Having outperformed the world in containing coronavirus, Australia’s lack of action on climate change will precipitate a much greater crisis.If the Morrison government were really answerable to the Australian people rather than vested interests, it already would have agreed to a more ambitious climate response. That’s what the overwhelming majority of people have long wanted.
Energy minister Angus Taylor will today unveil a rescue package for oil refineries, despite the UN calling for an end to fossil fuel support at a global climate summit. The support to start on January 1 will provide a minimum 1 cent payment for each litre of petrol, diesel and jet fuel produced by major oil refineries that continue operations in Australia. The first six months of the production payment is worth $83.5 million, with a long-term market mechanism for the payment to come into effect by July 1 next year. It comes on top of $200 million in grants to build an additional 780 million litres of onshore diesel storage. Taylor said the plan protected fuel security at a time when refineries were struggling with depressed demand in the economic downturn, and would create 1000 new jobs and protect workers in the fuel sector. At the global climate summit at the weekend, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the G20 “are spending 50 per cent more in their stimulus and rescue packages on sectors linked to fossil fuel production and consumption, than on low-carbon energy”. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged at the summit to end direct government support for overseas fossil fuel projects.
Residents who have endured flash floods in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales over the weekend have been warned the worst is yet to come, as “once-in-100-year” rains move down the Australian coastline. The conditions are expected to resemble those of a Category One cyclone. Emergency services have been inundated by hundreds of calls at the weekend, with NSW SES performing four flood rescues in the mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers regions. A severe weather warning is in place from K’gari (Fraser Island), where rains helped contain a significant bushfire, to the NSW border region for heavy rainfall and damaging winds. In the Gold Coast hinterland almost 500mm of rain has fallen in some areas, while waves almost five metres in height were spotted off Byron Bay, where there are mounting fears of beach erosion.
Crown Resorts faces a new shareholder class action centred around allegations that investors were misled by the dysfunctional governance issues connected to possible breaches of anti-money laundering laws. According to The Age, law firm Maurice Blackburn has lodged a claim in the Victorian Supreme Court accusing the casino giant of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct by telling investors it had “robust” or effective controls in place to ensure compliance with laws to prevent money laundering. The claim alleges the casino operator acted contrary to shareholder interests and will ask the court to consider ordering Crown to buy back shares from affected investors.
Rallies were staged across the United States at the weekend in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the election, with at least two devolving into violent clashes with counter-protesters that left several people in hospital and dozens arrested. There were scuffles at a protest in Washington DC, where at least four people were stabbed, and police declared a riot in Olympia, Washington, where one person was shot. The rallies were triggered by the refusal by the Supreme Court on Friday to hear a case filed by the attorney-general of Texas, in the latest incident of courts throwing out challenges to the election result.