Month: November 2018

Bats dropping by the dozen from Cairns’ trees due to extreme heat #ClimateChange #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #TheDrum #auspol #Qldpol #Heatwave

Flying foxes dead from heat stress at Murray St bat colony, Manoora. Photo: Daniel Bateman

THE extreme weather has been taking a toll on the Far North’s flying foxes, who are dropping by the dozen from trees — and causing a potential public health risk. 

Wildlife carers say they are struggling with the overwhelming numbers of bats becoming affected by heat stress in colonies in Cairns, Edmonton, Gordonvale, and Townsville.

In the Murray St Park in Manoora, Amanda Milligan and Jessie Smart from FNQ Wildlife Carers had set up a “triage” system, administering glucose injections and spraying injured flying foxes with water.

Jessie Smart and Amanda Milligan from FNQ Wildlife Care spray water over a flying fox that fell from the bat colony due to heat stress at Murray St, Manoora. Photo: Daniel Bateman

Ms Milligan, who has lived in Cairns for more than two decades, said she had never seen so many bats badly affected by the heat.

“As soon as it hit more than 40C, we had bats falling from the trees,” she said.

“Here (in Murray St) we had 140 dead on Monday and we’ve got another 40 today.”

She said they were desperate for other wildlife carers and volunteers to assist with either treating bats, or help clear and count the dead.

Jessie Smart from FNQ Wildlife Care injecting glucose into a flying fox that fell from the bat colony due to heat stress at Murray St, Manoora. Photo: Daniel Bateman

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has issued a public health warning, urging people not to go near sick or injured flying foxes.

Since Monday, there has been seven people who have been reported being bitten or scratched by bats across the region.

Tropical Public Health Services Cairns director Dr Richard Gair said a majority of these cases had occurred at the Cairns city library bat colony.

“We understand that over the last 24 hours, it’s actually bats that have been accidentally flying into people, rather than people trying to pick them up,” he said.

He said some bats may be infected with the potentially deadly Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV).

“ABLV is an infection like rabies, which can be transmitted through a bat bite or scratch, or

possibly through exposure of the eyes, nose or mouth to bat saliva,” he said.

Press link for more: Cairns Post

The previous record high for Cairns in November was 37.2C

We’re in our third day of 5C above the previous high record.

Catastrophic climate change has arrived and our wildlife are paying a terrible price.

The Great Barrier Reef will most likely suffer another bleaching.

World must triple efforts or face catastrophic #climatechange, says UN #auspol #qldpol #COP24 #StopAdani demand #ClimateAction #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #TheDrum

Rapid emissions turnaround needed to keep global warming at less than 2C, report suggests

New taxes on fossil fuels, investment in clean technology and much stronger government policies to bring down emissions are likely to be necessary.

Governments must also stop subsidising fossil fuels, directly and indirectly, the UN said.

Gunnar Luderer, one of the authors of the UN report and senior scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said: “There is still a tremendous gap between words and deeds, between the targets agreed by governments and the measures to achieve these goals.

“Only a rapid turnaround here can help. Emissions must be reduced by a quarter by 2030 [to keep warming to no more than 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels] and for 1.5C emissions would have to be halved.”

In all, a tripling of effort may be needed to keep warming to less than 2C, meeting scientific advice on avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions continued their long-term rise last year, according to the UN, but they could be brought under control.

There are promising signs, such as investment from the private sector in renewable energy and other technologies to cut carbon, but these are currently insufficient to meet scientific advice.

Joyce Msuya, deputy executive director of UN Environment, said: “The science is clear: for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen, governments need to move faster and with greater urgency.

We’re feeding this fire, while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”

Australia is feeding the fire with coal.

Global emissions have reached what the UN has called “historic levels” of 53.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and are showing no signs of peaking, despite a levelling off in the past decade.

The report came a day after Donald Trump said he did not believe his own administration’s latest report warning about the dire risk of inaction on climate change.

Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions soaring since government axed the carbon price.

Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of the dire effects of allowing global warming to reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The world has a little over a decade to bring down greenhouse gas emissions before such dangerous levels of warming become inevitable.

Only 57 countries, representing 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, are on track to cause their emissions to peak before 2030. If emissions are allowed to rise beyond that, the IPCC has said countries are likely to breach the 1.5C limit, which will trigger sea-level rises, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events.

On Monday, the biggest review of climate change in the UK for a decade found that flooding was likely to become more severe and summers could become more than 5C hotter within 50 years.

The UN’s warning comes before key talks in Poland next month, when governments will meet to discuss how to implement the commitments made in Paris in 2015. According to the Paris agreement, the first global pact to bind both developed and developing countries to a specific temperature goal, governments must do all they can to stop warming reaching 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to limit warming to no more than 1.5C.

Jian Liu, the chief scientist at UN Environment, said some of the necessary policies were clear and available, if there was political will to implement them. “When governments embrace fiscal policy measures to subsidise low-carbon alternatives and tax fossil fuels, they can stimulate the right investments in the energy sector and significantly reduce carbon emissions. If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10% by 2030.”

Carbon pricing is one way of achieving this, but has run into difficulties as taxes are often unpopular and schemes to reduce carbon through emissions tradingare often contested by businesses and other interests.

Greenhouse gas emissions stalled soon after the global financial crisis of a decade ago, then quickly resumed their rise, to the consternation of climate experts. For three years before 2017 they fell once again, but last year there was an increase. Emissions are expected to rise further this year, pointing to an emissions gap between what countries promised in Paris and what their policies are delivering.

Looking for human remains after recent fires in California

Another problem is that infrastructure such as buildings, transport networks and energy generation that is built now to rely on fossil fuels will in effect lock infuture emissions for the lifetime in which that infrastructure operates, usually up to 50 years.

Changing the way we construct infrastructure is therefore essential, but many companies and governments still rely on old measures of economic performance and old ways of generating energy and constructing buildings.

Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said: “The window of opportunity is starting to close and if we fail to act now the opportunity will be gone.

Failure to act will lock in catastrophic global warming that will change the planet irrevocably and condemn millions to suffering. What are governments waiting for?”

Stephanie Pfeifer, the chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said some businesses were taking action. “Investors understand the opportunity presented by the move to a low-carbon economy. The right signals from government will help to unlock low-carbon investment from the private sector.”

Press link for more: The Guardian

Sea level rise, salty drinking water – how climate change could be causing miscarriages in Bangladesh

We need a Green New Deal urgently


How climate change , BBC News , 26 November 2018 

In small villages along the eastern coast of Bangladesh, researchers have noticed an unexpectedly high rate of miscarriage. As they investigated further, scientists reached the conclusion that climate change might be to blame. Journalist Susannah Savage went into these communities to find out more.

“….in a small village on the east coast of Bangladesh… While miscarriages are not out of the ordinary, scientists who follow the community have noticed an increase, particularly compared to other areas. The reason for this, they believe, is climate change….

“Nothing grows here anymore,” says Al-Munnahar. Not many years ago – up until the 1990s – these swamp lands were paddy fields.  If rice production back then was not profitable, it was at least viable. Not anymore. Rising waters and increasing salinity have forced the wealthiest among the villagers to change to shrimp farming or salt…

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WE NEED AN APOLLO PROGRAMME FOR #CLIMATECHANGE #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #GreenNewDeal #TheDrum #QandA

By Bill McGuire

A recent visit to the cinema to see the excellent First Man, which follows astronaut Neil Armstrong on his path to immortality, reminded me of the big anniversary coming up next year.

I find it hard to believe, but 2019 will see the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, way back in July 1969. I was a schoolboy at the time and remember it vividly. In many ways, this seminal event was the beginning of the end for the hugely ambitious US space programme. Despite another five landings following, and all the drama of the Apollo 13 emergency, the final two moon missions were scrapped, along with plans for a moon base and manned mission to Mars in the 1980s. There has been no return to the Moon and – notwithstanding wildly optimistic ravings from Elon Musk and other internet billionaires with more money than sense – a human presence on the red planet seems as far away as ever.

      It is probably not entirely a coincidence that interest in space and reaching out to other worlds began to fade at a time when concerns over our own was growing. Today, few in their right mind would prioritise space exploration over putting our house in order down here on Earth.

A house that is in severe danger of being trashed beyond repair by a conspiracy of climate breakdown, environmental degradation and mass extinction. Notwithstanding this, space still has a major role to play down here on the surface. Specialist satellites play a key part in observing and tracking many of the features that flag up how quickly our world is falling apart, including ice cover, sea-surface temperatures and land use. The Apollo programme, in particular, also taught us a vital lesson; just how quickly something can be accomplished if it is wanted badly enough. This is encapsulated in a short clip from the now famous speech President Kennedy made in 1962, during which he announced the intention to put a man on the Moon. 

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.

      Swap ‘stop climate breakdown’  for ‘go to the Moon’ and these few sentences describe perfectly the can-do thinking that a war on climate change requires.

It may be Kismet, but Kennedy’s speech was made seven years before the first moon landing; the same length of time over which Extinction Rebellion demands that UK carbon emissions reach net zero.

So, it seems obvious.

What we need is an Apollo Programme for climate change.

An all-embracing crusade that strives to cut emissions to the bone within seven years.

To do this will require retooling the economy and rebooting our wasteful lifestyles to make falling carbon output the measure of the success of our society; not rising GDP, the number of families with two cars, or how many fighter jets we have sold to Saudi Arabia.

      The driver for the Apollo programme was simple and straightforward – get to the Moon before the ‘Russkies’ do.

When the alternative is global catastrophe, an Apollo Programme for climate change shouldn’t really need to be incentivised.

Knowing that we will bequeath to our children and their children a world that is not desecrated beyond redemption should be sufficient.

Nonetheless, there are welcome incentives too.

A zero carbon world will be a cleaner, safer and – almost certainly – a happier one.

So what’s not to like.

The sooner we start the better.

Bill McGuire is Professor Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL and author of Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanic Eruptions. He was a contributor to the IPCC 2012 report on Climate Change & Extreme Events and Disasters.

Press link for more: XR Blog

#ClimateEmergency we need a world 🌎 wide #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange now catastrophic. #Heatwave #Wildfire #Flood #Extinction #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #COP24

Summary of the Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a four part program for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal will provide similar relief and create an economy that makes our communities sustainable, healthy and just.

The cost of inaction is enormous



Our country cannot truly move forward until the roots of inequality are pulled up, and the seeds of a new, healthier economy are planted. Thus, the Green New Deal begins with an Economic Bill of Rights that ensures all citizens: 1. The right to employment through a Full Employment Program that will create 25 million jobs by implementing a nationally funded, but locally controlled direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices offering public sector jobs which are “stored” in job banks in order to take up any slack in private sector employment.

  • Local communities will use a process of broad stakeholder input and democratic decisionmaking to fairly implement these programs.
  • Pay-to-play prohibitions will ensure that campaign contributions or lobbying favors do not impact decision-making.
  • We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work.

2. Worker’s rights including the right to a living wage, to a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal.

3. The right to quality health care which will be achieved through a single-payer Medicare-for-All program.

4. The right to a tuition-free, quality, federally funded, local controlled public education system from pre-school through college. We will also forgive student loan debt from the current era of unaffordable college education.

5. The right to decent affordable housing, including an immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions. We will:

  • create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants;
  • expand rental and home ownership assistance;
  • create ample public housing; and,
  • offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.

6. The right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.

7. The right to fair taxation that’s distributed in proportion to ability to pay. In addition, corporate tax subsidies will be made transparent by detailing them in public budgets where they can be scrutinized, not hidden as tax breaks.


The second priority of the Green New Deal is a Green Transition Program that will convert the old, gray economy into a new, sustainable economy that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible. We will:

1. Invest in green business by providing grants and low-interest loans to grow green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.

2. Prioritize green research by redirecting research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal. We will invest in research in sustainable, nontoxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.

3. Provide green jobs by enacting the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 16 million jobs in sustainable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting, mass transit and “complete streets” that promote safe bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing.


The takeover of our economy by big banks and well-connected financiers has destabilized both our democracy and our economy. It’s time to take Wall Street out of the driver’s seat and to free the truly productive segments of working America to make this economy work for all of us. Real Financial Reform will:

1. Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.

2. Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means we’ll nationalize the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and place them under a Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.

3. Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail.”

4. End taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers, and other financial companies. We’ll use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.

5. Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.

6. Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.

7. Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.

8. Support the formation of federal, state, and municipal public-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities. Under the Green New Deal we will start building a financial system that is open, honest, stable, and serves the real economy rather than the phony economy of high finance.


We won’t get these vital reforms without a fourth and final set of reforms to give us a real, functioning democracy. Just as we are replacing the old economy with a new one, we need a new politics to restore the promise of American democracy. The New Green Deal will:

1. Revoke corporate personhood by amending our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech. Those rights belong to living, breathing human beings – not to business entities controlled by the wealthy.

2. Protect our right to vote by supporting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s proposed “Right to Vote Amendment,” to clarify to the Supreme Court that yes, we do have a constitutional right to vote.

3. Enact the Voter Bill of Rights that will:

  • guarantee us a voter-marked paper ballot for all voting;
  • require that all votes are counted before election results are released;
  • replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions;
  • celebrate our democratic aspirations by making Election Day a national holiday;
  • bring simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls;
  • do away with so-called “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation, systems most advanced countries now use to good effect;
  • replace big money control of election campaigns with full public financing and free and equal access to the airwaves;
  • guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates;
  • abolish the Electoral College and implement direct election of the President;
  • restore the vote to ex-offenders who’ve paid their debt to society; and,
  • enact Statehood for the District of Columbia so that those Americans have representation in Congress and full rights to self rule like the rest of us.

4. Protect local democracy and democratic rights by commissioning a thorough review of federal preemption law and its impact on the practice of local democracy in the United States. This review will put at its center the “democracy question” – that is, what level of government is most open to democratic participation and most suited to protecting democratic rights.

5. Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.

6. Strengthen media democracy by expanding federal support for locally-owned broadcast media and local print media.

7. Protect our personal liberty and freedoms by:

  • repealing the Patriot Act and those parts of the National Defense Authorization Act that violate our civil liberties;
  • prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI from conspiring with local police forces to suppress our freedoms of assembly and of speech; and,
  • ending the war on immigrants – including the cruel, so-called “secure communities” program.

8. Rein in the military-industrial complex by

  • reducing military spending by 50% and closing U.S. military bases around the world;
  • restoring the National Guard as the centerpiece of our system of national defense; and,
  • creating a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.

Let us not rest until we have pulled our nation back from the brink, and until we have secured the peaceful, just, green future we all deserve.

Press link for more: GP.ORG

Trump: ‘I don’t believe’ government climate report. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateEmergency #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #COP24

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday rejected a central conclusion of a dire report on the economic costs of climate change released by his own administration.

But economists said the National Climate Assessment’s warning of hundreds of billions of dollars a year in global warming costs is pretty much on the money.

Just look at last year with Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma, they said.

Those three 2017 storms caused at least $265 billion in damage , according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The climate report , quietly unveiled Friday, warned that natural disasters are worsening in the United States because of global warming.

It said warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration.” The report noted the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015.

“The potential for losses in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century,” the report said. It added that if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue at current levels, labor costs in outdoor industries during heat waves could cost $155 billion in lost wages per year by 2090.

The president said he read some of the report “and it’s fine” but not the part about the devastating economic impact.

“I don’t believe it,” Trump said, adding that if “every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good.”

Nearly every country in the world in 2015 pledged to reduce or slow the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, the chief greenhouse gas.

“We’re already there,” said Wesleyan University economist Gary Yohe, who was a reviewer of the national report, which was produced by 13 federal agencies and outside scientists. “Climate change is making a noticeable impact on our economy right now: Harvey, Florence, Michael, Maria.”

Yohe said, “It is devastating at particular locations, but for the entire country? No.”

Economist Ray Kopp, a vice president at the think tank Resources For the Future and who wasn’t part of the assessment, said the economics and the science in the report were absolutely credible.

“I believe this is going to be a devastating loss without any other action-taking place,” Kopp said Monday. “This is certainly something you would want to avoid.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison loves coal

Earlier, the White House had played down the report. Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an emailed statement that the report “is largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that, despite strong economic growth that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population. ”

Throughout the 29-chapter report, scientists provide three scenarios that the United Nations’ climate assessments use. One is the business-as-usual scenario, which scientists say is closest to the current situation. That is the worst case of the three scenarios. Another would envision modest reductions in heat-trapping gases, and the third would involve severe cuts in carbon dioxide pollution.

For example, the $155 billion a year in extra labor costs at the end of the century is under the business-as-usual scenario. Modest reductions in carbon pollution would cut that to $75 billion a year, the report said.

The report talks of hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses in several spots. In one graphic, it shows the worst-case business-as-usual scenario of economic costs reaching 10 percent of gross domestic product when Earth is about a dozen degrees warmer than now with no specific date.

Yohe said it was unfortunate that some media jumped on that 10 percent number because that was a rare case of hyperbole in the report.

“The 10 percent is not implausible as a possible future for 2100,” Yohe said. “It’s just not terribly likely.”

Kopp, on the other hand, said the 10 percent figure seems believable.

“This is probably a best estimate,” Kopp said. “It could be larger. It could be smaller.”

Press link for more: AP News

A zero-carbon economy is both feasible and affordable #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency we must act now #TheDrum

The issue is whether governments, industry and consumers are willing to do what is required

By Adair Turner

Jonathan Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell (born 5 October 1955) is a British businessman and academic and was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority until its abolition in March 2013.

He is a former Chairman of the Pensions Commission and the Committee on Climate Change, as well as a former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry. He has described himself in a BBC HARDtalk interview with Stephen Sackuras a ‘technocrat‘.

A solar farm. Achieving net zero emissions requires boosting the role of electricity

Fossil fuels have driven rising prosperity for more than 200 years and today provide 80 per cent of human energy needs. But carbon dioxide emissions from their use threaten potentially catastrophic climate change.

To avoid that we must achieve net zero emissions across the whole world by around 2060. 

That may seem daunting. But it would be undoubtedly technically possible at very small economic cost, as a report from the Energy Transitions Commission makes clear. The issue is not feasibility, but whether governments, industry and consumers are willing to take the actions required to get there. 

Achieving net zero emissions requires boosting the role of electricity.

The commission, which I chair, estimates its share of energy demand must grow from 20 per cent today to more than 60 per cent by mid-century.

Total generation would have to rise from 20,000 terawatt hours to up to 100,000 twh. 

Nuclear power could play some role but most of this power must and can come from renewable sources, including wind, solar and water.

Less than 1.5 per cent of the global land surface area could produce all the renewable electricity the world needs: and it is physically possible to run grids that rely on intermittent renewables for 85 to 90 per cent of their power, while still delivering electricity whenever needed.

The real challenge is to get to this endpoint fast enough: that requires us to quintuple our annual investment in renewables capacity for the next 40 years. 

Three other technologies are also essential.

First there must be a major role for hydrogen power: steel producers could potentially use it rather than coking coal as the reduction agent, and ammonia (produced from hydrogen) could be used as fuel for ships.

Hydrogen can result in zero-carbon emissions if produced via electrolysis using zero-carbon electricity. 

Second, we must tap bioenergy to provide zero-carbon aviation fuel and as a feedstock for plastics production. But this step must be carefully managed to avoid harmful impacts on ecosystems and food production.

Third a relatively small but still vital role for technologies that capture CO2, particularly in cement production. 

Some aspects of a zero-carbon economy will make consumers better off.

Within 10 years, electric cars will not only be cheaper to operate than diesel or petrol, but also cheaper to buy.

In heavy industry and transport, where it is harder to reduce CO2 emissions, some additional costs are unavoidable but often the consumer impact will be trivial: making cars from zero-carbon steel would add no more than 1 per cent to a typical car price. But in some specific sectors, material price increases may be unavoidable: if bio-based aviation fuel costs 50-100 per cent more to produce than conventional jet fuel, that would add up to 20 per cent to ticket prices.

Overall, the commission estimates that achieving zero emissions in heavy industry and transport by 2060 would make the global economy at most 0.5 per cent smaller than it would otherwise have been.

That figure could be reduced to less than 0.3 per cent if we increased the recycling and reuse of industrial materials.

That means that there are no unmanageable technological, resource or even cost barriers to impede our path to a zero-carbon economy. Still, without strong government intervention policies we will fail to achieve it. 

Charging for carbon emissions is essential but must be designed to avoid unfair competition. Making steel zero carbon may add only trivially to car prices, but any steel producer facing a carbon price that adds $100 to the costs of producing a tonne of steel, would be severely disadvantaged if competitors in other countries did not have to pay similar taxes. 

Ideally, we would strike international agreements, but we should not rule out imposing carbon-related tariffs on imports from non-co-operating countries. We should also consider unilateral domestic carbon prices in sectors such as cement, where international trade is limited. In some sectors, regulation may be more effective. Green fuel mandates requiring airlines to use a steadily rising percentage of zero-carbon bio or synthetic jet fuel would provide powerful incentives for innovation and large-scale production. Tight rules on the dismantling and disposal of discarded products will be essential to drive recycling.

Reaching agreement on many of these policies will of course be difficult. But it should at least be easier if we start with certainty that a zero-carbon economy is both technically feasible and affordable. 

The writer, a former head of the UK Financial Services Authority, chairs the Energy Transitions Commission

Press link for more: Financial Times

Mining for power: How Adani hopes to get its way #auspol #qldpol Why we need a Federal #ICAC urgently. #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #Corruption #ClimateChange

To mark its fifth birthday, The New Daily digs deeper into the power of the mining lobby in Australia.

Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland is nothing if not controversial. Yet the Indian multinational conglomerate is determined to turn its mega mine dream into reality.

Pushing an uphill battle against public opinion, political appetite and fund sourcing, Adani’s “people” are in the ear of Australia’s decision makers consistently.

Like no other entity currently on the Australian political landscape, Adani needs representation at the highest levels of government.

And it is paying the big bucks to make sure it gets exactly that.

The Australian Government Lobbyists Register lists Govstrat Pty Ltd as Adani’s chief lobbyist company.

Govstrat is headed by former Queensland Labor Party treasurer Damian Power.

The company employs as its senior counsel and principal adviser the former Queensland premier and Nationals Party leader Rob Borbidge.

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s one-time chief of staff Ken Macpherson is also on the books as a Govstrat lobbyist as is Jeff Popp, who was chief of staff to the former Liberal National Party Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney.

“There is something that jumps out very clearly with this lobby firm,” said one well-known Canberra lobbyist who asked not to be named.

“They have got well-connected people and they have both sides of politics covered.

“There is also a strong Queensland link here. But these people are walking the corridors in Canberra too.

“Of course there is the wining and dining and whatever kind of representation they can get. And it is about using your networks. But it is also far more sophisticated than that. The stakes are so high here. The Adani lobbyists are putting up a strong political and economic argument.”

Also on the lobbyists register is the firm Strategic Political Counsel Pty Ltd, a newish company founded by Michael Kauter – a personal friend of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

Among the clients listed under Strategic Political Counsel are British American Tobacco Australia, the Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association, and one Adani Australia.

Adani’s lobbyists are up against stiff public opposition. Photo: AAP

“All of these lobbyists, from whichever firm has a stake in Adani, are working extremely hard right now,” another Canberra lobbyist said.

“They are working hard on the business case and trying to convince those in charge of the economic and central government portfolios that the case is good.

“They are not going to get any other portfolios. They need the economic portfolios. They want to get [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison on board and they are working hard on that. They likely sh-t themselves with the leadership change, but their focus is now on him.

“They can only win this if they can convince the right people that their project fits with the Coalition’s economic model for Australia. And they are investing big time in Queensland.”

Another Canberra powerbroker who asked for anonymity spoke somewhat more grimly about the current power of the mining lobbyists.

“Lobbyists’ ability to influence legislation right now is zero because there is a federal election on the horizon,” the contact said.

“To some degree, lobbyists are butt kickers, but the problem is right now that we don’t know whose butt to kick.

Gautam Adani, chair of the Adani group, in 2010. Photo: Getty

“The big lobbyists are well known enough that they can keep out of trouble. But with an election looming, most are executing a transitional model and that can be quite problematic.

“Working on a relationships model is OK, but nothing is getting done. And the mining lobbyists are some of the hardest hit right now.”

As the federal election draws closer – and as polling increasingly points to a change in government – many lobbyists have shifted their focus from the Coalition to Labor.

“People are leaving lobby firms and those stocks are not being replenished,” one lobbyist said.

“There is a rapid changeover of staff with some good people not coming back to the profession and a lack of investment in good new people to replace them.

“Adani wants the best and is willing to pay for it. But there is a fatigue factor setting in with a lot of mining lobbyists. Adani is no exception.”

Press link for more: The New Daily

We urgently need a #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateEmergency #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #TheDrum #QandA #StopAdani Demand #ClimateAction

Deteriorating climate requires more aggressive action

By Craig S. Altemose

THE LATEST CLIMATE SCIENCE has come in, and it’s time to update our state’s climate laws.

As a graduate student working on climate change in 2008, I was proud to help lead hundreds of students from across Massachusetts to campaign effusively for the passage of our state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. It was, and remains, the nation’s most aggressive binding climate law, and everyone who helped pass it and all the legislators who voted for it should remain proud of that accomplishment, particularly the bill’s visionary co-sponsors, Sen. Marc Pacheco and recently-retired representative Frank Smizik.

And yet the source of that pride—the knowledge that we were aligning Massachusetts’ policies with the latest and best available science—should now leave all of us who care about a livable future feeling unsettled. Because the latest and best science has changed.

The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act was based on the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which aimed at helping society avert a 4-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature.

While that may not seem like a lot, our climate system is actually pretty sensitive, just like the human body.

It turns out increasing the planet’s temperature by 4 degrees may be as dangerous as increasing your body’s internal temperature a comparable amount; as we know, going from 98.6 degrees to 102.6 degrees is pretty serious.

To have a 50 percent chance of avoiding the catastrophe that would come with a 4-degree temperature rise, the IPCC said in 2007 that developed nations such as the United States should reduce their climate pollution 25 to 40 percent by 2020 and 80 to 95 percent by 2050 (below the 1990 baseline levels).

Massachusetts became the only state in the nation to adopt legislation requiring us to land within that range (25 percent by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050), putting our state in line with other nations such as the 27-member European Union and Japan.

Since 2008, three critical trends have been observed that have changed the calculus of what we need to do.

Two of these trends (worsening science outlook and delayed action) are unsettling, while the third (clean energy growth) is more promising.

The first trend is that the science has continued to be updated, and continues to look worse.

The IPCC’s latest report issued earlier this year has demonstrated that 3 degrees Fahrenheit, not 4 degrees Fahrenheit, is the more appropriate, safer target that society must achieve.

It’s the difference between keeping some coral reefs—currently home to over 25 percent of all marine life—or having them all disappear, along with most of the fish and people who rely on them for food.

It’s the difference between hundreds of millions of people being able to continue living with relative peace and prosperity in their ancestral homelands, and those hundreds of millions of people being displaced and migrating across international lines, creating massive migration crises, food riots, and the collapse of governments.

It’s the difference between a world we mostly recognize, and one we do not.

The second, related trend is the under-implementation of climate solutions around the world. With global climate pollution continuing to rise over the past decade instead of dropping, we must be even more ambitious in our pollution reduction to achieve the same result, because it’s the total amount of pollution (the stock), not how much we emit in a given year (the rate), that counts.

In other words, if you have a deadline to run a marathon, and you decide to walk the first 10 miles, you have to run the rest of the course a lot faster to hit your deadline than you would have if you had started running at the beginning.

That’s where we are—we have great distance to cover in relatively little time.

The latest IPCC report suggests that the whole world now needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and zero them out by 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

And given Massachusetts’ history of progressive leadership; above-average wealth; absence of coal, oil, and gas deposits; and robust clean tech sector, we should be doing substantially more, not less, than the global average.

Which leads me to the more promising trend: clean energy has advanced dramatically in the last decade.

The price of solar and wind – both onshore and offshore – has dropped tremendously, and is economically competitive with coal, oil, and gas in more and more places with each passing day, while breakthroughs around energy storage, smart grids, microgrids, and electric vehicles are proceeding aggressively.

Quite simply, we have the technology we need to advance a transition off of fossil fuels, and using 2018 technology to charge forward aggressively with that transition is a lot easier than charging forward with 2008 technology.

These three trends – more accurate climate science, delayed action, and a rapid growth in climate solutions – all point to the same conclusion: we can, should, and must redouble our efforts on climate change and support ambitious, science-based targets. If we truly want Massachusetts to assume its historic leadership role on this greatest crisis facing humanity, then we should have all of our policies driving toward 2030, not 2050, as the deadline for our work.

Doing so will require creative imagination, the courage to disrupt business-as-usual politics regarding our “public” utilities, and to grapple with tough choices. But there are some serious upsides to chartering an ambitious and bold response to climate change. We can also help infuse society with an inspiring and meaningful shared purpose. We can take advantage of the coming economic restructuring to simultaneously address systemic issues of racial and socioeconomic inequalities. We can move our economy away from one with disposable things and disposable people toward one that invests in healthy, whole, resilient communities. And we can save life on earth as we know it.

Many are now starting to frame such an aggressive, holistic response as a Green New Deal, with an emphasis on heavy government intervention on clean energy and jobs creation to advance critical social needs. Key components include a guaranteed good-paying job for anyone willing to work as part of the transition off of fossil fuels, and a particular focus on ensuring that fossil fuel workers, workin- class communities, and communities of color equitably share the benefits of this transition, all with an eye toward prompt and ambitious action on the timeline—years, not decades—that counts.

As tough as this path may seem, the choice is truly an easy one.

Will we take the necessary steps to repower and rework our economy, or will we continue on a path of gradual, inadequate actions and watch as California burns, oceans rise, storms strike, and crops fail? 

It’s time for Massachusetts to accelerate our efforts to build a better future that works for all of us and take the lead in a proportionate response to the climate crisis.

Craig S. Altemose is the executive director of Better Future Project and 350 Mass Action.

Press link for more: Commonwealth Magazine