Sydney Hottest Day in 78 years. #StopAdani #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol

Temperatures In Australia Hit 117 Degrees As Sydney Sees Hottest Day In 78 Years

The extreme weather melted one area’s roads. Elsewhere in the world, record low temperatures were seen.

Nina Golgowski

A brutal heat wave in Australia skyrocketed temperatures in Sydney on Sunday to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.3 Celsius), making it the hottest weather New South Wales’ capital has seen in 78 years, weather officials said.

The bizarre forecast follows record low temperatures in other parts of the world.

The worst of the weekend’s heat was recorded in the Sydney suburb of Penrith where the triple-degree temperature was just slightly lower than a 118-degree (47.8 C) reading recorded in the town of Richmond in 1939, according to the New South Wales’ Bureau of Meteorology.

James D. Morgan via Getty Images

Crowds cool off in water at Yarra Bay in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday amid a heat wave.

Temperatures became so hot across southern Australia that police in the neighboring state of Victoria warned drivers on Twitter that a 6-mile freeway was “melting.”

Fire warnings and bans were also issued across Sydney in response to the high heat threat that has caused multiple wildfires. There was also an air quality warning issued by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for higher than normal ozone levels, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Adding to some of the misery felt, a power outage left thousands of people in Sydney without electricity on Sunday evening as temperatures stayed between 91 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the local news site reported.

A spokeswoman for local electricity provider Ausgrid, speaking to Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, partially blamed the outage on a surge in power use.

The bizarre weather isn’t just in Australia, however.

Across the Pacific, Alaska has experienced unusually warm temperatures in recent days, roughly 10 to 20 degrees above average, prompting concerns about ice levels, NPR reported.

Last week, temperatures in Anchorage were warmer than in northern Florida, which saw snow.

The U.S.′ northeast has also endured unseasonably cold temperatures, with the mercury dipping below zero in many places. At New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the area saw an all-time low on Saturday of 8 degrees F, meteorologist Bob Oravec of the Weather Prediction Center, told Reuters.

Temperatures are expected to rise to above normal temperatures for much of the United States in the middle of January, the National Weather Service said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis pointed out on Friday that Europe is also experiencing unusual temperatures.

“The French national average on Wednesday was 11.5 degrees Celsius [52.7 degrees Fahrenheit], so that’s about 6 degrees Celsius above the normal, so as I said, lots of extreme weather,” she said during a United Nations session, according to Newsweek.

Press link for more: Huffington Post


1.5C a missed Target #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Leaked Draft of Landmark Climate Change Report Pours Cold Water on 1.5°C Goal

Missed Targets

Bar a concerted global effort to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, the world is highly likely to exceed the most ambitious climate goal set by the Paris Agreement by the 2040s, according to a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report obtained by Reuters.

The IPCC is expected to release the final version of their highly anticipated Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in October.

The preliminary version obtained by Reuters was submitted to a small group of experts and government officials for review and was not meant for public release.

Every few years, the IPCC publishes an Assessment Report containing the available research about the current state of climate change.

This year’s special report is the first focused on what is possibly the Paris Agreement’s most controversial climate goal: limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Though some countries are in strong support of taking action to ensure the world meets this climate goal, research has shown that we are highly unlikely to do so.

The draft of the special report obtained by Reuters seems to confirm this low probability of success: “There is very high risk that […] global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [should emissions continue at the current pace].”

The draft also states that meeting the climate goal would require an “unprecedented” leap from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and extensive reforms everywhere from industry to agriculture.

Additionally, while curbing global temperatures would help reduce some of the worst impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and droughts, it would not be enough to protect the planet’s most fragile ecosystems, including polar ice caps and coral reefs.

Political Motives?

While the findings currently included in the report confirm what the public may consider the worst-case scenario, scientists who have read the report are not surprised by its contents.

“The report is unexceptional,” Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at the University of Cambridge, told Futurism. “It was already clear to every climate scientist that a 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit would be breached by 2050 (in fact, probably much earlier) in the absence of drastic carbon capture measures.”

Gabriel Marty, a climate change analyst and former U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) delegate for France, told Futurism that it’s too soon to speculate on the content of the final report.

However, once it is released, he said readers should note the treatment of the uncertainties and risks of the so-called “bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)” technologies designed to suck carbon emissions out of the atmosphere.

The risks associated [with heavily relying on these technologies] must be clearly outlined,” said Marty. “They do not exist yet, the scale that would be needed would be enormous, and the adverse impacts on land and water resources would likely be huge.”

According to sources familiar with the IPCC’s proceedings, the panel has been criticized in the past for being too coy about the limitations of BECCS and for understating their risks in order to present the 2 degrees Celsius target as “still viable.”

Wadhams also mentioned the possibility that the IPCC’s hesitation to release the special report itself could be politically motivated.

“The IPCC has long since become a political rather than a scientific organization, so their secretiveness and sensitivity about a perfectly ordinary report has some political motive,” he told Futurism.

““A lot could still change between now and the final version.”

Roz Pidcock, head of communications for the IPCC Working Group 1, told Futurism that that’s not the case. She said the fact that the special report is currently confidential has nothing to do with a lack of transparency on the part of the panel — they simply aren’t finished with it yet.

“All of the expert and government review comments that come in over the next few weeks are taken on board […] Just to give an idea of what that involves, the first draft of this report received 12,895 comments from nearly 500 expert reviewers around the world,” said Pidcock. “A lot could still change between now and the final version.”

We will need to wait until October for the IPCC’s final take on the viability of the extremely ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, but whatever the contents of the report, we can’t let it discourage us from taking the strongest action possible to prevent further damage to our planet.

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Renewables cheaper than coal. #StopAdani #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol

Climate change is a reality.

We can no longer bury our heads in the sand about how we have changed our environment for the worse through our use of, and reliance on, non-renewable energy resources.

But the good news is that 2018 will finally mark a shift in our use of global energy.

Next year will see onshore wind and solar energy become the lowest-cost form of energy generation across the world.

This lower cost means that those with an interest in sustaining our planet are increasingly aligned with those who are driven by profit.

As Michael Drexler, agenda adviser to the World Economic Forum, stated in a debate in April 2017: “Solar and wind have just become very competitive and costs continue to fall.

It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

The costs of solar and wind are falling each year – and today they are lower than coal.

According to engineering consultancy Arup, onshore wind is on track to be lower cost even than natural gas in the UK by 2018, especially if it is to be included in the existing Contract for Difference (Cfd) mechanism.

In the US, a report by Lazard, the asset-management firm, has shown that onshore wind and utility-scale solar have significantly lower costs today than any other form of energy if the energy playing field is levelled by taking away subsidies.

From the US to China and Nigeria to Mexico, investors and governments are rapidly catching up to the new rules of energy.

In 2018 we will see smarter regulatory environments, new projects coming online, even greater efficiencies in technologies and energy-storage costs and a further dawning realisation of companies exposed to long-term fossil fuels that their positions are increasingly untenable.

And the benefits will trickle down.

Citizens across Africa who are spending up to 16 per cent of their household income on fuels such as kerosene or disposable batteries now have multiple options to harness solar energy for their daily needs.

“The cheapest electricity in most of Africa now comes from a solar panel on your roof,” says Xavier Helgesen, CEO of Off Grid Electric. “The combination of growing demand for reliable electricity and plummeting costs for solar and batteries has started to spark a distributed-energy revolution in Africa.”

In 2018, the world will experience a global energy sea change based on solar and onshore wind being the cheapest forms of energy.

No more excuses and no more platitudes from our governments: now the markets and citizens will be the drivers of the energy revolution.

Press link for more: Wired

Doughnut Economics a compass for the 21st Century #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

What on Earth is the Doughnut?…

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.

In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)

The environmental ceiling consists of nine planetary boundaries, as set out by Rockstrom et al, beyond which lie unacceptable environmental degradation and potential tipping points in Earth systems.

The twelve dimensions of the social foundation are derived from internationally agreed minimum social standards, as identified by the world’s governments in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

Between social and planetary boundaries lies an environmentally safe and socially just space in which humanity can thrive.

Here’s a one-minute introduction to the Doughnut, by the brilliant animator Jonny Lawrence.

And here’s a commentary published in The Lancet Planetary Health, May 2017.

Since the first iteration of the Doughnut was published as a discussion paper by Oxfam in 2012, it has had traction in very diverse places – from the UN General Assembly and the Global Green Growth Forum, to Occupy London.

Why such interest?

I think it is because the doughnut is based on the powerful framework of planetary boundaries but adds to it the demands of social justice – and so brings social and environmental concerns together in one single image and approach.

It also sets a vision for an equitable and sustainable future, but is silent on the possible pathways for getting there, and so the doughnut acts as a convening space for debating alternative pathways forward.

Press link for more: Kate Raworth

Buying Time to #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #climatechange

Buying Time To Beat Adani

Ben PenningsJanuary 13, 2018

Environmental activist, Ben Pennings.

The environment – and the people – will ultimately win the battle to stop the Galilee Basin being opened to coal mining, predicts Ben Pennings.

Adani is on the ropes, desperately trying to rescue the $1.5bn they gambled on the economically marginal and environmentally disastrous Carmichael coal mine.

Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer or Aurizon might follow Adani into the Galilee basin but the environment movement has the numbers this time.

Mass social movements like #StopAdani will triumph over profit, either through the ballot box or in front of bulldozers.

People ask me why I quit my job at The Queensland Greens, why I put myself at physical and legal risk to initiate citizen resistance against Adani’s plans.

The answer is always the same.

To buy time.

There is enough coal in the Galilee Basin to not only cook the Reef, but to supercharge extreme weather and destroy farmland worldwide.

The resulting death and destruction is seemingly unspeakable.

Any time gained through stopping fossil fuel projects must be used to enact meaningful cultural and systemic change.

The 50 years of the modern environment movement have been the most ecologically destructive in human history, when hyper-consumerism has become our dominant religion and carbon emissions have soared.

Our dominant culture of over-consumption, expensive thrills and massive waste must be challenged and changed.

‘Civilised’ humans have turned their only home into a garbage dump, created an ecological debt that cannot just be written off.

Solar-powered ecocide is still ecocide.

Living beyond our means hasn’t made us any happier.

If needless consumer products gave us the happiness promised in their ads we wouldn’t ‘need’ to buy any more of them.

Few people are immune to the constant lies of advertisers and politicians advocating for faceless corporations.

US Ambassador Timothy Roemer is greeted by Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group at Adani House in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. (IMAGE: U.S. Embassy New Delhi, Flickr)

Every kid that gets cancer, every cyclone, and every useless nick knack contributes to ‘economic growth’.

Progress must be measured differently – through wellbeing, social equality and harmony. Despite advertising being embedded in our culture, people value health, relationships, and recreation more than extra possessions.

The environment movement can only challenge consumerist culture by taking up the fight for economic justice.

People by nature compare themselves to others.

The outlandish and celebrated consumption of the super-rich must be curtailed, their wealth used to build communities where everyone gets a fair go.

Children aren’t the only ones who should be made to share.

Hyper-consumerism cannot be divorced from the creation of easy credit. Governments actively allowed bankers to provide credit at high rates for almost anything, regardless of personal or social value.

Governments can protect ecosystems and ensure economic justice by regulating financial systems that benefit wealthy rent-seekers above all others.

Dismantling the despotic power of the global financial system would take immense courage. Fortunately, courage is contagious.

If people start doing what is effective and necessary, rather than just what’s comfortable and socially acceptable, others will follow.

Governments will have to listen.

A small minority of powerful people cannot control the majority if they organise and disobey.

Ultimately, humans need to embrace a world view closer to that of traditional peoples, give up the delusion that somehow the laws of nature do not apply to us.

We will die out if we destroy the ecosystems we rely on to feed ourselves.

It’s simply not enough for governments to stop bad projects, or to power our destructive economic system differently.

We have to build better ways to structure and govern our communities, learn from other cultures and create new ways of doing things.

Only then can we look to the future with hope rather than living on the back foot having to stop destructive corporations like Adani.

Press link for more: New Matilda

Tourism spokesman attacks the messenger. #StopAdani #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #Coral

Great Barrier Reef tourism spokesman attacks scientist over slump in visitors

Col McKenzie calls on government to stop funding work of Terry Hughes, saying tourists ‘won’t do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead’

Amy RemeikisLast modified on Sat 13 Jan 2018 06.02 AEDT

A leading scientist has been accused of exaggerating the damage to the Great Barrier Reef, which a tourism representative said had hurt the region’s multibillion-dollar tourism industry. Photograph: Richard Fitzpatrick

A Queensland tourism representative has called one of the Great Barrier Reef’s leading researchers “a dick”, blaming the professor for a downturn in tourism growth at the state’s greatest natural asset.

Col McKenzie, the head of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, a group that represents more than 100 businesses in the Great Barrier Reef, has written to the federal government asking it to stop funding the work of Professor Terry Hughes, claiming his comments were “misleading” and damaging the tourism industry.

But the Australian Conservation Foundation said tourism representatives and operators like McKenzie should stop blaming scientists for reporting what was happening to the reef and start targeting major polluters to ensure change.

Hughes, who serves as the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the reef, has been warning of the damage rising water temperatures have been inflicting on the reef for years.

People won’t do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead

Col McKe, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators

While not disagreeing there was work to be done on the reef’s health, McKenzie accused Hughes of exaggerating the damage, which he said has been detrimental to the region’s multibillion-dollar tourism industry.

Professor Terry Hughes

Col McKenzie

“I think Terry Hughes is a dick,” he told Guardian Australia. “I believe he has done tens of millions of dollars of damage to our reef in our key markets, being America and Europe.

You went to those areas in 2017 and they were convinced the reef was dead. And people won’t do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead.”

McKenzie said in 2016, tourism growth in the region had returned to pre-global financial crisis levels, before “that growth died” in 2017, which he blamed on Hughes “negative comments”.

In April 2016 Hughes made international headlines after releasing his final report on extensive aerial and underwater surveys, which showed that of the surveyed reefs (911 individual reefs), only 7% had escaped coral bleaching.

A scientist measures coral mortality in October 2016 following bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: Tane Sinclair-Taylor/AP

McKenzie said that gave the impression the reef was “dead”. “All driven off the back of the negative comments made by a researcher paid entirely by commonwealth funds. I think it is a misuse of commonwealth funds to make false or misleading comments to the media.”

Reality Check

He has previously written to ministers Christopher Pyne and Greg Hunt over the issue and said he had spoken to Josh Frydenberg “informally”.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Research Council said the council had provided $28m over the past seven years to James Cook University to fund the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, with the funding going to the centre as a whole, not an individual.

“All projects funded through the ARC are subject to rigorous assessment and only the highest-quality applications are funded,” she said in a statement.

“The ARC monitors all projects that it funds for the achievement of their goals.

All projects funded through the ARC are expected to be undertaken in accordance with the Australian code for the responsible conduct of research, which applies to the quality and integrity of the research.”

Hughes did not respond to McKenzie’s comments directly, but included his most recent peer-reviewed articles in Science and Nature, which deal with the increased incidence of coral bleaching as a result of rising sea temperatures.

His Science paper, published on 5 January, found that coral bleaching events were now happening too regularly to allow the reef to adequately recover.

“We analysed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016,” the paper reported. “The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only six years.”

The CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Kelly O’Shanassy, said too much was at stake for tourism operators to blame scientists for what was actually happening to the reef and the real problem, climate change, had to be addressed.

“Blaming scientists and attempting to get their funding cut is the worst possible response to this crisis,” she said. “Scientists are not to blame. Big polluters and their political allies are to blame. We need high-quality science more than ever so we can monitor and track what’s happening to the reef.”

Darrell Wade, the executive chair of Intrepid Travel, also disputed the idea that talking about environmental problems kept tourists away.

“The idea that conservation and tourism could be at odds on this issue is crazy,” Wade said. “It’s been implied that talking about the issues will have a negative impact on business – but we’ve actually found that the opposite is true.”

The latest health report from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority found outbreaks of crown-of-thorn starfish across the reef.

It noted the world heritage site has experienced “multiple significant impacts” over the past two years, including “severe coral bleaching, outbreaks of coral disease and crown-of-thorns starfish, and a severe tropical cyclone and subsequent flood plumes”.

“The significant heat stress experienced during summer 2016-17 – along with a warmer than average winter and spring in 2017 – means corals faced continued stress and will potentially be more susceptible to bleaching and disease in early 2018,” it reported.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Ecosystems are Collapsing, Food Bowls are next! #auspol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Ecosystems Are Collapsing, Food Bowls Are Next

David FicklingJan 8, 2018 3:00 PM EST

The world we grew up in is disappearing.

From the tropics to the poles, the effects of climate change are transforming environments that humans have known since prehistory.

Chances of saving the world’s coral reefs are disappearing because of mass bleaching, according to a paper by scientists on four continents published in the journal Science last week.

Such events, caused by warmer-than-usual waters, had never been observed until the 1980s, but are now occurring once every six years. Many marine biologists now believe they’ll see the demise of coral reefs worldwide within their lifetimes.

Similar trends are afoot in colder climes.

The Arctic shows no signs of returning to the conditions of reliable ice cover that have persisted at least since data was first collected in the late 19th century, scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration wrote in an annual review last month. Permafrost temperatures hit record-high levels in 2016, and the region as a whole is warming at twice the global rate, they wrote.

If you think that’s the worst thing the coming century of climate change has in store, check what’s happening to agricultural land.

Land at least moderately suitable for agriculture will barely grow this century

Source: Global Agricultural Land Resources – A High Resolution Suitability Evaluation and Its Perspectives until 2100 under Climate Change Conditions (PLOS ONE, 2014)

Production from the world’s farms needs to grow at a headlong pace over the coming decades.

Rising populations and growing incomes that are already driving up consumption of land-intensive produce such as meat mean demand for farm products will rise between 70 percent and 110 percent between 2005 and 2050, according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization.

Usable land, though, is expected to barely increase.

Despite warmer climates opening up frigid stretches of Canada, Russia and China to agriculture, desertification and degradation elsewhere means the area of land considered moderately or highly suitable for agriculture will only rise from 33.2 million square kilometers to 34.1 million square kilometers toward the end of this century, according to one 2014 study.

Climate change is already playing a part here.

Heavy spring rainfalls in the U.S. Midwest, which have been linked to the effects of global warming, are one of the main causes of a dearth of protein in wheat that’s already caused ructions in U.S. grain markets.

The current freezing winter weather could exacerbate the same problems, while rising carbon dioxide concentrations themselves could be reducing the nutrient content of crops on a global scale.

It’s too soon to despair.

While the 19th and 20th centuries’ devastating famines in the British and Chinese empires initially seemed to confirm economist Thomas Malthus’s predictions that the world risked running out of food, recent decades have demonstrated that hunger is more a result of bad or wicked policy than environmental constraints.

Better Fed

Prevalence of undernourishment has slumped in emerging economies so far this century

Source: Food & Agriculture Organization

Undernourishment, which ran as high as 20 percent of the world’s population in the early 1990s, fell to just 10.6 percent in 2015, before rising in 2016 for the first time in 14 years.

The existing stock of land would be quite adequate to meet 2050’s agricultural demands so long as farmers manage to use it more efficiently and profitably, according to a 2015 study.

Indeed, at present the world appears to be drowning in a surfeit of farm produce.

The Bloomberg Agriculture Subindex touched a record-low 46.8 last month due to slumps in the price of sugar, coffee, wheat and corn.

Such conditions won’t last forever.

In years to come, China National Chemical Corp.’s takeover of Syngenta AG and the mergers that created DowDuPont Inc. and Nutrien Ltd. — not to mention the pending or possible takeovers of Monsanto Co. by Bayer AG and Bunge Ltd. by Glencore Plc — may come to be seen as moments when far-sighted managers looked past temporary farm gluts to see a leaner, and more profitable, future.

Investors who value Mosaic Co. and Deere & Co. at a premium to the S&P 500 already seem to believe as much.

Selling the Farm

Blended forward 12-month price-earnings ratios for fertilizer company Mosaic and tractor maker John Deere have edged ahead of a richly valued S&P 500

Source: Bloomberg

Still, events in the tropical oceans and the frigid Arctic should be of concern.

Coral and ice cover can survive warming events as long as the anomalies are rare enough to allow ecosystems to recover — but when the blows come too close together, the path to destruction becomes inexorable.

The 20th century’s green revolution in agriculture took place against the backdrop of a global climate in a steady state that allowed similar recoveries from crop failures, but those conditions are rapidly passing into history.

For decades now, humanity has mostly kept its edge in the race between farm productivity and starvation.

In the future, we’ll be running faster just to keep up.

To contact the author of this story:

David Fickling in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Katrina Nicholas at

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Climate Change Has Quadrupled Ocean ‘Dead Zones,’ #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol

The size of oxygen-starved ocean “dead zones,” where plants and animals struggle to survive, has increased fourfold around the world, according to a new scientific analysis.

The growth of the zones is yet another consequence of global warming — including increasing ocean temperatures — triggered by greenhouse gases and, closer to the coasts, contamination by agricultural runoff and sewage.

Our suffocating oceans: Red dots mark spots along coasts where oxygen has plummeted to 2 milligrams per liter or less. Blue areas mark varying levels of low oxygen in the open ocean.

“Rising nutrient loads coupled with climate change — each resulting from human activities — are changing ocean biogeochemistry and increasing oxygen consumption,” says the study published in the journal Science.

Ultimately, such changes are “unsustainable and may result in ecosystem collapses, which ultimately will cause societal and economic harm.”

The analysis of the oxygen-starved zones was conducted by a team of scientists from the Global Oxygen Network (GO2NE),  created in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations.

Researchers determined that open-ocean “oxygen-minimum” zones have expanded since 1950 by an area roughy equivalent to the size of the European Union.

The volume of ocean water completely devoid of oxygen has more than quadrupled in that time, the study found.

The number of hypoxic, or oxygen depleted, zones along coasts has increased up to 10 times, from less than 50 to 500.

Denise Breitburg, a marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and lead author of the study, called the plunge in ocean oxygen “among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.” Oxygen is “fundamental to life in the oceans,” she said in a statement.

“If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” Breitburg told The Associated Press. “As seas are losing oxygen, those areas are no longer habitable by many organisms.”

But the threat isn’t just to life in the oceans, which account for about half of the oxygen on the planet.

Major extinction events in Earth’s history have been associated with warm climates and oxygen-deficient oceans,” the study warns.

Consequences for ocean life can be significant even in areas where oxygen is merely low. Sea life may be stunted and immune responses impaired in such areas, resulting in poor survival rates and a decrease in healthy diversity, scientists warn.

The scientists recommend salvaging oxygen-starved areas by tackling climate change and nutrient pollution, focusing on protecting particularly vulnerable sea life with no-catch or no-fishing zones, and increasing and improving surveillance of areas where oxygen is plummeting.

Breitburg concedes that addressing global warming can seem daunting, but she says focused local efforts to protect areas can be effective. She points to changes in the Chesapeake Bay, where nitrogen pollution dropped 24 percent from its worst levels after sewage treatment and protections mandated by the Clean Air Act began. Areas of the bay with zero oxygen zones have nearly vanished, according to Breitburg.

Even with “ambitious emission reductions,” however, numerical models project “further oxygen declines during the 21st century,” the study warns.

Press link for more (including video) Huffington Post

U.N./WHO work together on environmental health risks. #StopAdani #AirPollution & #ClimateChange

UN Environment and World Health Organization agree to major collaboration on environmental health risks | UNFCCC

UN Environment and the World Health Organization have agreed a new, wide-ranging collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks that cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year.

Yesterday in Nairobi, Mr. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to step up joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues. The collaboration also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.

Although the two agencies cooperate in a range of areas, this represents the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the spectrum of environment and health issues in over 15 years.

“There is an urgent need for our two agencies to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet. This new agreement recognizes that sober reality,” said UN Environment’s Solheim.

He added: “Most of these deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where environmental pollution takes its biggest health toll.”

The new collaboration creates a more systematic framework for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships, and support to regional health and environment fora.

The two agencies will develop a joint work programme and hold an annual high-level meeting to evaluate progress and make recommendations for continued collaboration.

The WHO-UN Environment collaboration follows a Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change calling for the creation of a global “Health, Environment and Climate Change” Coalition, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016.

Just last month, under the overarching topic “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which convenes environment ministers worldwide, adopted a resolution on Environment and Health, called for expanded partnerships with relevant UN agencies and partners, and for an implementation plan to tackle pollution.

Click here to read the press release.

#FNQ Scientist warns Humanity in danger. #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

A NORTH Queensland scientist has warned human life on Earth is in danger if immediate action is not taken.

Jeffery Sayer

Cairns-based professor Jeff Sayer made the stark warning after research was published which showed the global scale of agricultural production had already breached two crucial “boundaries” that could endanger human existence.

The professor is part of an international team examining agricultural production in relation to nine “planetary boundaries”, which if breached could destabilise the Earth’s ecosystem.

The research examines threats to human life including climate change, the biosphere, biochemistry, freshwater and land systems.

“Agricultural production occupies 40 per cent of the land surface of the Earth that isn’t covered by ice, and that’s expected to increase by another 8 per cent by 2050,” Prof Sayer said.

He said agriculture was already overwhelmingly responsible for breaching accepted biogeochemical limits — the flow of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphate between living and non-living organisms.

Cairns-based professor Jeff Sayer is warning of a threat to human life from global scale of agricultural production.

Even if that doesn’t kill us off other threats will eventually extinguish human life including the sun turning into a red giant. Photo: Fsgregs

The nine Planetary Boundaries

1. Land-system change (increasing risk)

2. Freshwater use (increasing risk)

3. Biogeochemical flows (breached)

4. Change in biosphere integrity (breached)

5. Climate change (increasing risk)

6. Ocean acidification (safe)

7. Stratospheric ozone depletion (safe)

8. Atmospheric aerosol loading (safe)

9. Introduction of novel entities (safe)

Prof Sayer said the best way to prevent catastrophe was to make more efficient use of chemical inputs to agriculture — pesticides and fertilisers — for the biogeochemical flows and to manage protected areas to conserve biosphere integrity.

“However the full answers to these questions are much more complex and context dependent — and they need a lot of research and innovation in agricultural and land management systems,” he said.

End of the Earth

Although the professor’s paper has dire warnings for human life on Earth, life in general is expected to last for another 100 million years.

But many things could potential destroy life on Earth including a massive volcanic eruption.

Also an enormous asteroid could split the Earth in to pieces. That could happens within 450 million years.

Anytime within the next million years, a wandering star could pass close to the Earth, destroying life on the planet.

Eventually the sun will expand and swallow the Earth.

Scientists predict that will happen between 1 and 7.5 billion years from today.

Hopefully by that time humans will have developed technology to enable us to colonise other planets.

The Earth’s core could solidify, which could take about three to four billion years.

Read the paper yourself here.

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