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.
A new assessment of the Murray-Darling Basin plan finds it requires major reform in 2026 to cope with increased dry periods due to climate change. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s self-assessment finds dry spells will likely occur on average every five years instead of every 10. The body is not proposing to alter the plan before its final review date in 2024, finding that water allocated for the environment cushioned the impact of the most recent drought. The current plan is based on historical rainfall, not the changed rainfall patterns of recent years. The report notes that 12 engineering projects to use water more efficiently are at serious risk of not meeting a 2024 deadline. It also highlights the need to ensure First Nations knowledge is used. To date, the plan has recovered 20 per cent of the water used by farmers before 2012.
Labor is poised to reinstate a medium-term emissions-reduction target in a draft policy to put the nation on track for carbon neutrality by 2050, following a vigorous climate change debate within the party. The medium-term target for 2030 or 2035 will return to the draft through an amendment led by energy and climate change spokesman Mark Butler, reports The Australian. The draft policy platform will be discussed at Labor’s national conference which will be held over two days from March 30. The preliminary draft platform made no mention of medium-term targets, with former frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon leading resistance to it before he stood down. It comes as a new report by Frontier Economics finds climate action by state governments will put Australia on track for a deeper cut in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade than that proposed by the Morrison government.
Asylum seekers detained for 16 months at a hotel in Melbourne will be moved to another location by Australian Border Force, deflating hopes they would be released into the community. About 60 men have been detained at the Mantra Bell City hotel since they were evacuated from offshore detention on Manus Island to receive medical treatment under the now-repealed medical evacuation legislation. The contract with the hotel expires on December 31. It’s not known when the men will be moved or to where.
Google has suffered a global outage overnight, with failures reported across non-search services. The outage exposed the dependence on the Google platform, with businesses unable to perform basic functions and schools forced to close. People who had integrated Google voice command technology at home were unable to turn on the lights or heat their houses. The outage, which lasted less than an hour, was caused by a failure in the company’s authentication tools, a Google spokesperson said. This impacted how users log in to services run by both Google and third parties that rely on Google to verify users.