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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

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

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

We’re not doing enough to meet Paris Targets #StopAdani 

Climate change efforts still ‘not nearly enough’ to meet Paris targets

A new clean energy report has a mixed outlook for the future: Wind and solar power will soar in coming decades, but we’ll still be heading toward dangerous levels of global warming. 


The big takeaway from Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) latest analysis is that, despite the explosive growth we’ll see in renewables — thanks to plummeting prices and improving technology — our current efforts simply aren’t sufficient to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term.


This is true regardless of whether President Donald Trump pulls the United States from the international Paris Agreement on climate change, though certainly it will be even harder to reduce emissions if that happens, said Colleen Regan, a BNEF analyst who contributed to the new report.

Analysts considered existing energy policies, observed electricity prices, and price projections to forecast how the global electricity sector might look by 2040. It assumes governments and companies will build the “least-cost” power system possible.
“We see that wind and solar become some of the least-cost options in the 2020s, and that does lead to a significant amount of wind and solar build,” Regan said.
Chinese workers install solar panels in Wuhan, China.


Chinese workers install solar panels in Wuhan, China.
Image: kevin frayer/Getty Images
Those two sources alone could account for 48 percent of installed electricity capacity and 34 percent of electricity output worldwide in around two decades — up from today’s 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively, the report found.
Renewable energy as a whole could attract $7.4 trillion in global investment by 2040. That’s about three-fourths of the total $10.2 trillion that will be spent on new power generation capacity.
About one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from burning coal, oil, and natural gas for electricity and heat, making it the biggest single source of emissions.
Yet all those developments won’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels, analysts said, meaning that central goal of the Paris Agreement likely won’t be met.


The BNEF report says global emissions from electricity will likely hit their peak in 2026 as governments and companies shift away from coal and toward lower-carbon sources, such as wind and solar power, in step with the promises of the agreement. 
After peaking, emissions will decline by 1 percent per year out to 2040. That’s in contrast with the International Energy Agency’s forecast, which expects emissions to steadily rise for decades to come.
Yet this rate of decline “is not nearly enough for the climate,” according to the report.
The 2-degree target is the line scientists say we can’t cross if we’re going to avoid catastrophic changes in sea level rise, extreme weather events, precipitation patterns, and other effects.


Still, the report doesn’t mean the world is locked into these projections, or that the Paris treaty is entirely futile. It just means we’ll need to devote far more time and money to fighting climate change than we do today.
And despite the monumental task, the world is already making significant progress in shifting toward a lower-carbon energy mix. In its annual report this week, energy giant BP pointed to the rapid rise of solar and wind power and the long-term decline of coal.
Solar power generation jumped 29.6 percent, while wind power grew by 15.6 percent, according to BP. Coal production, meanwhile, fell by a “whopping” 6.2 percent.
The U.S. hit its own clean energy milestone this spring. 
For the first time, monthly electricity generation from wind and solar exceeded 10 percent of total U.S. generation, based on March data, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. That’s up from 7 percent for all of 2016.
Globally, carbon emissions have remained essentially flat for the last three years thanks to rising renewable and energy efficiency projects, and to a lesser extent because of sluggish economic growth, BP said.
Countries still have a long way to go to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. But even if we’re not moving fast enough, we’re heading in the right direction, according to these reports.

Press link for more: Yahoo.com

We need a Strong Carbon Price. #auspol #StopAdani 

Leading Economists: A Strong Carbon Price Needed to Drive Large-Scale Climate Action
Berlin, May 29, 2017 – Meeting the world’s agreed climate goals in the most cost-effective way while fostering growth requires countries to set a strong carbon price, with the goal of reaching $40-$80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020 and $50-100 per tonne by 2030. 

That’s the key conclusion of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, led by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicholas Stern.

Convened by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC)[1] at Marrakesh in 2016 and supported by the Government of France and the World Bank Group, the Commission brought together 13 leading economists from nine developing and developed countries to identify the range of carbon prices that, together with other supportive policies, would deliver on the Paris climate targets agreed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015. 


“The world’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy is the story of growth for this century,” said Commission co-chairs Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern. “We’re already seeing the potential that this transformation represents in terms of more innovation, greater resilience, more livable cities, improved air quality and better health. 

Our report builds on the growing understanding of the opportunities for carbon pricing, together with other policies, to drive the sustainable growth and poverty reduction which can deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Commission’s report, released today in Berlin at the Think20 Summit[2], concludes that a well-designed carbon price is an indispensable part of a strategy for efficiently reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also fostering growth. 

It states that a strong and predictable carbon-price trajectory provides a powerful signal to individuals and firms that the future is low carbon, inducing the changes needed in global investment, production, and consumption patterns.

The Commission concluded that a $40-$80 range in 2020, rising to $50-$100 by 2030, is consistent with the core objective of the Paris Agreement of keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees.

 Carbon prices and instruments will differ across countries, and implementation and timetables will depend on the country context. 

The temperature target remains achievable with lower near-term carbon prices if complemented by other policies and instruments and followed by higher carbon prices later. 
However, this may increase the aggregate cost of the transition.


The Commission noted the importance of complementing carbon pricing with a range of well-designed policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation and technological development, long-term investment in sustainable infrastructure, as well as measures to support the population in the transition to low-carbon growth.
“Specific carbon price levels will need to be tailored to country conditions and policy choices,” said Commission member, Professor Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

“Carbon pricing makes sense in all countries but low-income countries, which may be more challenged to protect the people vulnerable to the initial economic impacts, may decide to start pricing carbon at a lower level and gradually increase over time.”
In its five months of deliberations, the Commissioners explored multiple lines of evidence to reach its conclusion on the level of carbon pricing that would be consistent with achieving the 2C-or-below temperature objective of the Paris Agreement. 

They analyzed national mitigation and development pathways, technological roadmaps, and global integrated assessment models.
The Commission found that explicit carbon-pricing instruments, like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme, can raise revenue for countries efficiently and these revenues can be used to foster green growth in an equitable way, depending on their circumstances. 

Options include returning the revenue as household rebates, reducing taxes on labor or investment, supporting poorer groups in society through cash-transfer programs, supporting new green technologies, helping companies transition to lower-carbon technologies or investing in basic services like energy, water and sanitation.
The report also points to action on carbon pricing by the private sector with hundreds of corporations already setting internal carbon prices to help inform their decision-making. Together with the Carbon Pricing Corridor Initiative led by We Mean Business and the Carbon Disclosure Project which focuses on carbon pricing in the power sector, the Commission’s report will help contribute to the design of climate policies and carbon pricing instruments around the world.

Press link for more: Carbon Pricing Leadership

Catastrophic Floods Predicted #ClimateChange #StopAdani

There’s not much that can stand in the way of a flood—a disaster that can put lives at risk, contaminate drinking water and sweep away animals’ habitats. 

For many coastal cities, the risks of catastrophic floods are relatively low. 

But not for long. 

As The Guardian’s Oliver Milman reports, a group of scientists has a dire message for coastal cities: If greenhouse gas emissions don’t fall, floods that once seemed rare could become much more frequent.

A sobering new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests that major floods may occur much more frequently in the future. 

Researchers assumed that greenhouse gas emissions would continue at their current pace—causing the atmosphere to warm, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. 

They combined those predictions with historical flood frequency data and data about current weather patterns.


The result was a predicted median 40-fold increase of hundred-year floods along the United States coastline by 2050. 

Since the concept of flood recurrence is confusing at best, here’s a quick refresher.

 The term “hundred-year flood” does not refer to the severity of a flood, just its frequency. It means the probability that a flood will reach a certain level once in a hundred years. 

By definition, a hundred-year flood has a one-percent chance of occurring in any given year.
So what does a 40-fold increase in a hundred-year flood mean? 

Essentially it would push the chance of a flood reaching a certain level in any given year to 40 percent. 

And the probability of flooding could be even higher in places like New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Key West. 

In places like San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle, the researchers predict, low-level flooding would likely occur more often than it does now.


Scientists already know that sea levels are rising faster than ever before, but are still teasing out the connections between human activity and floods.

 As Smithsonian.com reported in 2015, the Atlantic coast is thought to be at particular risk of severe flooding as sea levels rise and severe weather increases. 

And just last month, another group of researchers predicted that a rise of just under eight inches will double the risk of storm surges, large waves and severe coastal flooding along every coast on Earth.
It is still possible to curb greenhouse gas emissions and try to slow future damage to Earth’s glaciers. 

But the study’s real takeaway is that it’s time to prepare for the probability of flooding in places that haven’t really been affected by catastrophic floods thus far.

 As once rare floods become more common, a new reality could settle in for coastal cities—and the time to minimize damage is before a flood hits, not after. 

There’s still a lot to learn about how climate change could affect floods, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Press link for more: Smithsonianmag.com

#StopAdani coal is the single biggest driver of #ClimateChange 

About The Proposed Adani Carmichael Coal Mine.
The single biggest driver of global warming
Pollution from burning coal is the single biggest driver of global warming – threatening life, health and the environment worldwide.
The worlds’s biggest living ecosystem under threat.


Two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef have now suffered unprecedented bleaching, a phenomenon caused by global warming with associated rises in sea surface temperatures.
The Barrier Reef is a world heritage listed, natural inspiration and the world’s biggest living ecosystem.
Scientists state that the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystem is threatened by climate change, waste water, fishing and coastal developments including the use of nearby ports to export coal.

Coal dust released from Adani’s Queensland existing coal port after the Cyclone Debbie in April 2017 has already caused massive contamination of fragile wetlands in the Caley Valley. 

This demonstrates clearly the environmental stress a new coal mine would cause in such a fragile and at the same time precious natural environment.
People are actually dying from pollution.

Urban Pollution

In addition to the direct environmental impacts, the health impact of burning coal is well documented.
It is estimated pollution causes 3 million deaths each year worldwide – predominantly heart and lung diseases. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries with China and India at the top of the list.
Renewable energy, not coal, is the future.

China, one Australia’s biggest customers for coal, has closed its last coal-fired power station.
The Indian government is determined to move away from coal as fast as possible, the Indian Minister for Energy said in 2016 that India intended to import no more coal within 2-3 years!
The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine doesn’t make economic sense!

China and India are still two of Australia’s biggest customers for coal and both countries together with the rest of the world are moving away from its use rapidly.
Furthermore, there is now a great deal of information indicating that economically Adani’s proposal does not add up. 

 The Institute For Energy Economics and Financial Analysis recently concluded:
“Adani Enterprises has a weak balance sheet and excessive debt. 

With a market capitalization of just US$1.9 billion, net debt of US$2.5 billion, and a wide range of expansion projects across multiple industry sectors, Adani Enterprises is not in a strong financial position. 

Without a major new equity raising for the project, Adani may attempt to finance the Carmichael mine entirely by debt, a high-risk option for shareholders and lenders alike.

 A further debt raising would seriously over-stretch the company’s already leveraged balance sheet.” http://ieefa.org/ieefa-update-increasingly-cursed-australian-coal-project/
What is so special about the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine?
The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine would be the biggest coal mine in Australia.

The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine, if established, would have a lifespan of 60 years.
The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine would mine the dirtiest type of coal in a remote, environmentally beautiful and fragile location, including the Great Barrier Reef, worthy and in dire need of protection rather than the destruction that comes with mining.
Westpac, the country’s second-largest bank, released a new climate policy on Friday, saying it would limit lending for new thermal coal projects to “only existing coal producing basins”.

 The coal mined must also have energy content “in at least the top 15% globally”, meaning at least 6,300 kilocalories per kg, according to the Westpac policy. Adani’s Carmichael mine would be the first in the Galilee basin and the coal would have only 4,950 kilocalories per kg, the miner told the Queensland land court in 2014. The Guardian, Australian Edition, 28/04/2017.
The Adani Carmichael Mine has been granted an unlimited water licence by the Queensland Government for 60 years at a time when farmers and many others believe such large-scale depletion of public water resources is unsustainable.
Water is one of the most precious and problematic resources in Australia and worldwide.
Opposition to the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine
For all of the above reasons there has been an avalanche of opposition against the Carmichael Coal Mine expressed through public demonstrations, open and private letters to the Chairman of Adani, financial institutions, would be suppliers, politicians and others involved with the decision making process.
In addition to representatives of organisations, a significant number of private individuals have made their opposition known by showing up, donating to fighting funds, writing letters at a scale rarely seen before including war veterans and cricketers. High profile people from all walks of life added their voice to campaigns organised by environmental protection organisations including the Australian Conservation Foundation, GetUp and others.
Ms Vaishali Patil, an Indian activist with direct experience of Adani’s environmental, human rights, bribery and corruption record in her own country, has spoken out publicly and warned the Australian public about the many negative impacts of this project. Read her considered view here: Exposing Adani Vaishali Patil
The Role of the Australian Government.

When it comes to business and human rights, corporate and social responsibility – Governments are lagging behind around the world. Read more here.
In this particular case, it is worse. 

The Australian Government is not just lagging behind but acting as the primary enabler of the proposed environmental and health disaster offering subsidies and royalty holidays to Adani – a private, foreign company.
Governments should make decisions in the interest of the future.
It is hard to understand why the Australian Government is taking this position against the advice of scientists, wishes of its voters and taxpayers and despite economists and financial institutions judging the mine as a bad investment.

Party politics, lack of integrity and expertise.

The current Australian Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, traveled to India and met with the Indian Prime Minister as well as the Chairman of Adani to affirm his (not Australia’s) commitment to the mine. Apparently he informed the Indian Prime Minister that the main reason for meeting him was to demonstrate his support for the Adani Mine. As stated above, it is a well known fact that India is phasing coal out and is very successful at that.
While the Federal Opposition has distanced itself from the mine of late due to increasing pressure – only in regard to paying Government subsidies – the current Labour Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk has been courting Adani arguing short-sighted and short-lived economic advantages for Queensland all the while ignoring the realities described above.
“What we know about this project is that it is vital for regional jobs,” she said.
“For the Queensland Premier and the Prime Minister to suggest that this project helps Australia economically and in the context of employment is just an outright lie.” Geoff Cousins, President, Australian Conservation Foundation.
During the last election campaign, Queensland Labour promised no taxpayer funds would go towards Government subsidies for the rail line linking the Carmichael mine to the port of Abbot Point. Ms Palaszczuk, then the Opposition leader, slammed the Campbell Newman government for offering Adani a subsidy, accusing the LNP of “throwing a bucket of taxpayers’ cash” at the company.
Now the Queensland Premier together with her Treasurer has even attempted to offer the Adani Carmichael Mine royalty holidays which could cost Queensland up to $1.2bn. The Climate Council this provides further evidence the project did not stack up financially.
“It appears the only possible way this may go forward is with very big subsidies from the Commonwealth and the QLD Government,” the Council’s Professor Will Steffen said.
The intentions to mine coal in the Galilee Basin doesn’t meet the needs of Queensland nor Australia nor the rest of the world. On the contrary.
Conserving and preserving the natural environment meets the needs of everybody, now and in the future.
And that is worth fighting for.
Take Action

There are many ways to get involved. If you can, organise your own or participate in the many activites or donate :
https://www.acf.org.au/stop_adani

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/adani/dont-trust-this-company-with-our-great-barrier-reef

Sources and Further Reading:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/18/adani-offered-320m-deferment-of-carmichael-coal-export-royalties

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/09/australia-doesnt-need-adanis-carmichael-coalmine-westpac-chief-says

A world heritage listed, natural inspiration, the Great Barrier Reef.

https://envirojustice.org.au/sites/default/files/files/envirojustice_adani_environmental_report.pdf

http://www.stopadani.com/stop_the_money

https://www.westpac.com.au/docs/pdf/aw/sustainability/human_rights_framework.pdf

http://www.equator-principles.com/resources/equator_principles_III.pdf

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf

https://www.edoqld.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Legal-implications-of-the-declarations-of-Adanis-Carmichael-Combined-Project-October-2016.pdf

http://climatesafety.info/timbuckley/ 17-minute radio interview with Tim Buckley, director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, about the Adani megamine – about what is happening in India at the moment, about clean coal, and about the obligations of a government to create confidence among investors.

Royalty holiday for Adani could cost Queensland nearly $1.2bn: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-18/queensland-government-gives-adani-royalties-holiday/8536560

All you need to know about plans for the http://galileebasin.org/ and the various coal mining licences and their potential impact on the environment.

http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/renewable-energy-coal-power-em6058/

Press link for more: Momentum Partnerships

Clean Energy Revolution. #StopAdani Why open new coal? #Auspol 

A clean energy revolution is underway. This is why

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen near Port Saint Louis du Rhone, near Marseille, May 7, 2014. 

The French government has awarded a tender to build and run two offshore windfarms to a consortium led by French gas and power group GDF Suez, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Wednesday. 

REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (FRANCE – Tags: ENERGY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS) – RTR3O7ZZ

In 2016, more renewable energy was added to the global grid than ever before, and at a lower cost. A global energy revolution is clearly underway.
What catalysed this transformation?
In our latest study, Faster and Cleaner 2: Kick-Starting Decarbonization, we looked at the trends driving decarbonisation in three key sectors of the global energy system – power, transportation and buildings.
By following the emission commitments and actions of countries, we examined what forces can drive rapid transition through our Climate Action Tracker analysis.
It turns out that, in these fields, it has taken only a few players to set in motion the kind of transformations that will be necessary to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global temperature increase to well below 2˚C, ideally to 1.5˚C, over its pre-industrial level.

Renewable energy on its way
The most progressive field in the power sector is renewable energy. Here, just three countries – Denmark, Germany and Spain – were able to show the way and start an international shift.
All three introduced strong policy packages for wind and solar that provided clear signals to investors and developers to invest in these new technologies.

 Renewable energy targets and financial support schemes, such as feed-in tariffs, were central to them.
By 2015, 146 countries had implemented such support schemes.
Next, we established that the United Kingdom, Italy and China, along with the US states of Texas and California, pushed bulk manufacturing of solar technology even further and provided the kinds of economies of scale that led to this massive increase in renewable capacity globally.
Between 2006 and 2015, global wind power capacity increased by 600%, and solar energy capacity increased by 3,500%.

    

Image: Climate Action Tracker
Solar is projected to become the cheapest energy generation source by 2030 in most countries. 

In some regions, renewables are already competitive with fossil fuels.

Information released this month by the United Nations Environmental Programme and Bloomberg New Energy Finance confirms that, in 2016, the rate of renewable take-up rose yet again, with clean energy providing 55% of all new electricity generation capacity added globally. 

This is the first time there was more new renewable capacity than coal.
Investment in renewables doubled that of investment in fossil fuels. 

Yet clean power investment dropped 23% from 2015, largely because of falling prices.
To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to fully decarbonise the global energy system by mid-century. 

That means the historic trends in the energy sector – 25% to 30% annual growth in renewables – must continue for the next five to ten years.
This will require additional policies and incentives, from increased flexibility in the energy system to new regulatory and market approaches.

Electric vehicles poised to take off
A similar trend is beginning to transform the transportation sector.

 In 2016, more than one million electric vehicles were sold, and new sales continue to exceed projections.
Again, our research tells us that it took only a few players to kick off this trend: Norway, the Netherlands, California and, more recently, China.
Their policies focused on targets for increasing the share of electric vehicles for sale and on the road, campaigns to promote behavioural change, infrastructure investment, and research and development.
The European Union saw sales of electric vehicles pick up in 2013. And in the US, their market segment grew between 2011 and 2013, slowed down slightly in 2014 and 2015, and bounced back again in 2016.
China’s market took off a little later, in 2014, but sales there have already surpassed both the US and the EU.
Though, to date, it lags behind the renewable power sector, the electric vehicle market is poised to see a similar boom. Current sales numbers are impressive, but we are still far from seeing a transportation transformation that would allow us to meet the Paris Agreement targets.
For the world to meet the upper limit of 2°C set in Paris, half of all light-duty vehicles on the road would need to be electric by 2050.

 To reach the 1.5°C target, nearly all vehicles on the road need to be electric drive – and no cars with internal-combustion engines should be sold after roughly 2035.

To get us going down that path, more governments around the world would need to introduce the same strict policies as those adopted by Norway and The Netherlands.
Buildings come in last
The third sector we examined is buildings. 

Though higher energy efficiency standards in appliances are really starting to curb emissions, emissions from heating and cooling buildings have been much more difficult to phase out.
There are proven technological solutions that can result in new, zero-carbon buildings. If designed correctly, these constructions are cost-effective over their lifetime and can improve quality of life.
In Europe and elsewhere, there are some good initial policies on new building standards that make new constructions more environmentally friendly, and some EU states – the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands among them – are also beginning to mandate that older buildings be retrofitted.
Still, the rate of retrofitting falls well short of what is required to substantially drop building emissions.
Innovative financial mechanisms to increase the rate of retrofitting buildings, along with good examples of building codes for new constructions, would go a long way to drive adoption of these technologies.
And, as our study showed, only a handful of governments (or regions) would need to make a move to kick-start a transformation.

 It worked for energy and transport – why not buildings, too?
The more governments work together sharing policy successes, the bigger the global transformation. With collaboration, we can meet that 1.5°C goal.

Press link for more: World Economic Forum

We need to harness the wind. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol 

Utilities need to harness the wind
Most people accept that coal is a dirty fuel: Dirty to mine, dirty to burn and dirty to dispose of the ash.


Already there is a shift away from coal-fired power plants, but they still account for 30 percent of our electric power nationwide.

 In many cases, natural gas (also known as methane) has been the preferred alternative fuel.

 Natural gas has some advantages, but it is important to recognize that it also emits carbon dioxide, and the leakage rates of natural gas completely negate its partial benefit as a solution to climate change.


Wind power has caught on briskly in iconically oil-rich Texas, where it generates about 16 percent of the state’s electric power at a lower retail rate than the national average. 

Wind power is equally or less costly than electricity derived from coal-fired power plants in nearly all environments. Various calculations show that there is vastly more potential wind energy available in the United States than the current electricity consumption rate. 
Most of the existing capacity is derived from land-based windmills, but there is enough potential for offshore wind power along the Atlantic coast to supply all the electricity from Virginia to Maine with windmills located in shallow waters.


Some folks don’t like the idea of windmills spoiling their view of the ocean, but my suspicion is that most of these same folks would not want to live near a coal-fired or nuclear-generating station either. 

And all of those who live downwind of coal-fired power plants suffer the consequences of the air pollution they generate. Some birds are killed by wind facilities, but the overall rate of mortality from windmills is much less than that caused by house cats and collisions with buildings.

 There are consequential impacts of generating electricity.
Utilities argue that wind power is problematic, because the wind does not always blow and it may not blow at the time of day or season that corresponds to peak demand for electricity. 

This problem can be overcome by an adequate, interconnected and robust grid of electric lines to move power from where it is generated to where it is needed. 

Mark Jacobson and his colleagues at Stanford University have shown that when using reliable grid and power storage facilities, the intermittent nature of wind power is of no consequence. 

The wind is always blowing somewhere.
All this argues for electric utility companies to spend far less money planning natural gas and nuclear power plants and far more on windmills and improvements to the grid, if they are to fulfill their mission of supplying least-cost electric power to the American public. 

A change of mindset is needed – one that does not embrace old, unhealthy and expensive sources of electricity when newer sources are at hand. 

If the tradition can be broken in Texas, it can be broken anywhere.
William H. Schlesinger is Dean Emeritus of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Press link for more: new Observer.com