El nino

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


Australia’s Climate Policy is disgraceful! #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman We’re stealing our children’s future

There has been no improvement in Australia’s climate policy settings over the last year, and the 2018 CAT assessment confirms all previous assessments that its emissions are set to far exceed its Paris Agreement NDC target for 2030.

We rate the NDC target itself “Insufficient“, with a level of ambition that—if followed by all other countries—would lead to global warming of over 2°C and up to 3°C. In addition, if all other countries were to follow Australia’s current policy settings, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C (“highly insufficient”).

While the Federal Government continues to maintain, most recently in its “2017 Review of Climate Change Policies”, that Australia is on track to meet the 2030 target, the Climate Action Tracker is not aware of any factual basis, published by any analyst or government agency, to support this.

To the contrary, Australia’s emissions are increasing, and the latest projection published by the government at the same time as the Climate Policies Review shows that emissions are still projected to grow instead of leading to a reduction in line with the 2030 target.

While the Federal Government continues to promote coal as a solution to energy security issues, downplay renewable energy and obfuscate on its climate policies, the reality on the ground at the state level, public opinion and across the business sector in Australia, is very different.

The Federal Government is proposing an electricity sector emissions reduction pathway with proportional reductions to the overall emissions reductions, contrary to independent advice and analysis that shows the electricity sector needs to and can reduce emissions faster than other sectors such as industry or agriculture.

All states and territories (except Western Australia) now have strong renewable energy targets and/or zero emissions targets in place (Climate Council, 2017) Victoria has recently introduced legislation. South Australia is widely seen as a global leader with uncertainty about the continuation of policy in South Australia with the recent change in government (The Guardian, 2018a): it has one of the highest shares of variable renewable energy, with 48% share of wind and solar total generation in 2017) (IEEFA, 2018), the world’s largest lithium ion battery, and innovative projects for renewable hydrogen and virtual power plants. Households across Australia are massively deploying small-scale solar (the 15% share of households deploying solar PV is among the highest in the world (ESAA, 2015)) and increasingly combining this with battery storage, and public opinion (Essential, 2017) is supportive of renewable energies and climate policy.

The federal government of Australia decided not to accept the recommendations of the 2017 Finkel-Review (commissioned by Federal and State governments) to adopt a Clean Energy Target. It has instead proposed an alternative instrument: a reliability obligation and an emissions reduction target on energy retailers and a small number of large electricity users (so-called National Energy Guarantee, NEG) (COAG Energy Council, 2018; Energy Security Board, 2018).

The electricity sector emissions reduction pathway suggested by the government (26–28% reduction from 2030 levels from 2005) is not consistent with the Paris Agreement, as its reductions only track the (already insufficient) 2030 reductions proposed for the entire Australian economy, whereas the electricity sector needs to—and can—reduce emissions faster (Hare et al., 2017). Other suggested elements such as the inclusion of domestic and international offsets, and the possibility of delaying emissions reductions—increase both the risk of slowing down investments in renewable energy below business as usual, and the risk of locking-in carbon intensive fossil fuel infrastructure (coal and gas) (Jotzko & Mazouz, 2017) (Energetics, 2018).

The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF)—the so-called “centrepiece” of the Australian Government’s policy suite to reduce emissions—does not set Australia on a path to meeting its targets as has been reiterated in the latest review by the (Climate Change Authority, 2017). Instead of introducing new policies to address the structural change needed (CCA 2017), the government is now considering allowing international units to be used for compliance. In addition, the recently-established safeguard mechanism risks counteracting the emissions reductions the ERF is supposed to deliver and further undermining the achievement of the 2030 target (Reputex, 2018) by increasing emissions allowances for large industry facilities.

Australia ratified the Paris Agreement on 6 November 2016. Its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), includes a target of reducing GHG emissions, including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), by 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030. This target is equivalent to a range of around 1% to 3% above 1990 levels of GHG emissions excluding LULUCF in 2030.

Press link for more: Carbon Action Tracker

‘Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene’ #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange @ElliottShayne

Philosopher Clive Hamilton joined Amy Mullins in the studio to talk about his new book, ‘Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene,’ and how human activity has created a new and dangerous epoch. Broadcast on 11/7/2017.

Press link for this interview: 3RRR Uncommonsense

Humans have become so powerful that we are disrupting the functioning of the earth, to the point where scientists now consider we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Clive Hamilton argues this forces us to rethink what kind of creature we humans are, and to acknowledge the power we still have to change the world for good.

Forget everything you know. Nature is no longer nature. Humans are no longer humans. We have entered a new era — the Anthropocene.

Everything has changed.

Humans have become so powerful that we have disrupted the functioning of the Earth, bringing on a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

The stable environmental conditions that allowed civilisation to flourish are disappearing.

What does it mean to have arrived at this point, where human history and Earth history collide?

Clive Hamilton argues we need to rethink everything.

The modern belief that we are free beings making our own future by taking control of our environment is now indefensible.

We have rendered the Earth more unpredictable and less controllable; a disobedient planet. And it’s too late to turn back the geological clock.

We must face the fact that humans are at the centre of the world, even if we must give up the idea we can control the planet.

These truths call for a new kind of anthropocentrism, a philosophy by which we might use our power responsibly and find a way to live on a defiant Earth.

About the Author

Clive Hamilton is Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University. One of Australia’s leading thinkers, he is author of the bestselling Requiem for a Species, and The Freedom Paradox and Growth Fetish.

Press link for more: Booktopia.com

All Nations share the view #ClimateAction is essential. #StopAdani #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol

Nations begin drafting ‘operating manual’ for climate action at UN conference in Bonn

“We are witnessing the severe impacts of climate change throughout the world”, said the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, at a press conference.

“Every credible scientific source is telling us that these impacts will only get worse if we do not address climate change and it also tells us that our window of time for addressing it is closing very soon,” she added.

“We need to dramatically increase our ambitions,” stressed the UNFCCC chief, outlining three priorities.

First, all stakeholders – including governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, investors and citizens – must accelerate climate action by 2020.

Second, she said, the international community must complete the Paris Agreement guidelines, or operating manual, to unleash the potential of the accord.

Third, conditions must be improved to enable countries to be more ambitious in determining their own national policies to slow down global warming.

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) held last November under the leadership of Fiji, nations agreed to accelerate and complete their work to put in place the guidelines – officially known as the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) –  at COP24 in Katowice, Poland next December.

At this Bonn meeting, which will run through 10 May, Governments will start drafting texts to be finalized at COP24.

Finishing off the operating manual is also necessary to assess whether the world is on track to achieve the goals of the historic Paris Agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions, while pursuing efforts to keep the temperature rise to less than 1.5°C.

Throughout this year, countries will also focus on how they can scale up their climate ambition and implementation in the pre-2020 period.

All countries share the view that climate action prior to 2020 is essential.

Press link for more: News.UN.Org

1.5C Climate Change closer than we think. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Climate change: 1.5°C is closer than we imagine

David Spratt

Global warming of 1.5°C is imminent, likely in just a decade from now.

That’s the stunning conclusion to be drawn from a number of recent studies.

So how does that square with the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” (above a late-nineteenth-century baseline)?

It doesn’t.

The Paris text was a political fix in which grand words masked inadequate deeds.

The voluntary national emission reduction commitments since Paris now put the world on a path of 3.4°C of warming by 2100, and more than 5°C if high-end risks including carbon-cycle feedbacks are taken into account.

The Paris outcome is a path of emissions continuing to rise for another fifteen years, when it was already clear that “if the 1.5°C limit should not be breached in any given year, the budget  already overspent today ”.

Two years ago, Prof. Michael E. Mann noted: “And what about 1.5°C stabilisation? We’re already overdrawn.”

In fact, the emission scenarios associated with the Paris goal shows that the temperature will “overshoot” the 1.5°C target by up to half a degree, before cooling back to it by the end of this century.

Those scenarios rely unduly on unproven Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology, because the Paris Agreement does not encompass the steep emissions reductions that are required right now.

Average global warming is now 1.1°C above the late nineteenth century, and the rate of warming is likely to accelerate due to record levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and because efforts to clean up some of the world’s dirtiest power plants is reducing the emission of aerosols (mainly sulphates) which have a very short-term cooling impact.

So now, in 2018, the benchmark of 1.5°C of warming is just a decade away or even less, according to multiple lines of evidence from climate researchers:

HENLEY and KING: In 2017 Melbourne researchers Ben Henley and Andrew King published Trajectories toward the 1.5°C Paris target: Modulation by the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation on the impact of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) on future warming, (The IPO is characterized by sea surface temperature fluctuations and sea level pressure changes in the north and south Pacific Ocean that occur on a 15-30 year cycle.

In the IPO’s positive phase, surface temperatures are warmer due to the transfer of ocean heat to the atmosphere. The IPO has been in a negative phase since 1999 but recent predictions suggest that it is now moving to a positive phase.)

The authors found that “in the absence of external cooling influences, such as volcanic eruptions, the midpoint of the spread of temperature projections exceeds the 1.5°C target before 2029 , based on temperatures relative to 1850–1900”.

In more detail,”a transition to the positive phase of the IPO would lead to a projected exceedance of the target centered around 2026 ”, and “if the Pacific Ocean remains in its negative decadal phase, the target will be reached around 5 years later, in 2031 ”.

Caption: Projected temperature rises with IPO in positive mode (red) and negative mode (blue) (Henley and King, 2017)

JACOB et al: A set of four future emission scenarios, known as Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) have been used since 2013 as a guide for climate research and modelling.

The four pathways, known as RCPs 2.6, 4.5, 6 and 8.5, are based on the total energy imbalance in the energy system by 2100. RCP8.5 is the highest, and is the current emissions path.

In Climate Impacts in Europe Under +1.5°C Global Warming, released this year, Daniela Jacob and her co researchers found that the world is likely to pass the +1.5°C threshold around 2026 for RCP8.5, and “for the intermediate RCP4.5 pathway the central estimates lie in the relatively narrow window around 2030 .

In all likelihood, this means that a +1.5°C world is imminent.”

KONG AND WANG: In a study of projected permafrost change, Responses and changes in the permafrost and snow water equivalent in the Northern Hemisphere under a scenario of 1.5 °C warming, researchers Ying Kong and Cheng-Hai Wang use a multi-model ensemble mean from 17 global climate models, with results showing that the threshold of 1.5°C warming will be reached in 2027, 2026, and 2023 under RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP8.5, respectively.

On the present, high-emissions RCP8.5 path, the estimated permafrost area will be reduced by 25.55% or 4.15 million square kilometres.

XU and RAMANTHAN: A recent study by Yangyang Xu and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Well below 2 °C: Mitigation strategies for avoiding dangerous to catastrophic climate changes, looked at the high-end or “fat-tail” risks of climate change, in an analysis of the existential risks in a warming world.

One of two baseline scenarios used, named Baseline-Fast, assumed an 80% reduction in fossil fuel energy intensity by 2100 compared to 2010 energy intensity.

In this scenario, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide had reached 437 parts per million (ppm) by 2030 and the warming was 1.6°C, suggesting that the 1.5°C would be exceed around 2028 . The study is discussed in more detail here.

ROGELJ et al: In Scenarios towards limiting global mean temperature increase below 1.5C, Joeri Rogelj and co-researchers plot future emissions and warming based on five distinct “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs).

These “present five possible future worlds that differ in their population, economic growth, energy demand, equality and other factors”, according to CarbonBrief.

The fourth and fifth paths are the world we now live in: SSP4 is a world of “high inequality”, whilst SSP5 is a world of “rapid economic growth” and “energy intensive lifestyles”. If we look at these paths charted against projected temperatures, then SSP5 exceeds 1.5°C in 2029 and SSP4 by 2031.

Projected global mean temperature for five Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (CarbonBrief)

SCHURER et al: In Interpretations of the Paris climate target, Andrew Schurer and colleagues demonstrated that the IPCC uses a

definition of global mean surface temperature which underestimates the amount of warming over the pre-industrial level. The underestimation is around 0.3°C, and a higher figure includes the effect of calculating warming for total global coverage rather than for the coverage for which observations are

available, and warming from a true pre-industrial, instead of a late-nineteenth century, baseline. If their finding were applied, warming would now be 1.3°C or more, and hitting the 1.5°C benchmark just half a decade away.

CONSEQUENCES: In their 2017 paper on catastrophic climate risks, Xu and Ramanathan defined 1.5°C as a benchmark for “dangerous” climate change, compared to the convention policy-making mark of 2°C.

But even this lower mark may be too optimistic, given the impacts we have seen at both poles in the last decade.

In any case, it contemplating the imminent reality of the 1.5°C benchmark, it is important to consider what is at stake:

•  In another decade and by 1.5°C, we may well have witnessed an Arctic free of summer sea ice, a circumstance that just two decades ago was not expected to occur for another hundred years.

The consequences would be devastating.

•  In 2012, then NASA climate science chief James Hansen told Bloomberg that: “Our greatest concern is that loss of Arctic sea ice creates a grave threat of passing two other tipping points – the potential instability of the Greenland ice sheet and methane hydrates… These latter two tipping points would have consequences that are practically irreversible on time scales of relevance to humanity.” One highly-regarded research paper in 2012 estimated that “the warming threshold leading to a monostable, essentially ice-free state is in the range of 0.8–3.2°C, with a best estimate of 1.6°C” for the Greenland ice sheet.

•  In 2015, researchers looked at the damage to system elements — including water security, staple crops land, coral reefs, vegetation and UNESCO World Heritage sites — as the temperature increases. They found all the damage from climate change to vulnerable categories like coral reefs, freshwater availability and plant life could happen before 2°C warming is reached, and much of it before 1.5°C warming.

•  In 2009, Australian scientists contributed to an important research paper which found that preserving more than 10% of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting warming to below 1.5°C. Recent research found that the surge in ocean warming around the Great Barrier Reef in 2016, which led to the loss of half the reef, has a 31% probability of occuring in any year at just the current level of warming. In other words, severe bleaching and coral loss is likely on average every 3–4 years, whereas corals take 10–15 years to recover from such events.

•  At 1.5°C, the loss of permafrost area is estimated to be four million square kilometres, and there is evidence that a 1.5oC global rise in temperature compared to the pre-industrial level is enough to start a general permafrost melt.

•  The frequency of extreme El Nino events is likely to double by 1.5°C of warming.

• At 1.5°C, it is very likely that conclusions first aired in 2014 –– that sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet have already passed their tippings point for a multi-metre sea-level rise –– will have been confirmed. Four years ago scientists found that “the retreat of ice in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica was unstoppable, with major consequences – it will mean that sea levels will rise 1 metre worldwide… Its disappearance will likely trigger the collapse of the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which comes with a sea-level rise of between 3–5 metres. Such an event will displace millions of people worldwide.” Leading cryosphere researcher Eric Rignot muses: “You look at West Antarctica and you think: How come it’s still there?

•  By 1.5°C, a sea-level rise of many metres, and perhaps tens of metres will have been locked into the system. In past climates, carbon dioxide levels of around 400 ppm (which we exceed three years ago) have been associated with sea levels around 25 metres above the present. And six years ago, Prof. Kenneth G. Miller notes that “the natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present”.

Clearly, as James Hansen and co-authors wrote last year, “the world has overshot the appropriate target for global temperature”.

They noted a danger of 1.5°C or 2°C targets is that they are far above the Holocene temperature range and if such temperature levels are allowed to long exist they will spur “slow” amplifying feedbacks which have potential to run out of humanity’s control, so “limiting the period and magnitude of temperature excursion above the Holocene range is crucial to avoid strong stimulation of slow feedbacks”.

And in all this evidence, what worries me most?

It is my experience that with few exceptions neither climate policy-makers nor climate action advocates have a reasonable understanding of the imminence of 1.5°C and its consequences.

David Spratt is Research Director for Breakthrough National centre for Climate Restoration, www.breakthroughonline.org.au/

History of #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

History of climate change

Climate change has become a huge threat for the world.

The history of climate change reveals that the issue is not a recent phenomenon but it dates back to seventies.

Climate change is associated with the increasing number of population globally.

Humans are the main cause behind growing risk of climate change.

The change in weather patterns is what basically ‘climate change’ is.

In 1712, Thomas Newcomen invented first widely used steam engine, which set the way for the Industrial Revolution.

In 1800, world population swelled to one billion.

French physicist Joseph Fourier described the Earth’s natural ‘greenhouse effect’ in 1824, he wrote: ‘The temperature of the Earth can be augmented by the interposition of the atmosphere, because heat in the state of light finds less resistance in penetrating the air, than in re-passing into the air when converted into non-luminous heat.’

In the year 1861, Irish physicist John Tyndall showed that water vapour and certain other gases produce the greenhouse effect.

He concluded that: ‘This aqueous vapour is a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man’.

He was honoured for founding UK’s first prominent his climate research organisation, the Tyndall Centre, named after him.


In 1886, Karl Benz unveiled the Motorwagen, also assumed as the first true automobile.

Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, in 1896, concluded that industrial-age coal burning will enhance the natural greenhouse effect.

He suggested this might be beneficial for future generations.

His conclusions on the likely size of the ‘man-made greenhouse’ are in the same ballpark, a few degrees Celsius for a doubling of CO2 — as modern-day climate models.

The one third century of climate change saw the effect of steam engine to the man-made greenhouse.

In 1900, another Swede, Knut Angstrom, discovered that at the tiny concentrations found in the atmosphere, CO2 strongly absorbs parts of the infrared spectrum.

Although he does not realise the significance, Angstrom has shown that a trace gas can produce greenhouse warming.

In 1927, carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and industry reached one billion tonnes per year. And in 1930, human population reached two billion.

The year 1938 saw the usage of records from 147 weather stations around the world. British engineer Guy Callendar showed that temperatures had risen over the previous century.

He also showed that CO2 concentrations had increased over the same period, and suggested this caused the warming.

As Ban Ki-Moon said, we have only one planet that is friendly to life.

Therefore, climate change must be curbed for the sake of future generations

It was US scientist Wallace Broecker who first coined the term ‘global warming’ and got it publicized.

One can assume that the term global warming was first used in 1975. And 1987, human population reached five billion.

In 1987, Montreal Protocol was agreed.

It restricted chemicals that damage the ozone layer.

Although not established with climate change in mind, it has had a greater impact on greenhouse gas emissions than the Kyoto Protocol. 1988 — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed to accumulate and assess evidence on climate change.

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, possessor of a chemistry degree, warned in a speech to the UN in 1989 that: ‘We are seeing a vast increase in the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere… The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto.’ She called for a global treaty on climate change.

Whereas in 1989, carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and industry reached six billion tonnes per year.

In 1990, IPCC produced First Assessment Report.

Which concluded that temperatures have risen by 0.3-0.6C over the last century, which humanity’s emissions are adding to the atmosphere’s natural complement of greenhouse gases, and the addition would be expected to result in warming.

In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, governments of different countries came close to agree the United Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Whom key objective is ‘stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’. Developed countries agree to return their emissions to 1990 levels. And in the year 1995, IPCC Second Assessment Report concluded that the balance of evidence suggests ‘a discernible human influence’ on the Earth’s climate.

This has been called the first definitive statement that humans are responsible for climate change. And this second report showed that humans are the main responsible entities which get climate change occurred. In 1999, human population reached six billion.

In 2001, President George W Bush removed the US from the Kyoto process.

In 2001, the IPCC Third Assessment Report found ‘new and stronger evidence’ that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of the warming seen in the second half of the 20th Century.

In 2005, The Kyoto Protocol become international law for those countries still inside it.

In the same year 2005, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair selected climate change as a priority for his terms as chair of the G8 and president of the EU. And in 2006, The Stern Review concluded that climate change could damage global GDP by up to 20 percent if left unchecked, but curbing it would cost about one percent of global GDP.

However, carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and industry reached eight billion tonnes per year in 2006.

In the 2007, the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report concluded that it is more than 90% likely that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are responsible for modern-day climate change.

In 2007, the IPCC and former US vice-president Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change’.

About 2007, at the UN negotiations in Bali, governments agreed the two-year ‘Bali roadmap’ aimed at hammering out a new global treaty by the end of 2009. And in 2008, half a century after beginning observations at Mauna Loa, the Keeling project showed that CO2 concentrations have risen from 315 parts per million (ppm) in 1958 to 380ppm in 2008.

In 2008, two months before taking office, incoming US president Barack Obama pledged to ‘engage vigorously’ with the rest of the world on climate change.

In the year 2009, China overtook the US as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, although the US remained well ahead on a per-capita basis. And in 2009, computer hackers downloaded the huge tranche of emails from a server at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and released some on the internet, leading to the ‘Climate Gate’ affair. In 2009, 192 governments convened for the UN climate summit in Copenhagen with expectations of a new global agreement, but they left only with a controversial political declaration, the Copenhagen Accord. And in 2010, the developed countries began contributing to a $30bn, three-year deal on ‘Fast Start Finance’ to help them ‘green’ their economies and adapt to climate impacts. 2010 — A series of reviews into ‘Climate Gate’ and the IPCC ask for more openness, but clear scientists of malpractice. In 2010, the UN summit in Mexico did not collapse, as had been feared, but ended with agreements on a number of issues.

In 2011, a new analysis of the Earth’s temperature record by scientists concerned over the ‘Climate Gate’ allegations proved the planet’s land surface really had warmed over the last century. And in 2011, human population reached seven billion. In the same this year 2011, data showed concentrations of greenhouse gases are rising faster than in previous years.

In 2013, the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii reported that the daily mean concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. And in 2013, the first part of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report says scientists are 95 percent certain that humans are the ‘dominant cause’ of global warming since the 1950s.

As Ban Ki-Moon said, we have only one planet that is friendly to life.

So we need to make it greener not for today but for the upcoming generations.

We all have to realise that our today’s actions should not leave a negative impact on environment that will impact our coming generations.

The writer is a researcher, freelance contributor and MEAL officer in a NGO at Hyderabad, Sindh. E-mail: furqanhyders@gmail.com. Tweeter @furqanppolicy

Published in Daily Times, February 25th 2018.

Press link for more: Daily Times

Farmers look to wind farms for drought relief. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #climatechange

Queensland farmers looking to wind farms for drought relief

By Melanie Vujkovicabout an hour ago

Photo: Jade and Blair Wenham say the turbines on their farm will give them a constant income stream. (ABC News: Jennifer Huxley)

A community of Queensland farmers hopes a wind farm, set to be the southern hemisphere’s largest, will be able to drought-proof their futures.

Ten years in the making, a sod was turned yesterday on the Coopers Gap project, west of Brisbane.

A total of 123 turbines will be built across a dozen properties, over the South Burnett and Western Downs council areas, with landowners benefiting from leasing arrangements.

The 450-megawatt wind farm will produce more than 1.5 million megawatt hours of renewable energy annually, enough to power more than 260,000 homes.

Photo: When built the wind farm will generate enough power for 260,000 homes. (ABC Central West: Gavin Coote)

Russell Glode will have nine 180-metre tall turbines on his cattle property at Cooranga North.

“We’ve been waiting for so many years for the project to happen so I’m quite pleased it’s finally eventuating,” he said.

Jade Wenham and his wife Blair will also put turbines on their property.

“It will definitely give us a constant stream of income, where we don’t have to put a great deal of output into,” Mr Wenham said.

“It will be a big benefit to us … it’s not something we’ve banked on but it will be a great bonus that’s for sure.”

In a region battling with drought, Ms Wenham hopes it will provide financial security.

Photo: Cattle farmer Russell Glode says it’s been a long wait for work to start. (ABC News: Jennifer Huxley)

“The seasons have been difficult … we haven’t grown very good crops over the last couple of years so the idea of drought proofing is good,” she said.

“There’s also a lot of people picking up work that don’t have any towers on their place, but now have a job where they live.”

General manager of power development for AGL Dave Johnson says the project will generate 200 jobs during construction, and 20 permanent positions.

“To the maximum extent possible we will be employing locals,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of work that’s been going into community engagement and making sure the local towns and businesses are aware of what work they can bid into and some of those work packages have already gone out to local contractors.

“For the farmers it’s diversification of income.”

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell hopes it will revive the community.

“The reality is it’s a new business in the area that each of us can achieve some benefit from and it puts our region on the map,” he said.

The wind farm is set to begin producing energy by mid 2019.

Press link for more: ABC.NET.AU

On the Brink of Collapse #auspol #qldpol #climatechange #StopAdani

System Failure

29th January 2018

Is complex society on the brink of collapse?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 24th January 2018

It’s a good question, but it seems too narrow. “Is Western civilisation on the brink of collapse?”, the lead article in this week’s New Scientist asks.

The answer is probably.

But why just Western?

Yes, certain Western governments are engaged in a frenzy of self-destruction.

In an age of phenomenal complexity and interlocking crises, the Trump administration has embarked on a mass deskilling and simplification of the state. Donald Trump might have sacked his strategist Steve Bannon, but Bannon’s professed intention, “the deconstruction of the administrative state”, remains the central – perhaps the only – policy.

Defunding departments, disbanding the teams and dismissing the experts they rely on, shutting down research programmes, maligning the civil servants who remain in post, the self-hating state is ripping down the very apparatus of government. At the same time, it is destroying the public protections that defend us from disaster.

A series of studies published in the past few months have started to explore the wider impact of pollutants. One, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that the exposure of unborn children to air pollution in cities is causing “something approaching a public health catastrophe”. Pollution in the womb is now linked to low birth weight, disruption of the baby’s lung and brain development, and a series of debilitating and fatal diseases in later life.

Another report, published in the Lancet, suggests that three times as many deaths are caused by pollution as by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Pollution, the authors note, now “threatens the continuing survival of human societies.” A collection of articles in the journal PLOS Biology reveals that there is no reliable safety data on most of the 85,000 synthetic chemicals to which we may be exposed. While hundreds of these chemicals “contaminate the blood and urine of nearly every person tested”, and the volume of materials containing them rises every year, we have no idea what the likely impacts may be, either singly or in combination.

As if in response to such findings, the Trump government has systematically destroyed the integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency, ripped up the Clean Power Plan, vitiated environmental standards for motor vehicles, reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos (a pesticide now linked to the impairment of cognitive and behavioural function in children), and rescinded a remarkable list of similar public protections.

In the UK, successive governments have also curtailed their ability to respond to crises. One of David Cameron’s first acts on taking office was to shut down the government’s early warning systems: the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and the Sustainable Development Commission. He did not want to hear what they were telling him. Sack the impartial advisers and replace them with toadies: this has preceded the fall of empires many times before. Now, as we detach ourselves from the European Union, we degrade our capacity to solve the problems that transcend our borders.

But these pathologies are not confined to “the West”. The rise of demagoguery (the pursuit of simplistic solutions to complex problems, accompanied by the dismantling of the protective state) is everywhere apparent. Environmental breakdown is accelerating worldwide. The annihilation of vertebrate populations, Insectageddon, the erasure of rainforests, mangroves, soil, aquifers, the degradation of entire Earth systems, such as the atmosphere and the oceans, proceed at astonishing rates. These interlocking crises will affect everyone, but the poorer nations are hit first and worst.

The forces that threaten to destroy our well-being are also everywhere the same: primarily the lobbying power of big business and big money, that perceive the administrative state as an impediment to their immediate interests. Amplified by the persuasive power of campaign finance, covertly-funded thinktanks, embedded journalists and tame academics, these forces threaten to overwhelm democracy. If you want to know how they work, read Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money.

Up to a certain point, connectivity increases resilience. For example, if local food supplies fail, regional or global markets allow us to draw on production elsewhere. But beyond a certain level, connectivity and complexity threaten to become unmanageable. The emergent properties of the system, combined with the inability of the human brain to encompass it, could spread crises rather than contain them. We are in danger of pulling each other down. New Scientist should have asked “is complex society on the brink of collapse?”.

Complex societies have collapsed many times before. We live in a sort of civilisational interglacial, a brief respite from social entropy. It has always been a question of when, not if. But “when” is beginning to look like “soon”.

The collapse of states and social complexity has not always been a bad thing. As James C Scott points out in his fascinating book Against the Grain, the dissolution of the earliest states, that were founded on slavery and coercion, is likely to have been experienced by many people as an emancipation. When centralised power began to collapse, through epidemics, crop failure, floods, soil erosion or the self-destructive perversities of government, its corralled subjects would take the chance to flee. In many cases they joined the “barbarians”.

This so-called “secondary primitivism”, Scott notes, “may well have been experienced as a marked improvement in safety, nutrition and social order. Becoming a barbarian was often a bid to improve one’s lot.” The dark ages that inexorably followed the glory and grandeur of the state may, in that era, have been the best times to be alive.

But today there is nowhere to turn. The wild lands and rich ecosystems that once supported hunter gatherers, nomads and the refugees from imploding early states who joined them now scarcely exist. Only a tiny fraction of the current population could survive a return to the barbarian life. (Consider that, according to one estimate, the maximum population of Britain during the Mesolithic, when people survived by hunting and gathering, was 5000). In the nominally democratic era, the complex state is now, for all its flaws, all that stands between us and disaster.

So what we do? Next week, barring upsets, I will propose a new way forward. The path we now follow is not the path we have to take.


Press link for more: Monbiot.com

Don’t shoot the #climatechange messenger #StopAdani #auspol #qldpole

Last year was among the hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. Photo: Shutterstock

OPINION: Today, when our weather forecasters tell us a heatwave is coming, we can be quietly confident of the time it will arrive and the temperatures that will be reached. When western Sydney broke records on January 7, hitting 47 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology had warned us, enabling individuals and organisations to prepare. While analysis of this event is ongoing, researchers at the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence on Climate Extremes found a similar Sydney heatwave last year was twice as likely due to the climatic impacts of humans.

The role of forecasting is to use the best information available at the time to predict conditions, and give us time to prepare, adjust or change course. When we’re talking about tomorrow’s, or even next week’s, weather everyone plans accordingly, without a second thought. Using seasonal forecasts, based on predictions of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), industries and governments routinely respond months in advance to forecast patterns of rainfall and wind.

By contrast, when many of the same scientists predict how the climate is likely to change over decades, they find themselves ignored, disbelieved, disparaged or even threatened.

Yet weather, seasonal and climate forecasting all rely on much the same models (based on the same laws of physics). Climate modelling also incorporates external factors that can be estimated long into the future including – most importantly – how levels of carbon dioxide (and other gases) will change under various socio-economic conditions. Because we have a good understanding of how additional cabon dioxide affects the earth’s energy balance, we can estimate its effect on the climate. This means we can forecast key trends for different regions, such as if rainfall will be higher or lower on average, if currents are strengthened or weakened, or if extreme events such as heatwaves will become more or less intense and/or frequent.

For decades, climate change forecasters have mainly been telling us what we’d prefer not to hear. Concentrations of global greenhouse gases are rising relentlessly (with the biggest hike in 2017), 17 of the Earth’s 18 hottest years ever have been recorded since 2000 and the oceans off Australia’s east coast are warming two to three times faster than the global average, radically altering, for example, the composition of marine species off Tasmania. Officials at the Australian Open in Melbourne were forced to consider how excessive heat was affecting, or threatening, elite players.

We can’t ignore research that reveals the damage being done to the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Shutterstock

Given our aversion to bad news, perhaps it’s not surprising so many scientists endure damaging ‘shoot the messenger’ attacks. Consider the recent tirade by a Queensland tourism industry representative against one of Australia’s most distinguished experts, Professor Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Hughes’ latest research demonstrates that devastating coral bleaching events, due to warmer waters, are occurring too regularly for mature coral reefs to recover. It is research the tourism industry representative would like to have de-funded; presumably for fear of scaring off tourists and their cash.

Such short-term thinking – and numerous responses of a similar ilk – demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the role, rigour and immense value of research and forecasting as the global climate changes. This puts us all at risk.

Next month, UNSW Sydney hosts one of the largest and most important international conferences of meteorologists, oceanographers and climate scientists focusing on the Southern Hemisphere; our critical climatic backyard. Delegates will have some complex science and modelling on their plates.

It’s clear new partnerships must be forged between forecasters and climate scientists and communities, industries and decision-makers, if we are to go beyond denial and derision, to work together more effectively.

Two recent news stories remind us of the urgent need for a concerted global response. First, the World Meteorological Organisation revealed last year was among the hottest on record without the exacerbating effects of El Nino conditions boosting temperatures, reinforcing global scientific consensus that we are not merely facing natural climate variability, but the effects of human activity.

Second, Nature published a forecast of global temperature increases for this century within a narrower range than previous predictions. While is it is too early to know how important this study is, it suggests two critical things. One, that the climate’s sensitivity to rising emissions is high enough to demand action. Two, that we may still have time to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Emma Johnston is Dean of Science and Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology at UNSW. She will open the 12th International Conference for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography at UNSW, which runs from 5 to 9 February. Dr Alex Sen Gupta is a climate scientist at UNSW and the conference organiser.

Press link for more: Newsroom.unsw.edu.au

Corals Die, Farmers Suffer #ClimateChange #Auspol #StopAdani

Corals die, farmers suffer through Australia’s third-hottest year

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia had its third-hottest year on record in 2017, the country’s weather bureau said on Wednesday, as global warming changed the continent’s climate and farmers warned unpredictable seasons are hurting the $47 billion agricultural sector.

Unusually, the high heat last year came despite the absence of an El Nino weather system in the Pacific, which tends to warm Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its annual climate statement.

“I think what it illustrates is even without the strong driver of an El Nino, the world is still producing very warm temperatures,” Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the bureau told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

During 2017 hotter ocean temperatures near Australia’s northeast coast prompted “significant” coral bleaching along the world-heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the first time it had occurred in consecutive summers.

The national mean temperature was nearly one degree Celsius above average, with the heat “mostly associated” with human-caused global warming that also reduced rainfall in Australia’s south, the bureau’s statement said.

That made for the driest September ever recorded in crucial grain-growing regions of New South Wales and the Murray-Darling riverbasin, with heavy rains then hitting during harvest and making it even more difficult for farmers.

The world’s fourth largest wheat exporter is set for its smallest crop in a decade.

“It’s really the unpredictability of it rather than the actual event,” said Matt Dalgleish, a market analyst at agricultural advisory firm Mecardo.

“Farmers are used to dealing with different weather as long as it can run within a reasonably predictable pattern and sit reasonably close to the seasons they expect – it’s when you get these events that are uncharacteristically out of season that cause the most amount of heartache.”

Seven of Australia’s 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, the bureau found, and another hotter-than-average year is expected in 2018, which has already brought heatwave conditions to the country’s southeast.

Sydney on Sunday sweltered through its hottest day in 80 years, while highway bitumen melted in Victoria state and bushfires burned out of control. In the northwest, a tropical storm is gathering and forecast to make landfall at cyclone-strength between Broome and Port Hedland on Saturday.

Globally it is likely 2017 will be the second- or third-warmest year on record since 1850, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Michael Perry

Press link for more:Reuters.com