So far the Dodos are winning in the U.S. & Australia #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman

Republicans try to save their deteriorating party with another push for a carbon tax

Dana Nuccitelli

The Republican Party is rotting away. The problem is that GOP policies just aren’t popular.

Most Americans unsurprisingly oppose climate denial, tax cuts for the wealthy, and putting children (including toddlers) in concentration camps, for example.

The Republican Party has thus far managed to continue winning elections by creating “a coalition between racists and plutocrats,” as Paul Krugman put it.

The party’s economic policies are aimed at benefitting wealthy individuals and corporations, but that’s a slim segment of the American electorate.

The plutocrats can fund political campaigns, but to capture enough votes to win elections, the GOP has resorted to identity politics. Research has consistently shown that Trump won because of racial resentment among white voters.

While that strategy has worked in the short-term, some Republicans recognize that it can’t work in the long-term, and they’re fighting to save their party from extinction.

Can a carbon tax save the GOP?

Climate change is one of many issues that divides the Republican Party.

Like racial resentment, climate denial is a position held mostly by old, white, male conservatives.

There’s a climate change generational, ethnic, and gender gap.

61% of Republicans under the age of 50 support government climate policies, compared to just 44% of Republicans over 50.

Similarly, a majority of Hispanic- and African-Americans accept human-caused global warming and 70% express concern about it, as compared to just 41% of whites who accept the scientific reality and 50% who worry about it.

But the plutocratic wing of the GOP loves fossil fuels.

Republican politicians rely on campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, and quid pro quo requires them to do the industry’s bidding.

It might as well be called the Grand Oil Party.

There is no other reason why the GOP should not unify behind a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

This free market, small government climate policy – which taxes carbon pollution and returns all the revenue to American households – is indeed supported by many conservatives.

A group of Republican elder statesmen created a coalition called the Climate Leadership Council to build conservative support for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. They’re now backed by Americans for Carbon Dividends (AfCD), led in part by former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott with a renewed effort to build support for this policy.

AfCD recently released polling results showing that 55% of Americans believe US environmental policy is headed in the wrong direction (29% say it’s on the right track), 81% of likely voters including 58% of Strong Republicans agree the government should take action to limit carbon emissions, and by a 56% to 26% margin (including a 55% to 32% margin among Strong Republicans), Americans support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

It’s not a wildly popular policy proposal, but it does have broad bipartisan support. It’s also a smart way to curb climate change with minimal economic impact, and in fact with a massive net economic benefit compared to unchecked climate change. That’s why economists overwhelmingly support a carbon tax.

The GOP was on the wrong side of history on civil rights and gay marriage and has paid the price, having largely become the party of old, straight, white men. Climate change is a similarly critical historical issue, but one that will directly impact every single American. Some smart Republicans recognize that the party can’t afford to be on the wrong side of history again on this issue.

Racial politics slapped a band-aid on the GOP’s gaping wound

Donald Trump managed to win the presidency in 2016 by stoking racial resentment among white Americans, but still lost the popular vote by a margin of nearly 3 million, and Republicans have only won the presidential popular vote once in the past two decades. They’re winning elections by relying on structural advantages (gerrymandering and weighting of rural votes), voter suppression, and mobilizing older white voters.

Trump seems to be doubling down on the latter strategy ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, for example by claiming that illegal immigrants are “infesting” America and by putting immigrant children in concentration camps. While only 25% of Americans support separating immigrant children from their parents, 49% of Republicans favor the policy. It’s a recipe for turning out the racist base (who also tend to be climate deniers), but not for winning a general election. Especially over the long-term as America becomes less white and as younger, more tolerant Americans become a larger proportion of the electorate.

When asked about the child concentration camps at a press conference, Senator David Perdue (R-GA) made the connection between the GOP coalition of plutocrats and racists, telling reporters:

we came here to talk about a crisis. Your job is to inform the American people, our job is to provide solutions. … God help us if we don’t solve this debt crisis. This is the No. 1 topic in America today … I want to make sure that the few minutes that we have didn’t get hijacked by the current shiny object of the day. [The national debt] is the current crisis in America.

The national debt might be less of a crisis had the GOP not added well over $1tn to the deficit in order to give wealthy Americans a tax cut. But apparently, it’s now a greater crisis than the American government taking immigrant children from their parents and putting them in concentration camps, or the existential threat posed by climate change. In other words, GOP priority #1 is further enriching plutocrats, priority #2 is reducing the national debt by cutting programs that help non-plutocrats; keeping families together and preserving a livable climate fall somewhere down the list.

Outside of the Republican base, these are unpopular priorities and policies. But as Katie Arrington, who recently beat Climate Solutions Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) in a primary put it, “We are the party of President Donald J. Trump.” That’s a party that can only win races that are decided by white racial resentment. It’s a party that, given demographic changes, has become an endangered species.

Some Republicans are trying to save the party by embracing smart policies like a revenue-neutral carbon tax. But so far, the party dodos are winning.

Press link for more: The Guardian


#ZeroHour It’s Time for a Revolution #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Longman

These Young Climate Justice Advocates Say It’s Time for a Revolution

On July 21, youth climate marchers will converge on Washington and around the country to demand a better future.

Yvette Cabrera

Cheryl Diaz Meyer for HuffPost

Jamie Margolin of Seattle, Washington, left, is an environmental activist who co-founded Zero Hour with Nadia Nazar of Baltimore, Maryland, right. With a team of volunteers, they are preparing for the first Youth Climate March in Washington, D.C.

Jamie Margolin can’t remember a time in her life when climate change wasn’t a crisis. The signs were everywhere, from the disappearing sea life in the 16-year-old’s hometown of Seattle, to the climate-related disasters in Colombia where her mother’s family lives.

“When you’re growing up with all this beautiful wildlife around you, it gives you a better idea of what you want to protect,” said Margolin, who will start 11th grade this fall. “And also it’s more painful when, for example, things go wrong, when you see that that habitat is being destroyed.”

Margolin said she wanted to take action when she was younger, but avoided it because the problem was so terrifying. But Donald Trump’s election spurred her to action.

“As young people, we find ourselves in this really awkward place in history where we are going to be alive for the worst effects of climate change, but we’re not old enough to make the decisions right at that tipping point where they need to be made,” she said.

She joined Plant-for-the-Planet, a youth initiative to fight the climate crisis. But Margolin had bigger plans. The 2017 Women’s March on Washington, D.C., planted a seed in her mind for a similar youth march to end “business as usual on climate change,” but she knew it would be a big undertaking.

Then the summer of 2017 happened ― the hottest and driest summer on record in Seattle, compounded by suffocating, smoke-filled air from wildfires throughout the region. Margolin also attended a summer leadership program at Princeton University and met teens from around the globe, including places already affected by rising sea levels like the Marshall Islands.

“I read that the Marshall Islands are sinking, but then suddenly [these students are] your friends, and they’re like ‘Yeah, my house got flooded the other day,’ and I was like ‘Oh, damn,’” said Margolin.

She decided to mobilize a youth climate march in Washington, D.C., on July 21, and along with three fellow teen co-founders, launched the organization Zero Hour to emphasize the urgency needed to act on climate change.

A diverse group of students is spearheading the march. They’ve created a platform shared exclusively with HuffPost that recognizes the environmental impact of climate change on marginalized communities such as indigenous, homeless, queer and trans people, communities of color, and people with disabilities.

Cheryl Diaz Meyer for HuffPost

Elsa Mengistu of Greensboro, North Carolina, 16, Nadia Nazar of Baltimore, Maryland, 16, and Mikaela Hutchinson, of Hunterdon, New Jersey, 15, left to right, prepare for the first Youth Climate March.

“You really can’t fight for climate justice without fighting all of these other systems of oppression, because those systems of oppression are why we’re here in the first place,” said Margolin. More than 40 groups have endorsed the movement, including the global grassroots climate organization 350.org, which described the upcoming event as the largest youth-of-color-organized climate march in U.S. history.

“As the Trump administration disregards the dignity and human rights of young people and their families, we have a responsibility to stand with youth who are fighting to protect our collective future and prevent the worst impacts of climate change,” said May Boeve, 350.org’s executive director, in a statement announcing the endorsement last month.

High among the movement’s principles is the goal of ensuring that youth voices are not just heard, but are at the center of the conversation around how climate change will be addressed. Youth have historically shifted culture toward progress, Zero Hour states in its principles.

“When you’re young, you don’t really have power, and you question the world around you,” said Margolin. “You haven’t been trained in most systems, and so you question what’s being forced on you.”

Zero Hour co-founder Nadia Nazar, of Baltimore, Maryland, said she thought she could wait until she was older to take action on climate change, but the more learned about issues like species extinction, the more she realized she couldn’t wait.

“If one person can make a difference and if I could get my community to get on board and to become a global movement, then I could make a difference just like anyone else can,” said Nazar, 16.

Cheryl Diaz Meyer for HuffPost

Nadia Nazar creates artwork to be used by marchers.

Nazar designed and sold T-shirts to raise $600 to help save endangered elephants, a symbolic cultural touchstone in India, where her family is from. She also organized and participated in clean-ups along the beaches and river shoreline in the Chesapeake Bay as part of the youth outreach work she does for Kairali of Baltimore, a cultural roots organization that connects immigrants from Kerala, India, her parent’s home state.

Her firsthand encounters with the devastation that’s laying waste to the sea animals in the bay led Nazar to conclude that her environmental activism couldn’t wait.

“There’s just so much death in the bay, and if the fish are dying, the fisherman can’t fish and create their business and they lose their livelihood,” said Nazar, who has grown up visiting and learning from the researchers at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology where her mom, a marine biologist, works. “The whole bay is just really polluted and not doing very well.”

For Zero Hour, the July 21 march in Washington and accompanying sister marches across the country and world are just the beginning. The group’s three-day event will include an art festival and a day dedicated to lobbying members of Congress to sign the Zero Pledge to take action to “meaningfully address the climate crisis and protect the future of the youth.”

The students’ platform — which, for example, calls for the elimination of all fossil fuel subsidies, as well as for taxing corporations that have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases — will also guide their actions long after the march is over.

The organizers see their work as an interconnected movement that’s both global and local. They also plan to engage their local and state officials, and encourage residents to come up with climate solutions.

“There has to be revolution in, really, the way we live. You can’t take down climate change without taking down rampant consumerism and all of these other oppressive systems,” said Margolin. “It’s more about the larger human change that has to happen. I always like to say that we’re not just fighting climate change, we’re fighting for human change.”

Cheryl Diaz Meyer for HuffPost

Jair Carrasco, center, shows new posters to Jamie Margolin and Nadia Nazar.

This includes upholding democracy and supporting voting rights, and challenging the power of the fossil industry, said Margolin, who is also part of a lawsuit the advocacy group Our Children’s Trust filed against the Washington state government over climate change. Lawsuits can take time to wind through the court system, Margolin said, and Zero Hour doesn’t want to limit the group’s work to just one system.

“Kids are suing the government, we’re marching, we’re lobbying, we’re just pretty much just getting down and just begging them: Can I not have a world that’s totally falling apart?” said Margolin.

People often ask what she wants to do when she grows up, but making those decisions is tough when climate change is a factor in that future, said Margolin.

“Everything is on the line, so it’s very hard to plan your future assuming that everything is going to be the same when you know it’s not,” she said. “It’s really scary, especially for a young person who is looking into what I want to do with my life … I just want to have a world to grow up in where I can live my life and not have to worry about such existential fears.”

Press link for more: Huffington Post

Joseph Stiglitz to testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman

Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit

Georgina Gustin

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

Joseph Stiglitz, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2001 and has written extensively about environmental economics and climate change, makes an economic case that the costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are “incalculable,” while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less.

The government, he writes, should move “with all deliberate speed” toward alternative energy sources.

Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says—but he wrote this 50-page report pro bono at the request of the attorneys representing the children.

It was filed in federal district court in Oregon on June 28.

He is one of 18 expert witnesses planning to testify in the case, scheduled for trial later this year, the children’s lawyers said.

New Government Attempt to Stop the Case

The children’s climate lawsuit, filed in 2015, accuses the federal government of perpetuating policies that favor a fossil-fuel based energy system and of failing to adequately regulate greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, the suit alleges, the government exposed the children to the dangers of climate change and has failed to manage natural resources, in the public trust, for future generations.

A federal district judge is scheduled to hear the case on Oct. 29. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have tried to have the case dismissed, but their efforts have been rejected by the courts.

Last week, attorneys for the Trump administration filed a motion for an emergency stay in a federal appeals court, which the children’s attorneys responded to on Tuesday.

“Just to be clear, there is no emergency,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, which is representing the children. “They’re pulling out every frivolous motion they can to dodge the case.”

Stiglitz: Action Is Feasible and Benefits Economy

Stiglitz, a Columbia University economics professor and former World Bank chief economist, concludes that increasing global warming will have huge costs on society and that a fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children more generally.” He explains in a footnote that his analysis also examines impacts on “as-yet-unborn youth, the so-called future generations.”

“There is a point at which, once this harm occurs, it cannot be undone at any reasonable cost or in any reasonable period of time,” Stiglitz writes. “Based on the best available science, our country is close to approaching that point.”

But, he says, acting on climate change now—by imposing a carbon tax and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, among other steps—is still manageable and would have net-negative costs.

He argues that if the government were to pursue clean energy sources and energy-smart technologies, “the net benefits of a policy change outweigh the net costs of such a policy change.”

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes. “This urgent action is not only feasible, the relief requested will benefit the economy.”

Stiglitz has been examining the economic impact of global warming for many years. He was a lead author of the 1995 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative assessment of climate science that won the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore.

If It Gets to the Supreme Court?

The Trump administration may ask the Supreme Court to review an earlier appeals court decision, from March, that allowed the case to proceed in the lower, district court, Olson said. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring, gave the administration an extension, until Aug. 5, to petition the court for a review.

Olson said it’s likely the case will end up in the Supreme Court eventually, but she’s unconcerned about Kennedy’s retirement and the expected shift to a more conservative court.

“This case is fundamentally a conservative case,” she said. “It’s about protecting individual liberties from government abuses of power, and that’s very much in line with the conservative justices on the court.”

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

July’s Extreme Weather. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Divest @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Longman #Japan #Oman #Flood #Heatwave

July Sees Extreme Precipitation and Heat – WMO | UNFCCC

According to the World Meteorological Organization, high impact weather, including extreme heat and disastrous precipitation, has marked the early part of summer in the northern hemisphere.

Japan has suffered the worst flooding and landslide in decades, with many daily rainfall records broken.

According to official government figures on 10 July, more than 150 people have lost their lives and the casualty toll is expected to rise.

Around 10,000 houses have been destroyed and/or inundated houses.

Between 28 June and 8 July, there was extraordinary heavy rainfall caused by huge amount of water vapor provided by a stationary rainy front in addition to damp air remaining from Typhoon Prapiroon.

West Japan and Hokkaido experienced record precipitation during the period, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Total precipitation at many observation sites reached two-to four times mean monthly precipitation for July.

For instance, 1,800 mm of rain fell in Shikoku, 1,200 mm in Tokai, 900 mm in North Kyushu, 600 mm in Kinki, and 500 mm in Chugoku.

This triggered a large number of landslide, inundation and flood events.

Japan is one of the world’s best prepared countries for disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

JMA issued emergency warnings in advance targeting as many as eleven prefectures in the country to alert people to the significant likelihood of catastrophes.

The emergency warning system was launched by JMA in 2013, based on lessons from the major tsunami caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

In addition, JMA dispatched its experts as the JMA Emergency Task Team or JETT, to local governments in the region to best support this multi-hazard disaster prevention activities.

It set up a web portal dedicated to the heavy rain event.

Typhoon Maria

On 10 July, Typhoon Maria is impacting the southern Japanese Ryukyu Islands.  Northern Taiwan is bracing itself for winds of 175 km/h and gusts of 250 km/h (the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale).

China’s National Meteorological Center issued red warning of typhoon this morning. Typhoon Maria is expected to move towards west by north at the speed of 30 kilometres per hour, skim over northern Taiwan Island on the early morning of July 11, and make landfall in the coastal regions from Fuqing, Fujian to Cangnan, Zhejiang on the morning of July 11.

After landing, it will continue to move towards northwest.

Extreme and unusual temperatures

On June 28, Quriyat, just south of Muscat, on the coast of Oman, recorded a 24-hour minimum temperature of 42.6°C, meaning that the coolest overnight temperature did not drop below.

Although highest “low” temperature is not currently monitored as a category in the WMO Weather and Climate Extremes Archive, it is believed to be the highest such temperature ever recorded by a thermometer.

Ouargla, in Algeria’s Sahara Desert, reported a maximum temperature of 51. °C on 5 July. It is likely that this is the highest reliable temperature ever recorded in Algeria. WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes Archive currently lists Kebili, Tunisia, as being Africa’s highest temperature with 55°C recorded in July 1931. However, there have been questions about the reliability of colonial era temperature records in Africa.

The station of Furnace Creek in Death Valley national park in California, USA, recorded a temperature of 52.0°C on 8 July. The station holds the record for the highest recorded temperature on Earth at 56.7°C (134°F), on 10 July 1913.

Other parts of California were also gripped by extreme heat. Downtown Los Angeles set a new monthly July minimum overnight record of 26.1°C on 7 July. Chino, near Los Angeles, saw a record temperature of 48.9°C (120°F). Burbank airport set a new absolute record of 45.6°C (114°F) on 6 July, beating 45°C in 1971, and Van Nuys Airport saw a record temperature of 47.2°C (117°C) according to the US National Weather Service.

In Canada, a heatwave combined with high humidity in the province of Quebec contributed to dozens of deaths, especially among the vulnerable and elderly.

At the same time, parts of Eastern Canada saw a brief return of wintery weather, with snow in parts of Newfoundland and Cape Breton (Nova Scotia), and temperatures of -1C, in St John’s and Halifax. Winter weather this late in the year is rare, this being the first since 1996.”

Western Siberian Hydromet Center of Russia issued a storm warning due temperatures of more than 30°C for more than five days, expected to last between 9 and 16 July. This creates high risks of wildfires as well as of power supply, transportation, and utility services disruptions and drowning of people escaping the heat in water.

Krasnoyarsk Region reports daily anomalies of 7°C above average, with fires already impacting about 80,000 hectares of forest.

Drought and heat in parts of Europe

In Europe, WMO’s Regional Climate Centre on Climate Monitoring, operated by the German Weather Service, DWD, issued a Climate Watch advisory with guidance on drought and above normal temperatures valid until 23 July. The guidance product, used by National Meteorological Services to issue national warnings and forecasts, referred to a continuation of the drought situation and above-normal temperatures for northern Europe (from Ireland to the Baltic States and southern Scandinavia). The weekly temperature anomalies are forecasted with up to +3 – +6°C. The probability that precipitation will be below the lower tercile is more than 70%. This drought may be accompanied by water scarcity, local thunderstorms, risks of wildfires and harvest losses, it said.

For some parts of northern Europe, June was one of the driest, warmest on record.

After an unusually warm June, the heatwave in the United Kingdom continued into July. On 10 July, the UK’s Met Office said that somewhere in the UK had topped 28°C or above for the 16th consecutive day.

June one of the warmest on record

Globally, June was the second warmest on record, according to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Copernicus Climate Change Service. The year to date is the hottest La Niña year on record.

Temperatures were exceptionally high over large parts of northern Siberia in June 2018.  They were also well above average over much of the USA, central Canada and North Africa, and over the Middle East and northern China.

The contiguous USA had 3rd hottest June on record. But many parts of the country had well above average minimum overnight temperatures.

Relationship with Climate Change

Episodes of extreme heat and precipitation are increasing as a result of climate change. Although it is not possible to attribute the individual extreme events of June and July to climate change, they are compatible with the general long-term trend due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases.

Many recent studies have found that the probability of the extreme event has been influenced by human activity, either directly or indirectly. Of a set of 131 studies published between 2011 and 2016 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 65% found that the event’s probability was significantly affected by anthropogenic activities.

It has been more difficult to identify anthropogenic influence in the attribution of precipitation extremes. Whilst some studies have found that the probability of some extreme precipitation events was increased, most often indirectly, by climate change, for many other studies the results have been inconclusive. This is because the underlying long-term climate signal in extreme precipitation is less clear than it is for temperature and, because extreme precipitation events typically occur on shorter spatial scales than extreme temperature events. At present, attribution studies are mostly carried out in research mode in peer-reviewed literature.

The original WMO summary can be read here.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

#Fire in Siberia, #Flood in Japan, #Drought in Australia, Dying #Coral Time to join the #ClimateChange dots. #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #auspol #qldpol #Longman

Record Forest fires in Siberia

Press link for more Siberia

Record Flood in Japan

Press link for more Japan

Record Drought in Australia

Press link for more Australia

Record Coral Bleaching Australia

Press link for more Great Barrier Reef

It’s time to join the dots climate change is here and we need to act.

Japan Reels From Unprecedented Heavy Rains; Dozens Killed, Millions Evacuated #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani

Japan Reels From Heavy Rains; Dozens Killed and Millions Evacuated

July 7, 2018

Troops from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces evacuated residents in Okayama Prefecture on Saturday. The deluge left dozens dead and dozens more missing, the public broadcaster NHK said.Koki Sengoku/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

TOKYO — Record torrential rains across western and central Japan unleashed flooding and landslides in several residential areas, killing dozens and triggering weather warnings in four districts of the country.

By Saturday evening, at least 51 people were dead and 48 were missing, according to the public broadcaster NHK. More than one million people in 18 districts had been ordered to evacuate their homes and 3.5 million had been urged to leave.

The Japan Meteorological Agency reported on Saturday that rainfall in many of the affected areas had reached record levels — with some areas reporting rain two or three times as high as the monthly average for all of July over just five days.

“This is a record high rainfall which we never experienced,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a Saturday morning ministers’ meeting, urging his cabinet to take “every measure to prevent the disaster from worsening by taking advance actions.”

Some 48,000 emergency responders from the police, fire department and defense forces are taking part in the search-and-rescue operations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

An emergency crew worked at the site of a train derailment after landslides in Karatsu city, Saga Prefecture, Japan.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A man died after falling off a bridge into a river in the southwestern city of Hiroshima, and another died after being swept into a canal, NHK reported. An elderly woman was found dead in her house after a mudslide swept through it.

Footage posted to social media, purportedly taken in the town of Takehara in Hiroshima prefecture, shows mud and debris from an apparent landslide strewn across a roadway. Other clips show portions of roads swept into raging rivers.

While the rainfall had lessened in many areas by Saturday night, the national weather service warned that flooding could continue in some areas including Gifu, Hiroshima, and Shimane. Parts of southern, western and central Japan were still bracing for more.

Residents were evacuated from floodwaters in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, in southwestern Japan.Koki Sengoku/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

Landslides demolished the home of a couple in their 80s in the southern city of Kagoshima city, the public broadcaster reported, after neighbors said they heard a roaring noise and saw a hillside collapse. The couple is still missing and police and fire officials are searching for them.

In Kurashiki City in Okayama prefecture, an area hit especially hard by flooding, a nursing home was inundated, leaving some of the residents stranded, the public broadcaster reported.

A river bank collapsed in the city, flooding much of the area and prompting hundreds to take shelter on their rooftops where they awaited rescue by boat and helicopter.

The national public broadcaster warned on Saturday night that those under evacuation orders should immediately move to municipal shelters, but for those unable to leave, they advised moving to a higher level of the home.

Megan Specia contributed reporting from New York.

Press link for more: New York Times

Adapting to #ClimateChange Will Take More Than Just Seawalls & Levees #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Our government’s unconscionable policies are a scary precedent

Kate MarvelJune 20, 2018

Credit: Thirty Two Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

I started to care about climate change on a warm October night in 2015. I’d been studying the Earth and its climate for years, and my work sometimes gave me a vague sense of unease. But it felt abstract, easy to put aside, never my most pressing concern.

The minute my son was born, though, the future was no longer theoretical.

Climate projections generated by computer models aren’t abstract anymore—they’re glimpses into my baby’s adult world.

I know it will be warmer and stranger and, perhaps, more dangerous to live there.

We can take action to mitigate these changes, but we owe it to our children to prepare them for a warmer world.

We need to start adapting now.

I’m afraid we’re failing.

Today, in the present, there are other children less fortunate but no less precious than my son. These are the sons and daughters of refugees and migrants, parents fleeing violence and poverty in search of a better life.

These children have been ripped, on the orders of our government, from their parents’ arms.

They have been put in cages.

There is no apparent benefit to this outrage other than to indulge the spite and hatred of an incurious reality star and his small-minded cabal of sycophants.

This is unconscionable policy.

It is evil.

It is only an inkling of what may come later.

The future will bring upheaval and uncertainty.

Sometimes disaster will be imprinted with the undeniable fingerprint of climate change. Glaciers melt, oceans warm, and rising seas will swallow small islands and coastal cities.

Their residents will never be able to return.

These people will have a clear and compelling claim to asylum; they will flee total destruction clearly attributable to a warming climate.

The wealthy countries that have emitted the vast majority of greenhouse gases will bear moral, if not necessarily legal, responsibility for their plight.

But there will be other categories of refugee in the coming world: farmers struggling to grow profitable crops in drying soil, manual laborers whose working hours are curtailed by heat and humidity, despised minority groups conveniently blamed for new adversities.

If climate change is, as our military considers it, a “threat multiplier,” there is no shortage of existing threats to multiply.

The Earth does not warm independently of the people who live on it.

What stories will we tell ourselves to excuse our neglect of people fleeing the instability and violence that feeds on and interacts with great environmental upheaval?

How will we treat dissidents from formerly democratic societies that have, under the pressures of resource scarcity and social change, listened too well to demagogues with easy answers?

There will be, in the simple words of a hateful man, “bad people” amongst these climate migrants.

Evil is not a trait exclusive to the rich world.

There will be confusion and trouble, too, communication breakdowns between traumatized migrants and the wealthy, lucky, sheltered ones who decide their fates. But most refugees will be good people, decent people, loving parents protecting frightened children.

People like you.

Perhaps, even you.

I have no way of understanding the hatred necessary to support, propose, or enact the moral obscenity of family destruction.

This is not because I am a good person.

I know how it feels to hate.

I hate the people who have done this with an intensity that sickens and scares me. But I wish them to be safe from violence and united with their families.

I have no desire to let my anger curdle into something dark and monstrous that tears screaming children from desperate parents’ arms. Not now, and not in a future where rising temperatures blur the boundaries between refugee, migrant, and opportunist.

Climate change happens in the world we build for it.

The planet will endure, and the species will almost surely survive. But our ability to adapt to what’s coming is in question.

Climate adaptation requires seawalls and drought-tolerant crops; it also needs institutions, laws, and the basic ability to recognize humanity in others.

We’ll need new infrastructure and technology, to be sure, but I doubt we can innovate our way to decency.

That’s why we should start now.

We still have the power to create and reinforce the institutions that we’ll need in the future, and to practice the kindness and compassion we may someday need from others. We can call our representatives, donate to RAICES and the ACLU and protest in the streets.

We can build levees against rising seas and air-conditioned buildings to keep out warmer air.

We can—and should—reduce our greenhouse emissions.

But more than that, we need to create the kind of civilization worth protecting.

Our children deserve no less.

Press link for more: Scientific American

Early #climatechange whistleblower never predicted nasty political climate #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

In this May 9, 1989 file photo, Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

AP Photo/Dennis Cook

WASHINGTON — When it comes to global warming, America’s (And Australia’s) political climate may have changed more than the Earth’s over the past three decades.

NASA scientist James Hansen put the world on notice about global warming on June 23, 1988.

Looking back, he says: “I was sufficiently idealistic that I thought we would have a sensible bipartisan approach to the problem.”

After all, Republicans and Democrats had worked together on an international agreement to fix the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer.

Republicans would later represent eight of the 20 co-sponsors on the first major bills to fight climate change in 1980s and 1990s.

Yet 30 years after Hansen’s initial warning, the issue is as much at the core of the nation’s political divide as abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration.

READ MORE: Albertans are least likely in Canada to believe in climate change: survey

Most Republican candidates today cannot speak the words “climate change” — let alone support policies to address it — without risking a fierce political backlash from their base, which increasingly believes that man-made climate change is a liberal fantasy.

There’s virtually no space left for a climate change advocate in the Republican Party of 2018.

Just ask Bob Inglis.

The former South Carolina Republican lost his congressional primary in 2010 after speaking out about global warming following a trip to the Arctic.

He has since dedicated his professional life to convincing conservatives that climate change must be taken seriously.

“We hit a low in the tea party,” Inglis said. “That turned out to be a false bottom because we went lower with the election of Donald Trump.”

U.S. President Trump, who once tweeted that climate change was a “Chinese hoax,” pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement — the only country to do so — and his cabinet has aggressively dismantled and dismissed government efforts to fight global warming.

“As the climate is getting worse, the politics is getting worse,” said Paul Higgins, public policy director of the American Meteorological Society.

It wasn’t always this way.

“A lot of Republicans were involved” in fighting climate change after Hansen testified, said former Democratic Sen. Tim Wirth of Colorado. In 1988, two months after Hansen’s warning, George H.W. Bush vowed to fight the greenhouse effect. Even 20 years later, Republicans adopted a party platform at the 2008 convention that openly addressed the threat of climate change.

At the same time, the party’s rhetoric also began to shift dramatically, adopting former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “Drill baby drill” catch phrase. Its embrace of fossil fuels, and rejection of climate change as a serious threat, only intensified with the 2010 rise of the tea party.

It is “a core element of Republican identity to reject climate science,” said Jerry Taylor, who for more than two decades downplayed global warming as an energy and environment analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute.

Taylor now actively tries to fight climate change as founder of the Niskanen Center, a moderate think-tank with libertarian principles.

READ MORE: Drone footage shows impact of climate change off east coast of Newfoundland

The political shifts haven’t been limited to Republicans. Many liberal Democrats have moved sharply to the left on environmental issues, ignoring nuclear energy as a necessary option to fight climate change and thinking solar and wind can do it all, when it can’t, Hansen said.

It’s not just politicians.

The 12 states with the highest per person emissions of the main heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide, voted for Trump in 2016. The 10 states with the lowest per person carbon emissions voted for Hillary Clinton.

Polling suggests that global warming is now even more polarizing than abortion, said pollster and Yale Center for Climate Communication Director Anthony Leiserowitz.

Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans — or 69 per cent — think the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, Gallup found in March. Among Democrats, just 4 per cent — not even 1 out of 10 — believe the issue is exaggerated.

Academics, politicians and climate scientists say politics — and an industry campaign to shed doubt on the science — led to the public divide.

READ MORE: Limiting climate change to 1.5°C increase would save thousands of species: report

Fossil fuel industry interests seeing a threat from a 1997 international treaty that required U.S. carbon emission cuts spent a lot of money to “promote a message of confusion, a message of doubt,” said Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes, who wrote the book “Merchants of Doubt” about this and other industry efforts.

“Their goal was to prevent the United States from acting on climate,” Oreskes said. “They were much more effective getting across their message of doubt than scientists were effective in getting across their message of science.”

The fossil fuel industry “took the tobacco playbook and worked to stop climate change action by denying the science,” said Northeastern University policy and communication professor Matthew Nisbet.

“They were brutal,” Sen. Wirth said.

READ MORE: How climate change can cause depression, anxiety: ‘We will all be affected’

First-term Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania struggles to understand his party’s environmental priorities.

One of the few GOP members of the Climate Solutions Caucus with a passing grade from environmental activists, Fitzpatrick is quick to call out his Republican colleagues for “not putting their money where their mouth is” on environmental issues.

“It’s pretty obvious to me that climate change is caused in large part due to human activity,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think we all need to acknowledge that basic fact.”

READ MORE: Why China has Canada spooked about the world’s plastic waste crisis

The newly formed American Conservation Coalition is working across two dozen states to convince Republicans to return to their pro-environment roots. Yet the group’s website doesn’t mention the words “climate change” because it would alienate conservatives, said the organization’s Benjamin Barker.

“I hope that in the next decade, or hopefully a lot sooner, we can have a discussion about climate change where it’s not so partisan,” Barker said.

Press link for more: Global News

Rachael Carson environmental hero. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Rachel Carson, the long green line and our environmental heroes – past and present

Rachel Carson knew she would be criticized for connecting pesticides to the death of songbirds when Silent Spring was published in 1962.

As a scientist, though, she didn’t expect to be vilified by an entire industry, or to be called an alarmist and Communist.

Despite the attacks, she had the courage to keep going, all the way to the White House where she met with President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee, and to Capitol Hill where she testified before senators.

That determination is what ultimately made Carson the most significant American environmentalist of the past century, and why she’s been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager.

Carson opened our eyes to the harm we were doing to the environment, ultimately making our nation a better steward of our natural heritage. Everyone in the environmental community follows in her footsteps.

It’s been nearly 50 years since Environmental Defense Fund was founded on her legacy. We, like so many of our peers, are part of a long green line that started with her signal work, relentlessly following the science, even when it leads to unexpected places.

We work every day to open eyes – just like Carson did in the early days of the environmental movement.

“Who can carry on my work?”

In 1985, I found myself in a magnificent villa perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the central California coast. It belonged to Margaret Owings, an EDF trustee, and great protector of wild animals.

We sat in her living room with a spectacular view of the ocean when Margaret told me a moving and humbling story. More than two decades earlier, before Carson’s untimely death from breast cancer, the two women had met in New York City when Carson received the Audubon Medal.

After the ceremony, they had talked about the future of environmentalism and how to keep the fledgling movement alive. Carson, who was very ill, told Owings she didn’t know who would carry on her work.

Her words made a big impression on Owings. Recounting their meeting to me, she said she had since felt almost a personal responsibility to continue the fight, to take the baton.

Her story helped me see the power of continuity. It was as if Carson was still there with us, telling us to keep going.

We’ve come a long way since Silent Spring, but we also know our work will always go on.

With a vote in Congress or the rap of a judge’s gavel, protections for which our activists worked years can be weakened or eliminated.

We know that in an instant, environmental progress can be reversed, and that requires vigilance by all of us. With a vote in Congress or the rap of a judge’s gavel, protections for which our activists worked years can be weakened or eliminated.

When that happens, we just get back up, dust off and continue the fight. Because we know that environmental stewardship is good for the economy, for business and for people.

Unlike Carson in her day, we can now mobilize the support of hundreds of thousands, even millions, and we have the backing of a new generation of leaders.

Executives calling for a price on carbon

The founder of Moms Clean Air Force, with half a million activists, Dominique Browning is one such leader working for a clean and healthy environment. It makes her a fitting recipient of Audubon’s Rachel Carson award later this month.

By enlisting parents and educating others about what’s happening to our air and climate, Browning and her organization have made a real difference for America’s children and grandchildren. This is in the best tradition of Rachel Carson.

She, too, is part of that green line running from one decade to the next, and from one courageous leader to another, as we continue our work, day in and day out, to defend our environment.

Join us today

Press link for more: EDF.ORG

What climate change will mean for Mackay (and other coastal cities) by 2050 #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Beach erosion at Midge Point caused by storm surge associated with Cyclone Debbie last year. Contributed

Each month the Mackay Regional Council brings you Council Connect.

Here is the May edition.

CLIMATE change is a very real threat to coastal communities like Mackay.

That’s why it is “smart” to start planning now for coastal and inland flooding hazards likely to be exacerbated by climate change, says Mayor Greg Williamson.

“All of the advice from experts and other levels of government suggest we need to be cognisant about the effects of climate change when planning for the future,” he said.

The Queensland Climate Change Strategy predicts cyclone intensity is expected to increase by 2050, with cyclone-associated rainfall tipped to increase by up to 20 to 30 per cent.

Projected increases in temperature also equate to a 10 per cent increase in general rainfall intensity by 2050, 15 per cent by 2070 and 20 per cent by 2100.

A 0.3m rise in sea level by 2050, a 0.5m rise by 2070 and a 0.8m rise by 2100 is also predicted.

Queensland town of Ingham 2018

Cr Williamson said the council was working on a Storm Smart Strategy to ensure the community was prepared and able to adapt.

“Unlike other climate change projects, this strategy is focused primarily on risks associated with sea level rises, increased cyclone intensity, higher intensity rainfall and the resulting increase in inundation and erosion potential,” he said.

“It will help reduce the risk to people and property and enhance the community’s resilience to natural hazards.  Governments have indicated there will be reduced funding for recovery in the future, with a focus on spending to improve resilience.

“The strategy is for parts of our local government area identified as potentially impacted by coastal risks or inland flooding. Generally, these can by identified by looking at the Mackay Region Planning Scheme’s flood and coastal hazards overlays, but can include up to 40 per cent of properties.”

The council has accessed more than $200,000 in State Government Qcoast 2100 funding to start the strategy. It will continue to apply for a share of $12 million on offer for coastal councils.

Did you know?

Mackay Regional Council manages more than:

• 630km of underground drainage

• 10km of levees

• 140km of open drains

>> More information on how climate change will affect our region can be found HERE.

Insurance costs at a premium

FLOOD modelling work undertaken by the council isn’t just useful for its new Storm Smart Strategy.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the council hoped the evolving flood data would help reduce insurance premiums in the Mackay region and ease cost of living pressures.

Major flooding in Mackay during February 2008. Contributed

“Average insurance premiums in North Queensland are three times higher than the state and New South Wales average and four times higher than South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia,” he said.

“They are impacted by our tropical climate, including being in a cyclone zone and to a lesser extent property flood risk.”

Cr Williamson said the council had undertaken flood studies to define flood risk more accurately and that work was ongoing.

“We’re working with the Insurance Council of Australia in a bid to improve insurers’ understanding of flood risk in our area,” he said.

“For example, we have been developing new data which highlights the floor levels of properties in our region. A high-set property may have a lesser flood risk than a low-set property next door.

Gold Coast erosion

“Property owners are able to speak with council officers about obtaining information relating to their properties which they may be able to take to insurers in a bid to reduce premiums.”

Other tips for lower insurance premiums:

• Consider a higher excess

• Talk to your insurance provider about ways to lower premium, such as removing large trees etc from the back yard

• Shop around

Helping gauge effects of flooding

THE 1918 cyclone and storm surge remains the most significant natural disaster in the Mackay region’s history.

It claimed 22 lives and caused hundreds of injuries, as well as destroying about 75 per cent of Mackay’s building stock.

The event was caused by the coincidence of heavy rainfall – 1397 mm in three-and-a-half-days – with an intense tropical cyclone crossing the coast, which produced a storm tide level of about 5.4m AHD (1.76m above HAT).

The “Foulden Flood” during 1958 is regarded as the largest documented Pioneer River flood and is most well-known for removing the entire settlement of Foulden. Two lives were lost to drowning and one person was declared missing, with 136 people rescued from Foulden and Cremorne. (Source: Wright, B, 2008)

Significantly, the Pioneer River has not broken its banks at Mackay City since the construction of a levee system in the 1960s in response to the 1958 flood.

A crowd gathers to watch rising flood waters during the flood of February, 1958, at the corner of Evans Avenue and Harbour Road. Photo: Mackay Regional Council Libraries Image No. 00241 Contributed

More recently, in 2008, an intense rainfall event (unofficially 736mm in less than six hours) directly over the Mackay urban area and local catchments damaged more than 4000 houses.

Although the intensity of the 2008 event was not comparable to anything experienced in the region before, the pattern of flooding – rapid rise followed by rapid recession of floodwaters on the falling tide – is generally typical of the urban catchment flooding experienced across the region.

Of 53,000 properties in the council area, about 12,000, or more than 20 per cent, are in known coastal hazard areas. Furthermore, about 20,000, or 40 per cent, are within a flood hazard area (including the 12,000 in the coastal hazard areas).

Forgan Bridge flood heights. Contributed

Beaches bear brunt of damage

THE State Government has just approved additional funding to improve resilience at Lamberts Beach and Midge Point.

They were two beaches in the region that fared worst during Cyclone Debbie.

The new funding includes about $1.7 million for Lamberts Beach to help fund the replenishment of 39,000 cubic metres of sand.

There is also about $2.6 million for 26,500 cubic metres at Midge Point.

Mackay Regional Council CEO Craig Doyle said these crucial extra funds were on top of about $2.9 million previously approved for the two beaches under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Category D funding.

“The previous funding will restore the two beaches to their pre-Cyclone Debbie condition,” Mr Doyle said.

“This additional funding will allow us to improve resilience at the beaches.”

Significant sand loss at Lamberts Beach, resulting in a near-vertical scarp. Contributed

Mr Doyle said preliminary Category D funding provided $110,000 for sand pushing, minor revegetation and replacement fencing, which was completed at Lamberts Beach late last year.

He said another $950,000 in Category D funding had been approved to import 10,500 cubic metres of sand and to revegetate the area.

“Preparation of the permit application and design work is in progress, with construction expected to be completed by the end of September,” Mr Doyle said.

At Midge Point, significant sand loss along the full length of beach resulted in loss of an esplanade park and associated infrastructure at the north end.

Preliminary NDRRA Category D funding provided $100,000 for minor works.

“Major restoration NDRRA Category D funding of $1.8m will be used to construct a 300m long geobag wall in the dune along the northern section of beach,” Mr Doyle said.

“This is also due to be completed by September.”

>> Australian and State governments fund NDRRA Category D funding 50-50.

History has lessons

WHEN residents reflect on history, rainfall data and records tell a powerful story about flood risk in the Mackay region.

So, it is only fitting that the council will have flood modelling information on display at this weekend’s Greenmount Heritage Fair.

The council’s Character and Heritage Advisory Committee chair Cr Fran Mann said this year marked the 100th anniversary of the devastating 1918 cyclone and associated storm surge which resulted in lives lost and many of our young city’s houses destroyed.

“Earlier this year, our libraries and museums staged a 1918 cyclone centenary exhibition at council’s Jubilee Community Centre,” she said.

“Parts of that exhibition will be on display at the Greenmount Heritage Fair, which is a popular annual event.

“Our planning officers will also attend with modern-day information on flood modelling for our region, including a 3D simulation model.”

The Greenmount Heritage Fair will be held at Greenmount Homestead this Sunday, May 27, from 9am to 3pm.

Council will provide flooding information at Greenmount Heritage Fair this weekend. Contributed

Workshop to discuss adaptation

• Anyone wanting to learn more about climate change adaptation can attend an informative workshop in Mackay next month.

• The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Community Workshop will be held in Mackay on Friday, June 8, from 5pm.

• The theme is “Climate change adaptation for a secure future: people and places.”

• Council Strategic Planning representatives will also be at the workshop.

• Anyone interested in attending the NCCARF Community Workshop needs to RSVP for the event.

• For further information, or to RSVP, contact the workshop organisers by emailing marilee.campbell@griffith.edu.au

Press Link for more: Daily Mercury