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Breakthroughs Converging to Completely Derail Fossil Fuels #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #Innovation #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

What will ultimately push fossil fuels back the way of the dinosaur?

Purely and simply, is it our ethics and our resolve as consumers and brands that will end our dependence on dirty energy.

The response to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement — in which business and civic leaders vowed to continue working towards clean energy, anyway — is easily part of the mix. The response demonstrated a deep level of commitment.

So, too, are efforts from activists, such as the Rise for Climate rally scheduled for September 8th, 2018.

With participants from Australia, East Asia, Africa and Europe planning to take action, Rise for Climate should be a fitting follow-up to the 300,000-strong march that took place in New York in September of 2014.

It will also be good prep for the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 12-14.

Brands, business leaders, activists — we also can’t overlook changes that people make to their lifestyles every day in an effort to lessen their climate impacts. Network theory says that individuals are linked to each other via “relationships or structural connections.”

In this case, the relationship is one of producers and consumers, as well as prosumers. There’s a conversation going on between consumers and brands, no doubt because market research says people value sustainability, but also because many people are using their brands to espouse their own values.

Without any incentive to do so, Max Burgers began planting trees in Africa in 2008, and is now making burgers that offset production-related climate emissions by 110 percent. Ambient Bamboo, a company that sells bamboo floors, dedicates its entire blog to more sustainable living and publishes tips on how to “eco-hack” homes, including info on cutting down on energy usage. These brands and many more know that minimizing energy usage is essential for leaving fossil fuels in the ground because many grids still operate on dirty energy; but according to the journal Nature, that will soon change.

A new study shows that there’s a “carbon bubble” that will burst, leaving fossil fuel assets “stranded.”

Regardless of whether nations implement policies, there will be stranded fossil fuel assets because of “an already ongoing technological trajectory.” If nations, particularly the US, adopt new climate policies in keeping with the Paris Accord — in effort to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2℃ — there will be even more stranded fossil fuel assets. But in effect, the damage has already been done. The study’s simulations and analyses show that new technologies will derail fossil fuels by 2050.

The coming technological upheaval

The aforementioned study calls it a “Technology Diffusion Trajectory.” This is the scenario in which countries don’t necessarily adopt additional 2℃ policies, but rather embrace low-carbon technologies, such as solar energy, to replace fossil fuels. The study refers to low-carbon technologies repeatedly, but begs the question, which low-carbon technologies?

The obvious answer is technologies related to wind and solar, but there are also many exciting advances in electrical and computer engineering that will no doubt have an impact:

• “Pee-to-power Technology,” created by Ohio University’s Dr. Gerardine Botte, turns wastewater into hydrogen, which can power hydrogen fuel cells. It also produces clean water. The invention features the GreenBox, an ingenious electrochemical conversion device.

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Ohio University

• This electrochemical flow capacitor from Drexel University enables efficient renewable energy storage at scale, meaning grids will no longer need huge supercapacitors.

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Drexel University

• Electric cars are becoming more efficient.

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Ohio University

Ohio University notes that “an estimated $1 trillion is expected to be spent nationwide in bringing the grid up to date by 2030.” As solar and wind energy gets cheaper, expect grids to adopt technologies like the electrochemical flow capacitor as a solution to storage, which, combined with cheap, clean energy, would eliminate the need for coal and gas.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, notes that a Nevada solar energy plant recently hit a record low price of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour, even though the US recently imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels (in addition to the 30 percent he slapped on foreign panels earlier this year). The Nevada solar plant’s low price on solar demonstrates the inevitability of a low-carbon technology diffusion, as does Volkswagen’s decision to spend $84 billion on electric drivetrains.

The moral of the story: Countries that continue trying to favor fossil fuels will find themselves falling behind economies that adopt renewable and inexpensive methods of producing energy; investors who hold onto fossil fuel assets will see those assets dwindle in value, to the point where it will make no economic sense to hang onto them.

In that sense, environmental stewardship is no longer the primary reason for clean energy. Investors (and governments) who kowtow to the market and care little for ethics and the environment will find themselves sitting high and dry should they continue to support an energy source that makes no economic sense.

Press link for more: Sustainable Brands

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The global heat wave that’s been killing us #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #Longman

A heat wave is ravaging countries around the world. Although many celebrate sunny days, wildfires, wasted crops and health problems are some of the many disastrous consequences hot weather can have.

Most of us enjoy sunny days and complain on rainy ones — yet behind the clear skies lies a less pleasant reality. Since June 2018, numerous regions around the world have been facing infernal temperatures, which have caused wildfires, ruined crops and killed hundreds of people.

The hottest year ever recorded was 2016, due to a combination of global warming and a strong El Niño episode. Despite 2018 experiencing the opposite climate event, La Niña — which tends to cool temperatures — June has ranked as one of the hottest months on record.

A heat wave describes a period of at least five days with a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average.

Extremely hot individual days can be a one-off, which doesn’t always have a link to heat waves or global warming.

However, a trend is clear: As a result of climate change, we can expect more extreme and frequent heat waves. Clare Nullis, media officer World Meteorological Organization, confirmed this to DW.

Ruined crops are among the consequences of the global heat wave

The heat hits

For a south European person, 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) is nothing special. But that definitely is hot for people in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where the normal temperature in June doesn’t exceed 20 degrees.

On June 28, Glasgow reached its hottest June day ever, with 31.9 degrees Celsius, and the Irish town of Shannon its highest temperature ever recorded at 32 degrees.

Germans have enjoyed — or suffered — temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius for most of May and June. In the country of Georgia, July 4 made history with 40.5 degrees Celsius.

North America has not escaped the suffocating wave either. Denver and Los Angeles were among several cities in the United States that tied or broke heat records.

Montreal, in Canada, recorded the highest temperature in 147 years of record-keeping on July 2. The heat wave there killed more than 70 people.

Thermometers in Japan, Russia and Algeria, among other places, were also on fire. On July 5, the Ouargla weather station in Algeria’s Sahara Desert reported the highest reliable temperature ever recorded in Africa: 51.3 degrees Celsius.

In a climate change scenario, extreme heat waves may occur “as often as every two years in the second half of the 21st century,” Vladimir Kendrovski, technical officer for climate change and health for the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Europe, told DW.

Too hot to survive

“Heat waves have caused much higher fatalities in Europe in recent decades than any other extreme weather event,” Kendrovski pointed out.

High temperatures increase the level of pollutants in the air, as they speed up the rate of chemical reactions. This increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Substances like pollen, which can cause asthma, are also higher in extreme heat, WHO said.

Unusually high temperatures at night disturb restful sleep, preventing the body from recovering from daytime heat.

Vulnerable groups such as young children and the elderly suffer the most, Simone Sandholz, associate academic officer at the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, told DW. Most victims of extreme heat live in densely populated urban areas, where ventilation is scarce, she added.

Heat and humidity form a particularly deadly combination for humans, Nullis said. Up to 70 people may have died in Montreal as a result of the persistent heat wave and high humidity. In a recent three-day weekend, 14 people died in Japan, while more than 2,000 were sent to hospitals for heat exhaustion or insolation.

Hot weather coupled with humidity is also a perfect setting for insects to thrive. In England, helpline calls for insect bites almost doubled in early July.

But this is particularly worrisome for countries vulnerable to diseases such as malaria or dengue — that is, vector-borne diseases — transmitted by the bite of species such as mosquitoes, ticks or blackflies.

“Vector-borne diseases are associated with climate change, due to their widespread occurrence and the vectors’ sensitivities to their environments,” Kendrovski said. Mosquitos like Aedes aegypti are spreading into new regions due at least in part to rising temperatures.

And if you’ve ever felt it was so hot your brain doesn’t work, science says you could be right. Hot weather can make your thinking more than 10 percent slower, a new study shows.

Another study in New York City schools suggested that “upwards of 510,000 exams that otherwise would have passed received failing grades due to hot temperature, affecting at least 90,000 students.”

Extreme heat increases the risk of deadly diseases, such as malaria

A complex circle

Wildfires are another sad result of unusually sunny days, and lack of rainfall has caused large fires in the UK, Sweden and in Russia, where 80,000 hectares of forest have been devastated this season.

Farmers and crops are further victims of heat waves and droughts. In the UK, growers of peas and lettuce have struggled to meet demand due to low yields and crop failure this growing season; wheat, broccoli and cauliflower are also on the list of crops affected by the weather.

In Germany, farmers have resigned themselves to a much lower grain harvest due to the heat and dryness.

“We will again have a harvest that is far below the average,” Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers Association (DVB), said in a statement. Some farmers have opted to destroy the crops instead of trying to harvest them, he added.

Access to air conditioning and cooling systems, though vital in a warmer world, can be part of a vicious cycle. Increasing use of cooling devices, currently powered largely by fossil fuels, would further contribute to climate change — and therefore rising temperatures.

Time to adapt

If health systems were better prepared and coordinated with meteorological systems, health problems from heatwaves and hot weather could largely be prevented, Kendrovski points out. “That’s the good news,” he said.

Sandholz highlighted the role of adequate urban planning to reduce heat impacts in urban areas. Simple changes, such as building out green zones or creating wind corridors, could make a huge difference.

We should not understimate the heat, Sandholz concluded.

Unusually dry

In northeastern Germany, there has been hardly any rainfall in recent months. The country’s weather service says Saxony-Anhalt received just 15 liters of rainfall per square meter — roughly a quarter of the average. Across Germany, there were just 50 liters of rainfall per square meter, half of the usual amount. Mecklenburg-West Pomerania received more sunshine than any other German state.

Unpredictable weather

The little rain that fell came down very unevenly across Germany. In May, the country’s weather service warned of potential forest fires in parts of Lower Saxony. Meanwhile in southwestern Germany, some towns faced torrential rains that flooded cellars and roads, such as here in Fischbach, Rhineland-Palatinate.

Date 18.07.2018

Author Irene Banos Ruiz

Press link for more: DW.COM

Who will pay to protect our cities from rising seas? #auspol #qldpol

A public nuisance

By Patrick Parenteau

Since most American state and local governments are cash-strapped, cities and counties fear that they won’t be able to afford all the construction it will take to protect their people and property.

So some communities in California are in a bid to force them to foot the bill. Recently, , when it sued 21 oil and gas companies “for knowingly contributing to climate change and the catastrophic consequences to the State and its residents, economy, eco-system, and infrastructure”.

Does it make sense to hold the industries responsible for global warming liable for the price – in dollars and cents – that everyone will have to pay to adapt to a changed climate?

I believe climate liability cases like these have merit.

The local governments asking the courts to intervene allege that higher sea levels brought about by climate change are a public nuisance.

That may sound odd at first, but I believe that is fair to say. It is also the legal basis on which similar liability lawsuits have been filed before.

The sea level along California’s coasts may have risen about 8 inches in the past century. Scientists project that they may rise by as much as 55 inches by the end of this century.

That worst-case scenario would put nearly half a million people at risk of flooding by 2100, and threaten $100bn in property and infrastructure, including roadways, buildings, hazardous waste sites, power plants, parks and tourist destinations.

Superstorm Sandy caused over $60bn in damage along the New Jersey and New York coasts. Several researchers have concluded that sea level rise and a warming ocean played a major role in making that storm so catastrophic.

The Trump administration has released a national climate change assessment, confirming that extreme weather events – storms on steroids – are becoming more frequent and intense.

If anything, characterising these catastrophes as a public nuisance is an understatement.

A question about jurisdiction

Oakland and San Francisco both sued five of the world’s largest oil companies in state court, asserting claims based on California’s own nuisance law. They are seeking billions of dollars for an abatement fund.

But Chevron, one of the five oil majors being sued, objected and sought to transfer the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit to a federal district court, where Judge William Alsup recently dismissed the case.

Still, it wasn’t a clear win for oil companies.

Alsup accepted the scientific consensus that the defendants’ line of business is driving climate change and therefore poses a clear and present danger to coastal communities and others. But in his ruling, he also questioned whether it’s “fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded”.

And while the judge also acknowledged that federal courts have the authority “to fashion common law remedies for claims based on global warming”, he opted to “stay his hand in favor of solutions by the legislative and executive branches”. In other words, he said it’s up to Congress and the White House to figure out whether oil companies ought to pay to, say, move San Francisco’s airport to higher ground.

Even if prospects for federal action on this front are next to nil for the foreseeable future, given the Trump administration’s warm embrace of oil, gas and coal, this is no legal dead end. I believe that Oakland and San Francisco will surely file an appeal to the 9th Circuit, which could rule differently.

Even more importantly, there is another case pending that is taking a different course. The counties of Marin and San Mateo and the City of Imperial Beach, California, are also suing oil companies with similar climate liability claims. Judge Vince Chhabria sees things differently than Alsup and ruled that state law, not federal law, should prevail.

He has ordered that case back to state court, a move that Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil and the other oil company defendants are trying to prevent.

In addition to coastal communities concerned about rising sea levels, several Colorado counties filed their own climate liability cases in April 2018. Those lawsuits allege that oil companies should be held responsible for the higher temperatures now reducing the state’s snowpack. Getting less snow is jeopardising Colorado’s agriculture, water supply and ski industry.

Several legal precedents

I maintain that these cases do belong in state court because there are many relevant legal precedents.

U.S. courts have repeatedly held manufacturers liable for the damage their products wreak, especially when those companies knew full well that their products, used as intended, would cause that harm.

The biggest precedent is the tobacco industry’s 1998 settlement with the states, which called for companies to pay out $246bn over the next 25 years.

In addition, there have been many judgments against oil companies and other corporations responsible for manufacturing a potentially cancer-causing chemical called MTBE that used to be a common gasoline additive and has contaminated public water supplies.

And a panel of California judges ordered paint companies to pay more than $1bn to help get lead out of housing that remains contaminated decades after the government banned lead-laced paint. The companies are vowing to take the case to the Supreme Court if they can.

Currently, another new kind of liability lawsuit is emerging against opioid manufacturers. Ohio and at least six other states are seeking damages to help cover the expense of dealing with widespread addiction from the allegedly irresponsible marketing of prescription painkillers – which it says the companies should have known were being abused.

Exxon knew

As for the oil industry, it has evidently known for 60 years or longer that burning fossil fuels would eventually overheat the planet, with monumental consequences.

Rather than alert the public and engage in good-faith discussions to address the problem, oil majors like Exxon sought to mislead and deny what they knew about the risks of fossil fuels. Furthermore, the fossil fuel industries have sought to block any meaningful federal climate response by donating vast sums to the political campaigns of candidates who promised to oppose the requisite policies.

In a perfect world, the nation’s elected leaders at all levels of government would be hard at work passing laws and establishing programs to confront the existential threat of climate change and to help communities prepare for the unavoidable impacts that are already baked into the system.

Alas, that is not the case. The courts are the last line of defense in this epic struggle to deal with the effects of climate change – including the astronomically expensive costs of moving housing, businesses, schools and other structures out of harm’s way.

Patrick Parenteau, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School.

Press link for more: City Metric

Climate Change hoax busted #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani

Climate Change Hoax Busted (We are causing it) |

Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia

Published on Jan 5, 2018

Nothing triggers a frenzy of fresh nuts like climate change.

Here’s Joeguitargod.

“You should keep your science opinions just that…opinions! You’re not an atmospheric scientist! Nor are you an expert on the THEORY of gravity!”

Theories are not guesses. They’re not opinions. Scientific theories are derived from facts. They are true and repeatable – proved so by virtue of ongoing observations and experiments.

Science works. Car work. Planes work. The Internet works. There’s your evidence.

NASA says:

“Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

Hello Hun says:

“I was loving your channel until you started spouting off on your beliefs of human caused global warming.”

The hydrocarbon power consumption of humanity is 15 terawatts. That’s 15 million megawatts. We really do leave the light on.

This is not a consequence-free activity.

If you think you have divorced yourself through solar cells on the roof, or wind power, or your Tesla, you are an imbecile. Hydrocarbons are everywhere – right now, at home, in the office. The food, the medicine, the clothes you wear, the internet you’re using to watch this video.

According to the Geological Society of America:

“Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s”

Of course, nutty Allen H lives in a parallel univers, apparently:

“Here you go you lying sack of shut. I know man made global warming Is a religion to you nuts, But your God is dead. In remember it’s the science were really on your side you would need to keep going back in readjusting historical temperature data and otherwise get caught cooking the books time after time to support your politically motivated pseudoscience”

I really don’t think the American Geological Society or NASA would do that. I mean, why bother with the arduous trips to the Antarctic, drilling those ice cores, making the painstaking isotopic analyses of the carbon … why bother, if you’re just going to make up convenient, agenda-serving data?

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

“The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.”

William W disagrees:

“You are talking SHIT here John! Glabal Warming is a massive SCAM and has been proven to be so much so that they have now changed it to Climate Change so you are way behind in your OPINION as well.”

This alleged proof of an alleged scam simply does not exist.

So I guess you can listen to William on Glabal Warming, or Allen H accusing me of being a lying sack of shut – maybe he’s a Kiwi – but the American Geophysical Union says:

“Human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming over the past 140 years. Because natural processes cannot quickly remove some of these gases (notably CO2) from the atmosphere, our past, present and future emissions will influence the climate system for millennia.”

Kenneth G offers this from planet patriotism:

“The stupid negative Trump comments don’t make you sound intelligent, just ignorant.”

We should talk about Trump because he’s the kind of wealthy moron whose only skill seems to be getting the public perception of objective reality hooked on crack.

On December 29 last year, The Imbecile in Chief tweeted:

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

This is the guy they hand the football to. A guy who doesn’t know: A) There’s a difference between climate and weather. B) Cold snaps and heatwaves occur no matter what the trend in the climate. C) 2017 was one of the top three warmest years on record.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – 2017, 2016 and 2015 are likely to go down as the top three warmest years on record.

“Last year’s record global heat, extreme heat over Asia, and unusually warm waters in the Bering Sea would not have been possible without human-caused climate change” – NOAA

So on one hand you have the consensus view of a vast network of diligent scientists employed in many cases by the US Federal Government to know this stuff because that’s their job. And on the other hand you have a billionaire imbecile with a daughter-wife who tweets off the cuff because, hey.

The nuts – so vocal. Trump – such a freak show. And the scientists – perhaps not nutty enough … or at least not relatable. Too reserved. Seemingly dispassionate. Making so many qualifying statements.

They say ‘societal consequences’ when they mean making the earth un-live-able.

Expanding ‘dead zone’ in Arabian Sea raises climate change fears #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

Dead zones are areas of the sea where the lack of oxygen makes it difficult for fish to survive.

Image: 123RF/Allan Swart

In the waters of the Arabian Sea, a vast “dead zone” the size of Scotland is expanding and scientists say climate change may be to blame.

In his lab in Abu Dhabi, Zouhair Lachkar is labouring over a colourful computer model of the Gulf of Oman, showing changing temperatures, sea levels and oxygen concentrations.

His models and new research unveiled earlier this year show a worrying trend.

Dead zones are areas of the sea where the lack of oxygen makes it difficult for fish to survive and the one in the Arabian Sea is “is the most intense in the world,” says Lachkar, a senior scientist at NYU Abu Dhabi in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

“It starts at about 100 metres and goes down to 1,500 metres, so almost the whole water column is completely depleted of oxygen,” he told AFP.

Dead zones are naturally occurring phenomena around the world, but this one appears to have mushroomed since it was last surveyed in the 1990s.

Lachkar and other researchers are worried that global warming is causing the zone to expand, raising concerns for local ecosystems and industries including fishing and tourism.

‘Very scary for climate’

The discovery was made possible by the use of robotic divers, or “sea gliders”, deployed in areas researchers could not access — an undertaking by Britain’s University of East Anglia in collaboration with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University.

The findings of the 2015 to 2016 study were released in April and showed the Arabian Sea dead zone had worsened in size and scope.

And unlike in the 1996 measurements, when the lowest levels were limited to the heart of the dead zone — midway between Yemen and India — now the dead zone extends across the sea.

“Now everywhere is the minimum, and it can’t go much lower,” the lead researcher Bastien Queste told AFP.

At NYU Abu Dhabi, Lachkar explains the Arabian Sea dead zone appears to be stuck in a cycle where warming seas are depleting the oxygen supply which in turn is reinforcing the warming.

This, he says, “can be very scary for climate”.

Ports from Mumbai to Muscat look out onto the Arabian Sea, making it a critical body of water.

These coastal hubs and the populations beyond them will be affected by further expansion of the dead zone.

Fish, a key source of sustenance in the region, may find their habitats compressed from deep underwater to just beneath the surface, putting them at risk of overfishing and extreme competition.

“When oxygen concentration drops below certain levels, fish cannot survive and you have massive death,” says Lachkar.

To carry out his data-heavy modelling, Lachkar relies on a sprawling supercomputer centre which cost several million dollars to set up — a testament to local priorities to research climate change.

‘Stick to science’

The UAE in 2016 renamed its Ministry of Environment and Water as the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, further evidence of the regional desire to meet this global challenge head-on.

“I think it is an important topic for different reasons, not only scientific reasons, but also economic,” says Lachkar from his Centre for Prototype and Climate Modelling.

“Fishing is an important source of revenue and it’s directly impacted by the oxygen,” he said.

Even coral reefs and, by extension, tourism could be affected.

Down the hall from his research facility is the complementary Centre for Global Sea Level Change, where researchers like Diana Francis study the worldwide impact of the problem.

The issue was at the top of the global agenda in 2015, when the world hammered out a deal in Paris to cut carbon emissions.

But the landmark agreement received a blow last year, when President Donald Trump announced he would be pulling the United States out of the accord.

“It is very disappointing, because a major country is not putting effort in the same direction as the others,” says Francis of the decision.

“But our role is to stick to science, be pragmatic and try to advance our understanding of the climate,” she says.

“Politics change over time,” Francis tells AFP. “But science does not.”

Press link for more: Times Live

Heatwaves around the world. #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #Longman

Heatwave sees record high temperatures around world this week

From Europe to Africa, extreme and widespread heat raises climate concerns in hottest La Niña year to date on record

Jonathan Watts

Record high temperatures have been set across much of the world this week as an unusually prolonged and broad heatwave intensifies concerns about climate change.

The past month has seen power shortages in California as record heat forced a surge of demand for air conditioners. Algeria has experienced the hottest temperature ever reliably registered in Africa. Britain, meanwhile, has experienced its third longest heatwave, melting the roof of a science building in Glasgow and exposing ancient hill forts in Wales.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the rising temperatures were at odds with a global cyclical climate phenomena known as La Niña, which is usually associated with cooling.

“The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the WMO.

Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies.

Last week, a weather station at Ouargla in Algeria’s Sahara Desert, reported a maximum temperature of 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa.

Even when the sun goes down, night is not providing the cooling relief it once did in many parts of the world. At Quriyat, on the coast of Oman, overnight temperatures remained above 42.6C, which is believed to be the highest “low” temperature ever recorded in the world. Downtown Los Angeles also saw a new monthly July minimum overnight record of 26.1C on 7 July.

Globally, the warmest year on record was in 2016, boosted by the natural climate cycle El Niño. Last year, temperatures hit the highest level without that amplifying phenomenon. This year, at the other cooling end of the cycle, is continuing the overall upward trend.

Swathes of the northern hemisphere have seen unusually persistent warmth due to strong, persistent high pressure systems that have created a “heat dome” over much of Eurasia.

“What’s unusual is the hemispheric scale of the heatwave,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “It’s not just the magnitude in any one location but that high temperatures are being seen over such a large area.”

Northern Russia’s exceptionally sunny weather – seen on TV by billions thanks to the World Cup – has caused wildfires that affected 80,000 hectares of forest near the Krasnoyarsk region, which reported daily anomalies of 7C above average. The Western Siberian Hydromet Center has issued storm warnings after temperatures of more than 30C for five days. Climate watchers fear this will accelerate the melting of permafrost, releasing methane – a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

People cool off in the water on Huntington Beach during record heat in California. Photograph: Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

In California, daytime records were also set last week at Chino (48.9C), Burbank airport (45.6C) and Van Nuys airport (47.2C). In Canada, at least 54 deaths have been attributed to the prolonged heatwave and high humidity in Quebec. Montreal saw a new record high temperature of 36.6C on 2 July.

In Europe, the WMO has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record. Over the past two weeks, records have been set in Tbilisi (40.5C), Shannon (32C), and Belfast (29.5C)

Britain has cooled slightly in the past two days, after 17 days of temperatures over 28C. This was the third longest heatwave on record, following the record 19-day run in 2013 and the famous summer of 1976, when there were two prolonged spells of 18 days and 15 days. Dean Hall of the UK’s Met Office said Britain’s temperatures were forecast to rise again over the coming week.

The concern is that weather fronts – hot and cold – are being blocked more frequently due to climate change. This causes droughts and storms to linger, amplifying the damage they cause. This was a factor in the recent devastating floods in Japan, where at least 150 people died after rainfall up to four times the normal level.

Floods in Kurashiki city, western Japan. More than 150 people have died in the country following torrential rain. Photograph: Jiji Press/EPA

Paolo Ruti of the WMO said it was difficult to ascribe any one weather event to climate change, but that recent high temperatures, intense rains and slow-moving fronts were in line with forecasts of how rising emissions will affect the climate.

“Recent analysis suggests that anthropogenic forcing might indeed affect the characteristics of summer blocking events in the Euro-Asia sector, in particular leading to longer blocking episodes,” he said.

Extreme weather events have buffeted much of the world over the past 12months, from the “Day Zero” drought in Cape Town to the abnormally powerful hurricanes Harvey and Irma that buffeted the east coast of the US and Caribbean.

Underscoring the link, a new report from scientists at the World Weather Attribution group indicates that manmade climate change and its effect on rainfall made the recent Cape Town drought three times more likely.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Is your retirement invested in risky fossil fuels? #auspol #qldpol @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Divest

Is your retirement invested in risky fossil fuels?

Petition content reads:

I call on my employer, and all U.S. employers, to offer fossil-free retirement options to their employees.

For most Americans, retirement planning means taking advantage of a 401k/403(b) or similar plan offered by their employer.

In fact, American workers have invested more than $4.4 trillion in 401(k)s and similar retirement plans already.

But scientists also tell us that to stop the worst impacts of climate change, we need to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and make a rapid transition to 100% clean energy by 2050.

That means a share of a big oil company with a 20 year plan to drill in the arctic, or utilities betting on China building a new generation of coal plants are both bad ideas and bad investments.

You’ve worked hard, played by the rules and invested wisely for your retirement. But your 401(k), mutual fund or pension could be hiding a dirty secret.

Even funds that sound benign might contain enough oil, coal and fossil fuel stock to threaten our shared home.

One popular fund (NYSEARCA:SPY), for example, contains over $19,000,000,000 in dirty oil, coal and gas investments — that’s over 11% of the total assets! And even some funds that are marketed as “sustainable” can contain substantial investments in the oil and gas sector or fossil-fired utilities.

Your 401(k) and pension committee need to know the future risk of staying invested in coal, oil, gas and fossil fuels — and the opportunities for a more sustainable earth, as the Sun, Wind and Water provides orders of magnitude more energy than the old pressed dinosaurs in the ground.

Did you and your retirement plan decision makers know that the U.S. Dept. of Labor considers that investing for a better world can be as much a part of your fund administrator’s legal duty (also known as fiduciary duty) as investing for high returns? “Investing in the best interests of a retirement plan and in the growth of a community can go hand in hand,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

The first step to cleaning up our collective retirement is to build a coalition of peers and interested co-workers — Our voices will be much stronger as a group.

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Banks Pivot Toward Greener Finance #ClimateAction @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest #ClimateChange #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.

“It is coming, it’s a trend that’s started,” said Louis Douady, head of corporate social responsibility at Natixis SA in Paris. “The intention is to adapt our balance sheet to climate transition, so clearly we want to have a change in our business mix.”

Financial institutions are beginning to get on board with the global fight against climate change, a movement that was until recently the territory of non-profit organizations and environmentalists.

Natixis, UBS Group AG and ING Groep NV are among lenders unveiling large-scale environmental finance and investing initiatives as central banks and regulators step up their warnings on climate risk.

Natixis is working on a new color-coded indicator that will be applied to about 60 percent of its activities to encourage more climate-friendly business.

The system, due to start by year-end, uses shades of green, brown or neutral to reflect a transaction’s risk weighting on the bank’s balance sheet. The greener the project, the lighter the risk.

‘Game Changer’

UBS recently introduced a sustainable investing strategy to its wealth management arm in Switzerland, the U.K. and the Asia Pacific region that has amassed more than 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) from investors in the first six months of the year.

“Demand for sustainable and impact investing has undeniably been on the rise in recent years,” said James Purcell, head of alternative and sustainable investments at UBS. “The game changer has been the realization that this investment strategy does not mean sacrificing returns.”

The strategy is to invest in cross-asset portfolios that include World Bank bonds, green bonds and environmental, social and governance-focused equity funds. The wealth manager expects the approach to generate returns comparable with its conventional strategies.

ING in Amsterdam is writing sustainability-linked loans where the cost of capital fluctuates depending on the environmental impact of the borrower. The bank can knock off between 5 and 10 percent of the cost if the company improves its sustainability metrics, according to Leonie Schreve, global head of sustainable finance at ING.

To date it has completed more than 15 such transactions, including a 1 billion-euro loan to electronics company Koninklijke Philips NV.

Banks are still trailing asset managers such as pension funds and insurance companies in putting climate concerns into action. Institutional investors with $68.4 trillion under management have already signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment, pledging to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors, known as ESG, into their investment decisions.

Several have also begun to divest from fossil fuel holdings, from insurers such as AXA SA to the Church of England and Oxford University’s endowment.

Press link for more: Bloomberg

Will veganism save the planet? #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #Neoliberalism #Longman

By Dr Cristy Clark

I’m happy to report that, according to my highly rigorous and scientifically valid survey (okay, twitter), we are all making significant changes to our lives — both in terms of daily habits and big lifestyle choices — in order to try to protect our planet.

To give you a feel for the responses, I’ll group them into a number of key themes. The first is consumption. People are consciously reducing their consumption, avoiding ‘fast fashion’ and meat, and trying to buy locally or only second-hand. Right on theme for this year’s World Environment Day, people are also focused on eliminating their use of single use plastics by avoiding excess packaging, and bringing their own containers, water bottles, keep cups, and shopping bags.

Recycling is also a big theme, including composting, worm farming, and donating clothing. And, finally, people are taking steps to reduce their water and energy consumption — moving into smaller housing, ditching their cars (or using them as little as possible), installing insulation, using solar power and energy efficient appliances, and avoiding the clothes dryer.

To add a bit more rigour to this analysis, these responses also reflect many of the ‘climate solutions’ identified by Drawdown as being worth taking due to their impact on both emissions and environmental and community amenity.

All this being said, the fact is that people remain frustrated by the limitations of individual action and are clear that there is a pressing need for structural and systemic change. While walking and riding to work is worthwhile, inner city living is beyond the means of many people, and public transport options need improvement. Inner city residents in turn would like to grow their own food, but have little space to do so, and there are challenges with gardening in communal spaces, including finding appropriate locations and dealing with issues of soil contamination.

Other people identified big steps that they’d like to take — such as going off-grid or building passive solar housing — if only they had the money. It is also challenging to avoid plastic packaging when it is so ubiquitous, and hard to efficiently heat and cool many rental properties.

“Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.”

Faced with these structural barriers to change, the question naturally arises as to which actions we can take that will have the most significant impact. And, as it turns out, recent research published in Science has concluded that the most powerful individual action we can take is to make the switch to a plant-based diet.

After examining five key environmental impacts — land use, climate change emissions, air pollution water pollution, and freshwater use — researchers from Oxford University and Agroscope, Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecekd, concluded that consumers have significant power to ‘deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers’ simply by excluding animal products from their diets.

According to their findings, which were based on a survey of 38,700 farms and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers, the global adoption of a vegan diet would result in a 76 per cent reduction of agricultural land use for food production, a 49 per cent reduction of emissions, 50 per cent reduction of air pollution, 49 per cent reduction of water pollution, and a 19 per cent reduction of freshwater withdrawals.

Poore and Nemecekd describe these benefits as transformative.

Interestingly, this report comes at a time when the uptake of veganism is growing significantly, both globally and in Australia. According to some reports, Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.

This perceived threat is considerably heightened when it comes to vegan activists. No longer content to take over the world with cupcakes, many vegans have started to take a more radical approach. On 28 April 2018, several thousand vegan activists marched through Melbourne’s CBD to draw attention to the ethical issues associated with animal agriculture. There has also been an increase in direct actions such as farm and abattoir lock-ons.

While the focus of many vegan activists is on the ethics of the industry’s commodification and treatment of animals, environmental issues also feature in these campaigns and in the motivation for many people’s decision to take action. As several vegans explained to me, the protection of the planet is fundamental to protecting both humans and animals.

While it’s true that not everyone feels ready to make the switch to a plant-based diet, it is interesting to consider the choices so many are making to help protect the planet. Many of these actions would have seemed too hard not long ago.

So, maybe the same will be said about adopting a vegan lifestyle in the not-too-distant future?

Dr Cristy Clark is a lecturer at the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, neoliberalism, activism and the environment, and particularly on the human right to water.

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Climate Change Will Change Everything #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest

Climate Change Will Change Everything

Stephen Farrell

There is no doubt that climate change is no longer just a threat, it is a real and present danger that is increasingly impacting the lives of many people and the natural world. The question is what are we doing about it?

I think the biggest challenge is leadership.

When the Pope recently spoke to senior members of the petroleum industry and asked why they continued to spend so much effort finding new reserves of carbon polluting resources to dig up at a time when scientists had concluded the consequences for the planet and humankind of digging up any new reserves of carbon-based fuels will be dire, it begs the question of where is leadership on the issue?

Thank you, Pope.

Increasingly, many people in the corporate sector have confirmed that it is financially irresponsible to expose assets to the real threat of climate change – be it investments, assets or production processes.

Figure 1: New Approaches to Climate Thinking and Risk Management – Prof Jean Palutikof, NCCARF director Climate Leadership Conference 2018 Sydney

Think Global, Act Local

One of these conferences was on leadership, with the clear message that rather than get distracted by the partisan climate change politics of the day at a state and federal government levels, we need to think in global and local terms.

The message is that there has never been a more pressing issue around which to think global and act local.

In terms of local, the message has been that we need to think, plan and act on cities, and liveability, since so many of us live in increasing urbanised and built environments.

The Lens of Climate Change

The other key message I took away from the conferences was that we should consider everything we plan to do and how we do it, through the lens of climate change.

Climate change will change everything we know and have experienced until now.  And what’s more, significant change is already locked in.

We have already added the carbon emissions that will change the world’s climate over the next 20 years.

So firstly, be prepared to deal with that – hence the raft of adaptation strategies that many organisations are now considering.

But most importantly decarbonize, decarbonize, decarbonize, so that we don’t continue to lock in more change.

Not only decarbonise our energy production and consumption but decarbonise our product production processes.  For example, we were told of the importance of decarbonising our current cement production processes, since cement production – as a key resource in the building of new cities to house the worlds growing population – is a major contributor to global carbon emissions.  There was some amazing statistics along the lines’ China had used more cement in the 3 years (2011-2013) than the USA did in the entire 20th century.

We were also told of the tremendous efforts in understanding production processes, and refining or replacing the most carbon intensive polluting parts of the process.  Work by groups like the CRC for Low Carbon Living was very impressive and encouraging.

There were also fascinating presentations on reducing the carbon emissions generated in the production of other products, such as smart phone components; or the changes already being observed in health and diseases as our climate changes.  And there was no surprise to hear how many Defence forces have for some time accepted and have been applying scenarios relating to the likely impacts on anticipated climate change.

Starting at the bottom

I particularly liked the graphic related to the climate change activities relevant to the Great Barrier Reef by David Wachenfeld, GBRMA.

The base of the triangle is tackle climate change (directly by reducing carbon emissions).

Above that are changes in land management practices, and at the top point of the triangle were the adaptation strategies, such assisted gene flow, population relocation etc.

The message was that we shouldn’t get distracted talking about how clever we may be in saving the last species of coral on the reef, we need to focus on decarbonizing at a broad and local level as the most important step we can undertake to help the reef, and then changes in land management practices.

Figure 2: Climate change activities relevant to the Great Barrier Reef by David Wachenfeld, GBRMA

How can spatial sciences and technologies help?

My particular interest was to better understand how spatial sciences and technologies can help us understand the likely impacts.

Understand what will change, and by how much when, and which assets are more or less exposed?  And rather than the traditional likelihood consequence matrix approaches to risk management, it seems we need to consider scenarios, and hence use spatial techniques to expose the what-ifs.

What if there is an increased intensity and frequency of storms, and they come from a different direction? – such as the storms that hit Sydney’s coastline a few years ago – coming more from the east than the south east.

Figure 3: Coastal Impacts of the June 2016 East Coast Storm – Prof Ian Turner University of Sydney Climate Leadership Conference 2018 Sydney

A key theme in recent times has been the uncertainly in climate change forecasts. Which model, what assumptions, what timeframes etc. should be used?  The message from these conferences was unequivocally that uncertainly is no excuse.  Change is coming, get on and plan for it.  There are tools and support available.  Make sure that your assumptions and the data you use are clear or transparent and share what you do.

As better tools and data become available the process can be repeated and refined. Another key message was that we are poor at predicting the extremes, the real events we experience are often worse than our worst case modelled scenarios.  So, use the current scenarios in this context.

The power of spatial technologies is also assisting us better understand and plan for change in our cities – particularly their liveability and sustainability in a changing and more climate challenging world.

Identifying city footprints, or thermal heat distribution were two examples of spatial approaches to better understand and inform planning responses.

Figure 4 & 5:Towards a low carbon future – Scientia Prof Deo Prasad Low Carbon Living CRC Climate Leadership Conference 2018 Sydney

There were a couple of great presentations that highlighted how spatial technologies are increasingly applied to natural disasters, both in traditional ways, such as in the planning and being prepared, and to inform those of the threat and by emergency agencies to respond – but in increasingly innovative ways such as the harvesting of twitter feeds to the help track the fire front.

Climate change will change everything.

It is a societal and moral challenge and dilemma.

We can all play a role and do more.

When future generations ask us where we were and what we did, I think we will want to feel comfortable with our answer.

The conferences were:

Climate Leadership conference in Sydney, 2018

Climate Adaption Conference in Melbourne, 2018

For more information, please contact Spatial Vision at info@spatialvision.com.au

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