Dear leaders: You’ve failed your children on climate change #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Jamie Margolin is an environmental activist and the founder of youth-led movement Zero Hour. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely hers.”

You failed us.

It’s your responsibility to protect the youth.

But when faced with the choice of fossil fuel money for your campaigns, or the wellbeing of your children, you pick fossil fuels.

Today is Earth Day.

Please save your phony Earth Day tweets and Facebook posts, I don’t want to see them. Put those in a bag along with your toothless “thoughts and prayers” tweets for hurricane victims and dump them in the ocean just like you permit corporations to dump their waste.

Because my generation is so done with your talk.

I’m a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. I have my whole life ahead of me, and there’s so much I want to do.

Read: Who is taking the lead on climate change?

I want to travel the world and see all its natural wonders. I want to run for office so I can be the leader I always wished I had.

But I have to come to terms with the fact that all of the above very well may not happen: because I’m growing up in the early 21st century, a time when the world and all its life systems are falling apart. Climate change has loomed over my every life decision, every time I try to plan for the future.

When I think of the future, I can’t assume stability or safety. When I think of adulthood, I see my home being flooded, I see deathly heat waves, droughts, famine and intense, deadly storms.

I see insects, allergens, and diseases spreading to places where they shouldn’t naturally be. I see countless people dying from toxic drinking water, food full of chemicals, and air thick with pollutants. I see millions upon millions of refugees fleeing homes in regions that have become uninhabitable. I see wars and conflict over dwindling resources.

A life full of ‘ifs’

There’s never been a time in my life when the scientific consensus was not that humans were changing the earth’s climate.

My life, and that of my entire generation, is full of “ifs.”

I want to see all the world’s natural wonders — if those natural wonders will still be around when I’m an adult.

I want to serve in political office — if our democracy will still be intact. Because when climate-caused natural disasters, drought, food shortages, and epidemics ravage our country, authoritarians could take advantage of the crisis situation and strip away our rights.

You are leaving my generation with a world that is unlivable.

Read: Children to sue European countries over climate change

Every time you take a donation of fossil fuel money, undo environmental regulations, side with polluters, or approve new fossil fuel infrastructure, you are ensuring that your children’s lives are full of “ifs.”

You have the power to save your kids.

You have the power to tackle the defining issue of our time head on. But you’ve chosen not to.

The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging, and you can’t even manage to do that.

You’re still in the pockets of corporations digging our destruction.

Leaders: I want you to know that Generation Z has had it.

Read: Microplastic pollution is all around us

Late last summer, after the string of climate-worsened natural disasters, I founded a youth climate action movement, Zero Hour.

We’re called Zero Hour to remind people that now is the time to act on climate change. We are youth from all over the country, who like the stereotypical Gen-Z’s that we are, work over the internet.

Youth climate action

We are organizing the Youth Climate Weekend in Washington DC this July that you won’t be able to ignore.

On July 19, for the Youth Climate Lobby Day we are going to your offices on Capitol Hill to remind you who you are working for.

On July 20, through art builds and artful activism, youth will remind you of the beauty of the planet you should be fighting to protect.

On July 21, for the Youth Climate March we will be flooding the streets because #ThisIsZeroHour and if you won’t pay attention to Mother Nature’s cries for help, maybe you’ll pay attention to the cries of your children.

And if you don’t listen to us this summer, we will keep escalating action.

Prepare to see us in your offices more and more often. Prepare to be voted out.

Leaders, I want you to know that the youth are watching.

See you this July.

Sincerely,

A teenage girl who has had enough and is not alone

Press link for more: Edition.CNN.com

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From Clayoquot Sound to Trans Mountain & From Cairns to Broome power of protest endures #StopAdani #auspol

From Clayoquot Sound to Trans Mountain, the power of protest endures

Twenty-five years ago, First Nations and environmentalists united in civil disobedience against clear-cut logging in Vancouver Island forests.

Now, a planned oil pipeline is rekindling idealism for an even more important cause — not just protecting our land, but healing our society

Top Opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has prompted protests in B.C. and around Canada and the world. Here, demonstrators march near the Kinder Morgan facility in Burnaby on March 10.

Rogue Collective / Greenpeace

Bottom opposition to Adani Coal prompted protests from Cairns and all around Australia

Tzeporah Berman is a professor, mother, writer and environmentalist who was the blockade co-ordinator in B.C.’s Clayoquot Sound, where she was arrested and charged with 857 counts of criminal aiding and abetting.

She is currently a director of Stand.earth.

In recent weeks, hundreds of Canadians have been arrested for peaceful protest at the gates of the Kinder Morgan oil facility in Burnaby, B.C.

They run the gamut from Indigenous leaders to grandmothers, engineers to economists, scientists to school teachers even politicians have been blockading the gates to the Kinder Morgan terminal.

It is a story that has dominated headlines across the country and plunged the country into a war between provinces and governments, with some observers predicting this crisis could turn into another Oka.

Indigenous people all over the world are standing up for the environment.

You’ve got to ask yourself: What is happening for Canadians (And Australians) to take the law into their own hands?

After all, it’s not the kind of behaviour we are known for.

There’s an old joke: How do you get 20 Canadians out of a swimming pool?

You say, “Hey, you Canadians, please get out of the pool!” On the whole, we’re a pretty compliant bunch.

In their founding document, our American neighbours got life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Instead, we got peace, order and good government. But don’t mistake that compliance for indifference.

Canadians (And Australians) are lauded as good global citizens, not because we blindly embrace the status quo and keep a low profile, but because we confront injustice, stand up for equality and rights and punch above our weight when it comes to global-scale challenges.

But, sometimes, injustice and inequality needs to be confronted here at home.

The climate crisis and the systematic abdication of our responsibilities to First Nations are two of the greatest challenges facing Canada (And Australia) today, and they are intertwined with the high-stakes fight over the Kinder Morgan pipeline. (In Australia it’s the Adani Coal mine).

The fact is, this is not simply a disagreement over a new pipeline project. (Or a new coal mine)

With 19 municipalities and the majority of the First Nations in fierce opposition (of the 150 impacted First Nations who were approached, only 43 agreed to support the project, leaving 107 First Nations opposed), something much more profound is at play: Our political and economic systems and institutions have swung out of balance and need reform.

We need to face the challenge of climate change. And governments must recognize that Indigenous consent isn’t optional. It’s vital.

Above :Protesters against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hold a banner in Burnaby, B.C., as a transport truck sits idle behind them while others block a gate March 19, 2018. Below: Members of the environmental group Greenpeace set up a roadblock near Clayoquot Sound in 1993.

The Canadian Press

I first experienced the power of protest in Clayoquot Sound. This year is the 25th anniversary of the height of the logging protests, where more than 1,000 people were arrested. I met thousands of fascinating people (including my future husband) as we camped in a clear-cut area called the Black Hole, and woke every morning at 4 a.m. to block the logging road at Kennedy River Bridge. We loved the immense, moss-covered, 1000-year-old cedars. And we knew we had to take a stand against the entrenched logging system before it was too late for all the old-growth rain forests of the West Coast.

Indigenous protesters in Australia protest to Stop Adani Coal.

Civil disobedience is a last resort to show the injustice of outdated or unjust laws, when groups of people are jailed over a matter of conscience. We camped, we sang (I’m hearing some of those songs again, at the Kinder Morgan gates), we banded together and met by the fire each night and we hashed out statements of non-violence to match our idealism and our belief in “people justice.” B.C.’s prisons were suddenly full of inmates needing vegetarian meals and starting recycling programs.

Clayoquot happened because B.C.’s political system and institutions were failing to process change. Since the early days, the B.C. government had been like an arm of the logging industry with parties of the left and right alike doing its bidding. First Nations and their legal rights over their traditional territory were barely an afterthought. When challenged, government and industry told us “clear-cutting was good for the forest.” Really? Looking back, it seems outlandish to believe this was the government line. The rhetoric itself indicated how deeply the system was broken.

The dispute almost brought down the B.C. government.

It unleashed reforms to forest practices all over the province and, indeed, around the world. Major customers joined the call for more protection, a change in forest practices, certified forest products and an end to clear-cutting. First Nations ended up playing a powerful leadership role in resolving the situation, not just in Clayoquot but in all of B.C.’s coastal rainforests. New systems and institutions, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the BC Forest Practices Code and Iisaak Forest Resources were created to reflect changes in underlying values. By the end of the protests, 86 per cent of Canadians were calling for the protection of Clayoquot Sound. Today, over a million tourists a year visit Clayoquot to experience the kind of nature our government and the forest industry were once set up to destroy. At the time, one premier called us enemies of the state for organizing campaigns to protect Clayoquot Sound and the Great Bear Rainforest. Ten years later, another premier called us heroes for the same work.

Left: RCMP officers lead a woman away from a protest on logging roads at Clayoquot Sound on Aug. 9, 1993. Right: Dan Wallace of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation is led away by RCMP officers at an anti-Kinder Morgan protest in Burnaby on March 19, 2018.

The Canadian Press

Fast forward to this Earth Day weekend.

With the mass arrests (more than 200 people have been arrested in the past month) over the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline, there are similarities with Clayoquot, but also differences. Indigenous leadership is a powerful force, and although the government hasn’t yet woken up to this change, people on the ground clearly have. Those who block the gates of Kinder Morgan, facing down trucks, will cite the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as often as they mention the Paris climate agreement. Everyone knows and acknowledges that they are on the unceded Coast Salish land of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish peoples.

There is a sense of pride as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together. But make no mistake: The Kinder Morgan protests are being led by First Nations, and they have much stronger legal and moral standing than they did 25 years ago. Any resolution must recognize their rights and their leadership. Reconciliation means seeking consent, and not just the window dressing of consultation.

Clayoquot was big, but the stakes with this new oil sands pipeline are far bigger. While I joined Clayoquot as a 23-year-old idealist, and fell in love with my husband at the fireside and on the blockade, now I join this new fight as a mom, keenly aware of my responsibility as a parent to protect the future for my sons. I’m fiercer now and so are the people I am standing beside, horrified by the rise in extreme weather, the forest fires that have devastated our province and the floods and droughts setting records around the world. And we will fight against climate change with every breath in our bodies. For the sake of our children, we will give it everything we have.

The Adani Coal Mine is threatening Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

This time, the imbalance the protest is addressing is due to oil. (coal)

Decades ago, with the boon of oil sands development, we designed our economy and institutions around further oil expansion.

No one ever considered how big it should get.

No one spoke of the many risks, whether from oil spills, toxic tailings ponds, air pollution or habitat destruction.

But now we do so with regularity.

We have no choice.

Climate scientists were some of the first people to raise concerns.

The science is conclusive we must begin to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, or else create dangerous disruptions to everything we value. That doesn’t mean we turn the taps off overnight. It doesn’t mean we have to stop using or producing oil today. It means we need to start to plan so that we can begin the transition that our governments agreed to when former prime minister Stephen Harper signed agreements at the Group of Seven to “decarbonize” this century and when Prime Minister Trudeau signed the Paris accord. We simply cannot move away from fossil fuels while building more fossil-fuel infrastructure and approving more fossil-fuel projects.

Having a conversation about a transition away from oil, or a reduction in oil production, is a conversation that is very difficult for Canada. We produce a lot of it and we fall back on an old deep-rooted identity as hewers of wood and drawers of oil.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline debate is more than one energy project with various sides; it represents a reckoning for our country. Can we have the difficult conversation, finally?

Can we start talking meaningfully about how Canada must plan for a just transition for workers and their families? Can we start talking meaningfully about how Canada must begin to phase out new oil and gas production, as we’re doing with coal?

The Trans Mountain pipeline is chipping away at the walls of denial.

That’s why it’s so intense.

That’s why it’s so messy.

It’s true that both the Trudeau and Notley governments have introduced stronger climate plans than we have ever seen in this country. But they’ve fallen very short of the change needed by refusing to address the expansion of the oil and gas industry. Canada does not yet have a credible plan to meet our climate targets, and the bizarre rhetoric that we need a new oil pipeline to save the climate only reinforces the depth of institutional denial over the truth of climate change. It’s “clear-cutting helps forests,” 2018 style.

Vancouver and Burnaby are being asked to accept a sevenfold increase in risky tanker traffic and a dramatic expansion of tank farms next to schools and houses, when the conversation should be about an oil industry that already produces four million barrels a day, and how that’s already big enough. The conversation should be about how we diversify our economy, how we lift up other industries, how we ensure our economic health in the climate era and support leaders in clean energy, clean tech and build the electrification systems and digital infrastructure of tomorrow.

Instead, the conversation doesn’t touch these vital issues, and when political denial is so potent, when one highly profitable industry has so much political sway and power, despite the fallout for millions, these are the conditions under which people will protest and put themselves on the line.

We Canadians do like to get along with our neighbours, but at the same time we’re not afraid to stand up when we know something is wrong and we’re not easily fooled. Clayoquot exposed a rupture in our system, and many brave people sacrificed their freedom to help fix it. The mass arrests over Kinder Morgan likewise show that once again we face a serious imbalance the focus on oil over all other interests.

There are moments in history when our governments fail us when they are too influenced by the next election cycle or those that stand to benefit from the status quo. These are the moments when we are called to stand up. The power of the people to speak out, to demand better it is the most powerful tool we have, and we will continue to use it.

Left: A Greenpeace member, protesting against deforesting Clayoquot Sound, is carried away from the entrance of the Canadian embassy in Vienna. Right: On April 18, 2018, demonstrators erect a mock oil pipleine reading “Crudeau Oil” outside the Canadian High Commission in London.

Reuters and The Canadian Press

Press link for more: The Globe and Mail

HSBC pulls the plug on coal. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Renewables

Europe’s largest bank HSBC won’t fund new coal power plants, oil sands and arctic drilling, except in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. (Image courtesy of Håkan Dahlström via Flickr.)

HSBC has joined an increasing list of large banks by announcing Friday it would not longer finance coal-fired plants, oil sands and arctic drilling.

The move, announced by Europe’s largest bank at its annual meeting as part of its new energy policy, seeks to head off criticism from investors who want the institution’s actions to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, a global pact to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb rising temperatures.

Daniel Klier, HSBC’s sustainability boss, said the decision reflected the bank’s ambition to help its customers make the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Europe’s largest bank, however, will continue to finance coal-fired power plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam.

“We recognize the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate,” he said in a statement.

Other large banks, such as Deutsche Bank, ING, BNP Paribas and BBVA, have all set out similar commitments in the past year.

HSBC, however, will continue to finance coal-fired power plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam in order to “appropriately balance local humanitarian needs with the need to transition to a low carbon economy,” the statement reads.

“The bank will consider supporting new coal-fired projects in these countries on a case-by-case basis – and only where a carbon-intensity target is met and independent analysis finds that no reasonable alternative is available to meet the country’s energy needs,” it said.

The exception to the newly created rule triggered immediate criticism from environmentalists, such as Paddy McCully, Director of the Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Program (RAN).

“HSBC’s new policy is a mixed bag. That Europe’s number one banker of tar sands is distancing itself from the sector is encouraging. HSBC’s prohibition on direct finance for tar sands mines and pipelines is the latest signal that the financial sector is gradually losing its appetite for those risky projects,” he said in an emailed statement. “But [the bank’s] coal power policy has a glaring, 80 gigawatt-sized loophole, and on both coal and tar sands HSBC still lags far behind its leading global peers.”

McCully believes that HSBC’s coal power policy leaves the door open for the bank to support two of what he calls “the world’s most controversial” proposed coal plants — Rampal and Payra, in Bangladesh. He said those threaten the Sundarbans forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Coal still provides about 40% of the world’s electricity, and many countries aren’t willing to commit to a total phase-out just yet, particularly developing countries in Asia, including India, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

What’s more, according to data released in March by the International Energy Agency, global coal consumption increased in 2017, after two straight years of decline.

Press link for more: Mining.com

Carbon capture offers a false hope that we can sustain our use of coal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange ignored #springst #StopAdani

Carbon capture offers a false hope that we can sustain our use of coal.

By Cam Walker

21 April 2018 — 11:00pm

Last week, the Andrews government announced it was launching a “world-first” project to produce hydrogen in the Latrobe Valley.

The project is being developed by a consortium of Japanese energy and infrastructure companies led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with the support of the Victorian, Commonwealth and Japanese governments. It aims to convert brown coal into hydrogen, which will then be transported to Japan for use in fuel cell electric vehicles and power generation.

The Loy Yang brown coal mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

On face value this attempt to turn our remaining coal resource into new export opportunities might seem like a good idea. But once you drill into the issue it becomes complex very quickly.

Firstly, there is the awkward fact that this project won’t be able to be commercialised unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) becomes viable at a commercial scale.

Despite absorbing more than $1.3 billion of taxpayer funds since 2007, no one can say with certainty when, or if, this technology might be ready. So we’re potentially funding dead-end research.

Despite the fact that industry reps keep promising it’s “almost ready”, after spending $1.3 billion of our money on this technology, with very little to show, when do we say enough is enough?

Then there is the deeper problem of our reliance on coal. Climate science makes it abundantly clear that the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous or catastrophic climate change. This means that places that are currently heavily reliant on fossil fuels, like Victoria, need to transition as fast as possible away from fossil fuels and into a combination of energy efficiency, renewables and storage. It is a dangerous gamble to hope that CCS might be the get-out-of-jail-free card that allows us to keep using large volumes of coal.

Hazelwood Power Station

As the closure of Hazelwood power station showed, change is coming in the coal sector and if we don’t plan for it, the human costs of closure will be far greater. The decision to shut the plant was primarily an economic one. After the fact, the state government supported efforts to diversify the local economy, and established the Latrobe Valley Authority and the Regional Jobs and Investment Package. We need to plan for future closures now if we want to reduce the human costs of this transition.

Scotland, a jurisdiction with a similar sized population to Victoria, understands the need to intervene. In 2017, the Scottish government established a Just Transition Commission and announced the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank, designed as a crucial tool for driving the transition from fossil fuels by investing in renewables. Green group Friends of the Earth have joined in a formal partnership with the Scottish Trade Union Congress to help develop alternative employment options, and there is a clear political understanding that a just transition will not happen without government intervention and the development of robust public policy. The closure of Hazelwood shows what happens when we leave these decisions to the whims of the market.

In the face of sustained failure by the federal government the Andrews government has shown considerable leadership. Central to their response on energy, they implemented the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, which has already kickstarted the mass scale development of renewables in our state.

But they know they need to do more – and this includes the inevitable transition to 100 per cent renewables if we are to meet the commitment for the state to be carbon neutral by mid-century and do our bit to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to between a 1.5 °C and 2 °C temperature increase.

Their recent decision to not announce emission reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 before the state election was a disappointing failure of courage. To respond to climate change at a meaningful scale does mean we need to start the staged closure of our ageing coal-fired power stations. And that’s where the pipe dream of CCS becomes dangerous: it gives the sense that we can keep using coal in the hope that it will become “climate friendly” at some point through new technology.

Promoting CCS and new uses of coal may play well in the political space, especially with an election on the horizon. But if we are to take our climate responsibilities seriously, the time has come for the state government to accept that this technology is going nowhere and rule out further funding of CCS and new coal projects beyond this current allocation.

Cam Walker is campaigns co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth.

Press link for more: The Age

German village generates 500% more energy than it needs. #auspol #qldpol #climatechange #NEG

This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs

Charley Cameron

Wildpoldsried, a Bavarian village of about 2,600 residents, is leading the way in Germany’s extraordinary renewable energy transformation.

Over the past 18 years, the village has invested in a holistic range of renewable energy projects that include 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics, five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system.

As a result, the village has gone beyond energy independence – and it now produces 500% more energy than it needs and profits from sales of the surplus power back to the grid.

Renewable energy projects in Germany have gained enormous traction in recent years, propelled by government subsidies that are designed to lower costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and move the nation entirely away from nuclear power; this transformation is known as the Energiewende.

As a result, Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable sources—that’s twice as much as U.S. households receive.

On a local level, Wildpoldsried has far exceeded the successes seen across Germany. The villages’s commitment to renewable energy began in 1999, when the city council crafted a document titled “Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend” (WIR-2020, or Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership).

The document looked at how the town might encourage growth and invest in new community facilities without incurring debt. As Biocycle explains, the WIR-2020 contained three main areas of focus:

1) Renewable Energy and Saving Energy;

2) Ecological Construction of Buildings Using Ecological Building Materials (mainly wood-based); and

3) Protection of Water and Water Resources (both above and below ground) and Ecological Disposal of Wastewater.”

Through these three areas of focus, Wildpoldsried sought to produce 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. But in a relatively small, engaged community where, as one resident explained, there is a notion of “thriftiness… I don’t need to buy what I can make,” the projects advanced much faster than anyone might have expected.

By 2011, the village was producing 321 percent of the electricity it needed, and was receiving $5.7 million in payments for the surplus.

The entire list of Wildpoldsreid’s projects is pretty remarkable: in addition to the five biogas plants, 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics, 11 wind turbines and the hydropower system, the town is also home to several municipal and residential biomass heating systems and 2,100 m² of solar thermal systems.

Five private residences are heated by geothermal systems and passivhaus techniques have been used in some new construction.

One is also likely to see a fair number of electric cars dotting about.

With such a diversity of renewable energy sources, the town operates a smart grid that, as Siemens explains “maintains the balance between energy production and consumption and keeps the power grid stable.”

As Windpoldsreid’s Deputy Mayor, Günter Mögele, explained to the Financial Times: “I think people were surprised that the Energiewende is happening so fast,” and certainly it is not without it’s headaches for those looking at the issue on a national level. But Windpoldsried is a spectacular example of what can happen on a local level when residents and municipalities take matters into their own hands.

Press link for more: Inhabitat.com

Ocean currents that keep US & Europe warm at their weakest in 1600 years #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange

The ocean currents that keep the US and Europe warm are at their weakest in 1600 years.

Climate change is slowing Atlantic currents that help keep Europe warm

Peter T. Spooner April 12, 2018 11.13pm AEST

The ocean currents that help warm the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America have significantly slowed since the 1800s and are at their weakest in 1600 years, according to new research my colleagues and I have conducted. As we’ve set out in a new study in Nature, the weakening of this ocean circulation system may have begun naturally but is probably being continued by climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions.

This circulation is a key player in the Earth’s climate system and a large or abrupt slowdown could have global repercussions. It could cause sea levels on the US east coast to rise, alter European weather patterns or rain patterns more globally, and hurt marine wildlife.

We know that at the end of the last major ice age, rapid fluctuations in the circulation led to extreme climate shifts on a global scale. An exaggerated (but terrifying) example of such a sudden event was portrayed in the 2004 blockbuster film The Day After Tomorrow.

The recent weakening we have found was likely driven by warming in the north Atlantic and the addition of freshwater from increased rainfall and melting ice. It has been predicted many times but, until now, just how much weakening has already occurred has largely remained a mystery. The extent of the changes we have discovered comes as a surprise to many, including myself, and points to significant changes in the future.

The circulation system in question is known as the “Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation” (AMOC). The AMOC is like a giant conveyor belt of water. It transports warm, salty water to the north Atlantic where it gets very cold and sinks. Once in the deep ocean the water flows back southwards and then all around the world’s oceans. This conveyor belt is one of the most important transporters of heat in the climate system and includes the Gulf Stream, known for keeping western Europe warm.

Climate models have consistently predicted that the AMOC will slow down due to greenhouse gas warming and associated changes in the water cycle. Because of these predictions – and the possibility of abrupt climate changes – scientists have monitored the AMOC since 2004 with instruments strung out across the Atlantic at key locations. But to really test the model predictions and work out how climate change is affecting the conveyor we have needed much longer records.

Looking for patterns

To create these records, our research group – led by University College London’s Dr David Thornalley – used the idea that a change in the AMOC has a unique pattern of impact on the ocean. When the AMOC gets weaker, the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean cools and parts of the western Atlantic get warmer by a specific amount. We can look for this pattern in past records of ocean temperature to trace what the circulation was like in the past.

Another study in the same issue of Nature, led by researchers at the University of Potsdam in Germany, used historical observations of temperature to check the fingerprint. They found that the AMOC had reduced in strength by around 15% since 1950, pointing to the role of human-made greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause.

In our paper, which also forms part of the EU ATLAS project, we found the same fingerprint. But instead of using historical observations we used our expertise in past climate research to go back much further in time. We did this by combining known records of the remains of tiny marine creatures found in deep-sea mud. Temperature can be worked out by looking at the amounts of different species and the chemical compositions of their skeletons.

We were also able to directly measure the past deep ocean current speeds by looking at the mud itself. Larger grains of mud imply faster currents, while smaller grains mean the currents were weaker. Both techniques point to a weakening of the AMOC since about 1850, again by about 15% to 20%. Importantly, the modern weakening is very different to anything seen over the last 1,600 years, pointing to a combination of natural and human drivers.

The difference in timing of the start of the AMOC weakening in the two studies will require more scientific attention. Despite this difference, both of the new studies raise important questions regarding whether climate models simulate the historical changes in ocean circulation, and whether we need to revisit some of our future projections.

However, each additional long record makes it easier to evaluate how well the models simulate this key element of the climate system. In fact, evaluating models against these long records may be a crucial step if we hope to accurately predict possible extreme AMOC events and their climate impacts.

Press link for more: The Conversation

Colorado counties sue Exxon, Suncor over climate change #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Colorado counties sue Exxon, Suncor over climate change

Alexa Lardieri Published 9 Hours Ago

Boulder and San Miguel counties in Colorado are suing ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy for their effects on the environment and their negative contributions to climate change.

Up until this point climate change lawsuits have been limited to coastal cities worried about sea level rise.

However, these Colorado cities say they are feeling the negative effects of climate change, too, namely when it comes to snow loss.

“These impacts have already harmed Plaintiffs’ property and impacted the health, safety and welfare [of] their residents. The damages will only multiply as climate change worsens,” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit claims “that fossil fuel combustion was causing a dramatic rise in the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere,” which causes “significant temperature changes” and “dramatic climatic changes.” Because of the increase in temperature, there is dwindling snowpack in the state, which is vital for Colorado’s agriculture, water supply and $5 billion ski industry.

The snowpack in the southern Colorado mountains was less than 50 percent of normal this month, InsideClimate News reported.

The rise in temperature increases the risk of wildfires, extreme summertime heat and droughts.

The dwindling snow also raises concerns about water flow to the Colorado river.

In the lawsuit, the Colorado plaintiffs claim Exxon and the Canadian oil sands company Suncor “substantially contributed to and exacerbated the impacts of human-caused climate change, thereby substantially contributing to Plaintiffs’ injuries.”

The counties also claim the companies violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, claiming the companies engaged in “deceptive trade practices.”

The lawsuit’s goal is not to stop or regulate the production of fossil fuels in Colorado. The plaintiffs are asking the companies “help remediate the nuisance caused by their intentional, reckless and negligent conduct, specifically by paying their share of the Plaintiffs’ abatement costs.”

These include costs related to damages from wildfires, flood control efforts, healthcare expenses and loss of land value.

“The costs should be shared by the Suncor and Exxon defendants because they knowingly and substantially contributed to the climate crisis by producing, promoting and selling a substantial portion of the fossil fuels that are causing and exacerbating climate change, while concealing and misrepresenting the dangers associated with their intended use,” the lawsuit states.

Suncor Energy did not respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg. However, Exxon spokesman Scott Silvestri told Bloomberg reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global concern that requires worldwide cooperation.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions,” Silvestri said. “Lawsuits like this — filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life — simply do not do that.”

Press Link for more: CNBC.COM

Climate Change in the American Mind #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Climate Change in the American Mind: March 2018

Executive Summary

This report documents an upward trend in Americans’ concern about global warming, as reflected in several key indicators tracked since 2008, including substantial increases in Americans’ certainty that global warming is happening and harming people in the United States now.

The proportion of Americans who are very worried about global warming has more than doubled since its lowest point in 2011. Increasing numbers of Americans say they have personally experienced global warming and that the issue is personally important to them.

Details on these and other measures of global warming beliefs and attitudes are described below:

• Seven in ten Americans (70%) think global warming is happening, an increase of seven percentage points since March 2015. Only about one in seven Americans (14%) think global warming is not happening. Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not by a 5 to 1 ratio.

• Americans are also becoming increasingly certain that global warming is happening – 49% are “extremely” or “very” sure it is happening, an increase of 12 percentage points since March 2015. By contrast, far fewer – 7% – are “extremely” or “very sure” global warming is not happening.

• Over half of Americans (58%) understand that global warming is mostly human-caused. By contrast, about three in ten (28%) say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment.

• Only about one in seven Americans (15%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.

• About six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in five (21%) are “very worried” about it – nearly twice the proportion that were “very worried” in March 2015.

• Six in ten Americans are “interested” in global warming (62%). Fewer feel “disgusted” (47%) or “helpless” (45%). Only about four in ten are “hopeful” (41%).

• About six in ten Americans (61%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and three in ten think weather is being affected “a lot” (29%).

• Four in ten Americans (41%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, an increase of 10 percentage points since March 2015.

• About four in ten Americans (39%) think people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now.” The proportion that believes people are being harmed “right now” has increased by seven percentage points since March 2015.

• Four in ten or more Americans think they (42%) or their family (47%) will be harmed by global warming. Even more think global warming will harm people in the U.S. (58%), people in developing countries (62%), the world’s poor (63%), future generations of people (71%) and/or plant and animal species (71%).

• About six in ten Americans (63%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely” (10%), “very” (18%), or “somewhat” (35%) important to them personally, while more than one in three (37%) say it is either “not too” (22%) or “not at all” (15%) important personally. The proportion who say it is personally important has increased by seven percentage points since March 2015.

. Only about one in three Americans (35%) say they discuss global warming with family and friends “often” or “occasionally,” although this is an increase of nine percentage points since March 2015. However, more say they “rarely” or “never” discuss it (65%). Additionally, about one in four Americans (43%) say they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month, and one in five (20%) say they hear people they know talk about global warming at least once a month.

• Americans say there are many reasons why they don’t talk about global warming with their family and friends. About one in three say that they don’t talk about it because it never comes up in conversation (35%) and/or because they already all agree about global warming (33%). Fewer say they don’t know enough to talk about it (28%), their family and friends are not interested in it (27%), it is too political (26%), and/or it has never occurred to them to talk about it (25%).

• Half of Americans (50%) say they have thought “a lot” (20%) or “some” (30%) about global warming. The other half have thought about global warming just “a little” (34%) or “not at all” (16%).

• Few Americans are confident that humans will reduce global warming. About half (49%) say humans could reduce global warming, but it’s unclear at this point whether we will do what is necessary, and about one in five (22%) say we won’t reduce global warming because people are unwilling to change their behavior. Only 6% say humans can and will successfully reduce global warming.

• The most common reason why Americans want to reduce global warming is to provide a better life for our children and grandchildren – a reason selected by one in four Americans (24%). The next most common reasons are preventing the destruction of most life on the planet (16%) and protecting God’s creation (12%).

• Large majorities of Americans think of global warming as an environmental (74%), scientific (68%), agricultural (62%), severe weather (61%), health (60%), political (58%), and/or economic issue (57%). Fewer think it is a moral (41%), social justice (29%), poverty (28%), national security (25%), and/or religious issue (13%).

• A majority of Americans are worried about harm from extreme events in their local area including extreme heat (64%), droughts (61%), flooding (60%), and/or water shortages (52%).

Press link for more: Climate Change Communication

Landcare community to host forum about #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Landcare community to host forum about climate change

April 20 2018 – 12:35PM

A forum is coming up in May to discuss climate change. Photo: Yas Area Network of Landcare Groups.

The Yass, Boorowa and Hovells Creek Landcare Community invite residents to its next event: ‘Join the Climate Conversation – Rural Communities Making a Difference’ on Friday, April 25 at the Yass Soldiers Memorial Hall.

The event will run at 8.30am–4pm and will be a discussion about global warming.

It will help explore how rural communities and farmers can contribute to ameliorating the problem while benefiting their land.

The master of ceremony for the forum will be Genevieve Jacobs, a prize-winning newspaper journalist and freelance writer.

Presenters

• Dr Bradley Opdyke: paleoclimatologist, senior lecturer at ANU College of Science

• Dr Charles Massy: author and farmer

• Dr Christine Jones: soil scientist and founder of the organisation ‘Amazing Carbon’

• Dr Siwan Lovett: social scientist and natural resource manager with Australian River Restoration Centre

The forum speakers are all experienced hands-on people who want to help others make a difference to our individual and collective well-being.

ANU paleoclimatologist, Dr Bradley Opdyke, will provide an understanding of how and why global warming is occurring and discuss the urgency of the issue.

Cooma farmer, Dr Charles Massy, will be speaking about his own changed attitudes to management practices on his farm and about other farmers also practising regenerative agriculture, as described in his book The Call of the Reed Warbler.

He has been a pivotal force in regenerative landscape management through grazing systems that promote healthy landscape function and will outline the role farmers can play in contributing to slowing the increase of carbon in the atmosphere.

Dr Christine Jones will discuss the importance of the carbon cycle and the benefits of revegetation and sequestration in the soil to improve water retention and land productivity.

Dr Siwan Lovett will outline the ways communities can work together to achieve desirable outcomes while reducing the effects of global warming.

Participant engagement is a major theme of the day, and there will be time for questions and discussion in a final session as well as after each speaker.

The forum is also providing community groups and businesses that can help facilitate change with the table space to display relevant information.

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite for the early bird price of  $35 (until May 11) and $45 after May 11.

If you have any questions or require assistance with the booking, please contact Mary on 0499199072 or Linda on 0459 681018.

Press link for more: details Yass Tribune

UK Labour supports calls for “Climate Damages Tax” on Oil Companies. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

UK Labour supports call for ‘climate damages tax’ on oil companies

Megan DarbyPublished on 16/04/2018, 6:35pm

The aftermath of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu (Pic: Silke von Brockhausen/UNDP)

Those responsible for climate change should pay a greater share, said UK shadow climate minister, as Vanuatu lobbies Commonwealth to support tax

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UK Labour supported a call by Vanuatu for a “climate damages tax” on fossil fuel producers at a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in London this week.

“It is eminently reasonable that those most responsible for the damages caused by climate change should pay a greater share,” said UK Labour shadow international climate change minister Barry Gardiner.

He was speaking at a side event on Monday attended by Vanuatu’s foreign minister Ralph Regenvanu and Greens MP Caroline Lucas. Gardiner said Labour, unlike the Greens, had not settled on the tax as a formal policy.

“Labour has not committed to a specific climate damages tax, but we are clear that fossil fuels can no longer hide away from their enormous responsibilities,” Gardiner said.

Regenvanu said Vanuatu desperately needed funds to bounce back from climate disasters – and he would propose the tax to his Commonwealth counterparts as a solution.

The Pacific island state was due to host the summit until Cyclone Pam, a category 5 tropical storm, wiped out swathes of its infrastructure in March 2015. It is still rebuilding.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc with Vanuatu’s aspirations for sustainable development,” he said. “We just cannot afford what is happening to our country… Vanuatu would be very happy to see this tax come in as a way to help us.”

Consultancy Climate Analytics estimates unavoidable climate change impacts will cost developing countries more than $400 billion a year by 2030 and $1.6 trillion by 2050, based on current policy and warming trends.

Commonwealth heads meet in London amid claims of climate inequality

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to address that loss and damage. But aside from a few insurance initiatives, which critics say leave the poor picking up the bill, they have yet to find a source of finance.

The proposal to make coal, oil and gas suppliers pay has been on the margins of debate for a few years. At the last round of UN climate talks in November 2017, Seychelles ambassador Ronny Jumeau, writers Naomi Klein and George Monbiot, and more than 50 NGOs declared their support.

Gardiner cited research linking historic greenhouse gas emissions to fossil fuel companies and a recently uncovered 1988 report by oil major Shell showing it was making similar calculations as far back as 1988. The company found its fuels generated 4% of global emissions in 1984 – double the UK’s carbon footprint at the time.

“While the governments of the world at least tried to find a way to tackle climate change, fossil fuel companies did the opposite,” Gardiner added. “Now climate breakdown is upon us.”

Africa holds EU climate agenda ransom

The UK is a major producer of hydrocarbons from its North Sea fields. The country is home to BP and dozens of other oil and gas companies are headquartered in London. Any decision to levy these companies for damages would be a departure from the UK Conservative government’s current policy of offering tax breaks to maximise extraction.

Australia’s Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg

Meanwhile in Australia the Liberal National Party government still supports coal.

Located on the “ring of fire” in the Pacific ocean, Vanuatu is exposed to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions as well as tropical storms, sea level rise and drought. With poverty in the mix too, it is consistently ranked the most disaster-prone country in the world.

Sometimes seismic and climate factors coincide. The island of Ambae is in a state of emergency after a cyclone dumped heavy rain into its volcano as it was erupting, causing a massive ashfall across homes and food crops. “The cyclone exacerbated the volcanic eruption,” said minister Regenvanu.

Experts from Pacific neighbour Fiji and Dominica in the Caribbean also shared tales of destruction from tropical storms, which are set to intensify with global warming, and other climate change impacts.

Press link for more: Climate Change News