Sea Turtles

Only 1% of Japan’s biggest coral reef is healthy due to climate change #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Only ‘one per cent’ of Japan’s biggest coral reef is in a healthy condition due to climate change

Danielle Demetriou, Tokyo

The survival of Sekisei Lagoon – Japan’s largest coral reef – is in question  Credit: Alamy/NASA

It has long been famed as a subtropical paradise, with more than 400 different types of coral living beneath crystal clear waters in a far-flung corner of southern Japan.

Today, however, the future of Sekisei Lagoon – Japan’s largest coral reef – is in question after a new government report found that only one per cent of its coral is in a healthy condition due to global warming.

The decline of Sekisei Lagoon, which stretches over an expanse of more than 26 square miles in a remote area of southernmost Okinawa, is attributed to bleaching due to rising water temperatures and coral-eating starfish.

It is a process that has been evolving for decades, with the overall volume of coral in Sekisei Lagoon reportedly dropping by as much as 80 per cent since the late 1980s, after being badly hit by a string of mass bleaching incidents.

Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel algae, leading to the coral turning completely white.

The ratio of healthy coral had dropped from 14.6 per cent in 1991 to 1.4 per cent in Sekisei Lagoon Credit:  AFP

The full extent of the current situation has come to light in a new government report, which analysed satellite photography and information from around 1,000 regional monitoring sites for the first time in 10 years.

The study found that the ratio of healthy coral had dropped from 14.6 per cent in 1991 to 1.4 per cent in Sekisei Lagoon today, with two other coral reefs surrounding nearby Ishigaki and Iriomote islands suffering from a similar decline.

“If coral reefs don’t recover, it means a loss of rich fauna for a variety of creatures and would have grave impact on the ecosystem in the region,” Chihiro Kondo, a ministry official, said.

Coral reefs are a vital component of marine life, acting as a buffer for coastlines during tropical storms as well as providing habit for countless organisms. Despite accounting for less than one per cent of the planet’s seas, corals are reportedly home to 25 per cent of marine life.

Incidents of bleaching have risen in recent years, triggered by abnormal environmental conditions such as rising sea temperatures causing corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Corals can regain their health if the water temperature drops, however, recovery has been slow in Sekisei Lagoon due several mass bleaching incidents, the most recent taking place in 2016.

Press Link for more: Telegraph.co.uk

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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

Transformation of consciousness #StopAdani #auspol #empathy #ClimateChange

Transformation of consciousness

Excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability

Daniel Christian WahlMay 18

Educator, speaker, strategic advisor — PhD Design for Sustainability, MSc Holistic Science, BSc Biol. Sciences; author of ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’

“The materialistic consciousness of our culture … is the root cause of the global crisis; it is not our business ethics, our politics or even our personal lifestyles.

These are symptoms of a deeper underlying problem.

Our whole civilization is unsustainable. And the reason that it is unsustainable is that our value system, the consciousness with which we approach the world, is an unsustainable mode of consciousness.”

— Peter Russell (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.5)

Many people who have lived relatively conventional and successful lives within the Westernized industrial growth society, that has spread across the planet in the wake of economic globalization and the neoliberal “free”-market agenda, have recently woken up to a feeling of having raced at full tilt aiming for success and getting ahead, only to find out that the goals they were perusing, once reached, seemed shallow, meaningless, and forced them into a life-style or into keeping up a persona that they really felt unhappy with.

Why does this irrational behavior pattern prevail throughout the consumer society? (image)

The last of the economic shock waves that have rippled through the global system in 2008 as a result of the so-called sub-prime mortgage lending put in question whether this experience is in fact an isolated experience of some people, or much rather, the realization that our entire society and its guiding aims has been steaming all engines ahead into an altogether undesirable direction.

Both individuals and the western ‘financial success driven’ society as a whole seem to find themselves in a situation described by Joseph Campbell as “getting to the top of the ladder and finding that it stands against the wrong wall.”

“The dominant worldview of the Western industrial civilization does not serve either the collective or the individual.

Its major credo is a fallacy.

It promotes a way of being and a strategy of life that is ultimately ineffective, destructive, and unfulfilling.

It wants us to believe that winning the competition for money, possessions, social position, power, and fame is enough to make us happy. … that is not the true.”

Stanislav Grof (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.65)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, suggests in his book The Evolving Self (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993): “To know ourselves is the greatest achievement of our species.”

He argues that in order to understand ourselves “ what we are made of, what motivates and drives us, and what goals we dream of — involves, first of all an understanding of our evolutionary past;” we need to reflect “on the network of relationships that bind us to each other and to the natural environment” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993, p.xvii).

He acknowledges the importance of the emergence of self-reflective consciousness and its role in freeing us from genetic and cult.

The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggest that commitment to conscious evolution gives people deep meaning an personal satisfaction.

He is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity and for his notion of flow with years of research and writing on the topic. (image left; image right)

Csikszentmihalyi believes that the next big evolutionary change in human consciousness may simultaneously acknowledge the self as separate from and fundamentally interconnected with the complexity from which it emerges.

The individual, its culture, and the natural environment are simultaneously differentiated from each other and united into a larger complexity.

“If it is true that at this point in history the emergence of complexity is the best ‘story’ we can tell about the past and the future, and if it is true that without it our half-formed self runs the risk of destroying the planet and our budding consciousness along with it, then how can we help to realize the potential inherent in the cosmos?

When the self consciously accepts its role in the process of evolution, life acquires a transcendent meaning.

Whatever happens to our individual existences, we will become one with the power that is the universe.”

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1993

Jeremey Rifkin suggest in The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis that human nature is fundamentally empathic rather than selfish and competitive.

He reviews recent evidence from brain science and child development studies that show how selfishness, competition and aggression are not innate parts of human behaviour but learned and culturally conditioned responses.

Our very nature is far more caring, loving, and empathic than we have been educated to believe.

While being empathic may have initially extended primarily to our family and tribe, our ability to empathize has continued to expand to include the whole of humanity, other species and life as a whole. Rifkin suggest that we are witnessing the evolutionary emergence of Homo empathicus:

“We are at the cusp, I believe, of an epic shift into a climax global economy and a fundamental repositioning of human life on the planet. The ‘Age of Reason’ is being eclipsed by the ‘Age of Empathy’.

The most important question facing humanity is this: Can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?”

— Jeremy Rifkin (2010, p.3)

The change that Rifkin speaks about resonates with Albert Einsteins’ conviction that our task must be to “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.”

While this change is needed at a global scale of the human family, the first step lies in the awakening and transformation of consciousness of each and every one of us.

This section will explore both the personal and the collective dimension of this transformation. …

‘The Empathic Civilisation’, by Jeremy Rifkin. In this ambitious book, bestselling social critic Jeremy Rifkin shows that the disconnect between our vision for the world and our ability to realize that vision lies in the current state of human consciousness.

The very way our brains are structured disposes us to a way of feeling, thinking, and acting in the world that is no longer entirely relevant to the new environments we have created for ourselves.

Note: This is an excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability. In 2012 I was asked to rewrite this dimension as part of a collaboration between Gaia Education and the Open University of Catalunya (UOC) and in 2016 I revised it again into this current version. The next opportunity to join the course is with the start of the Worldview Dimension on May 21st, 2018. You might also enjoy my book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’.

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Give Daniel Christian Wahl a round of applause.

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Press link for more: Medium.com

#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.

My daughter is right: our generation is wrecking the world for hers | #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

My daughter is right: our generation is wrecking the world for hers | Paul Daley

Paul DaleyThu 17 May 2018 12.22 AEST

Those of us gen X-ers in our early to mid-50s inhabit a world that is vastly more dangerous and uncertain than the one we were bequeathed.’ Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

The car is where I’ve discovered most about my parenting.

There was that time when I, a very young father, oh-so-briefly and absentmindedly left Number One Daughter in her baby capsule on the roof of the clapped-out Morris.

It all turned out fine.

So much so that she is now about to have her own child.

And there was the time when Number One Son, aged about two, bellowed from the back of the car, “Ahh fuck – you idiot!” I’d just slammed on the brakes, inspiring him to speak with perfect intonation in precise mimicry of … words I may have previously uttered from behind the wheel in a similar situation.

Which brings me to something Number Two Daughter, a nearly-teen, said in the car a few months ago.

“Mum and Dad – I don’t want you to be upset at this or anything,” she began.

She had our attention. “Yes?” came our chorus.

She continued, “OK and when I talk about you in what I’m about to say I don’t actually mean you personally – I mean your generation. OK?”

“Yes … ”

“Well, you’re wrecking the world for my generation.

The world is more unsafe than when you were kids, more and more species are going extinct, there are more refugees and the world is meaner to them, there are more wars, there’s more terrorism and more racism and you haven’t stopped climate change. No offence – but it’s true.

You’re ruining the world.”

For good measure she also threw in something about being priced out of the housing market.

It’s impossible to overstate quite how devastating this was.

Devastating – because it’s mostly true.

Those of us gen Xers in our early to mid-50s inhabit a world that is vastly more dangerous and uncertain than the one we were bequeathed.

Us gen X men were the first generation since federation not to be forced or urged to go to war.

We all had free tertiary education, stable government, a strong national and global economy, reasonable job prospects and security and, despite ridiculous interest rates in the mid-1980s, every prospect of owning our own homes.

In the 1980s our chief global concern was nuclear Armageddon at the tail end of the cold war. Today the daily threat might be China, Iran or North Korea, with the constant, of course, given the bellicosity and unpredictability of Trump, always America. Many Australian conservatives let slip much about their fears of a Trump White House as the beast roared on its way up – his hatred of women and minorities, his temperamental unsuitability, in short all of the things our children so easily identified and empathetically condemned as they would the schoolyard bully. My daughter and her friends talk of Trump constantly as a present and future threat to their world.

Meanwhile, toxic nationalism, in Australia and elsewhere, is more potent than it has been since the world wars, manifesting here in even greater oppression and marginalisation of Indigenous people, and the political vilification of asylum seekers and their banishment to earthy hell. The militarisation of Australian history and culture continues apace at the expense of gentler, more thoughtful forms of patriotism.

Terrorism was frightening for us, though largely in the abstract – a thing that mostly happened elsewhere, and quite rarely, rather than the global and domestic threat it is for our kids. It did not cross our minds when we boarded a plane, attended a big public event – or walked through a mall in the city.

The early science was there for us on climate change and ozone depletion. Governments needed little convincing of their reality and had begun to act. The change was not deliberately contorted, like today, as a matter of belief (despite the science) that divides politics, media and society – and delivers a status quo of stalemate between enlightenment and darkness that bequeaths to our young bleaching reefs, vanishing species and rising sea levels.

Some parents go to great lengths to shield their children from the worst realities of the world – war, famine, the threat of global warming, toxic racism, terrorism. We’d never tried – or wanted – to do that. The days have always began and ended in our homes with radio news and current affairs. There have always (until recently) been daily newspapers, and family conversation has inevitably included a fair amount of domestic and geopolitics. We wanted to raise informed, socially and politically engaged, and caring, young people.

We have tried, as parents and as people engaged with the world, who want to make it and this country better, to argue our causes. Some days there are wins. Others, it feels like progress is stuck in a morass beyond our control, at the whim of those at the very top of the power tree.

I inherited a better world, indeed, a better Australia, than my mother and father. But were I gone tomorrow, I doubt my kids would say the same about their parents.

But I’m not done yet – and I heard everything Number Two Daughter said in the car that day. The one thing I did not hear was any hint of fear. She sounded defiant and courageous. But never afraid. Perhaps that’s one of the things we did get right.

• Paul Daley is a Guardian Australia columnist

Press link for more: The Guardian

Steam Drills, Treadmills, & Shooting Stars -a story of our times- #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars -a story of our times- eBook: Rivera Sun, Steve DiBartolomeo: Kindle Store

“There can be no more life as usual.

We need to live life unusual and get ready for….the adventure of a lifetime!”

With her infant in her arms, Black single mother Henrietta Owens shakes the nation awake with some tough-loving truth about coal, climate change, and the future of humanity.

The coal company wants her stopped at any cost.

Coal company lawyer Jack Dalton’s morality and career collide as Henrietta rallies people to her cause. The stakes are high: life, death, the extinction of humanity. Jack’s wife crosses the line of loyalty, his daughter lectures him on heroism, the Appalachians foment a revolution, and the ghost of legendary John Henry shows up to haunt him. The climate change countdown is ticking. Political pressures heat up. The sleeping giant of the common man awakens with a roar. One question hammers in Jack’s ears: what are you going to do?

Author/Actress Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times. Steam Drills celebrates the everyday heroes hidden in activists and soccer moms, alike. Rich metaphor and exquisite writing thrust this novel into the realms of literary greatness, while the story grabs the social issues of our times by the collar and shakes them hard. A soaring tribute to the beauty of the human spirit and also a scathing indictment of contemporary American culture, this unforgettable book seizes you at the first page and sends you flying out the other side, refreshed, rejuvenated and empowered to change.

Readers Love This Book!

Reader Reviews:

”Her words melt in my heart like good chocolate melts in my mouth. Go ahead. Have some good chocolate. Taste this book. Taste the questions and some possible answers for the serious issues that face us now. You won’t regret it. I promise you.” ~ Occupy Your Heart

”It is rare that I find a ‘stay up into the wee hours page turner’. And, that’s what I found in Steam Drills, Treadmills and Shooting Stars! It’s a peace-filled, roller coaster ride to the end – just like life. So, climb aboard, let go of the safety bar, ride with Henrietta and friends, and imagine the world we can create. Let it land in your bones and discover what calls you to action.” ~ Cindy Reinhardt

”If you enjoy old fashioned story telling and folk tales, but you feel dismayed at things too large for one person to change, then you’ll enjoy engaging with this novel. Check it out, it will give you food for thought.” ~ Charles A. Simonds

”This is a book written from the principled heart of a citizen of Earth concerned with the well being of the Planet and all mankind.” ~ Blue Eagle

”This story draws you in and doesn’t let you go. The language and poetry of the writing is beautiful, descriptive, and pure pleasure to soak in. Each character pops off the page and leaps forward – you root for them and feel inspired by them and their challenges. I had a hard time putting the book down as the suspense grew and hope for each character mounted.

The author weaves a tapestry of love and challenge with poetry, sound, and color. The words seem to have this tangible quality – almost like I could put my hands on the loom and feel them. Remarkable and memorable. I highly recommend this inspiring book for the magic it creates and the change it inspires! ~ Dawn Hayes

And many more. . .

Press link for more: Amazon.com

Just four citizens’: Australians who confronted Adani in India #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Just four citizens’: the Australians who confronted Adani in India, and made a difference.

In this book extract, Geoff Cousins describes how the farmer, the activist, the tourism operator and ‘an old bald man with hope in his heart’ travelled to India to protest against Adani

Geoff Cousins

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confronted by Stop Adani Activists in India.

I settled back into the seat as the Air India flight took off from my hometown of Sydney, unaware of just how relieved I would be to return there.

I had been warned the Indian government might take a dim view of our mission to intercept the Queensland premier on her journey to have lunch with chairman Gautam Adani, who would be intending to impress on her the force and majesty of his major asset, the Mundra power plant – ironically, now for sale for one rupee.

I’d also been told there was a chance that either the government or Adani or both were intercepting all my communications. So there was a degree of apprehension even as I passed through customs in New Delhi, since I was travelling on a tourist visa and the sites we would be visiting did not include the Taj Mahal.

A journalist was waiting to interview me at the hotel, which proved more useful to me than to him. Both the Australian and Indian media were already interested in our mission. I was carrying a letter from over 90 prominent Australians, including a Nobel prize winner, a Pulitzer prize winner, the heads of major corporations, some of our most famous writers and many other prominent citizens.

But what caught the imagination of the Indian press was the inclusion of two former Test cricket captains, Ian and Greg Chappell. I’d asked Ian over a beer or two in a city hotel if he would consider signing our letter. He read it and held out his hand. He proved to be not just a signatory, but one of the key media components in the saga. And a saga it turned out to be, because our little “delegation” wasn’t only planning to deliver this letter to Adani or to meet Indigenous groups affected by its appalling environmental practices or to visit former ministers, lawyers and others with experience of Adani’s disregard for the law, but also planning to disrupt the visit of a “head of state” and her entourage.

Our delegation was small but diverse in character. It included a Queensland farmer who had never travelled out of Australia before, a Great Barrier Reef expert and activist, and a tourist operator from the reef. None of us had ever met before and the group had been assembled at the last minute, much like the letter from the 90 citizens which was compiled in less than a week.

Our major initial problem was that we had no idea where the premier, who was travelling with a group of local mayors, would be at any given time – which made interception rather difficult. Enter the journalist from my initial interview.

I had asked him if he would be covering the premier’s visit. He confirmed this. I rang him the next morning offering to meet with a few juicy quotes I had forgotten to deliver. “Not possible,” he said, “I’m no longer in New Delhi.” Nor were we as it happened, but I didn’t reveal this. We were in a town called Ahmedabad in the province of Bujharat – the headquarters of Adani and the hometown, coincidentally, of both Gautam Adani and prime minister Narendra Modi. I offered to come wherever the journalist was, but he said he was far away in the town of Bhuj, towards the Pakistan border. As we were driving around Ahmedabad, about to try to deliver our letter to Adani, I googled Bhuj. It was the closest airport to Mundra, the Adani port where the premier and her mayors were obviously heading. Google also provided flight times in and out of Bhuj connecting with an international airport. There was only one morning flight each day coming from Mumbai and arriving at 7.30am. She and the mayors must be on it, I reasoned, and we had to be there – to welcome her as only Aussies can do.

It is impossible to enter an airport in India without a valid ticket to depart on a flight about to leave. We bought two tickets on the 8am flight to Mumbai. These would be useful if we could get to Bhuj, but there was no flight from Ahmedabad and we were about seven hours drive away with a busy and risky day ahead of us at the Adani headquarters and elsewhere.

Our ground crew in India had instructed us not to try to enter the Adani head office and certainly not to alert the media to be outside. According to them, it was illegal to hold a press conference in the street and we would be arrested or worse. They said the press wouldn’t attend in any event. We ignored these remarks and set off, after I spoke to Gautam Adani’s PA and told him we were on the way, despite his claim that his chairman wasn’t in the country. He was, I replied, because he was meeting the premier the next day.

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani meets with Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Port of Townsville, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Photograph: Cameron Laird/AAP

When we arrived at the Adani office building, there were many press and TV crews gathered in the street along with an equal number of security people who, remarkably, allowed us to enter the premises. A young woman on the reception desk said she was authorised to accept our letter. Unfortunately, I replied, I could only give it to a senior executive of the parent company. She insisted on her statement and I on mine. “Do you have a business card?” I asked. She did not. “Therefore I cannot give it to you as I must be able to identify the recipient.”

The stalemate was broken by the arrival of the director of corporate affairs. I gave him my business card and, somewhat reluctantly, he returned the compliment. The only copy of our famous letter in my possession was a somewhat tattered page signed only by me, but I presented it as if it were the Magna Carta and then we proceeded immediately into the street to hold our “illegal” press conference. I held up the Adani director’s card so he could be properly identified – I thought he would want that. And then we were chased off the street by a multitude of security persons. I asked one of our ground crew if he was police or Adani security and he replied, “one and the same”.

Now we needed to get to Bhuj fast but the only possibility was a seven-hour drive through a blighted, dystopian landscape of industrial wasteland and salt farms. This was not the India of maharajahs’ palaces converted into luxury hotels or flower ceremonies on the Ganges. But we made it to Bhuj late in the evening, undernourished and on edge.

The two of us who had agreed to enter the airport arrived the next morning with our small bags packed as if we were bona fide travellers, presented our tickets and were duly admitted into the airport. The premier, according to my calculations, would arrive in about half an hour. We were sitting alone in the vast entrance foyer and who should enter but the Adani welcome group with dancers and drummers. They weren’t there to welcome us, but the leader immediately came to me and asked, “What are you doing here, Mr Cousins?” I had never met him but he obviously recognised me from press coverage. “Heading for Mumbai,” I replied, somewhat evasively. “Travel well” was his only comment as he led the girls with floral leis away to another area.

But now the police approached us. Our plane was about to depart – why had we not made ready to board? Thinking as quickly as I could with adrenalin pumping into the autonomic nervous system, I said that one of our colleagues hadn’t arrived and we couldn’t leave without him. My partner-in-crime picked up the cue and tried to reach this imaginary person on her phone. We were now in a federal security facility on a doubtful mission with statements that may not have been entirely accurate. The police insisted we board our plane, but we dithered and dallied and the plane left without us – so we were asked to leave the airport.

Protestors are seen outside the Queensland Resources Council annual lunch in Brisbane in 2017. Photograph: Glenn Hunt/AAP

Serendipity is a lovely word, but its outcome is seldom experienced in real life. This day it was. As we left the terminal, under the watchful eyes of the police, so did the premier and her extensive entourage. I was able to manoeuvre around the media pack and the minders and greet her at the door of her car as the TV cameras caught the somewhat surprised expression on her face. The pictures ran right across India and Australia.

In many ways, neither this successful interception nor the presentation of the letter to Adani was the most important part of our delegation’s journey. We met with Jairam Ramesh, former minister for the environment of India, who gave us the compelling quote: “Adani is a company that never bothered to meet environmental conditions in its own country, why do you imagine they will do so in yours?”

We met with a lawyer who had conducted over 60 court cases against Adani and he showed us satellite photos of coastline which he claimed Adani had “illegally reclaimed over many years”. He told us the story of a lighthouse that was several kilometres from the sea. It had been built on a sea cliff, as most are, but there was speculation that more illegal reclamation on a massive scale had stranded it well away from any useful purpose. We weren’t able to verify this but the story stuck with me.

More importantly, we met with those Indigenous fishing communities whose lives and livelihoods had been destroyed by Adani development. They told us of broken promises of employment and compensation and took us on the back of motorbikes down a rough bush track – now their only access to the sea. To our right, the line of mangroves (those essential plants that are the guardians of the land against infertility from salination) had completely disappeared under industrial spoil. To our left were mangroves remaining but they were of a kind I had never seen. They were black mangroves. When I touched the leaf of one, my fingers were blackened. Coal dust and more illegal reclamation had blighted the landscape and polluted the sea, greatly reducing the fish catch to below subsistence.

This was Adani at work. This was the company we were welcoming into Australia, the company the federal government wanted to fund and the Queensland premier wanted to lunch with. I wondered if there was fish on the menu.

The campaign against the Adani mine is unique in my experience of major environmental battles. Most are “place-based” campaigns in one way or another: “don’t dam this river”; “don’t pollute this groundwater reserve”; “build this gas hub somewhere other than in a wilderness area”. The Adani proposal is different and touches on all the major environmental issues of our time, from climate change to global warming, from shifting from fossil fuels to renewables to the direct and indirect impacts on the Barrier Reef.

It has become a symbol of what is wrong with so much of the government policy in this country and elsewhere and that is why the campaign has attracted such widespread and passionate support. The central question that has focused the minds of all involved has become: if we can’t stop this mine at a time in history when urgent action is needed on all these issues, what can ever be achieved by the environment movement?

What lasting impact did our peculiar “delegation” have other than stirring a good deal of press coverage? The day after I returned to Australia, I flew to Canberra for the launch of the Stop Adani Alliance – the biggest coming together of environmental groups ever in this country. Our trip didn’t create that alliance but when Bob Brown stood in the Parliament House courtyard and announced it, we all knew it had helped. More importantly, it had a lasting and increasing impact through investigative media exercises, such as the Four Corners program devoted to Adani. We were able to provide a range of contacts in India, such as former environment minister Ramesh, who would not otherwise have been available. The New York Times and Financial Times published long pieces on the issue, in part stimulated by this initiative and the contacts created.

In discussions with traditional owners in Australia, it has been powerful to be able to describe first-hand the mistreatment Adani has meted out to Indigenous groups in India. The same promises are being made here, of employment and funding, and Indigenous groups are increasingly disbelieving of them – even those who may have signed agreements with Adani before they knew the truth.

A farmer in a wide hat and a bright green shirt with a white map of Australia on the back; an experienced and brave Great Barrier Reef activist; a woman who left her tourism business to join us at the last minute; and an old bald man with hope in his heart and fear in his belly – this was the great Aussie delegation. The Indians loved us. “You’re just four citizens?” they asked. “You don’t represent any organisation or government?” “No, just four people,” we answered.

There are thousands now, all over our country. More than 130 Stop Adani groups and thousands more people join the cause every month, with only one aim: to protect the planet, our reef, our natural world and our way of life against the environmental rape and pillage being carried out by Gautam Adani and his band of brothers.

This is an edited extract from David Ritter’s The Coal Truth: The fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy ($29.99, UWA publishing)

Press link for more: The Guardian

Harvard Scientist: Climate Change May Be Worse Than We Think #auspol #StopAdani

Harvard Scientist: Climate Change May Be Worse Than We Think

Daniel Schrag’s professional credentials are impressive: He’s the director of the Center for the Environment at Harvard University where he’s a professor of environmental science and engineering.

At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Schrag is co-director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program.

Throughout President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, Schrag served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contributing to many reports.

He has a long list of published papers ranging from the impact of corals on seawater chemistry 250 million years ago to solar geoengineering.

But nowhere in his extensive résumé will you find “prophet of doom.”

Yet he very much sounds like one when speaking about the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. “While climate change may not yet have had its huge impact on biodiversity,” says Schrag, “just wait.

What’s coming is really extraordinary.”

In a presentation called “Our Planetary Experiment” to be unveiled at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium on Wednesday, Schrag uses his research into Earth’s geologic record as well as new data from planets beyond our solar system to determine the future of our planet as carbon dioxide emissions continue to build and heat up our atmosphere.

As it stands now, Schrag concludes the “experiment” is not going well.

He says that “over the next few decades, Earth’s atmosphere will return to a state not seen for millions of years.”

The Scripps CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa (Courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

In his talks, Schrag often refers to the Keeling Curve, a graph created by American scientist Charles David Keeling in 1958.

Keeling was the first to record ongoing CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

In the late 1950s the CO2 readings were 315 parts per million.

In 2018, that reading has exceeded 400 ppm.

In analyzing Earth’s geologic record, Schrag says, “never in the last 800,000 years has CO2 been above 300 ppm.” Schrag says the last time atmospheric CO2 levels spiked sharply was around 36 million years ago when non-human factors were at play.

Even then the spike occurred over thousands of years.

“We’re likely to see 4 maybe even 6 degrees (Celsius) of (global) warming over the next 100 years,” says Schrag, “and it’s happening more than 100 times faster than climate change we’ve experienced in the past.”

Schrag believes there might be even more to be concerned about, saying there might be additional factors worsening climate change that scientists have not anticipated.

Adding to his grim forecast, Schrag says reversing the trend will be neither easy nor quick.

The World Counts

For one thing, more than half of the CO2 currently affecting climate change will remain in our atmosphere 1,000 years from now. “A silver-bullet solution is not around the corner.

It will require innovative investments sustained for at least the next century,” he says.

Schrag says public policy energy choices made “over the next decade or two will have profound effects on the Earth’s system, on every living thing on the planet.” Schrag says determined and sustained energy choices that reduce CO2 emissions are urgently needed to prevent his doomsday prophecies from becoming realities of biblical proportions.

Press link for more: Chicago Tonight

Climate change: Fake news? #auspol #StopAdani #Budget2018 A must read for all politicians.

Climate change: Fake news?

The science involved in energy and climate change explained at a basic level

World Scientific

If you follow either traditional news sources or social media, you would have heard strikingly different assertions about scientific issues such as climate change.

Is it a “hoax created by the Chinese” or “the most urgent issue confronting the world” today?

How is it possible for such contradictory claims to coexist in the scientific community?

Answering such questions requires some understanding of how science is done, on the one hand, and specifically the state-of-the-art of the relevant science. And Science of the Earth, Climate and Energy does just that.

Important problems like energy resources, sustainability and climate change are discussed in the book in terms of basic principles, without much use of mathematics. The reader can then understand the nature of controversial debates which are related to these issues, and so contribute to the discussion from an informed background.

The book begins with a description of the ingredients associated with scientific discovery and debate, in general. A key element is the fundamental premise that “science never proves anything”. Instead, scientific understanding advances through experiments, their analyses and theoretical interpretation by many individuals. If and when a consensus emerges, it is provisional and subject to further testing.

In the case of climate science, such a consensus has been reached: human activities are contributing significantly to climate change. This anthropocentric interpretation implies that global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other consequences of our actions affect our planet adversely. The book describes the evidence for this conclusion and what the troubling situation implies for mitigation of these potential problems.

Since this book is addressed at a general reader, who possesses relatively little relevant background, the level of presentation is appropriately qualitative. Such a reader might want to assess the pertinent scientific evidence and its consequences for him or her, as well as for the planet as a whole. A key component of the book is an extended discussion of actions than can be taken by individuals, through both their energy-related actions and as citizens in their societies’ decision-making.

This book currently retails for US$150 / £130 (hardback) at major bookstores. Professors/universities looking into adopting the book may write to sales@wspc.com for an inspection copy. To know more about the book visit http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.114210807.

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About The Authors

Milton W Cole is Distinguished Professor of Physics at Penn State University. He is a co-author of Physical Adsorption: Forces and Phenomena (Oxford, and Dover) and Applications of Modern Physics in Medicine (Princeton). A former Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, Cole won the 2001 National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing. He is co-translator from the French of a play, The Bomb and the Swastika, written by Amand Lucas (Crossocean Publishing).

Angela D Lueking is Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering and Chemical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, and is a visiting scientist at the National Science Foundation. Along with core engineering courses, she teaches a project-based sustainability course, and is interested in supplementing traditional graduate education with outreach to K-12 students. Her research on material development for energy efficient technologies led to her selection as an International Marie Curie Fellow in 2013. Prior to her academic career, Angela worked as an Environmental Engineer in industry, where she led several environmental initiatives including chemical management, air-permitting, and environmental training.

David L Goodstein is Professor Emeritus of Physics and Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology, where he served as Vice-Provost between 1988 and 2007. He is the author of many books, including most recently On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science (Princeton), Out of Gas: the End of the Age of Oil (Norton) and Climate Change and the Energy Problem (World Scientific). He is the recipient of the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the John P McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi Society. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National

Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books annually and 135 journals in various fields. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit http://www.worldscientific.com.

For more information, contact Amanda at heyun@wspc.com.

Thanks to @ProfTerryHughes we know #ClimateChange Threatens the Reef. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Abstract

Global warming is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

Here we show that in the aftermath of the record-breaking marine heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016, corals began to die immediately on reefs where the accumulated heat exposure exceeded a critical threshold of degree heating weeks, which was 3–4 °C-weeks.

After eight months, an exposure of 6 °C-weeks or more drove an unprecedented, regional-scale shift in the composition of coral assemblages, reflecting markedly divergent responses to heat stress by different taxa.

Fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three-dimensionality and ecological functioning of 29% of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world’s largest coral reef system.

Our study bridges the gap between the theory and practice of assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse, under the emerging framework for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems, by rigorously defining both the initial and collapsed states, identifying the major driver of change, and establishing quantitative collapse thresholds.

The increasing prevalence of post-bleaching mass mortality of corals represents a radical shift in the disturbance regimes of tropical reefs, both adding to and far exceeding the influence of recurrent cyclones and other local pulse events, presenting a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems.

Press link for more: Nature.Com