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What we know today, Tuesday October 26

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Australia’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target will rely on existing technologies to meet 85 per cent of the goal with the remainder to be achieved through new breakthroughs, under plans unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.

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PM unveils Australia’s 2050 net-zero plan

Australia’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target will rely on existing technologies to meet 85 per cent of the goal with the remainder to be achieved through new breakthroughs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday confirmed he would take the commitment to the United Nations climate conference which starts on Sunday in Glasgow.

Australia’s carbon emissions have fallen 20 per cent since 2005.

The plan to achieve the remaining 80 per cent in the next three decades relies on the government’s technology investment roadmap reducing emissions by 40 per cent.

“Global technology trends” are expected to account for 15 per cent, while international and domestic offsets represent a 10 to 20 per cent reduction.

The remaining 15 per cent is expected to be achieved through “further technology breakthroughs”.

Morrison said there would be no legislation or mandates attached to the target.

“It will not increase energy bills. It is not a revolution but a careful evolution to take advantage of changes in our markets,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The Productivity Commission will every five years from 2023 monitor the socio-economic impact of climate action on regional communities.

The government has committed to spending $20 billion on low emissions technologies by 2030.

That is expected to trigger between $60 billion and $100 billion of public-private investments over the same period.

According to the plan, Australians will be almost $2000 between off on average in 2050, while 62,000 new regional mining and heavy industry jobs are mooted.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the commitment as heroic because of Australia’s heavy reliance on coal and other emissions-heavy industries.

But the COP26 summit his government is chairing is expected to focus on more ambitious 2030 targets from nations ramping up climate action.

Australia has ruled out boosting end-of-decade targets, instead relying on projections it will exceed a 26 to 28 per cent reduction by 2030.

The government’s latest data predicts emissions will be cut by 30 to 35 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

“We may even achieve better, but this is the approach we put to the Australian people,” Morrison said.

Qld records two new cases

Queensland has recorded two new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, while a truck driver has tested positive interstate after being infectious in the Sunshine State.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the two new cases emerged after 8779 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Tuesday.

One is an unvaccinated 17-year-old boy who tested positive after presenting at an emergency department on the Gold Coast.

He is a household contact of a woman who recently travelled to Queensland from NSW with police investigating how she entered the state.

The second case is a woman in her 30s who tested positive in home quarantine after travelling from Melbourne.

The premier says a Gympie truck driver has also tested positive in NSW after visiting Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast.

“Today’s cases show Queensland is not immune to the pandemic,” Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Tuesday.

“We have contained dozens of outbreaks but, as NSW, Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand have discovered … it only takes one case to cause a massive outbreak. Our only protection is to get vaccinated.”

The three cases are the first new local infections reported since Thursday when a Gold Coast man tested positive.

Queensland Health has listed Fresh Fields FoodWorks Thabeban in Bundaberg and the male toilets at Caboolture South Travel Centre as exposure sites for Saturday evening.

Vic posts 1510 new cases, four deaths

Victoria has recorded 1510 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths.

The health department confirmed on Tuesday the state is managing 24,715 active cases.

There are 817 people in hospital, 15 more than Monday, with the seven-day average at 789. Of those, 147 are in intensive care and 88 on a ventilator.

The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 234.

There were 55,679 tests processed and 28,232 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Monday.

About 75 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated.

SA awaits roadmap announcement as vaccination milestone nears

Pressure is mounting on the State Government to reveal details of its “COVID-Ready” roadmap following today’s transition committee meeting as South Australia approaches 80 per cent first-dose vaccination.

South Australia’s plan is expected to outline when the state will reopen its borders to the COVID-hit eastern states and which restrictions will be lifted once 80 per cent of the state is fully vaccinated – likely in early December.

A vaccination blitz over the weekend, which included free sausage sizzles across multiple sites, aimed to lift the portion of single-dose vaccinated people past 80 per cent.

But figures released yesterday afternoon showed that 79.3 per cent of people aged 16 and over were partially vaccinated as of Sunday night and 62.55 per cent fully vaccinated.

The first dose percentage is expected to tick past 80 per cent today.

The Australian Medical Association is ramping up pressure on the State Government to release the COVID-Ready plan, arguing doctors need more guidance on when to expect the predicted surge in COVID infections.

However, the AMA does not want to see South Australia reopen until 80 per cent of its adult population is fully vaccinated “plus two weeks”.

The state’s top bureaucrat and head of the transition committee Nick Reade said yesterday that authorities “haven’t set a timetable” for when they plan to unveil South Australia’s plan, but a release date was “close”.

That was despite state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens telling reporters last Tuesday that the plan would be unveiled within “days” following similar moves by other jurisdictions.

Health Minister Stephen Wade told reporters yesterday afternoon that the Government would “give more clarity in the coming days”.

He said it was his understanding that the Government had “every intention of releasing the modelling”.

“When it’s done, it will be released,” Wade said.

The transition committee last met on Friday, agreeing to ease the need for masks in South Australian high schools and lifting of the state’s hard border with Broken Hill. The town of Silverton, near Broken Hill, was also included in the NSW cross border corridor late yesterday afternoon.

Driver killed in Seaton crash

A man has died after his ute crashed into a Stobie pole and brought down power lines in Seaton last night.

Police and emergency services responded to a crash at the intersection of Tapleys Hill Road and Trimmer Parade, Seaton just before 7pm.

The driver, a 31-year-old West Lakes man, died at the scene.

Anyone who has dashcam footage or who witnessed the crash has been asked to contact police.

The state road toll is now 81, compared with 71 at the same time last year.

Govt spends big on climate market research but won’t release emissions modelling

Picture: Ajit Solanki/AP

The Morrison government has spent nearly $13 million promoting its climate credentials while refusing to release modelling underpinning its emissions reduction strategy, citing cabinet secrecy.

The $12.9 million spend includes more than $488,000 looking at public attitudes towards climate change and market testing on the coalition’s “positive energy campaign” launched in September.

Labor wants government officials to hand over findings of market research into the campaign.

“It’s subject to cabinet consideration so I need to check on that,” the head of the industry department’s climate change division, Helen Bennett, told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday.

The campaign, including TV and radio ads, was developed because “the public wanted to hear more about what the government is doing to reduce emissions”.

Meanwhile, the government has refused to release modelling underpinning its emissions reduction strategy on the grounds of cabinet confidentiality.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor made a public interest immunity claim on the modelling because it informed or was the subject of cabinet deliberations.

Appearing on the minister’s behalf, senator Zed Seselja told the hearing the plan was based on existing policies and would be detailed ahead of the COP26 global climate summit beginning on Sunday.

Federal cabinet has signed off on “safeguard” reviews of the economic impact of the government’s 2050 net-zero emissions target on rural and regional communities ahead of the summit.

The reviews form part of a deal between the Liberals and the Nationals to secure the junior coalition partner’s support for the emissions reduction target.

The remainder of what the Nationals will get in terms of protection for regional jobs and industry is expected to be spelled out by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.

Military seizes power in Sudan coup

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials in Khartoum, Sudan.
(AP Photo/Ashraf Idris)

Sudan’s military has seized power, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials.

Thousands of people flooded into the streets of Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman on Monday, to protest the coup that threatens the country’s shaky progress toward democracy.

The takeover comes more than two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the leadership of the council that runs the country over to civilians.

At least two dozen people were wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces on Monday according to hospital documents obtained by The Associated Press.

In the afternoon, the head of the military, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, announced on national TV that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created soon after al-Bashir’s ouster to run the country.

Tensions have been rising for weeks over the course and the pace of the transition to democracy in Sudan, a nation in Africa linked by language and culture to the Arab world.

The general declared a state of emergency and said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023. But he made clear the military will remain in charge.

The Information Ministry, still loyal to the dissolved government, called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup.”

Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, said Washington was “deeply alarmed” by Monday’s developments, while EU foreign affairs chief Joseph Borrell tweeted that he was following them with the “utmost concern.”

The UN political mission to Sudan called the detentions of government officials “unacceptable,” and the African Union called for their release.

UN warns greenhouse gas levels are ‘way off track’

Greenhouse gas concentrations hit a record in 2020 and the world is “way off track” on capping rising temperatures, the United Nations says, showing the task facing climate talks in Glasgow that are aimed at averting dangerous levels of warming.

A report by the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) showed carbon dioxide levels surged to 413.2 parts per million in 2020, rising more than the average rate over the last decade despite a temporary dip in emissions during COVID-19 lockdowns.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would result in temperature rises “far in excess” of the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average this century.

“We are way off track,” he said. “We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life,” he added, calling for a “dramatic increase” in commitments at the COP26 conference beginning on Sunday.

The Scottish city of Glasgow was putting on the final touches before hosting the climate talks, which may be the world’s last best chance to cap global warming at the 1.5-2 degrees Celsius upper limit set out in the Paris Agreement.

“It is going to be very, very tough this summit,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a news conference with children.

“I am very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need and it is touch and go, it is very, very difficult, but I think it can be done,” he said.

Listeria detection sparks ham recall

Listeria has been detected in two pre-packaged Barossa Fine Foods ham products, sparking a health warning from the South Australian Government.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing received confirmation yesterday of Listeria present in Barossa Fine Foods pre-packaged 100g Double Smoked Ham.

Barossa Fine Foods initiated a recall of the product from the supply chain yesterday and is also recalling No Added Nitrite Ham 100g, as a presumptive result for this product has also been received.

“We have not received notification of anyone contracting Listeria from any of these products, however the infection can be extremely serious for some vulnerable people in our community,” food and controlled drugs branch acting director Joanne Cammans said.

“While many people who are exposed to Listeria often only experience mild illness it can be more serious in at-risk groups, so all South Australians should avoid eating these products.”

The recall follows the recall of four Barossa Fine Foods pates earlier this month.

“Foods such as ready to eat meats are considered high risk for the possible presence of Listeria even with manufacturing controls in place, which is why we advise that pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, not consume these types of products,” Cammans said.

As a precaution, anyone who has purchased these products from Foodland’s, IGAs, and independent grocery stores is advised to not eat it, and either return it to the place of purchase or discard it.

According to SA Health, listeria infection starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea.

People can start experiencing symptoms within a few days, but symptoms can take up to six weeks to appear after eating contaminated product.

Record T20 win as Afghanistan smash Scotland

Adelaide Strikers star Rashid Khan celebrates a wicket in Afghanistan’s huge win over Scotland in the T20 World Cup. Picture: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Afghanistan’s batters smashed 13 sixes in racking up 190 then their spinners bowled Scotland out for 60 to complete huge Twenty20 World Cup win.

Afghanistan appeared unperturbed by their uncertain future in international cricket as Mohammad Nabi’s men dished out a 130-run drubbing to Scotland in Group II at the Twenty20 World Cup on Monday.

The governing International Cricket Council will meet next month to determine the game’s future in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.

Cricket Australia has already threatened to scrap next month’s one-off test against Afghanistan if the government in Kabul does not allow women to play the sport.

None of that controversy seemed to affect Afghanistan as their muscular top order fired them to an imposing 4-190 in their opening Super 12 stage match.

Spin duo Mujeeb Ur Rahman (5-20) and Rashid Khan (4-9) then combined to demolish Scotland for 60 in 10.2 overs to maintain Afghanistan’s 100% victory record against them in this format.

Five batters were out for ducks, three of them first ball, and only George Munsey (25 off 18 balls) scored more than 12.

In contrast, Afghanistan’s batsmen smashed a combined 11 sixes, several landing on the roof of the stadium, much to the delight of the smattering of Afghan fans in the stands.

Back home, Taliban officials took to social media to congratulate the Afghan national cricket team for winning the match, but there was a muted response on the streets of Kabul where such wins were celebrated enthusiastically in the past.

 – with AAP and Reuters

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