Cane farmers should keep an eye on #StopAdani campaign. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange

Why cane farmers should keep an eye on #StopAdani campaign

Troy Kippen

If the international environmentalist community focused on the Great Barrier Reef as a beacon for the impact of climate change, then cane growers could get caught up in that activism, a leading energy scientist has warned. WWF-Aus / Christian Miller

A LEADING energy scientist has sent a dire warning to cane growers, and it had nothing to do with electricity prices.

Farmers could be caught up in social activism, similar to the Stop Adani campaigns gripping the country, Professor Chris Grieg said.

Prof Grieg, who specialises in energy systems, was a keynote speaker at the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Conference in Mackay yesterday.

He said a short-term risk with climate change, for industry, is ‘snowballing activism’.

“The Adani case is a classic – where we’ve seen an absolutely intense focus on one company as the face of environmental activism.

If the international environmentalist community focused on the Great Barrier Reef as a beacon for the impact of climate change, then cane growers could get caught up in that activism, he warned.

“They have become extremely sophisticated, extremely powerful when they have a cause in mind.

“The Great Barrier Reef will be a target, especially as climate change affects the reef. You have to be aware of the sugar industry getting caught up in that.”

Prof Grieg said while there were models, there were many unknowns about the consequences of CO2 emissions and climate change, including social-economic impacts.

“(When the) OECD report came out it put a lot of pressure on us from the government and the community.

“At the moment the sugar industry is on the side of it, the coal industry is bearing the brunt of it (activism).

“Eventually it could be tagged to the sugar industry.”

The sugar industry had to be proactive and engaged to deal with activism if it arose, Prof Grieg said.

It had been seen before in the energy sector in the United States, with shale gas and coal.

The Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists annual conference will be at the MECC until Friday.

Press link for more: Daily Mercury


‘Cooked’: Study finds Great Barrier Reef transformed by mass bleaching #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani FFS #ClimateChange

‘Cooked’: Study finds Great Barrier Reef transformed by mass bleaching

Peter Hannam18 April 2018 — 5:52pm

Corals in the Great Barrier Reef have a lower tolerance to heat stress than expected, contributing to a permanent transformation of the mix of species in some of most pristine regions, a team of international researchers has found.

The scientists examined the impact of the 2016 marine heatwave that alone caused the death of about one-third of the Great Barrier Reef corals, mostly centred on the northern third section.

They studied how much abnormal heat triggers bleaching, the additional heat that killed the corals, and the accumulation needed to cause “an ecological collapse in the transformation of species”, said Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, and the lead of author of the paper published Thursday in Nature.

The thresholds “are lower than we thought they would be”, Professor Hughes told Fairfax Media.

Bleaching in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 triggered widespread mortality of corals within weeks, scientists found.

Photo: AAP

A key guide is the number of so-called degree-heating weeks (DHW), such as waters a degree above average for a certain period. If reefs had DHWs of six or more – as about 29 per cent of the reefs suffered – the loss of corals reached 60-90 per cent, Professor Hughes said.

Some species, such as staghorns and tabular corals, were particularly susceptible, while dome-shaped porites corals were relatively resilient.

“The 2016 marine heatwave has triggered the initial phase of that transition [to heat-tolerant reef assemblages] on the northern, most pristine region of the Great Barrier Reef, changing it forever as the intensity of global warming continues to escalate,” the paper said.

The fact the northern section – with fewer people, little fishing and almost no water quality issues – was hit so hard was notable.

“There’s almost nowhere to hide from extreme temperatures,” Professor Hughes said. “Even the best-managed, most remote place is vulnerable.”

The Nature paper is one of a series being prepared or already published by Professor Hughes and colleagues at James Cook University that examine the unprecedented back-to-back mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in the summers of 2016 and 2017.

Upcoming papers will examine the impacts of the latter event – which mainly hammered the middle section of the Reef – and the scope for recovery.

Fish species are adjusting to the mass mortality of corals – some better than others.

Photo: University of Wollongong

Just as coral species responded differently to the heat stress, so too have fish species that depend on them.

Butterfly fish, for instance, feed on only a couple of coral species. “If their diet disappears, so do they,” Professor Hughes said. Parrot fish, though, eat mostly seaweed, and will fare better.

Still, most fish depend on branching corals as a nursery – the type of corals that suffered high mortality in the heatwave.

“People have long predicted there will be significant fisheries impact from losing juvenile habitat and we expect that to unfold over the next five years,” Professor Hughes said.

Most of what researchers know about reef recovery has come from the study of the aftermath of cyclones.

Such events, though, tend to carve a swathe through the reef, perhaps 50 to 100 kilometres wide, with patchier damage than mass bleaching. Coral larvae come into the void from either side, typically taking a decade for branching corals to recover.

“The scale of the damage from back-to-back bleaching is vastly bigger,” Professor Hughes said. “We don’t know yet where the larvae are going to come from, and in what numbers.”

Peter Hannam is Environment Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.

He covers broad environmental issues ranging from climate change to renewable energy for Fairfax Media.

Press link for more: SMH.COM

Navigating the #ClimateChange Minefield #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Navigating the Climate Change Minefield with Michael Mann

APRIL 17, 2018

One of the nation’s most respected (and harassed) scientists,

Dr. Michael Mann, discusses the climate change tipping point and battling forces of denial.

For many Americans, the first introduction to the idea that our climate is changing was presented to us with an unforgettable visual: the hockey stick graph.

The long part of the stick shows us hundreds of years of relatively stable climate, with normal global average temperatures.

The curved part represents global average temperatures over the last few decades—which have shot up dramatically.

Dr. Michael Mann was one of the leading scientists behind the hockey stick graph, when it was published in the late 90s.

Since then, he’s been a favorite target of climate science deniers.

He’s been harassed, hacked, and threatened.

He’s had his research unfairly poked to bits in attempts to discredit him. But he’s stood by his work in the face of smear campaigns and phony controversies for decades now—and has been vindicated with recognition from the scientific community.

Dr. Mann is a distinguished professor of atmospheric science, and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.

He joined me to talk about his introduction to climate science… how scientific knowledge is a slow process of accumulation… why it’s not enough for scientists these days to simply do their work… and what he would do with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.

Colleen: Michael Mann, welcome to the Got Science? Podcast.

Michael Mann: Thanks. Great to be with you.

Colleen: So our listeners may know you as one of the climate scientists who originally demonstrated the hockey stick curve, a graph showing evidence of the earth’s rapid warming. So that was back in the ’90s.

Others may know you as one of the most harassed scientists in modern history, along with others. You’ve had death threats leveled at you. You’ve been sued by the former attorney general of Virginia to gain access to your private emails. You were even mailed fake anthrax.

The list goes on and on. And I do wanna talk to you about all that today, but first I’d like to go back to the beginning.

Why did you become a scientist?

Michael Mann: Yeah, I became a scientist because I loved solving problems.

From the earliest days that I can remember I was always asking, anybody who would listen, questions, “You know, why is this this way?” I still recall I had an uncle who I would constantly pester about traveling at the speed of light.

Finally, he gave me the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull and told me it would answer all my questions. Of course, it didn’t, but I was always curious about the natural world, about the way things work and I always enjoyed solving problems, mathematical problems, what you might call scientific problems.

And so that led me to pursue a, degree in applied math and physics at UC Berkeley, and I went off to graduate school at Yale to study theoretical physics and then sort of realized that, there was this really interesting problem that required math and physics, the problem of modeling earth’s climate, and that struck me as a fascinating problem where I could use the tools, the math and the physics that I’d learned to work on this really interesting problem that it turns out also has some pretty important societal implications as well, but that wasn’t what drove my interest in climate. it was just this fascinating, huge, unsolved physics problem, and so that’s what led me into the field of climate research.

Colleen: I’ve been reading your book “The Madhouse Effect,” which is a collaboration with cartoonist Tom Toles and, full disclosure, I did read the cartoons first.

On page one, you talk about science and how it works, so the many levels of scrutiny and checks and balances.

So tell me a little more about the problem and process.

Michael Mann: Yeah, you know, the problem we were actually interested in, we were using what are known as proxy records.

These are things like tree rings and corals and ice cores and lake sediments, natural archives that we can use to extend the climate record back in time.

We only have about a century or so of widespread thermometer measurements and so to get a longer-term sort of view of how climate changes, we need to turn to these so-called proxy data.

The project that I was working on at the time had to do with natural long-term cycles in the climate.

It wasn’t actually about climate change. It wasn’t about human-caused climate change. I was interested in identifying long-term climate cycles and the instrumental record alone wasn’t long enough to do that so that’s why we turned to these proxy records and it was only really a by-product of that analysis where we decided to use those records to actually reconstruct climate patterns back in time.

And when we took a look at the result, we realized now that this work did have implications for human-caused climate change, because when you averaged the information over the globe to get a single number for each year, the average temperature, for example, of the Northern Hemisphere, where we had the most data, and you plotted that back in time, it became clear that the warming spike that we’ve seen over the past century really has no precedent as far back as we could go, at least a thousand years. And so, we published that work in the journal Nature, back in 1998. And in the article, we actually emphasized quite a bit the importance of these patterns for understanding natural climate variability, the El Nino phenomenon, and other things, how volcanoes influence the climate. There were all these other interesting problems that were really the primary impetus for doing these reconstructions in the first place.

But the curve that showed the average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere, which has come to be known as the hockey stick because of its shape, the blade of the hockey stick being the rapid warming of the past century and the handle being the longer term trend as you go back a thousand years, that took on a life of its own.

That was the one sort of result in that article that got all the attention and suddenly I found myself in sort of the center of the larger, very fractious debate over human-caused climate change, because of the deep implications that this curve, the hockey stick had.

It told a simple story, you didn’t need to understand the physics of the climate system to understand what this graph was telling us, that there is something unprecedented about the warming that we’ve seen over the past century, and by implication, it probably has to do with us.

Colleen: What sort of review then did your research undergo?

Michael Mann: To have credibility in the scientific world. Findings have to be vetted through the process, the peer review process.

Colleen: By scientists.

Michael Mann: Right, where you submit an article to a journal, in this case, Nature, and it goes to other leading scientists in the field. Your work, your article is reviewed essentially by your competitors and that’s a pretty tough process to withstand. They’re looking for holes in your findings, in your arguments, and they provide reports to the journal. The journal decides if the reviews merit publication with substantial revision or if the problems that are identified by the reviewers, the issues are too great to overcome, they’ll reject the manuscript, and Nature rejects the vast majority of manuscripts it actually sends out for review. And it only reviews a small subset of articles that it considers to be most significant. So that’s a really tough vetting process and to come out at the other end, and to have your article published means that you have to have addressed any of the issues that were raised by the reviewers in a meaningful way.

And that’s just the first step, because, the way science works, when you publish an article, that doesn’t represent a new scientific understanding. It’s one small increment in this larger foundation of what we know about the science. Very rarely does a scientific article substantially change our understanding. Typically, it incrementally adds to our scientific understanding, and it’s through the accumulated weight of multiple peer-reviewed studies that all point in a similar direction that we acquire what we think of as scientific knowledge. Getting an article published in the peer-reviewed literature is the first step in establishing, you know, sort of an advance in the forefront of understanding, but that alone is not enough to build a robust scientific consensus. Scientific consensus rests on the existence of multiple studies that all come to a similar conclusion.

Colleen: This makes it difficult then to communicate to the public about, at what point we should really be worried, or really do something. I know, again, in your book you talk about this tipping point “Have we passed the tipping point? Are we near it?” I think it gives people some measure of knowing where they are in this process, Have we passed the tipping point, or are we about to?

Michael Mann: Yes. So the tipping point, what we might describe as dangerous and catastrophic and irreversible climate change, that is a question I often get from people. You know, are we there yet? Have we passed the tipping point? The answer is disappointingly nuanced because, in reality, there is no one climate tipping point. There are probably many and rather than thinking about dangerous climate change as a cliff that we go off at some level of warming, often described as two degrees Celsius, three and a half degree Fahrenheit warming of the planet relative to pre-industrial is where scientists who determine, we start to see the worst impacts of climate change.

But there isn’t a cliff at two degrees Celsius warming. It’s more like an ever down sloping highway, and the farther we go down that highway, the more treacherous it becomes. We wanna get off at the earliest exit we possibly can. In reality, dangerous climate change to me isn’t a cliff. It’s more like a minefield and we’re walking out onto this minefield and we will certainly set off mines if we continue to walk out onto that minefield. And we don’t know exactly where they are, all we know is that as we walk out onto the minefield, we subject ourselves to greater and greater danger and risk.

Colleen: it’s admirable that you keep marching down this road. Because of your research, you’ve received death threats, you’ve received what looked like anthrax in the mail. Thankfully it wasn’t. What did you do when you opened that envelope and did it make you think that you should get out of the field of climate science?

Michael Mann: There were times when it felt like it was too much and, you know, you start to question whether or not you signed up for all this. You know, when I got a degree in applied math and physics from UC Berkeley, went off to graduate school at Yale University, little did I think that I was sort of preparing for a career of battling these forces of denialism so there were some tough times.

And what kept me going was the support of my colleagues, my fellow scientists, especially one scientist for whom I have the deepest respect who came forward and provided words of encouragement, my good friend Steve Schneider, who’s no longer with us. He was a great climate scientist and great science communicator, and I had a number of conversations with him, where he told me, “Look, you know, the fact that they’re going after you like this tells you that, you know, what you’re doing is important. You’re hurting their client,” is the way Steve would put it. The client, sort of in a metaphorical sense, the fossil fuel interests who were funding this. “You know this is inconvenient. Your scientist findings are inconvenient. They’re having a real impact.”

Though it isn’t what I signed up to do, I really don’t think that there’s any more important thing that I could be doing with my life than trying to inform this discussion about what might be the greatest threat, the greatest challenge we face as a civilization. I feel honored to be in a position to inform that discussion. And so if you ask me if I had the choice to do it over, would I choose a different path? The answer would be no. I would choose the same path.


Colleen: How has this changed the way that you conduct your research? I imagine it’s different.

Michael Mann: Yeah, if you’re a climate researcher today, especially one who engages with the media and is involved in outreach and communication to the public, then you’re gonna be challenged, you’re gonna be attacked. It makes you all the more careful in your research. You wanna make sure it’s bulletproof because you know that there are targets on your back and there are people who will look to discredit it in any way possible, you wanna make sure that your work stands up to the legitimate scrutiny of your fellow scientists and so I think it probably makes us more careful in the way we do science.

We double check our calculations. We wanna make sure that we’ve really gotten it right before we publish, and it also sort of reinforces this notion that, you know, your job isn’t done when the paper is published because you still have to be out there trying to ensure that the findings and their implications are conveyed accurately and objectively to the public, and you have these forces of denial who are trying to spin research in ways that downplay the significance of climate change and the threat of climate change. And I wrote an op-ed a few years ago in the New York Times, the title of which was “If You See Something Say Something,” borrowed of course from our Department of Homeland Security. But the point of the op-ed was really that as a scientists we really have to be out there communicating what we’ve found and what the implications are, because if we don’t, if we’re not out there then we leave a void that will be filled by other voices, vested interests who have an axe to grind, who have an agenda to advance, and that does a disservice to all of society.

Colleen: That’s an interesting, perhaps new, world where a scientist has to also be an amazing communicator to the layperson and that’s not easy to do.

Michael Mann: It’s not a skillset that science necessarily selects for but I think, increasingly, we’re seeing younger scientists who are coming into science today who are much more engaged in sort of that side of it, the communication and the outreach, I think, because it’s sort of part of your upbringing today. You know, young scientists have grown up in the world of social media, on the online world, and I think that, because we have seen these concerted attacks against science, it’s brought in sort of a new breed of scientists who wants to do science, but also wants to be involved in defending science. And I think that’s… If you’re looking for a silver lining, then that’s certainly one.

Colleen: Mm-hm. So I have to ask this question. Your research has gone through incredible scrutiny by the scientific community. How do you deal with the climate deniers, the non-scientists who throw out these ridiculous assertions? Do you ever just wanna put your face in a pillow and scream?

Michael Mann: I think I probably have on occasion. You can ask my family, they’ve probably heard. You know, yeah, there are times, when it can be very frustrating. Not really because, you know, you’re being attacked, you know, we’ve come to expect it and frankly most of the attacks are just so silly that they’re not taken seriously by the people that we care about the most, our fellow scientists and policymakers who are engaged in a good faith effort to understand the evidence. But they do provide fodder for the sort of professional denialism, industry-funded denialists and front groups and organizations, funded by fossil fuel interests that spread misinformation and disinformation and the politicians, policymakers who sort of see themselves as essentially agents for the fossil fuel interests who fund their campaigns. The forces of denial at this point, in my assessment, are not engaged in a good-faith debate, because the basic science is in.

Colleen: What are you currently working on?

Michael Mann: So, believe it or not, still science is probably the thing I love doing the most. I love communicating the science as well. But what brought me into science, what got me into science in the first place was my love of doing science and I feel it also keeps me grounded. When I talk about the science and its implications, being on the forefront of the science sort of keeps me grounded in terms of what I know and how well I can inform the discussion. There are a number of different projects that I’m involved with at any given time. There are probably a half dozen. Probably the one I’m particularly interested in and sort of active in, is an effort to understand the linkages between climate change and extreme weather because there are still some scientific uncertainties in the linkages, how climate change, human-caused climate change is impacting storm systems and how it may be changing the jet stream in a way that gives us sort of the wacky weather that we’ve seen in recent years.

There is legitimate uncertainty in that area of science, and the implications of that area of the science are profound, because of course to the extent that climate change is exacerbating many types of extreme weather events. That’s where we’re seeing some of the greatest tolls, something like I think it was $300 billion in insured damages in the United States last year, just over the last year, by these unprecedented wildfires, superstorms, floods. Understanding that linkage and being in a better position to assess how much worse it’ll get if we continue on the course that we are on, there’s a lot of important science to be done in that area, and so that’s one of the areas where I’m doing quite a bit of work. Also, and specifically, the phenomenon of hurricanes and how climate change is impacting hurricanes and changing hurricane characteristics together with sea level rise is impacting coastal risk for, you know, the East Coast of the US, including, you know, cities like Boston and New York City, but for the rest of the world as well.

Colleen: So if you could have one superpower, what would you want?

Michael Mann: It would be Wonder Woman’s golden lasso because I would wrap it around our politicians and force them to tell the truth when it comes to climate change and the impacts that it’s having.

Colleen: That is an excellent superpower. If I could grant it I would. What would you say to early career scientists to encourage them?

Michael Mann: Yeah, I would say, have courage. Know that if you’re doing cutting-edge science, in any field where the findings of science might collide with powerful special interests, There are so many examples of scientific research, be it biology or chemistry or physics basically, like the physics of climate change, where the science that we do eventually has implications that may prove inconvenient to powerful special interests, be they tobacco interests, or the fossil fuel industry or the, you know, the chemical industry. And we have to expect that they will push back through any means available to them and often that involves attacking scientists. Attacking the science itself by trying to discredit the messenger, the scientist. So have courage, and know that if you’re being attacked by these sorts of folks, it’s not because you’re doing bad science, or you’re a bad person, it’s because you’re doing good science that really has implications, implications that are troubling to some of these vested interests, and know that you have the backing of the scientific community.

And one of the things that has made me optimistic about where we’re headed is just over the course of my career, how the scientific community has really started to recognize that they’re in a fight with bad faith actors who are trying to discredit science, and they need to be more organized, the scientific community needs to be more committed to positive outreach and communication, and to provide resources to scientists who are willing to do that, and to protect them, whether that’s in the legal realm or simply in having an army of scientists who are out there trying to speak truth to power. And this is a worthy battle and if you’re looking for a worthy battle, then the battle to inform the public about science and the implications it has, there’s no worthy battle in my view to be involved in, and so I hope younger scientists recognize that. I think they do. I think I recognize that in the younger scientists who are coming into this field, sort of a new breed of scientists.

Colleen: Michael Mann, thank you so much for joining us here at the Got Science? Podcast.

Michael Mann: Thank you. It was great.

Press link for more: Union of Concerned Scientists

95% of worlds population breathe dangerous air! #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

More than 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air, major study finds

Poorest are hardest hit with many developing countries falling behind on cleaning up toxic air pollution

Fiona HarveyLast modified on Wed 18 Apr 2018 04.24 AEST

More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found.

Cities are home to an increasing majority of the world’s people, exposing billions to unsafe air, particularly in developing countries, but in rural areas the risk of indoor air pollution is often caused by burning solid fuels. One in three people worldwide faces the double whammy of unsafe air both indoors and out.

The report by the Health Effects Institute used new findings such as satellite data and better monitoring to estimate the numbers of people exposed to air polluted above the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. This exposure has made air pollution the fourth highest cause of death globally, after high blood pressure, diet and smoking, and the greatest environmental health risk.

Experts estimate that exposure to air pollution contributed to more than 6m deaths worldwide last year, playing a role in increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, lung cancer and chronic lung disease. China and India accounted for more than half of the death toll.

Burning solid fuel such as coal or biomass in their homes for cooking or heating exposed 2.6 billion people to indoor air pollution in 2016, the report found. Indoor air pollution can also affect air quality in the surrounding area, with this effect contributing to one in four pollution deaths in India and nearly one in five in China.

Bob O’Keefe, vice-president of the institute, said the gap between the most polluted air on the planet and the least polluted was striking. While developed countries have made moves to clean up, many developing countries have fallen further behind while seeking economic growth.

He said there was now an 11-fold gap between the most polluted and least polluted areas, compared with a six-fold gap in 1990. “Air pollution control systems still lag behind economic development [in poorer nations],” he said.

But he added: “There are reasons for optimism, though there is a long way to go. China seems to be now moving pretty aggressively, for instance in cutting coal and on stronger controls. India has really begun to step up on indoor air pollution, for instance through the provision of LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] as a cooking fuel, and through electrification.”

The number of people exposed to indoor air pollution from burning solid fuels has fallen from an estimated 3.6 billion around the world in 1990 to about 2.4 billion today, despite a rising population.

Emissions from transport are a growing concern, however, as road traffic increases. Diesel fuel is a leading cause of air pollution in some rich countries, including the UK, but in poorer countries the often decrepit state of many vehicles means petrol-driven engines can be just as bad in their outputs, especially of the fine particulate matter blamed for millions of deaths a year.

O’Keefe said governments were under increasing pressure to deal with the problems through regulation and controls, and hailed internet access as having a significant impact.

“Social media has been very important, as a growing number of people have access to it and to data and discussions [on air pollution]. People now have the ability to worry about not just the food they eat and a roof over the head, but they have the means to discuss [issues] in public,” he said.

Tuesday’s report reinforces an increasing volume of data in recent years that has shown how air pollution is increasing and causing deaths. More data has become available in the past decade from satellites and on-the-ground monitoring, while large-scale studies have revealed more of the health risks arising from breathing dirty air, which rarely kills people directly but is now known to contribute to other causes of death.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Dear Mr Adani “Invest in Solar not Coal. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange


For our common home

Dear Mr Adani,

We are leaders from many faith traditions and communities across Australia. We are writing to you to ask you to abandon your proposed mine and instead use the same money to invest in solar energy in North Queensland.

Our common home, the Earth, is now in great danger due to the effects of our actions as human beings on the climate. On this point the scientific community is united. Today, we too are united as people of faith.

Let us be clear. We are not merely opposed to this one mine. We are opposed to all new coal development in the Galilee Basin. We are at a crossroads. One way lies destruction; the other way, sanity. We need to turn immediately in the direction of a stable and compassionate future based on ambitious investment in renewable energy.

We wish to stress that we strongly support good local jobs. Yet people need jobs with a realistic future. Grasping at short-term profits from a thermal coal industry in worldwide structural decline will not provide this. Meanwhile, investment in renewables is booming. And the evidence shows that investment in renewable energy creates far more jobs per dollar than coal does. Coal communities need serious investment to make the transition from the dirty energy of the past to the clean energy of the future.

This mine would also create far fewer than the 10,000 jobs you have claimed. Your own economist stated under oath in the Queensland Land Court that the average number of new jobs per year would be around 1464. Likewise, your Australian CEO has said that “everything will be autonomous from mine to port”. This is no recipe for jobs.

We are very concerned that there is nothing approaching a broad acceptance of the use of the land for the mine from the indigenous peoples in the area. This is abundantly clear from the longstanding legal opposition on the part of the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council.

We know that this mine would use huge volumes of scarce water from the Great Artesian Basin. This ‘Pearl of Great Price’ is an ancient and precious source of water and must not be squandered. The effects on farmers and on our ecosystems would be too great.

For thousands of years, our traditions have taught us to care for the Earth. This responsibility is now extremely urgent. And it is those least responsible for this threat that suffer the greatest impacts of a warming climate.

Here in Australia this moral responsibility is inescapable. By itself, the amount of carbon dioxide from burning the coal in the Galilee Basin would be one tenth of what the whole world can ever emit if we are to avoid the safe upper limit in temperature before many island nations and coastal cities start to disappear (1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels). This is already starting to happen. Australians in the Torres Strait Islands are already suffering serious inundation as are our close neighbours in Kiribati and Tuvalu. It would lead to many more bushfires, droughts, cyclones and floods both here and all over the world. Already we see the impending loss of the famous Great Barrier Reef, a place of magnificent beauty, full of life and astonishing colour, which has experienced back-to-back yearly coral bleaching. The single largest and overriding cause of this is climate change. The reef is World Heritage listed – and the world is watching. Such an increase in temperature also poses serious security risks as world civilisation starts to feel the strain of so many natural disasters.

Your own mine would emit a staggering five billion tonnes of CO2.

Our love and concern for the wellbeing of people, other forms of life and our planet leaves us convinced that building this mine would be a giant leap in a very dangerous direction. We therefore call on you to abandon it and to work instead with state and federal governments to invest in good local jobs in solar and wind. You have the capacity to do enormous good.

Protecting our common home and all those who live here is an essential part of each of our faiths. We each ask the faith communities to which we belong to join us in creating this future. An easy first step is to support the Sun Powered Queensland campaign for an ambitious target for solar energy. We also ask our communities to contact the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who have organised this letter, to help them in their work.

Yours in peace,

Bishop Philip Huggins, Anglican Church, President, National Council of Churches, Australia

Dr Rateb Jneid, President, Muslims Australia

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, Dean of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane

Jeffrey B. Kamins OAM, Senior Rabbi, Emanuel Synagogue, Woollahra

Sheik Riad Galil OAM, Senior Imam, West Heidelberg Mosque

Bhante Sujato, Project Leader, Sutta Central

Reverend Dr Denis Edwards, Professorial Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University, Adelaide Campus

The Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Jewish Ecological Coalition, Board member, ARRCC

The Reverend Dr Jo Inkpin, Lecturer in Theology & Senior Tutor and Anglican Priest, St Francis College, Brisbane

The Reverend Dr Patrick McInerney, Columban Coordinator NSW

Professor Gerard Moore, Academic Dean, United Theological College, Associate Head of School of Theology, Charles Sturt University

Rev Brian Vale, Regional Director, Missionary Society of St Columban, ANZ Region

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp, Islamic Sciences and Research Academy Australia (ISRA)

Reverend Dr Jason John, Uniting Earth Ministry, Uniting Church NSWACT

Reverend Dr Ormond Rush, Associate Professor and Reader, Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Dr Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology, Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Father Claude Mostowik MSC, President, Pax Christi Australia, Director, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre (Australia)

Pastor Darren Cronshaw, Head of Research and Professor of Missional Leadership, Australian College of Ministries, Pastor, Auburn Life Baptist Church

Reverend Alex Sangster, Uniting Church Minister, Fairfield

Reverend Rex Graham, Uniting Church Minister, Wollongong

Pastor Jarrod McKenna, Cornerstone Church, Perth

Reverend John Brentnall, Chairperson, Uniting Eco Group

Sister Barbara Daniel PBVM, Presentation Sisters

Sister Elizabeth Young RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Elaine Wainwright RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Caroline Vaitkunas RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Claudette Cusack RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Mary Tinney RSM, Sisters of Mercy, Earth Link

Sister Marie Britza RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Veronica Lawson RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Julie O’Brien RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Barbara Bolster RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Tricia Nugent RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Sister Ruth Wyatte RSM, Sisters of Mercy

Ana Freeman, Rahahim Ecology Centre

Dharmachari Arthacarya, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Buddhankapali, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Dantachitta, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Dharmalata, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Dharmamati, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Dharmamodini, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Dharmananda, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Hrdayaja, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Khemayogini, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Maitripala, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Nagasuri, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Nandavani, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Prakashika, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Saddhavijaya, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Samacitta, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Shubhavyuha, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Siladasa, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Sudaya, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmachari Tejopala, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Vimoksalehi, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Vimuttinandi, Triratna Buddhist Order

Dharmacharini Moksavajra, Triratna Buddhist Order

Ms Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)

The public is invited to contribute to ARRCC’s current fund-raiser. Click here to view the video and donation page.


Earth, Wind and Liars. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Earth, Wind and Liars

By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as an Op-Ed columnist.

He is distinguished professor in the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D. program and distinguished scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York.

In addition, he is professor emeritus of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Peter Thiel, Facebook investor and Donald Trump supporter, is by all accounts a terrible person. He did, however, come up with one classic line about the disappointments of modern technology: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” O.K., now it’s 280, but who’s counting?

The point of his quip was that while we’ve found ever more clever ways of pushing around bits of information, we are still living in a material world — and our command of that material world has advanced much less than most people expected a few decades ago.

Where are the technologies transforming the way we deal with physical reality?

Well, there is one area of physical technology, renewable energy, in which we really are seeing that kind of progress — progress that can both change the world and save it.

Unfortunately, the people Thiel supports are trying to stop that progress from happening.

Not that long ago, calls for a move to wind and solar power were widely perceived as impractical if not hippie-dippy silly.

Some of that contempt lingers; my sense is that many politicians and some businesspeople still think of renewable energy as marginal, still imagine that real men burn stuff and serious people focus on good old-fashioned fossil fuels.

But the truth is nearly the opposite, certainly when it comes to electricity generation.

Believers in the primacy of fossil fuels, coal in particular, are now technological dead-enders; they, not foolish leftists, are our modern Luddites. Unfortunately, they can still do a lot of damage.

About the technology: As recently as 2010, it still consistently cost more to generate electricity from sun and wind than from fossil fuels.

But that gap has already been eliminated, and this is just the beginning.

Widespread use of renewable energy is still a new thing, which means that even without major technological breakthroughs we can expect to see big further cost reductions as industries move “down the learning curve” — that is, find better and cheaper ways to operate as they accumulate experience.

Recently David Roberts at offered a very good example: wind turbines. Windmills have been around for more than a thousand years, and they’ve been used to generate electricity since the late 19th century. But making turbines really efficient requires making them very big and tall — tall enough to exploit the faster, steadier winds that blow at higher altitudes.

And that’s what businesses are learning to do, via a series of incremental improvements — better design, better materials, better locations (offshore is where it’s at). So what we’ll be seeing in a few years will be 850-foot turbines that totally outcompete fossil fuels on cost.

To paraphrase the science-fiction writer William Gibson, the renewable energy future is already pretty much here; it’s just not very evenly distributed.

True, there are issues of intermittency remaining — the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine — although batteries and other energy storage technologies are also making rapid progress.

There are also some energy uses, especially transportation, where fossil fuels retain a significant advantage in cost and convenience. And exactly how we’re going to have carbon-neutral air travel is still, well, up in the air.

But there is no longer any reason to believe that it would be hard to drastically “decarbonize” the economy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that doing so would impose any significant economic cost. The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization.

For now, however, the problem isn’t technology — it’s politics.

The fossil fuel sector may represent a technological dead end, but it still has a lot of money and power.

Lately it has been putting almost all of that money and power behind Republicans.

For example, in the 2016 election cycle the coal mining industry gave 97 percent (!) of its contributions to G.O.P. candidates.

What the industry got in return for that money wasn’t just a president who talks nonsense about bringing back coal jobs and an administration that rejects the science of climate change. It got an Environmental Protection Agency head who’s trying to suppress evidence on the damage pollution causes, and a secretary of energy who tried, unsuccessfully so far, to force natural gas and renewables to subsidize coal and nuclear plants.

In the long run, these tactics probably won’t stop the transition to renewable energy, and even the villains of this story probably realize that. Their goal is, instead, to slow things down, so they can extract as much profit as possible from their existing investments.

Unfortunately, this really is a case of “in the long run we are all dead.” Every year that we delay, the clean-energy transition will sicken or kill thousands while increasing the risk of climate catastrophe.

The point is that Trump and company aren’t just trying to move us backward on social issues; they’re also trying to block technological progress. And the price of their obstructionism will be high.

Press link for more: New York Times

Climate Change must be part of the #Energy debate. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

At some point, climate change must be injected into the energy debate

Peter Hannam16 April 2018 — 12:01am

Even before the weekend heatwave and the unseasonable Sydney bushfires in mid-April, the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate experts had clearly seen enough.

The bureau broke with tradition at the end of last week and released a Special Climate Statement, before the remarkable autumn heatwave of 2018 had fully subsided.

With more records since, an update is likely within days.

Notable numbers include Australia beat its previous hottest April day by more than 0.6 degrees, with the whole country averaging just a tad under 35 degrees on April 9.

During the event, Victoria broke its April record for heat and set its 10 hottest April day-time temperatures at various sites.

For NSW, it was six out of the top 10 hottest April days, including the state’s first two readings in April above 40 degrees.

Sydney not only had its hottest April day with 35.4 degrees on April 9, but backed it up with a trio of days above 30 degrees. The last of the three coincided with the ignition of a dangerous fire that threatened south-western suburbs and the Holsworthy army base.

Record heat has seared much of southern Australia since the start of April.

Photo: Nick Moir

Given the heatwave unfolded during days when Australia’s energy future is being widely thrashed out in the media and by politicians, it’s surprising that climate change has barely earned a mention.

That included during Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s mid-week speech to the National Press Club in Canberra to promote his National Energy Guarantee. Debate is likely to continue through this week too, ahead of the meeting of Council of Australian Governments’ energy ministers in Melbourne on Friday.

And yet, Frydenberg has largely avoided talking about climate change of late at all, and nor is he asked.

Wind whips up the dust over a dry farm in the Deniliquin region – a region that baked again on Wednesday.

Photo: Nick Moir

To be sure, determining the precise link between individual extreme weather events and climate change is complex, including this bizarre weather of late.

But attribution studies are advancing and heat events are among the clearest signals of global warming’s human hand we have.

And it’s not as though there is a paucity of climate change news elsewhere.

Last week, we learned of research showing warmer temperatures are melting snow during summer in some Alaskan mountains at 60 times the rate compared with 150 years ago.

Marine heatwaves are increasing at an accelerated pace, and there is more evidence the Gulf Stream that helps keep northern Europe’s climate relatively mild is weakening, losing about 15 per cent since the mid-20th century.

This week, there will likely be more news about the threats facing our coral reefs.

It should not be an outlandish question to ask Tony Abbott and other conservative politicians, when they call for “pensioners over Paris”, why our commitment to the 2015 climate agreement signed in France should be shed like a suit of lycra at the first hint of a cost to consumers.

Similarly, any leader calling for the extension of an ailing coal-fired power station (and Australia has more than its share of inefficient clunkers), or the opening of a giant new coal mine or coal seam gas province, should have to explain how that helps get Australia get to net zero emissions by 2050.

That’s not just the implied target from Paris, but also the legislated goal of Victoria and even the notional one of Coalition-led NSW.

Peter Hannam is Environment Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald. He covers broad environmental issues ranging from climate change to renewable energy for Fairfax Media.

Press link for more: SMH.COM

Time to abandon economic growth #auspol #qldpol

It’s Time To Abandon Economic Growth As The Only Indicator Of Success

Instead, we need systems that focus on regenerating our planet, and equitably distributing its resources.

The story of mankind that we most like to tell ourselves is one of growth, says economist Kate Raworth at TED 2018 in Vancouver.

We’re all used to that image of the silhouettes, marching forward from ape to fully-upright human. “

“We readily believe that economic progress will take the same shape–an ever-rising line of growth,” Raworth says.


That, she says, will be a difficult shift to bring about. “We’re financially, politically, and socially addicted to growth,” Raworth says.

Perhaps no one better enshrined our dependence on GDP than the economist Walter Rostow, whose 1960 book, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto outlined the “ideal” trajectory for a country’s development, using a rather blunt airplane metaphor.

Countries prepare for takeoff by building up institutions and banks, which continue to grow until the country truly takes off and reaches peak prosperity and mass consumption. “But this plane is never allowed to land,” Raworth says. “Rostow left us flying into the sunset of mass consumerism.”

In other words, Rostow left no space to imagine a country driven to succeed by any metric other than that of continual growth.

That, Raworth says, has created a system that prioritizes GDP over the health of the planet and the well-being of the people who inhabit it, and that, she says, is fundamentally unsustainable.

“Humanity’s 21st-century challenge is clear: To meet the needs of all people,” Raworth says. “Progress on this goal is not going to be measured by money–we need a dashboard of indicators.”

When Raworth drew up a diagram of how those indicators might interact, it ended up looking like a donut (she wrote a book last year called Donut Economics, explaining her theory).

On the inner ring of this donut are things that are crucial to our survival and our societies: water, energy, food, health, housing, social equity, education, income, and work.

At the outer edge are the potential consequences of achieving these things: climate change, freshwater withdrawals, biodiversity loss, air pollution, ocean acidification, land conversion, nitrogen and phosphorous loading.

Between the two border rings, though, Raworth draws a middle ground she calls “the safe and just space for humanity.”

That safe space falls right between our social foundation (the base layer of resources we need to survive) and our ecological ceiling (the amount of resources we can extract from the world while still allowing it to regenerate).

Currently, we’re overtaxing the Earth’s resources: We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, nitrogen and phosphorous loading, land conversion, and biodiversity loss. Yet at the same time, we’re failing to meet the needs that keep our foundation strong, because our economy is structured in such a way as to funnel resources and wealth toward people who already possess it. Our current growth-driven strategy will only exacerbate this dynamic.

What Raworth is calling for is an “economy that tackles this shortfall and overshoot together, by design.” She imagines implementing regenerative systems at scale–things like universal basic income and renewable energy–while ensuring that our systems and governments prioritizing distributing resources, rather than hoarding them in the name of growth. “If we can harness today’s technology in service of distributive design, we can ensure that healthcare, political voice, financial resources reach and empower people,” she says.

Why is it, Raworth wonders, that we understand that when another human tells us, “I have a growth,” we know that indicates a health failure? “When something tries to grow forever within a healthy, thriving system, it’s a threat to the whole,” she says. “Why do we imagine our economies can buck this trend and grow forever?”

Press link for more Fast

Doughnut Economics with Kate Raworth #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani A vision for a sustainable economy. #SDGs

Doughnut Economics with Kate Raworth

On Nightlife with Philip Clark

Looking around today you might wonder whether just how much dissent there is in the field of economics?

Economists seem mostly convinced, that economic growth is king and that dampening growth will have devastating consequences for us all: the link between jobs and growth and a high standard of living is apparently unbreakable.

But is there another way to think about the economy?

Kate Raworth joined us from the BBC Studios in Oxford –

She’s the author of a book called Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist and she’s developed the idea of ‘doughnut economics’ now being talked about around the world.

Duration: 50min 49sec

Broadcast: Tue 20 Mar 2018, 10:00pm

Press link for more: ABC.NET.AU

The Big Picture on Nature. #ClimateChange #BioDiversity #ClimateRefugees #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

The Big Picture on Nature

Kate Raworth speaking at the World Economic Forum

Looking around today you might wonder whether just how much dissent there is in the field of economics?

Economists seem mostly convinced, that economic growth is king and that dampening growth will have devastating consequences for us all: the link between jobs and growth and a high standard of living is apparently unbreakable. But is there another way to think about the economy?

Kate Raworth joined us from the BBC Studios in Oxford – She’s the author of a book called Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist and she’s developed the idea of ‘doughnut economics’ now being talked about around the world.

Press link for more: ABC.NET.AU