Futurelearn

The Day I Left My KeyBoard & Became A Climate Activist to #StopAdani 

For years I having been using my keyboard to encourage politicians and anyone who would listen to take the threat of climate change seriously.

 In 2007 I supported Kevin Rudd’s words “Climate Change Is Our Greatest Moral Challenge” I joined Jim Turnour’s campaign driving around Cairns with a giant Kevin07 banner. Jim managed a 14 percent swing and joined Rudd in Canberra I thought the battle was won. At last politicians were listening to the scientists, Australia signed the Kyoto agreement & later the Paris agreement. Australia put a price on carbon, we seemed to be heading in the right direction. 

Then along came Tony Abbott shouting “Climate Change is crap!”


 Australia took several steps backwards. I couldn’t understand the fact that Australia was turning its back on science. I feared for the future we were leaving our children.

I completed several online climate courses with Exeter, McQuarie & James Cook universities. The science wasn’t in doubt, I lectured on climate change at U3A Mandurah and started this blog. I became a keyboard warrior encouraging all who would listen to act.

In 2016 & 2017 I watched as the Great Barrier Reef suffer back to back coral bleaching.


I knew my keyboard activities hadn’t changed much, I knew I had to step up & become more active. We were running out of time.

I moved back to Cairns earlier this year, determined to do all I could to make a difference. I joined Stop Adani Cairns & moved from my keyboard to real climate activism.


I over came my fear & attended a meeting where an action was being planned on the Commonwealth Bank in Cairns. I found the Stop Adani group were people just like me. Many protesting for the first time in their lives. I was impressed by their non violence ethic & their passion for change. 

I volunteered to be spokesman for the action, doing interviews with Star Fm, Cairns Post & Win News. We started with a thank you to Westpac for ruling out finance for Adani Coal. We moved to the Commonwealth Bank singing & gathering up bystanders who joined with us to demand Commonwealth Bank stop funding Adani Coal. It was exciting and fun, I had made the next step, gone from my keyboard to join the ranks of Joan Pankhurst, Ghandi & Martin Luther King in non violent action to change the world. 

If,like me you are frustrated and want to be part of real change join us find a Stop Adani Group near you. Leave the keyboard it’s time to take to the streets. Time isn’t on our side we need urgent action now! 
John Pratt

A call to join the fight! #StopAdani 

It’s time to act! 

A call to join the fight. 

As a young sailor in the RAN in 1964 I was fortunate enough to be on a naval survey ship HMAS Gascoyne. The ship spent several months surveying the Great Barrier Reef. 

We travelled the entire reef from top to bottom and out to the continental shelf. 

The reef was in pristine condition, I was blown away with the beauty & the abundance of wildlife. 

I fell in love with the reef & Far North Queensland. My wife & I often flew to Cairns for holidays & in 2002 when I retired we moved to Cairns. I introduced my grandchildren to the charms of the reef by taking them on snorkelling trips to the reef.


In 2016 & 2017 the coral suffered back to back bleaching due to abnormally high sea temperatures. Climate change was killing the coral and putting much of the reef at risk. I was troubled by the thought that I would not be able to show my great grandchildren the wonders of the reef. The idea that in my lifetime I had witnessed a reef in pristine condition & the death of that same coral was soul destroying. 


For me it was a call to action, I didn’t want to face my great grandchildren to explain I had witnessed the death of the Great Barrier Reef and did nothing to protect this World Heritage Area. I studied the science and learnt that the continued use of fossil fuels would push the sea temperature above what the coral needed to survive. For the first time in my life I decided to take protest action and joined Stop Adani Cairns. I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to saving the reef from climate change. 

I call on all who have seen the best of the Great Barrier Reef and want to show their children and future generations to join the fight. 

Sea level rise threatens thousands of Melbourne homes. #StopAdani #auspol 

By Adam Carey

How a possible two-metre sea level rise would flood thousands of Melbourne homes
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Melbourne face a bigger risk of tidal flooding by century’s end, and major roads, tram routes and industrial areas could disappear under water due to future sea level rises, new modelling shows.
The updated modelling of possible sea level rises caused by climate change predicts Victoria’s coastline could be hit by sea level rises of two metres or more by 2100, due to the rapid melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.
Streets in Elwood after a flash flood in December.


Streets in Elwood after a flash flood in December. Photo: Wayne Taylor

A two-metre rise would flood several low-lying suburbs in Melbourne including South Melbourne, Albert Park, Port Melbourne, Southbank, Docklands, Altona, Williamstown, Elwood, St Kilda, Seaford, Carrum, Bonbeach and Aspendale.
Large areas in Geelong and the seaside towns of Barwon Heads, Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale would also be heavily inundated at high tide by century’s end, it is predicted.
Sections of major roads including CityLink, Flinders Street, Wurundjeri Way, Footscray Road, Clarendon Street and Queens Parade would go under water at high tide, as would several tram routes in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs.

The Mornington Peninsula Freeway near Frankston would face the same fate.
Industrial areas such as the Port of Melbourne, Fishermans Bend and Coode Island would also be inundated.
The modelling is based on new research by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), which this year released updated projections for sea level rises made in the landmark 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
That report said a 74-centimetre sea level rise by 2100 was a worst-case scenario.
Since then, ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland have been found to be melting more rapidly than thought and projections have been revised so that the 74cm “worst-case scenario” is considered probable, while a rise of two metres to 2.7 metres is now a “plausible worst-case global mean sea level rise scenario”, according to NOAA.

The effect this would have on Australia’s coastline has been mapped by NGIS, using local tidal data and Google mapping technology to overlay a possible two-metre sea level rise on the nation’s cities, towns and beaches.
Nathan Eaton is from NGIS and was co-creator of the Coastal Risk Australia website that shows the projected impacts of sea level rises in Australia.
Mr Eaton said that just as the rate at which the sea level has risen has accelerated in the past few decades, much of the potential rise of two metres would occur in the latter half of this century.
“Anyone can look at these maps and visualise exactly how sea-level rise, driven by climate change, will permanently alter our coastline and neighbourhoods,” Mr Eaton said. “We already knew this was going to be bad news for low-lying areas, but the latest science is telling us to brace for even worse.”
Central Melbourne is no stranger to flash flooding – this is Elizabeth Street in February, 1972. 


Central Melbourne is no stranger to flash flooding – this is Elizabeth Street in February, 1972. Photo: Neville Bowler
Alan Stokes, executive director of the Australian Coastal Councils Association, said the revised modelling was a wake-up call for governments.
“If the sea rises to that level it would be a national disaster,” Mr Stokes said.
He called on the federal government to reverse funding cuts it has made to research to support climate change adaptation.
An online tool for councils called Coast Adapt faces a heavy funding cut from July 1.
“Coastal councils are at the forefront of dealing with these projected impacts but they are really tackling this problem with one arm tied behind their backs because they just don’t have the resources to respond effectively,” Mr Stokes said.  

The global mean sea level has risen by 21 to 24 centimetres since 1880, with about eight centimetres of that rise happening since 1993.
“Scientists expect that [sea levels] will continue to rise throughout the 21st century and beyond, because of global warming that has already occurred and warming that is yet to occur due to the still uncertain level of future emissions,” the NOAA report says.

Press link for more: The Age.com

Low lying areas of Sydney at risk! #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol

‘The great unknown’: New climate change data lifts the sea-level threat

By Peter Hannam

The giant ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are melting faster than scientists previously estimated, raising the prospect of faster sea level rise placing at risk low-lying areas of Sydney and similar exposed cities around the world.
New research, including from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has lifted the “plausible” sea level rise by 2100 to as much as two metres to 2.7 metres.
That has superseded earlier estimates, such as the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that placed the likely top range of sea level rise at about one metre if greenhouse gas emission rises continued unabated.
Those higher forecasts have now been included in new mapping by Coastal Risk Australia that combines the estimates with national high-tide data and the shape of our coastline. 
The resulting maps show airports in Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart will be largely under water by 2100 if that two-metre rise happens.
Other areas at risk in Sydney from such a rise include Circular Quay, Wentworth Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Woolloomooloo and Rose Bay. (See map below of indicative water-level increases.)

“Our worst case scenario [for 2100] is now looking three times worse than it did previously,” said Nathan Eaton, a senior principal with NGIS, a digital mapping consultancy that compiled the maps.
Elsewhere in NSW, at-risk regions include low-lying parts of Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Ballina and Byron Bay.
Among exposed areas of other states are the Port of Melbourne, St Kilda and Docklands in Melbourne, parts of Noosa, the Gold Coast and Port Douglas in Queensland, and the WACA ground and Cottesloe beach in Perth, WA.
“Every state has got an area that’s massively different [from previous forecasts for 2100],” Mr Eaton said. “For a lot of low-lying areas, it makes the inundation that much further inland.”
Rising seas

NOAA estimates global mean sea levels have risen about 3.4 millimetres a year since 1993, roughly double the average rate of increase during the 20th century. (See chart below).
Even the last century’s pace of increase was the fastest in at least 2800 years, NOAA said.
Global warming is driving the increase in sea levels by melting land ice – such as glaciers and ice sheets – and from the thermal expansion of the warmer oceans.

John Church, a global sea level expert at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW, said other new research indicated Antarctica’s contribution to rising seas appears to particularly sensitive to carbon emissions rates – underscoring the urgency to reduce them.

“With ‘business as usual’ emissions, the questions are when, rather than if, we will cross a two-metre sea-level rise,” Professor Church said. “This scenario would result in major catastrophes and displace many tens of millions of people around the world.” 

Serena Lee, a research fellow and coastal dynamics specialist at Griffith University, said the rate of Antarctic ice melt was “a great unknown”, limited by the relative lack of long-term data and the region’s inaccessibility.
Of particular concern was the melting of the ice sheets from below of ice sheets as they come in contact with warming seas.
The newest studies indicate a two-metre rise by 2100 “would probably be more towards the conservative mean” of outcomes, Dr Lee said.
The mapping tool – which Coastal Risk say should not be relied upon for site specific decision making – may itself underestimate the speed threats will increase for some localities.
Some areas of Australia, particularly the north, are recording much higher rates of sea level increase than the global average, Dr Lee said.
The mapping also doesn’t take into account the impacts of more extreme weather, such as the destructive storm surge triggered by last June’s huge east coast low off NSW.
Cyclone Debbie also caused severe flooding in northern NSW in some of the regions in the state that are also particularly exposed to rising seas. 
Even with those uncertainties, the updated mapping “can’t do anything but help someone’s understanding” of those changing coastal, ocean and flooding processes, Dr Lee said.

Press link for more: SMH.COM

Half the Great Barrier Reef may have died! #StopAdani #Qldpol #auspol

AS MUCH as half the Great Barrier Reef may have died in the back-to-back bleachings over the past two years.
But the head of the authority in charge of the reef says the actual extent of damage is tricky to calculate because some parts are growing well.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority believes about 30 per cent of coral, in the reef’s northern part, died last year in bleaching caused by warmer ocean waters, chairman Russell Reichelt told a Senate committee on Monday.
Surveys after this year’s bleaching are still being done but initial observations suggest 20 per cent of coral — mainly in the central area of the 344,000 sq km reef — is dead.
“Don’t think of these figures as the net amount of coral on the Barrier Reef because there are quite big movements upwards as well as downward,” Dr Reichelt told the senators at an estimates hearing in Canberra.
The southern part of the reef had grown by about 40 per cent in recent years because it hadn’t been hit by cyclones or bleaching — but it was likely it would suffer from those in the future.
Dr Reichelt said the bigger picture question was the coral’s resilience in the face of bleachings, tropical storms and other threats such as the crown of thorns invasions.
“It depends on the frequency of these major impacts and the concern is the frequency could well be increasing and the recovery time will be insufficient,” he said.
“If the recovery time is very short, there won’t be a lot of coral.”
The best science suggests global warming needs to be limited to 1.5 degrees to allow a good survival rate for coral.
There had already been a 0.7 degree warming over the past century, Dr Reichelt said.
“I draw the public’s attention and the committee to the fact the unprecedented back-to-back bleaching we’ve seen is occurring on a fraction of a degree (rise in temperature),” he said.
“The safe levels (of warming) for coral reefs, probably we’ve passed already.”

A diver examines bleaching on a coral reef on Orpheus Island. Picture: Greg Torda/AFPSource:AFP
Dr Reichelt said the authority accepted the need to change its approach.
He said he agreed “more or less” with comments from Professor Ian Chubb, a former national chief scientist and Australian National University vice-chancellor, who told Fairfax the Reef 2050 Plan needed to be redrawn as it did not address the greatest threat facing the reef — climate change.
Prof Chubb is chairman of the independent Expert Panel advising the government on the implementation of the plan to protect the reef. The panel wants the plan revised to include steps to cut emissions and help the reef adapt to global warming that’s already being felt.
Greens senator Larissa Waters told news.com.au there was a clear call for climate change to be better addressed by government in order to save the reef.
“Dr Reichelt made a comment that we had already passed safe levels for the reef,” she said.
“It’s widely understood that with two degrees of warming, we will lose all reefs globally.”
She said limited global warming to 1.5 degrees was essential if the reef was to have any long term future.
Yet, she said the Turnbull Government was bending over backwards to facilitate the development of one of the largest coal mines in the world, potentially providing mining company Adani with a taxpayer-backed concessional loan and environmental approvals.
Adani’s $21 billion Carmicheal coal mine has been hugely controversial among environmental groups which are concerned about the emissions the coal will produce once it is dug up.
Conservative radio announcer Alan Jones has also expressed disbelief about the granting of a water licence to Adani, which will give its mine unlimited access to groundwater for the next 60 years with no government oversight.
RELATED: Is this the worst mistake Australia could make?
It’s also clear that most Australians do not support giving coal mine projects money.
A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, found just 6.8 per cent of people supported the idea of using public money to support coal mine projects.
The Federal Government is considering providing Adani with a $900 million concessional loan from its Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to help it build a rail line linking the central Queensland mine with Abbot Point port so it can ship the coal overseas.
But in a separate Senate hearing, it was revealed an independent body charged with assessing major projects, Infrastructure Australia, has not done a cost-benefit analysis on the project.
The Abbot Point coal terminal. Picture: Australian Marine Conservation Society.


The Abbot Point coal terminal. Picture: Australian Marine Conservation Society.Source:Supplied
“The fact that the premier infrastructure body that looks at national ideas and ranks them in a priority list has not considered it, clearly indicates that the Adani rail line is not a worthwhile investment,” Senator Waters said.
Federal Labor is also opposed to the loan, saying taxpayers shouldn’t be used as an “ATM for Indian coalmining companies”.
Today, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad also hosed down suggestions Adani was offered a “royalties holiday” to get its mine off the ground.
Under the mooted deal, Adani could have paid as little as $2 million a year in royalties for the first seven years, before slowly increasing to the full amount.
The estimated shortfall in royalties in the short term was around $350 million.
Talk of such a deal is believed to have caused major divisions in the state Labor cabinet, with the Left faction raising serious concerns. Ms Trad, a member of the Left, told reporters on Monday any such deal would break an election promise.
“We’ve got a pre-election commitment in relation to any subsidisation of Adani, and we made that commitment very clearly at the last state election, that there would be no royalty holiday or subsidisation of taxpayer funds for Adani,” she said.


“Having said that, I am part of a government that has made sure all of Adani’s statutory licensing arrangements have been pursued, so that the mine can get on and open, and employ people.”

Press link for more: News.com.au

Let’s Change The Conversation #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol 

Let’s Change The Conversation From Climate Change To ‘Shared Benefits’

By Max Guinn 

Founder of Kids Eco Club

Max Guinn,16, is the founder of Kids Eco Club (www.kidsecoclub.org), an organization of over 100,000 K-12 students, which raises eco-consciousness through school environmental clubs. 

Max has collaborated with, and been recognized by, organizations such as the United Nations,The Sierra Club, the State of California, the City of San Diego – and even the Dalai Lama – as a leader in youth engagement in environmental stewardship. 

Recently, Max also co-founded Climate Change Is 4 Real (www.ccis4r.com), to virtually connect thought leaders from all academic disciplines with student groups and educators to share facts, inspiration, and scalable solutions, to promote ocean conservation, and combat human-caused climate change and mass animal extinction.
Last September, I emailed President Obama. 

His response helped me to focus on what matters. He wrote,

“Progress doesn’t come easily, and it hasn’t always followed a straight line. 

Keeping our world’s air, water, and land clean and safe takes work from all of us, and voices like yours are sparking the conversations that will help us get to where we need to be.

 I will continue pushing to protect the environment as long as I am President and beyond, and I encourage you to stay engaged as well.”
But I worry that adults will never agree on climate change.

 The issue has become too political. 

The words “climate change” have even been scrubbed from government websites!

 Our current President refers to climate change as “a hoax.” 


Most people have no interest in discussing it.

 Try talking about C02 levels or climate science and see how far you get. 

The reality is that climate change has become a matter of opinion, rather than a matter of scientific fact.

 It has made the opinion of the ordinary person with no scientific background equal to the findings of eminent scientists who have devoted their lives and education to the study of the problem.

Only 27 percent of Americans surveyed in a 2016 Pew study agreed with the statement that, “almost all” climate scientists believe climate change is real and primarily caused by humans.

 Contrast this to multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies finding that 97 percent of climate scientists believe climate change is real and that humans are the main contributor. 

In an age of alternative facts and a distrust of science, how do we talk about climate change and the need for action without turning people off?
Stanford Professor Rob Jackson thinks we should stop arguing over climate change and start talking about the shared benefits of addressing problems, like health, green energy jobs, and safety.

 My experience tells me that he is right.
theguardian.com

Renewable Energy Jobs

Six years ago, just before I turned 10, I started a non-profit called Kids Eco Club to inspire kids to care for the planet, its wildlife and each other.

 It starts and supports environmental clubs in K-12 schools.

 Over 100,000 kids now participate annually in Kids Eco Club activities, learning the skills necessary to lead, and to understand the issues facing our world, including climate change. 

Kids Eco Club is successful because we focus on shared values rather than C02 levels.

 Take a class snorkeling, and everyone becomes interested in protecting coral reefs.

 Bring local wildlife into the classroom, and kids will fight for green energy and clean water to protect their habitat. Passion drives us.

kidsecoclub.org

Porcupine classroom visit

My generation does not have the luxury of addressing human-caused climate change as callously or as passively as the generations before us ― because we are running out of time. 

Agriculture, deforestation, and dependence on fossil fuels release greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, trapping heat, making the Earth warmer. 

The hottest year on record? 

Last year, 2016.

 A warmer Earth creates major impacts everywhere: on ecosystems, oceans, weather.

 Sea levels are rising because the polar ice caps are melting, and the oceans are warming, which causes them to expand. Severe weather events are created from warmer oceans – warmer water, more evaporation, clouds, and rain―causing greater storm damage, more flooding, and, ironically, larger wildfires and more severe droughts since weather patterns are also changing.

graphics.latimes.com

The morning Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans

Imagine three out of every four animal species you know disappearing off the face of the Earth.

 According to the Center for Biological Diversity, we are currently experiencing the worst species die-off since dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. 

Species are vanishing at a rate roughly 100 times higher than normal. 

While things like asteroids and volcanoes caused past extinctions, humans almost entirely cause the current crisis. 

Global warming caused by climate change, habitat loss from development and agriculture, pesticide use, poaching, unsustainable fishing practices, pollution and disease spread by the introduction of exotic species, are driving the crisis beyond the tipping point. 

Can you picture a world without butterflies, penguins, elephants, rhinos, sea turtles, honeybees, orangutans, salamanders, or sharks?

Getty Images

Mother orangutan and baby

The oceans provide 50% of the earth’s oxygen and 97% of its livable habitat. 

The health of our oceans is vital to our survival and the survival of the over one million types of plants and animals living there. Climate change and fossil fuel reliance raise ocean temperatures, causing extreme weather, coastal flooding, and ocean acidification. 

Ocean acidification is beginning to cause the die-off of calcium-rich species at the base of the ocean’s food chain, like coral, shellfish, and plankton.

 This die-off would trigger a spiral of decline in all sea life – from fish to seabirds to whales – and negatively impact hundreds of millions of people who rely on the oceans for food.

 Other human threats include overfishing, pollution, oil drilling and development. 

We need to act now to create change in our own communities by protecting ocean habitats, promoting conservation, and creating sustainable solutions to nurse our oceans back to health.

mintpressnews.com

Dead sperm whales found with plastic in their stomachs

In a world with over 7 billion people, we cannot continue to divide ourselves into categories like believers and climate change deniers, or Republicans and Democrats. (labor or Liberal) 

The best chance we have of ensuring a world with clean water and clean air is to engage all of us.

 If this takes changing the conversation from “climate change,” to “shared benefits,” then change the conversation. Together all things are possible.

Press link for more: HuffingtonPost

Coal will Kill More People Than World War II #StopAdani #Auspol #Qldpol 

Coal will kill more people than World War II.

 Why do our ministers joke about it?

While the numbers are not yet in on Australia’s latest heatwave summer – one of the worst in our history – between 1100 and 1500 people will have died from heat stress.

 That’s been the average of recent years.
When Treasurer Scott Morrison jovially informed the House of Representatives “Mr Speaker, this is coal. Don’t be afraid! 

Don’t be scared! It won’t hurt you,” he was, according to all reputable scientific and medical studies worldwide, misleading the Parliament.

‘Clean coal’ makes a comeback
New technology means coal will play a role in electricity generation long into the future, says Malcolm Turnbull. Courtesy ABC News 24.
By mid-century, the effects of worldwide burning of coal and oil in heating the climate to new extremes will claim more than 50,000 Australian lives per decade, a toll nearly double that of World War II.


And that doesn’t include the 12.6 million human lives lost globally every year (a quarter of all deaths), according to the World Health Organisation, from “air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation”, all of which are a consequence of human use of fossil fuels. 

The main sources of those toxins are, indisputably, the coal and petrochemical industries.

To pretend, as do Morrison and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, that this is all a great joke shows a cynical and contemptible disregard for the sufferings and painful deaths of thousands of Australians from exposure to the effects of fossil fuels.

 Understanding of the toxicity of burnt fossil hydrocarbons has been around since the 19th-century industrial revolution. The climatic effect of fossil fuels has been accepted universally by world climate and weather authorities since the mid-1970s – almost half a century ago.

Yet certain Australian politicians and leaders still pretend they are ignorant of facts that are known to everyone else.

 And they jeer at Australians with the common sense not to want to die from them.

As eastern Australia sweltered through the recent 40 to 47-degree heatwave and elderly people who couldn’t afford to switch on their air conditioners for fear of the power bills suffered and died, floods and bushfires related to the same climatic disturbance claimed further victims.
The Australian Climate Institute warned politicians a decade ago that the death toll from heat stress alone was then about 1100 in the five cities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

 Nationally, the number is now probably 1500 to 2000 a year – but no national records are kept, perhaps for obvious reasons.
Scott Morrison with his pet coal in Parliament.


Scott Morrison with his pet coal in Parliament. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The institute said at the time: “With no action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, Australia is projected to warm by between 0.4 to 2.0 degrees by 2030 and 1.0 to 6.0 degrees by 2070. 

This warming trend is expected to drive large increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme temperature events. 

For example, by 2030, the yearly average number of days above 35 degrees could increase from 17 to 19-29 in Adelaide and from 9 to 10-16 in Melbourne.”


According to more recent projections – such as, for example, those of Professor Peng Bi of Adelaide University – annual heat-related deaths in the capital cities are predicted to climb to an average of 2400 a year in the 2020s and 5300 a year in the 2050s. And that’s just in the capital cities.
Added to deaths from fire, flood, cyclone and pollution-related conditions such as cancer and lung diseases, fossil fuels will be far and away the predominant factor in the early deaths of Australians by mid-century. Not a single family will be unaffected by their influence.
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Abbott/Turnbull governments’ policy – promoting the use and export of coal, trying to discourage its replacement by clean renewables and foot-dragging on climate remediation measures – has dreadful consequences in the short, medium and long term for individuals and families.
We want to know the road toll – but not the fuel toll.
Directly and indirectly, these policies will contribute to the loss of far more Australians than did the combined policies of the Hitler/Hirohito governments in the 1940s (27,000). They will cost many thousands more Australian lives than terrorism. Yet ministers treat them as a jest.
While it’s true Australia’s emissions, from fossil-fuel burning, mining and exports, are a small percentage of world emissions, they nevertheless contribute meaningfully to a situation that, unchecked, could see the planet heat by 5 to 6 degrees by 2100. If the frozen methane deposits in the Arctic and ocean are released, then warming may exceed 10 degrees, beyond which large animals, including humans, will struggle to exist.
With such temperatures and climatic extremes, it will become impossible to maintain world food production from agriculture. 

Hundreds of millions of refugees will flood the planet. According to the US Pentagon, there is a high risk of international conflict, even nuclear war, in such conditions.

These are the rational, evidence-based truths that politicians like Morrison and Joyce gleefully ignore in their enthusiasm for coal.

 Indeed, Joyce is advocating a course likely to ruin his party’s main long-term constituency: farmers.
Australians rightly regard deaths from motor accidents, suicide, domestic violence, preventable disease, war, drugs and other causes as tragic, unjustifiable, unacceptable and unnecessary.

 Yet there is a curious national silence, a wilful blindness, about the far larger toll of preventable death from coal and oil. We want to know the road toll – but not the fuel toll. 

This national ignorance encouraged by dishonest claims that they “won’t hurt you”.
Yes, they will. Coal and oil will hurt you worse than almost anything else in your life. 

They will reap your family, and maybe you, too.
When there are clean, safe, healthy substitute readily available – renewables, biofuels, green chemistry – sensible Australians will turn their back on the untruths and the propaganda, and vote only for politicians whose policies do not knowingly encompass our early death.
Julian Cribb is a Canberra science writer and author. 

His latest book is Surviving the 21st Century (2017).

Press link for more: SMH.COM

Only people power can save the reef from @CommBank & #auspol #StopAdani

Once upon a time, in the distant 60s and 70s, the Great Barrier Reef faced imminent destruction. 

Tenement applications for drilling and mining covered vast swathes of the reef, with both government and industry enthusiastically backing the plans for mass exploitation.
In the face of the reef’s impending doom a motley collection of ordinary Australians shared a common determination that something had to be done. 

But the odds didn’t look good. 

The poet turned campaigner Judith Wright wrote that “if it had not been for the public backing for protection of the reef that we knew existed, we might have given up hope”.

Great Barrier Reef at ‘terminal stage’: scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data


 

The optimism of the poet was well founded. 

First in the hundreds, then in the tens of thousands, a people’s movement grew to defend the reef. 

Everyday Aussies turned activists and campaigners. 


Scientists and lawyers came forward with vital expertise.

 At a crucial moment the Queensland Trades and Labour Council approved a total black-ban by all affiliated unions on oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef.
As hard as is now to believe, the Murdoch-owned Australian opined that the ban would have an unprecedented measure of public support and would probably succeed. 

It deserved to. 

Only finally did the politicians follow the will of the people. 

Through the power and determination of the Australian people, the greatest marine park in human history was established and the Great Barrier Reef lived to fight another day.

 Two-thirds of Great Barrier Reef hit by back-to-back mass coral bleaching

Inherently democratic in its size and closeness to the shore, the Great Barrier Reef is truly the people’s reef. 

Looking back on the first great struggle for the reef between the Australian people and the fossil fuel industry, Wright wrote that “if disasters in the shape of weather, accident and climate change lie ahead, the work done already has shown what can be done to shield it from such dangers and has proved that people will agree, in the event, to supplying the help it needs”.
Unhappily, those disasters are now upon us. 

Global warming brought the great bleaching of 2015-16 and the dreadful and unprecedented sequel over the summer that has just finished. 

Our reef is in dire trouble.

But while the people’s reef is grievously wounded, it is still very much alive. 

And life fights for life. 

Innumerable animals are now doing what creatures do, navigating the hazards of life as best they can to survive and reproduce in the warming waters.

 Given time and the right conditions, the people’s reef can recover and life will flourish again.

 It’s either Adani or the Great Barrier Reef. 

Are we willing to fight for a wonder of the world?
So how this time around do we supply the help the reef needs? 

The big lie propagated by Australian government and big business is that it is possible to turn things around for the reef without tackling global warming. 

As scientists have made clear, it isn’t – we have to stop climate pollution to give our reef a chance.
It is true that Australia can’t save the reef alone because climate change is a global problem. 

But that does not mean we are powerless to act and we should not be deterred. 

Because when you love something deeply – as we Australians cherish our people’s reef – then you do all that is within your power to save that thing which you hold so dear. 

And there is much that is within our power to do.
So what is to be done? 

The answer does not lie in false techno-fixes or the faux-democratic farrago of the government-business funded Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Australia’s greatest contribution to global warming is through our coal, exported and burned in foreign power stations. 

So our most determined Australian efforts to save the reef must be directed to closing down the coalmining industry, while ensuring decent new jobs and fair transitions for all affected workers and communities.
Again, the balance of power seems loaded against us. 

First the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and now the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, have betrayed both the reef and the trust of the Australian people by snivelling across the seas, pledging allegiance to the Carmichael coalmine. 

All too often, the rest of big business is complicit in the crisis by explicitly or tacitly supporting the coal industry. 

Financial institutions such as CommBank continue to invest in the fossil fuel projects that are bringing disaster to the reef.


But, once we are roused, never underestimate the power and determination of the Australian people to defend our iconic animals and the natural beauty of our lands and seas. 

The extraordinary success of the Stop Adani Roadshow – which sold out across the eastern Australian capital cities reaching an audience of thousands – is just a glimpse of the popular will to fight the coal industry for the future of our reef.
We have the opportunity to write our own story, not of despair but of defiance. 

If we, the people of Australia, stand determined together against coalmining and the rest of the fossil fuel industry then the future of our reef is not bleak but hopeful.
The roadmap to full recovery for our reef will be decades or even centuries in the making. And it is going to get worse before it gets better. 

But we, the Australian people, can again agree to supply the help it needs, to give the reef we love the best chance of future flourishing. 

Now is the time to get involved.
• This op ed is a modified version of comments made at Global Warming and the Mass Bleaching of Corals, a public event held by the Sydney Environment Institute of Sydney University on 31 March.

Press link for more: The Guardian

The Quest To Save The World’s Coral #StopAdani #Auspol #Qldpol 

Coral reefs are the “rainforests of the sea”, prized for their beauty and resources the world over. They are also one of the Earth’s most vulnerable ecosystems threatened by climate change. And no place better symbolises their importance and their plight than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef covers 345,000 square kilometres, roughly the size of Germany, and stretches 2300km in length, nearly equal to the entire coastline of Chile.
If we continue on our current pathway where we’re pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we’re acidifying the oceans, we won’t have coral reefs within 20, 30, 40 years from now.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director, Global Change Institute
While coral reefs cover less than two percent of the ocean floor, nearly 25 percent of all marine life depends on them for survival.
Because it’s a living structure, it can also die. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), nearly all coral reefs worldwide will be threatened with death by 2050.
“There are multiple stressors that face coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef. There’s sediments and nutrients flowing down rivers and smothering corals and other organisms. There has been too much fishing in some cases where we’ve knocked down key species. But the real ‘show-stoppers’ now are the global changes that we’re inflicting on coral reefs,” explains Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of The Global Change Institute.

According to WRI, the absorption of an increased level of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the oceans has caused them to become more acidic. This change in water chemistry inhibits the ability of corals, whose skeletons are composed of calcium carbonate, to grow. Higher water temperatures also affect the ecology of the reefs and turn the coral white, a process known as “coral bleaching.”
Scientific models show both ocean acidification and ocean temperatures spiking to unprecedented levels over the next 100 years.
A group of scientists just outside of Townsville are fighting to save the coral reefs – not just from bleaching events now, but also from the effects of climate change yet to come.
Researchers at Australia’s National Sea Simulator aquarium brought the ocean to their lab to replicate and manipulate ocean conditions in a controlled environment.
“So what this experiment is, is we’re looking at current day conditions, and we’re looking at conditions that are projected by the IPCC, which is the intergovernmental panel on climate change, conditions which are predicted for the year 2050 and then conditions which are predicted for the year 2100,” says Nicole Webster.

Saving the coral reef

Researchers are seeking to determine not just whether corals can be conditioned to withstand future ocean conditions, but whether those manipulated corals can pass those survival traits on to future generations – a process known as assisted evolution.
For Ove Hoeugh-Guldberg and other scientists, the threat to coral reefs goes beyond science. More than two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef every year, a $6bn a year industry supported by over 16,000 employees.
“When you take what coral reefs represent to people, this is amazing numbers right, there’s an estimated 500 million people on the planet who come to coral reefs almost on a daily basis to get food and income. Now, that’s about one in every 12 people dependent on coral reefs worldwide,” says Hoeugh-Guldberg.

Press link for more: Aljazeera.com

The Glaciers Are Going. #StopAdani #Keepitintheground #auspol #qldpol 

The Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard. Photo: Andreas Weith

As can be seen above, the Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway, has retreated substantially since 1900. Svalbard’s glaciers are not only retreating, they are also losing about two feet of their thickness each year. 

Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect people around the world, their drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that around the world glaciers (excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets) will decrease in volume between 15 to 55 percent by 2100 even if we are able to limit global warming to under 2˚C; they could shrink up to 85 percent if warming increases much more.
In Earth’s history, there have been at least five major ice ages, when long-term cooling of the planet resulted in the expansion of ice sheets and glaciers. 

Past ice ages have been naturally set off by a numerous factors, most importantly, changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun (Milankovitch cycles) and shifting tectonic plate movements that affect wind and ocean currents.

 The mixture of gases in the atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide and methane) as well as solar and volcanic activity are also contributing factors.

 Today we are in a warm interval—an interglacial—between ice ages.

The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps.

A glacier is a large accumulation of ice, snow, rock, sediment and water on land that is moving down slope under its own weight and gravity. 

Today 10 percent of Earth’s land is covered by glaciers (including Antarctica and Greenland). 

They contain 75 percent of the planet’s freshwater, storing it as ice during the cold season and releasing some of it as meltwater during summer months.

 Runoff from glaciers cools the streams below, providing habitat for plants and animals during dry periods.
More than one-sixth of the world’s population, particularly in China, India and other Asian countries, live in the basins of glacier-fed rivers and depend on them for drinking and irrigation water.
A glacier’s mass balance determines if it will advance or retreat. 

If the amount of snow and ice accumulated during winter is less than the melting that takes place in summer, the glacier is considered to have a negative mass balance and retreats. 

Today, nearly all glaciers have a negative mass balance due to global warming and changes in precipitation.


New Zealand has over 3,000 glaciers.

In New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Joerg Schaefer, a research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and his colleagues chemically analyzed elements in rocks that were left uncovered when glaciers retreated 20,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. 

They figured out how long the rocks had been exposed, then reconstructed local glacial records and compared them to other records such as Antarctic ice cores, which reveal changing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
“Glaciers seem to follow closely what happens with the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration,” said Schaefer. “Throughout our glacier chronologies, whenever the CO2 started to rise, the glaciers in New Zealand started to retreat.

 So we think that proves that there’s a very close link between greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and glaciers. 

Which is actually very bad news, because we’re pumping so much CO2 in the air.”
Earth is actually due for a natural new ice age, explained Schaefer. 

Typically the interglacial between ice ages lasts 10,000 to 12,000 years, and we are already 12,000 years into this one.

 A natural cooling cycle should be starting, but even if it does, said Schaefer, we will not see evidence of it because humans have so altered conditions on the planet by burning fossil fuels.
Schaefer has been working on a global survey of mountain glaciers, comparing glacier retreat over the last 150 years to how glaciers behaved in the past, particularly at the end of the last ice age. “That [the transition out of the last ice age] was one of the most dramatic geological and natural changes that the Earth has seen,” he said.
“The rate of change that we see in the moment, recorded most directly and visibly by mountain glaciers, is way, way, way faster than it was at the end of the ice age,” said Schaefer. “What we have seen over the last 150 years, all over the planet, is that these mountain glaciers record a retreat corresponding to 1˚ to 1.5˚C warming over 150 years, with the biggest part of that retreat happening over the last decade. The speed with which these glaciers are retreating has exponentially speeded up…and if you compare the rate of change, nothing ever happened like that in the geological past.”


The darkened ice of the Athabasca Glacier in Canada

Humans are exacerbating glacial melt because burning fossil fuels not only releases CO2, it also emits black carbon, a tiny component of air pollution that can absorb one million times more solar energy than CO2. When black carbon falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the snow and ice, reduces their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), warms the snow, and speeds up melting.
Marco Tedesco, a research professor at Lamont-Doherty, is researching the processes driving glacial melt in Greenland, including albedo reduction, bare ice exposure after snow layers melt away and atmospheric circulation patterns. He is studying “feedback” mechanisms such as how melting reduces albedo and increases moisture in the air, which also warms the air. “We understand these processes,” said Tedesco. “But we don’t yet know how they interact and how much they amplify each other over time to accelerate the pace of melting. Today there are more data available, more observations from space and the ground, and better and faster models. These can help us improve our estimates and better project Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise.”
“But we know things are going in one direction and will be getting much faster in this direction. There will be more warming and more melt. All the things that could slow the melting down, like the cooling of the Arctic or more accumulation of snow in summer, are not going to happen. And even if they did, they would be short, just a bump in the road.”
Grinnell Glacier, 2009 Glacier National Park


Grinnell Glacier, 2009Glacier National Park

Here are a few examples of the glaciers we are losing.
Montana’s Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers in 1850; today there are 25.

The greater Himalayas, which contain nearly one-third of Earth’s non-polar ice, have warmed much more than the global average over the last 100 years; between 1950 and 2000, 82 percent of glaciers in western China shrank.

The Aletsch Glacier, the largest in Switzerland, retreated 1.7 miles between 1880 and 2009.

By 2000, the Furtwangler Glacier on top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania was half the size it was in 1976.

If the melting continues over the next few decades, some of the world’s most populous areas could run out of water during the dry season. For awhile, the increase in flow from melting ice and snow during the dry season will seem like a boon, but in the future, the downstream flow’s variability will increase and eventually flow could disappear altogether, impacting food production, biodiversity and economic growth.
Communities around the world rely on glacial water that has been dammed for the production of hydropower. Retreating glaciers will increase the variability of flow or decrease it, which will affect power generation.
The Rhone Glacier, 1900.


The Rhone Glacier, 1900.

France gets about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, half of which are on the Rhone River, fed by the rapidly retreating Rhone Glacier. Over the last 15 years, the Rhone River twice became so hot and water levels were so low in summer that nuclear power plants had to be shut down.
As a result of glacial melting, glacial lake outburst floods are increasing. As glaciers shrink, meltwater can form a lake that is dammed by glacial debris (ice or soil and rock) at the tongue of the glacier.
Glacial lakes in Bhutan


Glacial lakes in Bhutan

But those dams can be unstable and collapse under the pressure of more melting. Peru has experienced some of the most destructive glacial lake outburst floods; between 1941 and 1950, three such floods killed 6,000 people.
Glacial retreat can destablilize slopes, which can lead to landslides, and warming temperatures can trigger avalanches. In July 2016, two avalanches occurred in Tibet, one of which killed nine people. In October of the same year, a huge portion of the Kolka Glacier on the Russia-Georgia border broke off and, hastened by the meltwater underneath, created an avalanche that hurtled down the mountain at 150 miles per hour, killing over 100 people in the town below. The onrush lasted 7 minutes.
If all the world’s glacial ice were to melt, sea levels would rise 265 feet as the meltwater flowed into rivers and ended up in the ocean. Most sea level rise would come from Antarctica and Greenland in the Arctic, not mountain glaciers, which would contribute only about 20 inches.
Recent research about melting glaciers in the Arctic (which has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the world for the last half-century) and Antarctica suggest that the low-end projections for sea level rise made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are too low.
Miami, FL is already dealing with sea level rise


Miami, FL is already dealing with sea level rise

In its most recent report, the Panel projected that if we are able to reduce emissions significantly, sea levels could rise 11 to 24 inches by 2100; if emissions remain high, we could see a rise of 20 to 38 inches. Sea level rise will cause coastal flooding, erosion, damage to infrastructure and buildings, ecosystem changes and compromised drinking water sources.
The freshwater from glacial melt flowing into the oceans has an impact not only on sea levels, but also on ocean acidification, biological productivity and weather patterns. The amount of freshwater in the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean, which has increased 11 percent since its 1980-2000 average, could also affect circulation in the Nordic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Global Ocean Conveyor 


The Global Ocean Conveyor

The influx of freshwater could potentially disrupt or slow down the “Global Ocean Conveyer,” the regular cycling of cold water south and warm water north through the Atlantic Ocean that plays a huge part in the climate of North America and Western Europe, as well as in ocean nutrient and carbon dioxide cycles.
Pollutants like pesticides, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, have made their way to the Arctic and Antarctica on ocean and wind currents. 

When the glaciers melt, pollutants once trapped in ice are released and can enter rivers, oceans and food webs where they bioaccumulate in marine creatures; those at the top of the food chain, like polar bears and humans, will be affected the most.
Researchers have also found living bacteria and microbes in 420,000-year-old ice cores and revived them. As glaciers melt, masses of microbes, some 750,000 years old, are released from the ice. 

When they reach the ocean, they could affect ocean chemistry and marine ecosystems, with unpredictable effects. Scientific American reported, “…the biomass of microbial cells in and beneath the ice sheet may amount to more than 1,000 times that of all the humans on Earth.”
Ongoing research is key to understanding the melting glaciers and their potential impacts on safety, water supplies, energy production and economies. “The important question for the future is going to be, when are problems going to arise as a result of the changes in glaciers,” said Tedesco. “What are the things we can tackle, understanding the time line…I’d want to know before the Netherlands is under water so that policy adjustments can be made to protect people. And projections for the impacts on cities are going to be different from the impacts on food production or on GDP.”
“We need help from political and social scientists…we have to transfer the information to policy makers to prepare for this,” said Schaefer. “We need the five- to 10-year perspective—that is our mission here at Lamont-Doherty, to preach that to everybody.”
For the latest news on glaciers:
Press link for more: blogs.ei.columbia.edu