Deforestation

How many reasons do we need to #StopAdani #Auspol ?

1. Fossil fuels are destroying the world’s coral UNESCO Report

2. Climate change driven by fossil fuels is causing global conflict. Breakthrough Online


3. Air pollution (mainly coal) is killing millions Washington Post

4. Clean renewable energy is cheaper than coal. Forbes.com

5. Clean energy creates more jobs e2.org

6. $56 billion reasons to #StopAdani and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is too big to fail ABC

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-26/great-barrier-reef-valued-56b-deloitte/8649936

SMH.COMu

Rob Pyne Video

Australia shirks it’s moral responsibility #ClimateChange #StopAdani 

Australia, deep in climate change’s ‘disaster alley’, shirks its moral responsibility
A government’s first responsibility is to safeguard the people and their future well-being. The ability to do this is threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating effects of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. 

Climate change poses an existential risk to humanity that, unless addressed as an emergency, will have catastrophic consequences.

In military terms, Australia and the adjacent Asia-Pacific region is considered to be “disaster alley”, where the most extreme effects are being experienced.

Press link to download report Breakthrough online

 Australia’s leaders either misunderstand or wilfully ignore these risks, which is a profound failure of imagination, far worse than that which triggered the global financial crisis in 2008.

 Existential risk cannot be managed with conventional, reactive, learn-from-failure techniques. 

We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.
This should mean an honest, objective look at the real risks to which we are exposed, guarding especially against more extreme possibilities that would have consequences damaging beyond quantification, and which human civilisation as we know it would be lucky to survive.
Instead, the climate and energy policies that successive Australian governments adopted over the last 20 years, driven largely by ideology and corporate fossil-fuel interests, deliberately refused to acknowledge this existential threat, as the shouting match over the wholly inadequate reforms the Finkel review proposes demonstrates too well. 

There is overwhelming evidence that we have badly underestimated both the speed and extent of climate change’s effects. 

In such circumstances, to ignore this threat is a fundamental breach of the responsibility that the community entrusts to political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders.
A hotter planet has already taken us perilously close to, and in some cases over, tipping points that will profoundly change major climate systems: at the polar ice caps, in the oceans, and the large permafrost carbon stores. 

Global warming’s physical effects include a hotter and more extreme climate, more frequent and severe droughts, desertification, increasing insecurity of food and water supplies, stronger storms and cyclones, and coastal inundation.
Climate change was a significant factor in triggering the war in Syria, the Mediterranean migrant crisis and the “Arab spring”, albeit this aspect is rarely discussed. 

Our global carbon emission trajectory, if left unchecked, will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migrations, political instability and conflicts.
Australia is not immune.

 We already have extended heatwaves with temperates above 40 degrees, catastrophic bushfires, and intense storms and floods. 

The regional effects do not receive much attention but are striking hard at vulnerable communities in Asia and the Pacific, forcing them into a spiral of dislocation and migration. 

The effects on China and South Asia will have profound consequences for employment and financial stability in Australia.
In the absence of emergency action to reduce Australian and global emissions far faster than currently proposed, the level of disruption and conflict will escalate to the point that outright regional chaos is likely. 

Militarised solutions will be ineffective. 

Australia is failing in its duty to its people, and as a world citizen, by playing down these implications and shirking its responsibility to act.
Bushfires that destroy property and lives are increasingly regular across Australia.


Bushfires that destroy property and lives are increasingly regular across Australia. Photo: Jason South

Nonetheless, people understand climate risks, even as their political leaders underplay or ignore them. 

About 84 per cent of 8000 people in eight countries surveyed recently for the Global Challenges Foundation consider climate change a “global catastrophic risk”. 

The result for Australia was 75 per cent. 


Many people see climate change as a bigger threat than epidemics, weapons of mass destruction and the rise of artificial intelligence.
What is to be done if our leaders are incapable of rising to the task?
The new normal? 


Residents paddle down a street in Murwillumbah in March after heavy rains led to flash flooding. Photo: Jason O’Brien

First, establish a high-level climate and conflict taskforce in Australia to urgently assess the existential risks, and develop risk-management techniques and policies appropriate to that challenge.
Second, recognise that climate change is an global emergency that threatens civilisation, and push for a global, coordinated, practical, emergency response.
We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.
Third, launch an emergency initiative to decarbonise Australia’s economy no later than 2030 and build the capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Fourth, help to build more resilient communities domestically and in the most vulnerable nations regionally; build a flexible capacity to support communities in likely hot spots of instability and conflict; and rethink refugee policies accordingly.

Young children walk through debris in Vanuata after Cyclone Pam hit in 2015. Photo: Unicef

Fifth, ensure that Australia’s military and government agencies are fully aware of and prepared for this changed environment; and improve their ability to provide aid and disaster relief.
Sixth, establish a national leadership group, outside conventional politics and drawn from across society, to implement the climate emergency program.
A pious hope in today’s circumstances?

 Our leaders clearly do not want the responsibility to secure our future. 

So “everything becomes possible, particularly when it is unavoidable”.
Ian Dunlop was an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

This is an extract from his report with David Spratt, Disaster alley: climate change, conflict and risk, released on Thursday.

Press link for more: Canberra Times

We have radically underestimated #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat
Fijian girl walks over flooded land in her village.


As the Senate launches an inquiry into the national security ramifications of climate change, a new report has warned global warming will cause increasingly regular and severe humanitarian crises across the Asia-Pacific.


Press link for full report: Breakthrough

Disaster Alley, written by the Breakthrough Centre for Climate Restoration, forecasts climate change could potentially displace tens of millions from swamped cities, drive fragile states to failure, cause intractable political instability, and spark military conflict.
Report co-author Ian Dunlop argues Australia’s political and corporate leaders, by refusing to accept the need for urgent climate action now, are “putting the Australian community in extreme danger”.
“Global warming will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migration, political instability and conflict. 

The Asia Pacific region, including Australia, is considered to be ‘disaster alley’ where some of the worst impacts will be experienced,” the report, released this morning, says.
“Australia’s political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders are abrogating their fiduciary responsibilities to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing. 

They are ill-prepared for the real risks of climate change at home and abroad.”
On Friday, the Senate passed a motion for an inquiry into the threats and long-term risks posed by climate change to national and international security, and Australia’s readiness to mitigate and respond to climate-related crises in our region.
Dunlop, a former chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, told the Guardian the security impacts of climate change were not far-distant future concerns, but happening now.
The ongoing Syrian civil war – which has killed 450,000 and forced an estimated 5.5 million people to flee the country over six years of conflict – is attributed, in significant part, to an extended drought, exacerbated by climate change, that left millions without food or livelihoods.
“Once these effects start, then they unfold right the way through the system as an accelerant,” Dunlop said. 

“Natural disasters lead to social pressures, to increasing conflicts, competing claims for scarce resources. 

These fuel extremist positions, which could be religious, tribal, or political, which can lead to mass migrations.

We are going to see a lot of people start moving, in our region especially, and to think we stop that by finessing things like ‘stop the boats’, is frankly naive.”
Dunlop said the global nature of the climate change challenge should force countries to cooperate.


“Climate change has to become seen as a reason for far greater levels of global cooperation than we’ve seen before. 

If we don’t see it that way, then we’re going to be in big trouble. 

This problem is bigger than any of us, it’s bigger than any nation state, any political party.
“We’re going to be steamrolled by this stuff unless we take serious action now.”

The security implications of climate change have been identified by thinktanks, governments, and militaries across the world.


A decade ago, Alan Dupont and Graeme Pearman wrote for the Lowy Institute that the security threat posed by climate change had been largely ignored and seriously underestimated.
In 2013 the commander of US Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said the greatest long-term threat in the Asia-Pacific was not military ambitions of another state, or the threat of nuclear weapons, but climate change.
In 2015, the US Department of Defense commissioned a report, examining the security implications of disrupted climate, and current secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, has said climate change is a clear and current threat to US troops.
Australia’s 2016 defence white paper said climate change would contribute to state fragility, which it identified as one of the six key drivers that will “shape the development of Australia’s security environment to 2035”.

“Climate change will be a major challenge for countries in Australia’s immediate region. 

Climate change will see higher temperatures, increased sea-level rise and will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. 

These effects will exacerbate the challenges of population growth and environmental degradation, and will contribute to food shortages and undermine economic development.”
“Instability in our immediate region could have strategic consequences for Australia should it lead to increasing influence by actors from outside the region with interests inimical to ours. 

It is crucial that Australia help support the development of national resilience in the region to reduce the likelihood of instability.”
The Senate inquiry into the national security threats of climate change will report in December. 

But the issue remains politically charged.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam, in putting the motion before the Senate said the government had failed to apprehend the global security risk posed by climate change.
“As one of the highest per-capita emitters on the planet, Australia must play a constructive role as our region responds to climate change. 

The government won’t listen to the scientists, and it won’t listen to the renewable energy sector. 

Maybe it will listen to defence and security experts and the personnel on the frontline.”
But assistant minister to the prime minister, Senator James McGrath, said the inquiry was unnecessary.
He told the Senate a defence climate security adviser had been established within the office of the vice chief of the defence force group. 

As well, an environmental planning and advisory cell has been established within headquarters joint operations command, and defence is represented at the government’s disaster and climate resilience reference group.
Press link for more: The Guardian

Existential Risk! #StopAdani 

EXISTENTIAL RISK

An existential risk is an adverse outcome that would either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential (Bostrom 2013).

 For example, a big meteor impact or large-scale nuclear war.

Existential risks are not amenable to the reactive (learn from failure) approach of conventional risk management, and we cannot necessarily rely on the institutions, moral norms, or social attitudes developed from our experience with managing other sorts of risks. 

Because the consequences are so severe – perhaps the end of human global civilisation as we know
it – “even for an honest, truth-seeking, and well-intentioned investigator it is difficult to think and act rationally in regard to… existential risks” (Bostrom and Cirkovic 2008).

Yet the evidence is clear that climate change already poses an existential risk to global stability and to human civilisation that requires an emergency response.

 Temperature rises that are now in prospect could reduce the global human population by 80% or 90%. 

But this conversation is taboo, and the few who speak out are admonished as being overly alarmist.

Prof. Kevin Anderson considers that “a 4°C future [relative to pre-industrial levels] is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable” (Anderson 2011). 

He says: “If you have got
a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4°C, 5°C or 6°C, you might have half a billion people surviving” (Fyall 2009).

Asked at a 2011 conference in Melbourne about the difference between a 2°C world and a 4°C world, Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber replied in two words: “Human civilisation”. 

The World Bank reports: “There is no certainty that adaptation to
a 4°C world is possible” (World Bank 2012). 

Amongst other impacts, a 4°C warming would trigger the loss of both polar ice caps, eventually resulting, at equilibrium, in a 70-metre rise in sea level.


The present path of greenhouse gas emissions commits us
to a 4–5°C temperature increase relative to pre-industrial levels. 

Even at 3°C of warming we could face “outright chaos” and “nuclear war is possible”, according to the 2007 Age of Consequences report by two US think tanks (see page 10).

Yet this is the world we are now entering. 

The Paris climate agreement voluntary emission reduction commitments, if implemented, would result in the planet warming by 3°C, with a 50% chance of exceeding that amount.


This does not take into account “longer-term” carbon-cycle feedbacks – such as permafrost thaw and declining
efficency of ocean and terrestrial carbon sinks, which are now becoming relevant. 

If these are considered, the Paris emissions path has more than a 50% chance of exceeding 4°C warming. 

(Technically, accounting for these feedbacks means using a higher gure for the system’s “climate sensitivity” – which is a measure of the temperature increase resulting from a doubling of the level of greenhouse gases – to calculate the warming.

A median figure often used for climate sensitivity is ~3°C, but research from MIT shows that with a higher climate sensitivity gure of 4.5°C, which would account for feedbacks, the Paris path would lead to around 5°C of warming (Reilly et al. 2015).)

So we are looking at a greater than one-in-two chance of either annihilating intelligent life, or permanently and drastically curtailing its potential development.

 Clearly these end-of-civilisation scenarios are not being considered even by risk-conscious leaders in politics and business, which is an epic failure of imagination.

The world hopes to do a great deal better than Paris, but it may do far worse. 

A recent survey of 656 participants involved in international climate policy-making showed only half considered the Paris climate negotiations were useful, and 70% did not expect that the majority of countries would fulfill their promises (Dannenberg et al. 2017)

Human civilisation faces unacceptably high chances of
being brought undone by climate change’s existential risks yet, extraordinarily, this conversation is rarely heard. 

The Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) says that despite scientific evidence that risks associated with tipping points “increase disproportionately as temperature increases from 1°C to 2°C, and become high above 3°C”, political negotiations have consistently disregarded the high-end scenarios that could lead to abrupt or irreversible climate change. 

In its Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report, it concludes that “the world is currently completely unprepared to envisage, and even less deal with, the consequences of catastrophic climate change”. (GCF 2017) 

PRess link for full report: Disaster Alley

Disaster Alley: Climate Change, Conflict & Risk #StopAdani

The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people and their future well-being.

 The ability to do this is threatened by climate change, whose accelerating impacts will also drive political instability and conflict, posing large negative consequences to human society which may never be undone. 

This report looks at climate change and conflict issues through the lens of sensible risk-management to draw new conclusions about the challenge we now face.

• From tropical coral reefs to the polar ice sheets, global warming is already dangerous. 


The world is perilously close to, or passed, tipping points which will create major changes in global climate systems.

• The world now faces existential climate-change risks which may result in “outright chaos” and an end to human civilisation as we know it.

• These risks are either not understood or wilfully ignored across the public and private sectors, with very few exceptions.

• Global warming will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migration, political instability and conflict. 

The Asia–Pacific region, including Australia, is considered to be “Disaster Alley” where some of the worst impacts will be experienced.

• Building more resilient communities in the most vulnerable nations by high-level financial commitments and development assistance can help protect peoples in climate hotspots and zones of potential instability and con ict.

• Australia’s political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders are abrogating their duciary responsibilities to safeguard the people and their future well-being. 

They are ill-prepared for the real risks of climate change at home and in the region.

• The Australian government must ensure Australian Defence Force and
emergency services preparedness, mission and operational resilience, and capacity for humanitarian aid and disaster relief, across the full range of projected climate change scenarios.

• It is essential to now strongly advocate a global climate emergency response, and to build a national leadership group outside conventional politics to design and implement emergency decarbonisation of the Australian economy. 

This would adopt all available safe solutions using sound, existential risk-management practices.

Forward by Sherri Goodman

In April 2017, I was invited by Breakthrough to visit Australia and talk to elected representatives, key government officials and business leaders, researchers and analysts, and at public meetings, to advance awareness of the capacity of climate change to amplify global conflict and instability, social and economic disruption, humanitarian crises and forced migration.

Working at the highest level in the United States on these issues for more than two decades, I have come to understand that these impacts have already placed the internal cohesion of many nations under great stress, including in the United States, as a result of a dramatic rise in migration, changes in weather patterns and water availability. 

The flooding of coastal communities around the world, from low-lying Pacific Islands to the United States, Europe, South Asia and China, has the potential to challenge the very survival of regional communities and even some nation states.

My tour to Australia was also an opportunity to discuss what needs to be done.

 Internationally, we must establish methods to better forecast potentially disruptive climate changes – such as severe drought – well in advance. 

Only then can we develop the capacity for reducing risks through building global and community resilience and strength before we encounter full-on crises. 

We also need to rethink refugee governance to better support the climate refugees who will comprise an increasing proportion of the refugee mix. 

Current governance structures are simply inadequate.

Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable nations to the climate impacts already locked into the system is critical; however this will only reduce long-term risk if improvements in resilience are accompanied by strong actionable agreements to stabilise the climate.

Climate change is a threat multiplier to humanity that demands
a whole-of-society response. 

If Australia recognises this reality
it would be placed, inter alia, at the leading edge of innovation and competitiveness in the advanced energy economies that are rapidly evolving in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Responding effectively to climate change requires greatly increased co-operation globally, regionally and among Australian institutions, to build more resilient communities. 

Australia is at an inflection point in its approach to climate, energy and security. 

It is time to act with clarity and urgency.

Sherri Goodman is former US Deputy Undersecretary of Defence for Environmental Security, Founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

AUTHORS 

IAN DUNLOP

Ian Dunlop is a senior member of the Advisory Board for Breakthrough. Ian was an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. From 1998-2000 he chaired the Australian Greenhouse Of ce Experts Group on Emissions Trading. He is a member of the Club of Rome.

DAVID SPRATT
 

David Spratt is Research Director for Breakthrough and co-author of Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action (Scribe 2008). His recent reports include Recount: It’s time to “Do the math” again; Climate Reality Check and Antarctic Tipping Points for a Multi-metre Sea-level Rise.
The authors thank Nic Maclellan for his advice on the Paci c scenario and climate nancing in this report.

Press link for full report: Breakthrough

Deadly Heat Waves Threaten Third of the World. #StopAdani 

Deadly Heat Waves Threaten Third of the World

Scorching heat grounded planes in parts of the U.S. on Monday, the same day researchers released a study that finds the globe is only getting hotter and, as a result, potentially deadlier.

Currently, nearly a third of the world’s population is exposed to lethal climate conditions for at least 20 days a year, according to findings published Monday in Nature Climate Change, a monthly peer-reviewed journal.

 As the planet’s temperature rises, more of the world’s population will be exposed to conditions that trigger deadly heat waves, the report said.

That risk is expected to cover 48 percent of the world’s population by 2100, even if carbon gas emissions are drastically reduced. 

If emissions continue to rise at typical rates, 74 percent of the global population is expected to experience more than 20 days of deadly heat a year by that same time, according to a research group, led by Camilo Mora.
For a city like New York, which currently sees about two days per year that surpass the heat threshold, that could mean 50 deadly days per year by 2100.



“For heat waves, our options are now between bad or terrible,” Mora, associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
The researchers analyzed more than 1,900 cases of fatalities associated with heat waves in 164 cities across 36 countries between 1980 and 2014 to define a global threshold for life-threatening conditions based on heat and humidity. Researchers found the overall risk for heat-related sickness or death has increased steadily since 1980.

The study notes well-documented heat waves, including a five-day stretch that claimed hundreds of lives in Chicago in 1995, the European heat wave in 2003 that saw tens of thousands of heat-related deaths and lethal temperatures in Moscow in 2010 that killed more than 10,000. 

Across Russia, the heat wave in 2010 claimed more than 50,000 lives. 

But the research team found that heatwaves are more common than most people think, and humidity levels combined with heat play a major role in heat-related heath risks.
In cases of high humidity, human sweat doesn’t evaporate, making it difficult for people to regulate and release heat.


The study found that higher-latitude locations will warm more than the tropics under global warming, but people living in the wet tropics face the greatest risk.

That portion of the world’s population, researchers said, is more vulnerable to increases in average temperature or humidity than other areas of the world. 

Some areas in the deep tropics – such as in Jakarta, Indonesia – have consistently warm temperatures near the deadly threshold year-round.
Regardless of location, the global climate outlook is bleak, researchers said.
“An increasing threat to human life from excess heat now seems almost inevitable,” but will only worsen with an increase of greenhouse gases, they wrote.

Press link for more: US News

Climate Change promises a frightening future. #StopAdani

Are the Effects of Global Warming Really that Bad?

The Missouri River encroaches on homes in Sioux City, Iowa, during a 2011 flood Stocktrek Images/Media Bakery

Eight degrees Fahrenheit. It may not sound like much—perhaps the difference between wearing a sweater and not wearing one on an early-spring day. But for the world in which we live, which climate experts project will be at least eight degrees warmer by 2100 should global emissions continue on their current path, this small rise will have grave consequences, ones that are already becoming apparent, for every ecosystem and living thing—including us.

According to the National Climate Assessment, human influences are the number one cause of global warming, especially the carbon pollution we cause by burning fossil fuels and the pollution-capturing we prevent by destroying forests. 

The carbon dioxide, methane, soot, and other pollutants we release into the atmosphere act like a blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm. 

Evidence shows that 2000 to 2009 was hotter than any other decade in at least the past 1,300 years. This warming is altering the earth’s climate system, including its land, atmosphere, oceans, and ice, in far-reaching ways.
More frequent and severe weather

Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts.

A warmer climate creates an atmosphere that can collect, retain, and drop more water, changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier. “Extreme weather events are costing more and more,” says Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative. 

“The number of billion-dollar weather disasters is expected to rise.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2015 there were 10 weather and climate disaster events in the United States—including severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfires—that caused at least $1 billion in losses.

 For context, each year from 1980 to 2015 averaged $5.2 billion in disasters (adjusted for inflation). 

If you zero in on the years between 2011 and 2015, you see an annual average cost of $10.8 billion.
The increasing number of droughts, intense storms, and floods we’re seeing as our warming atmosphere holds—and then dumps—more moisture poses risks to public health and safety, too. 

Prolonged dry spells mean more than just scorched lawns. Drought conditions jeopardize access to clean drinking water, fuel out-of-control wildfires, and result in dust storms, extreme heat events, and flash flooding in the States. 

Elsewhere around the world, lack of water is a leading cause of death and serious disease. At the opposite end of the spectrum, heavier rains cause streams, rivers, and lakes to overflow, which damages life and property, contaminates drinking water, creates hazardous-material spills, and promotes mold infestation and unhealthy air. A warmer, wetter world is also a boon for food-borne and waterborne illnesses and disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
Higher death rates

Today’s scientists point to climate change as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” 

It’s a threat that impacts all of us—especially children, the elderly, low-income communities, and minorities—and in a variety of direct and indirect ways. 

As temperatures spike, so does the incidence of illness, emergency room visits, and death.
“There are more hot days in places where people aren’t used to it,” Haq says. “They don’t have air-conditioning or can’t afford it. 

One or two days isn’t a big deal. 

But four days straight where temperatures don’t go down, even at night, leads to severe health consequences.” 

In the United States, hundreds of heat-related deaths occur each year due to direct impacts and the indirect effects of heat-exacerbated, life-threatening illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. 

Indeed, extreme heat kills more Americans each year, on average, than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and lightning combined.
Dirtier air

Rising temperatures also worsen air pollution by increasing ground level ozone, which is created when pollution from cars, factories, and other sources react to sunlight and heat. 

Ground-level ozone is the main component of smog, and the hotter things get, the more of it we have. Dirtier air is linked to higher hospital admission rates and higher death rates for asthmatics. 

It worsens the health of people suffering from cardiac or pulmonary disease. And warmer temperatures also significantly increase airborne pollen, which is bad news for those who suffer from hay fever and other allergies.
Higher wildlife extinction rates

As humans, we face a host of challenges, but we’re certainly not the only ones catching heat. 

As land and sea undergo rapid changes, the animals that inhabit them are doomed to disappear if they don’t adapt quickly enough. 

Some will make it, and some won’t. 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 assessment, many land, freshwater, and ocean species are shifting their geographic ranges to cooler climes or higher altitudes, in an attempt to escape warming. 

They’re changing seasonal behaviors and traditional migration patterns, too. And yet many still face “increased extinction risk due to climate change.”

 Indeed, a 2015 study showed that vertebrate species—animals with backbones, like fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles—are disappearing 114 times faster than they should be, a phenomenon that has been linked to climate change, pollution, and deforestation.
More acidic oceans

The earth’s marine ecosystems are under pressure as a result of climate change. Oceans are becoming more acidic, due in large part to their absorption of some of our excess emissions. 

As this acidification accelerates, it poses a serious threat to underwater life, particularly creatures with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, including mollusks, crabs, and corals. 

This can have a huge impact on shellfisheries. 

Indeed, as of 2015, acidification is believed to have cost the Pacific Northwest oyster industry nearly $110 million. 

Coastal communities in 15 states that depend on the $1 billion nationwide annual harvest of oysters, clams, and other shelled mollusks face similar long-term economic risks.
Higher sea levels


The polar regions are particularly vulnerable to a warming atmosphere. 

Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere on earth, and the world’s ice sheets are melting fast. 

This not only has grave consequences for the region’s people, wildlife, and plants; its most serious impact may be on rising sea levels. 

By 2100, it’s estimated our oceans will be one to four feet higher, threatening coastal systems and low-lying areas, including entire island nations and the world’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami as well as Mumbai, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro.
There’s no question: Climate change promises a frightening future, and it’s too late to turn back the clock. 

We’ve already taken care of that by pumping a century’s worth of pollution into the air nearly unchecked. 

“Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow, we’d still see some effects,” Haq says. 

That, of course, is the bad news. 

But there’s also good news. 

By aggressively reducing our global emissions now, “we can avoid a lot of the severe consequences that climate change would otherwise bring,” says Haq.
Press link for more: NRDC.org

Trump is more honest about climate inaction than Turnbull #StopAdani #auspol

Donald Trump is more honest about climate inaction than Malcolm Turnbull

There is a depressing honesty about Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. 

It stands in stark contrast to the hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull’s big talk on climate change, which is accompanied by a $1 billion subsidy for the enormous new Adani coal mine. 

At least Trump is doing what he said he would do.

Trump shows his contempt for the world’s problems by withdrawing from a global agreement on the basis that he doesn’t think it’s in his nation’s interest, while Turnbull shows his contempt by remaining in that same agreement while funding the construction of a new coal mine that will still operate in 2080. 

Which is worse?
Trump’s climate call
US President Donald Trump has withdrawn America from the Paris climate change agreement, but Australia will not follow according to the energy minister.
The “business case” for Turnbull’s coal line from the Adani mine to the Great Barrier Reef is that five other major coal mines will also be built in the Galilee basin.

 In the words of Resources Minister Matt Canavan, “what I’d expect to see, with the federal government wanting to open the Galilee basin, is that the rail line’s open access that other mines can use it and that we can, by building, connecting up a new coal basin in our country, create wealth, not just in one individual project but right across the board, that’s what we’d like to see”. 

Combined with the Adani mine, the other mines Canavan referred to would together produce 300 million tonnes of coal a year.


To put Turnbull’s coal expansion plans into context, Australia is already the world’s largest coal exporter. 

At 388 million tonnes in 2015-16, we have a larger share of the traded coal market than Saudi Arabia has of the world oil market. 

And the Australian government hopes to facilitate a doubling of our coal exports.
Think about that. 

Australia is a signatory to an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero in 33 years’ time.

 And Turnbull wants to subsidise the opening-up of a new coal basin in the hope that it will export an extra 300 million tonnes of coal a year. 

I’d take Trump’s denial over Turnbull’s deception any day.

The Coalition clearly takes the adage that, if you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one quite seriously. 

Having decided to adopt a bizarre “pro-coal, pro-climate” public position, it has set out to abuse language, policy and taxpayers’ money to design a bridge between the multiple sandcastles it is building in the air. 

Take this week’s announcement that more taxpayers’ money will potentially be invested in “carbon capture and storage”.

Like cold fusion, and healthy cigarettes, coal-fired power stations that can capture their pollution and pump it safely underground have promised big and delivering nothing for decades. 

But such fantasies are central to the political strategy of those who want to defend the status quo while promising change. How can Australia double its coal exports and support climate action? 

Easy! We’ll invent “clean coal”. 

The fact that taxpayers fund the coal industry cover story is just icing on the cake.

Speaking of defending that status quo, on the domestic front, the Coalition’s direct action plan is reaching its use-by date and the Turnbull government is faced with the impending arrival of a new report by Chief Scientist Professor Alan Finkel. 

It’s the latest in a string of government reviews of the need for a long-term climate policy that can actually put some pressure on polluters to reduce their emissions rather than put putting pressure on the budget to buy emission reductions.
Donald Trump announces the US will withdraw from the Paris climate change accord.


Donald Trump announces the US will withdraw from the Paris climate change accord.

The Chief Scientist’s problem is not the scientific or economic challenges of building a new electricity grid based on new generation and storage technologies. 

Those problems are easy compared to the linguistic and political “barriers” to bringing our energy system into the 21st century.
Obstacle No. 1 is that the Coalition can’t possibly introduce a simple and effective carbon tax. The idea that a government would introduce a tax to discourage a harmful activity has become anathema to the “good economic managers” in the Coalition, even if it is economics 101. And even if Tony Abbott increased tobacco taxes to discourage smoking.


Climate protesters 

Obstacle No. 2 is the Coalition’s inability to introduce anything that “looks like a carbon tax”. 

This apparently rules out any notion of emissions trading, in which a government sells a limited number of tradable permits to polluters. 

Needless to say, the Coalition has never described the tradable free-to-air TV licences it sells as a “television tax” although, hey, who knows, maybe that’s coming next.
Obstacle No. 3: you can’t propose a scheme like an emissions intensity scheme (or EIS) in which the government never raises a cent. 

Under an EIS, the government sets a target level of “emission intensity” and any electricity generators whose emissions intensity (tonnes of CO2 per unit of electricity produced) is above the target must buy “credits” from generators whose intensity is below the target. 

Needless to say, the notion you can’t slug some industry participants who misbehave is odd coming from a government that just introduced a “bank levy” on the big banks.
Australia has a larger share of the traded coal market than Saudi Arabia has of the world oil market.
So what might Finkel advise? 

If we start from the assumption that, these days, “independent reviews” take the arbitrary and self-imposed political constraints of governments seriously, it’s unlikely he’ll strongly recommend any of the simple and effective options described above.
A fourth option is a low emissions target (or LET) to augment, or replace, the effective renewable energy target (RET). The RET, first introduced by John Howard, requires electricity retailers to source a fixed amount of electricity from renewables. It helped drive down the cost of renewable energy and, according to modelling commissioned by Tony Abbott, lowered electricity costs, too. The only “problem” with the RET is that, in setting aside a minimum market share for renewables, it sets a maximum market share for fossil-fuel generators. While the Nationals like to lead the charge against the “distortionary” RET, they are the driving force behind the NSW laws that force drivers to buy petrol blended with a fixed proportion of ethanol.

 

While the RET specifies that electricity retailers must buy energy from wind and solar, a LET could potentially require electricity generators to source their “low emission” electricity from gas or nuclear as well. 

While including gas and nuclear on the list of eligible sources of “clean” fuels is an obsession for some who think that climate policy should be “technology neutral”, the reality is the high cost of gas and nuclear energy probably means that a LET and a RET are similar policy beasts. 

Needless to say, many of those who say renewables should need to compete without subsidies on a “level playing field” are strategically silent about the Commonwealth subsidies required to open up the Galilee coal basin.
The fact is the acronym by which our climate policy is known is far less significant than the ambition, and legislative detail, on which it is based. 

Put simply, there is more room for variation within the possible climate policies than there is between them.
Trump’s clear repudiation of the US’s commitment to tackle climate change and Turnbull’s cynical pretence of support for climate action both point to the same obvious conclusion. 

Until the world stops building new coal mines and stops building new coal-fired power stations, the world’s emissions will continue to grow. 

Everything else is just a cover story for our failure to act.

Richard Denniss is The Australia Institute’s chief economist. Twitter: @RDNS_TAI

Press link for more: Canberra Times

Marrawah Johnson & the Wangan & Jagalingou people fight to #StopAdani 

To understand how Murrawah Johnson and the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council became the strongest barrier against one of the world’s largest coalmines, you have to understand the decision that led Johnson’s grandfather to the edge of the Wondai rubbish tip 60 years ago.

It was 1954, the year the Johnson family would break free of their chains.
Bowman Johnson and his wife, Edith, along with their three young children and unborn baby, were living in the Cherbourg settlement under Queensland’s notorious protection act, which would later influence the apartheid regime in South Africa.
That year, the head of the mission told Bowman to leave his family. 

He was to travel hundreds of kilometres away to a new mission, which would later become Woorabinda, two hours west of Rockhampton.

 But if he left Cherbourg, his heavily pregnant wife would probably have remained trapped in a form of slavery that was not called slavery, and his children, including Murrawah’s father, at that time only four years old, would have been sent to the dormitories.
Bowman was given an ultimatum. 

If he did not go to Woorabinda, if he did not sacrifice his family to a future determined by the whim of the protector, he would be kicked off, and they would all starve.
Bowman’s decision, his fight, would affect not only the future of his family but also, potentially, the fate of Adani’s billion-dollar mega mine in the Galilee Basin.


On that day, Bowman made his stand. He borrowed a horse and wagon, and his young family made the journey from Cherbourg to nearby Wondai, where they set up a life on the edge of the town’s rubbish tip.
“My grandparents said ‘No’, they weren’t going to do it,” 

Murrawah Johnson tells The Saturday Paper.
“They lived on the edge of the Wondai dump because they were Aboriginal. 

My grandfather had trouble finding work because he was Aboriginal. 

They didn’t have money or anything. But that’s where my nan gave birth to my uncle, and he became the first baby in our family to be born free of the Aboriginal Protection Act.”
The family would later move around and eventually end up in Brisbane, where Johnson’s grandparents became stalwarts of the transient Murri community who were being moved off and forced into bigger settlements. 

They continued to fight for their rights, and housed the displaced and dispossessed. 

Today her grandparents’ names – Bowman Johnson and Edith Johnson – adorn two hostels in the river city.
To understand Murrawah Johnson you have to understand how in her resistance to the mine and her fight for her people’s right to say “No” when faced with an ultimatum – to sign an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) or starve – she is echoing the words of her grandfather all those years ago.
 
Today Johnson is 22. Like her grandparents, she moved from town to town, growing up not only on her ancestral lands, but between Mackay and Brisbane, and in Woorabinda, her mother’s home community.
She spends her days like many other Aboriginal women her age – studying, dancing and catching up with friends. She is known in her circle as “the Beyoncé of fighting coalmines”. 

But you get a sense that description cuts her short.

 For all Beyoncé’s considerable talents, she has never stood up to the pressures of federal and state governments, big mining and a corporate media machine, to protect the land she holds sacred.
For the past two years, after being named spokeswoman of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council along with her uncle Adrian Burragubba, who is a senior traditional owner and cultural leader, Johnson has been the public face of the campaign to protect her country, sacred sites and songlines – including the tracks of Mundunjundra, or the rainbow serpent, which moulded the land – from the destructive proposed Carmichael coalmine on the Galilee Basin.

She has travelled across Australia and the world, lobbying big banks and investors, and will this month give a keynote address at the largest Aboriginal conference on the circuit – the National Native Title Conference.
Yet unlike Beyoncé, who also dances on the national stage, she has trouble being heard.
In regional central Queensland, crippled by unemployment from a collapse in mining, where lawns grow wild around the streets of repossessed houses, the rhetoric on Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine has been centred on jobs, and not much else. 

Environmental destruction and the encroaching threat of climate change, ever-present in natural disasters, are relegated to the final paragraphs of news stories or simply ignored altogether.


In this climate, the battle of the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples to protect not just their traditional lands but their families from the destructive machinations of native title remains a “sideline” issue, a niche concern to be brushed away in the pursuit of white aspirations.
“There’s this situation where those of us who have made a decision to go against the mine have to be across everything,” Johnson tells The Saturday Paper.
“We have to be across the environmental destruction the mine poses. 

We have to be across the false benefits promised to our people. 

We have to be across the reality of the economics and the feasibility of this project – that 17 out of 20 of the world’s top coal investors have already said they are not giving this company any money for this project.


“There’s all this information that we are required to know, that we have to be able to regurgitate and be able to put in a way we can educate people. 

Whereas whitefellas who feel they are the victims in this situation, they don’t have to do that.
“They’re not required to do all of that extra labour, and to justify their humanity and why the decision should mean something. 

No one’s asking them why they went into a dying industry, but everyone’s asking us why we said ‘No’.”
 
Johnson’s labour began in 2014, after her people had already said “No” to Adani on numerous occasions. 

That year, and in 2012, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council voted against signing an ILUA with the company, standing strong even under the threat of compulsory acquisition.
It was at their 2014 meeting that she took one of her first stands against the project.
“I got up and asked, ‘If this is supposed to be the biggest coal project in the world – where is the environmental impact statement in this proposal?’ ” she says.

“I was literally told that it was none of my concern, because our job, the reason we were there, was for matters of native title. 

It was a symbolic thing. 

The perception was that the environment shouldn’t be in our interest. 

Our interests should be about getting our people out of poverty and signing this mining deal.”
The ultimatum was there: accept this deal, or starve.
Although the meeting resulted in a rejection of the mine, it was not the end.

 The result has been a divisive project that has pushed the understanding of the Indigenous right to free prior and informed consent to its limits.
Johnson says in April 2016 Adani had produced an ILUA at a meeting where at least 220 people of the 295 in attendance had never been involved with the related Wangan and Jagalingou land claim, nor had they been at previous meetings.

 She says they were paid by Adani to show up. 

This was after a separate meeting of traditional owners the month before rejected any dealing with Adani for the third time.
Between April 2015 and today members of the Wangan and Jagalingou council, led by Adrian Burragubba, have launched a series of legal actions. 

The latest before the Federal Court is aimed squarely at knocking out Adani’s claim to have an agreement with the traditional owners for the mine.
As the federal and state governments move heaven and earth to open up the Galilee Basin for open-cut coalmining, Johnson says it is the “blackfellas from the central Queensland bush” who are proving the hardest to shift.


Their campaign received a boost with the recent McGlade decision in the Federal Court over the Noongar claim in Western Australia, which brought into question the validity under the Native Title Act of ILUAs that are not signed by all registered claimants. 

The decision all but killed off Adani’s application to register its land use deal, which the Wangan and Jagalingou objectors say is phoney.
In response, the federal government has tried so far unsuccessfully to rush through changes to the Native Title Act to overturn the decision, with little to no participation or consent from Aboriginal traditional owner groups. 

Only professional native title bodies, who are funded by government to deliver native title “services”, have been consulted.
Johnson says the Wangan and Jagalingou council is now calling for a three-month extension of the consultation process.
 
When Johnson returns to her room at night, on her wall she has a poem given to her by her mother. 

Every day, she considers its words: “Imagine if you could meet your ancestors – would they be proud of you?”
For Johnson, the decision her grandparents made in 1954 was a turning point.
“That was the defining moment for, I think, everything that came after,” she says.
Her grandfather was the first generation of his family line who wasn’t born on his traditional land, who wasn’t allowed to speak his language, who wasn’t able to eat his native food.
Now his granddaughter is fighting to return to that same country, and to protect it. “The first person to not grow up on country in my family is in my living memory. And I’m only 22. And now we’re demanding that country. We don’t just want to go back there, and stay connected. It’s much more – it is my fundamental human right to have access to that place, and to be involved in the decisions that happen to it.”
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jun 3, 2017 as “Landed sentry”. Subscribe here.

Press link for more: The Saturday Paper

They may change policy but climate change is still climate science. 

As you know, today the White House announced that the United States would begin the process of leaving the Paris Agreement. 

Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action.

 It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.  
But disappointment is not despair.
Make no mistake: if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.
Civic leaders, mayors, governors, CEOs, investors and the majority of the business community will take up this challenge. We are in the middle of a clean energy revolution that no single person or group can stop. 

President Trump’s decision is profoundly in conflict with what the majority of Americans want from our president; but no matter what he does, we will ensure that our inevitable transition to a clean energy economy continues.  


As proof, just look at how communities like Salt Lake City, Utah and Boulder, Colorado are committing to switch to 100 percent renewable electricity. Just last month, California set a new record for clean energy use in the state, and over the past several weeks and months, major corporations and businesses from around the world reaffirmed their commitment to clean energy, the Paris Agreement, and US leadership on climate. The momentum of clean energy and climate action only continues to build, and ignoring that reality is shortsighted and wrong.
Now it’s up to us to pick up where the White House is leaving off. It’s up to us to keep this progress going full steam ahead. If you’re in the US, commit to pushing your local council or mayor to embrace renewable electricity in your community. If you’re outside the US, commit to pressuring your leaders to fulfill your country’s Paris Agreement pledge and keep the process moving.  
My friends, it’s time to fight like our world depends on it. Because it does. And because together we will win.
Sincerely,
Al Gore

Founder and Chairman

The Climate Reality Project