Coral

The Oceans make the Earth a habitable planet. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

The oceans make the planet habitable, if we continue to use the oceans as a garbage dump we will quickly make our planet uninhabitable.

Plastics & carbon pollution are real threats to marine life and ultimately to humanity.

Coral bleaching is inevitable as the oceans are heated by global warming.

The science is clear, we know what must be done.

We must demand political leadership.

We have the technology, we must become active it is the challenge for our generation.

First put a price on Pollution. Both carbon & plastic.

We can no longer be complacent.

Time is running out.

Australia quick to action in war has been slow to act on reducing pollution. Future generations will pay an enormous price.

Our carbon emissions per capita are among the highest in the world.

We are amongst the world’s worst when it comes to climate action.

We are literally stealing the future from our children and future generations.

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“So reckless it’s terrifying!” #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

“So reckless it’s terrifying!” Simon Baker, award-winning actor and director, has an important message for all Australians.

SHARE + ACT: Tell Turnbull to protect our Reef >> http://www.fightforourreef.org.au/simonbaker

#FightForOurReef #StopAdani

Simon Baker’s message should be a wake up call for everyone.

Climate change is causing extreme events all over the planet.

It’s hard to believe Australian politicians from both Labor & Liberal Parties are still not taking the climate science seriously.

Future generations of Australians will never understand how we ignored the warnings.

Scientists, economists, doctors are doing what they can to create awareness.

This week in France leaders from all over the world came together to demand climate action and plan for a carbon neutral economy. The One Planet Summit was ignored by Australian politicians & most of the Australian media.

If we are to limit global warming to 2C we must cease using fossil fuels by 2050.

Investing in new coal mines is reckless, it completely ignores the science & will most likely be the end of the Great Barrier Reef putting 70,000 jobs in Tourism at risk.

The threat to humanity from air pollution is also ignored.

A recent report from the World Health Organization said the 500,000 babies die every year from air pollution a large percentage of that due to burning coal.

Using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for carbon dioxide when we use fossil fuels has to end.

Putting a price on carbon is the most cost effective way to solve the problem.

#ClimateChange link to #CoralBleaching #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

According to a new research report published today in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the 2016 global average temperature and extreme heat wave over Asia occurred due to continued long-term climate change.

The report included research from NOAA scientists.

Additionally, climate change was found to have influenced other heat events in 2016, including the extreme heat in the Arctic, development of marine heat waves off Alaska and Australia, as well as the severity of the 2015-2016 El Nino, and the duration of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef.

The sixth edition of Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective presents 27 peer-reviewed research papers that examine episodes of extreme weather across six continents and two oceans during 2016.

It features the research of 116 scientists from 18 countries — including five reports co-led by NOAA scientists — who analyzed historical observations and changing trends along with model results to determine whether and how climate change might have influenced an extreme event or shifted the odds of it occurring.

The findings

The new research found climate change increased the risk of wildfires in the western U.S., and the extreme rainfall experienced in China, along with South Africa’s drought and resultant food shortages.

Researchers found that climate change had reduced the likelihood of the cold outbreaks experienced in China and western Australia in 2016.

No conclusive link to climate change was found by scientists examining severe drought in Brazil, record rains in Australia, or stagnant conditions creating poor air quality in Europe.

In the report, 21 of the 27 papers in this edition identified climate change as a significant driver of an event, while six did not.

Of the 131 papers now examined in this report over the last six years, approximately 65 percent have identified a role for climate change, while about 35 percent have not found an appreciable effect.

There could be several reasons no climate signal was found by some papers; it might be that there were no changes in the frequency or severity for that type of event over time or that researchers weren’t able to detect changes using the available observational record or scientific tools and models available today.

Future studies could yield new insights on the climate’s influence on extreme weather.

More about the report

The BAMS annual report is designed to improve the scientific understanding of the drivers of extreme weather, provide insight into how the various weather extremes may be changing over time, and help community and business leaders better prepare for a rapidly changing world.

Press link for more: NOAA.GOV

2016 Global Heatwaves due to Climate Change #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #OnePlanet

Global heat waves in 2016 due purely to climate change: study

The findings mark the first time that global scientists have identified severe weather that could not have happened without climate change, said the peer-reviewed report titled “Explaining Extreme Events in 2016 from a Climate Perspective.”

Until now, the contribution of human-driven climate change has been understood to raise the odds of certain floods, droughts, storms and heat waves — but not serve as the sole cause.

“This report marks a fundamental change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which published the peer-reviewed report.

“For years scientists have known humans are changing the risk of some extremes. But finding multiple extreme events that weren’t even possible without human influence makes clear that we’re experiencing new weather, because we’ve made a new climate.”

The report included 27 peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather across five continents and two oceans.

A total of 116 scientists from 18 countries took part, incorporating historical observations and model simulations to determine the role of climate change in nearly two dozen extreme events.

Records shattered

In 2016, the planet reached a new high for global heat, making it the warmest year in modern times.

These record average surface temperatures worldwide were “only possible due to substantial centennial-scale anthropogenic warming,” said the report.

Asia also experienced stifling heat, with India suffering a major heat wave that killed 580 people from March to May.

Thailand set a new record for energy consumption as people turned on air conditioners en masse to cool off.

Even though the tropical Pacific Ocean warming trend of El Nino was pronounced in 2015 and the first part of 2016, researchers concluded that it was not to blame.

“The 2016 extreme warmth across Asia would not have been possible without climate change,” said the report.

“Although El Nino was expected to warm Southeast Asia in 2016, the heat in the region was unusually widespread.”

In the Gulf of Alaska, the nearby Bering Sea, and off northern Australia, water temperatures were the highest in 35 years of satellite records.

This ocean warming led to “massive bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and one of the largest harmful algal blooms ever off the Alaska shore,” according to the report.

“It was extremely unlikely that natural variability alone led to the observed anomalies.”

Another chapter found that the so-called “blob” of sub-Arctic 2016 warmth “cannot be explained without anthropogenic climate warming.”

Most, not all

Most of the extreme events studied were influenced to some extent by climate change, as in the past six years that the work has been published.

Climate change was found to have boosted the odds and intensity of El Nino, the severity of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, and warmth in the North Pacific Ocean.

Flash droughts over southern Africa, like the one in 2015 and 2016, have tripled in the last 60 years mainly due to human-caused climate change, it said.

“Extreme rains, like the record-breaking 2016 event in Wuhan, China are 10 times more likely in the present climate than they were in 1961.”

The unusual Arctic warmth observed in November–December 2016 “most likely would not have been possible without human-caused warming,” it added.

But not all extreme weather was influenced by global warming.

About 20 percent of the events studied were not linked to human-caused climate change, including a major winter snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic United States, and the drought that led to water shortages in northeast Brazil.

The findings were released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.

Press link for more: SBS.COM.AU

Decline of Nature poses severe threat to global prosperity #StopAdani #auspol

Top economists show that the decline of nature poses severe threats to continued national and global prosperity

New research from a team of Oxford economists, launched at the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh, has shown that Ministries of Finance and Treasuries are often blind to how dependent economies are on nature, which is declining at a dangerous rate.

As a result, businesses and politicians are failing to register the systemic risk building up as the natural world fails.

Professor Cameron Hepburn, who led the research at the University of Oxford’s Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, says that flawed economic and political institutions are to blame. “Much of the value that economies create is built upon a natural foundation – the air, water, food, energy and raw materials that the planet provides.

Without nature, no other value is possible.”

It’s called natural capital, and it’s the basis for all human prosperity. But because most economies fail to account for this dependency, “business as usual” is driving a dangerous trend of environmental decline.

“We are poisoning the well from which we drink. The dire state of nature and the implications for our future barely registers in economic decision-making”

Oliver Greenfield

Extreme weather, mass extinctions, falling agricultural yields, and toxic air and water are already damaging the global economy, with pollution alone costing 4.6 trillion USD every year. And we’re in danger of losing other indispensable natural capitals, like topsoil for food production or a stable climate, without which organised economies cannot function.

“We are poisoning the well from which we drink,” says Oliver Greenfield, convenor of the Green Economy Coalition, who commissioned the research. “The dire state of nature and the implications for our future, barely registers in economic decision-making.  To put this another way, we are building up a big systemic risk to our economies and societies, and just like the financial crisis, most economists currently don’t see it”.

The research finds three central failings are to blame. Firstly, we currently lack the tools to adequately measure and understand the value of nature, meaning it is largely invisible to policymakers. Secondly, many economic models assume that environmental value can be easily and indefinitely replaced by man-made value; for example, the loss in natural capital from logging a forest is off-set by the creation of valuable jobs and timber – ignoring the question of what happens when the last tree is cut down. Finally, we don’t have the laws and institutions required to protect our critical stocks of natural capital from unsustainable exploitation.

Thankfully, the research finds encouraging signs that our economy can be rapidly rewired to protect the planet. Governments and businesses must start measuring their stocks of natural capital in comprehensive natural wealth accounts, and ensure that those assets are protected and improved. Better data is needed on the value of the natural wealth that underpins economic activity, so that value can be accounted for by treasuries and financial centres. And critical natural assets – without which society cannot survive – must be given special status so that they cannot be squandered.

This research is an urgent wake-up call to governments and businesses around the world: our economies are flying blind, and new models and methodologies are urgently required. “The opportunity to properly value nature is not just a task for economists but for all of us,” Oliver Greenfield added. “The societies and economies that understand their dependency on nature are healthier and more connected, with a brighter future.”

Press link for more: Green Economy Coalition

Climate Change could kill 50-80% of Pacific fish. #StopAdani #Qldvotes #CoralnotCoal

Climate change could kill 50-80% of Pacific fish species: study

From Dateline Pacific, 6:04 am today


Pacific island nations could lose between 50 and 80 percent of their fish species by the end of the century if climate change continues unabated.

The figure is published in a new study, published in the journal Marine Policy, which examined more than a thousand species across the region to see how they are reacting to changes in the ocean.

Its lead researcher, associate professor Rebecca Asch from the University of East Carolina, says the Pacific’s temperature has little variability, with the temperature being more or less the same all year.

She told Jamie Tahana this means species are unlikely to be able to adapt to dramatic changes in ocean temperatures, and could die out.

REBECCA ASCH: So we did look at two climate change scenarios. One that is a warmer kind of scenario where we are getting changes. Generally between two and four degrees. There is a scenario where if everyone came together and really took mitigating climate change seriously the warming would only be about one degree. Which would be a much better situation.

JAMIE TAHANA: And on that sort of more bleak scenario a prediction of between 50 and 80 percent of species extinction or migration that is a very dramatic number how did you come to that?

RA: Well what we did is we looked at the habitat species used and where that habitat will be in the future and on a regional basis what we looked at is for each region of the ocean how much species will gain locally versus how many basically leave that area. So it is a local extinction those species still might be occurring in other parts of the ocean but not necessarily the regions where they were in the past. And so what we have been finding is that the gains for most areas are fairly low often about two to six percent of biodiversity but these losses are a lot higher and there are some areas where it does exceed 80 percent but overall all over the Pacific you kind of have losses that are kind of in the 50 to 60 percent range. And this is kind of at the end of the century under the higher climate change impact scenario.

JT: Is that largely because the Pacific is quite a static temperature and the species can’t adapt to a change?

RA: Yeah that is part of it. So basically if you look at kind of the seasonal cycle how much temperature varies. The most variability over the course of the year tends to be in the mid latitudes and in the lower latitudes as well as at the poles you don’t to get as much change which means that organisms are often very kind of adapted to a narrow range of temperature and that means that you know if temperatures go beyond that range we are either going to have species migrating out of an area decreasing in abundance or in some cases you could get adaptation to these changes. But the question is just as the changes are happening fairly quickly so can organisms adapt quickly enough.

JT: Yes because adaptation is a sort of really slow process isn’t it and if we have had these dramatic changes in mere decades.

RA: Yes that is exactly. Like there is some cases where you can get rapid evolution but that is something that we can’t count on happening.

JT: To what extent is this affecting the species that Pacific Islanders rely on for their livelihoods or Sustenance and such?

RA: Okay the study looked at about a thousand different species because it was looking at biodiversity patterns and one of the things that was a little bit surprising is that we are then divided up into species that either have more reef fish species or open water species and surprisingly we kind of found similar patterns across a lot of different species. So it does seem like that is going to be a problem though for you know small scale fisheries you know people rely on for subsistence as well as larger scale fisheries are focussing on commercially important species like Tuna.

JT: Already we are starting to see in countries like Kiribati, Tuvalu and that fishermen reporting reduced catches or having to go out further into the sea to actually find fish and stuff is this all part of that? Is it already underway?

RA: So one of the things that is really difficult to sometimes tell is how much is due to fishing pressure as well as changes in climate and for the most part it is something where you know often times trends that we see are a bit of those and certainly that would be consistent with projections that people might see under climate change. But you know it may be a kind of a combination of historical or over-fishing as well.

JT: Is this trend reversible. You say kind of the 50 to 80 percent is sort of in the worst case scenario of global warming but say with the targets I mean we have got all the world leaders in Germany at the moment trying to thrash out some rules for climate action and stuff. If action comes together is this avoidable or reversible or anything?

RA: It think that avoidable is definitely a possibility. I think the hard thing is once we have CO2 in the atmosphere a lot of it will stick around for centuries so once it happens it is going to take a long time to reverse. But I think we are still at a point in time where we can avoid the worst impacts scenario. So like I think that this is a really important moment in history for that reason and we did find that for a lot of the climate variables if you kind of take this best case scenario where we do take action now the changes in things like temperature, Ph will be two to four times smaller than otherwise. So that is certainly going to have a positive impact compared to a business as usual scenario.

Press link for more: Radio New Zealand

Listening to the voices we don’t want to hear #Science #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Climate change: We were warned in 1992

By Anthony Doerr:

November 20, 2017

Twenty-five years ago this month, more than 1,500 prominent scientists, including over half of the living Nobel laureates, issued a manifesto titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” in which they admonished, “A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”

They cited stresses on the planet’s atmosphere, forests, oceans and soils, and called on everybody to act decisively.

“No more than one or a few decades remain,” the scientists wrote, “before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost.”

I was 19 years old when their warning was published and though I understood, in a teenager-y, “Rainforest Rap” sort of way, that humans were messing with the planet, the document freaked me out.

It was so urgent, so dire. E.O. Wilson had signed it.

Carl Sagan had signed it!

So did I act immediately and decisively?

Um, I did not.

In the ensuing years I wrote cheques to some conservation organisations, replaced some incandescent bulbs and rode my bike to work.

I hammered together a composting bin that promptly fell apart.

I gave a self-important lecture to a neighbour on the importance of using his recycling can.

I also hurtled through the troposphere on hundreds of airplanes (each round trip from New York to London costs the Arctic another three square metres of ice), bought and sold multiple automobiles and helped my wife put two more Americans onto the planet.

Our air-conditioning compressor is at least a decade old, my truck averages 15 miles to the gallon and I routinely walk up to a podium, open a brand new plastic bottle of water, take a sip and promptly forget that it exists.

Sometimes I wake at 2am worrying that my great-granddaughter will have to march through her distant, broiling future gathering all the plastic I ever disposed of.

“You mean he knew,” she’ll ask her mum, as she pulls the plastic clamshell I ate a Chinese chicken salad out of back in November 2017, “and he still did this?”

 If our biological imperative is to pass our genes to the next generation, our moral imperative has to be to try, before we become corpses, to leave them a planet they can survive on.

“I told you,” her mother will say. “He was the absolute worst.”

This autumn, as smoke from dozens of wildfires made the air outside our windows in Boise, Idaho, about as healthy as a casino smoking lounge, as Harvey flooded parts of Texas and Maria smashed Puerto Rico, as 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, I was tempted to imagine US President Donald Trump cruising in his jumbo jet above the various cataclysms with some coal-friendly legislation in his lap and his fingers in his ears.

This is a man, after all, who in a single month in 2007 poured 2 million gallons of fresh water through the lawns, pool and 22 bathrooms of his Palm Beach, Florida, residence.

But sometimes making villains out of other people can distract us from our own complicities. If Trump were never elected, Harvey still would have flooded Houston, October still would have been the 394th consecutive month that global average temperatures were above the 20th century average, and New Delhi would still be choking on air so foul that just breathing for a day is roughly equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes.

In a season when the silencing of voices is so rightfully in the public discussion, maybe the 25th anniversary of the “Scientists’ Warning” offers an opportunity to reflect on just how well each of us is listening to the voices we don’t want to hear.

Here’s what I think happens with me.

Maybe I wake up, turn on my phone, read something like, “On average, populations of vertebrate species declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012,” and I feel queasy — as though I’m living in a world that’s a shadow of the world I was born into — and at the same time I probably also get a little less sensitive to the insanity of our trajectory, and then I put down my phone and get swamped by the tsunami of the day: One kid has strep throat, another needs to go to the dentist, I’ve forgotten six or seven internet passwords, the dog just pooped on the rug.

Hour by hour, minute by minute, I make decisions that seem like the right things to do at the time, but which prevent me from reflecting on the most significant, most critical fact in my life: Every day I participate in a system that is womanising our big, gorgeous planet against our kids.

“Death,” Zadie Smith wrote in 2013, “is what happens to everyone else; If I truly believed that being a corpse was not only a possible future but my only guaranteed future — I’d do all kinds of things differently.”

If our biological imperative is to pass our genes to the next generation, our moral imperative has to be to try, before we become corpses, to leave them a planet they can survive on.

Since the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” humans have done extraordinary things. We stabilised the stratospheric ozone layer; we connected people in instantaneous and previously unimaginable ways; we landed a golf cart on Mars and drove it around.

We even got every nation-state on earth (except ours, apparently) to agree to try to achieve net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by midcentury.

But we’ve also removed enough forests to cover Texas nearly twice, pumped almost half of the carbon emitted in human history into the atmosphere, grown the population by over two billion and cut the number of wild animals on earth by something close to half.

This month a new coalition of scientists, led by researchers at Oregon State University, published a new warning: “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.”

It’s not as poetic as the first, unfortunately, but it’s just as grim. “Soon,” they write, “it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.” Over 15,000 scientists have signed the new call to action; according to the Alliance of World Scientists, that’s the most people to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article.

For decades science has been warning us that we are compromising earth’s systems, and that none of us will be immune to the consequences.

Everywhere you look, people are trying: adopting renewable energy, working to guarantee women control over their reproductive decisions, fighting food waste, shifting to plant-based diets.

Maybe the most important thing the rest of us can do is take our fingers out of our ears and join them.

— New York Times News Service

Anthony Doerr is the author, most recently, of the novel All the Light We Cannot See.

Press link for more: Gulf News.com

“Life on earth would suffocate” #COP23 #StopAdani

Donald Trump Is Wiping Out the World’s Coral Reefs and Small Islands And We’re Not Doing Anything to Stop It

By Helena Wright On 11/19/17 at 9:05 AM

The island nation of Fiji hosted the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn last week, bringing attention to the plight of small islands under climate change.

Fiji is already facing migration of its people, loss of coral reefs, and more intense cyclones such as the one last year that wiped out a third of its GDP.

Fiji is also home to the Great Sea Reef, the third longest continuous barrier reef in the world.

All the countries in the world except the U.S. have now backed the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep climate change below 2 degrees of warming and strive for 1.5 degrees.

However, to save coral reefs the world needs to meet the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees, a level at which around a third of coral reefs may survive.

Any warmer that this – and scientists expect virtually none of the world’s coral reefs to survive.

There is still hope for the world’s coral reefs, but President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change means he is actively contributing to their destruction.

1.5 degrees: Last call for corals

This year, carbon dioxide reached record levels not seen for millions of years, making oceans more acidic.

This reduces the ability of corals to build skeletons, which combined with rising sea temperatures and stronger storms is contributing to their death.

For this reason, coral reefs have been cited as one of the early causalities of climate change. Sometimes known as the ‘rainforests of the sea’, coral reefs support about a quarter of all ocean fish species.

They are a vital part of ocean food webs and as a nursery for young fish, their loss would be devastating for ocean life.

Not only do more than 500 million people around the world directly rely on coral reefs for their livelihood, income and food, but coral reefs provide an estimated $375 billion per year in goods and services to the world.

President Trump’s rejection of climate science not only affects coral reefs – it could affect life on earth. For instance, phytoplankton in the ocean produce over half the world’s oxygen supplies.

Global warming of six degrees could interfere with this, meaning oxygen levels would plummet and life on earth could suffocate.

If we burn all known fossil fuel reserves, the planet could warm by more than six degrees as soon as the end of this century.

To achieve the Paris Agreement, we need to keep the majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

However, last week, amid protests from campaigners, the United States hosted an event at the UN Climate Conference to promote fossil fuels.

Trump is actively working against global efforts on climate change, leading to the destruction of the world’s coral reefs and low-lying small islands.

Coral reefs are highly sensitive to climate change, and may experience most damage at relatively low warming thresholds. “

“Once you’ve killed off the coral reefs you are no longer at risk of killing off the coral reefs,” explains Ken Caldeira, an environmental scientist at Stanford University. Dr. Line K Bay/Australian Institute of Marine Science

Raising ambition

Existing climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are not nearly sufficient to achieve the two-degree goal, let alone to keep warming to a level that would save coral reefs.

In fact, national pledges only add up to around 3.2 degrees.   Recent data does not look good either – global emissions are expected to go up again this year after remaining relatively flat for three years.

In order to have a chance of enabling some reefs to survive, global emissions must peak immediately, which means coal power must be phased out within the next ten years.  Some countries are doing this already, with Canada and the U.K. announcing this week a new global alliance on coal phase out.

Efforts have also begun to save coral reefs through coral gardening – growing the most resilient strains of corals and transplanting them into the ocean. However, it is unlikely this can be done on a large enough or fast enough scale to save huge reefs.  There have also been calls for a global ‘seed bank’ for corals to preserve existing coral strains with the hope of restoring them later. This is urgent because damages have already occurred, for example, a third of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef died from bleaching last year.

There is still a fading hope for coral reefs if we raise global ambition on climate change. Globally, renewable energy is getting cheaper which may make this easier, with solar energy costs expected to fall by a further 60% over the next ten years. Earlier this year, solar prices reached a record low in India, making solar cheaper than fossil fuels and prompting a rethink on coal projects.

In addition, many sub-national cities and states are raising ambition on air pollution and climate change.  Several U.S. states including Washington State and Oregon have already joined the new alliance to phase out coal.  There are also individual actions we can take – from buying efficient cars to eating sustainably.

However, President Trump is standing in the way.  All countries will need to phase out fossil fuels by mid-century to meet the Paris climate goals.  This will have to include Russia – one of the world’s leading oil and gas producers and exporters.  Trump’s support for fossil fuels is giving Russia an economic gift, but condemning the rest of the world to mass destruction.

Unless Trump changes his stance, the world will hold the U.S. responsible for the damages to coral reefs and small islands.  The clock is ticking, and time is running out.

Dr. Helena Wright is a senior policy adviser at independent sustainability organization E3G currently based in Fiji.

Press link for more: Newsweek.com

Pope Denounces #ClimateChange deniers #Auspol #Qldvotes #StopAdani

Pope Francis denounces climate change deniers

AP November 16, 2017, 4:48 PM

BONN, Germany — Pope Francis denounced those who deny global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such “perverse attitudes” and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Francis issued a message Thursday to the Bonn meeting, which is working to implement the 2015 Paris accord aimed at capping global emissions.

In the message, Francis called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing,” and urged negotiators to ignore special interests and political or economic pressures and instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet.

He denounced that such efforts are often frustrated by those who deny climate change, are indifferent to it, or think it can only be solved by technical solutions.

Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square on Nov. 15, 2017, in Vatican City.

Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Also Thursday, the top American representative at the talks told other delegates the United States is still committed to reducing greenhouse gas even though the Trump administration still plans to pull out of the Paris accord.

Britain and Canada, meanwhile, announced a new alliance aimed at encouraging countries to phase out the use of coal to curb climate change. Among others, the Global Alliance to Power Past Coal also includes Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand and several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

In closing remarks to the conference, the U.S. State Department’s Judith Garber said “we remain open to the possibility of rejoining (the Paris climate deal) at a later date under terms more favorable to the American people.”

Despite U.S. skepticism over the Paris accord, “the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy and innovation, and we understand the need for transforming energy systems,” said Garber, the acting assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs.

“We remain collectively committed to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through, among other things, increased innovation on sustainable energy and energy efficiency, and working towards low greenhouse gas emissions energy systems,” she said.

The talks are expected to end Friday.

While coal-fueled power stations are considered one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide that’s heating up the Earth’s atmosphere, countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the United States are planning to expand their use of coal in the coming years. Even Germany and Poland, hosts of climate talks this year and next, are holding onto coal for the foreseeable future.

Garber did not mention the use of coal, but said as countries strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, each “will need to determine the appropriate energy mix based on its particular circumstances, taking into account the need for energy security, promotion of economic growth and environmental protection.”

“In that context, we want to support the cleanest, most efficient power generation, regardless of source,” she added.

In a private initiative announced Thursday, Storebrand, a Norwegian investment fund that manages assets worth over $80 billion, said it would pull investments from 10 companies over their involvement in the coal sector.

Chief executive, Jan Erik Saugestad, said the decision is meant as a warning to utility companies to “clean up” their energy sources “or lose customers and investors.”

The companies affected include German energy company RWE, Poland’s PGE and Eskom Holdings of South Africa.

Storebrand said it hopes the much larger Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund, which holds $1 trillion generated from the country’s sale of oil, will follow its divestment decision.

Press link for more: CBSNEWS

#PoweringPastCoal #COP23 #Qldvotes #CoralnotCoal “Coal must be phased out by 2030”

Bonn (AFP) – A score of mostly wealthy nations banded together at UN climate talks Thursday to swear off coal-fired power, a key driver of global warming and air pollution.

Battle lines drawn over coal at UN climate talks

To cap global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — the planet-saving target in the 196-nation Paris Agreement — coal must be phased out in developed countries by 2030, and “by no later than 2050 in the rest of the world,” they said in a declaration.

The dirtiest of fossil fuels still generates 40 percent of the world’s electricity, and none of the countries that truly depend on it were on hand to take the “no coal” pledge.

One country participating in the 12-day talks, which end Friday, has made a point of promoting the development of “clean fossil fuels”: the United States.

The near-pariah status of coal at the UN negotiations was in evidence earlier in the week when an event featuring White House officials and energy executives was greeted with protests.

The US position “is only controversial if we choose to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the realities of the global energy system,” countered George David Banks, a special energy and environment assistant to US President Donald Trump.

Led by ministers from Britain and Canada, the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” committed to phasing out CO2-belching coal power, and a moratorium on new plants that lack the technology to capture emissions before they reach the atmosphere.

“In a few short years, we have almost entirely reduced our reliance on coal,” said British Minister of State Claire Perry.

The share of electricity generated by coal in Britain dropped from 40 percent in July 2012 to two percent in July of this year, she noted.

Other signatories included Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and New Zealand.

Germany — where coal powers 40 percent of the country’s electricity — was asked to join, said environment minister Barbara Hendricks.

“I asked them to understand that we can’t make a decision like that before forming a new government,” she told journalists.

Most of the enlisted countries don’t have far to go to complete a phase-out.

Deadlines range from 2022 for France, which has four coal-fired plants in operation, to 2025 for Britain, where eight such power stations are still running, and 2030 for the Netherlands.

No economic rationale –

“This climate meeting has seen Donald Trump trying to perversely promote coal,” said Mohamed Adow, top Climate analyst at Christian Aid, which advocated for the interests of poor countries.

“But it will finish with the UK, Canada and a host of other countries signalling the death knell of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel in their countries.”

But not all countries are in the same boat, said Benjamin Sporton, president of the World Coal Association.

“There are 24 nations that have included a role for low-emissions coal technology as part of their NDCs,” or nationally determined contributions, the voluntary greenhouse gas cuts pledged under the Paris treaty.

Coal continues to play a major role in powering the Chinese economy, and will see “big increases in India and Southeast Asia,” he told AFP.

Making coal “clean”, Sporton acknowledged, depends on the massive expansion of a technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which CO2 emitted when coal is burned is syphoned off and stored in the ground.

The UN’s climate science panel, and the International Energy Agency, both say that staying under the 2 C temperature threshold will require deploying CCS.

The problem is that — despite decades of development — very little CO2 is being captured in this way.

There are only 20 CCS plants in the world that stock at least one million tonnes of CO2 per year, a relatively insignificant amount given the scope of the problem.

One reason is the price tag: it costs about a billion dollars (900,000 euros) to fit CCS technology to a large-scale, coal-fired plant.

“If you could develop cost-effective technology that would be permanent and work at scale, it could be a real game-changer,” said Alden Meyer, a climate analyst at the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“But you have to be realistic about the prospects.”

At the same time, the price of wind and especially solar power has dropped so much that CCS may no longer be economical.

The crucial issue is not retro-fitting old plants, but avoiding the construction of new ones, Meyer added.

“There’s really no economic rationale for coal, and there’s certainly no environmental rationale for it,” he told AFP.

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