Climate Change is an existential risk. 

Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that would either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

Special precautions that go well beyond conventional risk management practice are required if the “fat tails” — the increased likelihood of very large impacts — are to be adequately dealt with.

 The potential consequences of these lower-probability, but higher-impact, events would be devastating for human societies.

The bulk of climate research has tended to underplay these risks, and exhibited a preference for conservative projections and scholarly reticence, albeit increasing numbers of scientists have spoken out in recent years on the dangers of such an approach.

Climate policymaking and the public narrative are significantly informed by the important work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 However, IPCC reports also tend toward reticence and caution, erring on the side of “least drama”, and downplaying more extreme and more damaging outcomes. 

 Whilst this has been understandable historically, given the pressure exerted upon the IPCC by political and vested interests, it is now becoming dangerously misleading, given the acceleration of climate impacts globally.

 What were lower-probability, higher-impact, events are now becoming more likely.

This is a particular concern with potential climatic “tipping points” — passing critical thresholds which result in step changes in the system — such as the polar ice sheets (and hence sea levels), and permafrost and other carbon stores, where the impacts of global warming are non-linear and difficult to model at present.

 Under-reporting on these issues contributes to the “failure of imagination” that is occurring today in our understanding of, and response to, climate change.

If climate policymaking is to be soundly based, a reframing of scientific research within an existential risk-management framework is now urgently required.

 This must be taken up not just in the work of the IPCC, but also in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations if we are to address the real climate challenge.

Current processes will not deliver either the speed or the extent of change required.

Three decades ago, when serious debate on human-induced climate change began at the global level, a great deal of statesmanship was on display. 

 There was a preparedness to recognise that this was an issue transcending nation states, ideologies and political parties which had to be addressed proactively in the long-term interests of humanity as a whole, even if the existential nature of the risk it posed was far less clear cut than it is today.

As global institutions were established to take up this challenge, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and the extent of change this would demand of the fossil-fuel-dominated world order became clearer, the forces of resistance began to mobilise.

 Today, as a consequence, and despite the diplomatic triumph of the 2015 Paris Agreement , the debate around climate change policy has never been more dysfunctional, indeed Orwellian.
In his book 1984, George Orwell describes a double-speak totalitarian state where most of the population accepts “the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. 

 By lack of understanding they remained sane.”
Orwell could have been writing about climate change and policymaking. 

 International agreements talk of limiting global warming to 1.5–2°C, but in reality they set the world on a path of 3–5°C.

 Goals are reaffirmed, only to be abandoned. 

 Coal is “clean”. 

 Just 1°C of warming is already dangerous, but this cannot be said. 

 The planetary future is hostage to myopic national self-interest. 

 Action is delayed on the assumption that as yet unproven technologies will save the day, decades hence. 

 The risks are existential, but it is “alarmist” to say so.

 A one-in-two chance of missing a goal is normalised as reasonable.

Climate policymaking for years has been cognitively dissonant, “a flagrant violation of reality”.

 So it is unsurprising that there is a lack of a understanding amongst the public and elites of the full measure of the climate challenge. 

 Yet most Australians sense where we are heading: three-quarters of Australians see climate change as catastrophic risk and half see our way of life ending within the next 100 years.

Politics and policymaking have norms: rules and practices, assumptions and boundaries, that constrain and shape them. 

 In recent years, the previous norms of statesmanship and long-term thinking have disappeared, replaced by an obsession with short-term political and commercial advantage Climate policymaking is no exception.

Since 1992, short-term economic interest has trumped environmental and future human needs.  

The world today emits 48% more carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from the consumption of energy than it did 25 years ago, and the global economy has more than doubled in size.

 The UNFCCC strives ” to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”, but every year humanity’s ecological footprint becomes larger and less sustainable.

 Humanity now requires the biophysical capacity of 1.7 planets annually to survive as it rapidly chews up the natural capital.

A fast, emergency-scale transition to a post-fossil fuel world is absolutely necessary to address climate change. But this is excluded from consideration by policymakers because it is considered to be too disruptive. 

 The orthodoxy is that there is
time for an orderly economic transition within the current short-termist political paradigm. 

 Discussion of what would be safe –– less warming that we presently experience –– is non-existent. 

 And so we have a policy failure of epic proportions.

Policymakers, in their magical thinking, imagine a mitigation path of gradual change, to be constructed over many decades in a growing, prosperous world.

 The world not imagined is the one that now exists: of looming financial instability; of a global crisis of political legitimacy; of a sustainability crisis that extends far beyond climate change to include all the fundamentals of human existence and most significant planetary boundaries (soils, potable water, oceans, the atmosphere, biodiversity, and so on); and of severe global energy sector dislocation.

In anticipation of the upheaval that climate change would impose upon the global order, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was established by the UN in 1988, charged with regularly assessing the global consensus on climate science as a basis for policymaking.

 The IPCC Assessment Reports ( AR ), produced every 5–6 years, play a large part in the public framing of the climate narrative: new reports are a global media event.

 AR5 was produced in 2013-14, with AR6 due in 2022. 

 The IPCC has done critical, indispensable work of the highest standard in pulling together a periodic consensus of what must be the most exhaustive scientific investigation in world history. 

 It does not carry out its own research, but reviews and collates peer-reviewed material from across the spectrum of this incredibly complex area, identifying key issues and trends for policymaker consideration.

However, the IPCC process suffers from all the dangers of consensus-building in such a wide-ranging and complex arena.

 For example, IPCC reports, of necessity, do not always contain the latest available information.

 Consensus-building can lead to “least drama”, lowest-common-denominator outcomes which overlook critical issues. 

 This is particularly the case with the “fat-tails” of probability distributions, that is, the high-impact but relatively low-probability events where scientific knowledge is more limited. 

 Vested interest pressure is acute in all directions; climate denialists accuse the IPCC of alarmism, whereas climate action proponents consider the IPCC to be far too conservative. 

 To cap it all, the IPCC conclusions are subject to intense political oversight before being released, which historically has had the effect of substantially watering-down sound scientific findings.

These limitations are understandable, and arguably were not of overriding importance in the early period of the IPCC.

 However, as time has progressed, it is now clear that the risks posed by climate change are far greater than previously anticipated. 

 We have moved out of the twilight period of much talk but relatively limited climate impacts. Climate change is now turning nasty, as we have witnessed in 2017 in the USA, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires, more intense flooding and more damaging hurricanes.

The distinction between climate science and risk is now the critical issue, for the two are not the same.

 Scientific reticence — a reluctance to spell out the full risk implications of climate science in the absence of perfect information — has become a major problem. 

 Whilst this is understandable, particularly when scientists are continually criticised by denialists and political apparatchiks for speaking out, it is extremely dangerous given the “fat tail” risks of climate change.

 Waiting for perfect information, as we are continually urged to do by political and economic elites, means it will be too late to act.

Irreversible, adverse climate change on the global scale now occurring is an existential risk to human civilisation.

 Many of the world’s top climate scientists quoted in this report well understand these implications — James Hansen, Michael E. Mann, John Schellnhuber, Kevin Anderson, Eric Rignot, Naomi Oreskes, Kevin Trenberth, Michael Oppenheimer, Stefan Rahmstorf and others — and are forthright about their findings, where we are heading, and the limitations of IPCC reports.

This report seeks to alert the wider community and leaders to these limitations and urges change to the IPCC approach, and to the wider UNFCCC negotiations. It is clear that existing processes will not deliver the transformation to a low-carbon world in the limited time now available.
We urgently require a reframing of scientific research within an existential risk-management framework. This requires special precautions that go well beyond conventional risk management. 

 Like an iceberg, there is great danger “In what lies beneath”.

Press link for more: What lies beneath Report


Think energy is expensive wait till you get the bill for #ClimateChange #QT #Auspol 

If You Think Fighting Climate Change Will Be Expensive, Calculate the Cost of Letting It Happen
Dante Disparte June 12, 2017


With the Trump Administration’s surprising U-turn on the COP21 Paris Agreement, the U.S. finds itself with some strange bedfellows, joining Nicaragua and Syria in abstaining from this important treaty. 

The White House’s argument for leaving the treaty is based on economic nationalism: President Trump, in his speech announcing the decision, cited primarily the “lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production” that he thought meeting the agreement’s voluntary targets would cause.
This echoes a common political talking point: that fighting climate change is bad for the economy.

I’d like to point out the flip side: that climate change itself is bad for the economy and investing in climate resilience is not only a national security priority, but an enormous economic opportunity.
The share of national GDP at risk from climate change exceeds $1.5 trillion in the 301 major cities around the world. 

Including the impact of human pandemics – which are likely to become more severe as the planet warms — the figure increases to nearly $2.2 trillion in economic output at risk through 2025.

For recent examples of what climate disruptions will look like in practice, consider Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the Eastern Seaboard in 2012, causing $68 billion in damages, making it the second most costly weather event in the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina.

 Record snowfall in Boston of more than 100 inches in the winter of 2015 shut down transit systems for weeks and made it difficult, if not impossible, for some employees to get to work. 

The “rain bomb” that imperiled the Oroville Dam in California earlier this year threatened the displacement of more than 250,000 downstream residents.

 A similar rain bomb effectively destroyed historic downtown Ellicott City in 2016, just outside of Washington D.C. Air quality and smog red alerts and the complete bans on vehicle traffic in major cities around the world highlight how traditional commerce and supply chains can and do grind to a halt because of climate risks. 

Record flooding in Thailand in 2011 severely impacted air travel, tourism, and one of the major regional airports in Asia.
Climate change is also a critical geostrategic issue over which the prospect of war and social upheaval cannot be ruled out. 

How will the country of Panama be affected by the likelihood of Northern open ocean sea routes? 

How will the undersea land-grab play out under the dwindling polar ice caps, as Arctic nations race to lay claim to untapped natural resources? 

Indeed, the prospects of the Larsen B ice shelf breaking off – a mass of ice roughly the size of Delaware – will profoundly affect global shipping routes, as well as herald a major tipping point in global sea levels, which already plague many low-lying areas of the world, from Louisiana and the Florida panhandle to the Maldives. 

Military leaders in both the U.S. and the UK have argued that climate change is already accelerating instability in some parts of the world, drawing direct links between climate change and the Arab Spring, Syrian civil war, and Boko Haram insurgency. 

The destabilizing migrations caused by the climate and related events will only become more pronounced as the effects of global warming become more severe; climate change refugees already exist in the United States, China, and Africa, among other places.

When people can’t get to work, or goods can’t be shipped to where they need to be, or customers can’t get to stores, the economy suffers. 

Insidiously, already-strained public budgets tend to be the “suppliers of first resort” when absorbing both the acute and attritional economic costs of climate change.

 Unfunded losses, such as post-Katrina repairs in the Gulf region, that ultimately get picked up by tax payers have the consequence of raising the specter of sovereign risk. 

Funding “slow burn” climate impacts, such as the urban heat island effect that is projected to make many urban centers unbearably hot, including the already sweltering Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and Dallas areas, risk the dislocation of millions of people, imperiling countless industries over the long range.

 With rising temperatures comes an increase in vector-borne diseases, which have been traditionally relegated as sub-tropical threats. 

Today, mosquito-borne West Nile virus is already endemic in much of the U.S., which does not bode well for containing the risk of Zika.

While the Zika epidemic is over in Puerto Rico, reports that it would affect one in five people on the island hurt the island’s tourism industry – at a time when the local economy is struggling to emerge from a municipal debt crisis. 

The correlation between climate change, human pandemics, and economic and other risks, cannot be isolated; they’re all connected.
That makes the shift away from a carbon-based economy as inexorable as the rising tide and temperature. 

Indeed, the renewable energy sector is one of the fastest growing employers in the U.S., with solar alone accounting for nearly 400,000 jobs, proving that investing in climate resilience not only makes for good policy, it makes for good business.

 The business opportunities of investing in climate change, renewable energy, and human adaptation are big enough to create a new generation of billionaires – I call them Climate Robber Barons – regardless of what politicians in Washington or other capitals choose to do.

Climate change and climate resilience are not zero-sum propositions, as evidenced by the near unanimous support for COP21 from more than 190 countries. 

While the U.S. turning its back on climate change is clearly a global policy and diplomatic setback, this is also an opportunity for leaders to prove that values matter most when it is least convenient. 

Indeed, the response from U.S. state and city leaders underscores how many leaders are remaining steadfast to the Paris Agreement notwithstanding the short-term setback. 

Business leaders have also been swift in their rebuke, including Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and very likely the first climate robber baron, and Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, both of whom immediately stepped down from the President’s economic advisory council. 

New York’s former mayor and the renowned business leader, Michael Bloomberg, looks decidedly like a head of state rather than a captain of industry, as he steps into the UN funding breach left behind by the U.S. with a $15 million pledge. 

While the official U.S. seat at the climate change table may have been shorted, parallel leadership can show the world that the U.S. is going long on climate change.

Press link for more: Harvard Business Report

2017 Scientific Consensus Great Barrier Reef Impacts #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Auspol 

2017 Scientific Consensus Statement Great Barrier 
Land use impacts on Great Barrier Reef water quality and ecosystem condition
This report provides the 2017 Scientific Consensus Statement for the Great Barrier Reef – a review of the significant advances in scientific knowledge of water quality issues in the Great Barrier Reef to arrive at a consensus on the current understanding of the system. 

The consensus statement was produced by a multidisciplinary group of scientists, with oversight from the Reef Independent Science Panel, and supports the development of the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017–2022.

The overarching consensus is:
Key Great Barrier Reef ecosystems continue to be in poor condition. 

This is largely due to the collective impact of land run-off associated with past and ongoing catchment development, coastal development activities, extreme weather events and climate change impacts such as the 2016 and 2017 coral bleaching events.

Current initiatives will not meet the water quality targets. 

To accelerate the change in on-ground management, improvements to governance, program design, delivery and evaluation systems are urgently needed. 

This will require greater incorporation of social and economic factors, better targeting and prioritisation, exploration of alternative management options and increased support and resources.
The evidence base supporting this consensus is provided in a series of four supporting chapters.

 The main conclusions were:
The decline of marine water quality associated with land-based run-off from the adjacent catchments is a major cause of the current poor state of many of the coastal and marine ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Water quality improvement has an important role in ecosystem resilience.

The main source of the primary pollutants (nutrients, fine sediments and pesticides) from Great Barrier Reef catchments is diffuse source pollution from agriculture. 

These pollutants pose a risk to Great Barrier Reef coastal and marine ecosystems.

Progress towards the water quality targets has been slow and the present trajectory suggests these targets will not be met.

Greater effort to improve water quality is urgently required to progress substantial pollutant reductions using an expanded scope of tailored and innovative solutions. 

Climate change adaptation and mitigation, cumulative impact assessment for major projects and better policy coordination are also required to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

There is an urgent need for greater investment in voluntary practice change programs, the use of regulatory tools and other policy mechanisms to accelerate the adoption of practice change, and robust monitoring and evaluation programs to measure the rate and effectiveness of adoption.

Strengthened and more effective coordination of Australian and Queensland government policies and programs, further collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders, and strong evaluation systems are critical to the success of Great Barrier Reef water quality initiatives.

Priorities for reducing pollutant loads are now established at a catchment scale, based on the exposure of coastal and marine ecosystems to land-based pollutants, and should be used to guide investment.

A greater focus on experimentation, prioritisation and evaluation at different scales, coupled with the use of modelling and other approaches to understand future scenarios, could further improve water quality programs.

Press link for more: Reef Plan Queensland Government

Sue The Bastards #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol 

Sue the Bastards
L. Hunter Lovins, Contributor President Natural Capitalism Solutions, Professor of Sustainable Management Bard MBA

When flood waters rose in Houston and Hurricane Harvey spread eastward to already battered regions of the Gulf coast, the urgent priority was preservation of life, evacuation of those threatened and long-term care of the displaced. 

The unfolding tragedy that is Harvey has already killed dozens, with more to come. 

Cost estimates rose from $30 billion before the storm, to $75 billion, as the severity became obvious, to over $100 billion. 

Harvey will certainly exceed Katrina, the previous record holder, costing up to one percent of U.S. GDP.

As usual, Americans reached deep to lend sympathy, understanding and practical assistance. 

As always, groups like the Red Cross stepped up, offering Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10
But is anyone responsible for Harvey?
When the Deep Horizon well blew out, no one questioned that the parties who killed eleven people and spewed oil across the Gulf of Mexico would be held to account. 

The only question was how much. 

BP’s costs for taking a $500,000 short cut was in the neighborhood of $62 billion, although they offset many of the fines against taxes.

Damage from storms has routinely been considered an “Act of God.” 

Legal dictionaries define this as, “An event that directly and exclusively results from occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.”
But is that true of Harvey?
The ultra warm waters of the Gulf and the tendency of storms now to move very slowly—the warming arctic is unable to maintain the jet stream that previously blew such storm away from the hot Gulf that fuels them—clearly contributed to the billions in damage. 

These, we now know, are results of global warming.

Several California communities recently tired of blaming God and sued the oil and coal companies claiming THEY caused the climate change that forecasts warned would devastate their communities in years to come.

 Global warming, they said, could have been prevented.

 They’re right: my first book on how to do this was in 1981.

 Since then many of us have shown that energy efficiency and renewable energy is cheaper than burning the fossil fuels that drive climate change, and that it would be better business to go green and just solve the crisis.

Marin and San Mateo Counties, and the city of Imperial Beach carried the argument further.

 Using the work of my colleague Richard Heede who showed that just 90 companies are responsible for two thirds of human caused global warming, they decided if you can name the creators of the harm, you ought to be able to sue them.

Wake up to the day’s most important news.
The governments argued, “37 coal, oil, and gas companies including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Peabody Energy, knew about the harm their products posed to the planet and continued to undermine and obfuscate the dangers of climate change.”

The suit faces challenges.

 Peabody, once the world’s largest coal company, promptly claimed its recent bankruptcy shields it from such liability. 

Interestingly, it did not deny that it might have been liable, only that its early recognition of the unviability of its business model now enabled it to duck any ongoing responsibility. Mighty neighborly….
For arcane legal reasons (preemption by the Federal government limits people’s ability to sue) previous efforts to hold companies liable have failed. 

When the Inuit village being eaten by rising sea levels sought federal damages, they were told that only the legislative and executive branches could deliver relief.
But what if Congress and the Child-in-Chief are bought and paid for advocates for the fossil industry? 

Maybe suing is the only way to bring accountability to our system. 

Yes, apportioning blame will be tricky.

 And yes, every one of us is to blame every time we fire up a car or board an airplane.

 But we’ll already be paying the costs through our tax dollars. 

Isn’t it time that those who have made billions keeping us all addicted to oil pay their share?

Framing their case to mimic the successful public nuisance suits that forced tobacco companies to settle and pay damages for the public costs imposed on taxpayers to treat smokers, and filing in state court, may enable California plaintiffs to overcome the hurdles that derail federal law suits. 

Still, they must prove that any particular defendant is responsible for their specific harm, especially when the damage they allege is only anticipated.
But Harvey’s harm is all too real, compounding daily with creeping mold, exploding chemical plants, loss of water supplies, and the threat of disease. 

Harvey has already forced the release of millions of pounds of chemicals from oil operations spread across Houston. 

One Exxon facility collapsed, releasing 13,000 pounds of nastiness including benzene, a known carcinogen.

And the challenge of dealing with global warming is only beginning. As meteorologist Eric Holthaus put it, “Harvey is what climate change looks like.”
“In all of U.S. history,” he stated, “There’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey…. Houston, as it was before Harvey, will never be the same again.”
He points out that Harvey is the third 500-year flood to hit the Houston area in three years. A storm like Harvey should not happen more than once in a millennium. 

The week before, 1,200 people died in floods also triggered by record rainfall across India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Futurist Alex Steffen calls our tendency to deny threats like climate change “predatory delay”—it adds inevitable risk to the system.

 Legal liability is supposed to impose a measure of responsibility on parties with the capacity do damage. 

But if no one can be held liable, what will stop the catastrophe?
Holthaus warns, “It’s up to the rest of us to identify this behavior and make it morally repugnant….The symbolism of the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history hitting the sprawled-out capital city of America’s oil industry is likely not lost on many. 

Institutionalized climate denial in our political system and climate denial by inaction by the rest of us have real consequences. 

They look like Houston.”

Press link for more: Huffington Post

Catastrophic Hurricane Irma #Catastrophic #ClimateChange #StopAdani #Auspol 

Catastrophic Hurricane Irma — now a Cat 5 — is on a collision course with Florida
By Brian McNoldy, Jason SamenowSeptember 5, 2017 at 2:05 PM
Hurricane Irma is an “extremely dangerous” Category 5, barreling toward the northern Lesser Antilles and Southern Florida. It’s already the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s likely to make landfall somewhere in Florida over the weekend.
If it does, the impact could be catastrophic.

The storm is life-threatening for the United States, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas. 

Hurricane warnings have been issued for the northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

 A hurricane watch is in effect for Hispaniola and southeastern Bahamas.
With maximum winds of 185 mph, Irma is tied for the second strongest storm ever observed in the Atlantic.

 And in its Tuesday morning discussion, the National Hurricane Center said the storm is in an environment “ideal for some additional intensification.”
Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm, plowed toward the Caribbean and the southern United States on Sept. 5 with residents in its path braced for possible life-threatening winds, storm surges and flooding. (Reuters)
The hurricane is expected to remain at least a Category 4 for the next few days with minor fluctuations in intensity.

 It could even become slightly stronger, but it is already nearing historical precedent and a theoretical limit for how strong it can get.
It cannot be overstated that Hurricane Irma is extremely dangerous and will produce the full gamut of hurricane hazards across the Caribbean and potentially in South Florida, including a devastating storm surge, destructive winds and dangerous flash flooding.
All of Florida — especially South Florida and the Keys — should be preparing for a major hurricane landfall on Sunday. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to arrive as soon as Friday.
Mainland U.S. landfall threat
Computer models are in strong agreement that by Saturday, Irma will be approaching the Florida Keys — where dangerous storm conditions are likely. 

Then, they show a sharp northward turn by Sunday morning. The precise timing and location of the turn has huge implications for Florida.

Model ensemble guidance out to 10 days from the European model (top) and the U.S. model (bottom). (B. Tang, UAlbany)

It is impossible to say with certainty whether Irma will track up along the eastern side of the Florida peninsula, the western side, or straight up the peninsula. Since the weekend, models have generally shifted westward with the storm’s forecast track, which means interests along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico should also closely monitor this storm.

For a major hurricane, the exact track of the storm’s eyewall — the zone surrounding its calm center — is critical as it will determine where the most severe effects tend to concentrate. The most violent winds coincide with the eyewall, and the biggest storm surge occurs just to its right (or north).
But as Irma is such a large and powerful hurricane, very dangerous weather will also occur up to 200 miles away from the eyewall — including coastal surge, flooding rains and potentially damaging winds.
“The hurricane force winds in Irma are wider than Florida,” tweeted Bryan Norcross, hurricane specialist at the Weather Channel. “You won’t need a direct hit to get Wilma-type winds & storm surge on both coasts.”
Beyond the weekend, the scenarios really depend on which side of Florida it tracks. But for now, it’s safe to say that the southeast United States, including the Florida panhandle, Georgia and the Carolinas, should also brace for potential impacts, such as flash flooding, storm surge and strong winds.

Impact on the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the powerhouse storm was positioned 180 miles east of the island of Antigua in the northern Leewards, where it is forecast to make a direct impact early Wednesday. The storm was moving westward at 14 miles per hour.
Destructive winds as well as heavy rain that can produce flash flooding and mudslides are possible in the warning areas. Along the coast, the storm surge height – or rise in water above normally dry air – could reach 7-11 feet – especially just north of the storm center.
Irma is likely to become the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Leeward Islands, even more intense than David, which raked across the central Leeward Islands in 1979. “David was a horrible hurricane for Leeward Islands: 56 fatalities in Dominica,” tweeted Phil Klotzbach, hurricane expert at Colorado State University.
Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Anguilla — in particular — are right in the path of the storm.
“Really feel for the northern Leeward Islands,” tweeted National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake. “A hurricane this strong there only comes around once a generation or two.”
Areas affected by the core winds near the storm’s eye face devastating wind destruction. The Hurricane Center provides this description of the damage inflicted by Category 5 winds:
A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
After passing the northern Leeward Islands, the hurricane will strike the British Virgin Islands with potentially catastrophic effects.
The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico may remain south of the storm’s center, so less prone to Irma’s most hostile conditions. But even so, damaging winds and torrential rains are likely.
Irma’s place in history
Irma’s peak intensity so far ranks among the strongest in recorded history, exceeding the likes of Katrina, Andrew and Camille – whose winds peaked at 175 mph.
Among the most intense storms on record, it only trails Hurricane Allen in 1980 which had winds of 190 miles per hour. It is tied for second most intense with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the 1935 Florida Keys hurricane.

If Irma makes landfall as a Category 4 or higher in the United States, joining Hurricane Harvey, it will become the first time two storms so strong struck the United States in the same season.
Tropical Storm Jose forms in eastern Atlantic
While all attention is on Hurricane Irma, Tropical Storm Jose formed in the eastern Atlantic Tuesday morning. This storm is also predicted to intensify into a hurricane over the coming days, but the latest track forecast keeps it away from land areas for the most part.

(National Hurricane Center)

The truth about Harvey and climate change is in the middle
Texas continues Harvey recovery efforts as Hurricane Irma looms in the Atlantic
Brian McNoldy works in cyclone research at the University of Miami’s world-renowned Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). His website hosted at RSMAS is also quite popular during hurricane season.
Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang’s chief meteorologist. He earned a master’s degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.

Press link for more: Washington Post

5 Charts show human impact on extreme weather. #StopAdani #auspol 

These 5 charts explore the human impact on extreme weather

Flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey encompass the Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif – RC1254851E70

It’s not an exact science, but it’s science: humans are partly to blame for worsening weather
Linking specific extreme weather events to global warming is difficult, and this plays into the hands of climate-change deniers.
In the past couple of weeks, tropical storms have devastated communities around the world. Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc in Texas, destroying homes and claiming lives.

 Typhoon Hato has left a similar trail of destruction in southern China and Hong Kong.
There is a strong argument to be made that humans are at least partly responsible for both of these extreme weather events.

 The problem is it’s often difficult to produce tangible evidence.
What we do know for sure, however, is that climate change enhances storm surges and causes flooding – both of which can have devastating consequences.

Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey seen during widespread flooding in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Richard Carson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC1BA1656450    

Parts of Texas remain submerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Spike in carbon emissions

This chart, which was produced by NASA, shows the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide – or C02, to give it its chemical formula – over the past 400,000 years.
As human activity gathered momentum in the mid 20th century – in the form of growing populations and the rise of heavy industry – carbon emissions also followed an upward trajectory.
The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide has created a warming effect. This has coincided with an uptick in the number and scale of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, wildfires and storms.

CO2 levels have increased rapidly since the 1950s
Image: NASA
These countries produce the most C02

It will come as no surprise to learn that China and the United States are the most prolific carbon emitters. Both countries are among those with the biggest populations, the most factories and the highest number of cars.

China produces more carbon emissions than any other country
Image: US Energy Information Administration

The same countries suffer the most natural disasters
Interestingly, it is those same countries that top the table in terms of carbon emissions that have experienced the highest number of hydrological, meteorological and climatological disasters in recent years.
According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), China, the US and India were among the countries worst hit by extreme weather events from 1995 to 2015.
Large parts of Africa and Europe have so far been relatively unscathed by the onslaught of these types of natural disasters.

China, the US and India have suffered the highest number of natural disasters in recent times

More floods than ever before
As the atmosphere gets warmer it absorbs more moisture – this works out at roughly 7% more for every 1℃ rise in temperature. The end result is worse flooding.
Higher sea levels in turn lead to bigger storm surges, such as those that have caused devastation in Texas and southern China.
It’s no coincidence that an increase in carbon emissions coincides with a steady rise in the number of hydrological disasters over recent years.

2016 saw an increase in the number of hydrological disasters around the world
Image: Munich Re
The cost of catastrophe

It has been estimated previously that flooding could cost coastal cities around $1 trillion per year by the year 2050.
Yet again, it is towns and cities in the US and China that are expected to bear the brunt.

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Climate Change: Africa can no longer feed itself. #StopAdani #Auspol 

Global warming has compromised Africa’s ability to feed its population. 

It’s time African nations adapt to the changing scenario.

 Displaced people gather at an artificial water pan near Habaas town of Awdal region in Somaliland in April 2016. 

As East Africa reels from the worst drought in a century, scientific studies show the impact of drought is more severe because of climate change.

Something strange is happening across East Africa. 

The region, which receives rainfall twice a year, is reeling from the worst drought in a century. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, which boast of rich agricultural lands, have received below-average rainfall for the third year in a row. 

This has caused food prices to skyrocket to record levels, doubling the price of staple cereals in some areas, and exacerbating the acute food insecurity prevailing over most parts of the continent.

 ªOver the past six months, severe drought conditions have contributed to the displacement of more than 700,000 people within Somalia, 300,000 in Ethiopia and over 41,000 in Kenya,” says Jemal Seid, Director, Climate and Geospatial Research, at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.
In some places camel carcasses are being stacked up as even the world’s most robust animal has not been able to survive this persistent drought. 

High number of people at the risk of starvation prompted South Sudan, a largely water-surplus region, to declare famine in February—the first such declaration anywhere in the world since 2011.

 In March, the World Health Organization warned that Somalia is at the risk of third famine in 25 years. 

According to the UN, 12 million people in the region are now dependent on humanitarian aid.
The persistent dry conditions are partly linked to the Indian Ocean dipole, which is similar to El Niño weather phenomenon in the Pacific and pushes away the moist air that brings rain to East Africa. 

But scientific studies show that the severity of the problem is due to changing climate. 

“The impacts of current and recent droughts in East Africa are likely to have been aggravated by climate change,” notes the 2017 report by Oxfam, an international confederation of charitable organisations focused on the alleviation of global poverty.
The latest Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in 2014, had warned of such an eventuality in Africa.

 Over the past century, temperatures across the continent have soared by 0.5°C or more, with minimum temperatures rising faster than the maximum temperatures. 

Higher temperatures result in greater evaporation, causing soil moisture depletion, reinforcing drier conditions and intensifying the impacts of failed rains, noted the IPCC report. According to the 2016 report by Berlin-based policy institute Climate Analytics, summer monsoon rain, which brings maximum precipitation to East Africa, has decreased in recent years due to rapid warming of the Indian Ocean. 

These changing climatic conditions pose the third whammy for a continent, already struggling with the need to feed more and more people and rising food import bill. 
“Climate change has compromised Africa’s ability to feed herself,” says Oscar Magenya, chief research scientist at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi. “Climate change affects many physical and biological systems, disrupting growing seasons, fluctuating plant and animal ranges and resulting in the emergence of virulent pests and diseases,” Magenya explains. 

In Sahel, for instance, most farmers depend on rain-fed crops. But these days rains do not last long enough to grow a full crop. This shrinking rainy season is affecting food security and exacerbating malnutrition in the region. In an April report to IPCC, experts have said that in some countries, yields from rain-fed crops could be reduced by up to 50 per cent by 2020.
Recurrent droughts is fuelling desertification.

 Sahel region, which alternately experiences wet and dry seasons, has been suffering from drought on a regular basis since the early 1980s. 

As a result, says Peter Tarfa, acting director of the climate change department under Nigeria’s environment ministry, semi-arid Sahel is not only fast turning into a desert but also encroaching on northern Nigeria, affecting farming and pastoral activities in the region.
While there is no study to link climate change with dwindling water resources, the fact is the Congo, the world’s second-largest river, is experiencing a 50 per cent drop in its water levels. Lake Chad has shrunk by nearly 90 per cent since 1963.

 A prolonged drought could affect large parts of the shoreline of Lake Victoria—the world’s largest tropical lake and the source of the Nile—which depends on rainfall for 80 per cent of the water. 

This would destroy fish breeding grounds and traditional agriculture, putting millions of lives at risk. 

In West Africa, as rising sea levels redraw the shoreline and ocean acidification damages coral reefs, fishing and agriculture that form the foundation of livelihoods suffer a blow. 

The coast accounts for 56 per cent of the region’s gdp.
Why at the receiving end

What countries across Africa are experiencing is nothing unusual in this age of Anthropocene. Then why does the continent bear the insurmountable loss and damage? Munich-based reinsurance company Munich Re offers an explanation. While climate change is a global problem, its impacts are unevenly distributed, with poor and developing countries bearing the maximum brunt. The impact of natural disasters is much greater on developing countries currently 13 per cent of their gdp—than on rich nations, where it is 2 per cent, according to Munich Re. There is also a disparity among different parts of the developing world. While Asia is highly exposed to natural disasters, Africa is most vulnerable to its impacts. According to the Natural Hazards Vulnerability Index by risk analysis and research company Verisk Maplecroft, nine of 10 countries found most vulnerable on the index are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Analysis by Down To Earth shows that climate change impacts are more pronounced in Africa because of a few reasons. One, agriculture is largely rain-fed and underdeveloped; two, 90 per cent of the farms are small yet contribute to 80 per cent of the total food production; and three, a majority of the farmers have few financial resources, limited access to infrastructure and extremely limited access to weather and technological information.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (fao), in developing countries the agriculture sector, including crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry, absorbs 22 per cent of the economic impact caused by natural disasters. But in Africa, the sector only adds to the impact. Africa’s crop and livestock losses caused by natural disasters in 2003-13 were US $26 billion. Kulthoum Omari, Coordinator, Adaptation of African Agriculture (aaa), a 27-nation coalition, cites the enormity of the problem: “About 80 per cent of people in Africa depend on agriculture for their livelihood and sustenance. Therefore, boosting agricultural activities will have a positive impact on local and national economies in Africa. However, this is being hampered by the impacts of climate change.”
The latest ipcc report also states that climate change is worsening the already deplorable state of agricultural systems in Africa. The white paper on the initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (aaa) to climate change, presented at the Marrakech UN Climate Change Conference in 2016, says the continent has 500 million hectares of severely degraded land—this accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s total degraded soils. The paper cites water erosion, chemical degradation and soil compaction as the prime reasons for land degradation. Further, about 66 per cent of African lands are located in arid or semi-arid areas, and suffer from water shortages. Due to uneven distribution of water resources, around 25 per cent of the population faces water scarcity, especially in North Africa and the Sudano-Sahelian region, and only 2 per cent of arable land is irrigated in Africa against 42 per cent in Asia, highlights the white paper.
Worse, Africa is least prepared to tackle weather-related risks. Two-thirds of its countries have little or no capacity to manage these risks. According to the aaa white paper, there are only 781 synoptic weather stations (that collect meteorological information every six hours) in Africa as compared to 1,696 synoptic weather stations in Asia. Besides, Africa is the world’s lowest consumer of improved agricultural inputs, such as seeds resistant to heat, drought or diseases. Though some farmers are adopting climate resilient agriculture, such attempts are limited to certain pockets. For instance, farmers in Bankass district of Mali are infusing vigour to the degraded soil by growing trees as well as staple food like millets on the same farm. In Northern Ghana, several non-profits are sensitising women farmers about the effects of pesticides on food crops as well as soil.
There is an urgent need to replicate such initiatives across the continent as extreme weather will significantly disrupt the agricultural calendar and affect crop yields and livestock production.
Time to step up action

Going by the latest IPCC report, changes in average temperature would be greater over northern and southern Africa and relatively smaller over central Africa. This means, Sahara and southern parts of Africa would get warmer in coming years. Extreme precipitation changes, such as droughts and heavy rainfall, that eastern African has been experiencing more frequently in last 30-60 years, is likely to batter the region in future.
By 2080, arid and semi-arid areas could expand by 60-80 million hectares. Viable arable land is predicted to decline, with 9-20 per cent becoming less suitable for agriculture. Suitable land for corn (maize) and beans—staple crops in the continent—could reduce by 20-40 per cent. Conversely, sorghum, cassava, yam and pearl millet could show little loss, or even gains, in the area suitable for production. Western Africa appears to be a highly vulnerable region, where suitable land for maize, sorghum, finger millet, groundnut and bananas are likely to reduce by 10 per cent.
This will impact crop productivity. A study by international research firm CGIAR predicts that because of climate change, maize yield could reduce by 22 per cent, groundnut by 18 per cent, sorghum and millet by 17 per cent and cassava by 8 per cent. Banana production could also decline in western Africa and in the lowlands of eastern Africa. In arid Egypt, production of paddy would decline by 11 per cent and that of soybean by 28 per cent by 2050.

While rising sea levels will affect fisheries productivity by 50-60 per cent, substantial reductions in forage availability in some regions would alter productivity of livestock. It is projected that at temperatures above 30ºC, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry reduce their feed intake by 3-5 per cent for each 1°C increase. These impacts will have varying effects on the millions of African farmers who depend on livestock for incomes and food security. “Temperature changes also have a much stronger impact on yields than precipitation changes. It is clear that the economic cost of natural disasters in agriculture sector is expected to increase because of climate change,” says Tarfa.
An estimation by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that African countries would face 2-4 per cent annual loss in gdp by 2040 due to climate change. However, there will be a strong regional variability in the degree of loss experienced in the agriculture sector. fao estimates that parts of Sahara would suffer the maximum agricultural losses, followed by western and central Africa and northern and southern Africa.
To increase climate resilience among farmers, several African countries have introduced novel adaptation initiatives. In fact, 50 of the 54 African countries have made these initiatives part of their climate action plans submitted to the UN Frame-work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). One such initiative is the establishment of African Risk Capacity. The specialised agency of the African Union aims to help member states improve their capacities to plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events, and thereby improve food security and vulnerability of their populations. The other initiative is setting up Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE), the largest agricultural index insurance programme in sub-Saharan Africa in which the farmers pay a market premium. The programme now spans across Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. A similar insurance programme in Ethiopia allows farmers to pay the insurance premium through labour. But implementation of these initiatives is still a challenge.
Sahel will see floods in the future, followed by droughts 
IN THE past few decades, the semi-arid tropical Savanna region Sahel, stretching from Mauritania in the west to Eriteria in the east, has seen several devastating floods. The Niger floods of 2010 and 2012 are two such deluge witnessed at Niamey weather station since record keeping began in 1929. In 1995, 1998 and 1999, five, eight and 11 countries in the region were hit by heavy rainfall respectively. A 2008 study by the University of South Wales and University of Ghana suggests that Sahelian countries ªlay to rest the desertification narrativeº and ªconsider the possibility of both floods and droughts, and mobilise local memory for anticipatory learning and practical adaptationº. That suggestion has gained much relevance over the years, with the IPCC report predicting that high-intensity rainfall events could increase by 20 per cent over the next decades.
Scientists attribute this weather anomaly to global warming. As the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the north increases, more water evaporates. The moist air drifts onto land, where vapour is released as rainfall. A study by climate scientists at Potsdam University, Germany, and Columbia University, US, shows moisture flux from the Atlantic into Sahel will increase more strongly than from the Mediterranean by the end of the 21st century. “We looked at 30 climate models to understand projections of summer rainfall in Sahel. Out of those, seven models showed a doubling of average summer rainfall by 2100, including three models that project an increase of over 100 per cent in average summer (July- September) rainfall across the central and eastern Sahel,” says Jacob Schewe, co-author of the study. The increase in rainfall is also attributed to a northward shift in West African monsoon circulation dynamics. “West African monsoon, which generally covers the region between latitudes 9o N and 20oN, tapers off as it moves further north. But in future, it can make inroads into new territories,” says Schewe. What explains this shift is the fact that the northern hemisphere has been heating up faster than southern hemisphere since 1980, largely because the former has more land and less ocean, and greenhouse trapping is larger over land than ocean at the same temperature.
Says Omari, “Many African countries still lack comprehensive disaster risk management plans because of reasons, such as lack of guidelines, insufficient capacity at the regional, national and sub-national levels to assess and address loss and damage, and insufficient research in understanding the scope, magnitude and character of the climate risks and impacts.” Magenya says unless countries prioritise and integrate climate change programmes into their development plans, the effects of climate change on agriculture in Africa are likely to persist. Seid says there is an urgent need to integrate solutions offered through technologies, institutions and government policies to manage the risks of drought and climate variability in Africa.
There is also a need for the international community to safeguard agriculture from climate change impacts. The Paris Agreement, the landmark climate change deal that came into force in November 2016, talks of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change in the preamble. But the word agriculture finds a miss in the Agreement. 
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Harvey Latest #ClimateChange Alarm Bell #StopAdani #auspol 

Hurricane Harvey is the latest alarm bell on climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders are calling Hurricane Harvey the latest alarm bell on global warming and said that President Trump and Congress must make solving the climate crisis the nation’s top priority.
Greens expressed sympathy and solidarity with people in Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana who are suffering the effects of the hurricane and have lost homes, belongings, and loved ones.
Green Party of the United States

For Immediate Release:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Scott McLarty, Media Director, 202-904-7614,
Talking points on the storm, global warming, and Green solutions
Texas Greens urge support for frontline relief efforts
“Along with providing relief to those affected by Harvey, we need a reversal of the U.S. political establishment’s irresponsible direction on climate change. The only solution to the crisis is a Green solution,” said Wesson Gaige, co-chair of the Green Party of Texas.
Texas Greens are urging support and donations to several frontline relief organizations: visit and The Green Party of the United States held its 2016 Presidential Nominating Convention at the University of Houston.
The Green Party listed talking points on Hurricane Harvey, climate change, and Green solutions:
• The severity of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it wreaked in Houston must be recognized as an effect of climate change and an indication of similar and worse disasters to come. The planet’s climate functions as a system: there are no isolated storms, all weather is affected by global warming. The Trump Administration’s rejection of science is already having deadly consequences.
• Although rainfall from Harvey is unprecedented, 2017 is the city’s third year with severe flooding. The disaster in Houston is one of many floods around the world that have displaced tens of millions this summer, with more than 1,000 deaths in South Asia.
• Lowering the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is urgently necessary, otherwise increasingly unstable weather and the rise of sea levels promise a future of Katrinas, Sandys, Harveys, mass population displacement, and global social breakdown in the coming decades. Working class communities, the poor, and people of color are facing the worst effects. The only solution is a rapid conversion from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.
• The Green Party has called for 100% renewable energy by 2030. To achieve this goal, Green candidates are promoting the Green New Deal, a plan to reorganize the U.S. economy, expand the public sphere, and create millions of new jobs in conservation and energy conversion.
• The Green Party has compared global warming to the global threat posed by the Axis powers at the beginning of World War II and has called for U.S. leadership in a worldwide alliance to end the crisis that includes peaceful cooperation with currently perceived enemies like Russia and Iran.
• ExxonMobil and other companies that knew about the reality of climate change placed oil refineries and other toxic sites in flood zones. In the wake of Harvey, their irresponsibility resulted in a toxic brew that is now spreading over hundreds of square miles and contaminating water tables. Two explosions and fume injuries were reported Thursday morning. The poor and people of color who live in affected areas are suffering the most harm. State and local governments in Texas have refused to undertake any preparation or enact regulation in the face of predictable emergencies. 
• Only the Green Party is taking the climate crisis seriously. Greens said that a political field limited to two parties, both of which accept money and influence from the fossil-fuel industry, has become a threat to future generations.
Republicans, led by President Trump, continue to deny that the crisis exists and are dismantling environmental regulations and agencies, including the EPA, even as the need for these agencies and for regulation has grown. Republicans are likely to use Hurricane Harvey to call for more drilling and refineries.
The Green Party has condemned President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change.
Democrats acknowledge the crisis but won’t take necessary action. The Obama Administration made sure that the Paris accords were not legally binding and President Obama boasted of increased oil production.
Hillary Clinton and her representatives kept carbon taxes, a ban on fracking, and other measures out of the 2016 Democratic Party platform.
Green Party leaders said that the “100 by ’50 Act” (Senate Bill 987) introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.) and Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) was “too little, too late” in light of warnings from scientists about the severity of the crisis.
See also:
Water Contamination a Concern After Hurricane Harvey

Bloomberg, August 28, 2017
We’re Nowhere Near Prepared for the Ecological Disaster That Harvey Is Becoming

By Charles P. Pierce, August 30, 2017
Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, August 29, 2017
The Uninhabitable Earth; Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

By David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, July 9, 2017
Videos from the Green Party’s 2017 Annual National Meeting in Newark, N.J., July 13-16: Press conferences, plenary speeches, and more
Green Party of the United States



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Former Green Leader Bob Brown Slams Evil, Corrupt Adani Mine #StopAdani #auspol

Bob Brown slams ‘evil, corrupt’ Adani mine

Veteran conservationist Bob Brown has compared Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to Tasmania’s quashed Franklin Dam, slamming the “destructive wealth and arrogance” of the company’s chairman.
The former Greens leader joined protesters from the Stop Adani group in Sydney on Saturday where he demanded no public money be spent on the Queensland project.

Mining tycoon Gautam Adani this week declared the company would break ground on its controversial $16.5 billion coal mine in Queensland in October.
“This is the biggest environmental, heritage, Indigenous and lifestyle issue I have seen come along in decades in Australia,” Mr Brown told reporters at the summit.

He said Mr Adani had signalled, in a “heightened arrogance”, that a billion-dollar loan for the project from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund was already locked in despite no public announcement from the Turnbull government.

Opponents vow to continue Adani fight
Opponents of Adani’s proposed coal mine say they will continue to examine it’s lawfulness after the Federal Court threw out two attempts to stop it going ahead.

Adani fined over Qld stormwater release
Adani has been fined by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection over a license breach at its Abbot Point facility.
“You’re not welcome to bring your destructive wealth and arrogance to ride over the majority opinion of Australian people who don’t want you to have that loan and won’t let you get away with that mine,” Mr Brown said.
He predicted a revolt at the next election if the loan and “evil, rotten, corrupt” mine went ahead.
Mr Brown rose to prominence as director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society as it campaigned against the Franklin Dam in the late 1970s and 1980s.
It was a battle won by conservationists and Mr Brown warned Carmichael mine opponents were similarly prepared to physically sit in front of machinery.
Maggie McKeown from the Mackay Conservation Group said Queenslanders had seen the impacts of climate change in the form of heat, coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and cyclone damage.
“If Adani opens up the coal in the Galilee Basin, it’s undeniable that these events will become more frequent and more intense,” she said.

Hanson says Adani railway should be built by Australians, not ‘foreign investors’
Pauline Hanson says a railway between Adani’s mega-coal mine and the Queensland coast should be built and owned by Australia, rather than “foreign investors”.
Adani mine ‘threatens finch’s survival’
Experts working to save an endangered species of finch say Adani’s Queensland coal mine will put it on a fast track to extinction.
Mine opponents argue the project cannot proceed because carbon emissions from the coal being burned in India will further damage the already-ailing reef through climate change.
The Federal Court last week dismissed two legal bids to stop it going ahead, from traditional owners and environmental groups.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out financial support but her Labor government views the enormous project as a valuable jobs generator.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been accused by protesters of sitting on the fence on the issue.
The Stop Adani group will hold a national day of action against the project on October 7.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office declined to comment.

Press link for more: SBS.COM

A toolkit to save the world. #auspol #StopAdani #education 

A toolkit to save the world: five skills you’ll need to fight climate change
15 Aug 17

Kevin Rudd described global warming as “the greatest moral challenge of our generation,” but that’s too simple.

 It’s the greatest economic, political, social, cultural, environmental and scientific challenge of our time.

A silver bullet won’t be found in a scientist’s laboratory, the halls of Parliament, nor a community activist’s meeting.
Nope, it’ll take a coordinated effort from researchers, corporations, politicians, innovators and communities to tackle climate change.

This is precisely why social scientists are poised to play such a crucial role. People with the breadth of understanding and skills to navigate and coordinate all of these moving parts will be absolutely crucial.
So with that in mind, here are five of the instruments in a social scientist’s toolkit that we’ll need to fight this real and present danger.
Data Analysis

It sounds dry, but data analysis strikes at the very heart of the climate change debate. 

The interpretation of global temperature data is the major flashpoint for the conversation, and so understanding and communicating this information will only become more important over time.
On top of this, big data is proving to be crucial in the response to global warming.
Microsoft’s mind-boggling Madingley project is a real-time virtual biosphere – ie. a simulation of all life on earth. It creates a simulation of the global carbon cycle and predicts how it will impact everything from pollution to animal migration to deforestation.
Political leadership

Leaders with a deep understanding of socio-political structures and forces will be needed to enact change on a legislative and global level.
The recent failure of the Paris Accord shows just how important negotiation and diplomacy will be in order to get countries from around the world to work together.

This not only involves political guile, but also communication skills, cultural knowledge and courage to make difficult but necessary decisions.
Research and innovation

Without technological transformation in some of the world’s biggest industries, we won’t stand a chance.
Existing alternative energy sources such as solar and wind need to become more efficient, and fledgeling technologies like ocean, hybrid and bio energies need to develop to support ever-increasing energy demands.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has famously framed climate change as an issue of economic competitiveness and innovation.
The countries and businesses that are more successful at producing new energy technologies and practices will thrive.
The rest will fall behind.
Corporate leadership

With this in mind, leadership in the corporate sector naturally has a massive role to play. Far swifter and more meaningful change can come from within a business than when it’s mandated by government regulations.
Business models will need to be forward-thinking, not relying on traditional methods of production, and change company cultures in the process.

A recent example of this sort of industry leadership is Volvo who announced they will cease production of purely internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2019.
Communication skills

Professor Andrew J. Hoffman from the University of Michigan perfectly articulated the state of the “toxic” climate change debate:
“On the one side, this is all a hoax, humans have no impact on the climate and nothing unusual is happening.
“On the other side, this is an imminent crisis, human activity explains all climate changes, and it will devastate life on Earth as we know it. Amidst this acrimonious din, scientists are trying to explain the complexity of the issue.”
As a society we’ll need to reach some sort of meaningful consensus on the issue. From the boardroom to Twitter, we’ll need opinion leaders who can navigate the clashing world views that dictate how we view the science.
It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.
Clearly, climate change and many other global concerns are multi-faceted issues that necessitate a range of approaches and perspectives.
It’s for this very reason that Griffith University’s Dr Ben Fenton-Smith believes “there is no question that social scientists are going to be in huge demand in the next 20–30 years.
“As our use of data, technology and information increases, we are going to need social scientists to make sense of it.”
Complex problems have complex solutions.

Griffith University is introducing a brand new Bachelor of Social Science to develop the next generation of Aussie leaders keen to tackle the biggest issues facing the world today. Head over here to find out about this exciting new degree.

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