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Solar shines in global shift to renewables. #StopAdani #auspol #Qldpol

Solar shines in global shift to renewables

By Tim Buckley on 22 May 2018

A 70 MW floating PV plant in construction in Anhui province, China

Solar energy is taking an increasingly prominent role in driving the ongoing transformation of global electricity generation markets alongside gains in storage, wind, hydroelectricity and energy efficiency.

IEEFA has today released a new report examining the global solar market and the ever-increasing scale of investment, the speed of implementation and the rapidly broadening range of applications that are becoming commercially viable e.g. concentrated solar power, floating solar, solar fish farms, commercial behind the meter applications, hybrid wind-solar-battery projects and in India, even solar-coal hybrid structures.

As readers of Renew Economy hear repeatedly, corporates, policy makers and regulators are all finding the speed of transformation hard to grasp, particularly in the crucial China and India markets, but the results of the past year are a good indicator of the trend.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports that 98 gigawatts (GW) of solar was installed globally in 2017, a 31% increase from the prior year.

Meanwhile – and just as important – BNEF estimates the levelized cost of solar dropped 15% year-on-year to US$86/MWh for capacity installed in 2017.

Leading the charge, China accounted for more than half the newly installed solar capacity, or some 53 GW, a figure that as recently as 2014 would have eclipsed the global total of solar installations.

While India’s current installation numbers aren’t as dramatic as China’s, the country is clearly embarking on a massive transformation of its electricity sector as well.

The country’s National Electricity Plan, released in March 2018, affirms national intentions to increase renewable energy capacity to 275 GW by 2027, with solar representing two-thirds of this total.

As renewables rise in India, thermal power capacity is forecast to decline to just 43% of the nation’s total in 2027, down from 66% today.

Major solar energy tenders are occurring every week in India (for May 2018 so far 1,000MW,500MW,750MW,200MWand 50MW) at prices now consistently 10-20% below the cost of existing domestic thermal power generation (and 50% below new imported coal fired power).

There is a remarkable buy-in across the country from the government through to the largest corporate incumbents like NTPC, Adani and Tata, each of whom are now amongst the largest and most aggressively ambitious investors in Indian renewables.

Only last week Tata Power committed to invest US$5bn to reach 12GW of renewables by 2028, such that more than half their capacity will be zero emissions sourced (up from zero in 2014 and 30% today).

Our report tracks the largest solar projects operational in the world, and the lead keeps changing. Adani commissioned the then world’s largest solar project at 648MW in Tamil Nadu in mid-2017, but it has slipped to the sixth position in less than a year – refer table.

By 2019 Rajasthan’s 2,225MW Bhadla industrial park is due for full commissioning; three times the size.

And Gujarat is now exploring a 5GW solar park ;double again.

Fourteen of the World’s Largest Operating Solar Projects

Source: Company & Press reports, IEEFA estimates

China and India are hardly alone on this front, as scores of other countries embrace solar.

Saudi Arabia, for one, announced in March 2018 a plan to build 200 GW of solar capacity by 2030, yet another marker in the transition under way across global energy markets. The uptake of solar is gathering momentum too in Europe and the Americas.

As highlighted in The Climate Council’s new report “Renewables & Business: Cutting Prices & Pollution”, the rise of Australian commercial and industrial solar (particularly rooftop) is really starting to boom.

With record high electricity prices crippling businesses, this is expected to keep accelerating, such that even the deliberately flawed NEG is unlikely to to slow this trend.

Not-withstanding this lack of a central policy to sensibly transition our electricity system, Australia remains a world leader in the uptake of solar.

This month cumulative solar installs passed through 7GW. Every week we are reading about new solar investments each of A$100-200m or more for regional Australia, with the speed of construction and uptake clearly evident.

Last week saw the partial commissioning of Australia’s largest to-date solar plant under construction, that being Enel of Italy’s 220MW Bungala solar farm in Port Augusta.

The same week we saw Lighthouse Solar’s 100MW Clare solar farm grid connected – the biggest to date in Queensland.

But the list of projects underway is changing so fast it is impossible to keep up with the latest largest so far solar development. The Queensland government is trying, with a useful reference map.

Solar Reserve’sAurora150MW CSP with 1,100MWh storage is a leading example of Australia’s global leadership in deploying new solar technologies, with this development’s price for peaking electricity setting a new global benchmark low.

And following the brilliant success of Tesla’s South Australian lithium ion battery development, Victoria is now replicating this with two more distributed utility scale battery projects by Tesla and Fluence, one linked to a solar project.

Having shown the way in Australia, Tesla has now commissioned a 18MW Belgium storage system for grid stabilisation, with a 30-40MW virtual peaking solar power plant to come.

And having installed the U.K.’s largest to-date unsubsidised solar with storage power plant(10MW solar, 6MW of storage), Anesco is looking to install 380MW of UK solar and storage by 2020.

Floating solar – another innovation with multiple advantages – is rapidly scaling up.

While Australia is still just trialing this, having commissioned a 100kWsystem in January 2018 at Lismore’s sewage treatment plant, China commissioned a 40MW project in 2017 and has two 150MW projects nearing completion in 2018.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra has announced requests for proposals for 1,000MW of floating solar, with India’s Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) having issued an expression of interest in support of a national target of 10GWof floating solar being released back in December 2017.

Looking at the combination of our coking and thermal coal plus liquid natural gas (LNG) positions, Australia is one of the three largest exporters of fossil fuels globally.

We have major industries at clear stranded asset risk and potentially terminal decline over the very long term. Even our 64% global share of seaborne coking coal is threatened longer term by the combination of technology innovation and carbon emissions policies.

But there-in lies the need to pursue opportunities in industries of the future. Renew Economy provided a glimpse of what could be possible in terms of Australia with CWP’s $20bn 6GW of wind and 3GW of solar Pilbara mega-project for renewable energy exports at world scale.

A vision that might take a couple of decades to come to full fruition, but in doing so it could transform world energy markets entirely.

More immediately, the West Australian budget is a beneficiary of our growing position as a world leader in lithium ion processing.

Technology innovation, deflation, ever-larger scale and the constant breaking of records are the clear lessons of solar led energy transformation now underway.

Australia should be pursing the opportunities for investment, jobs and export industries of the future as a top national priority.

Authors: Tim Buckley / Kashish Shah – IEEFA

Tim Buckley is IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australasia.

Press link for more: Renew Economy


Flat Earthers vs #climatechange sceptics: why conspiracy theorists keep contradicting each other #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Flat Earthers vs climate change sceptics: why conspiracy theorists keep contradicting each other

Gareth Dorrian May 21, 2018 8.29pm AEST

Would a flat Earth suffer from climate change? Shutterstock

Flat Earthism and the idea that human activity is not responsible for climate change are two of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today. Both have been increasing in popularity since the late 20th century. Currently, 16% of the US population say they doubt the scientifically established shape of the Earth, while 40% think that human-induced climate change is a hoax. But proponents of one of these theories are not necessarily proponents of the other, even though both are often motivated by a common mistrust of authority. In fact, they regularly contradict one another.

Flat Earthers, for example, tend to disbelieve organisations such as NASA on the shape of Antarctica – or indeed, that there is a southern hemisphere at all. Yet the president of the Flat Earth Society, Daniel Shenton, is quite convinced – presumably at least in part thanks to information from NASA – that climate change is happening and espouses a fairly conventional view on the subject.

Former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci (dismissed by president Trump after ten days in office), meanwhile, believes that the Earth is in fact round, but does not believe in anthropogenic climate change, as he made clear in an interview with CNN.

Such selective reasoning is common among conspiracy theorists who often lack consistency with one other. Despite this, the media, celebrities and even politicians regularly make broad comparisons between climate change scepticism, Flat Earthism and other conspiracy theories.

Fabricated data?

In the field of global climate change, scientific bodies often are accused, even by those in power, of fabricating data. But such criticism is often deeply flawed. Take those sceptics, for example, who believe that climate change is occurring, but because of natural – rather than man-made – causes. If one argues that data has been fabricated to show warming where there is none, one cannot then also imply that warming is occurring after all, but naturally. Either there is warming or there is not. Similarly, Flat Earthers who state that images showing Earth’s curvature are due to the shape of a camera lens, themselves believe in a disc which by definition has a curved edge.

Indeed, one of the few commonalities which exist between all major conspiracy theories is that somehow scientists and governments are involved in a grand conspiracy for reasons unknown.

A major part of the scientific anthropogenic climate change argument is that there is an increase in temperature extremes in both summer and winter. Evidently, a Flat Earth model cannot support this; in fact, the most accepted Flat Earth model, which maintains that the sun rotates in a non-variable circular orbit over the flat disk, implies that there should be no seasons at all, let alone multi-decadal seasonal extremes due to climate change. Nevertheless, to quote Shenton:

Climate change is a process which has been ongoing since (the) beginning of detectable history, but there seems to be a definite correlation between the recent increase in worldwide temperatures and man’s entry into the industrial age.

In this instance, the president of the Flat Earth Society is correct. Anthropogenic climate change sceptics, on the other hand, are often willing to accept the science behind the Earth’s natural cycles, which they blame – instead of human activity – for the world’s weather woes. Clearly, we again find an implicit difference of opinion between a Flat Earth model, and a non-anthropogenic climate change one.

Climate change: a ‘global’ problem. Shutterstock

It is also clear that many climate change sceptics believe in the (approximately) spherical Earth, even if only subconsciously, by their use of scientifically accepted global maps when discussing data – not to mention when calling it “global” warming.

And what about aliens?

If governments and scientists are so untrustworthy and steeped in corruption, then why would one believe them on any issue? Where does the line of trust actually fall? Why would a person who mistrusts governments and scientists on the shape of the Earth, not hold the same politicians and scientific organisations similarly bogus on the issue of climate change? Or alien abductions, chem trails, or anything else?

Read more: I watched an entire Flat Earth Convention for my research – here’s what I learnt

But the problem isn’t likely to go away any time soon. The US has the highest number of believers in both flat-Earthism and anthropogenic climate change scepticism, and the UK is not far behind. The US also has a high number (more than 50%) of senior political figures who deny man-made climate change, not to mention a democratically elected leader vocally believing the same. There are also numerous well-known celebrities who question the established shape of our planet.

While of course scientists can play the blame game, it could be that the scientific method itself is a major limiting factor in communicating results with the public. Science is not just a body of knowledge, but a method of critical thinking.

Scientists, by necessity, have to communicate their findings in a certain rigid way focusing on probabilities, certainty values and confidence intervals. These can appear dry or baffling to the public. But by providing more easily understandable narratives we can make scientific discussions with the public more productive.

In today’s complex world of social media narratives, the engagement of scientists with the public is more crucial than ever. Thankfully, current funding for public engagement training and activities is accessible to scientists with a passion for communication and conversation, enabling them to communicate facts rather than “fake news”.

Press link for more: The Conversation

UN: Progress on Emission Reduction Too Slow #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Global Economy Improving, but Progress on Emission Reductions too Slow – UN | UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 18 May 2018 – A new UN report shows that whilst short-term prospects for the world economy are improving, with the world gross product expected to expand by 3.2 per cent in both 2018 and 2019, a lot more needs to be done to avert a major economic downturn linked to unchecked climate change.

The study by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs points towards a 1.4 percent increase of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 due to a combination of accelerated economic growth, relatively cheap fossil fuels and weak energy efficiency efforts.

“While recent evidence points to progress in decoupling emissions growth from GDP growth in some developed economies, it is still manifestly insufficient. The rate of global energy efficiency gains has been slowing since 2015, reaching 1.7 percent in 2017—half the rate required to remain on track with the Paris Agreement”, say the authors of the report ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2018.’

Improving energy efficiency and a radical shift to low carbon for the world’s markets is integral to meeting the objectives set forth by the Paris Agreement, which aims to respond to climate change by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.

The authors of the report say that several steps can be taken to notably align the rate of energy efficiency gains with the goals of the Paris Agreement. These include the reform of fossil fuel subsidies and taxes, deploying renewable energy technology, and decreasing the cost of renewable energy generation.

Warnings of Climate Impacts Setting In

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions account for 2016 and 2017 being the two hottest years on record.

Evidence from the report states that a rising global average temperature could translate into a slower growth of per capita output in countries with a high average temperature, most of which are low-income countries.

The sectors of agricultural production, labor productivity, weather dependent industry, capital accumulation and human health are most at risk for disruption from an unpredictable climate.

Warmer climates create shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Respectively, these events can move the locations of farmlands, endanger Small Island Developing States, and threaten large population centers.

Policy Reform Crucial to Meeting Paris Agreement Goals

The report says that a reform of fossil fuel policy could increase the rate of energy efficiency gains.

Additionally, the use of new technologies such as wind, solar, electric vehicles and battery storage is critical.

In 2017, renewables accounted for 61 percent of all newly installed net power capacity in 2017 with solar alone encompassing 38 percent.

Falling costs for solar and wind power supported the economic viability for several renewable energy projects.

But even with the newly-installed capacity, renewable energy today only accounts for 19 percent of power capacity and 12.1 percent of power generation around the globe.

At the current rate of change, the pace of power transition would take approximately 55 years for the share of renewables to reach 50 percent of earth’s total energy capacity – too late to ensure the Paris Agreement’s goals can be met.

Read the full report here

Leichhardt shopping centre to add 430kW solar car shade #auspol #qldpol #renewables #StopAdani

Leichhardt shopping centre to add 430kW solar car shade

By Sophie Vorrath onMay 17, 2018

A solar car park that was installed at Northam Boulevard Shopping Centre in WA.

A shopping centre in the inner western Sydney suburb of Leichhardt is joining the retail sector-wide shift to solar, with plans to install a 430kW rooftop PV system on a purpose built carpark shading structure.

The $1.2 million solar system, which will be installed on MarketPlace Leichhardt by ASX-listed energy management consultancy Energy Action, is expected to supply 40 per cent of the facility’s energy demand, and slash its reliance on an already constrained grid.

Local Government Super, which owns the shopping centre, says expects the return on investment from the PV system will be somewhere around 14 per cent per annum, with a payback period of just over seven years.

“As a responsible owner, our aim is to minimise the environmental impact of our properties and maximise the returns for LGS members,” said the company’s property portfolio manager, Scott Armstrong.

As readers of One Step would know, MarketPlace Leichhardt is just the latest of a trolly-load of major Australian shopping centres that are turning to solar to cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

Earlier this month, ASX-listed retail asset manager Vicinity Centres announced the roll-out of more than 11MW of commercial solar that will incorporate five shopping centres across two states.

The $28 million project would install a total of 11.2MW of solar on the rooftops and as car park shading at shopping centres in Western Australia and South Australia – enough to generate 17.4GWh of energy a year, Vicinity said.

And in October last year, another property giant, Stockland, started work on plans to install a total of 12.3MW of rooftop solar across its shopping centre portfolio.

But the commercial solar boom currently taking off in Australia extends much further than the retail sector.

Energy Action said on Wednesday that it was seeing strong demand from new and existing clients for solar solutions, across commercial, retail and industrial properties.

“To date, Energy Action has installed in excess of 2MW of rooftop PV across Australia, including the iconic Sydney Theatre Company and Canberra Ikea systems, and we continue to build our pipeline of innovative solar PV projects,” said Energy Action CEO Ivan Slavich.

“At present, we are assessing the potential for solar PV across more than 40 sites including aged care, gaming and leisure, and commercial facilities, and with electricity prices more than doubling for some clients and considerably reducing the payback period for solar projects, we expect this level of demand to continue,” he said.

Press link for more: One Step Off The Grid

#ClimateChange is a multifaceted problem. #DiEM25 #auspol #qldpol #Tourism

Climate change is a multifaceted problem.

It roots not only in our views of the environment as a rubbish dump, but also in the indifference of material interests, shallow public scientific debates, and poor allocation of resources.

It’s complex, worldwide.

But one key driver of carbon emissions – previously overlooked – is something that we can control: the tourist industry.

Scientists have been trying to quantify the effect of tourism for decades.

But a recent study suggests that our previous calculations were considering only part of the problem.

In fact, by analyzing the effect of tourism in a more holistic approach, some alarming results emerge: between 2009 and 2013 tourism and tourism-related carbon emissions increased by 20 per cent.

This number significantly escalates the contribution of tourism to global carbon emissions.

Of course, fighting tourism-related emissions is not enough.

Our planet faces multiple crises, and we need to tackle them all at the same time; We have already noted that the fight for poverty and against climate change should not be independent.

This is why we design our policies collectively and holistically.

We envision restoration of democracy in conjunction with sound economic policies and heavy investments in green technologies. Join us here and contribute to our common fight!

Do you want to be informed of DiEM25’s actions? Sign up here.

Press link for more DiEM25

Climate change author still hopeful for future of planet #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Climate change author still hopeful for future of planet

By JEFF DEZORT Newton County Times May 17, 2018

Jeff Dezort/Staff

Acting Buffalo National River Superintendent Laura Miller (left) and Jack Stewart of Jasper were on hand when Dr. Terry L. Root, PhD, professor emerita at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, recently spoke to a group in Harrison about climate change.

A renown scientist studying effects of climate change says she still has hope that many species of birds and other animals will escape extinction brought on by rising world-wide temperatures.

Terry L. Root, PhD, professor emerita of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, was a lead author of assessment reports in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which earned her a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Vice President Al Gore.

The Earth is a fragile planet.

We have to take care of it, but time is running short.

That was Root’s message to a group of people including National Park Service personnel attending an hour-long presentation last week at the Buffalo National River Headquarters in Harrison.

Root is acquainted with Jack Stewart of Jasper, a conservationist who has worked with her on the National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors. Stewart is also a member of the Buffalo National River Partners and made arrangements for Root’s visit.

Temperature studies spanning from the 1800s to the present were used by Root to plot global surface temperature changes well into the future. Temperatures will gradually be nudged higher and higher due to greater concentrations of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect, her studies show.

In 1975, data strongly indicated that one species is causing climate change. Humans are affecting the temperature of the oceans and the atmosphere, she said.

The overall size of the oceans and atmosphere are very small, she showed in one of the graphics.

There are four different “story lines” for global warming in the future. The first proposes what would happen if there are no changes — it’s business as usual. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations will increase from 400 to more than 1,200 parts per million.

Two other story lines show the effects of influences brought on with some types of international cooperation to limit these emissions. Concentrations would increase but only to 400 to 700 parts per million. The fourth scenario shows what would happen if greenhouse gas emissions were suddenly ended. Concentrations would drop, so you would think.

But carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere a long time. Root said 25 percent of the carbon dioxide released today will still be in the atmosphere 50 years from now. And 25 percent of that carbon dioxide will still be in the atmosphere 100 years from now. So even without adding more carbon dioxide its concentration will not disappear entirely.

“What we are doing today is affecting our great-great-great-great-grandchildren. That just really bothers me,” Root said.

Technological advances won’t help. At least not short term. The only things today that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are trees, she said.

Press link for more: Harrison Daily

My daughter is right: our generation is wrecking the world for hers | #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

My daughter is right: our generation is wrecking the world for hers | Paul Daley

Paul DaleyThu 17 May 2018 12.22 AEST

Those of us gen X-ers in our early to mid-50s inhabit a world that is vastly more dangerous and uncertain than the one we were bequeathed.’ Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

The car is where I’ve discovered most about my parenting.

There was that time when I, a very young father, oh-so-briefly and absentmindedly left Number One Daughter in her baby capsule on the roof of the clapped-out Morris.

It all turned out fine.

So much so that she is now about to have her own child.

And there was the time when Number One Son, aged about two, bellowed from the back of the car, “Ahh fuck – you idiot!” I’d just slammed on the brakes, inspiring him to speak with perfect intonation in precise mimicry of … words I may have previously uttered from behind the wheel in a similar situation.

Which brings me to something Number Two Daughter, a nearly-teen, said in the car a few months ago.

“Mum and Dad – I don’t want you to be upset at this or anything,” she began.

She had our attention. “Yes?” came our chorus.

She continued, “OK and when I talk about you in what I’m about to say I don’t actually mean you personally – I mean your generation. OK?”

“Yes … ”

“Well, you’re wrecking the world for my generation.

The world is more unsafe than when you were kids, more and more species are going extinct, there are more refugees and the world is meaner to them, there are more wars, there’s more terrorism and more racism and you haven’t stopped climate change. No offence – but it’s true.

You’re ruining the world.”

For good measure she also threw in something about being priced out of the housing market.

It’s impossible to overstate quite how devastating this was.

Devastating – because it’s mostly true.

Those of us gen Xers in our early to mid-50s inhabit a world that is vastly more dangerous and uncertain than the one we were bequeathed.

Us gen X men were the first generation since federation not to be forced or urged to go to war.

We all had free tertiary education, stable government, a strong national and global economy, reasonable job prospects and security and, despite ridiculous interest rates in the mid-1980s, every prospect of owning our own homes.

In the 1980s our chief global concern was nuclear Armageddon at the tail end of the cold war. Today the daily threat might be China, Iran or North Korea, with the constant, of course, given the bellicosity and unpredictability of Trump, always America. Many Australian conservatives let slip much about their fears of a Trump White House as the beast roared on its way up – his hatred of women and minorities, his temperamental unsuitability, in short all of the things our children so easily identified and empathetically condemned as they would the schoolyard bully. My daughter and her friends talk of Trump constantly as a present and future threat to their world.

Meanwhile, toxic nationalism, in Australia and elsewhere, is more potent than it has been since the world wars, manifesting here in even greater oppression and marginalisation of Indigenous people, and the political vilification of asylum seekers and their banishment to earthy hell. The militarisation of Australian history and culture continues apace at the expense of gentler, more thoughtful forms of patriotism.

Terrorism was frightening for us, though largely in the abstract – a thing that mostly happened elsewhere, and quite rarely, rather than the global and domestic threat it is for our kids. It did not cross our minds when we boarded a plane, attended a big public event – or walked through a mall in the city.

The early science was there for us on climate change and ozone depletion. Governments needed little convincing of their reality and had begun to act. The change was not deliberately contorted, like today, as a matter of belief (despite the science) that divides politics, media and society – and delivers a status quo of stalemate between enlightenment and darkness that bequeaths to our young bleaching reefs, vanishing species and rising sea levels.

Some parents go to great lengths to shield their children from the worst realities of the world – war, famine, the threat of global warming, toxic racism, terrorism. We’d never tried – or wanted – to do that. The days have always began and ended in our homes with radio news and current affairs. There have always (until recently) been daily newspapers, and family conversation has inevitably included a fair amount of domestic and geopolitics. We wanted to raise informed, socially and politically engaged, and caring, young people.

We have tried, as parents and as people engaged with the world, who want to make it and this country better, to argue our causes. Some days there are wins. Others, it feels like progress is stuck in a morass beyond our control, at the whim of those at the very top of the power tree.

I inherited a better world, indeed, a better Australia, than my mother and father. But were I gone tomorrow, I doubt my kids would say the same about their parents.

But I’m not done yet – and I heard everything Number Two Daughter said in the car that day. The one thing I did not hear was any hint of fear. She sounded defiant and courageous. But never afraid. Perhaps that’s one of the things we did get right.

• Paul Daley is a Guardian Australia columnist

Press link for more: The Guardian

#ClimateChange ‘Global existential risk” Senate Report #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Extract from Senate Report released today.

Press link for more: APH.GOV.AU

2.3 American climate security expert Ms Sherri Goodman described climate change as a ‘direct threat to the national security of Australia’, and a ‘global existential risk’.

Other submissions also recognised climate change as an existential risk, defined as ‘one that threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development’.

Mr Mark Crosweller, Director General of Emergency Management Australia (EMA), also referred to the ‘existential nature’ of climate change risks.

Climate change viewed as a current threat

2.4 The 2015 United States Department of Defense (US DoD) report mentioned in the terms of reference characterised ‘climate change as a present security threat, not strictly a long-term risk’.

Illustrating this immediacy, Ms Goodman described recent climate-related events:

…we know now that the hurricane train that has come through the United States this fall and the wildfires that we are experiencing are, in part, due to additional climate risks. And we know that the storms that you’ve been experiencing in your part of the world [Australia] now are also attributable, in part, to accelerated climate risks.

The problem also is not a distant one in the future but it’s now.

We are experiencing this in regular sunny-day flooding at military bases in the United States and in changes in the Arctic, forcing the first wave of displaced persons from villages in the Arctic.12

2.5 The Climate Council further stated the effects of climate change ‘are already contributing to increases in the forced migration of people within and between nations, as well as playing a role in heightening social and political tensions, flowing onto conflict and violence’.

2.6 A recent Australian Government report highlighted how Australia is ‘already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate, particularly changes associated with increases in temperature, the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events, extreme fire weather, and drought’.

For example, it noted ‘communities in the Torres Strait

It is overdue to present a planetary confession. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Johan Rockström – It is overdue to present a planetary confession.

Author : Johan Rockström

Our human “balance sheet” for the past 50 years is everything else than positive, and that should make us humble.

Above all, it emphasizes Albert Einstein’s wisdom that we cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

The industrial period started in Britain towards the end of the 18th century when James Watt invented the coal-driven steam engine.

Industrialization spreads quickly across the world, with increasing local environmental problems.

However, it took until the 1960’s before contamination and environmental disasters cause action on a broad level.

Cars cause smog levels higher than today’s problems in Beijing.

Philadelphia is classified as a disaster zone. Even in Stockholm, smog is a common phenomenon.

Lakes in the USA are so oil-contaminated that they start to burn.

It is impossible to eat fish.

Huge oil spills from tankers occur.

Finally, the world reacts.

The Republican president Richard Nixon establishes the Environmental Protection Agency EPA in 1970.

In that year, millions of Americans demonstrate for clean environment, during the first ever Earth Day.

The Swedish Environmental Agency, Naturvårdsverket, is established in 1967.

The Stockholm Conference, the world’s first meeting for environment and development, starts the UNEP, the United Nations Environmental Program, in 1972. Legislation to tackle environmental problems is initiated.

In the USA, major environmental laws are passed which to this day regulate the environmental administration, and these are the very laws which Donald Trump wishes to limit: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Right now, things happen which the regulations intended to prevent.

In parallel with our mobilisation to fix environmental problems, the problems accelerate.

We switch from linear increase of environmental problems to exponential increase of humanity’s pressure on the planet.

“Environmental hockey sticks” appear, from carbon dioxide to loss of biodiversity. Things go fast.

In only 50 years, we use up the world’s environmental flexibility, and now we have reached the “saturation point” where the atmosphere, the seas and ecosystems on land no longer can tolerate further unsustainable exploitation.

You probably see the drama unfolding.

Just at the time when we mobilize to solve global environmental problems, the result is exactly the opposite!

Instead of solving problems, environmental problems exacerbate in an exponential manner.

What a total failure!

Here we are.

In addition to all negative environmental trends, we are undermining our standard of living – because the invoices start coming.

For a long time, we could grow both our population and standard of living and “send the bill” to the environment and ecosystems.

That is no more.

Already today, when global warming has increased the average temperature by 1 degree Celsius, we see the costs in terms of social destabilisation such as in Syria, we see the collapse of 30% of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and we see huge costs such as the 350 mio USD bill for the 2017 tornado season in the USA.

One reason for our failure is the belief in the Kuznets graph according to which environmental problems increase at low GNP (read: poor countries) and decrease at high GNP, meaning that environmental problems are solved by economic growth, i.e. by having the resources.

The problem is that Kuznets is wrong.

The richer we are, the more damage to the planet we cause.

Recently, a scientific study showed that rich countries such as Sweden do score great on social indicators regarding standard of living, but they do this by over-consuming regarding the planetary limits.

This is depressing.

There is not a single country in the world which achieves good social development sustainably, i.e. within planetary limits.

Is there any hope?

Yes, most certainly!

Firstly, I claim that the right diagnosis of the patient is the precondition for correct treatment.

We need to be open and lay all our cards on the table.

We need to confess – on a planetary level.

Secondly, there are so many “islands of insight”, sustainable solutions and initiatives of cities and companies.

Surely in an “ocean of ignorance”.

However, all these islands start to form an ever tighter archipelago which can alter the logic towards a sustainable future for this planet.

Wikipedia on Johan Rockström

Johan Rockström appointed director at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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Tourism’s carbon impact three times larger than estimated #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Tourism’s carbon impact three times larger than estimated

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

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Travellers from affluent countries are a key part of emissions growth in tourism

A new study says global tourism accounts for 8% of carbon emissions, around three times greater than previous estimates.

The new assessment is bigger because it includes emissions from travel, plus the full life-cycle of carbon in tourists’ food, hotels and shopping.

Driving the increase are visitors from affluent countries who travel to other wealthy destinations.

The US tops the rankings followed by China, Germany and India.

Tourism is a huge and booming global industry worth over $7 trillion, and employs one in ten workers around the world.

It’s growing at around 4% per annum.

Previous estimates of the impact of all this travel on carbon suggested that tourism accounted for 2.5-3% of emissions.

However in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive assessment to date, this new study examines the global carbon flows between 160 countries between 2009 and 2013. It shows that the total is closer to 8% of the global figure.

As well as air travel, the authors say they have included an analysis of the energy needed to support the tourism system, including all the food, beverage, infrastructure construction and maintenance as well as the retail services that tourists enjoy.

“It definitely is eye opening,” Dr Arunima Malik from the University of Sydney, who’s the lead author of the study, told BBC News.

“We looked at really detailed information about tourism expenditure, including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs. We looked at the trade between different countries and also at greenhouse gas emissions data to come up with a comprehensive figure for the global carbon footprint for tourism.”

The researchers also looked at the impacts in both the countries where tourists came from and where they travelled. They found that the most important element was relatively well off people from affluent countries travelling to other well to do destinations.

In the leading countries, US, China, Germany and India, much of the travel was domestic.

Travellers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark exert a much higher carbon footprint elsewhere than in their own countries.

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Small island states like the Maldives are hugely dependent on long distance tourism

When richer people travel they tend to spend more on higher carbon transportation, food and pursuits says Dr Malik.

“If you have visitors from high income countries then they typically spend heavily on air travel, on shopping and hospitality where they go to. But if the travellers are from low income countries then they spend more on public transport and unprocessed food, the spending patterns are different for the different economies they come from.”

When measuring per capita emissions, small island destinations such as the Maldives, Cyprus and the Seychelles emerge as the leading lights. In these countries tourism is responsible for up to 80% of their annual emissions.

“The small island states are in a difficult position because we like travelling to these locations and those small island states very much rely on tourist income but they are also at the same time vulnerable to the effects of rising seas and climate change,” said Dr Malik.

Demand for international tourism is also being seen in emerging countries like Brazil, India, China and Mexico, highlighting a fundamental problem – wealth.

The report underlines the fact that when people earn more than $40,000 per annum, their carbon footprint from tourism increase 13% for every 10% rise in income. The consumption of tourism does “not appear to satiate as incomes grow,” the report says.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has welcomed the research but doesn’t accept that the industry’s efforts to cut carbon have been a flop.

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As countries get wealthier their citizens’ appetite for global travel rapidly increases

“It would be unfair to say that the industry is not doing anything,” said Rochelle Turner, director of research at WTTC.

“We’ve seen a growing number of hotels, airports and tour operators that have all become carbon neutral so there is a momentum.”

Experts say that offsetting, where tourists spend money on planting trees to mitigate their carbon footprint will have to increase, despite reservations about its effectiveness.

Awareness is also the key. The WTTC say that the recent water crisis in Cape Town has also helped people recognise that changes in climate can impact resources like water.

“There is a real need for people to recognise what their impact is in a destination,” said Rochelle Turner, “and how much water, waste and energy you should be using compared to the local population.”

“All of this will empower tourists to make better decisions and only through those better decisions that we’ll be able to tackle the issue of climate change.”

The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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