Heat and drought
The Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday confirmed that 2018 was the third warmest year on record, with the lowest rainfall since 2005, and said nine of Australia’s hottest years have occurred since 2005.
At the same time federal water minister David Littleproud and his NSW counterpart Niall Blair blamed the deaths of a million fish in the Menindee Weir Pool region of the Darling River near Broken Hill on drought. Local farmers accused the government of making the problem much worse in a viral video by redirecting environmental flows to cotton growers over many years.
On Wednesday Mr Yates wrote in Guardian Australia that the Liberal Party could blow itself up if it preselected Peta Credlin – who was chief of staff to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott – for Mallee, the rural Victorian seat of Nationals’ MP Andrew Broad, who quit the front bench after being outed for using a “sugar baby” website to arrange a date in Hong Kong.
Mr Abbott and Ms Credlin led the charge against climate policy in opposition and in government, arguing that renewable energy was costly and caused for the South Australian blackout during a storm in 2016, and that Australia was such a small contributor to global climate change that our efforts to combat it would make no difference. Another Liberal dissident said Mr Yates’ comments were “extreme”.
Anti-climate change ‘manipulation’
Mr Yates told AFR Weekend that the government and News Corporation media had been so successful in spreading anti-climate change messages that he encountered members of the public repeating the same arguments, including bankers he presented to recently.
“They are intelligent people,” he said, comparing it to the tobacco industry. “It’ll have to go down in history as one of the best examples of manipulation of a population we have ever seen.”
“I think it has got to the stage where there is a responsibility for people to take very firm action in relation to this mob,” Mr Yates said. But he declined to say if he was considering running as an independent or promoting candidates against the Liberal Party.
Data compiled by Dyan McConnell of the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College showed that the combined share of renewable energy surged to 21 per cent of National Electricity Market generation in the December quarter, from 16.1 per cent a year earlier.
The trend is set to continue. Solar installations of all sizes nearly tripled in 2018 to 3775 megawatts, led by a massive surge in large soar farms, according to Green Energy Markets. And CSIRO reported in December that wind and solar are already the cheapest forms of new power, even when “firmed” with two hours of battery storage or six hours of pumped hydro storage.