Solar Impulse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The coming technological upheaval

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

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

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

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Ohio University

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

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Drexel University

• Electric cars are becoming more efficient.

Click to enlarge. | Image credit: Ohio University

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

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

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

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

Press link for more: Sustainable Brands


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruined crops are among the consequences of the global heat wave

The heat hits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too hot to survive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A complex circle

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

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

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

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

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

Time to adapt

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

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

We should not understimate the heat, Sandholz concluded.

Unusually dry

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

Unpredictable weather

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

Date 18.07.2018

Author Irene Banos Ruiz

Press link for more: DW.COM

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

Climate Change Hoax Busted (We are causing it) |

Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia

Published on Jan 5, 2018

Nothing triggers a frenzy of fresh nuts like climate change.

Here’s Joeguitargod.

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

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

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

NASA says:

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

Hello Hun says:

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

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

This is not a consequence-free activity.

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

According to the Geological Society of America:

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

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

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

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

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

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

William W disagrees:

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

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

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

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

Kenneth G offers this from planet patriotism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Japan floods a warning of #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman

Japan floods a warning for a changed climate

Kumuda Simpson

The scenes in Japan in the wake of torrential rain that has caused landslides and widespread flooding are heartbreaking.

The rains have been described as unprecedented, and the death toll has continued to rise as emergency workers and volunteers search for those who are still missing.

While some people have been able to return to their homes, many of the people who were ordered to evacuate remain displaced.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has committed millions of dollars to aid recovery.

The planet has already warmed.

To continue to ignore or downplay this should no longer be acceptable.

Japan has experienced more than its fair share of disasters, including the devastating tsunami in 2011 that caused the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Scenes this week of flooded landscapes with the roofs of houses just visible above the water are eerily reminiscent of the horrific aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

However, the recent rain and flooding have different lessons for us.

Extreme weather events such as this are very likely to become increasingly common as a result of climate change and the continued warming of the planet.

Heatwaves, bush fires, intense typhoons and cyclones, sea-level rise, flooding, and drought will all increase in both intensity and frequency unless we keep global warming below 1.5–2 degrees Celsius. Even if we keep global warming below 2 degrees we are still likely to face a significantly less stable or predictable climate than the one most of us grew up with.

In response to extreme heat and precipitation events across Asia, Europe, America, and the Middle East during June and July, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change stated that:

Episodes of extreme heat and precipitation are increasing as a result of climate change. Although it is not possible to attribute the individual extreme events of June and July to climate change, they are compatible with the general long-term trend due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases.

In the same week as the disaster in Japan, record hot temperatures were registered across California, with Disneyland soaring to 45 degrees Celsius on 12 July.

In Australia, the state of New South Wales continued to be affected by one of the worst droughts in recent history.

In Muscat, Oman, in June, the temperature didn’t drop below 42 degrees for more than 24 hours. Reports of record-breaking extremes and violent “once in a hundred year” storms are becoming commonplace.

We need to talk about climate change

In media coverage of all these events, climate change is only occasionally mentioned, and often just in passing.

There is a reluctance to talk about climate change in the wake of tragedy, particularly when linking a specific weather event to climate change is complex. Establishing a direct causal link involves complex scientific modelling and analysis of data, with results that are often nuanced rather than clear-cut.

The conclusion is often that while floods and droughts have always occurred, climate change is making their occurrence more frequent.

Yet the argument over whether or not this particular drought or that particular storm was directly and indisputably caused by the warming planet is counterproductive.

Instead, it is imperative that we shift the conversation away from a debate about climate change that all too often becomes politicised either though omission or oversimplification. We must focus on what these events can teach us about the kinds of climate-related risks we face in the near future, and how unprepared we are for them.

The tragedy in Japan should serve as a particularly alarming indicator of the kinds of challenges even the most disaster-prepared country faces.

Japan has a highly developed disaster early-warning system, one that was utilised before the worst of the flooding and landslides caused so much devastation.

Early analysis suggests that a combination of urban development and land use in floodprone areas; human complacency in the face of evacuation orders, or an inability to evacuate safely; the sudden onset of torrential rains; and Japan’s unique geography interacted in such a way that the human toll has been unacceptably high.

The Center for Climate and Security recently released a report titled A Responsibility to Prepare. It argues that we face a future of unprecedented risks as a result of climate change. Yet we also possess a unique capacity to predict some of these risks and prepare to deal with them.

This will involve more than just early-warning systems or financial aid to rebuild after disasters. It will involve paying attention to the unanticipated consequences of climate change and the human and institutional factors that make resilience or adaptability possible. As researcher Joshua Busby has argued:

the disruption to the Earth’s climate will ultimately command more attention and resources and have a greater influence on the global economy and international relations than other forces visible in the world today.

Our first responsibility should be mitigation.

The Paris Agreement must be upheld, and strengthened. Failure to radically cut global carbon emissions will mean disasters such as the one unfolding in Japan will become the new normal.

Our second responsibility is to learn from the past and present, and be prepared for a future in which extreme weather events will challenge even the wealthiest, most developed states, and will be devastating for the poorest and least developed. The global climate is changing, and the planet has already warmed. To continue to ignore or downplay this should no longer be acceptable.

Press link for more: Lowy Institute

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

By Dr Cristy Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poore and Nemecekd describe these benefits as transformative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press link for more: Eureka Street

What happens when the #CarbonBubble bursts? @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Divest #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Longman

What is the carbon bubble and what will happen if it bursts?

As the world moves towards a low-carbon economy, fossil fuel investments worth trillions of dollars, from oil wells to cars, will lose their value

Fiona HarveyLast modified on Tue 5 Jun 2018 01.03 AEST

What is the carbon bubble?

Investments amounting to trillions of dollars in fossil fuels – coal mines, oil wells, power stations, conventional vehicles – will lose their value when the world moves decisively to a low-carbon economy.

Fossil fuel reserves and production facilities will become stranded assets, having absorbed capital but unable to be used to make a profit.

This carbon bubble has been estimated at between $1tn and $4tn (£3tn), a large chunk of the global economy’s balance sheet.

What will happen when it bursts?

Investors with high exposure to fossil fuels in their portfolios will be hurt, as those companies and assets cease to be profitable.

Jobs will be lost in fossil fuel production and related industries.

If the bubble bursts suddenly, as a new paper in Nature suggests it might, rather than gradually deflating over decades, then it could trigger a financial crisis.

Is bursting the carbon bubble a good thing?

Arguably yes, in that it corrects what has long been a market failure.

Currently, fossil fuel prices do not reflect the environmental damage the fuels do, in climate change and air and water pollution.

If they were priced to take these external factors into account, they would cost much more and businesses would seek alternatives – that is the idea behind carbon pricing.

However, adding those external costs at a stroke would send energy prices soaring, with far-reaching effects across the economy.

That is why economists prefer to phase in more realistic pricing for carbon-rich fuels over time. And the converse is also true: if renewables and energy efficiency were to result in an unexpected plunge in demand for fossil fuels, independently of government actions, that could send fossil fuel prices through the floor, triggering a crisis among the millions of investors in those assets.

Does the bubble bursting mean we will keep more fossil fuels in the ground?

Probably, but it could encourage some countries to pump out more, at least in the short term. For instance, if demand for fossil fuels drops suddenly then the OPEC countries could flood the market with cheap oil and gas, leaving those with more expensive assets – shale, tar sands, Arctic drilling – unable to compete.

But does it mean we have solved climate change, because we are moving to low-carbon tech?

Again, not quite. Lots of other actions are still needed, not least because the world could adjust to lower fossil fuel demand with a glut of energy production. The transition to a low-carbon economy is happening, but still much too slowly. At current rates, we will smash through the 2C ceiling promised under the Paris agreement, with rises of 3C and higher forecast. Without strong further commitments on climate change from major nations, we will reach our emissions targets too late and face a future of locked-in global warming that will result in floods, droughts, heatwaves and losses to global agriculture.

Which countries will benefit if the carbon bubble bursts?

China relies on high-cost fuel imports at present and is benefitting from its investments in renewables, as is Japan, which has also invested heavily in energy efficiency. The EU is likely to be another winner as it has also moved early to pursue a low-carbon path.

Which countries are most at risk?

Middle Eastern oil-rich states have built their economies on fossil fuels, so would need to diversify, which some are beginning to talk about.

Russia could see its domestic fossil fuel industries collapse.

Canada and the US could also be at risk: with their production of high-cost unconventional oil and gas from tar sands and shale, they are vulnerable both to a drop in demand and a drop in fossil fuel prices, unless their industries have invested in renewable energy and greater efficiency.

What could stop the bubble bursting?

A reversal of major nations’ support for low-carbon technology and a reversion to an over-reliance on fossil fuels, which in many cases would have to involve large taxpayer subsidies for the latter.

Press link for more: The Guardian

Drought-stricken farmers offered water from public pool as national talks begin in Canberra #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #NSWpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #Longman @ElliottShayne @ANZ_AU

Drought-stricken NSW farmers offered water from public pool as national talks begin in Canberra

By National regional affairs reporter Anna Henderson

Image Pool water could come to the rescue of drought-stricken farmers in New South Wales.(ABC News: Matthew Abbott)

In a town in New South Wales, the drought has become so desperate that farmers are turning to their new local swimming pool for water supply.

The eight lane outdoor pool is still being built, and was filled with water last week while it was tested for leaks.

Gunnedah Mayor James Chaffey said he did not want that water to go to waste.

“There’s more than two megalitres of water that is non-potable, water that is now becoming available,” he said.

“We don’t want to pump that down the drain.”

Today the council will offer the water — which is not for human consumption — free to anyone who needs it.

“If there are farmers and primary producers that might want some access to that water we want to make that happen,” Mr Chaffey said.

Mr Chaffey said he recognised the gesture was a drop in the ocean, and the council had other water saving measures in place.

Local councils across drought stricken areas of New South Wales are ramping up water saving measures, and some have agreed to provide water free of charge for stock and domestic use.

National drought talks to be held in Canberra

While local governments are announcing measures for their residents, the Federal Government is holding national talks on drought assistance.

Today national and state farming representatives will travel to Canberra for the “drought roundtable”.

Image David Littleproud (far right) wants big banks to help provide relief to farmers.(ABC News: Sally Bryant)

Almost 100 per cent of New South Wales is either in drought, on drought watch or experiencing the onset of drought, while 57 per cent of Queensland is classified as in drought.

The dry conditions are also gripping parts of other states.

The National Farmers Federation, NSW Farmers Association, Agforce Queensland, Victorian Farmers Federation, Western Australian Farmers Federation and South Australian Farmers Federation are all expected to attend.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the meeting last month.

“This roundtable will discuss long-term drought policy and strategy in the context of building resilience and drought preparedness during a changing climate,” he said at the time.

State farming groups are expected to raise a number of potential changes to federal drought assistance, including the complicated process for farmers trying to apply for the Farm Household Allowance, a payment equivalent to the unemployment benefit for those suffering financial hardship.

The Minister said he was investigating how to achieve that.

“I’ve asked the Department of Agriculture to look at ways the FHA application process can be further streamlined,” he said.

“The fact is that receiving benefits through Centrelink requires proof of financial situation and assets.”

Mr Littleproud encouraged people applying for assistance to seek help.

“Rural financial counsellors, for which I extended funding recently, are there to help farmers fill out FHA forms and I fear some farmers have not taken advantage of this,” he said.

“I also urge farmers not to self-assess whether they’re eligible — please use the rural financial counsellors as that’s what they’re there for.”

While calls for further government subsidies are unlikely to get traction, there are other organisations offering direct relief.

The New South Wales Country Women’s Association is offering $3,000 emergency grants from its disaster relief fund, to be used on groceries, car maintenance and household and medical bills.

Littleproud calls for big banks to back drought measure

The major banks have been invited to the talks, the Government wants the big four to back its plan for Farm Management Deposit (FMD) accounts — so far only The Rural Bank has.

Image Sheep on a drought affected farm near the NSW town of Bigga.(ABC News: Franklin Hood)

Primary producers can move money into the accounts, reducing their taxable income and storing the funds to a difficult year.

Mr Littleproud has previously encouraged the banks to “regain their standing in the community” following the banking royal commission by backing the FMD initiative.

“I call on the big banks to offer farm management deposit offset accounts and help our farmers manage through the good and bad years. Farmers grow the food we eat — including food for the bankers,” he said.

“The big banks need to right their wrongs. Our banks should back our farmers.”

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Rising sea levels could cost USD 14 tn annually #auspol #qldpol #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Divest @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU

Rising sea levels could cost world USD 14 tn annually

Press Trust of India, London, JUL 04 2018,

Rising sea levels could cost USD 14 trillion worldwide annually by 2100, say scientists who warn that failing to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius will lead to dire global economic consequences.

The researchers from UK National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) also found that upper-middle income countries such as China would see the largest increase in flood costs, whereas the highest income countries would suffer the least, thanks to existing high levels of protection infrastructure.

“More than 600 million people live in low-elevation coastal areas, less than 10 metres above sea level. In a warming climate, global sea level will rise due to melting of land-based glaciers and ice sheets, and from the thermal expansion of ocean waters,” said Svetlana Jevrejeva, from the NOC.

“So, sea level rise is one of the most damaging aspects of our warming climate,” said Jevrejeva, lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Sea level projections exist for emissions scenarios and socio-economic scenarios. However, there are no scenarios covering limiting warming below the two degrees Celsius and 1.5 degree Celsius targets during the entire 21st century and beyond.

The study team explored the pace and consequences of global and regional sea level rise with restricted warming of 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius and compared them to sea level projections with unmitigated warming following emissions scenario Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5.

Using World Bank income groups (high, upper middle, lower middle and low-income countries), they then assessed the impact of sea level rise in coastal areas from a global perspective, and for some individual countries using the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment modelling framework.

“We found that with a temperature rise trajectory of 1.5 degree Celsius, by 2100 the median sea level will have risen by 0.52 metres. But, if the 2 degree Celsius target is missed, we will see a median sea level rise of 0.86 metres, and a worst-case rise of 1.8 metres,” Jevrejeva said.

“If warming is not mitigated and follows the RCP8.5 sea level rise projections, the global annual flood costs without adaptation will increase to USD 14 trillion per year for a median sea level rise of 0.86 metres, and up to USD 27 trillion per year for 1.8 metres. This would account for 2.8 per cent of global GDP in 2100,” she said.

The projected difference in coastal sea levels is also likely to mean tropical areas will see extreme sea levels more often.

“These extreme sea levels will have a negative effect on the economies of developing coastal nations, and the habitability of low-lying coastlines,” said Jevrejeva.

Press link for more: Deccan Herald

Australia deemed a world laggard in energy efficiency #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

By Angela MacDonald-Smith

Angela Macdonald-Smith writes on energy specialising in gas, oil, electricity. Based in AFR Sydney newsroom, Angela is chief of staff for resources and energy.

More efficient power use would cut bills. Mark Piovesan

Australia has gone into reverse on energy efficiency and now ranks behind India, Indonesia and China in what is a huge, largely untapped opportunity to cut energy bills and carbon emissions.

In a 2018 international ranking on energy efficiency, released overnight, Australia ranks 18th among the world’s 25 largest energy users, down from 16th in 2016 and at the bottom of the list of major developed economies.

Italy and Germany tied for top place, scoring almost double Australia’s points, while Saudi Arabia was last.

Without stronger measures to improve, it will be “impossible” for Australia to meet the carbon reduction goals necessary to cap global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, said report author Shruti Vaidyanathan at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

It will also be more expensive, said Australian Energy Efficiency council chief Luke Menzel, pointing to CSIRO research last year that found ambitious improvements in energy productivity would cut household energy bills and reduce wholesale power prices.

“We are a way behind our international competitors in terms of the energy efficiency and productivity of our economy but that means there are a lot of fairly straightforward options and opportunities that we have to bring down energy bills pretty quickly by pursuing those demand-side savings,” Mr Menzel said.

Wake-up call

“It’s a bit of a wake-up call and hopefully a timely reminder that the NEG [National Energy Guarantee] is not the only game in town. There’s a whole other conversation we need to have about what’s happening behind the meter.”

The strongest score for Australia was in building energy efficiency, the only area where it outperformed the median thanks to building codes, its commercial building labelling program and appliance labelling.

But in industrial and transport energy efficiency, Australia ranks near the bottom. In industrial energy efficiency it was particularly poor, putting it 22nd out of 25, with the report highlighting the absence of accords with the manufacturing sector on efficiency or requirements for regular energy audits at sites.

In transportation Australia also lags behind, being the only developed economy without fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and a low use of public transit. Australia invests only about 26¢ in rail transport for every dollar on road construction, it noted.

Australia has a national energy productivity plan which aims to lift productivity by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2030, but implementation of the goals are seen as “slow”.

“Our global competitors are saving energy and money with smart energy-efficiency policy and investments, while Australia lags at the back of the pack,” Mr Menzel said.

Press link for more: AFR.COM

How persistent & respectful advocacy is getting this doctor heard on #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

How do you get people to listen on the future consequences of climate change? Dr Kim Loo decided to embrace everyone regardless of their views on the issue, and has been getting plenty of attention. It helps that she’s now spending peanuts on her power bill.

Dr Loo is a NSW GP, a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia and a volunteer for Citizens Climate Lobby Australia 

I became an environmental advocate three years ago because as a doctor I was concerned about the future for my children and the health consequences of climate change.

I had spent years reducing my carbon footprint at home and living sustainably, and I became acutely aware that there were few other environmentalists within my electorate.

The 2016 survey by the Climate institute showed that 77% of Australians believe that climate change is occurring. I suspected that the other 23% lived in my electorate.

I discovered that my family and friends were a microcosm of the Climate Institute survey. People I have known and loved for years did not accept the science of climate change.

It would have been easier for me to carry on with my environmental advocacy and ignore what was happening on my home ground. It would have been easier only to see family and friends with my worldview.

I decided to embrace everyone regardless of their political views.

There were several things that were clear to me

• Everyone cares about the future of their children,

• Everyone wants air and water that is not contaminated.

• No one wants to have endless days of heat.

• Everybody wants reliable cheap and secure energy.

• Very few people, including politicians were aware of the health implications of climate change.

I started my political advocacy by sending invitations for afternoon tea at my house to the 12 local council members. Only the current mayor of our council replied.  A very impressive woman with a PhD in oncology research and now a family lawyer on the conservative side of the council, I discussed all the bullet points above with her at an informal chat in my garden in front of my chicken house.

When I received my power bill of $64 dollars for my summer quarter, I rang the Councillor and asked her whether this was newsworthy, and whether she had any contacts.

The senior writer for the local News Limited newspaper lived on my street. I was interviewed a week later and appeared in various Rupert Murdoch newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph and its digital networks. This then led to my appearance on Channel 7’s Sunrise.

It was fortuitous also that all the conservatives at all levels of government know and socialise with each other. My councillor suggested that I see my state and federal members as they were interested in renewable energy, whose advice I followed up.

For political advocacy to be effective is must be persistent. Persistently polite, respectful and appreciative.

I recently attended the town hall meeting of my federal member. His staff know me, and his senior adviser even gave me a hug.

The attendees were mainly complaining about local and state issues.  I spoke about my last power bill which was $42 for the quarter. This provoked a gasp in the audience and the attention of all present. I detailed my home renewable energy system then about sustainability in the energy sector.  People were interested.

I queued up after afterwards to speak to him about car emissions and renewable energy at home.

I do not know if I have shifted the opinion of the politicians in my electorate. I have continued fostering the relationships so that they are happy to see me again, so I can keep trying.

I have been to Canberra on three occasions to lobby federal politicians

I continue to love my family and friends who are on the other side of the political divide. They are very slowly shifting.

There needs to be a cultural and societal change to reduce our impact on this earth. There needs to be effective government policies for mitigation of climate change and adaptation to make our communities more resilient with rising heat and extreme weather to come.

We need to use every strategy that we can.

Why not love and respect?

Press link for more: Women’s Agenda