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How to create a leaderless revolution and win lasting political change #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #SystemChange not #ClimateChange #TheDrum #GreenNewDeal

The gilets jaunes movement in France is a leaderless political uprising.

It isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

Occupy, the Arab spring and #MeToo are other recent examples of this new politics.

Some of it is good.

Some of it is not: a leaderless movement, self-organised on Reddit, helped elect Donald Trump.

But leaderless movements are spreading, and we need to understand where they come from, what is legitimate action and, if you want to start one, what works and what doesn’t.

The Arab spring began with the self-immolation of one despairing young man in Tunisia; the revolt rapidly spread across the region, just as protests have proliferated in France.

In highly connected complex systems, such as the world today, the action of a single agent can suddenly trigger what complexity theorists call a “phase shift” across the entire system.

We cannot predict which agent or what event might be that trigger. But we already know that the multiplying connections of our worldoffer an unprecedented opportunity for the rise and spread of leaderless movements.

Leaderless movements spring from frustration with conventional top-down politics, a frustration shared by many, not only those on the streets.

Polls suggest the gilets jaunes are supported by a large majority of the French public.

Who believes that writing to your MP, or signing a petition to No 10 makes any difference to problems such as inequality, the chronic housing shortage or the emerging climate disaster?

Even voting feels like a feeble response to these deep-seated problems that are functions not only of government policies but more of the economic system itself.

What such movements oppose is usually clear, but what they propose is inevitably less so: that is their nature.

The serial popular uprisings of the Arab spring all rejected authoritarian rule, whether in Tunisia, Egypt or Syria. But in most places there was no agreement about what kind of government should replace the dictators.

In Eygpt, the Tahrir Square protests failed to create an organised democratic political party that could win an election.

Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood, long highly organised and thus prepared for such a moment, stepped into the political vacuum.

In turn, this provoked further mass protest, which eventually brought to power another dictatorship as repressive as Hosni Mubarak’s.

When the demand is for change in social relations– norms more than laws – such as the end of sexual harassment, the results can be as rapid but also more enduring and positive.

The #MeToo movement has provoked questioning of gender relations across the world.

The British deputy prime minister, Damian Green, was forced to resign; in India, a cabinet minister. The effects are uneven, and far from universal, but sexual harassers have been outed and ousted from positions of power in the media, NGOs and governments.

Some mass action has required leadership. The race discrimination that confronted the US civil rights movement was deeply entrenched in both American society and its laws. Martin Luther King and other leaders paid exquisite attention to strategy, switching tactics according to what worked and what didn’t.

King correctly judged, however, that real and lasting equality required the reform of capitalism – a change in the system itself.

In a sense, his objective went from the singular to the plural. And that is where his campaign hit the rocks.

Momentum dissipated when King started to talk about economic equality: there was no agreement on the diagnosis, or the solution.

The Occupy movement faced a similar problem.

It succeeded in inserting inequality and economic injustice into the mainstream political conversation – politicians had avoided the topic before. But Occupy couldn’t articulate a specific political programme to reform the system.

I was in Zuccotti Park in New York City, where the protest movement began, when the “general assembly” invited the participants to pin notes listing their demands on to trees. Ideas were soon plastered up, from petitioning Washington DC to replacing the dollar – many of which, of course, were irreconcilable with each other.

This is why a leaderless response to the climate change disaster is tricky.

It’s striking that in Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax rises the gilets jaunes opposed the very thing demanded by Extinction Rebellion, Britain’s newly minted leaderless movement: aggressive policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero.

Macron’s proposals would have hit the poorest hardest, illustrating that resolving the crises of the environment and inequality requires a more comprehensive, carefully wrought solution to both. But leaderless movements have largely proved incapable of such complicated decision-making, as anyone at Zuccotti Park will attest.

Conventional party politicians, reasserting their own claim to legitimacy, insist that such problems can only be arbitrated by imposing more top-down policy. But when most feel powerless about the things that matter, this may only provoke further protests.

Ultimately, to address profound systemic challenges, we shall need new participatory and inclusive decision-making structures to negotiate the difficult choices.

An example of these forums has emerged in parts of Syria, of all places. Rightly, this is precisely what the Extinction Rebellion is also demanding.

Inevitably, leaderless movements face questions about their legitimacy.

One answer lies in their methods.

The Macron government has exploited the violence seen in Paris and elsewhere to claim that the gilets jaunes movement is illegitimate and anti-democratic.

Mahatma Gandhi, and later King, realised that nonviolent action – such as the satyagraha salt march or the Montgomery bus boycott – denies the authorities this line of attack.

On the contrary, the violence used by those authorities – the British colonial government or the police of the southern US states – against nonviolent protestors helped build their own legitimacy and attracted global attention.

Complexity science tells us something else important.

System-wide shifts happen when the system is primed for change, at so-called criticality.

In the Middle East there was almost universal anger at the existing political status quo, so it took only one match to light the fire of revolt.

Meeting people in colleges and towns across the UK but also in the US (where I lived until recently) you can hear the mounting frustration with a political and economic system that is totally unresponsive to the needs of the 99%, and offers no credible answer to the climate emergency.

There will be more leaderless movements to express this frustration, just as there will be more rightwing demagogues, like Trump or Boris Johnson, who seek to exploit it to their own advantage.

For the right ones to prevail, we must insist on nonviolence as well as commitment to dialogue with – and not denunciation of – those who disagree.

Messily, a new form of politics is upon us, and we must ensure that it peacefully and democratically produces deep systematic reform, not the counter-reaction of the authoritarians.

Get ready.

 Carne Ross is a former British diplomat and author of The Leaderless Revolution

Press link for more: The Guardian

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Climate Change Is Changing the Politics of #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #ClimateStrike #Heatwave #Bushfire #Flood #ExtinctionRebellion #Insiders #QandA #TheDrum #StopAdani

By David Doniger

A pessimist could be forgiven for thinking the treadmill of climate denial and inaction is endless.

For at least 50 years, senior oil company executives have known that burning their product was destabilizing our climate.

President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress in 1965 to pass legislation to curb carbon dioxide pollution, and Congress enacted that law—the Clean Air Act—in 1970. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned Richard Nixon, and every subsequent president has had his Jeremiah to sound the alarm.

We made steps forward under Clinton and Obama only to suffer sharp reversals under the second Bush and—sharpest of all—Trump.

But even at this late hour, I tend toward hope that this cycle is about to change.

Why?

Because in 1965, 1995, and even 2015, climate change seemed still off in the future, theoretical, something our worst politicians could deny altogether, and our best ones could leave for later.

No longer.

Climate change is here and now. And palpably getting worse. That is rapidly changing how Americans think about it.

The shift from “future problem” to “now crisis” is being fueled by blockbuster scientific reports and blockbuster real-world catastrophes.

Camp Fire, California, 2018 

California National Guard

Queensland bushfires Labelled catastrophic November 2018

In October millions of Americans were rocked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s devastating report on the consequences of letting global temperatures rise above 1.5° C (2.7° F). And now we’re absorbing the litany of calamities that await communities in every part of our country, laid out last Friday in the National Climate Assessment prepared by top federal scientists and national experts. The Trump administration’s climate deniers hoped to burythis report in our post-Thanksgiving tryptophan haze, but millions of Americans are paying attention.

And they’re paying attention to the catastrophic wildfires and hurricanes that have pounded California, North Carolina, and Florida this fall, on top of Texas and Puerto Rico last year. 53 killed by Hurricane Florence and 36 by Hurricane Mitchell. 85, to date, killed by the California fires.  

Nearly 3000 dead in Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath last year.

The one-two punch of irrefutable science and irrefutable experience has raised the urgency of climate action in all voters and in both parties.

The mid-terms have brought a new crop of leaders to the House of Representatives, governors mansions, and state houses who campaigned on clean energy and climate change.

The U.S. Climate Alliance will likely expand from 17 governors to 25 or more, representing states accounting for the bulk of America’s economy. State and city leaders will advance bold policies to decarbonize our electricity and transportation systems.

Changing Washington will take a bit longer—but it will go faster than we thought. President Trump won’t change.

He’ll almost surely exit office without ever taking a briefing from climate scientists.

Australia ‘s new PM Scott Morrison loves coal.

With his “natural instinct for science,” he’ll continue to deny and lie on climate, like so many other topics.

The president says the climate “goes up and down” and, like that, some foolish senator will say it “ebbs and flows.”

The coal lobbyists and ideologues he’s put into power at EPA and other agencies will keep rolling back climate and clean energy regulations—though many of those moves are destined to fail when we see them in court.

But the mid-term elections show a decisive rejection of Trumpism.

The House’s new Democratic leaders—from veterans to freshman—will push ambitious plans to transition America to clean energy and bring carbon pollution to zero—or even below zero, drawing carbon out of the air—in the next few decades.

Whether Trump’s party will change remains to be seen. But as many GOP representatives found out, the old formula doesn’t work in the suburbs anymore. The Senate map and gerrymandering won’t help Republicans out of their demographic jam.

On climate, like other issues, their party must respond or wither away.

In this Congress, while advancing big ideas, leaders also have a chance to make progress on more modest but crucial building blocks.

A growing number of GOP politicians see the rising economic and political force in clean energy.

With clean energy job creation booming, climate policies are not so easy to dismiss as “job-killing” anymore.

Will we see them embrace policies to modernize the grid, promote renewables and efficiency, curb methane waste and pollution, move to next-generation refrigerants? Measures like that could move in the House, and even be embraced in the Senate, if both parties read the political handwriting on the wall.

Almost certainly, climate change will play bigger in the 2020 election.

Unfortunately, the here-and-now pounding of climate impacts will continue, as the IPCC and National Climate Assessment foretell. More Americans will be affected, many grievously.  And more Americans will see and feel

clean energy’s vital role in our economic future.

When the next president takes office, he or she will find the American people ready for—and ready to demand—the ambitious transition to the clean energy and a low-carbon future that our survival depends on.

Press link for more: NRDC

The school #climatestrike was a new generation’s activism – and I’m so proud #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #ClimateChange is stealing our children’s future #TheDrum

The school climate strike was a new generation’s activism – and I’m so proud

By Naaman Zhou

The kids couldn’t believe it.

The adults couldn’t believe it. 

Martin Place hadn’t seen anything like it for years, and Elly and her sister had never seen anything like it – ever.

Elly, 14, and Aidan, 10, had come thinking the strike would be “a small thing”. Elly said she didn’t know many people from her school who were coming. She found a thousand others.

On Friday, in a crowded Martin Place, the chants went up and I’ve never felt prouder.

This week thousands of students in every state walked out of school to protest inaction over climate change and the sense that their future is being frittered away.

They had the signs, the statistics, the anger – and the solutions too. I looked around and felt I had seen the future, clever and full of passion.

I count myself as nearly of the same generation as the strikers.

I’m six years out of high school, nearly graduated from university – but I’ve never seen a protest like this.

I came in with cynicism. In the exact same spot, I have seen so many protests wither on the vine, outnumbered by food-court patrons.

University students like to think that they are the epicentre of social change, or at least they were in the heyday of the 70s. But on Friday in Sydney all you could hear in the CBD were the school kids, and in Melbourne they stopped traffic at 1pm on a school day.

Activism seems to have skipped a generation, and I couldn’t be happier.

In Sydney, Jean Hinchliffe, 14, had the stage and took the roll, in a way. She asked who here was in primary school, who was in high school, who was from western Sydney, who had travelled from the bush, who wanted their politicians to do way more about climate change. The roar sent the microphones screaming into static and camera operators winced with their headphones in.

Scott Morrison had told them not to gather and that only made them feel better about doing it. Finally, something the politicians couldn’t control. That was the theme of the day – the frustration of feeling powerless.

“You have failed us all so terribly,” said Nosrat Fareha, 15, from Auburn Girls High school.

“We deserve better. Young people can’t even vote but will have to live with the consequences of your inaction for decades.”

Morrison was mentioned by every speaker and booed every time. How much he must regret that throwaway line in question time, that “kids should go to school” and be “less activist”, and the electoral harm it threatens to cause in a few more years.

It was so easily turned around, and the irony obvious to all. “If Scott Morrisonwants children to stop acting like a parliament, then maybe the parliament should stop acting like children,” Manjot Kaur, 17, said.

It was an articulate anger, and the speakers made sure to say they had the solutions too, not just the doom and gloom. There was music and happiness. They sang Stand by Me and everyone knew the words – an old-school activist vibe to make anyone dewy-eyed. One girl said to another, “Oh I should have put you up on my shoulders for that!” and then did on the next song.

“Here’s to us”, said Fareha. “The generation that can’t wait until it’s too late”.

There will inevitably be blowback from the rightwing commentariat, and the politicians themselves, that these young activists have been whipped into a false frenzy. But that’s not what this was. It was a hesitant, cautious embrace of something long overdue.

“When I say student, you say power!” Hinchliffe shouted. They did. And it felt like a sense of self-actualisation – hundreds looking around and thinking yes, everyone is actually, really saying it too. Maybe it’s true. The call and response came up and down Martin Place in waves, swimming long laps. They were clutching their ears it was so loud.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Climate change: Australian students skip school for mass protest #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum #COP24 #TakeYourSeat

Protests were organised in 27 places across Australia

Thousands of Australian school students have urged greater action on climate change in protests across the country.

The students skipped school on Friday to highlight what they say are inadequate climate policies by the Australian government.

On Monday, Australian PM Scott Morrison rebuked their plans for “activism” during school hours and insisted his government was tackling climate change.

Many students said his remarks had bolstered their resolve to protest.

“We will be the ones suffering the consequences of the decisions they [politicians] make today,” protester Jagveer Singh, 17, told the BBC.

Organisers say they were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old girl in Sweden who has undertaken similar protests .

Students protest in central Sydney on Friday

Australia has committed to reducing its emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030, under the Paris climate agreement.

Mr Morrison most recently cited a renewable energy target, a clean energy purchasing fund, and a hydropower project as evidence of Australia’s progress.

He told parliament on Monday: “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”

Resources Minister Matt Canavan, meanwhile, angered protesters by saying students would not learn anything from “walking off school and protesting”.

“The best thing you learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole [welfare] queue because that’s what your future life will look like,” he told a radio interviewer.

Many students held placards criticising the government, and PM Morrison specifically. “I hate ScoMo [Scott Morrison] more than I hate school,” one said.

Earlier this week, the UN said Australia and many nations were falling short of their emission commitments .

Australia had made “no improvement” in its climate policy since last year, according to the emissions gap report .

School Strike 4 Climate Action protests have been held in every state capital and 20 regional towns.

The BBC asked several students why they were taking part.

‘Education is our only power’

Milou Albrect (l) and Harriet O’Shea Carre organised the protest

The idea started with Milou Albrect and Harriet O’Shea Carre, both 14, in the state of Victoria.

“The climate change emergency is something we have been thinking about for a long time,” Harriet said.

“We wrote letters and did different things but they never seemed to make a difference. Really, education, is our only power. By sacrificing that [on Friday], it’s making a big point.”

Milou said: “We want our government to acknowledge publicly that climate change is a crisis. Stop digging coal, stop making new coal mines, switch to renewable energy.”

‘It’s really scary for us’

Jean Hinchcliffe, 14, organised a rally in Sydney

Jean Hinchcliffe, 14, saw the idea to protest grow in Victoria and decided to start one in her home city, Sydney.

“I can’t just sit around until I’m old enough to vote,” she said.

“Everyone, all young people, we can see that climate change is a real issue and we’re completely sick of politicians’ inaction. 

“It’s really scary for us, to see how it’s going to impact our future,” she said, citing fears about rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

‘It’s been an issue our whole life’

Ruby Walker says her generation has grown up thinking about climate change

Ruby Walker, 16, organised a protest in her town of Inverell, about 570km (350 miles) north of Sydney, after seeing others’ plans on Facebook.

She had also been inspired by the activism of high school students in the US during environment and gun control debates, she said.

“I think social media is a big part of it. You’re constantly seeing these issues happening around the world and seeing other students stick up for things you believe in,” she said.

“I feel like Australia is an embarrassment when it comes to climate change.”

Press link for more: BBC News

More photos of Australia’s Climate Strike

Children outside Warren Entsch’s Office in Cairns Queensland

It’s not the economy, stupid. Why focusing on money misses the big climate picture. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani Demand #ClimateAction #TheDrum

By Eric Holthaus

Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

If you’ve heard anything about last week’s huge White House climate report, it might be that climate change could dent the economy up to 10 percent by 2100 — more than twice the impact of the Great Recession.

However, that number is a strange one to highlight.

Yes, climate change hurts the economy — the hurricanes of the past two years alone have caused nearly half a trillion dollars of damages — but projecting that forward 80 years into the future is awash with unnecessary uncertainty.

It’s a number gleaned from a graph buried deep in the assessment. The real takeaway is that climate change is already hurting people, today.

And as the years roll by, those impacts will get exponentially worse.

In an era where the U.N.’s climate body says we only have 12 years left to complete the process of transitioning to a society that’s rapidly cutting carbon emissions, all the attention on far-off economic risks drastically understates the urgency of the climate fight.

Money just isn’t the appropriate frame when we’re talking about the planet.

Climate change is a special problem that traditional economic analyses aren’t built to handle.

The idea of eternal economic growth is fundamentally flawed on a finite planet, and there is substantial evidence that these economic costs will be borne disproportionately by lower-income countries.

There’s no dollar figure that anyone can attach to a civilization’s collapse.

In addition to the widely covered economic risks, there were scads of human-centered impacts listed in Friday’s report: Unchecked climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people in the next 30 years, swamping coastal cities, drying up farmland around the world, burning cities to the ground, and kickstarting a public health crisis inflicting everything from infectious disease outbreaks to suffocating air pollution to worsening mental health.

This process is already in motion.

Those of us who talk about climate change for a living should be focusing our dialogue on the immediate danger of climate change in human terms, not making it even more abstract and distant than it already seemingly is.

If an asteroid was going to hit the Earth in 2030, we wouldn’t be justifying the cost of the space mission to blast it out of the sky.

We’d be repurposing factories, inventing entire new industries, and steering the global economy toward solving the problem as quickly and as effectively as we can — no matter the cost.

Climate change is that looming asteroid, except what we’re doing right now is basically ignoring it, and in the process actually making the problem much, much worse and much harder to solve.

Understandably, Americans’ views on climate change are sharply polarized and have become even more so during the Trump era.

In that polarized environment, dry economic analysis doesn’t seem like enough to matter. It’s the human stories that give people visceral moral clarity and firmly establish contentious issues as important enough for a shift in society.

There’s proof of this: In the aftermath of every recent climate disaster Google searches for climate change spike, heartbreaking images of survivors lead national news coverage, and my own Twitter account is flooded with messages from readers asking what they can do to help.

Searching for human remains after recent fires in California

If we are going to take heroic action on climate change in the next decade, it will be because of an overwhelming outrage that our fellow citizens are literally being burned alive by record-breaking fires — not a potential decline in GDP in 2100.

In order for people to feel the true urgency of climate change, we’re going to have to talk a lot more about the people it’s already hurting.

Press link for more: Grist

40C in Cairns today that’s 3C above November Record. 2018 the last straw for the Great Barrier Reef #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency #StopAdani Demand #ClimateAction

The Great Barrier Reef Is “In for a Rough Ride”

Eminent coral researcher Terry Hughes says the key to protecting the iconic corals off Australia’s coast is to stop global warming

Record break heatwave in Cairns Today
Today the temperature in Cairns is 3C hotter than the previous November record set in 1971.
The death knell for the Great Barrier Reef?

During summer 2017 a large swath of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—normally a riot of electric oranges, reds and other colors—turned ghostly pale.

Unusually warm water temperatures, partly due to global warming, had caused the corals to expel from their tissues the symbiotic algae that provide them with food and give them their brilliant hues.

It was the second mass-bleaching event to hit the reef in as many years. Together, the back-to-back events hit two thirds of the reef.

Now, with the 2019 Australian summer poised to begin, atmospheric scientists are predicting an El Niño—a recurring period marked by warmer temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

This potential for high temperatures again poses a threat to the Great Barrier Reef, one that marine biologist Terry Hughes—a high-profile champion of coral reef protection—will be watching, looking for signs of more damage to the reef as he continues to push for protecting it.

Hughes thinks there are some worthy mitigation efforts to explore, such as reforesting the watersheds that drain into the reef to prevent pollution-bearing runoff. But ultimately he believes the key to saving corals lies in addressing greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

Professor Terry Hughes. Credit: Arccoe Wikimedia

Hughes’s efforts to raise awareness about the fate of the 2,300-kilometer-long coral reef—the largest on the planet and home to thousands of marine species—have put him at odds with business and political interests. Last month it emerged the Australian Research Council (ARC) would drop its funding of the coral reef institute Hughes directs at James Cook University in Queensland—a move decried by ocean scientists around the world. (The ARC and the current conservative Australian government have said the decision was not politically motivated, according to news reports.) Last week Hughes was awarded The John Maddox Prize for championing scientific evidence in the face of hostility. Scientific American caught up with him at the annual Falling Walls science conference in Berlin earlier this month and spoke about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

What is your outlook for the Great Barrier Reef in the coming months?

NOAA [the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are both projecting a high likelihood of an El Niño event forming later this year. If that happens, the likelihood of bleaching when summer sea temperatures peak next March would be very high, but we won’t know for sure until about January. A well-timed cyclone could cool the water despite the long-term forecast. But you have to be careful what you wish for. In 2016 the southern third of the Great Barrier Reef was rescued by a spent cyclone that brought the [water] temperature down about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius. But with Cyclone Debbie in 2017, the bleaching had already occurred and the storm was a category 4 when it hit the coast—so it was actually very damaging and destructive [to the reef].

How do you monitor a bleaching event?

Our aerial surveys, which we match to satellite temperature data, are reef-wide. It takes us seven or eight days to crisscross the entire Great Barrier Reef in a small plane flying up to eight hours a day. It’s pretty grueling but that’s the best way that we have of getting the full picture. We ground-truth all of that [data] underwater [during dives]. Each event that we study has a different geography. The 2016 event was very much a northern affair. The maps for the 2017 bleaching will show that the hottest part of the reef—the part that had the most bleaching—was in the center.

Dead coral. Credit: J.W. Alker Getty Images

Is there any area of the reef you are especially worried about?

My worst nightmare is that the bottom [southern] third of the Great Barrier Reef, which escaped the last two events, will bleach. It was simply good luck that prevented it from bleaching in 2016 and 2017. Those reefs have very high numbers of branching corals that happen to be the most susceptible to bleaching. So if it does get a blast of heat next summer or some summer soon, there will be high levels of mortality. That would mean all sectors of the reef will have been hit within a handful of years.

How did the Australian government respond to the bleaching events?

The Great Barrier Reef story in Australia, following the unprecedented back-to-back bleaching, is very politically contentious. You would think an appropriate response by the government would be to declare, for instance, that it wasn’t going to proceed with the world’s largest coal mine [with a coal shipping terminal near the reef] or that it would ramp up its renewable energy targets. Neither has occurred. The government has put quite a lot of money into investigating different interventions. Some are downright silly—the [underwater cooling] fans, the floating sunscreen. There’s a campaign to ban plastic straws. If you were cynical, you would say that it was more about giving the appearance of helping reefs when the elephant in the room is still climate change. There’s also money for improving water quality. Runoff of sediment and nutrients from agriculture into the inner part of the Great Barrier Reef is an important issue, but the amount of funding that’s being spent on that is nowhere near sufficient to reach the government’s own targets. As the country responsible for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia should be leading the international efforts to reduce emissions, especially following the latest IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report. Our current commonwealth government has officially signed on to the 1.5-degree C target [for limiting global temperature rise] of the Paris agreement, but Australia’s emissions are actually increasing.

How will the loss of funding from the Australian Research Council affect your work?

It’s roughly a quarter of our funding and it won’t take effect for another two to three years, so we’ve got time to continue with our current level of activity and to change our funding model by moderate amounts to make up that loss. It’s not good news, certainly. But we will continue to do the research that we’re doing, especially if we see bleaching next year.

What do people misunderstand about the Great Barrier Reef?

There are still about 10 billion corals out there alive and kicking. We’ve just gone through one hell of a natural selection event where the so-called losers—the heat-susceptible species—have been badly depleted. The mix of species has changed. The genetic composition of the coral populations is changing. I think that is just the beginning of a transition that hopefully will make the Great Barrier Reef tougher for inevitable future events. Things will generally get worse before they get better. Until CO2 emissions and temperatures stabilize, the corals are going to be in for a rough ride. Because corals have big populations that are geographically widely dispersed, there is light at the end of the tunnel—but it is completely contingent on whether we can keep temperatures to the 1.5-degree C target.

Press link for more: Scientific American

Greenhouse Gas Levels Reach New Record.To avoid catastrophic #ClimateChange we need a world 🌎 wide #GreenNewDeal urgently. #auspol #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion

World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 22 November 2018 – Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

There is no sign of a reversal in this trend, which is driving long-term climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme weather.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making at the UN climate change negotiations, which will be held from 2-14 December in Katowice, Poland.

The key objective of the meeting is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which aims to hold the global average temperature increase to as close as possible to 1.5°C.

 “The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015.

Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also rose, whilst there was a resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance called CFC-11, which is regulated under an international agreement to protect the ozone layer.

Since 1990, there has been a 41% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases. CO2 accounts for about 82% of the increase in radiative forcing over the past decade, according to figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration quoted in the WMO Bulletin.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” said Mr Taalas.

https://youtu.be/0HtiTyBu1SE

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations  of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere and the oceans. About a quarter of the total emissions is absorbed by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere.

A separate Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment (UNEP), to be released on 27 November, tracks the policy commitments made by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The WMO and UNEP reports come on top of the scientific evidence provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. This said that net emissions of CO2 must reach zero (the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed by sinks, natural and technological) around 2050 in order to keep temperature increases to below 1.5°C. It showed how keeping temperature increases below 2°C would reduce the risks to human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development.

“CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer. There is currently no magic wand to remove all the excess CO2 from the atmosphere,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova.

“Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters, and so does every part per million of greenhouse gases,” she said.

“The new IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C shows that deep and rapid reductions of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be needed in all sectors of society and the economy. The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, showing a continuing rising trend in concentrations of greenhouse gases, underlines just how urgent these emissions reductions are,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.

Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is based on observations from the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, which tracks the changing levels of greenhouse gases as a result of industrialization, energy use from fossil fuel sources, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation. Globally averages presented in the Bulletin are representative for the global atmosphere.

The urgency of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions requires more tools at national and sub-national level to support stakeholders in taking effective and efficient actions.

Recognizing this need, WMO has initiated the development of observational based tools that can guide the emissions reduction actions and confirm their results, for instance in the oil and gas sector.

A new Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) provides the framework for the development and standardization of the observational based tools. IG3IS is implemented by countries on a voluntary basis and will feed into the national emission reporting mechanism to the UN Framework on Climate Change and the annual Conference of the Parties.

Key Findings of the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

Carbon dioxide 

Carbon dioxide is the main long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Concentrations reached 405.5 ppm in 2017, 146% of the pre-industrial era (before 1750). The increase in CO2 from 2016 to 2017 was about the same as the average growth rate over the last decade. It was smaller than the record leap observed from 2015 to 2016 under the influence of a strong El Niño event, which triggered droughts in tropical regions and reduced the capacity of “sinks” like forests and vegetation to absorb CO2.  There was no El Niño in 2017.

Methane

Methane (CH4) is the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas and contributes about 17% of radiative forcing. Approximately 40% of methane is emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources (e.g., wetlands and termites), and about 60% comes from human activities like cattle breeding, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1859 parts per billion (ppb) in 2017 and is now 257% of the pre-industrial level. Its rate of increase was about equal that observed over the past decade.

Nitrous Oxide 

Nitrous oxide is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about 60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.

Its atmospheric concentration in 2017 was 329.9 parts per billion. This is 122% of pre-industrial levels. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It accounts for about 6% of radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases.

CFC-11

The Bulletin has a special section devoted to CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane). This is a potent greenhouse gas and a stratospheric ozone depleting substance regulated under the Montreal Protocol. Since 2012 its rate of decline has slowed to roughly two thirds of its rate of decline during the preceding decade. The most likely cause of this slowing is increased emissions associated with production of CFC-11 in eastern Asia.

This discovery illustrates the importance of long-term measurements of atmospheric composition, such as are carried out by the Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, in providing observation-based information to support national emissions inventories and to support agreements to address anthropogenic climate change, as well as for the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

Humanitarian Crisis in California! Catastrophic #ClimateChange 79 Dead, 700 missing, thousands homeless. Demand #GreenNewDeal #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #auspol

https://youtu.be/YokRLakwZ2E

The wildfires in California signal that in the era of climate catastrophe no one will be untouched.

Time to make the planet great again.

We need to join movements like the Extinction Rebellion, Climate Strike, Stop Adani and 350.Org.

The time for procrastination is over.

The climate crisis is here we need to demand a Green New Deal.

Our planet no longer has a stable climate. Stop throwing fuel on the fire! Join #StopAdani Stop #ClimateChange #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum #QandA

Boiled down, climate change is a simple math problem.

There’s a finite amount of carbon the world can chuck in the atmosphere and still have a stable climate.

Each passing year we plunk more of it up there, the smaller the amount we have left to burn.

That what makes the findings of a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report released on Tuesday so daunting.

Rather than working to solve global warming, the report shows that the world is on track to take the climate math test, bathe it in gasoline, set it on fire, and then toss it into a dumpster of oily rags for good measure.

The latest iteration of the annual World Energy Outlook report takes stock of where the world’s energy mix is at today and where it’s headed out until 2040.

It confirms that after a few years of flatlining, global carbon emissions rose again in 2017. And unless we issue a dramatic course correction, they’ll keep rising into the coming decades thanks to a glut of fossil fuel power plants under construction, cheap natural gas, our love of plastic, and an extra 1.7 billion Earthlings that will call our planet home by 2040. 

All told, fossil fuel infrastructure already built or scheduled “will account for some 95 percent of all emissions permitted under international climate targets in coming decades,” IEA director Faith Bristol said in a statement.

Almost all of the growth in emissions and consumption will happen in Asia, and in China and India in particular.

By 2040, China is projected to become the largest net oil importer in history even as demand slows in the developed world. But even if demand slows in the developed world, production isn’t likely to.

The U.S., in particular, is slated to “pull away from the rest of the field as the world’s largest oil and gas producer” thanks to fracking.

America will account for more than half of all oil and gas produced globally by 2025, according to the report. 

Scientists recently laid out the reality that we need to decrease carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030 in order to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial level.

The IEA analysis shows that hope is basically in the toilet the way things are going, and that at our current rate we’ll essentially have a single year’s-worth of emissions wiggle room left to meet the 2 degrees Celsius goal by 2040. 

The report had some small bits of good news the world could build on.

The IEA itself has modeled massive renewable energy growth over the next five years, while the new report shows electricity now accounts for a fifth of all energy consumption thanks to increasing electrification and digification around the world.

That means effectively decarbonizing the electricity sector could pay massive climate dividends, something power-hogging companies like Apple and Facebook are already doing because it makes economic sense. 

According to the IEA, 70 percent of new energy investments are coming from or largely influenced by government.

That means that stronger climate regulations and commitments—like the ones that will be under consideration at international climate talks next month—also have a huge role to play. But as with all things climate, everything is going to have to happen faster than it currently is.

Press link for more: Earther.gizmodo

To get a feel for the situation we are in watch this video

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Climate crisis activists willing to do jail time to protect their children’s future. #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol Demand System change not #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum

Direct action events planned to rewire public perception of climate change 

Scottish environmental activists are promising to go to jail in protest over the climate change crisis.

Direct action events organised by the group Extinction Rebellion are planned through this week with demonstrators saying they are willing to go to jail for their cause.

Facebook pages dedicated to Edinburgh and Glasgow groups urge climate change sympathisers to join the protests as the “eleventh hour is now!”

Action will culminate this Saturday which is earmarked as the day of “Extinction Rebellion”.

It comes as protesters blockaded the UK energy department in London, comparing themselves with the suffragettes and the anti-apartheid movement in their quest for social justice.

The protesters are calling for the government to cancel what they call “contradictory” projects they say will actually increase emissions in the UK, such as the third runway at Heathrow, fracking and new roads being built.

They also want to shift current perception for the public to recognise the planet is facing extinction.

Scottish activist and Greenpeace member Tilly Laforte said on Facebook: “Scots have a long history of playing the underdog. We are prepared to stake our liberty as part of a mass civil disobedience. If you object to a lack of action by the government then take that action yourself. Rise up. Join us. Become a new history.”

The first meeting of the organisation last month attracted 1,000 people to London during which there were 15 arrests.

Gail Bradbrook, one of the English activists, said: “I want the planet protected for my children.

“Change comes when people are willing to commit acts of peaceful civil disobedience.

“Fifty people in jail for a short time is likely to bring the ecological crisis into the public consciousness.”

The protesters have the backing of academics who have written a letter to the national press

They warn that politicians failure in tackling tackle climate breakdown has led an extinction crisis and “the ‘social contract’ has been broken. “It is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself.”

Press link for more: Third Force News

For more information watch this YouTube

https://youtu.be/tS3kNkq64d8

Watch George Monbiot speak at the Extinction Rebellion

https://youtu.be/Hog6-sjmpCw