The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018 #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018

Greg Beach

The City of London, the historic “Square Mile” central district of London, will soon switch to clean energy in a big way.

Starting in October 2018, the City of London will source 100 percent of its power needs from renewable energy sources by installing solar panels on local buildings, investing in larger solar and wind projects and purchasing clean energy from the grid.

Though no longer a square mile, closer now to 1.12 square miles, the City of London is a major financial center within the city and the world.

Its green energy transformation sends a clear message that London intends to take strong action against climate change.

In its plans to transform the neighborhood’s energy system, the City of London Corporation will partner with several sites throughout London, such as schools, social housing, markets and 11,000 acres of green space, at which renewable energy capacity will be installed. “Sourcing 100 percent renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity,” Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee Catherine McGuinness said in a statement. “We are always looking at the environmental impact of our work and hope that we can be a beacon to other organisations to follow suit.”

Related: London considers car-free days to fight air pollution

The City of London is among the many municipalities around the world that are stepping up to fulfill the pledges made in the Paris Agreement, even when national governments are not doing enough. “By generating our own electricity and investing in renewables, we are doing our bit to help meet international and national energy ptargets,” McGuinness said. “This is a big step for the City Corporation and it demonstrates our commitment to making us a more socially and environmentally responsible business.”

Via CleanTechnica

Press link for more: Inhabitat.com

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Connecting the dots between natural disasters and #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Connecting the dots between natural disasters and climate change in the US

The last year has brought record-breaking natural disasters of all shapes and sizes to the U.S., from massive hurricanes in the Gulf to wildfires and flash-flooding in the Pacific. Though isolated in time and space, it would be an oversight to consider these events entirely unrelated.

For years, climate scientists have been predicting more extreme weather as carbon emissions increase and global temperatures rise. And what we’re seeing is exactly that, producing wreckage well beyond your every-few-years event. Let’s have a look at the last 12 months.

In August, Houston all but disappeared under Hurricane Harvey’s torrential downpour. Over 30,000 people were displaced, 200,000 homes and business damaged, and nearly 100 lives lost. Harvey dropped over a foot more rain than any prior storm on record in the lower 48 states. Over $125 billion dollars in damage was incurred, costing more than any prior natural disaster in U.S. history, except for Hurricane Katrina.

Weeks later, the country braced again. While most remember Hurricane Irma as “that Category 5 hurricane that calmed before hitting Florida,” — it did not weaken before first depopulating the Caribbean island of Barbuda, where at least 95 percent of property was destroyed or damaged, according to the LA Times. Irma’s 185 mph winds lasted for 37 hours, setting a new world record. Weather.com stated after the storm that “Hurricanes of this intensity often undergo fluctuations in intensity, but Irma did not.”

Then came Hurricane Maria, which left much of the island of Puerto Rico in ruins. While initial reports showed a death toll of 64, a recent Harvard study put the number at closer to 5,000 — as many households went weeks and even months without electricity and water. Maria’s $90 billion tab made the storm the third costliest in U.S. history, just behind Harvey.

As hurricane season wound down, an unprecedented summer of wildfires across the Pacific coast only intensified. In October came the most destructive wildfire in California history, claiming over 5,600 structures and 22 lives. Not two months later, the Thomas Fire became the largest fire on record in the state, scorching over 280,000 acres.

In just the last three months of 2017 the state experienced five of its 20 most destructive wildfires. But California hasn’t been the only record-breaker. Four of the 10 largest wildfires on record in Oregon have occurred in just the last five years.

As fires died out West, a new guise of climate disaster emerged with winter as snowstorm after snowstorm battered the Northeast. In one case, a “bomb cyclone” packed enough energy to topple power lines that led to blackouts from Virginia to Maine.

Only months prior, the region experienced record cold. In Boston, the maximum daily temperature in December reached a new low of 12 degrees.

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Northeast has experienced a more than 70 percemt rise in the amount of precipitation falling during “very heavy” weather events over the 1958 to 2010 period. Of the 10 heaviest snowstorms in Boston, half occurred since 2000 — with two taking place in the same two weeks of 2015, making it the all-time snowiest season for the city.

Strangely, the Northeast has also seen anomalous mid-winter warming. For two years in a row, February soared above 70 degrees in some areas. Temperatures in February are usually in the teens, and sometimes lower.  This past winter, 19 areas across the Northeast experienced their warmest February on record, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Around the same time, temperatures in the North Pole were above freezing despite the region still being enshrouded in total winter darkness — setting a new February heat record according to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

As for our island neighbors, Hawaii just made headlines in April by incurring more rainfall in a single day than any prior storm on record in the country. According to the Washington Post, flash flooding and mudslides destroyed roads, bridges, and homes, cutting off locals and leaving thousands of tourists stranded.

Despite temperature and weather anomalies in all directions, the trends we’ve been observing are not a total surprise. In the case of hurricanes, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned of increased storm severity due to climate change. According to its latest report, “intense tropical cyclone activity has increased in the North Atlantic since 1970” and “extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions” as global temperatures continue to rise. In another piece, I explain why hurricanes will intensify under a warmer climate.

Similarly, increased wildfires are arriving on schedule and may be here to stay. A recent study by the Forest Service suggests that wildfires can be expected to increase throughout the region as warming trends continue. In a 2006 study of wildfires in the western U.S., recent decades were reported to have seen a four-fold increase in major wildfires. The area burned by these fires has risen six-fold.

What about the confused weather in the Northeast? Scientists attribute this to the instability of the so-called polar vortex — caused by warming of the planet. Under normal conditions, frigid temperatures remain relatively isolated to the polar regions. As temperatures rise, however, these circular polar winds weaken and begin to meander, allowing frigid Arctic air to descend to the south, and warmer equatorial air to penetrate further north.

Despite temperature ups and downs, a comparison of daily record high temperatures with record low temperatures averaged across the U.S. demonstrates a trend toward increased heat, consistent with the notion of global warming. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed the current ratio of record high to record low temperatures at about 2-to-1; with models suggesting this ratio could increase to 20-to-1 by mid-century.

The frequency and severity of major natural disasters has risen sharply over the years. The National Centers for Environmental Information maintains a record of U.S. natural disasters that cost $1 billion or more in damage. In 2016, $46 billion was spent on such disasters, due to 15 major events. This was three times the average since 1980. In 2017, the number rose to 16, with costs exceeding $300 billion. This shattered the prior U.S. annual record cost of $219 billion that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other storms in 2005. In total, 230 natural disasters occurring since 1980 have cost the U.S. over $1.5 trillion. These numbers are critical to take into account when we consider the cost of reducing carbon emissions.

While it’s important to pick ourselves up after tragedy, we must connect the dots of extreme weather and take notice of an underlying pattern that is consistent with predictions by climate scientists. Only by recognizing the link between carbon emissions, climate change, and extreme weather can we begin to appropriately address the climate crisis and prevent future tragedy in the long run. Furthermore, the business-as-usual approach to carbon emissions is not free. It comes at a cost — a cost that is growing with every passing year.

The science is there, and solutions are on the table. Citizens, policymakers, and industry must take notice and help move the U.S. in a direction that curbs carbon pollution and secures a safer and less costly future for our nation.

Shahir Masri, Sc.D., is an assistant specialist in air pollution exposure assessment and epidemiology at the University of California at Irvine, and also teaches at the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University. Masri is launching “On the Road for Climate Action,” a public outreach project to communicate the crucial message of climate science and solutions in over 35 different states.

Press link for more: The Hill

India faces worst long term water crisis in its history. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #ClimateChange

Droughts are becoming more frequent, creating problems for India’s rain-dependent farmers

By Malini Menon

NEW DELHI, June 15 (Reuters) – India faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply and millions of lives and livelihoods could be at risk, said a think tank chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

By 2030, water demand is projected to be double the supply, implying severe scarcity for hundreds of millions of people. The shortage will eventually shave around 6 percent off gross domestic product, the report said.

About 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog said on Thursday, citing data by independent agencies.

“Critical groundwater resources that account for 40 percent of India’s water supply are being depleted at unsustainable rates,” the report said, calling for an immediate push towards sustainable management of water resources.

“India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat,” it said.

The think tank said it has developed a Composite Water Management Index with nine areas of assessment to help state governments manage water resources.

Droughts are becoming more frequent, creating problems for India’s rain-dependent farmers. At the same time, disputes between states are on the rise.

Interstate disagreements are on the rise, with seven major disputes currently raging, pointing to the fact that limited frameworks and institutions are in place for national water governance.

The report said there are seven major ongoing disputes over water resources, which highlights the limited framework and institutions for water governance.

Nearly 163 million of India’s population of 1.3 billion lack access to clean water close to home, the most of any country, according to a 2018 report by Britain-based charity WaterAid.

For the full report, click here.

Press link for more: News Trust

James Hansen wishes he wasn’t so right about global warming #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

James Hansen wishes he wasn’t so right about global warming

By SETH BORENSTEIN

James Hansen

NEW YORK (AP) — James Hansen wishes he was wrong. He wasn’t.

NASA’s top climate scientist in 1988, Hansen warned the world on a record hot June day 30 years ago that global warming was here and worsening.

In a scientific study that came out a couple months later, he even forecast how warm it would get, depending on emissions of heat-trapping gases.

The hotter world that Hansen envisioned in 1988 has pretty much come true so far, more or less. Three decades later, most climate scientists interviewed rave about the accuracy of Hansen’s predictions given the technology of the time.

Hansen won’t say, “I told you so.”

“I don’t want to be right in that sense,” Hansen told The Associated Press, in an interview is his New York penthouse apartment. That’s because being right means the world is warming at an unprecedented pace and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are melting.

Hansen said what he really wishes happened is “that the warning be heeded and actions be taken.”

They weren’t. Hansen, now 77, regrets not being “able to make this story clear enough for the public.”

Global warming was not what Hansen set out to study when he joined NASA in 1972. The Iowa native studied Venus — a planet with a runaway greenhouse-effect run — when he got interested in Earth’s ozone hole. As he created computer simulations, he realized that “this planet was more interesting than Venus.” And more important.

In his 1988 study, Hansen and colleagues used three different scenarios for emissions of heat-trapping gases — high, low and medium. Hansen and other scientists concentrated on the middle scenario.

Hansen projected that by 2017, the globe’s five-year average temperature would be about 1.85 degrees (1.03 degree Celsius) higher than the 1950 to 1980 NASA-calculated average. NASA’s five-year average global temperature ending in 2017 was 1.48 degrees above the 30-year average. (He did not take into account that the sun would be cooling a tad, which would reduce warming nearly two-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit, said the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Jeff Severinghaus.)

Hansen also predicted a certain number of days of extreme weather — temperature above 95 degrees, freezing days, and nights when the temperatures that don’t drop below 75 — per year for four U.S. cities in the decade of the 2010s.

Hansen’s forecast generally underestimated this decade’s warming in Washington, overestimated it in Omaha, was about right in New York and mixed in Memphis.

Clara Deser, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said Hansen’s global temperature forecast was “incredible” and his extremes for the cities were “astounding” in their accuracy. Berkeley Earth’s Zeke Hausfather gives Hansen’s predictions a 7 or 8 for accuracy, out of 10; he said Hansen calculated that the climate would respond a bit more to carbon dioxide than scientists now think.

University of Alabama Huntsville’s John Christy, a favorite of those who downplay climate change, disagreed. Using mathematical formulas to examine Hansen’s projections, he concluded: “Hansen’s predictions were wrong as demonstrated by hypothesis testing.”

Hansen had testified before Congress on climate change at a fall 1987 hearing that didn’t get much attention — likely because it was a cool day, he figured.

So the next hearing was scheduled for the next summer, and the weather added heat to Hansen’s words. At 2 p.m., the temperature hit a record high 98 degrees and felt like 102.

It was then and there that Hansen went out on a limb and proclaimed that global warming was already here. Until then most scientists merely warned of future warming.

He left NASA in 2013, devoting more time to what he calls his “anti-government job” of advocacy.

Hansen, still at Columbia University, has been arrested five times for environmental protests. Each time, he hoped to go to trial “to draw attention to the issues” but the cases were dropped. He writes about saving the planet for his grandchildren, including one who is suing the federal government over global warming inaction. His advocacy has been criticized by scientific colleagues, but he makes no apologies.

“If scientists are not allowed to talk about the policy implications of the science, who is going to do that? People with financial interests?” Hansen asked.

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears . His work can be found here .

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Press link for more: APNews

Sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani Demand a clean energy future

Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

Climate change study predicts ‘staggering impact’ of swelling oceans on coastal communities within next 30 years

Oliver MilmanLast modified on Mon 18 Jun 2018 15.19 AEST

Sea level rise driven by climate change is set to pose an existential crisis to many US coastal communities, with new research finding that as many as 311,000 homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years.

Oceanfront homes in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Houses on the US coastline could risk being flooded every two weeks. Photograph: Alamy

The swelling oceans are forecast repeatedly to soak coastal residences collectively worth $120bn by 2045 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t severely curtailed, experts warn. This will potentially inflict a huge financial and emotional toll on the half million Americans who live in the properties at risk of having their basements, backyards, garages or living rooms inundated every other week.

“The impact could well be staggering,” said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “This level of flooding would be a tipping point where people in these communities would think it’s unsustainable.

“Even homes along the Gulf coast that are elevated would be affected, as they’d have to drive through salt water to get to work or face their kids’ school being cut off. You can imagine people walking away from mortgages, away from their homes.”

Sea level rise: Miami and Atlantic City fight to stay above water

The UCS used federal data from a high sea level rise scenario projected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and combined it with property data from the online real estate company Zillow to quantify the level of risk across the lower 48 states.

Under this scenario, where planet-warming emissions are barely constrained and the seas rise by around 6.5ft globally by the end of the century, 311,000 homes along the US coastline would face flooding on average 26 times a year within the next 30 years – a typical lifespan for a new mortgage.

The losses would multiply by the end of the century, with the research warning that as many as 2.4m homes, worth around a trillion dollars, could be put at risk. Low-lying states would be particularly prone, with a million homes in Florida, 250,000 homes in New Jersey and 143,000 homes in New York at risk of chronic flooding by 2100.

Unfortunately, many coastal communities will face declining property values as risk perceptions catch up with reality

This persistent flooding is likely to rattle the housing market by lowering property prices and making mortgages untenable in certain areas. Flood insurance premiums could rise sharply, with people faced with the choice of increasing clean-up costs or retreating to higher ground inland.

“Unfortunately, in the years ahead many coastal communities will face declining property values as risk perceptions catch up with reality,” said Rachel Cleetus, an economist and climate policy director at UCS. “In contrast with previous housing market crashes, values of properties chronically inundated due to sea level rise are unlikely to recover and will only continue to go further underwater, literally and figuratively.”

The report does not factor in future technological advances that could ameliorate the impact of rising seas, although the US would be starting from a relatively low base compared to some countries given that it does not have a national sea level rise plan. And the current Trump administration has moved to erase the looming issue from consideration for federally-funded infrastructure.

Miami mayor: ‘People on the waterfront won’t be able to stay unless they are very wealthy.’ Photograph: Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images

The oceans are rising by around 3mm a year due to the thermal expansion of seawater that’s warming because of the burning of fossil fuels by humans. The melting of massive glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica is also pushing up the seas – Nasa announced last week that the amount of ice lost annually from Antarctica has tripled since 2012 to an enormous 241bn tons a year.

This slowly unfolding scenario is set to pose wrenching choices for many in the US. Previous research has suggested that around 13 million Americans may have to move due to sea level rise by the end of the century, with landlocked states such as Arizona and Wyoming set for a population surge.

“My flood insurance bill just went up by $100 this year, it went up $100 the year before,” said Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami. “People on the waterfront won’t be able to stay unless they are very wealthy. This isn’t a risk, it’s inevitable.

“Miami is a beautiful and interesting place to live – I’m looking at a lizard on my windowsill right now. But people will face a cost to live here that will creep up and up. At some point they will have to make a rational economic decision and they may relocate. Some people will make the trade-off to live here. Some won’t.”

Press link for more: The Guardian

How to reverse #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Paul Hawken on how to reverse climate change now

Climate change is often quoted as the most pressing issue of our time. But as individuals it’s hard to comprehend how we can play a part in addressing it. Paul Hawken, environmentalist and author, aims to bridge the gap between urgency and agency, showing how we can use the power we have to create change now.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming is Paul Hawken’s project and book compiles thinking (and doing!) from scientists to farmers.

‘Drawdown’ is the scientific term for the first time greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – the cause of global warming – begin to decline. Paul Hawken says drawdown is the goal, where reduction of emissions isn’t enough and reversal is key.

The good news is that the 80 ways to get there are based not on emerging technologies or concepts, but practises we already have. The solutions are ranked by effectiveness in their carbon impact through to the year 2050, as well as total and net cost to society and total lifetime savings.

So let’s get this out of the way. Drawdown argues that management of fridges and air-con units is the number one solution. It’s not as sexy as electric cars, but chemical refrigerants, which absorb and release heat to enable chilling, have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Removing and transforming these chemicals into other chemicals that don’t cause warming will reduce 89.74 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050, according to Drawdown.

But it’s in combination that the solutions will achieve reversal. It’s a welcome perspective that diversity of land, as well as scaled technology, will allow us to adequately reverse climate change. Here are some examples from Drawdown.

Educating girls (ranked #6)

Thanks to One Girl’s Business Brainsprogram, Sarah now has her own small

business selling homemade butterscotch, which has enabled her to pay

for her continuing education.

Drawdown highlights that women with more years of education lead more vibrant lives that positively affect their families and communities. They also have fewer and healthier children, and curbing population growth significantly avoids emissions.

Further, Drawdown maintains that educated women have better nourished families and more productive plots of land, and are more effective stewards of soil, trees and water. Resilience in food production through a changing climate will have impacts that resound throughout the world.

A few key initiatives that enable girls to access education are:

• making school more affordable

• reducing the time and distance to get to school

• helping girls overcome health barriers, and

• making schools more girl-friendly.

One example of this kind of thinking comes from the not-for-profit One Girl, which is equipping women to start their own businesses in Uganda through their entrepreneurship program called Business Brains.

Drawdown calculates that 59.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide will be reduced by 2050 by educating girls.

Wave and tidal electricity generation (ranked #29)

Drawdown suggests that wave and tidal energy is a largely untapped energy source that utilises oceanic flows to generate electricity. Although the constant and hugely powerful nature of tides and waves holds great potential, the challenges of operating in harsh and complex marine environments has stalled developments in energy generation from the ocean.

Carnegie Energy is working to transform theglobal renewable energy market

through its unsurpassed waveenergy technology, CETO

Wave energy typically relies on generator devices floating on the surface of the water that convert wave movement to electricity. Tidal uses underwater turbines that spin and create power from rising and lowering tides. Supporters believe wave power could provide 25% of US electricity, for example, says Drawdown, and around the world technologies are being tested and improved to capture and convert the incredible power of the ocean into energy.

Drawdown approximates tidal and wave energy could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 9.2 gigatons over thirty years.

Indigenous people’s land management (ranked #39)

It makes sense that those who have lived on the land the longest are those best equipped to care for it. Drawdown’s analysis has found lower rates of deforestation and higher rates of carbon sequestration on lands that indigenous people manage. Sequestration is where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form – although this can be done artificially, forests do that well.

Indigenous communities have long been the frontline of resistance against deforestation. Their land management practices also encourage biodiversity and safeguard rich cultures and traditional ways of life. Growing the acreage under secure indigenous land tenure can sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says Drawdown. Some actions include:

• engaging the local community to manage forests

• shifting swidden cultivation, which employs slashing and burning to clear land

• agroforestry – growing and conserving trees as part of the agricultural system, and

• using fire as a tool to maintain ecosystem dynamics.

Drawdown estimates that approximately 849.37 gigatons of carbon dioxide captured in the biomass of forests and soil will be protected by indigenous land management.

Finding the most effective way to contribute

The climate has always changed over time. It’s time to acknowledge that we’re contributors to this change and then start focusing on what we can do to positively affect that change. It’s important to reframe the ‘problem’ of climate change to perceive the change as an opportunity for improvement. Hawken pushes to shift the language around climate change away from war-related expressions like ‘fight against’, ‘combat’ and ‘slashing emissions’.

Responding to our changing climate is an opportunity to build a healthier and more inclusive environment and society. It’s also an opportunity for innovation. ‘Coming attractions’ by Project Drawdown is an inspiring collection of new technologies and ideas striving to reverse climate change.

From transitioning to a plant-rich diet (ranked #4) to ridesharing (ranked #75), there are many more solutions to explore, some of which may already be part of your daily life. Hawken says we need all of the solutions to achieve drawdown – so do what you’re passionate about to make a difference.

Want to go in the draw to win one of three copies of Drawdown, signed by Paul himself?! Enter here

The Drawdown Competition Terms & Conditions apply. Australian Ethical has independently chosen to promote the Drawdown Project and has no commercial ties or association with Paul Hawken or the Drawdown organisation.

Press link for more: Australian Ethical

The battle against #climatechange has just begun #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

The battle against climate change has just begun

EUROPE SETS ITS COURSE AND WELCOMES THAILAND’S MOVES TOWARDS A LOW-CARBON FUTURE

The scale of the climate challenges we face today is clear.

The adverse effects of climate change are already being felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet and its people.

Moreover, they could undermine both the development gains made over many decades and the prospects for achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

The Paris Agreement on climate change – the landmark global agreement adopted by almost 200 countries in 2015 – sets out an action plan to put the world on track to counter climate change. It has set the direction of travel for the global transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies and societies.

However, we already know that on aggregate the emissions reduction targets put forward by countries in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5C.

The upcoming special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will unfortunately show us that the window to stay within these limits is closing very fast. This is why we must continue to raise our collective ambition and accelerate the implementation and operationa of the Paris Agreement.

This year, governments and stakeholders from around the world are getting together to assess how far we have come since Paris and to consider additional efforts under the “Talanoa Dialogue”.

Taking place throughout 2018, this facilitative process, inspired by the Pacific tradition of “talanoa” – an open and inclusive dialogue – is the first opportunity since Paris to look at our collective efforts so far, and increase our level of ambition.

The European Union sees the Talanoa Dialogue as a key moment to focus on the solutions and the potential associated with the low-carbon transformation, while also enhancing cooperation and trust. It also sets the tone for the EU’s annual Climate Diplomacy week celebrated this week. In Thailand we are organising an event on Thursday with the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, share experiences and explore avenues for further collective action.

Another important goal for the international community this year is adopting the Paris Agreement work programme – detailed transparency and governance rules for putting the agreement into practice. Adopting this “rulebook” at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland, is vital. A clear and comprehensive set of transparency rules will enable us to track and demonstrate the progress being made around the world and give all sides – developed and developing countries alike – a shared framework to deliver on our shared vision.

The European Union is well advanced in its domestic legislative framework to deliver on the target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This includes, for example, revising the EU emissions trading scheme for the period after 2020, setting national emissions reduction targets for sectors not covered by emissions trading, and integrating land use in our climate legislation.

These key pieces of legislation were all recently adopted, and further proposals on clean energy and mobility are in the pipeline.

Committed

Additionally, the European Union is stepping up international cooperation and support to partners through policy dialogues, capacity-building projects and climate finance.

The European Union, its member states and the European Investment Bank contributed US$24 billion (Bt783 billion) in public climate finance towards developing countries in 2016. This represents a 15 per cent increase compared to the previous year, or a 50 per cent increase from 2012, as well as roughly half of global public climate finance.

The EU remains committed to the collective goal of mobilising $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 from a variety of sources to support action in developing countries. Support to the development and implementation of the climate change policy in Thailand continues with a number of initiatives on climate change adaptation, multi-stakeholder engagement, resource efficiency, product design for sustainability, and with the recently launched Thai-German Climate Programme for climate change mitigation efforts through a cross-sectoral approach. We also welcome Thailand’s initiative in updating its Power Development Plan, which will provide a clear indication of Thailand’s pathway to a low carbon future.

While the Paris Agreement sets the direction of travel, the journey has only just begun. Going forward, all countries will need to foster the right environment to enable this transformation to continue, supporting a long-term structural change in energy systems worldwide and scaling up investments that contribute to it.

Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth is an opportunity for countries to grasp; it brings multiple and tangible benefits to the people, the economy and the environment. The European Union and its member states are committed to work with all partners to continue this journey together.

Press link for more: National Multimedia

A Bright Spot of International Cooperation Solar Alliance #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

A Bright Spot of International Cooperation

Anne Laure Chanteloup

The International Solar Alliance (ISA), an international partnership for promotion of solar power in the world, is essentially an Indo-French initiative and its first summit was held in New Delhi in March 2018 on the occasion of the state visit by the French President, reinforcing the two countries’ commitment to the alliance.

March 11 saw the first summit of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), held in the Indian national capital New Delhi, on the occasion of French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India. Macron co-chaired the inaugural session with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ISA is the result of a joint initiative of India and France that aims to bring together 121 countries with high solar potential, located between the tropics, in order to develop the use of solar energy as a platform for cooperation between developing countries enjoying a high level of sunshine and countries with solar technologies.

The high-profile meeting, suitably hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House), was attended by dozens of heads of states and high-level officials, including the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres, heads of development banks, various energy companies and members of the civil society.

The Symbol of Radiant Solar Mamas

The participants were welcomed by the Solar Mamas, a group of rural women from various countries in the African continent, who brought electricity to their villages. These women, who did not have access to education, have not only become solar engineers but also trainers who pass on their knowledge to others in these areas that lack electricity. In fact, they were trained to build, install and repair solar equipment by the Barefoot College, founded in the early 1970s, in Tilonia, Rajasthan, by Sanjit Bunker Roy. Supported by India, the programme has gained momentum. Thus, several training centres exist in Africa today and the organisation works in nearly 100 countries around the world.

Living symbols of the importance of solar energy in development as well as India’s place in these initiatives, the Solar Mamas enchanted the audience at the summit with their songs, including ‘We Shall Overcome’. Their performance was qualified as a “strong point of the conference” by the Indian Prime Minister, who also expressed his support for the Barefoot programme. Two Solar Mamas also spoke during the event and the French President said that the example of Solar Mamas is one worth following. ‘‘Each Solar Mama should train 10 women in the development of solar energy and they in turn will each train 10 women who in turn… This is how we change the world: we launch a movement of transmission!” Macron declared during his speech at the event.

Genesis of a New International Organisation

The fight against climate change and the ecological and energy transition have become a strong aspect of the Franco-Indian partnership. As a result of a joint initiative of the two countries, the ISA was launched at COP 21 in Paris on November 30, 2015, to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Its entry into force came after the 15 ratifications, on December 6, 2017. Thus, the ISA became the first global organisation to be headquartered in India, with the ISA secretariat in Gurugram, near New Delhi, within the campus of the National Institute of Solar Energy. Of the 121 countries invited to join the organisation, some 60 states have signed the framework agreement and 32 of them have already ratified it.

At the One Planet Summit held in Paris in December, France and India reiterated the importance of the project and their involvement in the ISA, which in itself is one of the 12 commitments made at this summit. On this occasion, they welcomed the ISA countries for an “International Solar Alliance on the Move” meeting where companies, international organisations and technical operators joined together to carry out an inventory of solar energy projects, corresponding to the needs expressed by countries or communities. Several meetings of the international steering committee, led by India and France, as well as other meetings were also organised, both in New Delhi and Paris.

The Ambitions of ISA

The goal of the ISA is to develop the use of solar energy in 121 highsunshine countries located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, which are mostly developing countries and represent 73 pc of the world’s population. It is therefore, a matter of supporting those countries which, despite their wealth of solar resources, nevertheless have difficulties in accessing solar energy. They represent only 23 pc of the world’s installed photovoltaic capacity, particularly because of technological and financial hurdles. Also, between 20 pc and 50 pc of the population in these countries lacks access to electricity. The ISA has set itself a goal of pooling resources to mobilise USD 1 trillion in investments to develop more than 1,000 GW of solar energy by 2030.

For this, the ISA has constituted a platform for cooperation on solar energy between the countries and all actors in the sector. The programmes focus on four fields of action, as per the requirements of most of the ISA member countries. These programmes include using solar for agriculture as a majority of the countries have agrarian economy; creating mini-grids for villages and small islands by using roof-top installations; to generate small quantities of energy in a decentralised way; and finally mobility using solar power as fossil fuel powered vehicles constitute a strong source of pollution and global warming. In this context, the ISA works to allow its member nations to access to low-cost financing by pooling resources. It also seeks to establish the common principles for legislation and regulations and to create a common guarantee mechanism.

The ISA summit of March 11 has allowed further discussions on solar energy issues as well as to involve more countries and international organisations, several of whom signed agreements with the ISA on this occasion, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The summit was also an important event for civil society, NGOs and businesses, which decided to create an International Committee of Chambers of Industry to develop initiatives to promote research and training and to take concrete action in this area, in particular by the 100- odd projects in the member nations that the ISA will support.

The summit also saw the adoption of a project implementation roadmap, called the ‘New Delhi Solar Agenda’, and resulted in important announcements, such as Macron’s commitment of providing EUR 700 million by 2022, in loans and grants, through the French Development Agency, which is in addition to its initial commitment, bringing its total to EUR 1 billion. Citing the beginning of a “solar technology mission of an international dimension” for India “to fill the technological gaps,” Modi, meanwhile, announced lines of credit of just over EUR 1.1 billion to finance 27 projects in 15 countries, while India has so far funded 13 projects worth EUR 117 million.

Press link for more: Media India

Caroline Lucas “The Apocalypse is happening” #ClimateChange #Heathrow #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Caroline Lucas on Heathrow and climate change: ‘The apocalypse is happening’

Decca Aitkenhead

Caroline Lucas

The last time I met Caroline Lucas, she was about to stand trial. The Green party co-leader was prosecuted in 2014 following an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, West Sussex, and was due in court the week after we met, yet her spirits that day were remarkably high.

If optimism has been the defining quality of Lucas’s political career, one might say it has served her well: in 2010, she became the first – and remains the only – Green politician elected to parliament and in 2014 she was cleared of all charges.

Her subdued demeanour when we meet this week, therefore, is unfamiliar.

The 57-year-old was more upbeat when facing a court case, it strikes me, than she is facing today’s political landscape.

Lucas’s mood may be due in part to the visit she had made earlier in the day to Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.

When we meet, her expression has a sober, preoccupied air, as though she would rather be processing what she had seen in quiet solitude than giving a press interview. But the MP has always shown a talent for reconciling light and shade, having spent her career warning us of impending armageddon, while simultaneously assuring us we still have time to avert it.

Her capacity to sustain hope has always impressed me, so I begin by apologising if my questions sound defeatist to her. I put their gloom down to my state of general pessimism. In a barely audible murmur, Lucas admits: “Well, I’m not in such a different place, to be honest.”

The member for Brighton Pavilion had until recently thought the campaign against a third Heathrow runway had been won. “We’d been lulled into a bit of a false sense of security, thinking the government would do – or in this case, not do – what it said it wouldn’t do.” In 2009, the then prime minister, David Cameron, had promised: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead – no ifs, no buts” – but in the Commons last week the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, announced it would be built after all and could be open by 2026. Tory MPs representing constituencies that will be ravaged by the new runway are up in arms; Boris Johnson and Justine Greening and others may yet thwart Grayling’s plan. But, for Lucas, the fight goes way beyond defending villages from bulldozers.

Grayling’s Commons speech did not even mention climate change, yet this omission attracted negligible attention until Lucas tweeted her incredulous dismay – which, I suggest, tells us that most people now think one more runway will make no difference to climate change, but a massive difference to the UK economy. Might they be right? Lucas addresses her reply to the carpet between our chairs, like a pop star performing an old hit she can’t believe anyone could still need to hear again.

“If you measured impact on climate change by each individual action then you’d never be able to talk about the cumulative impact of a set of actions on the climate.

We know aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of emissions; we know emissions at altitude are a lot more damaging to the climate than they are at ground level; we know that if Heathrow expands then it’s almost like an arms race between the different airports across Europe, because they’re all in a fight for passengers.”

But we keep being told we must not concede a competitive advantage to rival European airports. She counters wearily: “If you were talking to campaigners in Charles de Gaulle [airport in Paris], they’d tell you they’re told exactly the same thing: don’t concede defeat to London! We’re all being pitted against one another in this incredibly dangerous race to the bottom. If we were to follow the logic of those people who think every time we build a runway our economy miraculously benefits, then why would you not just cover the whole country in concrete? That’s the logic of that argument. The bottom lines is that aviation is a very good example of why you can’t say: ‘We’ll have a demand-led approach’ – because the demand will go on. I think there needs to be a mature conversation about limits to growth. I think we need to ask: growth for what?”

Growth for jobs?

Growth for our kids to leave home and afford a mortgage and enjoy the living standards our parents took for granted? “Growth that is not tackling inequality,” she rejoins. “Growth that’s destroying the planet we depend on. Growth that we know, by simply measuring prosperity in terms of GDP growth, is an incredibly blunt instrument. GDP simply measures the circulation of money in the economy, not whether or not the outcome of using that money is positive or negative. A major pile up on the M5 is wonderful for growth, because it means people go out and buy more cars. But by any other measure of what’s useful or helpful, a pile up on the M5 is bad news.”

We’re in danger of losing something incredibly precious. If you don’t have an environment, you don’t have anything else

She does not blame MPs such as Johnson for objecting to the runway on local, self-interested grounds. But if, as is widely predicted, the foreign secretary absents himself from the parliamentary vote by contriving an excuse to be abroad, “I think it would be despicable. He’s promised to stand up for something; he’s gone to the polls and said: ‘This is what I stand for.’ And no one is going to believe that absence from the country was seriously unavoidable. I just think the cowardice of that is grotesque.”

For all Johnson’s ostentatiously theatrical opposition (he promised to “lie down in front of the bulldozers”), it is Jeremy Corbyn whom Lucas believes has the power to determine the third runway’s fate. With the support of Tory rebels, the Labour leader could defeat Grayling’s bill by imposing a three-line whip – and Lucas thinks he will. “There’s a good chance. What I’m hearing is that there’s a good chance Labour might come out against it.” As a long-time Corbyn enthusiast, could Lucas forgive him if he did not? “No. I think it would be unforgivable.”

Corbyn would make a convenient culprit, but should the blame not lie ultimately with her party? The Greens are forever predicting environmental catastrophe – if it is not Heathrow, it is plastic or diesel or eating meat – but when the world continues to turn, despite their apocalyptic warnings, does the environmental movement become a casualty of its own hyperbole?

“I don’t think so. I recognise the danger of crying wolf. But when you look at the data – or, indeed, just look around green spaces – the apocalypse is happening. You don’t hear the same birdsong any more. Not that long ago, if you drove at night through the countryside, your windscreen would become full of moths and now there are no moths any more.”

I wonder how she explains why this does not translate into votes for her party. Which half of her message does the public not buy – that we are heading for armageddon or that we still have time to save the planet? “I think for the past 10 years the public has been struggling just to get by. They’ve been hit by a wall of austerity: struggling to get their kids into school, to get a doctor’s appointment, to keep their job. So, the environment feels like a luxury to be discussed on another day. And I understand that. But, at the same time, we’re in danger of losing something incredibly precious and that ultimately all this other stuff is built on. If you don’t have an environment then you don’t have anything else.”

No one could doubt the sincerity of her commitment. The daughter of Tory-voting, small-business-owning parents, she was converted to environmental politics in adolescence and has devoted herself to the Green party for most of her adult life. And yet last month Lucas announced that she will not be standing for re-election this summer.

“Well, it’s not ‘And yet’,” she objects. Having dedicated her leadership energy to overdue structural reform, she insists she is standing aside in order to allow fresh talent to flourish. This will give her more time to “campaign around nature”, but she adds: “The overarching context right now is Brexit.”

Lucas is a passionate campaigner for what she calls a “people’s vote” – a referendum on the terms the government agrees with the EU for Brexit. Earlier this year, she put the odds of such a vote at 50/50 – and, to my surprise, she believes they have since shortened.

“I do. I think it’s very significant that Labour have refused to rule it out. They have been careful to leave the door open. I think they might well find it would be an elegant way for them to resolve the very uncomfortable position they’re in with so many of their constituencies, particularly in the north, being pro-leave while having a very strong remain support as well.” For the PM, too, “it’s one way of getting herself off a very awkward hook. And the number of people supporting a people’s poll is absolutely growing. It is.”

Her worry is that remain MPs are so focused on the parliamentary mechanics of securing such a vote that “they’re forgetting that, were we to get it, we’d still need to win it. Which is not a given.” Liberated from leadership, she plans to use her time to visit leave areas and “start listening to them, instead of telling them they’re wrong”.

The question this plan does not answer is why the electorate would decide a former leader of the Green party was right about anything. Ever since my childhood, the environmental movement has been celebrating alleged breakthrough victories, from the election of German Greens post-Chernobyl in the 80s, right up to Lucas’s electoral triumph in Brighton. As each has proved premature, is it time to conclude that the cause, no matter how right, is hopeless?

The public has been struggling just to get by. So, the environment feels like a luxury to be discussed on another day

She shakes her head. “It is a long slog. But not hopeless. If we could change the electoral system …” Perhaps, I suggest, the problem is not our electoral system, but human nature. Turkeys don’t want to vote for Christmas.

“No. It’s not human nature. There are Greens in many other countries, in government.” But the US elected Donald Trump! “They’ve got a crap electoral system, too. And Trump didn’t win by the popular vote. So I never think the game is up. But I do think it’s a bloody long slog. And I certainly didn’t think, when I joined the party back in 1986, that by 2018 we’d have one MP. I didn’t think that. But I still passionately believe there’s a massively important role for the Green party. Even within our hopeless system.”

Lucas thinks a Corbyn-led Labour government might introduce a proportional representation system that would translate their 1.1m votes in 2015 into 20 MPs. And yet, I say again, she has chosen not to be their leader.

“I’m not going to be very far away. I’m still going to be sounding off, I hope.”

Does she think she can defeat the Heathrow runway? “I think there’s a perfectly good chance we’ll defeat it.” As I am not sure if this is a prediction or ambition, I ask which way she would bet if she had to gamble £1,000 of her own money.

“Bet £1K on it?” Lucas laughs nervously, buying time, but in the end her old optimism wins.

“Because I’m a bit of a risk-taker, I’ll put my thousand pounds on it not happening.”

Press link for more: The Guardian

St Maarten Is. Governor calls for #climatechange response unit @ANZ_AU @CommBank #auspol

The critical question for a small island developing state such as St. Maarten is: “Do we have the time needed to effect the required strategic actions to tackle climate change,”

Governor Eugene Holiday questioned at the opening of the seventh Governor’s Symposium, themed “Climate Change and Small Island States: A Call for Strategic Action,” at American University of the Caribbean (AUC) campus in Cupecoy on Friday morning.

A strategic climate change governing agenda must be discussed, and a climate change response unit is necessary.

This unit must be a “separate,” yet integral part of the government’s apparatus.

That unit will focus on executing strategic climate change priorities by engaging government, the private sector and residents to become more aware and active participants in bringing about positive change.

Collaboration with regional and international institutions and entities is a must for the climate change response unit, said Holiday.

The unit “must be mandated” to make this a priority.

Tackling climate change requires tangible actions such as “increased investments in greater energy and infrastructure resilience.”

This can materialise by completing the underground utilities project throughout the country and taking a large step to clearer, sustainable sources of energy such as solar power.

The unit and government must “secure financing from an effective mix of private insurance, national first response funding and regional disaster risk facility.”

St. Maarten is “very susceptible” to the global impact of climate change and this is a “major governance challenge” for the country.

(The governor of St Maarten Is. must be one of those Tofu Tyrants)

The country does not significantly contribute to the negative impact on the earth’s climate; it is nevertheless amongst the most vulnerable, Holiday said.

“We are already at risk,” he said, pointing to the ongoing drought, the devastation of two unprecedented hurricanes – Irma and Maria in September 2017 – and Nature Foundation’s sea level rise prediction that puts the country’s capital Philipsburg and other low-lying areas under water in the next two decades.

Holiday left attendees with this strong statement: St. Maarten is “running out of time” to enact timely climate change measures. However, he is optimistic that “acting now, we can save the day for future generations.”

Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin built on the governor’s call by telling the symposium government is “tackling climate change from several angles,” including through striving to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Government is “committed” to working on climate change challenges.

Data needs

Meteorological Department of St. Maarten head Joseph Isaac called in the symposium’s “Climate Change, Weather and Environmental Patterns” segment for improved weather data collection, perhaps in collaboration with the French side of the island to effect better planning and mitigation.

The formation of a network of weather stations/radars is required “to assist in early warning systems” for natural disaster planning, Isaac pointed out.

Sea level monitoring is also vitally critical for St. Maarten to plan for the impact of the planet warming up and the melting of polar ice caps, he said.

Rounding off the segment, Climatologist Cedric van Meerbeeck of Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology outlined the science behind climate change to attendees and left behind the very frightening thought that by the end of the 21st century the Caribbean region is heading to a one- to five-degrees-Celsius increase in temperature, at least a one-metre rise in sea level and the lengthening of the annual hurricane season.

(Meanwhile in Australia the major banks are still heavily invested in fossil fuels)

Yes, climate matters

Windward Islands Bank General Managing Director Derek Downes, speaking in the “Climate Change effects on socio-economic development” segment, urged government to establish a “disaster fund” that will be activated following a climate change event to cover clean-up and reconstruction of the country. This fund can be financed by an “environmental levy.”

He also called for improving and building of coastal defences, updated environmental laws, improved drainage systems and improving and enforcing building standards. Building on the latter, Downes unapologetically stated the country has “too many shanty towns.”

University of the West Indies Faculty of Science and Technology Deputy Dean Michael Taylor pressed home the point that “climate matters” because the climate has already changed and will continue to change.

Climate matters because it “demands change” through a change in attitude to the phenomenon, change of approach and for people “to act with respect” to climate change, he said.

On the current climate change path, Taylor said, “We are heading towards water deficit” aggravated by less rainfall. This also endangers food security as crops struggle in higher temperatures and drier conditions, impacts already-burdened health care and the wiping out of coastal areas and infrastructure.

Proactive

Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre Director Kendrick Leslie, the symposium keynote speaker, described the impact of climate change on the region as “devastating is an understatement.”

Adaptation is the “only option” for small island developing states to battle against the hurdles of climate change, but they are not economically positioned to do without help from developed countries, Leslie said.

Adaptation suggestions include storm-proofing of schools to ensure less impact to educational development, securing water harvesting routes (wells) for water security, protecting the central emergency operating centre, putting all utility cables underground and planting category-five hurricane-resistant light poles.

Governments should be more proactive in tackling climate change, Leslie said, as he urged all to take the examples of measures Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Aruba, among others, have taken to mitigate the growing impact of climate change.

The symposium concluded with a panel discussion with all speakers, moderated by Nature Foundation Managing Director Tadzio Bervoets.

Press link for more: The Daily Herald