France

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

UNESCO: Coral reefs likely to disappear by 2100 #StopAdani 

Coral reefs likely to disappear by 2100 unless CO2 emissions drastically reduce.

Today, UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre released the first global scientific assessment of climate change impacts on World Heritage coral reefs. 

Soaring ocean temperatures in the past three years have subjected 21 of 29 World Heritage reefs to severe and/or repeated heat stress, and caused some of the worst bleaching ever observed at iconic sites like the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Papahānaumokuākea (USA), the Lagoons of New Caledonia (France) and Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles). 


The analysis predicts that all 29 coral-containing World Heritage sites would cease to exist as functioning coral reef ecosystems by the end of this century under a business-as-usual emissions scenario.
Bleaching is a stress response that causes coral animals to expel the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) whose photosynthesis provides the energy needed to build three-dimensional reef structures. 

Mass bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures associated with climate change.

 It only takes a spike of 1-2°C to cause bleaching, and carbon emissions have caused a 1°C increase in global surface temperature since pre-industrial times. 

This effect has been magnified by strong El Niño and La Niña events.

 Ocean acidification caused by dissolved atmospheric CO2 weakens corals further.

“ The 29 globally significant coral reefs on UNESCO’s World Heritage List are facing existential threats, and their loss would be devastating ecologically and economically,” said Dr. Mechtild Rossler, Director of the World Heritage Centre. 

“These rainforests of the sea protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion, sustain fishing and tourism businesses, and host a stunning array of marine life.”


The social, cultural and economic value of coral reefs is estimated at US$1 trillion.

 Recent projections indicate that climate-related loss of reef ecosystem services will total US$500 billion per year or more by 2100, with the greatest impacts felt by people who rely on reefs for day-to-day subsistence.
Widespread coral bleaching was first documented in 1983, but the frequency and severity is increasing.

 The last three years were the hottest on record, and they caused a global bleaching event that reached 72% of World Heritage-listed reefs.
“We know the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching events will continue to increase as temperatures rise,” said Dr. Scott Heron, NOAA Coral Reef Watch and lead author of the assessment. 

“Our goal was to document climate impacts on World Heritage-listed coral reefs to date, and examine what the future may hold.

 The fate of these treasures matters to all humankind, and nations around the world are bound by the 1972 World Heritage Convention to support their survival.”


Coral communities typically take 15 to 25 years to recover from mass bleaching. 

The assessment looked at the frequency with which World Heritage reefs have been subjected to stress that exceeds best-case rates of recovery. 

It also examined future impacts to World Heritage reefs under two emissions scenarios. 

The results were sobering and concluded that delivering on the Paris Agreement target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” offers the only opportunity to prevent coral reef decline globally, and across all 29 reef-containing natural World Heritage sites.
The assessment was developed with satellite data from the United States National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch and received the support from the French Agency for Biodiversity (Agency Française pour la Biodiversité).

Press link for full report: WHC.UNESCO.ORG

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

If we burn all the coal we heat the planet by 8C #StopAdani

On our current trajectory, climate change is expected to intensify over the coming decades. 


If no policy actions are taken to restrict GHG emissions, expected warming would be on track for 8.1°F (4.5°C) by 2100. 

Strikingly, this amount of warming is actually less than would be expected if all currently known fossil fuel resources were consumed. 

Were this to occur, total future warming would be 14.5°F (8°C), fueled largely by the world’s vast coal resources.
The United States will not be insulated from a changing climate. 

If global emissions continue on their current path, average summer temperatures in 13 U.S. states and the District of Columbia would rise above 85°F (29.4°C) by the end of the 21st century, well above the 76 to 82°F (24 to 28°C) range experienced by these same states during the 1981–2010 period (Climate Prospectus n.d.). 

Climate change will lead to increased flooding, necessitating migration away from some low-lying areas; it will also lead to drought and heat-related damages (Ackerman and Stanton 2008).
There is no question that the United States has begun to make important progress on climate change. 

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2016 were nearly 15 percent below their 2005 peak, marking the lowest level of emissions since 1992 (EIA 2017a). 

The drop was largely driven by recent reductions in the electric power sector, where inexpensive natural gas is displacing more carbon-intensive coal-fired generation and renewables like wind and solar are slowly gaining market share.


However, large challenges remain.

 Avoiding dangerous future climate change will require reductions in GHG emissions far greater than what have already been achieved.

 Though progress in reducing emissions associated with electric power provides cause for optimism, developments in other sectors are less encouraging.

 In particular, transportation recently surpassed electric power generation as the largest source of U.S. emissions and is projected to be a more important contributor in coming years. 

Transportation CO2 emissions have increased despite strengthened fuel efficiency standards that aim to reduce emissions, suggesting that a review of this policy is warranted.


Moreover, climate change is a global problem. 

Recent gains in the United States have been offset by rising emissions elsewhere in the world. 

In past decades, most global emissions originated in the developed nations of Europe and North America. 

However, new GHG emissions are increasingly generated by China, India, and other developing economies, where economic growth and improving living standards are highly dependent on access to reliable, affordable energy. 

Today, that largely means coal. 



As economic and population growth surges in these countries, GHG emissions will rise accordingly; as a result, global emissions will continue to rise despite stabilization in Europe and the United States.
Numerous technologies—from nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration to cheaper renewables and energy storage—hold considerable promise for addressing the global climate challenge.

 Yet current economic conditions do not favor the large-scale implementation of these technologies in developed or developing countries. 

Rapidly deploying these solutions on a large scale would almost certainly require some combination of expanded research and development (R&D) investments and carbon pricing, the policy interventions recommended by economic theory.
It remains uncertain whether policy makers around the world will be successful in responding to the threat of climate change. 

The consensus view of the scientific community is that future warming should be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) (Jones, Sterman and Johnston 2016).

 Achieving that target would require much more dramatic actions than have been implemented globally, with global CO2 emissions falling to near zero by 2100.
The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago aim to support broadly shared economic growth. 

This jointly written document provides useful context for a discussion of the dangers to the economy posed by climate change and the policy tools for addressing those dangers. 

Given the immense threat that climate change represents, it is crucial that policy makers implement efficient solutions that minimize climate damages from our use of energy.

Press link for more: Brookings.edu

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

Adani’s Coal Play in the State Facing Global Warming Hell #StopAdani

Revealed: Gautam Adani’s coal play in the state facing global-warming hell
The day I arrived in Townsville, late last year, a group of 30 people gathered on the wall of the Ross River Dam and prayed for rain. 

After three failed wet seasons, it was at less than 15 per cent capacity and the city was paying $30,000 a day to pump water from the Burdekin Dam.
Gautam Adani has also seen his share of petitioning up here.

 Against a glum backdrop of young adults standing beside main roads holding placards begging for work, this Indian billionaire, relatively unknown in Australia, is touted as the man who will turn things around.

 It seems Townsville’s falling-out with another mining magnate, Clive Palmer, casts no shadow.
Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.


Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  

“Clive wouldn’t be able to walk the streets here,” one local told me, proudly and bitterly. Palmer, who gave away 55 Mercedes-Benz cars and 700 overseas holidays to his employees at the Yabulu nickel refinery in 2010, is now a local pariah. 

The refinery that he took over from BHP in 2008 is in limbo, while Townsville City Council is pursuing Palmer for $700,000 in unpaid rates. 

Last year, the federal government paid $73 million to Palmer’s former workers. 

State bureaucrats, firefighters and police are now managing the risky refinery – where one smokestack is at risk of collapse and toxic sludge from its storage dams have seeped into waterways.
But that was Palmer; this is Adani.
Despite Adani’s early promise of its coalmine and port providing 10,000 jobs, its own expert, Jerome Fahrer, estimated …

Despite Adani’s early promise of its coalmine and port providing 10,000 jobs, its own expert, Jerome Fahrer, estimated in 2015 that it would generate 1464 jobs. 


 Photo: anatchant

It was December 2016 when Gautam Adani flew into Townsville to meet Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the city’s mayor, Jenny Hill. Yes, there was some animosity: a couple of hundred people gathered on the foreshore to protest against Adani’s proposed coal mega-mine, and two native-title owners, Carol Prior and Ken Dodd, were also on his trail.
But for the nation’s kingmakers, Adani may as well be Midas. 

That very morning he had nipped down to Melbourne to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the Coalition’s “conditional” offer to chip in a $1 billion loan to his project. 

After the meeting in the Townsville City Council chambers, there was the obligatory handshake photo with the Queensland premier, and then he was gone – a “fly-in, fly-out” billionaire.


“You can’t get the smile off my face,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told the gathered reporters. Townsville was going to be the base for Adani’s regional headquarters and remote operations centre. 

But there was more. Palaszczuk continued: “I’m pleased to announce today, that following the meeting, I have got an iron-clad guarantee from Mr Adani that there will be no 457 visas as part of the workforce for this major project. 

I secondly have a guarantee of a Queensland-first policy for jobs and especially for regional Queensland.”
Not that it was in writing. 

The only assurance Queenslanders truly had was a photo of a handshake. 

The premier ought to have stopped there, but she kept going. 

The project, she said, would generate 10,000 jobs. 

“The life of this project will be anywhere between 50 and 60 years.”
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani at the Port of Townsville last December.


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani at the Port of Townsville last December. Photo: Supplied
In 2013, a television commercial for Adani Australia was broadcast across the state. 

A warm European woman’s voice asked, “What does Adani mean to Queensland? 

A fresh stake in the global economy …Adani means 10,000 jobs for Queensland workers [cue image of young man in hi-vis vest unspooling cables, smiling boyishly] … Adani means $22 billion in royalties and taxes invested back into Queensland communities [cue hospital corridor and stretchers].”
Here’s hoping Palaszczuk doesn’t pin all her policies on the commercials she watches.

 Is it possible she is unaware of evidence given under oath by Adani’s own hand-picked expert, Jerome Fahrer, in the Queensland Land Court?

 A former Reserve Bank economist, Dr Fahrer works for consulting firm ACIL Allen, contracted by Adani to analyse the mine project’s numbers. Fahrer was critical of Adani’s previous consultants.
The figure of 10,000, he told the court, was “extreme and unrealistic”. 

At the peak of construction, Dr Fahrer estimated, there would be about 2400 workers.

 But there was a catch. 

He found that these jobs would come at the expense of around 1500 jobs in manufacturing, agriculture, and from other mines. 

This is important. 

For a premier under pressure to create jobs in a state with a population of 4.6 million, of whom more than 160,000 were unemployed in May this year, supporting a coalmine that will see job losses from elsewhere seems a serious folly. 

Overall, Fahrer said the Adani mine and railway would create “on average around 1464 employee years of full-time equivalent direct and indirect jobs”.

 In other words, a drop in the ocean. 

Supporters of the project are quick to point out that Fahrer did not include jobs associated with the port expansion at Abbot Point; however, Rod Campbell of The Australia Institute noted in The Australian that a large coal port expansion in Newcastle was expected to create no more than 80 jobs.
We need Adani. 

It’s the next big thing.
As for $22 billion in royalties and taxes invested into Queensland communities, The Australian’s Sarah Elks wrote that Adani estimates this will be generated over the proposed mine’s first three decades – amounting to $730 million a year.

 However, the equation that led to this estimate is, of course, “commercial in confidence” – and the myriad companies that make up the Adani conglomerate make it nearly impossible to follow the money. 

What tax on profits will be paid in Australia? 

How much will be siphoned off to Adani’s “marketing hub” in Singapore and the Adani family company in the Cayman Islands?
A mural of Turnbull and Adani by artist Scott Marsh in Chippendale, Sydney. 


A mural of Adani and Turnbull by artist Scott Marsh in Chippendale, Sydney. Photo: Facebook
A similar mystery surrounds royalties, which is what the mining sector pays to the state for the stuff in the ground.

 The Minerals Council of Australia, a hefty lobbying group, refers to royalties as part of the “total tax burden”.

 Considering that it is paid on the product, can it really be called a “burden”? 

Recent reports revealed the Queensland Labor government had split over an offer to Adani of a “royalty-free holiday” of up to $320 million in concessions. 

In response, Adani announced it would postpone the decision to push ahead with the Carmichael project. 

In late May, Labor agreed to offer Adani a reduced royalty rate for the first few years, after which the company will have to repay the deferred royalties, plus interest.
With the tiniest tug, the promise of “10,000 jobs, $22 billion back into Queensland” is easily unravelled. 

Perhaps the simplest question is: will the Adani project put back into the economy what has been spent to support it – $10 billion on coal-related infrastructure from the state government in the past decade alone?
Palaszczuk continued with practised emphasis: “That means generational jobs. That means you can work on this project and your son or daughter may have the opportunity to also work on this project.”

Um, “remote operations centre” anyone?

 A few weeks earlier, the Australian CEO of Adani Mining, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, had confirmed all mining operations from pit to port would be fully automated.

 “In our minds, this is the mine of the future,” he said.
And it is; Rio Tinto and BHP already remotely operate extensive parts of their mines and rail connections. 

Journalists and academics Guy Pearse, Bob Burton and David McKnight reveal in their book Big Coal that in 2012, Rio Tinto replaced 380 train drivers with computers and Perth-based operators, proudly announcing at an investor seminar that robotics had so far saved the company from employing 900 people. 

Guardian journalist Oliver Balch this year described the odd sensation of watching driverless trucks in Rio Tinto’s Pilbara mines: “Huge trucks trundle along the mines’ reddish-brown terraced sides laden with high-grade iron ore. Back and forth, almost endlessly. 

Watch for long enough, however, and you’ll see that no one ever steps out of the cab. No lunch stops. No toilet breaks. No change of shift.”
A driverless haul truck on the move in Western Australia’s Pilbara.


A driverless haul truck on the move in Western Australia’s Pilbara. Photo: Louie Douvis
Gautam Adani arrived on the Australian mining scene in 2010. 

His flagship company, Adani Enterprises, purchased Linc Energy’s massive deposit of thermal coal in the Galilee Basin in western Queensland.

 Adani is one of India’s most powerful men, and his company’s vast influence is often linked to his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 Perhaps the most cited example of this is a photograph published in May 2014, on the day Modi was to be sworn in. 

In The Citizen, an Indian news site, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta explained: “The photo depicted Modi leaving Ahmedabad, the biggest city in Gujarat, the state where he had been Chief Minister for nearly 12 years from October 2001 onwards, to travel to New Delhi to be sworn in as Prime Minister of India.

 His stretched hand waving (presumably to an adulatory home crowd), the colourful logo of the private aircraft he was about to enter was clearly visible in the picture. 

It said: Adani.”
It is no secret Adani and Modi are close, but Modi did not make Adani: after all, one has to have millions to make billions. 

The businessman’s rise from sorting diamonds as a 16-year-old in his cousin’s Mumbai business to earning his first million in the trade by the time he was 20 is the stuff of legend. 

From there, Adani went into the plastics business with his brother and, by 1988, had started an import and export company that soon expanded into infrastructure and power generation.
Today, he owns a dizzying array of companies: interests in India include ports, property development, oil and gas exploration, coal mining and trading, coal-fired power stations, and cooking oil (think palm, soy-bean, cottonseed, nut plantations).

 Recently, Adani has also become India’s largest producer of solar power.
Now the proud owner of a coal deposit in Australia, Adani plans to build a 388-kilometre railway from Abbot Point port to the Galilee Basin, under which lies one of the world’s largest untapped coal seams.


 Adani plans to produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal from the Carmichael mine every year for 60 years.

 It would be the biggest coalmine in Australia. 

The coal is thermal, which is mostly used to generate electricity.

 The company’s plan is to ship it through the Great Barrier Reef to its private port in India and feed it into its power stations. 


Waiting in the wings for Adani to start shifting “overburden” – mining-speak for bushland, gums and bottle trees, red dirt and aquifers, layers of roots and sediment that compressed the Permian-age plant matter into coal in the first place – are five more mining companies. 

The Galilee Basin has been divided into nine proposed mega-mines. 

Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal. 

At full production, the Galilee Basin is expected to double Australia’s coal exports to more than 600 million tonnes a year.
The coal seam would, when burned, blow up to one-tenth of the world’s total carbon budget – the amount scientists say we have left if we want to stop at 2 degrees Celsius of warming (see breakout).
In their way, holding the line, are a scattering of traditional owners and a grazier. Behind them is a vast network of willing activist bodies, conservation groups, academics and marine scientists.

The stage is set.

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj (third from left), met with local politicians and business leaders last December including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (on his right) and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill (on his left).

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj (third from left), met with local politicians and business leaders last December including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (on his right) and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill (on his left). Photo: Supplied
“These cells multiplied in the oceans and some put out oxygen and this oxygen changed everything.” I was confused. I’d asked the mayor of Townsville, Jenny Hill, if she accepted the science of global warming. 

Hill has a background in science, so I was aware the mayor could run rings around me if she wanted to, but I was trying to keep up.
“Are you talking about the beginning of life on Earth?” I asked in a squeaky voice. 

Hill nodded – a little sheepishly, I thought. 

Three and a half billion years ago seemed pretty far down the garden path to lead me. There had been a couple of these moments. Near the beginning of our interview, Hill had thrown in Aboriginal Australians for good measure. 

She had just visited Palm Island, she told me, where the locals were keen to work on Adani’s mine in the Galilee Basin.

 “Indigenous people want to connect with their homeland,” she said.
“By digging it up?” I asked – and honestly I did not say this to be a smart-arse. 


Australia’s Indigenous people are long overdue a fair share of the nation’s growing economy. But this argument, often thrown in the path of anti-coal activists, was all muddled up in Hill’s office. 

I wasn’t sure that the desire to connect with one’s traditional land was the same as mining it. 

As for the number of jobs Adani was going to provide in Townsville, Hill would not be drawn on an exact total: “I have a number I am comfortable with.”
Then I asked Hill about her moral responsibility to future generations of Townsville residents if the demise of the Great Barrier Reef is unchecked.

 In 2013, the federal government released a study on the Great Barrier Reef’s contribution to Australia’s economy.

 It found the reef generated 69,000 jobs and $5.68 billion in annual turnover in 2011-12.
Snorkellers looking at bleaching corals off Port Douglas in March this year. 


Snorkellers looking at bleaching corals off Port Douglas in March this year. The Great Barrier Reef generated 69,000 jobs in 2011-12, according to a 2013 Federal Government study. Photo: Dean Miller
Beyond this, cyclones, floods, fires and drought have always been a way of life in the north, but events in recent years have been relentless.

 Following floods in 2009 and 2010-11 that claimed the lives of 38 people, Queensland’s then premier, Anna Bligh, noted: “Every time we settle into the task [of recovery] we get a new task added to our plate.” The federal government poured $5.6 billion into reconstruction after these Queensland floods. 

What about those responsibilities? 

Hill, in response, looked me straight in the eye. “I’ve a community with a high rate of unemployment and a huge spike in youth crime. 

What about my moral responsibility to Townsville today?”

The city is certainly on an uneven keel. 

The image of a spaghetti-western town came to mind as I passed big nightclubs, closed, some permanently, the odd shop doing limited trade – one closing down had a couple of backpackers picking over African trinkets. 

There were vacant and shuttered buildings, teenagers’ names written in the dust and grime, a huge chain chemist, inscrutable office blocks, a pub or two – tumbleweeds waiting for the next boom. 

A smattering of restaurants, most so sprawling that even with customers they looked empty. 

Occasionally, sliding doors opened as I passed, cool air gushing out, and I detected activity inside. Perhaps Townsville was like the desert, I thought, the wildlife bunkering down in the day and emerging at night. 

The crime statistics suggest as much. 

Last year a spike in “youth” crime saw an extra 30 police deployed at night. 

The local inspector had urged the vigilante groups that patrolled the streets to disband. 

A petition was circulated, demanding a curfew for teenagers under 16.

 A cab driver told me about the constant car theft.
Life, according to Hill, would be breathed back into Townsville through two projects. 

During the federal election last year, the council lobbied for a new rugby league stadium.

 In the 2013 election it had been all about western Sydney; this time it was all about regional Queensland. 

Bill Shorten folded first, pledging $100 million. Turnbull followed suit, matching Labor’s figure.

The second life-giving source was Adani. 

“We need Adani,” Hill told me. 

“It’s the next big thing.”
Hill is pleased with the recent Adani announcement that Townsville will be the site of the mine’s regional headquarters. 

It was hard won. 

Last year saw a bun-fight among mayors up and down the coast vying for a piece of the action.

 The Whitsunday regional mayor had in October been given the green light at a council meeting to “immediately contact Adani chiefs and offer a parcel of land” in Bowen, just south of Abbot Point. 

Further south, Rockhampton’s mayor offered to build Adani its very own airport to the tune of $22 million.

 Countering this, the mayor of Mackay proposed providing Adani with the city’s own, already existing, airport terminal.
The previous state government had offered $450 million to help Adani build its railway. During the 2015 Queensland election, the Labor opposition promised to protect the Great Barrier Reef and pledged to withdraw any state funding of Adani’s railway. 

Queenslanders swung behind Labor and voted out Campbell Newman’s Liberal Nationals. After six months in office, though, as Fairfax’s Lisa Cox reported, the new state Labor government was considering alternatives to assist Adani, such as the previously mentioned “royalty holiday”, proposed in defiance of its own treasury’s advice that the Adani project was “unbankable” and inherently risky due to the company’s opaque corporate structure and offshore entities, such as those in the Cayman Islands.

 A year later, the state threw the mine another lifeline, this time giving the Adani project “critical infrastructure” status, which in turn grants the government power to speed up assessments and block appeals.
How much more convincing does a boom need?
Well, in March this year, Premier Palaszczuk invited eight regional mayors to join her on a visit to India. 

The mayor of Gladstone, Matt Burnett, even overcame his fear of flying to go. There is a photo of them all wearing blue hard hats inside Adani’s Mundra Port.

 Three weeks later, Prime Minister Turnbull met with Adani in New Delhi and assured the Indian businessman that native-title obstacles would be removed.
Now, sitting in the Townsville Council chambers, a huge modernist concrete building, Mayor Hill said, “We have offered to provide Adani with a temporary office while they look at real estate for their headquarters.” It may have been the look on my face that did it, but Hill quickly added that Adani had declined the offer.
In New Delhi at the Global Natural Resources Conclave this year, Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart stood on stage, clasping her book From Red Tape to Red Carpet and Then Some to her chest. 

The title, she explained, was borrowed from Prime Minister Modi, who once said, “No red tape, only red carpet, is my policy towards investors.” Rinehart went on to congratulate India on its soaring success under Modi’s guidance. 

Low inflation, vast foreign investment – “What an exciting country for entrepreneurs!” In Australia, however – Rinehart’s tone became grave – it was a case of “the emperor fiddles while Rome burns”. She wished it weren’t so.
Rinehart then spoke about all the permits and approvals she needed to get for her Roy Hill project in Western Australia’s Pilbara. 

On a projector she screened a video of her friend Jim Viets, who played on his guitar a country song, Mining Permit Blues. It’s very good. 

So is red tape holding back Australia? Or is it holding back Rinehart?
Three years ago, when iron ore prices began to slump, Rinehart issued an alert: “red tape, approvals and burdens” had to be cut.

 Jobs and revenue were in peril. Australia, it seemed, was in peril. 

Somehow she’d conflated her fate with Australia’s.

 She was yet to send off her first shipment of iron ore from Roy Hill, and the market had finally peaked and begun its descent. After a record stint of high prices, there was a glut, and her bargaining power was significantly reduced. 

Roy Hill had missed the boat. Sure, it was still going to make money, but not the sort of sums Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals had been raking in. It was Australia’s fault. All those permits.
But red tape is not merely an aspect of governance. It is a crisis point of two world views. Holding one view are those who see global warming as a profound threat and feel a responsibility to mitigate it. Within this is also a palpable sense of excitement about the opportunity this crisis may bring to reset global priorities so that profit is not centre stage. It is this latter notion that those holding the other world view fear. They do not feel threatened by climate change, but by the proposed solutions to it.
This is why so-called smack-downs on television programs such as the ABC’s Q&A, the Punch and Judy show between the left and right, don’t matter. It does not matter if Professor Brian Cox, the British physicist who is irrefutably better placed to judge climate science, tells One Nation’s Senator Malcolm Roberts that global warming is real and human-caused. It does not matter because Roberts does not see the science; he sees a scenario in which all the Brian Coxes of the world are infinitely more powerful than all the Gina Rineharts. He sees a future in which a lauded Greens senator might say, “I told you so.” And this is scarier than a planet with a fever.
So just how important is the mining industry to our economy? In February this year, economics journalist Ross Gittins asked this question in The Age. “Short answer: not nearly as much as it wants us to believe, and has conned our politicians into believing.” The next question is: why? Here Gittins took a hit for the team: “Because people like me have spent so much time over the past decade and more banging on about the resources boom, we’ve probably left many people with an exaggerated impression of the sector’s importance.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Gittins went on to give the numbers: the mining sector accounts for 7 per cent of Australia’s total production of goods and services (GDP) and employs 230,000 people, which is 2 per cent of Australia’s workforce. Nothing to scoff at. If we imagined employment as a body, you could say mining is the hand. I like my hand. Yes, mining has a flow-on effect; but then again, so do I. Gittins points out that much of the profit and income generated by the mining sector goes offshore, which is fine, it’s allowed – obviously. But that the mining sector is Australia’s economic heart is less an argument than a pea-and-thimble trick.
Queensland is Australia’s largest coal exporter. It has five working coal regions.

 There are 50 coalmines currently operating and a further 21, including in the Galilee Basin, in the pipeline.

 As well as the billions spent on coal-related infrastructure, there have been concessions made on water and electricity supplies and substandard bonds for mine rehabilitation. The government has also waved through three LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) facilities on Curtis Island, in the Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone, and approved a rapid, at times shonky, rollout of coal-seam gas wells across the state, and unconventional gas projects, which ignite underground coal seams to generate gas, with sometimes tragic results. 

The revenue must be huge. But it isn’t. Sometimes it’s a good innings and sometimes it’s a very bad innings.

 Last year, royalties came in at $1.59 billion, 3 per cent of the state’s revenue. To compare, car registrations came in at $1.63 billion. 

But the state is expecting good things this year; politicians are hoping for around $3 billion. 

It still doesn’t make sense – but it all adds up, and it has to keep adding up. 

Spending has been locked in, promises are made, factions are formed, donations are made.
“This is,” thundered Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015, “a project that will create 10,000 jobs.” Yes, even after Fahrer’s evidence that figure this was a gross overestimate.

 He may as well have dug a hole and whispered his evidence into the ground. 
This is an edited extract of Anna Krien’s Quarterly Essay 65, The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia’s Climate Deadlock, out on Tuesday; quarterlyessay.com.

Press link for more:  Canberra Times

Adani Protests make local, national & international news #StopAdani 


I was proud to stand with 700 Cairns locals on Sunday, ordinary people demanding protection for the Great Barrier Reef. 

Demanding that the Australian & Queensland governments stop supporting the opening of new coal mines. 

We listened to scientists who have witnessed back to back coral bleaching caused by climate change saying we need to honour our international agreement signed in Paris last year. An agreement to limit global warming to below 2C. 


The NAIF (North Australian Infrastructure Fund) a fund set up to develop Australia’s north is meeting in Cairns this week. Under consideration is a billion dollar loan to an Indian Billionaire to build a railway to open up the vast Carmichael area to coal mining. The carbon released from mining this coal would push the global temperature well above the 2C agreed in Paris. 

It would be stealing our children’s future. 

The protest gathered much local, national & international media.

Cairns Post Cairns Post
7 News Cairns Ch7p news

UK Finance UK Finance

Times & Democrat The Times And Democrat

Townsville Bulletin Townsville Bulletin

Power100 Power100.com

TWvideo TWvideo

Media Com Today mediacomtoday.com

It seems that people all over the planet are demanding climate action, investment in renewable energy and sustainable economies. 

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

All Nations Agree to Restore Ocean Health #StopAdani 

All Nations Agree to Restore Ocean Health
By Suzanne Maxx
NEW YORK, New York, June 12, 2017 (ENS) – The 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed by consensus to a 14 point Call for Action that will begin the reversal of the decline of the ocean’s health at the conclusion of the first-ever United Nations Oceans Conference. The week-long conference, which closed Friday, addressed key topics for our common future with the oceans.
The Call for Action states, “We are particularly alarmed by the adverse impacts of climate change on the ocean, including the rise in ocean temperatures, ocean and coastal acidification, deoxygenation, sea-level rise, the decrease in polar ice coverage, coastal erosion and extreme weather events. 

We acknowledge the need to address the adverse impacts that impair the crucial ability of the ocean to act as climate regulator, source of marine biodiversity, and as key provider of food and nutrition, tourism and ecosystem services, and as an engine for sustainable economic development and growth. 

We recognise, in this regard, the particular importance of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
UN


The first-ever UN Oceans Conference in session, June 5, 2017 (Photo © Suzanne Maxx)

The oceans generate employment for over 200 million people, and are the primary source of protein for three billion people. 

The Earth is mostly water, and 97 percent of our planet’s water is in the oceans, which cover the majority of the planet’s surface.
At the opening of the conference President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji who co-organized this conference with support from Sweden, began with the unifying words, “We the people of the world…”
“In small island states like Fiji, trash will outweigh fish by 2050,” he told the 6,000 conference participants from governments, small island nations, civil societies, nongovernmental organizations, corporations and scientists.
Fijians set the stage using the native ceremonial kava ritual, and from opening to the closing the barriers that usually divide those in suits from bare chested or Hawaiian shirt-clad participants were broken down.
The barriers between those living island life with the primal intimacy of the ocean and nature, and those living in the concrete sea of urban areas seemed to melt away in a common concern for the health of the oceans.
fish on reef


Schooling fairy basslets on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef, now threatened by climate-induced coral bleaching and industrial development. 2007 (Photo by GreensMPs)

The Ocean Conference unpacked the Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) #14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine life.”
Goal 14’s targets were explored through concept papers and side events on: marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, ocean acidification, biodiversity, overfishing, marine preserves, illegal, fishing industry subsidies and the World Trade Organization, small scale artisanal fishing and economic benefits to Small Island Developing States, ocean energy, shipping, the Law of Area Boundaries of National Jurisdiction, and the Law of the Sea.
All of these topics play into the equation of ocean stewardship.
Thomson commented, “Human induced problems need human induced solutions.”
Many solutions were presented in a myriad of side events. Solutions ranged from innovative ways to clean up ocean plastics on a large scale, to re-planting coral at reef scale, to tracking whale migration using drones to better understand their needs.
A solutions panel was held every day during the conference in the media zone.
Runit Dome


Aerial view of the Runit Dome located in the crater created by the Cactus nuclear weapons test in 1958. Runit Island, Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands (Photo by U.S. Defense Special Weapons Agency)

One of the most challenging issues, the cutting of fishing subsidies, was left in the hands of the World Trade Organization.
The conference bustled with news of problems, like the Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands that is leaking radioactive nuclear waste into the South Pacific waters, a result of nuclear testing by the United States.
There were many solutions proposed such as the Seychelles no plastic law banning the use of plastic bags, bottles, plates and cutlery, and solutions from island regions who shared their approach to creating and policing Marine Protected Areas.
The Outcome document, and 1,328 Voluntary pledges registered as the conference closed create an arena for the words to take shape in actions.
The hashtag #SavetheOceans allowed the Oceans Conference to have a presence on social media.
Attention to the humanity’s role in the oceans crisis to become aware of the problems and learn about solutions was achieved. Instagram alone showed more than 56,000 ocean posts, a tide that changes the landscape of traditional media. The commitment to the SDG14 is open on-line, and all are encouraged to participate.
“Governments can’t do it alone” was stated throughout the conference by various prime ministers. This “Multi-stakeholder Partnerships” approach to allow governments to team up is a formula devised to make the UN’s efforts more effective.
It was noted in the Plenary that just half of the global military expenditure of governments would be enough to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ocean icons like Dr. Sylvia Earle shared a panel with Trammell Crow. They offered their insights into the degradation of the oceans over the years.
Fabien Cousteau described the state of the oceans in which 90 percent of large fish species have disappeared due to overexploitation, 50 percent of corals have died where there is ever increasing acidification.
Necker Island based Sir Richard Branson explained, “While this gathering of the new [solutions] might be a tiny blip in the history of our planet, our task is to make it the world oceans day where we change our destiny.”
Thomson Maxx


UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson with ENS reporter Suzanne Maxx, June 9, 2017 (Photo by Tomas Pico / UN)

In an interview with ENS about the financial mechanisms needed to turn proposals into solutions, such as the Green Climate Fund, green bonds or carbon offsets, Thomson expressed optimism.
“It looks good,” he said. “I was in a meeting this morning with the four largest financial houses in the world actually, “The Economist” brought us together, and we were discussing that green bonds that were nonexistent not so long ago – zero. 

In 2013 there was 11 billion worth of green bonds issued. 

The bond market now is around 20 billion in bonds. The estimate for the bonds this years is 130 billion.”
He explained this exponential growth, saying, “It had to do with humanity carrying on the way they are going, ignoring sustainability, and that has changed.” 

Ocean-related bonds are on the horizon, he said. “If that is good for green bonds, then it has to be good for blue bonds.”
Brought up with no electricity until the age of 26, Thomson said, “If you are off grid, you’ve got so many renewable energy resources. In fact, if you’re off-grid it is preferable to go with all the renewable energy options, especially with the ocean.”
“There is a huge amount of off-the-grid action for rural islands, and the ocean will provide energy as well. In Fiji, we don’t have the technology or financial resources for that, but we are interested in partnerships [to generate energy] with tidal, wave action, and the gradient of ocean temperature differences.”
“I am confident that with the broad support from member states and other stakeholders with concrete actions we can save our oceans,” Thomson said.
Thomson explained, “That is basically our work plan going forward, not just us, but everybody. The next step is for the General Assembly to endorse, at its 71st session, the call for action as adopted by the Conference.”

Press link for more: ens-newswire.com