your belief in climate change denial nor your belief that these disaster reports are bogus.

Whatever is going on we need to get on with the solutions, stop tree clearing, stop coal fired energy, and plant more tree's and encourage more use of electric vehicles. We need clean air to breath for a start.

musicveg, without the coal fired energy, how do you propose finding the electricity that is need to recharge your electric vehicles?  It is alreay anticipated that we will have significant shortfalls in generation capacity to meet expected demands this coming summer.  And that is including the power coming from the miracle solar panels and wind farms.

In the Queensland agricultural enviroment, tree clearing leads to greater and more sustainable vegetation cover that better protects the soils than the natural shrubs and grasses.

The Australian air is already very clean compared to many other countries and sacrificing our quality of life to false targets helps no-one.  Other than in the CBDs of three of our capital cities and in a handfull of heavy industry areas, our air is clean and clearer by the day as industries are driven off shore.

The fact is there is enough solar energy and wind energy that can run electric cars and if the infastructure is fixed there would be no shortfall of energy in summer.


How on earth can tree clearing lead to more sustainable vegetation cover in QLD? It just adds to the drought problem, when the land is cleared it is exposed to the sun more and makes it drier.

And just because Australian air is cleaner than other countries does not mean we need to keep polluting, ask anyone who lives near coal fired power stations whether their air is clean.

Couldabeen, If Denmark, a country with one of the highest standards of living and levels of education can produce 40% of its engery from wind and the Netherlands can run its entire electric railway system on wind power I think the quetion of whether we can charge our electric cars without coal is the least of our worries. 

musicveg, none of your links disprove my statements.  No where in the Econonews is their any discussion about actual power supply.  At this stage we have been advised that we can expect significant shortfalls in available power during the coming summer.  And that is without the gigawatt demand every evening that recharging electric cars would place on the grid.  Remember that solar only provides appreciable power for 30% of each day.  Wind also only delivers 30% of plated output capacity over any extended period of time.  This means that there will be times where neither are delivering to the grid.

This is leaving out the fact that at this point there is no electric car fit for purpose in the full Australian environment.

Do you think that State Governments subsidising wind farms at $200,000 per turbine per year for the 20 year life of the farm is creating a level playing field in the energy provision industry?

The Australian open and closed forests have very poor low level ground cover and are subject to extreme erosion in heavy rainfall events.  Cleared forests are replanted with ground covers that provide very good soil protection and reduce the losses of topsoils.  As the article you linked to says, most rain events in inland Australia are just recycling the water that was sucked out of crops and forests upwind of the rain event.  You will be aware that the eastern slopes of our coastal ranges are much greener than the western sides as a result of orographic lifting of moist sea breezes squeezing the moisture out.

It has always been a theory that trees and forests create and maintain the rainfall that keeps them green.  As the article you linked to says that is not a universal story and can be driven by many other factors.

No-one pretends that the air downwind of most of our power staions is clean, however for many of our power stations in Queensland, they are relatively remote from urban areas and the particle emissions are well dissipated with no identified adverse health effects.  It remains though that the skies over Australia are consistently much clearer than over most other countries, especially those in the Northern Hemispshere.


Viking, can you give a validated link to show that the Dutch are running their entire electric railway system on wind power 24 hours a day for 365 days a year?  The beauty about all of the European power system is that they can always draw on the French nuclear power stations and the Polish coal.

Dutch electricity company Eneco won a tender offered by NS two years ago and the two companies signed a 10-year deal setting January 2018 as the date by which all NS trains should run on wind energy.

This is not surprising considering the history of the Netherlands and windmills. Until Australia thinks seriously in terms of renewable energy and that includes nuclear, it will be lagging behind.

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