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St Maarten Is. Governor calls for #climatechange response unit @ANZ_AU @CommBank #auspol

The critical question for a small island developing state such as St. Maarten is: “Do we have the time needed to effect the required strategic actions to tackle climate change,”

Governor Eugene Holiday questioned at the opening of the seventh Governor’s Symposium, themed “Climate Change and Small Island States: A Call for Strategic Action,” at American University of the Caribbean (AUC) campus in Cupecoy on Friday morning.

A strategic climate change governing agenda must be discussed, and a climate change response unit is necessary.

This unit must be a “separate,” yet integral part of the government’s apparatus.

That unit will focus on executing strategic climate change priorities by engaging government, the private sector and residents to become more aware and active participants in bringing about positive change.

Collaboration with regional and international institutions and entities is a must for the climate change response unit, said Holiday.

The unit “must be mandated” to make this a priority.

Tackling climate change requires tangible actions such as “increased investments in greater energy and infrastructure resilience.”

This can materialise by completing the underground utilities project throughout the country and taking a large step to clearer, sustainable sources of energy such as solar power.

The unit and government must “secure financing from an effective mix of private insurance, national first response funding and regional disaster risk facility.”

St. Maarten is “very susceptible” to the global impact of climate change and this is a “major governance challenge” for the country.

(The governor of St Maarten Is. must be one of those Tofu Tyrants)

The country does not significantly contribute to the negative impact on the earth’s climate; it is nevertheless amongst the most vulnerable, Holiday said.

“We are already at risk,” he said, pointing to the ongoing drought, the devastation of two unprecedented hurricanes – Irma and Maria in September 2017 – and Nature Foundation’s sea level rise prediction that puts the country’s capital Philipsburg and other low-lying areas under water in the next two decades.

Holiday left attendees with this strong statement: St. Maarten is “running out of time” to enact timely climate change measures. However, he is optimistic that “acting now, we can save the day for future generations.”

Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin built on the governor’s call by telling the symposium government is “tackling climate change from several angles,” including through striving to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Government is “committed” to working on climate change challenges.

Data needs

Meteorological Department of St. Maarten head Joseph Isaac called in the symposium’s “Climate Change, Weather and Environmental Patterns” segment for improved weather data collection, perhaps in collaboration with the French side of the island to effect better planning and mitigation.

The formation of a network of weather stations/radars is required “to assist in early warning systems” for natural disaster planning, Isaac pointed out.

Sea level monitoring is also vitally critical for St. Maarten to plan for the impact of the planet warming up and the melting of polar ice caps, he said.

Rounding off the segment, Climatologist Cedric van Meerbeeck of Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology outlined the science behind climate change to attendees and left behind the very frightening thought that by the end of the 21st century the Caribbean region is heading to a one- to five-degrees-Celsius increase in temperature, at least a one-metre rise in sea level and the lengthening of the annual hurricane season.

(Meanwhile in Australia the major banks are still heavily invested in fossil fuels)

Yes, climate matters

Windward Islands Bank General Managing Director Derek Downes, speaking in the “Climate Change effects on socio-economic development” segment, urged government to establish a “disaster fund” that will be activated following a climate change event to cover clean-up and reconstruction of the country. This fund can be financed by an “environmental levy.”

He also called for improving and building of coastal defences, updated environmental laws, improved drainage systems and improving and enforcing building standards. Building on the latter, Downes unapologetically stated the country has “too many shanty towns.”

University of the West Indies Faculty of Science and Technology Deputy Dean Michael Taylor pressed home the point that “climate matters” because the climate has already changed and will continue to change.

Climate matters because it “demands change” through a change in attitude to the phenomenon, change of approach and for people “to act with respect” to climate change, he said.

On the current climate change path, Taylor said, “We are heading towards water deficit” aggravated by less rainfall. This also endangers food security as crops struggle in higher temperatures and drier conditions, impacts already-burdened health care and the wiping out of coastal areas and infrastructure.

Proactive

Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre Director Kendrick Leslie, the symposium keynote speaker, described the impact of climate change on the region as “devastating is an understatement.”

Adaptation is the “only option” for small island developing states to battle against the hurdles of climate change, but they are not economically positioned to do without help from developed countries, Leslie said.

Adaptation suggestions include storm-proofing of schools to ensure less impact to educational development, securing water harvesting routes (wells) for water security, protecting the central emergency operating centre, putting all utility cables underground and planting category-five hurricane-resistant light poles.

Governments should be more proactive in tackling climate change, Leslie said, as he urged all to take the examples of measures Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Aruba, among others, have taken to mitigate the growing impact of climate change.

The symposium concluded with a panel discussion with all speakers, moderated by Nature Foundation Managing Director Tadzio Bervoets.

Press link for more: The Daily Herald

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Big Oil CEOs needed a #climatechange reality check. The #Pope delivered #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #TofuTyrant #GreenActivist @CourierMail

Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The Pope delivered |

By Bill McKibben

At a gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke much-needed common sense about climate change

‘Good common sense speaks even more loudly when it comes from unexpected corners.’ Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

You kind of expect popes to talk about spiritual stuff, kind of the way you expect chefs to discuss spices or tree surgeons to make small talk about overhanging limbs.

Which is why it was so interesting this week to hear Pope Francis break down the climate debate in very practical and very canny terms, displaying far more mathematical insight than your average world leader and far more strategic canniness than your average journalist. In fact, with a few deft sentences, he laid bare the hypocrisy that dominates much of the climate debate.

The occasion was the gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, one of a series of meetings to mark the third anniversary of Laudato Si, his majestic encyclical on global warming. The meetings were closed, but by all accounts big oil put forward its usual anodyne arguments: any energy transition must be slow, moving too fast to renewable energy would hurt the poor by raising prices, and so forth.

In response, Francis graciously thanked the oil executives for attending, and for “developing more careful approaches to the assessment of climate risk”. But then he got down to business. “Is it enough?” he asked. “Will we turn the corner in time? No one can answer that with certainty, but with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing.” Two and a half years after the Paris climate talks, he pointed out, “carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remain very high. This is disturbing and a cause for real concern.” Indeed.

It’s odd to have the pope schooling energy executives on the math of carbon

What’s really “worrying”, though, “is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”. And in that small sentence he calls the bluff on most of what passes for climate action among nations and among fossil fuel companies. Yes, Donald Trump notwithstanding, most countries have begun to take some steps to reduce demand for energy over time. Yes, oil companies have begun to grudgingly issue “climate risk reports” and divert minuscule percentages of their research budgets to renewables.

(I guess that according to Brisbane’s Courier Mail & Australian resources chiefs the Pope is just another “Green Activist” supporting “Tofu Tyrant “)

But no one has been willing to face the fact that we have to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves underground if we have any chance of meeting the Paris targets. No company has been willing to commit to leaving the coal and oil and gas in the earth, and almost no nation has been willing to make them do so. Instead, the big fossil fuel countries continue to aid and abet the big fossil fuel companies in the push for more mining and drilling. In Australia, the Turnbull government backs a massive new coalmine; in Canada, the Trudeau government literally buys a pipeline to keep the tar sands expanding; in the US, the federal government might as well be a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel companies.

In fact, as Francis points out, it’s not just that these companies and countries are committed to digging up the reserves they currently have. Even more insanely, they’re out there exploring for more. Companies like Exxon devote billions and billions of dollars to finding new oil fields, even though we have far more oil than we could ever safely burn.

All of this is morally wrong, as Francis points out. “Decisive progress cannot be made without an increased awareness that all of us are part of one human family, united by bonds of fraternity and solidarity. Only by thinking and acting with constant concern for this underlying unity that overrides all differences, only by cultivating a sense of universal intergenerational solidarity, can we set out really and resolutely on the road ahead,” he says.

Which is great – it’s the job of religious leaders to remind us to think beyond our own self-interest.

But Francis also understands that our current approach makes no mathematical sense. We can’t have a nice, slow, easy transition because we can’t put barely any more carbon in the atmosphere. We must solve the problem of energy access for the poor by using renewables, not fossil fuel, because “our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty”. Above all, we’ve got to pay as much attention to actual reality as we do to political reality: “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization!”

Bill McKibben on his recent trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

It’s odd to have the pope schooling energy executives on the math of carbon. But actually, no odder than NFL quarterbacks schooling politicians on racial injustice, or high school kids schooling a nation on the danger of guns. Amid the unprecedented wave of nonsense coming from DC, it’s good to remember that there are still people of all kinds able to pierce through the static and the shouting. Good common sense speaks even more loudly when it comes from unexpected corners.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and the founder of the climate campaign 350.org

Press link for more: The Guardian

‘Lying’ greenies accused of killing Queensland mining industry #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

‘Lying’ greenies accused of killing Queensland mining industry

John McCarthy, The Courier-Mail

June 15, 2018 12:00am

Headline front page of today’s Courier Mail

MINING bosses have issued a dire warning that greenies behind the “Tofu Curtain” and mountains of red and green tape will make it impossible for new projects in some of Queensland’s most successful industries to be built in the future.

Coal, gas and bauxite executives have painted a bleak picture for their industries, which prop up Queensland’s economy to the tune of about $55 billion and employ 38,000 people.

They say the fossil fuel industry has become “the new tobacco”, and ill-informed activism from West End and Melbourne greenies, legal challenges and red and green tape meant the projects that contributed to the state’s prosperity could not be built today.

“My battle is in West End and Melbourne,” the head LNG producer, APLNG’s chief executive Warwick King told a recent BDO-The Courier-Mail function.

Former QGC boss Richard Cottee called it the “Tofu Curtain” that divides the green inner-city suburbs from the rest of Queensland.

Mr Cottee, who started the coal seam gas industry in Queensland, said the industry was losing the argument.

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Mining bosses believe there is an existential threat to the industry.

Reality check for Mining Bosses

https://www.facebook.com/groups/536118869850084/permalink/1558184997643461/

“One way the industry is going wrong is it still thinking in terms of facts and truth,” he said.

“We still deal in facts and science when they (activists) are using emotion.

“The narrative is that we should get rid of this ‘new tobacco’ industry and concentrate on what is more uplifting. It’s not the new tobacco. It’s not the new gaming.”

Mr Cottee said there was “no logic that will ever prevail” that would allow Australia’s top exporters to ever create export income.

“I’ve been linked with helping create CSG. That couldn’t happen now. The rules keep on changing and regulation keeps on increasing,” he said.

Reality Check for mining companies

The State Government’s Resources Investment Commissioner Todd Harrington said the industry had lost young adults.

“I know kids in my community in Brisbane … I can’t engage with a 20-year-old at a barbecue about resources – they are so polarised with the green view,” he said.

“I reckon there needs to be a focus on kids under 10, because their eyes are open to what is taught to them.”

Their comments were backed by federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who said energy costs were at such a level a new refinery or smelter would not be viable and, without coal and gas, the Queensland Government would be even further in debt.

Melbourne protesters target Adani at a mining conference last November.

“(The) current wholesale price of electricity would not support an aluminium smelter,” he said.

“Indeed it would put at risk most of the investments in refining. This is a lot of jobs. It should be natural advantage for Australia.

“If we didn’t have a gas industry in Queensland, we would be running out of gas and if we didn’t have coal the Queensland Government debt would be in a much worse position and they would not be able to fund at all some of the initiatives they’ve announced in the past week.”

Reality renewables create jobs

But state Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said there was a high level of confidence in the future of the Queensland resources sector.

He said there were 13 committed projects valued at more than $9.4 billion and 42 projects at the feasibility stage, valued at a potential $61 billion.

“The community now expects much more from the resources industry than in its infancy and it is important that the Government has appropriate rules in place to allow not only a balance but a prosperous resources industry in co-existence with other users of the land,” he said.

Origin is a partner in APLNG, and its former chief executive Grant King has previously said that if the green activist tactics deployed against coal projects had also been used against the gas sector, “we would have been unlikely to have seen the creation of an entirely new LNG export industry”.

Bauxite producer Metro Mining’s Duane Woodbury said energy costs were crippling industry and made the prospect of smelters and refineries virtually impossible because Australia had gone from the among the cheapest energy markets to the third most expensive.

“The cost of building an alumina refinery in China is terrifyingly cheap. Power is terrifyingly cheap,” he said.

“We could never duplicate that in Australia. And it’s not just labour costs. It’s electricity, it’s everything.

“Who wants to spend $1 billion building a new Yabulu, or whatever, given what’s happened.”

They blamed subsidies to renewables for blowing out energy costs as well as the “gold plating” of electricity infrastructure.

Last year Boyne Smelter, at Gladstone, was forced into significant production cuts because of rising energy costs.

New Hope Group’s Shane Stephan said his $900 million Acland coal mine expansion was facing another potential 10 to 12-month delay in the courts, adding to the 11 years it has taken to get it this far.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the “lawfare” waged in the courts by green groups was “spooking everyone”.

State Gas’s Lucy Snelling said there had been a raft of regulation over the past year in the gas industry.

“Low-cost exploration … you simply can’t do it,” she said

State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP would again speed up approvals for major resource projects.

“When in government the LNP halved the average approval time for major projects,” she said.

The above rant from mining companies appears in today’s Courier Mail.

The battle lines are drawn.

Are you a “Green Activist” a “Tofu Warrior” do you support a clean energy future?

Or do you deny the science and support the filthy 18th Century Coal Mining Companies.

Do you want clean air and a stable climate for your children and future generations.

We sure do live in interesting times.

Let’s have a debate about sea level rise. #auspol #qldpol #climatechange #StopAdani

Let’s have a worthy debate about sea level rise

BY MICHAEL E. MANN AND ANDREA DUTTON, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 06/13/18 08:30 AM EDT

While there is a worthy debate to be had about what we do to address the threat to our coastlines posed by global sea level rise, there is no longer a worthy debate about whether that threat exists, or what is causing it.

Global sea level rise is the direct result of human-driven global warming as planet-warming greenhouse gases build up in our atmosphere. And, yes — as much as all of us wish it were otherwise — our ongoing dependence on fossil fuels is a big part of the problem.

The basics are easy to understand.

As the oceans warm, seawater expands. As glaciers and ice sheets warm, they melt. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change.

It is to deny basic physics.

This is precisely what Fred Singer did in his June 8 commentary in The Hill entitled “There’s no need to panic about the rising sea level.” (Tell that, by the way, to those in Miami Beach or Hampton Roads Virginia, in New York City, North Carolina’s Outer Banks, or yes, Washington, D.C., itself.)

Singer is arguably the granddaddy of modern-day climate change denialism.

His latest commentary echoes the same misinformation as his recent Wall Street Journal commentary, “The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change.” It presents a virtual laundry list of discredited climate change denier talking points. No, sea levels aren’t rising at a steady rate — they are in fact accelerating.

The rate of ice sheet melting in Greenland and Antarctica is also accelerating, in part due to warming oceans that erode the ice from beneath, destabilizing it.

These observations fly in the face of those who try to argue that sea level will continue to rise at the same rate, which is why legitimate scientific conclusions are reached not in op-ed pieces such as Singer’s, but through careful peer-reviewed research.

That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause.

Don’t just take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature demonstrating these inescapable conclusions.

Singer indeed knows that he doesn’t have the facts on his side, so he engages in distortion and diversion. For example, he takes a swipe at one of us as an “alarmist,” attacking the “Hockey Stick” curve published more than two decades ago demonstrating that recent warming is unprecedented in at least a thousand years. That work has been overwhelmingly reaffirmed and extended by subsequent work by numerous independent scientific teams. But professional climate change deniers continue to attack the curve because it is an iconic reminder of the profound impact that we are now having on this planet.

Perhaps because of the images of flooding that now permeate news broadcasts around the world as the seas rise and invade our coastlines, we are seeing a renewed attack on climate science: this time to discredit the link between human-caused climate change and sea level rise. Yet, even wealthy stretches of coastal real estate are feeling the pain of increased coastal flooding, the incidence of which has doubled over the past 30 years.

It is time to pivot and confront this head on. Even Singer’s opinion pieces do not deny the fact that sea level is rising. This is an issue that we can all get behind. Ensuring a secure coastal economy will benefit Americans of every stripe. If in doubt, just take in the symbolism painted inside of the dome of the U.S. Capitol building next time you walk through and note Minerva (science), Neptune (marine), and Mercury (commerce).

It is high time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and address the gradual yet persistent attack that is bearing down on our coastlines, an attack that unquestionably threatens the safety and security of the United States. Without strong policy to quickly slow and eventually eliminate fossil fuel emissions, the seas will rise faster and faster, resulting in trillions of dollars of economic damages and displacement of hundreds of millions of refugees from every coastal city in the world. That may sound daunting — and the implications of scientific research sometimes are — but scientific knowledge also can be incredibly empowering. Allow us to empower you to have the courage to pivot and confront.

Michael E. Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, and author of four books, including “The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars” and most recently, “The Madhouse Effect” with Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles.

Andrea Dutton is an assistant professor of geological sciences at the University of Florida and a leading expert on rising seas. She was featured in a recent PBS NOVA documentary on climate change. Rolling Stone named her one of 25 People Shaping the Future in Tech, Science, Medicine, Activism and More.

Press link for more: The Hill

Time to Declare Climate Emergency #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange from #Berkeley #California to #Cairns #Australia

BREAK THE SILENCE:

Share the truth about the climate crisis

Our society’s silence about the climate crisis has been created by fossil fuel companies and the politicians who serve them, as well as the media, which has treated the climate crisis’ existence as controversial.

Polls also show that most Americans barely ever discuss the climate crisis — a widespread silence that is leading us toward environmental and social collapse.

But truth is powerful too, and the more we talk about the truth of the climate crisis, the stronger our movement becomes.

Documentary movie screenings, community meetings, petition signature gathering and conversations with your neighbors are an easy and accessible way for people to learn the facts of the climate emergency. And don’t forget to get to know local organizations that may already be working on these issues.

Raising awareness and building relationships in your community will build a solid foundation for a campaign to get your city to declare a climate emergency!

STRATEGIES YOU CAN TRY:

Start spreading the word about the climate emergency

• Organize a screening for a documentary about the climate crisis. Movies are an accessible and enjoyable way to learn about serious issues. You can try Saving Civilization: Plan B 3.0; 11th Hour;  How to Let Go of the World and Love all the Things Climate Can’t Change; or Chasing Ice.

• Organize a community meeting(s) to share the truth about the climate crisis in your home, at a place of worship, or at your organization.

• Knock on doors in your neighborhood, educate your neighbors, and collect petition signatures asking your mayor or other elected representatives to take action.

Build a group of people who are passionate about addressing the climate crisis

• Connect with others by using one of the above strategies or by reaching out to friends, co-workers, and other people you know from your community.

• You may decide to become a chapter of The Climate Mobilization, to do this work as members of another organization, or to organize as a loose group of volunteers.

Strengthen the broader climate movement by showing up in support of climate and environmental justice work that is already happening in your community

• The movement is stronger when we support each other! Build relationships with other people and organizations by showing that you support their work — whether by attending their rallies or events, volunteering or responding to another specific need. You’re not in it alone!

• Creating a just mobilization will mean that the needs of communities who are hit worst by climate catastrophe and environmental injustice come first. Think about how you can bring this idea to life — whether by aligning your work to support other local campaigns, or bringing people out to support other groups’ events.

• Reflect on how you are approaching other organizations. Learn about their history and coalitions they are part of. Think about what you can give, how you can find true alignment through active hope, empathy and understanding, and about how your messaging can either support other groups in positive ways, or cause harm by erasing important issues.

Launch a Campaign for a Climate Emergency Declaration, Climate Emergency Mobilization Department, and Plan

Leading cities and counties across the U.S. are beginning to shift into climate emergency mode.

Thanks to the hard work of local climate mobilizers, Hoboken, NJ, and Montgomery County, MD, have declared a climate emergency and committed the city to ending greenhouse gas emissions at emergency speed.

Organizers in Maryland and Los Angeles are also pushing for climate emergency mobilization departments — demanding that their locales give resources to a city department in charge of eliminating the city’s carbon emissions and catalyzing a larger climate emergency mobilization effort beyond the city.

Or, perhaps your area is ready to take even bolder action.

Be creative, and don’t be afraid to think big!

You can try pushing for your locality — and perhaps its new climate emergency mobilization department — to adopt and implement a mobilization plan that completely eliminates fossil fuels, installs solar panels on rooftops across the city, builds green affordable housing, offers free zero emissions public transit, and plants gardens in open spaces to sequester carbon.

For more ideas on policies you can pass as part of a mobilization plan, you can look at our local Draft Climate Mobilization Implementation Plans. Your plan may also include the city’s role as a climate advocate, pushing other localities and higher levels of government to launch their own mobilizations.

As part of this organizing toolkit, we’ve included a resolution for declaring a climate emergency and committing to achieve zero emissions (and beyond) at emergency speed, as well as optional policy language triggering a report into the creation of a climate emergency mobilization department.

Getting your local government to treat climate change like the emergency it is will make you part of the movement we are building across the U.S.!

STRATEGIES YOU CAN TRY:

Launch a coalition to launch a climate mobilization in your area

• Find other organizations and individuals in your area with similar goals, and see if they would be interested in joining forces. (Stuck? Use some of the ideas above in Phase I!)

Create a way to communicate, whether it’s an email list, a text group or regular meetings.

• After getting more people on board, your coalition can reach out to policy makers; launch a campaign urging them to declare a climate emergency and commit to addressing it at speed and scale; and hold them accountable for local implementation. Similar coalitions have already formed in Los Angeles and Montgomery County, MD.

Organize a launch party or kickoff meeting for the campaign

• Invite anyone you think may be interested: community organization members, clergy, labor leaders, environmental and environmental justice organizers, and business leaders, as well as parents, young people, and others who have a stake in the issue.

• Ask those who attend to meet with their city council members, mayor or mayor’s staff about creating a climate emergency declaration, department, and plan.

Meet with a city or county council member, mayor, or mayor’s staff to propose the idea of an emergency climate declaration and climate emergency mobilization department

• Try to identify leaders who seem like they would be receptive. There may be city or county council members who are already looking to take action, but are unsure how to do so or that they have enough public support.

• Consider sharing model resolution language and an example resolution from Los Angeles, HobokenMontgomery County or the Bay Area, a fact sheet on the need for climate emergency resolutions, Talking Points, and/or petition signatures.

Meet with candidates for local, state and federal offices. Educate voters about their stance on the climate crisis

• Create a candidate questionnaire to make sure your meeting stays on track, and that you ask the same questions of each candidate.

• Educating voters about a politician’s stance is the first step toward getting them to hold their representatives .

responsible — whether by voting for someone else, protesting at their events or putting pressure on their donors.

Press link for more: The Climate Mobilisation

Berkeley City Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to hold a climate emergency town hall meeting and work toward achieving a fossil fuel-free Berkeley by 2030.

The two items were introduced separately, but voted on together — one declared a climate emergency and called for a town hall to engage the community in discussion, while the other delineated goals for working toward a future in which Berkeley does not rely on fossil fuels.

“It is an act of unspeakable injustice and cruelty to knowingly subject our fellow humans now and into the future to societal disintegration, food and clean water shortages, economic collapse, and early death on an increasingly uninhabitable planet,” read the text of item 49, a Declaration of Climate Emergency.

Press link for more: Daily Cal

#ClimateChange losses will continue to grow, Lloyd’s warns #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #Divest @CommBank @ANZ_AU

Climate change losses will continue to grow, Lloyd’s warns

Climate change risks account for around one fifth of potential lost GDP covered by the 2018 Lloyd’s City Risk Index, produced in conjunction with the Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge University.

The most severe risks connected to climate change tracked by the report are tropical windstorms and flooding, which account for $62.6bn and $42.9bn of total tracked risk respectively.

Average global GDP at risk from the threats tracked by the report now exceeds $540bn, or 1.54% of world GDP 2018, up from 1.48% of world GDP at risk in the 2017 report. This figure is not a ‘worst case’ economic loss, but rather combines the size of losses with their likelihoods to arrive at an estimated annual loss.

The report groups threats into five ‘classes’: natural catastrophes; financial, economics and trade; technology and space; geopolitics and security; and health and humanity. Of these, natural catastrophes accounted for the highest overall loss value. However, geopolitics and security risks have grown more rapidly than other threat classes in recent years, with a 40% increase since 2015. This category includes risks such as interstate conflict, civil conflict, terrorism and social unrest.

The report tracks the potential impact of these threats on the world’s largest 279 cities, which together account for 41% of global GDP. Of those, the 10 cities with the highest exposure together account for $127bn worth of potential loss, or almost a quarter of the total. Many of the cities facing the greatest losses, such as Tokyo and London, are also labelled the most “resilient” by the report. However, if every city in the world were to improve its resilience to “very strong”, global risk would reduce by $73.4bn, according to the report.

“The Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2018, which has evolved since its first launch in 2015, is important for insurers and their underwriters in – at least attempting to – understand what the future risk landscape may look like,” said insurance law expert Elaine Quinn of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

“It is clear that resilience needs to develop in the market around climate-related risk in particular. The report confirms these risks are likely to increase in frequency and severity – in 2017, we witnessed some of the highest insured losses ever from natural catastrophe events. Although much climate-related risk today remains uninsured, growing awareness and pressure means we are seeing the industry really waking up and paying attention, both to its role in closing the protection gap and to its responsibility in proactively mitigating climate change impacts where possible,” she said.

Taken together, man-made risks remain a bigger threat to global economic output than natural disasters, accounting for $320.1bn, or 59% of the total, according to the report. Market crash is the top threat tracked by the report, putting $103.33bn of total GDP at risk; followed by interstate conflict, under which $80bn of total GDP is at risk. Cyber crime is now the 7th most serious threat, putting $36.54bn of global GDP at risk.

The report highlights the role that insurance can play in providing “cash injection following a catastrophic event, allowing cities to rebuild and recover more quickly”. It also recommends that insurers and brokers “invest in developing new products”, particularly in relation to difficult-to-quantify man-made risks.

However, Lloyd’s chair Bruce Carnegie-Brown stressed that cities should also be investing in resilience measures, as well as effective insurance cover.

“The index shows that investing in resilience – from physical flood defences to digital firewalls and enhanced cyber security, combined with insurance – will help significantly reduce the impact of extreme events on cities, improve economic stability and enhance prosperity for all,” he said. “I urge insurers, governments and businesses to look at the index, and work together to reduce these exposures by building more resilient infrastructure and institutions.”

Press link for more: Out-Law.com

Pope tells oil majors to come clean #climatechange #auspol #qldpol @CommBank @ANZ_AU #StopAdani

Pope tells oil majors to come clean on climate change.

Pope Francis has told a meeting of the world’s largest oil & gas companies to invest in clean energy.

Speaking at a two-day conference at the Vatican over the weekend, the Pope urged the fossil fuel executives to not jeopardise the planet’s future.

“Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,” he said.

The meeting was attended by over 50 oil & gas heads, including the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Equinor (formerly Statoil).

“Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty,” he said in a stalk warning to the gathered executives.

He went on to highlight that over one billion people still lacked access to electricity, but we needed to alleviate poverty in a way that doesn’t cause further damage to the Earth.

“Environmental and energy problems now have a global impact and extent,” he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

The Pope has been a longstanding advocate for tougher action on climate change and a regularly critic of business excesses. One of his first major acts upon taking up the position was to release a policy document calling for stronger action against environmental damage and climate change.

However, it remains to be seen if this latest high-level intervention will have its desired effect. Some of those present have been criticised for not doing enough to align their businesses with the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Exxon-Mobil and BP have both set new greenhouse gas targets, which will only see modest limitations in their emissions.

Notable absences from the Vatican meeting included Gazprom, Chevron, and Total.

Photo Credit: Jeon Han/Flickr

Press link for more: Climate Action Program

Government’s $500m Great Barrier Reef package may have limited impact. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange

Government’s $500m Great Barrier Reef package may have limited impact amid climate change

Joanna Khan

Coral bleaching is caused by higher than normal water temperatures.

(Supplied: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

At the end of April a $500 million package to help the Great Barrier Reef was announced by the Federal Government.

It didn’t take long for questions to be raised about the decision to give $444 million in funding to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a small charity with a revenue of only $8 million in 2016.

The funding will be split between improving water quality, supporting reef restoration science, increasing crown-of-thorns starfish control, community engagement and reef monitoring.

But there is no acknowledgement of what scientists argue is the biggest threat facing the reef: climate change.

Without climate action, can this package actually do anything to help the reef?

The answer is no, according to many involved in reef research, management and conservation, including University of Queensland coral biologist Sophie Dove.

“Unless we mitigate the CO2, a lot of the other solutions such as cleaning the water and removing crown of thorns are somewhat immaterial,” Dr Dove said.

“All of those things can assist in helping any coral reefs that remain to survive and prosper in the future — but without climate mitigation, I think that’s an issue.”

Local reef actions must be met halfway

While the funding is a step forward for addressing local pressures on the reef like water quality, it must go hand in hand with national and global emissions reductions, according to Russell Reichelt from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

“We’re very clear that it is absolutely critical to achieve action globally on climate change, but we’re focused on what we can do as the Marine Park Authority in the local region,” he said.

The funding was not designed to work on its own, said Dr Reichelt, who chairs the GBRMPA.

“The real solution in the long run is to address rising greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere,” he said.

“But we’re still left with things that will happen inevitably now, because of the amount of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. So there was never a greater imperative that we look for ways to relieve local pressures.”

However, some scientists have expressed concern that the funding is targeting some local measures that have not yet been proven effective.

Research fellow Jon Brodie from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies wrote in The Conversation that “one concern with the package is that it seems to give greatest weight to the strategies that are already being tried — and which have so far fallen a long way short of success”.

Reef already changed by warming

Across the entire Great Barrier Reef 30 per cent of corals died after the 2016 bleaching event. In the northern third of the reef, where up to 50 per cent of shallow water corals were lost, some corals actually “cooked” because the underwater heatwave was so severe.

The government is avoiding dealing with the root cause of this, which is climate change, said Great Barrier Reef campaigner Imogen Zeethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“I wake up at night thinking, what will it take for this Government to respond effectively, if losing 50 per cent of the shallow water corals on the reef isn’t enough?” she said.

“They can invest $500 million over six years, but if they do nothing about climate change then it will all be wasted in the end.”

Coral ecosystems have already been radically transformed by climate change.

The loss of corals due to the 2016 bleaching has forced some northern reefs to transition to new compositions of corals with less diversity — dominated by slow-growing species with more simple physical structures.

And scientists have already documented changes in reef fish diversity as a result of the coral loss.

New funding is still critical

Echoing these sentiments, CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Paul Hardisty said the $500 million was a good start, but emissions also needed to be addressed.

“On the business-as-usual trajectory … in a few decades there won’t be any reefs, or at least reefs as we know them today,” Dr Hardisty said.

“If you don’t get greenhouse gas emissions under control then no amount of money is any use.”

But Dr Hardisty said that didn’t mean we should stop funding other local reef protection measures.

“We’re past the point where we can say that getting emissions under control will be enough,” he said.

“To have healthy reefs that provide trillions of dollars in ecosystem services to humans every year, then you’ve got to do both, there isn’t another option.”

By relieving other pressures on the reef such as poor water quality and crown-of-thorns starfish, the reefs of the future will have a better shot at surviving — no matter that form they take.

So where is the simultaneous climate action?

Spending on climate issues was cut in the 2018 budget from $3 billion to $1.6 billion in 2019, and it will be reduced further to $1.25 billion by 2022.

On top of that, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) has an emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent by 2030, which reef campaigner Imogen Zeethoven said was insufficient.

“A 26 per cent reduction, as proposed by the NEG, matched by all the countries in the world would result in all coral reefs in the world dying,” Ms Zeethoven said.

“They need to dramatically upscale their emissions reduction target to match the funding investment that they’re putting into the reef.”

Dr Reichelt said that advocating for both global and local solutions for the reef was like walking a tightrope.

He said it was a balance between “making sure people understand the underlying cause and the need for global action, as well as not giving up on the reef locally”.

“If the reef does survive until the end of the century we’ll have a better, more diverse coral reef if we take all these local actions now,” he said.

Press link for more: ABC.NET.AU

“It’s time to act or die!” #ClimateChange #Science #auspol #qldpol #NSWpol

Jeremy Nova Buckingham (born 22 November 1973 in Tasmania) is an Australian politician. He has been a Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since the 2011 state election.

Buckingham was born in Launceston, Tasmania and spent his early life living in the historic homestead ‘Hillgrove’, adjacent to the Taroona Shot Tower site south of Hobart. He attended Taroona Primary, Taroona High School and graduated from The Hobart College. After school he spent two years working as a benchman in a small country sawmill run by Greens MLA Kim Booth in central Tasmania.

In 1994 Buckingham fronted heavy metal band ‘Amplifire’ as singer with fellow members; (Brother) Jessie ‘Tambo’ Buckingham (Rhythm Guitar), Brett Collidge (Bass Guitar), Michael Kelly (Lead Guitar) and John Salter (Drums). The band performed live and recorded their demo EP ‘Powerpoint’ in Tasmania.

Buckingham moved to Sydney in the mid 1990s, where he worked as forklift driver, hardware store salesman and builders labourer.

Press link for more: Wikipedia

Comments of the UN Secretary-General to the 44th G7 Summit #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Secretary-General António Guterres.

Excellencies,

I welcome your decision to bring a focus on oceans.

The facts are clear.  Our oceans are a mess.

Some 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year.  Unless we change course, it could outweigh all the fish in the oceans by 2050.

Plastic waste is now found in the most remote areas of the planet.  It kills marine life and is doing major harm to communities that depend on fishing and tourism.

One mass of plastic in the Pacific is now bigger than France.

So, I welcome today’s G7 Plastics Charter.  But we all need to do so much more – not just on plastic waste but on all ocean issues.

Because, make no mistake, we are in a battle.  And we are losing on every front.

Overfishing is crippling fish stocks.

Pollution from land is creating vast coastal dead zones.

Nearly 80 per cent of wastewater is discharged into the sea without treatment.

And, to compound these issues, we have the growing impacts of climate change.

Ocean acidification is disrupting the marine food chain.

And ocean temperatures are at record levels, killing coral reefs and creating fiercer and more frequent storms.

Forty per cent of all people live within 100 kilometres of a coast.

Many of these people are vulnerable not just to storms but to sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Low-lying island nations face inundation, as do many major coastal cities.

So – coastal communities are in jeopardy, the oceans are being swamped by a tide of pollution, marine life is in decline, and climate change is having an increasingly powerful impact.

Thankfully, we have a battle plan.

Our guide is the Sustainable Development Goals, and especially Goal 14 with its 10 targets from addressing marine pollution and acidification, to ending overfishing and protecting ecosystems.

Our legal framework is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea — the world’s “constitution for the oceans”.

And, at last year’s Ocean Conference, we registered more than 1,300 commitments and partnerships.

But none of these initiatives and declarations are worth anything unless we accept that we face a global emergency.

And that is why I am here today.  To sound the alarm.  To inject a sense of real urgency in your deliberations and decision-making.

Your leadership is needed now, more than ever – on combatting land-based pollution; on creating marine protected areas; on sustainably reviving fisheries; on building the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities, and, especially, on climate change.

And on the issue of leadership, let’s not forget that women empowerment and leadership will make an essential contribution to safeguard the environment and to deliver solutions.

If we don’t protect our seas and oceans, and if we don’t win the battle against climate change, all the assumptions on which we base our policy-making will be worthless.

I therefore appeal to you all to take seriously these threats to our global environment and understand that our collective future and security is at stake.

Thank you.

Secretary-General António Guterres.

Press link for more: UN.ORG