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Looming El Niño weather event could make 2018 hottest-ever year #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal #SaveTheReef #Drought

World temperatures could soar to the warmest they have ever been before the end of the year, according to one global weather body.

Researchers from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have said they believe there is a 70 percent chance of a strong El Niño weather system in coming months.

An El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is when sea surface temperatures are significantly warmer than average, causing a change in wind circulation and movement in typical rain patterns.

As a result, rainfall occurring over land generally reduces and surface temperatures in countries tend to skyrocket.

The WMO said that this year an opposite system – known as La Niña – that began at the start of 2018 was not strong enough to lower global temperatures to reduce the drastic effects of an El Niño.

As a result, the body has claimed that the weather conditions at the end of the year could mark 2018 as one of the world’s hottest years on record.

World temperatures could soar to the highest they have ever been by the end of 2018, according to one global weather body. (Nine)

The World Meteorological Organisation has predicted a 70 percent chance of an El Niño event occurring before the end of the year. (Nine)

Data from the researchers has shown that temperatures around the world so far this year have been  almost 0.8 of a degree hotter than the century before.

The WMO attributed the shift in global temperatures to climate change, which it says has influenced the dynamics of El Niño and La Niña systems.

What does it mean for Australia?

The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that the chance of an ENSO weather system in Australia is currently “neutral”, but El Niño is possible from late Spring onwards.

Despite the WMO’s outlook, the BoM believes there is only a 50 percent chance of Australia being affected by warmer weather systems – however that is still double the normal likelihood of it forming.

The WMO said that the event could be worse than once thought because an earlier La Niña this year did not drop temperatures as much as predicted. (AAP)

In Australia, the forming of an El Niño effect moves tropical rainfall out over the Pacific Ocean rather than over land and a lack of cloud cover causes warmer-than-average temperatures.

“Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate that the tropical Pacific is likely to warm to El Niño thresholds by the end of spring,” the BoM said in an ENSO report.

“El Niño during spring typically results in below-average rainfall in eastern and northern Australia.

An El Niño event in Australia means rainfall generally moves off-land, causing temperatures to skyrocket and land to dry up. (BoM)

“In summer, this drying influence retracts to tropical regions of Australia, although the possibility of high temperatures elsewhere remains high.”

While an El Niño does not always spark drought-like conditions, if the system does form it will come as most of eastern Australia is battling the crippling effects of a dry spell.

In its seasonal outlook for Spring last month, the BoM also said the widespread drought looks to continue for some time amid a dry season and lower-than-average rainfall.

The strong weather system would hit as most of Australia’s eastern states are battling the crippling effects of drought. (AAP)

Spring rainfall is likely to be below average for much of mainland Australia, with strongest chances of a drier-than-average season in southern New South Wales, Victoria and south-west Western Australia.

Daytime temperatures during spring are also expected to be warmer than average in the north and west of the country.

“These regions need a lot of rain to break the current drought,” Bureau of Meteorology manager of long range forecasting Dr Andrew Watkins said.

An earlier BoM seasonal outlook also predicted that Spring will be dry and battling farmers will not feel the relief of rainfall. (AAP)

“Like all Australians, all of us at the Bureau of Meteorology are hoping those affected by the drought will get the rain they need soon.

“Unfortunately, our outlooks show odds favouring a drier and warmer than average spring for many areas.”

Press link for more: 9news.com

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Let Us Now See #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #EndCoal Demand #ClimateAction

How can we learn to see climate change around us?

What would it really look like for climate change to come into our homes and lives?

It used to be that climate change was portrayed as a distant, abstract phenomenon.

Popular writing sought to persuade readers of its existence and scientific credibility, to rouse them with calls to action in hopes of combating incipient warming before predicted effects became palpable.

By contrast, three recent books—Jeff Goodell’s The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, Ashley Dawson’s Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change, and Elizabeth Rush’s Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore—drop us into a world that is undeniably and irrevocably in flux.

The books traverse overlapping geographies in their shared attention to a United States already marked by flooding seas (for the authors, Hurricane Sandy was a common turning point, the moment when climate change’s ramifications hit home).

Yet they offer lessons that are distinct.

Each book provides a different lens, a specific tool in crafting a new way of seeing.

This is a sight that allows us to look through physical, economic, social, and political “certainties,” showing them to be faulty guides to the reality we face.

No easy answers or assured next steps are forthcoming here, but we emerge empowered nonetheless—better equipped to navigate our turbulent present and future and to grapple with truths about climate change in newly tangible, alarming, and necessary ways.

We Can’t Buy Time

Building on a series of articles in Rolling Stone, Jeff Goodell’s The Water Will Come takes readers on what feels like a rock-star tour of resilience.

Or, more accurately, the dispiriting lack thereof—even and perhaps especially among those who bring ample resources to bear.

From a helicopter hovering over the gleaming towers of downtown Miami to Air Force One in the company of President Barack Obama, Goodell chronicles how a subset of the rich and powerful are coming to perceive the challenges posed by global warming.

On the one hand, this is a vantage point from which certain dimensions of change are increasingly visible; in Greenland, for instance, “climate paparazzi” now swarm the melting “Kim Kardashian of glaciers,” while ever-higher tides swamp the luxe streets of Miami Beach.

On the other hand, this visibility gives rise to schemes that seem driven by much the same boosterism and thirst for profit that brought ill-fated developments such as Miami Beach into being in the first place.

One outsized example Goodell describes is the MOSE barrier, aka the “Ferrari on the seafloor,” under construction in Italy’s Venetian Lagoon. With a name intended to invoke Moses’s divine power to part the waters, MOSE is promoted as a way to protect the ancient buildings of Venice from rising and corrosive waves.

However, despite MOSE’s mind-boggling immensity—costly enough for corrupt officials to skim off perhaps as much as $1 billion from the project before being caught, weighty enough to tip the scales at more like 25,000 Ferraris—the barrier appears dazzlingly inadequate. It was designed for a mere eight inches of sea level rise by the end of the century, Goodell reports, a point in time now expected to see closer to eight feet of extra water.

Still, a spokesperson assures him, MOSE should keep the water out until 2050 or so. “After that,” the spokesperson acknowledges, “the sea will come in from other places … There is nothing we can do to stop it.” Like many of the other plans and projects Goodell encounters over the course of the book, MOSE presents an enormous investment of resources aimed primarily at “buying time”—a phrase that recurs throughout The Water Will Come.

The pervasiveness of attempts to “buy time” speaks to the dominant desire to forestall a particular future for as long as financially possible or profitable. It also signals a wish or perceived need to prolong the status quo, even when so doing will paradoxically work to hasten rather than avert the direst outcomes.

When pressed on what happens next, beyond the buying of time, Goodell’s interlocutors have a tendency to issue vague assurances in the passive voice: “solutions will be found,” they say, “something will be done.”

The flipside of this evangelical faith is acquiescence to the apocalyptic, which leads people of particular means to play what Goodell calls “real estate roulette.” The gamble: when to sell one’s property in order to make maximal gains and escape before the money—and time—runs out. Until then, fossil-fueled lifestyles continue apace, driving ever up worst-case estimates of what the future holds.

We Can’t Ignore History

If much of The Water Will Come depicts the misadventures of those with power to buy time, Ashley Dawson’s Extreme Cities details how this power became concentrated among an elite few partly through foreclosing the futures of others.

In the “extreme cities” of the book’s title, vulnerability to the impacts of climate change stems as much from extreme inequality as it does from exposure to extremes of weather or geography.

Extreme Cities begins with Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked especial havoc in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, before going on to strike New York City, one of the wealthiest cities in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Here, too, those who had been most vulnerable before the storm made up most of the hardest hit: 55 percent of storm-surge victims in New York City, Dawson notes, were low-income renters making an average of $18,000 a year.

The story of these local and global disparities extends beyond the storm; “Haiti and New York were linked long before Sandy by centuries of imperialism and racial capitalism,” Dawson explains, which laid the groundwork for uneven vulnerability in the present. Taking readers back to the 18th century, he narrates how the people of Haiti succeeded in overthrowing their French enslavers and declaring independence, only to have France demand payment for slaveholders’ lost “capital.” The resulting debt was compounded in ensuing decades by US-backed dictators and foreign aid that went to fund private NGOs in place of public infrastructure and services. “The plunder of Haiti,” Dawson writes, “which left the island defenseless when Hurricane Sandy barreled down on it, is a product of the very same system that has amassed wealth, power, and a degree of insulation (for some) from disasters in global cities such as New York.”

Coming to terms with climate change means learning a new way of seeing.

It is these insulated some whose high levels of consumption have also contributed disproportionately to the emissions that drive global warming. And in a further climate injustice, the world’s wealthiest are well positioned not just to protect themselves from what they’ve wrought but also to profit, becoming insulated and enriched through what Dawson terms “accumulation by adaptation,” while the majority of the world’s population, urban and rural alike, suffer the consequences.

Extreme Cities does more than simply lay out the existence of these disparities; it illuminates the relationship between them. By recovering such connections, the book tells a different story than The Water Will Come, even as both engage common sites, projects, and experts in climate science and urban engineering.

Dawson and Goodell similarly decry the stark inequality that characterizes climate impacts and the ability to adapt (both books, for instance, contain chapters called “Climate Apartheid”). But while The Water Will Come depicts the dramatic social divides of cities such as Miami and Lagos, Extreme Cities analyzes the production of these divides and, in so doing, draws out their relationship to the forces driving environmental destruction and runaway warming. The book thus works to avoid what Kyle Powys Whyte critiques as the “bad luck view” of climate injustice, which presents uneven vulnerability as arising from “an accidental convergence” of the new problem of climate change with the existing but purportedly unrelated effects of systems such as settler colonialism.2

In truth, carbon-intensive industrial development was facilitated by acts of colonial and capitalist extraction, exploitation, and violence. This continues to be the case, driving environmental change while actively constraining the ability of those most affected by this change to adapt.3 It is these histories of engineered vulnerability that fill the pages of Extreme Cities, underscoring the extent to which the past recurs in the present and—barring the success of social movements and mass collective action—threatens to persist in producing radically unequal futures.

We Can’t Pretend We Are Not of This World

The threat from which the “elite emitters” profiled in Extreme Cities and The Water Will Come seek to protect themselves is not simply the warming climate and resulting redistribution of water.

Rather, it is the associated redistribution of wealth and population that might follow.

It is anxiety about such redistribution that gives rise to racialized visions of what The Water Will Come unfortunately follows its subjects in referring to as a “flood of climate refugees.” (Those with assets as mobile as they are, the players of real estate roulette, are not counted among this “flood,” nor is their search for safety freighted with the same policing and concern).

Reporting from the Paris climate talks in December 2015, shortly after a series of terrorist attacks on the city, Goodell describes an “unspoken fear” pervasive among attendees at the talks.

The fear is that the attacks offered “a preview of things to come,” should climate change go on to displace vast numbers of people.

A dangerous link is thus constructed between displacement and terrorism, a link that reappears after Goodell visits Makoko, a neighborhood of informal homes in Lagos, Nigeria.

Residents there have proven skillful at sustaining themselves in a permeable landscape, but Makoko is a place under increasing threat—not from climate change but from government officials bent on demolishing the neighborhood as out of place on a waterfront being rebuilt for the wealthy. “In a rational world,” Goodell writes, “the city of Lagos or the government of Nigeria or some wealthy oil baron … would invest a few hundred thousand dollars in improving sanitation for the people in Makoko and hold them up as model citizens of the future. Instead,” he laments, “their houses will be chain-sawed or burned and they will be forced to live on the streets or jam themselves into tiny rooms in shabby concrete-block buildings … creating a new generation of refugees who may or may not turn to crime or terrorism.”

The intended point, that the very people who have engineered some of the most innovative and sustainable solutions to living with environmental change are being maligned, ignored, and forced ever further to society’s margins, to the detriment of all, has merit. But in casting the victims of violence as its potential future perpetrators, such statements risk reinforcing the very trend Goodell condemns, of countries turning “inward” and “turning their backs on displaced people of any sort.”4

As The Water Will Come and Extreme Cities both illustrate and warn against, anxieties about climate change can all too easily slip between the fearful power of rising waves and racist fears projected onto the least powerful.

Elizabeth Rush’s Rising is a book that seeks to unravel such fears.

The encounters with climate change that it traces are at once less anthropocentric and more humane. To the hard-hitting analysis of Extreme Cities and globetrotting action of The Water Will Come, Rising brings close attention to the emotional, embodied experiences through which effects of climate change become meaningful in everyday life.

Rush reports from parts of the United States where these effects are viscerally present: a Maine marsh whose “musky, almost strawberry scent” reveals its rot from the intruding salt water, an Oregon forest where shifting birdsong marks changes in habitats and migratory routes, the Gulf Coast barrier island eaten away by oil-company canals whose inhabitants have begun the slow, solemn “work of unsettling the shore.”

Throughout, she chronicles the toll taken not just on her myriad interlocutors—plant, animal, and human—but also on her own body and mind. Rush finds her sleep disrupted by dreams of surging water and recognizes a new kind of nausea-inducing anxiety she terms “endsickness,” which sets in with any sign of unusual environmental conditions. “The world isn’t only the physical universe of objects outside the body,” she writes, meditating on a quote by Wendell Berry, “it also hums within the mind, is the constellation of thoughts we have about tangible matter,” such that “just imagining an end to the world as we know it means also, at least partially, losing your own mind.”

Refusing to detach the intrusions of human-caused climate change from other interrelated forms of systemic, embodied violence, Rising also depicts the sexual assault and harassment Rush confronted while doing reporting for the book.

Anxieties about climate change can all too easily slip between the fearful power of rising waves and racist fears projected onto the least powerful.

On one trip to Pensacola, Florida, Rush relates, she made her way to a trailer at the far end of a flood-prone neighborhood mostly abandoned by its former residents. Accompanying her was a fellow researcher, Samuel, an expert in assessing risk. Samuel’s presence, Rush notes, soothed her initial fear of entering the home of the man who opened the trailer’s door. This man, Alvin, was, in contrast to Rush and Samuel, black and poor, a wound visible on his leg. “In the moment I first stood in Alvin’s doorway,” Rush confides, “I believed—if briefly—that he was the risk and Samuel a feeble form of protection.” Yet, as it happened, “the exact opposite had been true.” After leaving Alvin’s home, when they are alone on a Pensacola beach, Samuel grabs Rush from behind and kisses her without consent.

Reflecting on her faulty first impressions, Rush comes to see a pattern in how the dominant cultural tropes of a racist, patriarchal society taught her to misidentify the true threats to her safety. “The more I sat with this knowledge,” she writes, “the more I felt that I had begun to understand the perverse nature of risk: That those considered at risk are taught to fear or distrust each other, instead of those who stand to lose the most should the edifice of white male power crumble.”

Such fear and distrust, Rush notes, can make it difficult to cultivate the empathy, solidarity, and collective action necessary to sustain ourselves in these times and to alter the course of “an unjust society whose governing principles, social norms, and laws were not, generally speaking, written by those who know, intimately, the fear that comes with physical peril.” Written by men like Samuel, for whom “peril is primarily financial … at a safe remove” from his own body and mind, the time is ripe for their dismantling, for new authors, perspectives, and practices to emerge.

We Can’t Look Away

For Rush, Dawson, and Goodell, coming to terms with climate change means learning a new way of seeing. Reading The Water Will Come, this way of seeing surfaces in the disjuncture between the book’s glossy cover, featuring futuristic half-submerged Miami skyscrapers, the spiel of Miami Beach boosters, and Goodell’s barefoot encounter with the sewage that floods up through the city’s storm drains, lacing the encroaching tides with levels of fecal matter hundreds of times higher than state limits.

For Dawson it arises in the small moments of foreboding that fill daily life in New York after Sandy—when “endemic subway delays from heavy rain … no longer seem like mere temporary inconveniences, but rather prologues to a permanently drowned city”—and the glimpses of possibility in mutual aid forms of “disaster communism” that suggest more viable futures.

In Rush’s case it is as much a mode of listening as seeing, of tuning in to the sounds, songs, and warning bells of species she does not readily understand, as well as to the voices of people whose stories she can hear and record but whose reality she can never fully inhabit. Making space for these voices on the page, Rising intersperses Rush’s writing with the transcribed firsthand accounts of others, modeling a more open, “radically egalitarian” way of living with change. “What,” Rush asks us to imagine, “might [it] look like if we thought of sea level rise as an opportunity to mend our relationship with the land and with each other?”

Ultimately, all three authors conclude with the realization that in Rush’s words, “we must learn to retreat”—to unbuild the places where we live and, in the process, learn to unsee our homes, habitats, and the borders and boundaries in between as fixed, coming to see them instead as fluid, impermanent, and open to change, while recognizing that “the ability to move … is a privilege not shared equally by everyone and everything currently residing along the water’s edge.”

One wonders what these ways of seeing climate change might have revealed had they not been set at “the water’s edge.” What if it had been a heat wave, drought, or even inland flooding rather than the baptism of Sandy’s surge that served as their shared inspiration and starting point for figuring what the future holds? Still, sea level rise is a reality difficult to deny, the effects of which are starting to become evident even far from the coast.

Speculative images of coastal cities swamped and abandoned are easy to come by. Harder to imagine is how we will get there and what might happen in the meantime. The Water Will Come, Extreme Cities, and Rising take on the needed work of slowing down to chronicle and consider this meantime, without shying away from its messiness. Taken together, their depictions reveal the fault lines of the future, a future that is uneven, multiplicitous, and still very much in the making.

Press link for more: Public Books

Adani reveals coal mine conceptual plan to rail owner #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #SaveTheReef from #ClimateChange #Drought

Adani originally planned to build a rail line from the mine to Abbot Point (pictured) for export. Photo: AAP

Adani has submitted a conceptual operating plan for its Carmichael coal mine and says it will start construction without government funding.

The plan has been submitted to the owner of the existing rail network, triggering a process that will allow Adani to begin establishing the connection of its narrow-gauge rail line.

Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow says the company is not seeking any state or federal money for the start of the mine project construction.

“There has been a lot of misinformation and speculation that we need taxpayer money to be able to build the mine and rail,” Mr Dow said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This is absolutely not the case; this project will stand on its own two feet.”

The news comes a day after the Indian mining giant admitted it had failed to declare some activity at the mine site in the Galilee Basin.

Environmental activists earlier this month published drone and satellite pictures that showed track clearing and bore drilling at the site, which they claimed was in breach of the company’s environmental conditions.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science said last week it would investigate the claims, however Adani has now given all material to the department, claiming an administrative error is to blame for it not being handed over sooner.

Activists are ramping up pressure on the miner over its use of water, with fears its bores could affect the Great Artesian Basin.

There are also concerns Adani could take billions of litres of water from a nearby river system for use in its proposed mine.

The federal government says a broad assessment of the company’s plan to pump 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River each year and pipe it to its Carmichael coal mine project does not apply.

-AAP

Press link for more: The New Daily

Elizabeth Warren wants corporations to account for #climatechange @scheerlinckeva @aistbuzz #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateRisk #Divest #auspol #qldpol #nswpol Time to “fess up”

It’s Tuesday, September 18, and Elizabeth Warren wants corporations to ’fess up to their climate impacts.

Right now, public companies don’t have to say what kind of threat climate change poses to their business or whether they are contributing to the problem.

We simply don’t know how much major corporations are to blame for the pickle we’re in.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to change that.

On Friday, the possible 2020 presidential hopeful proposed the Climate Risk Disclosure Act.

The legislation would compel companies to disclose a wide variety of climate-related information, such as greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel investments, and how things like rising sea levels and increased temperatures might affect their operations.

If a publicly traded company is going to get hit hard by climate change and knows it, Warren thinks the public has a right to know.

Kinda makes sense!

“Climate change is a real and present danger — and it will have an enormous effect on the value of company assets,” Warren said in a statement.

The act is co-sponsored by a slew of Democratic senators, including two other rumored presidential hopefuls, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Climate hawk Al Gore and a coalition of green groups have backed the legislation.

No Republicans have backed the act so far, and it’s pretty freakin’ unlikely that the GOP-controlled House and Senate will pass it.

But the fact that 2020’s top Democratic hopefuls are behind this effort seems like a promising sign that the party is shifting toward prioritizing climate action.

Zoya Teirstein

Press link for more: Grist

To #SaveTheReef we must stay below 1.5C Global Warming! UNESCO Update #auspol #qldpol #nswpol @TheCairnsPost @cairnscouncil @BobManningMayor #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal

LIMITING GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE TO 1.5° ABOVE PRE-INDUSTRIAL LEVELS CAN PREVENT WORLD HERITAGE-LISTED CORAL REEFS FROM EXPERIENCING DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF RECURRENT SEVERE BLEACHING THIS CENTURY.

UNESCO Update

Conclusion

Bleaching and mortality of corals due to heat stress, resulting from global warming and observed over the past three decades, is expected to continue and intensify in the coming decades unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, all 29 World Heritage-listed coral reef properties are expected to experience annual severe bleaching this century, leading to dramatic deterioration in ecological functioning and associated decline in the quality and quantity of ecosystem services provided to humanity.

In contrast, under the RCP2.6 scenario, which reflects the long term goals of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, exposure of World Heritage-listed coral reefs to annual severe bleaching would be prevented this century.

Furthermore, nearly all of the 29 analyzed World Heritage-listed coral reefs (86%) would escape twice-per-decade severe bleaching this century.

Maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage- listed coral reef properties will continue to require strong on-site management of pressures as well as national and/or regional enabling legislation to restore resilience and reduce local human stressors while climate stabilization occurs.

However, this update confirms that delivering on the UNFCCC Paris Agreement target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” is essential to secure a sustainable future for World Heritage-listed coral reefs.

UNESCO update confirms remaining within 1.5°C climate target is critical for survival of World Heritage-listed coral reefs #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateChange @scheerlinckeva @TheCairnsPost @cairnscouncil @abcnews #TheDrum

Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre released an update to its 2017 first global scientific assessment of the impact of climate change on UNESCO World Heritage coral reefs.

The latest update concludes that limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C degrees above pre-industrial levels would mean World Heritage-listed coral reefs are expected to avoid severe annual bleaching this century.

Together with appropriate management of local pressures, this would allow reefs to continue to provide the vital ecosystem services including food production, coastal protection and recreation to future generations the way we enjoy them today.

Led by NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, the update forecasts the effects of heat stress on the 29 reef-containing UNESCO World Heritage properties under a Representative Concentration Pathway RCP 2.6 scenario, in which global temperature increase would be limited to 1.5°C degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Under this scenario, which reflects the long-term term target under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, exposure to annual severe bleaching would likely be prevented this century.

Furthermore, nearly all of the 29 analyzed World Heritage-listed coral reefs (86%) would escape twice-per-decade severe bleaching this century and thus secure a sustainable future for the planets most iconic reef systems.

“While the World Heritage Convention’s work to strengthen on-site management of local pressures enhance resilience of World Heritage-listed coral reefs’ Outstanding Universal Value, this new scientific information shows clearly that delivering on the Paris Agreement is essential for the survival of this iconic part of our global heritage of humanity,”

says Dr. Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Heat stress events have increasingly caused severe coral bleaching and mortality of World Heritage-listed reefs around the world over the past three decades.

During the 2014-2017 global mass bleaching event, at least 15 World Heritage-listed coral reefs were exposed to repeated severe heat stress, with mortality rates in some locations among the highest ever recorded.

Bleaching and mortality of corals due to heat stress are expected to continue and intensify in the coming decades unless carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are reduced drastically.

Under “business-as-usual scenario”, all 29 World Heritage-listed coral reef properties are expected to experience annual severe bleaching this century, leading to dramatic deterioration in ecological functioning.

Many of them are expected to cease to host functioning coral reef ecosystems under such scenario.

Full Report

The update was produced in response to World Heritage Committee Decision 41 COM7 (Krakow/UNESCO, 2017) to make available the most current knowledge regarding the impacts of climate change on World Heritage properties.

It also responds to the 2017 “UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change”, adopted by the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference, in particular by raising awareness on the impacts of climate change on the world’s natural and cultural heritage. Work is currently underway to revise the World Heritage committee’s policy on climate change.

This report benefited from in-kind support from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Miami, and the University of Colorado for which the World Heritage Centre is grateful.

Press link for more: UNESCO

#ClimateChange = Economic Damage Terrifically Expensive. #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #EndCoal U.S. & Australia are rapidly becoming rogue nations @scheerlinckeva

Climate change is first and foremost a threat to human society.

That fact has been somewhat obscured in regular discourse, in favor of a false dichotomy portraying climate policy as an upper-middle-class noblesse oblige idea for anxious birders and other environmentalist types, and hardheaded economists who think building up yet more wealth is more important.

In reality, one obvious way that threat to humanity is going to be expressed is through economic damage.

In other words, unchecked climate change is going to be terrifically expensive.

Now, its exact cost is basically impossible to predict.

Contrary to people who would confidently rely on cost damage estimates for 2100, economic projections tend to be wildly inaccurate over even five years.

Furthermore, the amount of damage will depend greatly on what humans do in the future, and there have been few studies on what damage would be like under higher warming scenarios of 3 degrees or above.

But we can say the damage is going to be very large — indeed, it’s already quite bad.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information estimates that 2017 was America’s most expensive year for climate disasters of all time, with 16 disasters costing over $1 billion (more than three times the 1980-2017 average, after accounting for inflation) and a total cost of over $300 billion.

That’s about 1.5 percent of total GDP — or enough to pay for a $300 per month child allowance for every parent in America, with some left over.

This year is already off to a bad climate start as well.

There is a severe precipitation shortfall in parts of the Southwest, with some Colorado drainages at less than 30 percent of the median snowpack.

Southern California has also been rather dry — with the exception of severe rains that hammered parts of the region over the last few days, causing flooding and multiple mudslides that have killed at least 20 people.

Even the blizzard that recently struck the Northeast may have been influenced by climate change.

Contrary to the notions of President Trump, who appears to believe that climate science predicts it will never be cold again anywhere at any time, it seems warming disrupts the “polar vortex,” or the belt of cold air that circles around the poles of the Earth. With a weak polar vortex, frigid Arctic air can make it further south than usual — while warmer air can make it further north, leading to the paradoxical result of Anchorage occasionally being warmer than New York, or even Jacksonville.

The dramatic and rapid increase in climate damages over the last decade suggests that disasters may increase nonlinearly with warming — that is, a doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations might lead to more than twice the quantity of disasters.

The only way to be sure about that is after the fact, but it’s still wise to assume it might be true, due to the larger downside risk.

If not, then we have decarbonized our society more rapidly than we might otherwise have. But if it is true and we don’t take action, the result could be catastrophic.

Now, a few caveats are in order.

First, of course we cannot say with ironclad certainty that these weather disasters are 100 percent caused by climate change, because climate change isn’t the sort of phenomenon that causes individual events.

What we can say is that these are just exactly the sort of weather disasters that are predicted to become more common and worse as the planet continues to warm.

Don’t let careerist debate pedants mix you up on this point. (And in fact, preliminary work on Hurricane Harvey found that climate change significantly increased its amount of rainfall.)

Second, expense is a highly problematic metric for measuring the overall world damage to climate change.

The countries most vulnerable to climate change are generally poor, and so devastating climate disasters aren’t going to show up as costing very much in dollar terms.

Indeed, by far the worst disasters of 2017 happened outside the United States. As Rachel Cleetus at the Union of Concerned Scientists notes, over 11,000 people were killed by weather disasters in 2017, including 2,700 in South Asia — as against perhaps 1,400 or so in the United States (the vast majority in Puerto Rico).

Nevertheless, climate disasters really are going to be hugely expensive for the United States — and not just in dollar terms.

For example, the refusal from President Trump and the Republican Congress to properly rebuild Puerto Rico has not just killed probably over 1,000 people, it has also led to a severe shortage of IV bags, no doubt killing many more.

It drives home the fact that dawdling on climate policy, as Democrats did when they had majorities in 2009-10 — or denying it’s even necessary, as virtually every person of consequence in the Republican Party does — is not going to be some profitable venture.

Poor countries will be hit worse, but American cities will be wrecked, much critical infrastructure will be destroyed, and many insurance companies and programs will be bankrupted. It will require endless expensive bailouts and reconstruction packages simply to stay ahead of the damage.

Conversely, the faster we move on climate policy, the cheaper it will be. The International Energy Agency has roughly estimated that every year of delay adds $500 billion to the world total of necessary investment to head off climate change. (A stitch in time saves nine, as the saying goes.)

On the most important issue facing humanity, the United States is becoming dangerously close to a rogue state.

Let us hope we can soon rejoin the world community and start acting like sensible, moral adults again.

Press link for more: The Week

At the Edge of the World, Facing the End of the World #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateEmergency #FridaysForFuture #C40

At the Edge of the World, Facing the End of the World

Matt Simon

Getty Images

Writing about climate change is an exercise in managed insanity.

The human mind isn’t equipped to parse a crisis—the greatest in the history of our species—of such complexity and urgency and darkness.

With record-breaking superstorms ravaging coastlines at a regular clip, it’s hard to feel good about the impact that Homo sapiens has had on our leafy, temperate, Goldilocks planet.

You might even go so far as to suggest that the human species is a plague, given the untold destruction we’ve wrought on this planet.

Once you subscribe to that argument, it becomes nearly impossible to think of a noble pursuit for a person.

Doctors save lives—firefighters too.

Teachers hope toinspire the next great genius, maybe someone like Norman Borlaug, whose agricultural breakthroughs allowed our population to balloon on a planet with only so much arable land.

All noble pursuits in the name of spreading the human plague.

The thing about the human plague is that while it’s busy wrecking the planet, it’s also demolishing us.

Climate change will destroy not just our bodies, but our psyches.

Supercharged rivers will wash away cities.

Even when we should know better, because we have more than abundant science to back it up, the Trump administration prepares to obliterate regulations controlling methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

That plague theory is holding up.

Josh Frydenberg Australia’s new treasurer Loves Coal

Scott Morrison Australia’s new Prime Minister Loves Coal

Trump Loves Coal

But unlike a plague, we can think.

We can plan.

A plague tears through a population indiscriminately.

It can’t pull back when it starts running out of victims and say, Whoa, what am I doing?

If I keep this up, it’ll be the end of me!

We can, and last week at the Global Climate Action Summit, many of the best minds the human species can muster gathered to right the course.

These people included but were not limited to: environmentalists, mayors from around the world, human rights activists, technologists, academics, business leaders, labor leaders, and former secretaries of state.

The kinds of folks with noble pursuits.

This was climate change activism without borders.

If the Paris Agreement, drafted in 2015, was about governments coming together to fight, last week’s event showed that the most ambitious climate action isn’t happening on the national scale—it’s cities and states that are leading the way.

It’s easy to think that our presidents or prime ministers, our queens or our kings, are the undisputed arbiters of a country’s direction.

Not so.

For several thousand years, it’s been the cities that truly guide a nation.

Cities are where citizens trade goods and ideas.

Cities are where foreigners bring their own cultures and knowledge. And cities are were innovation flourishes.

Cities have always competed with each other, but they have also shared ideas.

And so it goes with developing and deploying green technologies. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti put it to me best: “When Shenzhen says, I’ve got 100 percent of our bus fleet electrified and all of our taxis, that’s good competition for LA to try to catch.

Shenzhen China has 16,369 electric powered buses.

And it’s collaborative in the sense that when people back in LA say there’s no way we can electrify our buses by 2030, I can point to the fact that Shenzhen in China just did it, and it took them two and a half, three years.”

While environmentalists or, really, anyone who cares about the future of Earth, have been getting bent out of shape about Trump, cities and states have been gaining tremendous ground in the battle against climate change.

Last week, an organization called C40, essentially a climate-change-busting network of international metropolises, announced that 27 of its member cities had already peaked in their emissions and had come down at least 10 percent from that high.

On the other side of the country, as I write this, Hurricane Florence is tearing the Carolinas to pieces, just days after news broke that the Trump administration had transferred $10 million from FEMA to ICE.

Bad enough in a world without climate change, but all the worse in a world where warmer waters are feeding stronger hurricanes. Scientists suspect Florence is no exception.

And so the climate chasm between American cities and the federal government widens. That’s instilled a sense of urgency in mayors, who were already leading the way on mitigation. The president has galvanized that movement, not crippled it. While Trump’s EPA does literally the opposite of protecting the environment (do keep in mind that a Republican, none other than Nixon, created the EPA, cities are scrambling to deploy solar panels and electric bus fleets and car charger networks. It’s what the planet demands, but also what citizens demand—constituents want clean air, no matter what the EPA does.

Al Gore got onstage Friday and said this, his voice crescendoing into a boom: “We are seeing businesses lead the way, we’re seeing investors lead the way, we’re seeing cities and counties and all kinds of civic organizations leading the way. We must we do it, we can do it. I’m convinced ever more because of the success of this summit here in San Francisco that we will do it. For anyone who doubts that we as human beings have the political will to meet our obligations that history is demanding of us, just remember that political will is itself a renewable resource.”

We’re not only the plague. We’re also the immune system, and we’re fighting back.

Press link for more: Wired

“Our lives are in your hands” #FridayForFuture @GretaThunberg @scheerlinckeva #ClimateChange #auspol #EndCoal #StopAdani #qldpol #TheDrum #QandA A cry for help!

Greta Thunberg: Our lives are in your hands

This is my cry for help

We Don’t Have TimeSep 6

We Don’t Have Time’s goal is to create a social media platform for the future, focused on the biggest challenge of our times — climate change.

Greta doesn’t back down. Here she is seen by the Swedish parliament in her school strike. Photography: Klimatmagasinet Effekt

This video of Greta Thunberg’s speech has Swedish audio and English subtitles. Photography: Adam Johansson, AdaMediaMedMera

Last summer, climate scientist Johan Rockström and some other people wrote that we have at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse-gas emissions if we’re going to reach the goals set in the Paris agreement.

Over a year and two months have now passed, and in that time many other scientists have said the same thing and a lot of things have got worse and greenhouse-gas emissions continue to increase. So maybe we have even less time than the one year and ten months Johan Rockström said we have left.

If people knew this they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m so “passionate about climate change.”

If people knew that the scientists say that we have a five percent chance of meeting the Paris target, and if people knew what a nightmare scenario we will face if we don’t keep global warming below 2 °C, they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m on school strike outside parliament.

Because if everyone knew how serious the situation is and how little is actually being done, everyone would come and sit down beside us.

In Sweden, we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our carbon footprint is one of the ten worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year. Those of us who are part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that.

Right now.

This is not a political text.

Our school strike has nothing to do with party politics.

Because the climate and the biosphere don’t care about our politics and our empty words for a single second.

They only care about what we actually do.

This is a cry for help.

Greta Thunberg talking to people passing by at the Swedish parliament. Photography: Klimatmagasinet Effekt

To all the newspapers who still don’t write about and report on climate change even though they said that the climate was “the critical question of our time” when the Swedish forests were burning this summer.

To all of you who have never treated this crisis as a crisis.

To all the influencers who stand up for everything except the climate and the environment.

To all the political parties that pretend to take the climate question seriously.

To all the politicians that ridicule us on social media, and have named and shamed me so that people tell me that I’m retarded, a bitch and a terrorist, and many other things.

To all of you who choose to look the other way every day because you seem more frightened of the changes that can prevent catastrophic climate change than the catastrophic climate change itself.

Your silence is almost worst of all.

The future of all the coming generations rests on your shoulder.

Those of us who are still children can’t change what you do now once we’re old enough to do something about it.

A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to.

Every single person counts.

Just like every single emission counts.

Every single kilo.

Everything counts.

So please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future.

Our lives are in your hands.

Greta Thunberg, 15 year-old, refusing school for the climate outside the Swedish parliament. Read about here protest here.

The above text is written by Greta Thunberg. It is published with Greta Thunberg’s approval.

We Don’t Have Time Facts and Development

We Don’t Have Time are currently building the world’s largest social media network for climate action.

Together we can solve the climate crisis. But we are running out of time.

This fall we are developing and testing our technical platform towards a beta phase and securing assets to continue our reach globally.

Read more about WeDontHaveTime.org here.

Sign up for our newsletter at WeDontHaveTime.org.

Join the movement by reading our manifest, following the blog and taking action to battle climate change. Or simply just enjoy seeing our impact and reach develop here and here.

Press link for more: Medium.com

Planet on brink of ‘tipping point’ as thawing soil & sediment releases large volumes of carbon dioxide & methane #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoalo

By Tom Batchelor

For millennia, layers of animal waste and other organic matter left behind by the creatures that used to roam the Arctic tundra have been sealed inside the frozen permafrost.

Now climate change is thawing the permafrost and lifting this prehistoric ooze from suspended animation ( Reuters )

The world is on course to exceed global warming limits set out in the Paris climate agreement much earlier than previously thought, scientists have warned, following the first comprehensive study of the impact of melting permafrost.

Experts said dangerous climate change was almost “inevitable” and the planet was on the brink of a “tipping point” as thawing permafrost releases large volumes of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise and more permafrost to melt.

They warned that governments were engaged in “wishful thinking” when it came to emission reductions and said their study showed previous warming projections that failed to account for permafrost thaws may be inaccurate.

Permafrost – soil that has been frozen for at least two years – acts as a store for large amounts of carbon and other nutrients from organic matter.

However, governments have largely failed to factor the release of vast amounts of carbon held in this frozen rock and sediment into their climate projections.

Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, who studied the impact of thawing permafrost on emissions targets, said policymakers had made assumptions about climate change based on a “linear relationship” between global temperature rise and CO2 emissions.

They found that the release of huge amounts of carbon would render past emissions projections useless as they fail to account for the exponential growth triggered by melting permafrost.

Lead author Thomas Gasser said his study was the first time such a tipping process was adequately accounted for in emission budgets.

According to the researchers, doing so shows that the world is closer to exceeding the budget for the long-term target of the Paris Agreement than previously thought.

“The scientific answer to ‘how soon are we likely to exceed our Paris target’ is somewhere between 10 years ago and the next 20 years.

Definitely not later than that,” he told The Independent.

“We should have changed course a while ago, and we should now significantly increase our efforts to do so.”

He added: “Permafrost carbon release from previously frozen organic matter is caused by global warming, and will certainly diminish the budget of CO2 we can emit while staying below a certain level of global warming.

“It is also an irreversible process over the course of a few centuries, and may therefore be considered a ‘tipping’ element of the Earth’s carbon-climate system that puts the linear approximation of the emission budget framework to the test.”

The Paris Agreement commits signatories to limit global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial temperatures – with a further aim of keeping the increase to 1.5C – by the end of the century.

The deal acknowledges that the 1.5C target will initially be exceeded, peaking at “well below” 2C and then pursuing efforts to get back to 1.5C.

However Mr Gasser described that approach as the “lazy solution” and warned it relied on “hypothetical technology, and a lot of wishful thinking”.

He said: “Overshooting is a risky strategy and getting back to lower levels after an overshoot will be extremely difficult.

“However, since we are officially on an overshooting trajectory, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we may never get back to safer levels of warming.”

Commenting on the study, Bob Ward, policy director at the London-based Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said: “This important study shows how dangerous it could be for the world to trigger the tipping point beyond which thawing permafrost releases large volumes of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

“If this happens, it could become inevitable that we suffer dangerous climate change. That is why it is so vital that global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities are cut strongly and urgently to limit the amount of further global warming and avoid reaching such a disastrous tipping point.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Press link for more: Independent.co.uk