CSIRO

Mass coral bleaching forces review of reef protection plan #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

By Tony Moore

An urgently revised plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef has been bought forward following evidence of damage from the back-to-back coral bleaching incidents in 2016 and 2017.

The Australian and Queensland governments have on Friday released the 2018 mid-term review of their long-term 2050 Reef Plan, after studies in 2017 confirmed serious damage to the reef from climate change.

Great Barrier Reef coral of Port Douglas in 2017.

Photo: Dean Legacy

“The unprecedented instance of back-to-back mass bleaching events shows that climate change is already having impacts on the reef and clearly underlines the importance of urgent action to build the Reef’s resilience and maintain its functionality,” the report says.

“Consecutive coral bleaching events and the impact of other stressors have fundamentally changed the character of the Reef. Coral bleaching is projected to increase in frequency. As corals are relatively slow growing they will have too little time to recover between events or to evolve genetically.”

The report identifies four climate change trajectories to try to keep ocean temperature warming below 2 degrees to prevent coral bleaching.

The timeline: Why has this report been bought forward?

• 2015 – The Australian and Queensland governments released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan

• 2016 – There were major problems with coral bleaching on areas of the Great Barrier Reef

• 2017 – There were more coral-bleaching incidents happened along the Great Barrier Reef. Coral bleaching is linked to ocean warming

• March-April 2017 – There was extra damage was caused by Cyclone Debbie

• September 2017 and May 2018 – Surveys showed “sustained significant coral loss due to coral bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish”

• July 2018 – The Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum decided to bring forward a revised Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan

What has changed in policy and direction in this new report?

There is a stronger focus on climate change in the revised report.

1. New climate adaptation actions have been added. A new policy is developing a Reef Resilience Network and working on localised restoration activities to build up this network.

2. Research will begin on climate change trajectories to judge their impact on the Great Barrier Reef. These climate change trajectories will be reviewed in 2020 in the first comprehensive review of the revised plan.

3. Water quality targets have been updated.

What is the big issue?

Water temperature increases around the Great Barrier Reef need to be kept below an increase of 1.5 degrees, according to peer-reviewed scientists, to reduce the frequency of coral bleaching, the report says.

A concerted “international effort” is required.

What are some of the key projects under way now?

This three-page table shows $600 million worth of fertilizer and sediment control projects now underway, funded by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Most of them are directed to cane farmers, banana farmers and graziers.

It includes $8.5 million for two sediment-erosion control and restoration projects run by Greening Australia to stop silt flowing down rivers and on to the reef.

Sediment flowing down the Burdekin River towards Upstart Bay near Bowen.

Photo: Tony Moore

Where is the money coming from?

The Australian government put in $500 million in the 2018-19 Budget.

The Queensland government put in $500 million to a Land Restoration Fund in its 2018-19 Budget.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has $1 billion available “on a commercial basis” for clean energy projects close to the reef.

By December 2017 it has invested $345 million to more than 280 projects including seven utility scale solar farms in central and north Queensland.

Earlier funding promises

In 2016, $1.28 billion was committed to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

That included $716 million from the Australian Government, $409 million from the Queensland government and $161 million from other sources.

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What does the Great Barrier Reef contribute to the economy?

1 Over two million visitors each year

2 64,000 jobs

3 Generates economic activity of $6.4 billion each year, largely through tourism

4 It is a “maze” of 1050 islands and 3000 reefs stretching 2300 kilometres along the Queensland coast

How will results be checked?

There are annual reports to Queensland and Australian environment ministers and updated in five-year Outlook Reports, independently monitored by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The first major review will be in 2020 before UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee reviews the health of the Great Barrier Reef in 2020.

The Great Barrier Reef has been a UNESCO protected site since 1981.

What do observers say about the revised reef plan?

Climate Council – Acting chief executive Dr Martin Rice said the revised plan failed to acknowledge Australia’s weak greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets and instead relied heavily on $500 million dollars to improve water quality and eradicate the crown-of-thorn starfish to protect the Reef.

World Wildlife Fund Australia – WWF’s Oceans campaigner Richard Leck said the plan showed more effort was needed to keep ocean warming to below 2 degrees centigrade.

He also questioned why farmers were not updating their practices to stop fertiliser run-off.

Press link for more: Brisbane Times

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We must bridge generational divide to prevent climate & budget crises #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange Intergenerational Debt #Neoliberalism

Progressives must bridge the generational divide to prevent climate and budget crises

BY PAUL BLEDSOE AND BEN RITZ, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

Amid the daily drama of President Trump‘s tweets and scandals, it can be hard to focus on the most important issues for our future.

An unfortunate consequence of this purposeful turmoil is that few serious solutions are being offered for addressing two of the greatest threats facing the United States: runaway climate change and unsustainable budget policies.

The resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may end his days of plundering the environment and public treasury, but the Trump administration will continue doing both even in his absence, risking long-term national well-being for temporary political benefits.

It’s critical that progressives offer credible alternatives, especially if they hope to inspire younger voters who will bear the burden of these problems, because we cannot afford to dither on either issue much longer.

We speak from experience.

One of us is a baby boomer who has spent most of his career working on energy and climate policy; the other is a millennial focused on the federal budget.

Although our two fields may seem unrelated, both these existential challenges require our generations to work together to solve.

Our leaders have been warned about the climate crisis for more than a generation.

Thirty years ago last month, NASA scientist James Hansen first testified before Congress noting the irrefutable relationship between growing carbon dioxide emissions and rising temperatures.

Since then, global average temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions have increased relentlessly, leading to enormously expensive climate change impacts around the world.

Just last year, Hurricane Harvey and other major storms made worse by climate change devastated the US costing federal taxpayers over $130 billion so far.

The longer we wait to stem rising temperatures, the higher these costs will grow.

The Long-term Budget Outlook recently published by the Congressional Budget Office tells a similar story.

The gap between federal revenues and spending is growing at an alarming rate, requiring the government to borrow more each year to cover the difference.

If current policies remain in place, the national debt relative to the size of the economy could rocket past the record-high level reached just after World War II as soon as 2029.

From then onward, the federal government will be stuck spending over $1 trillion every year just to pay interest on the debt, making the growing budget deficit increasingly difficult to close the longer we wait.

Both our climate and our budget problems stem in large part from a moral failure by baby boomers.

Rather than investing in their children’s future via sustainable energy and fiscal policies, boomers emitted greenhouse gases and cut their own taxes with reckless abandon, while promising themselves generous retirement benefits paid-for by future workers.

Now millennials will be stuck with a debt and a climate that are far more dangerous than in previous generations.

The two problems exacerbate one another.

As climate change worsens, hundreds of billions each year will need to be spent each year on adaptation and disaster relief, making it that much harder to reduce future budget deficits.

Conversely, the federal government will find it increasingly difficult to invest in technologies to combat climate change when so much of tax revenue is pre-committed to servicing our debt and paying for past promises.

Alas, the Republican-controlled government in Washington (like the LNP government in Australia) has made both problems much worse.

Party leaders deny or ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus around climate change, with the president calling it a “hoax” while his administration is pushing to replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a pro-pollution alternative that props up dying industries at the expense of our planet and economy.

The GOP exhibits the same pattern of willful ignorance on the federal budget: just recently, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow erroneously claimed that the deficit is falling even as it does the exact opposite – a problem which was made worse by the $2 trillion tax cut Republicans enacted at the end of last year without making any serious effort to pay for it.

Democrats and Labor have to do better.

Just as the far right wants to play chicken with our climate, some on the far left want to play chicken with our national debt.

Neither is a risk worth taking.

Democrats must resist the far left’s calls to pursue expensive expansions of social insurance programs before making our current obligations financially sustainable.

When it comes to climate change, most of the party understands the need for action but has yet to coalesce around practical approaches for solving the problem that would attract rather than alienate swing voters.

Democrats must realize there is little value in having the moral high ground, on either climate or the budget, without the political power to implement solutions.

The responsibility for making these changes thus lies with voters as much as their leaders, and both of our respective generations must do our part to promote responsible solutions.

Baby boomers need to accept responsibility for the unresolved problems they leave millennials and be willing to contribute to solutions.

But millennials need to take ownership of their future by showing up at the polls and making these challenges core voting issues.

Young voters already overwhelmingly support Democrats – it’s time they show up and demand Democrats support them in return by addressing the two greatest threats to our future prosperity.

Paul Bledsoe is strategic advisor for the Progressive Policy Institute, and Ben Ritz is the director of PPI’s Center for Funding America’s Future.

Press link for more: The Hill

Heatwaves around the world. #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #Longman

Heatwave sees record high temperatures around world this week

From Europe to Africa, extreme and widespread heat raises climate concerns in hottest La Niña year to date on record

Jonathan Watts

Record high temperatures have been set across much of the world this week as an unusually prolonged and broad heatwave intensifies concerns about climate change.

The past month has seen power shortages in California as record heat forced a surge of demand for air conditioners. Algeria has experienced the hottest temperature ever reliably registered in Africa. Britain, meanwhile, has experienced its third longest heatwave, melting the roof of a science building in Glasgow and exposing ancient hill forts in Wales.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the rising temperatures were at odds with a global cyclical climate phenomena known as La Niña, which is usually associated with cooling.

“The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the WMO.

Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies.

Last week, a weather station at Ouargla in Algeria’s Sahara Desert, reported a maximum temperature of 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa.

Even when the sun goes down, night is not providing the cooling relief it once did in many parts of the world. At Quriyat, on the coast of Oman, overnight temperatures remained above 42.6C, which is believed to be the highest “low” temperature ever recorded in the world. Downtown Los Angeles also saw a new monthly July minimum overnight record of 26.1C on 7 July.

Globally, the warmest year on record was in 2016, boosted by the natural climate cycle El Niño. Last year, temperatures hit the highest level without that amplifying phenomenon. This year, at the other cooling end of the cycle, is continuing the overall upward trend.

Swathes of the northern hemisphere have seen unusually persistent warmth due to strong, persistent high pressure systems that have created a “heat dome” over much of Eurasia.

“What’s unusual is the hemispheric scale of the heatwave,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “It’s not just the magnitude in any one location but that high temperatures are being seen over such a large area.”

Northern Russia’s exceptionally sunny weather – seen on TV by billions thanks to the World Cup – has caused wildfires that affected 80,000 hectares of forest near the Krasnoyarsk region, which reported daily anomalies of 7C above average. The Western Siberian Hydromet Center has issued storm warnings after temperatures of more than 30C for five days. Climate watchers fear this will accelerate the melting of permafrost, releasing methane – a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

People cool off in the water on Huntington Beach during record heat in California. Photograph: Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

In California, daytime records were also set last week at Chino (48.9C), Burbank airport (45.6C) and Van Nuys airport (47.2C). In Canada, at least 54 deaths have been attributed to the prolonged heatwave and high humidity in Quebec. Montreal saw a new record high temperature of 36.6C on 2 July.

In Europe, the WMO has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record. Over the past two weeks, records have been set in Tbilisi (40.5C), Shannon (32C), and Belfast (29.5C)

Britain has cooled slightly in the past two days, after 17 days of temperatures over 28C. This was the third longest heatwave on record, following the record 19-day run in 2013 and the famous summer of 1976, when there were two prolonged spells of 18 days and 15 days. Dean Hall of the UK’s Met Office said Britain’s temperatures were forecast to rise again over the coming week.

The concern is that weather fronts – hot and cold – are being blocked more frequently due to climate change. This causes droughts and storms to linger, amplifying the damage they cause. This was a factor in the recent devastating floods in Japan, where at least 150 people died after rainfall up to four times the normal level.

Floods in Kurashiki city, western Japan. More than 150 people have died in the country following torrential rain. Photograph: Jiji Press/EPA

Paolo Ruti of the WMO said it was difficult to ascribe any one weather event to climate change, but that recent high temperatures, intense rains and slow-moving fronts were in line with forecasts of how rising emissions will affect the climate.

“Recent analysis suggests that anthropogenic forcing might indeed affect the characteristics of summer blocking events in the Euro-Asia sector, in particular leading to longer blocking episodes,” he said.

Extreme weather events have buffeted much of the world over the past 12months, from the “Day Zero” drought in Cape Town to the abnormally powerful hurricanes Harvey and Irma that buffeted the east coast of the US and Caribbean.

Underscoring the link, a new report from scientists at the World Weather Attribution group indicates that manmade climate change and its effect on rainfall made the recent Cape Town drought three times more likely.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Conservation isn’t winning. Extinction is. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani

Conservation isn’t winning. Extinction is.

by Erik Vance

Erik Vance is a science writer based in Baltimore.

The northern white rhino isn’t going out with the thundering charge that it’s due. It won’t go out in a blaze of glory, fighting a pride of lions, as would befit such an inspiring creature. It’s going to die sad and old, withering away under armed guard in central Kenya while dozens of scientists — and millions of other humans around the world — look on, helpless.

It’s not that scientists have given up on the animal.

They haven’t.

But even the researchers who are pouring immense resources into technology to preserve the subspecies, which recently lost its last male, acknowledge that we are past the point of no return.

If you feel like you’ve heard this story before, you have.

It’s the same way the western black rhino and Vietnamese Javan rhino went out.

It’s the same story as the Chinese river dolphin, the Pinta Island tortoise (including the famous “Lonesome George”) and the passenger pigeon.

And if you’re tired of hearing it, that’s too bad. Because dozens of iconic species are lining up to join them. You see, the stories we have seen in recent years — where a species tilts ominously toward extinction and scientists rush in at the last second to save them — that used to be the exception.

Today, it’s the new normal.

Modern conservation is increasingly about maintaining insanely thin populations with shallow gene pools. Not only is this expensive and often futile, but also it undermines the whole point of wildlife management.

Last year, I spent six months writing about the doomed vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise and rarest marine mammal. I was struck by two things: first, how preventable the mess was.

Only 12 Vaquita left

Mexico has been focused on the vaquita since the early 1990s, and yet its policies have only served to inflame locals and encourage poachers, who catch the animal in their nets while chasing a valuable fish for traditional Chinese medicine.

Second, everything changes when a population gets too low.

In the past, managing for a species such as a spotted owl or a bald eagle wasn’t really about that species but about the ecosystem in which it lives — such as preserving old-growth forests or getting rid of toxic chemicals.

But if a species gets down to just a couple dozen individuals, a whole new problem emerges: genetics. Scientists need to be careful with breeding to stave off health problems. When Florida panthers dropped to about 20, scientists were forced to breed them with Texas cougars.

This saved the subspecies but also changed it forever.

Red wolves dropped to even lower numbers, but a targeted captive breeding program brought them back to a couple hundred (pretty inbred) animals. Will that be a problem? Are there so-called lethal alleles — fatal genes that sometimes pop up in very small populations — that will cause them to suddenly die? Should we go in and edit their genes to fix what inbreeding has done, as experts are trying with the pink pigeon? Or maybe, as has been argued with tigers, we should just change the classification of the animals so that there are fewer subspecies and thus fewer barriers to carting them across a continent to refresh the gene pool.Because all it takes is one bad season or one disease (or one mistake while transporting them, as we saw with black rhinos this week) to cripple the species.

Seeing a trend?

These are profoundly disturbing choices.

In the old days we used to worry about how many acres were needed to maintain a species and whether a corridor might keep animals connected.

Today we have to figure out if there is a gene that will kill off the entire population before we can get them all into zoos and breed them in test tubes.

And we’re still not sure how living in captivity for generations on end might change an animal. In 1987, when biologists put every California condor in captivity to save the species, it was front-page news for years. Today, there are about 200 species of birds alone in similar endangered straits.

This is not to blame the environmental community or take away from the accomplishments of biologists and activists across the globe. (We have them to thank for rebounding bald eagles, Siberian tigers, giant pandas and all the southern rhinos.) But they are just no match for all the things pushing animals toward extinction.

When I was a kid, my first exposure to science writing was a magazine called Zoobooks that would profile different animals.

I remember being baffled as to why so many were endangered. But I also remember being comforted by the magazines themselves. It meant people would do something. Orangutans will be just fine; Zoobooks was on the case.

But as someone who has been covering this topic for years now, I can tell you, it probably won’t be fine.

Conservation is not winning. And even when it does, like with the red wolves near Kitty Hawk, N.C. , it still loses.

This was an animal that successfully returned from just 14 individuals. But in a story eerily similar to the vaquita, local and national politics forced local managers to all but give up on the animal.

My Zoobooks used to tell me that when an animal goes extinct, it’s one more step toward our own extinction. But I know this isn’t true. Humans don’t need pink pigeons or rhinos to survive.

This isn’t about saving humans, or even animals. It’s about saving our humanity.

Press link for more: Washington Post

Is your retirement invested in risky fossil fuels? #auspol #qldpol @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Divest

Is your retirement invested in risky fossil fuels?

Petition content reads:

I call on my employer, and all U.S. employers, to offer fossil-free retirement options to their employees.

For most Americans, retirement planning means taking advantage of a 401k/403(b) or similar plan offered by their employer.

In fact, American workers have invested more than $4.4 trillion in 401(k)s and similar retirement plans already.

But scientists also tell us that to stop the worst impacts of climate change, we need to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and make a rapid transition to 100% clean energy by 2050.

That means a share of a big oil company with a 20 year plan to drill in the arctic, or utilities betting on China building a new generation of coal plants are both bad ideas and bad investments.

You’ve worked hard, played by the rules and invested wisely for your retirement. But your 401(k), mutual fund or pension could be hiding a dirty secret.

Even funds that sound benign might contain enough oil, coal and fossil fuel stock to threaten our shared home.

One popular fund (NYSEARCA:SPY), for example, contains over $19,000,000,000 in dirty oil, coal and gas investments — that’s over 11% of the total assets! And even some funds that are marketed as “sustainable” can contain substantial investments in the oil and gas sector or fossil-fired utilities.

Your 401(k) and pension committee need to know the future risk of staying invested in coal, oil, gas and fossil fuels — and the opportunities for a more sustainable earth, as the Sun, Wind and Water provides orders of magnitude more energy than the old pressed dinosaurs in the ground.

Did you and your retirement plan decision makers know that the U.S. Dept. of Labor considers that investing for a better world can be as much a part of your fund administrator’s legal duty (also known as fiduciary duty) as investing for high returns? “Investing in the best interests of a retirement plan and in the growth of a community can go hand in hand,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

The first step to cleaning up our collective retirement is to build a coalition of peers and interested co-workers — Our voices will be much stronger as a group.

Press link for more: Salsa4

Banks Pivot Toward Greener Finance #ClimateAction @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.

“It is coming, it’s a trend that’s started,” said Louis Douady, head of corporate social responsibility at Natixis SA in Paris. “The intention is to adapt our balance sheet to climate transition, so clearly we want to have a change in our business mix.”

Financial institutions are beginning to get on board with the global fight against climate change, a movement that was until recently the territory of non-profit organizations and environmentalists.

Natixis, UBS Group AG and ING Groep NV are among lenders unveiling large-scale environmental finance and investing initiatives as central banks and regulators step up their warnings on climate risk.

Natixis is working on a new color-coded indicator that will be applied to about 60 percent of its activities to encourage more climate-friendly business.

The system, due to start by year-end, uses shades of green, brown or neutral to reflect a transaction’s risk weighting on the bank’s balance sheet. The greener the project, the lighter the risk.

‘Game Changer’

UBS recently introduced a sustainable investing strategy to its wealth management arm in Switzerland, the U.K. and the Asia Pacific region that has amassed more than 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) from investors in the first six months of the year.

“Demand for sustainable and impact investing has undeniably been on the rise in recent years,” said James Purcell, head of alternative and sustainable investments at UBS. “The game changer has been the realization that this investment strategy does not mean sacrificing returns.”

The strategy is to invest in cross-asset portfolios that include World Bank bonds, green bonds and environmental, social and governance-focused equity funds. The wealth manager expects the approach to generate returns comparable with its conventional strategies.

ING in Amsterdam is writing sustainability-linked loans where the cost of capital fluctuates depending on the environmental impact of the borrower. The bank can knock off between 5 and 10 percent of the cost if the company improves its sustainability metrics, according to Leonie Schreve, global head of sustainable finance at ING.

To date it has completed more than 15 such transactions, including a 1 billion-euro loan to electronics company Koninklijke Philips NV.

Banks are still trailing asset managers such as pension funds and insurance companies in putting climate concerns into action. Institutional investors with $68.4 trillion under management have already signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment, pledging to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors, known as ESG, into their investment decisions.

Several have also begun to divest from fossil fuel holdings, from insurers such as AXA SA to the Church of England and Oxford University’s endowment.

Press link for more: Bloomberg

Will veganism save the planet? #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #Neoliberalism #Longman

By Dr Cristy Clark

I’m happy to report that, according to my highly rigorous and scientifically valid survey (okay, twitter), we are all making significant changes to our lives — both in terms of daily habits and big lifestyle choices — in order to try to protect our planet.

To give you a feel for the responses, I’ll group them into a number of key themes. The first is consumption. People are consciously reducing their consumption, avoiding ‘fast fashion’ and meat, and trying to buy locally or only second-hand. Right on theme for this year’s World Environment Day, people are also focused on eliminating their use of single use plastics by avoiding excess packaging, and bringing their own containers, water bottles, keep cups, and shopping bags.

Recycling is also a big theme, including composting, worm farming, and donating clothing. And, finally, people are taking steps to reduce their water and energy consumption — moving into smaller housing, ditching their cars (or using them as little as possible), installing insulation, using solar power and energy efficient appliances, and avoiding the clothes dryer.

To add a bit more rigour to this analysis, these responses also reflect many of the ‘climate solutions’ identified by Drawdown as being worth taking due to their impact on both emissions and environmental and community amenity.

All this being said, the fact is that people remain frustrated by the limitations of individual action and are clear that there is a pressing need for structural and systemic change. While walking and riding to work is worthwhile, inner city living is beyond the means of many people, and public transport options need improvement. Inner city residents in turn would like to grow their own food, but have little space to do so, and there are challenges with gardening in communal spaces, including finding appropriate locations and dealing with issues of soil contamination.

Other people identified big steps that they’d like to take — such as going off-grid or building passive solar housing — if only they had the money. It is also challenging to avoid plastic packaging when it is so ubiquitous, and hard to efficiently heat and cool many rental properties.

“Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.”

Faced with these structural barriers to change, the question naturally arises as to which actions we can take that will have the most significant impact. And, as it turns out, recent research published in Science has concluded that the most powerful individual action we can take is to make the switch to a plant-based diet.

After examining five key environmental impacts — land use, climate change emissions, air pollution water pollution, and freshwater use — researchers from Oxford University and Agroscope, Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecekd, concluded that consumers have significant power to ‘deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers’ simply by excluding animal products from their diets.

According to their findings, which were based on a survey of 38,700 farms and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers, the global adoption of a vegan diet would result in a 76 per cent reduction of agricultural land use for food production, a 49 per cent reduction of emissions, 50 per cent reduction of air pollution, 49 per cent reduction of water pollution, and a 19 per cent reduction of freshwater withdrawals.

Poore and Nemecekd describe these benefits as transformative.

Interestingly, this report comes at a time when the uptake of veganism is growing significantly, both globally and in Australia. According to some reports, Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.

This perceived threat is considerably heightened when it comes to vegan activists. No longer content to take over the world with cupcakes, many vegans have started to take a more radical approach. On 28 April 2018, several thousand vegan activists marched through Melbourne’s CBD to draw attention to the ethical issues associated with animal agriculture. There has also been an increase in direct actions such as farm and abattoir lock-ons.

While the focus of many vegan activists is on the ethics of the industry’s commodification and treatment of animals, environmental issues also feature in these campaigns and in the motivation for many people’s decision to take action. As several vegans explained to me, the protection of the planet is fundamental to protecting both humans and animals.

While it’s true that not everyone feels ready to make the switch to a plant-based diet, it is interesting to consider the choices so many are making to help protect the planet. Many of these actions would have seemed too hard not long ago.

So, maybe the same will be said about adopting a vegan lifestyle in the not-too-distant future?

Dr Cristy Clark is a lecturer at the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, neoliberalism, activism and the environment, and particularly on the human right to water.

Press link for more: Eureka Street

Joseph Stiglitz to testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman

Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit

Georgina Gustin

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

Joseph Stiglitz, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2001 and has written extensively about environmental economics and climate change, makes an economic case that the costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are “incalculable,” while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less.

The government, he writes, should move “with all deliberate speed” toward alternative energy sources.

Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says—but he wrote this 50-page report pro bono at the request of the attorneys representing the children.

It was filed in federal district court in Oregon on June 28.

He is one of 18 expert witnesses planning to testify in the case, scheduled for trial later this year, the children’s lawyers said.

New Government Attempt to Stop the Case

The children’s climate lawsuit, filed in 2015, accuses the federal government of perpetuating policies that favor a fossil-fuel based energy system and of failing to adequately regulate greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, the suit alleges, the government exposed the children to the dangers of climate change and has failed to manage natural resources, in the public trust, for future generations.

A federal district judge is scheduled to hear the case on Oct. 29. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have tried to have the case dismissed, but their efforts have been rejected by the courts.

Last week, attorneys for the Trump administration filed a motion for an emergency stay in a federal appeals court, which the children’s attorneys responded to on Tuesday.

“Just to be clear, there is no emergency,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, which is representing the children. “They’re pulling out every frivolous motion they can to dodge the case.”

Stiglitz: Action Is Feasible and Benefits Economy

Stiglitz, a Columbia University economics professor and former World Bank chief economist, concludes that increasing global warming will have huge costs on society and that a fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children more generally.” He explains in a footnote that his analysis also examines impacts on “as-yet-unborn youth, the so-called future generations.”

“There is a point at which, once this harm occurs, it cannot be undone at any reasonable cost or in any reasonable period of time,” Stiglitz writes. “Based on the best available science, our country is close to approaching that point.”

But, he says, acting on climate change now—by imposing a carbon tax and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, among other steps—is still manageable and would have net-negative costs.

He argues that if the government were to pursue clean energy sources and energy-smart technologies, “the net benefits of a policy change outweigh the net costs of such a policy change.”

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes. “This urgent action is not only feasible, the relief requested will benefit the economy.”

Stiglitz has been examining the economic impact of global warming for many years. He was a lead author of the 1995 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative assessment of climate science that won the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore.

If It Gets to the Supreme Court?

The Trump administration may ask the Supreme Court to review an earlier appeals court decision, from March, that allowed the case to proceed in the lower, district court, Olson said. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring, gave the administration an extension, until Aug. 5, to petition the court for a review.

Olson said it’s likely the case will end up in the Supreme Court eventually, but she’s unconcerned about Kennedy’s retirement and the expected shift to a more conservative court.

“This case is fundamentally a conservative case,” she said. “It’s about protecting individual liberties from government abuses of power, and that’s very much in line with the conservative justices on the court.”

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

One Third Of 18-34 Year Olds ‘Very Worried’ About #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest

One Third Of 18-34 Year Olds ‘Very Worried’ About Climate Change

‘No one will understand the impact before it’s too late.’

Charley Ross

Almost one third (31%) of 18 to 34 year olds are very or extremely worried about climate change, according to new research.

In comparison, only one fifth (19%) of over 65s identified as concerned.

“Millennials are the first generation that were taught about climate change at school – so we have grown up with it being a fact, something that we are constantly aware of,” Stephanie Shields, 24, told HuffPost UK.

ginosphotos via Getty Images

While 93% of Brits believe that the world’s climate is definitely or probably changing, only one quarter (25%) of people are very or extremely worried about climate change, according to the annual British Social Attitudes Survey.

Meanwhile, 45% are only somewhat worried, and 28% are not very or not at all worried at all.

So, why is there such a disparity when it comes to concern for climate change?

For Jess Dante, 28, the biggest problem is that it’s “not a visible, tangible problem”.

“No one will understand the impact of [climate change] before it’s too late to reverse it,” she told HuffPost UK.

Cutting your meat and dairy intake was recently reported to be the best thing you can do for the planet.

For Jess, this was her starting point: “To help do my part, I recently cut out meat from my diet completely, as the meat industry is one of the biggest drivers of climate change.”

Thomas Jayamaha, a 19-year-old participant in Greenpeace’s My World, My Home leadership programme for young people, feels it’s his duty as a young person and a global citizen to do the best he can for the environment. “We should take a guardian role and not a disruptive one towards our planet.

Education has empowered me to take a stance against climate change,” he told HuffPost UK.

Jo Salter, 51, can’t see why the older demographic aren’t more concerned, as she became even more focussed on the “bigger picture” after having children. “I guess it’s because many people over 35 are more focussed on short term, every day living,” she told HuffPost UK. “There’s probably also a bit of a hangover from the 80s and 90s ‘looking after yourself’ attitude. Back then, environmentalists were considered to be hippies and slightly laughed at.”

For younger people, the environment (and what our current lifestyles are doing to it) is no a laughing matter. “The thing that worries me most is the effect that it will and is already having on nature,” Stephanie said. “Humans created this problem, but the animals that will feel it most are those who are specially adapted to a different habitat, such as polar bears and other arctic animals.”

Millennials are the first generation that was taught about climate change at school – so we have grown up with it being a fact, something that we are constantly aware of.

The survey also found that people aged 18 to 34 are less likely to report doing things to save energy, even though they were part of the most ‘concerned’ age group. Chris Bryant, 25, says that he’s found decisions like these aren’t completely cut and dry.

“It could be due to the fact that millennials make these choices due to ethical, as well as environmental, reasons,” he said. “And in a lot of cases, I feel like people are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours as their incomes rise, which also happens as you get older,” he told HuffPost UK.

Press link for more: Huffington Post

Delhi Bans Coal! #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Airpollution #Longman #ClimateChange #India wants clean air.

Fight against pollution: Why Delhi’s latest dictum on industrial fuels is an important step forward – Opinion by Anumita Roy Chowdhury | ET EnergyWorld

Headlines scream when air pollution spirals out of control, but steps to control air pollution often do not qualify for “breaking news.”

The much awaited notification from the Delhi government that lists clean fuels that can be permitted in Delhi has gone nearly unnoticed.

Its potential to curb toxic emissions, if implemented well, has not drawn adequate attention to build public support.

This new notification is an amendment of the original List of Approved Fuels notified by the Delhi Government way back in 1996.

But the earlier notification had not mentioned that the unapproved fuels cannot be used.

As a result, several dirty fuels like tyre oil and viscous and high sulphur furnace oil or petcoke swamped industries lacing Delhi’s air with deadly toxins.

The new notification therefore has categorically stated, “All other fuels will be deemed “unapproved” and so disallowed for use in NCT of Delhi.”

This has reinforced the Supreme Court directive to ban petcoke and furnace oil.

The new law gives 90 days to industrial units, commercial establishment and other users to switchover to any of the approved fuels.

These include Bharat Stage VI compliant petrol and diesel with 10 ppm sulphur, liquid petroleum gas, natural gas/ compressed natural gas, aviation turbine fuel, firewood for crematoriums and religious purposes, wood charcoal for tandoors and grills with emission controls and clothes ironing; biogas, and fuel derived from waste.

Its dramatic how coal has been virtually eliminated for all uses.

Though technically low sulphur coal is allowed only for coal power generation, with Badarpur power plant closing permanently, coal stands banned in Delhi.

Also clean fuels in households can save significant number of women and children.

This is an important step forward as industrial pollution is significant in Delhi.

The 2015 IIT Kanpur study shows that industry, where fuel combustion is the primary source of emissions, is responsible for 54 per cent of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 91 per cent of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and 11 per cent of particulate load.

Combustion of bottom-of the furnace products and heavy oils emit not only the regular particulates and NOx and SO2 but also highly toxic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds that cause cancer.

When samples of petcoke and furnace oil were tested by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in 2017 they found unacceptable level of sulphur – 74,000 ppm in petcoke and 23,000 ppm in furnace oil.

On average, more than 95 percent of the fuel sulfur is converted to SO2. The Supreme Court had then cracked down to ban the petcoke and furnace oil in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi in November 2017.

This development in Delhi creates opportunity for other states to take similar steps to fight toxic air.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 gives powers to the State Governments to do so. Eliminating dirty fuel streams is crucial as toxic substance and gases from fuel combustion not only fouls up the air and increases human exposure but these toxins also cling to the dust to go deep inside the lungs and cause irreversible health damage.

Press link for more: Energy.economictimes