Sea level Rise

Clive’s Mine will kill the Great Barrier Reef. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #StopPalmer

Clive Palmer’s coalmine plan scrutinised over impact on Great Barrier Reef

Alpha North, which would be bigger than Adani’s Carmichael mine, to be examined under federal environment laws

Anne DaviesLast modified on Tue 22 May 2018 14.00 AEST

A proposal by the millionaire former MP Clive Palmer to develop the biggest open-cut coalmine in the southern hemisphere in Queensland will be scrutinised by the federal environment department, including its impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

The federal government announced late on Monday it intended to fully assess the Alpha North project under federal environmental laws and would require detailed assessments on the impact on the reef, world heritage properties, threatened species, migratory birds and several other matters.

Palmer’s company Waratah Coal has announced plans for the new mine in the Galilee basin, adjoining Adani’s proposed Carmichael project. The footprint of Alpha North would be nearly triple that Adani’s mine. It would be 144,000 hectares and 130km long and would use open-cut and underground methods.

Environment groups had been hoping the department would reject Palmer’s application outright because it failed to include other aspects of the project, including a proposal to build a rail line if Adani does not build one and a possible expansion of the Abbot Point coal loader.

They had also argued that the massive mine would contribute significantly to climate change and exacerbate coral bleaching events that have damaged the reef last year.

The mine would produce 80m tonnes of coal a year and is expected to start operations in 2030.

The project will now go through a full assessment process. Waratah has so far relied on work done by the Adani Group to assess environmental impacts. It had not directly addressed potential impacts on the reef or world heritage areas.

The move to take the project forward opens a new battleground with the environmental movement that has campaigned to block the Adani project.

“In choosing to refer the decision on this massive new coalmine, Minister Frydenberg has missed an opportunity to demonstrate real leadership on protecting our natural world and stopping climate damage,” Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Christian Slattery said.

Slattery said Frydenberg should have rejected Waratah Coal’s application in the first instance.

“It is good that Waratah Coal will be forced to consider the impacts of its project on the Great Barrier Reef. But this massive new mine will clearly cause unacceptable damage to our reef because digging up and burning the coal will accelerate climate change.

“The age of coal is over. It is time that our elected representatives stopped paving the way for new dirty coal mines and embraced clean energy.”

Waratah Coal has been contacted for comment.

Press link for more: The Guardian

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Flat Earthers vs #climatechange sceptics: why conspiracy theorists keep contradicting each other #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Flat Earthers vs climate change sceptics: why conspiracy theorists keep contradicting each other

Gareth Dorrian May 21, 2018 8.29pm AEST

Would a flat Earth suffer from climate change? Shutterstock

Flat Earthism and the idea that human activity is not responsible for climate change are two of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today. Both have been increasing in popularity since the late 20th century. Currently, 16% of the US population say they doubt the scientifically established shape of the Earth, while 40% think that human-induced climate change is a hoax. But proponents of one of these theories are not necessarily proponents of the other, even though both are often motivated by a common mistrust of authority. In fact, they regularly contradict one another.

Flat Earthers, for example, tend to disbelieve organisations such as NASA on the shape of Antarctica – or indeed, that there is a southern hemisphere at all. Yet the president of the Flat Earth Society, Daniel Shenton, is quite convinced – presumably at least in part thanks to information from NASA – that climate change is happening and espouses a fairly conventional view on the subject.

Former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci (dismissed by president Trump after ten days in office), meanwhile, believes that the Earth is in fact round, but does not believe in anthropogenic climate change, as he made clear in an interview with CNN.

Such selective reasoning is common among conspiracy theorists who often lack consistency with one other. Despite this, the media, celebrities and even politicians regularly make broad comparisons between climate change scepticism, Flat Earthism and other conspiracy theories.

Fabricated data?

In the field of global climate change, scientific bodies often are accused, even by those in power, of fabricating data. But such criticism is often deeply flawed. Take those sceptics, for example, who believe that climate change is occurring, but because of natural – rather than man-made – causes. If one argues that data has been fabricated to show warming where there is none, one cannot then also imply that warming is occurring after all, but naturally. Either there is warming or there is not. Similarly, Flat Earthers who state that images showing Earth’s curvature are due to the shape of a camera lens, themselves believe in a disc which by definition has a curved edge.

Indeed, one of the few commonalities which exist between all major conspiracy theories is that somehow scientists and governments are involved in a grand conspiracy for reasons unknown.

A major part of the scientific anthropogenic climate change argument is that there is an increase in temperature extremes in both summer and winter. Evidently, a Flat Earth model cannot support this; in fact, the most accepted Flat Earth model, which maintains that the sun rotates in a non-variable circular orbit over the flat disk, implies that there should be no seasons at all, let alone multi-decadal seasonal extremes due to climate change. Nevertheless, to quote Shenton:

Climate change is a process which has been ongoing since (the) beginning of detectable history, but there seems to be a definite correlation between the recent increase in worldwide temperatures and man’s entry into the industrial age.

In this instance, the president of the Flat Earth Society is correct. Anthropogenic climate change sceptics, on the other hand, are often willing to accept the science behind the Earth’s natural cycles, which they blame – instead of human activity – for the world’s weather woes. Clearly, we again find an implicit difference of opinion between a Flat Earth model, and a non-anthropogenic climate change one.

Climate change: a ‘global’ problem. Shutterstock

It is also clear that many climate change sceptics believe in the (approximately) spherical Earth, even if only subconsciously, by their use of scientifically accepted global maps when discussing data – not to mention when calling it “global” warming.

And what about aliens?

If governments and scientists are so untrustworthy and steeped in corruption, then why would one believe them on any issue? Where does the line of trust actually fall? Why would a person who mistrusts governments and scientists on the shape of the Earth, not hold the same politicians and scientific organisations similarly bogus on the issue of climate change? Or alien abductions, chem trails, or anything else?

Read more: I watched an entire Flat Earth Convention for my research – here’s what I learnt

But the problem isn’t likely to go away any time soon. The US has the highest number of believers in both flat-Earthism and anthropogenic climate change scepticism, and the UK is not far behind. The US also has a high number (more than 50%) of senior political figures who deny man-made climate change, not to mention a democratically elected leader vocally believing the same. There are also numerous well-known celebrities who question the established shape of our planet.

While of course scientists can play the blame game, it could be that the scientific method itself is a major limiting factor in communicating results with the public. Science is not just a body of knowledge, but a method of critical thinking.

Scientists, by necessity, have to communicate their findings in a certain rigid way focusing on probabilities, certainty values and confidence intervals. These can appear dry or baffling to the public. But by providing more easily understandable narratives we can make scientific discussions with the public more productive.

In today’s complex world of social media narratives, the engagement of scientists with the public is more crucial than ever. Thankfully, current funding for public engagement training and activities is accessible to scientists with a passion for communication and conversation, enabling them to communicate facts rather than “fake news”.

Press link for more: The Conversation

UN: Progress on Emission Reduction Too Slow #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Global Economy Improving, but Progress on Emission Reductions too Slow – UN | UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 18 May 2018 – A new UN report shows that whilst short-term prospects for the world economy are improving, with the world gross product expected to expand by 3.2 per cent in both 2018 and 2019, a lot more needs to be done to avert a major economic downturn linked to unchecked climate change.

The study by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs points towards a 1.4 percent increase of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 due to a combination of accelerated economic growth, relatively cheap fossil fuels and weak energy efficiency efforts.

“While recent evidence points to progress in decoupling emissions growth from GDP growth in some developed economies, it is still manifestly insufficient. The rate of global energy efficiency gains has been slowing since 2015, reaching 1.7 percent in 2017—half the rate required to remain on track with the Paris Agreement”, say the authors of the report ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2018.’

Improving energy efficiency and a radical shift to low carbon for the world’s markets is integral to meeting the objectives set forth by the Paris Agreement, which aims to respond to climate change by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.

The authors of the report say that several steps can be taken to notably align the rate of energy efficiency gains with the goals of the Paris Agreement. These include the reform of fossil fuel subsidies and taxes, deploying renewable energy technology, and decreasing the cost of renewable energy generation.

Warnings of Climate Impacts Setting In

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions account for 2016 and 2017 being the two hottest years on record.

Evidence from the report states that a rising global average temperature could translate into a slower growth of per capita output in countries with a high average temperature, most of which are low-income countries.

The sectors of agricultural production, labor productivity, weather dependent industry, capital accumulation and human health are most at risk for disruption from an unpredictable climate.

Warmer climates create shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Respectively, these events can move the locations of farmlands, endanger Small Island Developing States, and threaten large population centers.

Policy Reform Crucial to Meeting Paris Agreement Goals

The report says that a reform of fossil fuel policy could increase the rate of energy efficiency gains.

Additionally, the use of new technologies such as wind, solar, electric vehicles and battery storage is critical.

In 2017, renewables accounted for 61 percent of all newly installed net power capacity in 2017 with solar alone encompassing 38 percent.

Falling costs for solar and wind power supported the economic viability for several renewable energy projects.

But even with the newly-installed capacity, renewable energy today only accounts for 19 percent of power capacity and 12.1 percent of power generation around the globe.

At the current rate of change, the pace of power transition would take approximately 55 years for the share of renewables to reach 50 percent of earth’s total energy capacity – too late to ensure the Paris Agreement’s goals can be met.

Read the full report here

Earth Experiences 400th Consecutive Warmer-than-Average Month #auspol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

The last time the world saw a cooler-than-average month was in 1984, according to new reports from NOAA.

The Earth has now had 33 years of rising and above-average temperatures.

According to recent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly global climate report, this marks the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-usual monthly averages.

The last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month was in 1984 when US President Ronald Reagan was in office for his second term, and the Apple Macintosh personal computer had just gone on sale.

The NOAA report also said that the month of April had the third-highest temperatures of any April in NOAA’s recorded history. NOAA started gathering climate data in 1880.

Researchers from around the world have no problem with pointing to specific causes — namely that of human impact on global climate change.

“It’s mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming,” NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. “Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future.”

While there have been efforts to reduce overall CO2 emissions, there still remains pushback from supporters of fossil fuels. There’s also a growing reliance on fossil fuels coming from developing nations with rapidly expanding populations, economies, and technologies. However, those developing nations still don’t use as much fossil fuels when compared to global powers like the U.S.

“We live in and share a world that is unequivocally, appreciably and consequentially warmer than just a few decades ago, and our world continues to warm,” said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt. “Speeding by a ‘400’ sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new.”

Climatologists have used the 20th-century average as a benchmark for their measurements. That allows them to ‘goal post’ when they look through climate data. This type of benchmarking also gives them the opportunity to account for climate variability.

“The thing that really matters is that, by whatever metric, we’ve spent every month for several decades on the warm side of any reasonable baseline,” Arndt said.

These rising global temperatures have hit certain areas harder than others, the report detailed. The heat was most unusually concentrated in Europe. The continent had its warmest April in recorded history. The heat wave also affected Australia and gave it its second-warmest month ever recorded.

There were even particular portions of Asia that saw extreme heat. One particular case was in southern Pakistan. The town of Nawabshah hit an incredibly high 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 50.5 Celsius) on April 30. Climatologists are currently trying to determine if this is the hottest April temperature on record for the entire planet.

There was also another milestone detailed in the NOAA monthly report. Carbon dioxide readings — the gas most closely linked to global warming — hit its highest levels in recorded history. Carbon dioxide now has over 410 parts per million. NOAA’s numbers aren’t the only ones being leveraged against this new data. According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, this high amount of carbon dioxide is the highest amount its been in the past 800,000 years — comparing modern numbers with those found through extensive climatological research.

Press link for more: Interesting Engineering

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows | InsideClimate News

By Jack Cushman

Jack Cushman is an editor and reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN, he worked for 35 years as a writer and editor in Washington, D.C., principally with the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Cushman has written extensively about energy, the environment, industry and military affairs, also covering financial and transportation beats, and editing articles across the full spectrum of national and international policy. He served on the board of governors of the National Press Club and was its president in the year 2000. He is the author of “Keystone and Beyond: Tar Sands and the National Interest in the Era of Climate Change.”

And Neela Banerjee

Neela Banerjee is a Washington-based reporter for Inside Climate News. She led the investigation into Exxon’s early climate research, which was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service reporting and the recipient of nearly a dozen other journalism awards. Before joining ICN, she spent four years as the energy and environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau. Banerjee covered global energy, the Iraq War and other issues with The New York Times. She also served as a Moscow correspondent with The Wall Street Journal. Banerjee grew up in southeast Louisiana and graduated from Yale University.

A mere half degree of extra global warming could mean profound risks for tens of thousands of the planet’s species, scientists have found. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Humanity can powerfully improve the survival odds of tens of thousands of species, but only if nations dramatically raise their ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

One key to salvaging plant and vertebrate habitat and protecting the world’s biodiversity is to limit warming to the most challenging benchmark established under the 2015 Paris treaty—1.5 degrees Celsius of warming—not to the treaty’s less stringent 2 degree guardrail, the study found.

The study assessed, in more detail than ever before, a key measure of extinction risk: the shrinking size of each species’ current geographical range, or natural habitat. It projected that for an alarming number of species, their range size would shrink by at least half as temperatures rise past the Paris goals.

If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.

But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk.

Keeping warming to 2 degrees is not nearly as effective, they found. The additional half degree of warming would double the impact on plants and vertebrate species, and triple the impact on insects.

First-of-Its-Kind Biodiversity Study

Conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and James Cook University in Australia, the study builds on their earlier work. For the first time, it examines insects and explores how effectively the extinction risks can be addressed by increasing ambition.

“If warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, then more species can keep up or even gain in range,” said Rachel Warren, the study’s lead researcher, “whereas if warming reached 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, many species cannot keep up and far more species lose large parts of their range.”

The new research adds a compelling layer of evidence to the mounting risks of rising temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently revising a comprehensive draft report on the science behind the 1.5 degree target. This new report on endangered species was written in time to be reflected in the IPCC review, to be published in the fall.

A leaked copy of the latest IPCC draft, circulated for expert comment in the winter, noted in its summary that “local extinction (extirpation) risks are higher in a 2 degrees Celsius warmer world, compared to  1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Race to Bolster Paris Treaty’s Call for Action

At Paris, everyone recognized that the pledges to cut emissions would fall short of meeting the 2 degree target. Even so, the world’s nations decided to shoot for 1.5 degrees, where the dangers become pronounced for small island states and other highly vulnerable people. Since then, talks about increasing ambition have made relatively little headway, and President Donald Trump has renounced the pledges of the Obama administration.

Whether the goal is 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees, scientists say it can only be met by bringing net emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels to zero later in this century. The main difference is that with the more ambitious goal, emissions must be reduced much faster; some say it’s already too late.

This urgency has been highlighted by one peer-reviewed study after another, as scientists explore the consequences of falling short. Hundreds of scientists have filed thousands of comments to the IPCC as it races to bolster the treaty’s call for rapid action.

115,000 Species Studied; Insects Particularly Vulnerable

Since lost species never come back, and since many species perform vital ecosystem services, the growing risks of extinction are an especially profound aspect of climate change.

Until now, these problems have been studied in relatively few species, notably tropical coral reefs, which are already dying off under the approximately 1 degree of warming that’s been observed so far. They may be partly saved if emissions are reduced aggressively enough to stay below 1.5 degrees.

This time, the researchers examined 115,000 species, including 34,000 insects and other invertebrates that previously have not been included in global studies of climate and biodiversity. (Roughly a million species of insects have been named, and there may be many more.)

Insects, it turned out, are particularly sensitive to temperature increases, and these findings are particularly alarming.

They focus attention on pollinators essential to agriculture and insects that serve as food for birds and animals. The researchers found that three groups of pollinators are especially vulnerable to climate risks—true flies, beetles, and moths and butterflies.

The study’s authors concluded that meeting the most aggressive temperature target would most benefit species in Europe, Australia, the Amazon and southern Africa.

The study also looked at the ability of different species to migrate outside their normal ranges.

Birds, mammals and butterflies have better chances of relocating than other species as temperatures rise, the researchers found

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

UN Call for rapid scale up of Climate Finance #auspol #UNFCCC #ClimateChange

UN Secretary-General Calls for Rapidly Scaled up Climate Finance | UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 15 May 2018 – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has renewed his call for governments, industry, and finance to meet the challenge of climate change through innovation, urgent action, and substantial investment.

“Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally.

For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years,” said the Secretary-General in his remarks at the Austrian World Summit in Vienna.

The International Energy Agency estimates that investment in renewable electricity last year was $242 billion, more than half of what was invested in new fossil fuel development.

The UN’s top official urged enhanced climate financing to face and address the world’s “utmost priority”. “For a full-scale transition to clean energy, we must see billions invested by 2020,” he said.

Read his full address here:

I am very pleased and very honored to be with all of you today.

I thank the government of Austria and the R20 for promoting the low-carbon infrastructure we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to implement the Paris Agreement and with enhanced ambition as the targets that were fixed in Paris, we all know, will not be enough.

We need to have an increased ambition in that implementation.

This is a matter of the utmost priority.

Every day, I am faced with the challenges of our troubled and complex world. But none of them loom so large as climate change.

If we fail to meet the challenge, all our other challenges will just become greater and threaten to swallow us.

Climate change is, quite simply, an existential threat for most life on the planet – including, and especially, the life of humankind.

That is why we must use all our resources to build a sense of urgency.

We must act with common purpose to raise ambition while we still have time to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees, and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.

For that, we need leadership and innovation – the focus of this Summit.

Both are essential for climate action.

Today, I want to focus on solutions.

We do need a new energy revolution.

The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones.

We do not need to wait for coal and oil to run out to end the age of fossil fuels.

A great many solutions already exist or are in the pipeline.

In the past decade, prices for renewables have plummeted and investments are on the rise.

Today, a fifth of the world’s electricity is produced by renewable energy.

We must build on this.

There are plenty of examples to inspire us.

Morocco is building a solar farm the size of Paris that will power over a million homes by 2020.

Last July, China surpassed its 2020 goal of 105 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity.

A decade ago it had a mere 100 megawatts.

That’s more than a thousand-fold increase in ten years, and represents nearly one-third of global installed capacity.

In France, the government has announced a bill to end the search for and production of hydrocarbons.

In the United States, renewables are set to provide 69 per cent of new capacity by 2021, as dozens of coal plants are retired.

Just last week, Allianz, a leading insurer, announced it would refuse to cover coal-fired power plants and coal mines with immediate effect and rid itself of all coal risks.

The world is seeing a groundswell of climate action.

It is clear that clean energy makes climate sense.

But it also makes economic sense. Today it is the cheapest energy.

And it will deliver significant health benefits.

Air pollution affects nearly all of us, regardless of borders.

The World Health Organization reports that more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor – and dangerous – air quality.

In China, it is estimated that fewer deaths from improved air quality could lead to savings of nearly $340 billion dollars by 2030 – four times the cost of meeting China’s climate goals.

This, surely, is the definition of win-win-win.

Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally.

For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years.

I encourage private sector leaders here today to announce new sources of financing for clean energy projects.

The International Energy Agency estimates that investment in renewable electricity last year was $242 billion.

That is more than half of what was invested in new fossil fuel development.

That figure is promising, but remains insufficient. For a full-scale transition to clean energy, we must see billions invested by 2020.

I also encourage you to disclose your climate risk, divest from fossil fuels and forge partnerships that will invest in low-emissions resilient infrastructure.

We need to do this from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

The opportunities are tremendous.

Some 75 per cent of the infrastructure needed by 2050 still remains to be built.

How this is done will either lock us in to a high emission future or steer us towards truly sustainable low-emissions development.

There is only one rational choice.

Let us also encourage innovative solutions to localize climate finance.

We can take inspiration from Toronto and Cape Town, which have launched their own green bonds.

I also look forward to the outcome of today’s discussions on a Subnational Climate Finance Facility for sub-Saharan Africa.

I applaud this Summit’s emphasis on city and subnational action.

We need financing to reach the people and places that need it most.

Mobilizing and equipping local governments with the capacity and financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve.

Despite inspiring climate action in so many places, climate change continues to move faster than we are.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says: “The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”

But it does not have to be that way.

The economics of solar and wind are on our side.

Cutting edge technologies, such as electric vehicles, or energy from algae, promise a new era of clean air and climate action.

New awareness is growing and new partnerships are being formed.

Let us build on this momentum.

Next year, as it was said, I am convening a Climate Summit to galvanize greater climate ambition.

I count on you to take ambition to new heights today and pave the way for more leadership and innovative action.

Let’s join a race to the top, a race where there are only winners.

Thank you.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

Bitcoin’s energy use, you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChangeou

Bitcoin’s energy use got studied, and you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual

By Eric Holthauson May 17, 2018

Bitcoin’s energy footprint has more than doubled since Grist first wrote about it six months ago.

It’s expected to double again by the end of the year, according to a new peer-reviewed study out Wednesday. And if that happens, bitcoin would be gobbling up 0.5 percent of the world’s electricity, about as much as the Netherlands.

That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce — about 1.8 percent of global electricity, according to a simple extrapolation of the study’s predictions. That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.

Although the author of the study, Alex de Vries, an economist and data consultant based in the Netherlands, has shared these calculations publicly before, this is the first time that an analysis of bitcoin’s energy appetite has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.

Bitcoin continues to soar in popularity — mostly as a speculative investment. And like any supercharged speculative investment, it swings wildly. Within the past 18 months, the price of bitcoin has soared ten-fold, crashed by 75 percent, only to double again, all while hedge funds and wealthy libertarians debate the future of the virtual currency.

Beyond its tentative success as a get-rich-quick scheme, bitcoin has an increasingly real-world cost. The process of “mining” for coins requires a globally distributed computer network racing to solve math problems — and also helps keep any individual transaction confidential and tamper-proof. That, in turn, requires an ever-escalating arms race of computing power — and electricity use — which, at the moment, has no end in sight. A single bitcoin transaction is so energy intensive that it could power the average U.S. household for a month.

A fluctuating bitcoin price, along with increases in computer efficiency, has slowed the cryptocurrency’s energy footprint growth rate to “just” 20 percent per month so far in this year. If that keeps up, bitcoin would consume all the world’s electricity by January 2021.

That simply won’t happen — government regulators would surely come to their senses by then — but it is a sign of bitcoin’s disastrous growth rate. In recent months, bitcoin supporters have criticized de Vries for being too pessimistic about its energy usage. But, as de Vries writes in the study, his estimates could also be missing out on secretive or illegal participation in the network, meaning there’s maybe even more happening than meets the eye. In at least one instance that de Vries found, a researcher was caught diverting a National Science Foundation supercomputer to mining bitcoin.

It’s a telling social phenomenon of late capitalism that we are willing to construct elaborate computer networks to conduct secure transactions with each other — and in the process torpedoing our hopes at a clean energy future.

Press link for more: Grist.org

End extreme poverty, inequality, injustice & Change Change #GlobalGoals #auspol #StopAdani

End extreme poverty.

Fight inequality and injustice.

Fix climate change.

Whoa. The Sustainable Development Goals are important, world-changing objectives that will require cooperation among governments, international organizations and world leaders.

It seems impossible that the average person can make an impact.

Should you just give up?

No!

Change starts with you. Seriously.

Every human on earth—even the most indifferent, laziest person among us—is part of the solution. Fortunately, there are some super easy things we can adopt into our routines that, if we all do it, will make a big difference.

Have a look at just a few of the many things you can do to make an impact!

Things you can do from your couch

• Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.

• Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile. No paper, no need for forest destruction.

• Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.

• Speak up! Ask your local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don’t harm people or the planet. You can also voice your support for the Paris Agreement and ask your country to ratify it or sign it if it hasn’t yet.

• Don’t print. See something online you need to remember? Jot it down in a notebook or better yet a digital post-it note and spare the paper.

• Turn off the lights. Your TV or computer screen provides a cosy glow, so turn off other lights if you don’t need them.

• Do a bit of online research and buy only from companies that you know have sustainable practices and don’t harm the environment.

• Report online bullies. If you notice harassment on a message board or in a chat room, flag that person.

• Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals online or on social media at @GlobalGoalsUN.

• Tell us about your actions to achieve the global goals by using the hashtag #globalgoals on social networks.

• In addition to the above, offset your remaining carbon emissions! You can calculate your carbon footprint and purchase climate credits from Climate Neutral Now. In this way, you help reduce global emissions faster!”

Things you can do at home

• Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.

• Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower.

• Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants

• Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money.

• Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.

• Recycling paper, plastic, glass & aluminium keeps landfills from growing.

• Buy minimally packaged goods.

• Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven.

• Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency

• Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer

• Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs

• If you have the option, install solar panels in your house. This will also reduce your electricity bill!

• Get a rug. Carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low.

• Don’t rinse. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine.

• Choose a better diaper option. Swaddle your baby in cloth diapers or a new, environmentally responsible disposable brand.

• Shovel snow manually. Avoid the noisy, exhaust-churning snow blower and get some exercise.

• Use cardboard matches. They don’t require any petroleum, unlike plastic gas-filled lighters.

Things you can do outside your house

• Shop local. Supporting neighbourhood businesses keeps people employed and helps prevent trucks from driving far distances.

• Shop Smart—plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.

• Buy Funny Fruit—many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.

• When you go to a restaurant and are ordering seafood always ask: “Do you serve sustainable seafood?” Let your favourite businesses know that ocean-friendly seafood is on your shopping list.

• Shop only for sustainable seafood. There are now many apps like this one that will tell you what is safe to consume.

• Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.

• Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Cut down on waste and maybe even save money at the coffee shop.

• Bring your own bag when you shop. Pass on the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable totes.

• Take fewer napkins. You don’t need a handful of napkins to eat your takeout. Take just what you need.

• Shop vintage. Brand-new isn’t necessarily best. See what you can repurpose from second-hand shops.

• Maintain your car. A well-tuned car will emit fewer toxic fumes.

• Donate what you don’t use. Local charities will give your gently used clothes, books and furniture a new life.

• Vaccinate yourself and your kids. Protecting your family from disease also aids public health.

• Take advantage of your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community.

Things you can do at work

• If you have a fruit or snack that you don’t want, don’t throw it out. Give it away to someone who needs and is asking for help.

• Does everyone at work have access to healthcare? Find out what your rights are to work. Fight against inequality.

• Mentor young people. It’s a thoughtful, inspiring and a powerful way to guide someone towards a better future.

• Women earn 10 to 30 per cent less than men for the same work. Pay inequality persists everywhere. Voice your support for equal pay for equal work.

• 4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services. Lend your voice to talk about the lack of toilets in many communities around the world!

• Make sure your company uses energy efficient heating and cooling technology, and adjust the thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer.

• Stay informed. Read about workers in other countries and business practices. Talk to your colleagues about these issues.

• Does your company invest in clean and resilient infrastructure? It’s the only way to keep workers safe and protect the environment.

• Raise your voice against any type of discrimination in your office. Everyone is equal regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, social background and physical abilities.

• Bike, walk or take public transport to work. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.

• Organize a No Impact Week at work. Learn to live more sustainably for at least a week: un.org/sustainabledevelopment/be-the-change.

• Speak up! Ask your company and Government to engage in initiatives that will not harm people or the planet. Voice your support for Paris Agreement!

• Much of the waste that we produce on land ends up in the oceans.

• Examine and change everyday decisions. Can you recycle at your workplace? Is your company buying from merchants engaging in harmful ecological practices?

• Know your rights at work. In order to access justice knowing what you are entitled to will go a long way.

• Corporate social responsibility counts! Encourage your company to work with civil society and find ways to help local communities achieve the goals.

These are only a few of the things you can do. Explore this site to find out more about the goals you care most about and other ways to engage more actively.

Press link for more: UN.ORG

NASA Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil & Gas

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

By Sharon Kelly

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America’s electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

But new peer-reviewed research adds to the growing evidence that the shift from coal to gas isn’t necessarily good news for the climate.

A team led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the oil and gas industry is responsible for the largest share of the world’s rising methane emissions—which are a major factor in climate change—and in the process the researchers resolved one of the mysteries that has plagued climate scientists over the past several years.

Missing Methane

That mystery? Since 2006, methane emissions have been rising by about 25 teragrams (a unit of weight so large that NASA notes you’d need more than 200,000 elephants to equal one teragram) every year. But when different researchers sought to pinpoint the sources of that methane, they ran into a problem.

If you added the growing amounts of methane pollution from oil and gas to the rising amount of methane measured from other sources, like microbes in wetlands and marshes, the totals came out too high—exceeding the levels actually measured in the atmosphere. The numbers didn’t add up.

It turns out, there was a third factor at play, one whose role was underestimated, NASA’s new paper concludes, after reviewing satellite data, ground-level measurements and chemical analyses of the emissions from different sources.

A drop in the acreage burned in fires worldwide between 2006 and 2014 meant that methane from those fires went down far more than scientists had realized. Fire-related methane pollution dropped twice as much as previously believed, the new paper, published in the journal Nature Communications, reports.

Using this data, “the team showed that about 17 teragrams per year of the increase is due to fossil fuels, another 12 is from wetlands or rice farming, while fires are decreasing by about 4 teragrams per year,” NASA said in a Jan. 2 press release. “The three numbers combine to 25 teragrams a year—the same as the observed increase.”

“A fun thing about this study was combining all this different evidence to piece this puzzle together,” lead scientist John Worden of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said in a statement.

Shale Boom, Methane Boom

Less fun, unfortunately: the implications for the climate. Methane is a major greenhouse gas, capable of trapping 86 times as much heat as the same amount of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it hits the Earth’s atmosphere. So relatively tiny amounts of methane in the air can pack a massive climate-changing punch.

“The sharp increase in methane emissions correlates closely with the U.S. fracking boom,” said Jim Warren, executive director of the climate watchdog group NC WARN. “Leaking and venting of unburned gas—which is mostly methane—makes natural gas even worse for the climate than coal.”

The new NASA study is not the first to call attention to the connection between oil and gas and methane leaks. A study in March last year found that natural gas power plants put out between 20 and 120 times more methane pollution than previously believed, due in part to accidental leaks and in part to deliberate “venting” by companies. And as far back as 2011, researchers from Cornell University warned that switching over from coal to gas could be a grave mistake where climate change is concerned.

The NASA study may help settle the science on the oil and gas industry’s role in rising methane emissions.

To conduct their research, the scientists examined the methane molecules linked to different sources, focusing on carbon isotopes in the molecules, which helped them match the methane to different sources. Methane molecules rising from wetlands and farms have a relatively small concentration of heavy carbon isotopes, oil and gas-linked methane higher amounts, and methane from fires the most heavy carbon. The scientists also cross-checked their findings by looking at other associated gases, like ethane and carbon monoxide—and the numbers all fell into place.

It turns out that fires worldwide burned up roughly 12 percent less acreage during 2007 to 2014, compared to the prior roughly half-dozen years—but the amount of methane from those fires fell more sharply, plunging nearly twice as fast, measurements from NASA’s Terra and Aura satellites revealed.

“There’s been a ping-pong game of explanations going back and forth about what might explain this,” Penn State University atmospheric scientist Ken Davis told Mashable. “It’s a complicated puzzle with a lot of parts, but [the study’s conclusions] do seem plausible and likely.”

That 2006-2014 lull in fires may be part of a larger trend. Historically, “burning during the past century has been lower than at any time in the past 2000 years,” one 2016 study points out, due in large part to the spread of fire suppression techniques.

But don’t expect the lower methane emissions from less burning worldwide to last forever. One of the impacts of climate change is to make large wildfires more likely, the Union of Concerned Scientists points out.

“Wildfire seasons (seasons with higher wildfire potential) in the United States are projected to lengthen, with the southwest’s season of fire potential lengthening from seven months to all year long,” the group said. “Additionally, wildfires themselves are likely to be more severe.”

In the meantime, even while fires declined worldwide, methane emissions overall have continued to rise sharply—and, according to NASA’s latest research, it turns out pollution linked to the oil and gas industry is responsible for the biggest chunk of that growing problem.

Press link for more: Eco watch

Australia’s emissions have increased by 3 %

Ignoring our Paris agreement

#StopAdani Join hands to accelerate the shift to clean renewable energy. #auspol #qldpol

We invite activists to organize hundreds of events and Join Hands creating a powerful image to send to our elected officials.

We invite activists to call for the President to maintain the Paris Climate Accord, reject offshore drilling, the KXL and other tar sands pipelines, hydraulic fracking, siesmic air gun blasting and call on local and state leaders to protect our communities by rejecting projects that expand the extraction and use of fossil fuels — and instead accelerate the shift to clean, renewable energy.

In addition, these events will highlight urgent national and regional issues including:

opposing coastal, offshore and Arctic drilling, and seismic air gun blasting off the East Coast, natural gas fracking, KXL and all oil transporting pipelines

protesting mountaintop removal, tar sands mining, hydraulic fracturing, and  LNG export terminals

And calling attention to the impact of climate disruption such as rising sea levels, super storms, drought, forest fires, flooding and ocean acidification.

Join Hands with us!

It’s easy, visit our resource page for help.

Press link for more Hands Across The Sands

It’s critical that we create this powerful vision of passionate ocean and land activists joining hands to say NO to fossil fuels and YES to clean energy!!! It is a 15 minute event, easy! Please join hands with us!

2017  Our 7th annual Hands event took place May 20th and it was a total success!  We had 112 events in 20 states and 4 country’s, Australia, Egypt, Belize and New Zealand!!! Thousands of people around the globe gathered on their beach, river, park and capitol steps to say NO to fossil fuels and YES to clean energy!  This was truly the year that we had to organize Hands Across the Sand / Land events as grassroots advocates to educate and advocate for our planet. THANK YOU TO ALL MY ORGANIZERS and ALL who joined hands with us around the world.

It is a critical time for our oceans and environment, it is time we end climate change for good! ONE way to do this, is by organizing, joining hands, taking pictures / drone videos of thousands of people around the world standing in silent solidarity to say NO to filthy fuels and YES to clean energy!

Visit and LIKE our FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/HandsAcrossTheSand

Please visit our sponsoring organizations links on the scroll – Sierra Club, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Earth Ethics, Friends of the Earth, Gulf Restoration Network, Chart 411 and Urban Paradise Guild.

Hands Across the Sand / Land, founded in 2010, grew into an international movement after the BP oil disaster in April of that year. People came together to join hands, forming symbolic barriers against spilled oil and to stand against the impacts of other forms of extreme energy.

Seven years later, as millions begin to understand that President Trump’s Climate Action Plan falls short if it fails to address keeping dirty fuels in the ground, there’s a rising tide of grassroots activism demanding that we choose a clean energy future over the dangerous and dirty fuels of the 20th century.

The coalition of organizations, activists and citizens around the world bring the message of clean energy to local and world leaders.