Big Oil CEOs needed a #climatechange reality check. The #Pope delivered #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #TofuTyrant #GreenActivist @CourierMail

Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The Pope delivered |

By Bill McKibben

At a gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke much-needed common sense about climate change

‘Good common sense speaks even more loudly when it comes from unexpected corners.’ Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

You kind of expect popes to talk about spiritual stuff, kind of the way you expect chefs to discuss spices or tree surgeons to make small talk about overhanging limbs.

Which is why it was so interesting this week to hear Pope Francis break down the climate debate in very practical and very canny terms, displaying far more mathematical insight than your average world leader and far more strategic canniness than your average journalist. In fact, with a few deft sentences, he laid bare the hypocrisy that dominates much of the climate debate.

The occasion was the gathering of fossil fuel executives at the Vatican, one of a series of meetings to mark the third anniversary of Laudato Si, his majestic encyclical on global warming. The meetings were closed, but by all accounts big oil put forward its usual anodyne arguments: any energy transition must be slow, moving too fast to renewable energy would hurt the poor by raising prices, and so forth.

In response, Francis graciously thanked the oil executives for attending, and for “developing more careful approaches to the assessment of climate risk”. But then he got down to business. “Is it enough?” he asked. “Will we turn the corner in time? No one can answer that with certainty, but with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing.” Two and a half years after the Paris climate talks, he pointed out, “carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remain very high. This is disturbing and a cause for real concern.” Indeed.

It’s odd to have the pope schooling energy executives on the math of carbon

What’s really “worrying”, though, “is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”. And in that small sentence he calls the bluff on most of what passes for climate action among nations and among fossil fuel companies. Yes, Donald Trump notwithstanding, most countries have begun to take some steps to reduce demand for energy over time. Yes, oil companies have begun to grudgingly issue “climate risk reports” and divert minuscule percentages of their research budgets to renewables.

(I guess that according to Brisbane’s Courier Mail & Australian resources chiefs the Pope is just another “Green Activist” supporting “Tofu Tyrant “)

But no one has been willing to face the fact that we have to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves underground if we have any chance of meeting the Paris targets. No company has been willing to commit to leaving the coal and oil and gas in the earth, and almost no nation has been willing to make them do so. Instead, the big fossil fuel countries continue to aid and abet the big fossil fuel companies in the push for more mining and drilling. In Australia, the Turnbull government backs a massive new coalmine; in Canada, the Trudeau government literally buys a pipeline to keep the tar sands expanding; in the US, the federal government might as well be a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel companies.

In fact, as Francis points out, it’s not just that these companies and countries are committed to digging up the reserves they currently have. Even more insanely, they’re out there exploring for more. Companies like Exxon devote billions and billions of dollars to finding new oil fields, even though we have far more oil than we could ever safely burn.

All of this is morally wrong, as Francis points out. “Decisive progress cannot be made without an increased awareness that all of us are part of one human family, united by bonds of fraternity and solidarity. Only by thinking and acting with constant concern for this underlying unity that overrides all differences, only by cultivating a sense of universal intergenerational solidarity, can we set out really and resolutely on the road ahead,” he says.

Which is great – it’s the job of religious leaders to remind us to think beyond our own self-interest.

But Francis also understands that our current approach makes no mathematical sense. We can’t have a nice, slow, easy transition because we can’t put barely any more carbon in the atmosphere. We must solve the problem of energy access for the poor by using renewables, not fossil fuel, because “our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty”. Above all, we’ve got to pay as much attention to actual reality as we do to political reality: “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization!”

Bill McKibben on his recent trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

It’s odd to have the pope schooling energy executives on the math of carbon. But actually, no odder than NFL quarterbacks schooling politicians on racial injustice, or high school kids schooling a nation on the danger of guns. Amid the unprecedented wave of nonsense coming from DC, it’s good to remember that there are still people of all kinds able to pierce through the static and the shouting. Good common sense speaks even more loudly when it comes from unexpected corners.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and the founder of the climate campaign 350.org

Press link for more: The Guardian


Carbon Bubble is about to burst! #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange @ANZ_AU @CommBank #StopAdani #Divest

The Carbon Bubble: Here Come the New Dirty Thirties

The ugly end days of fossil fuel will mean big trouble for Canadians. (and Australians)

Mitchell Anderson recently discussed a new report on the coming implosion of the world oil industry, with a loss to the global economy of between $1 trillion and $4 trillion.

It’s a disturbing study, and as he observes, Canada is likely to suffer more than any other petroleum-exporting country — even including the OPEC nations. Just how we’ll suffer deserves closer attention.

The report in Nature Climate Change, whose lead author is Jean-Francois Mercure of Radboud University in the Netherlands, uses several models to track oil production to 2035 and 2050.

Some models assume we will work hard to keep global warming to a two-degree rise or less by moving to renewable energy and cutting back on fossil fuels; others assume we won’t, and will keep burning oil and gas despite rising temperatures.

All the models end up with a “sellout” by 2035 or earlier, in which oil-producing nations put on history’s greatest bargain sale, dropping oil prices as low as possible just to get it out of the ground before demand falls to zero.

After all, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau observed not long ago, “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there.” Least of all when all those barrels would soon be “stranded” in the ground and $1 trillion to $4 trillion vanishes from the global economy.

Once the sellout was truly under way, what would happen?

If the 2008 Great Recession is any guide, governments would first borrow heavily to keep things going, and then switch to austerity.

Employment in general, and social service employment in particular, would suffer.

Recovery and development of new energy sources would be difficult: solar-power engineers might not want to move to depressed communities with substandard schools and health care.

The energy-exporting U.S. would also take an economic beating, Mercure estimates, with production losses across all sectors of about 4.6 to 5.7 per cent by 2035. Extraction-sector production would fall by around 50 per cent.

So we couldn’t trade our way to recovery by selling oil and gas (or much else) to the Americans.

Mercure predicts China, as a net energy importer, would benefit from falling oil and gas prices.

Meanwhile, its ever-increasing renewable energy investments would help the Chinese economy come out about even (and a little better than India’s). The European Union will also enjoy the combined benefits of cheaper Russian fossil fuels and early adoption of renewable energy. The Europeans should even come out with a small increase in public services.

The hardest hit of all

Russia’s reliance on oil and gas exports (especially to the EU) will hurt its overall economy as prices fall, especially extraction sectors and utilities, but it will emerge with a 2.3-per-cent drop in production and 1.3-per-cent drop in employment, while Canada’s production drops 16.1 per cent and our employment drops nine per cent. Mercure’s estimates suggest that we will indeed take the hardest hit of all.

The sellout would probably look like a far bigger version of the 2014 Saudi attempt to grow market share by overproducing its already cheap oil and driving down world prices. That sent Alberta into its latest bust and made Premier Rachel Notley grimly determined to get her bitumen to tidewater.

In a full-scale sellout, though, bitumen won’t be worth selling. Routine stock-market corrections usually stop as bargain hunters flood into the market. But when a bubble bursts, the bargain hunters wait and wait, forcing prices ever lower.

Prices will fall because the price of renewable energy will be brutally competitive. Even if Tesla goes the way of the Bricklin, Tesla-style battery technology will only improve, as will solar, geothermal, biomass and wind power. The Saudis are about to build the world’s largest solar power installation. It’s going to cost $200 billion, paid for out of current oil revenues. The Saudis will have to sell a lot more oil at lower prices while they can to complete their transition to renewable.

The Mercure report includes some supplementary material that estimates the consequences of stranded fossil fuel assets for various regions and countries, and Canada does not fare well. By 2035, Mercure predicts, the U.S. extraction sector (including oil and gas) will produce 50 per cent less than it does today, while losing 16 per cent of its workers. Our own extraction sector’s production of oil and gas will fall by 81 per cent, and the sector will lose 74 per cent of its workers.

Consequences for Alberta

Let’s see how that applies to Alberta. Its extraction-sector workforce in 2017 was 140,300, with some in mining and quarrying as well as in oil and gas. The loss of perhaps 100,000 of those extractive workers will mean far less revenue from income taxes and royalties to pay for health and education.

So Mercure has grim forecasts for those occupations as well based on the plunging government revenues. Alberta in 2017 had 274,100 people working in health care and social assistance. A 20.3-per-cent cut in staff would take approximately 54,820 of them off the payroll. Education services accounted for 153,100 jobs; in the course of a sellout, 30,620 teachers and support staff would be out of work. Other sectors wouldn’t be hit quite as hard: Alberta would lose 24,000 construction workers (10.6 per cent) and 12,297 in business services (15.2 per cent).

These numbers are based on Mercure’s prediction of average national losses; Alberta might suffer more or less in a given sector than Canada as a whole. And it wouldn’t suffer alone. On average, we in B.C. would also likely lose a fifth of our teachers and a tenth of our construction workers. If a sellout occurred this year, and Canada-wide employment fell by 9.4 per cent from its March 2018 total of 18.6 million, that would mean 1,748,870 Canadians out of work.

Fighting all the way

And all across Canada, workers wouldn’t leave their jobs without fighting all the way — from the legislature to the workplace to the street. Political turmoil would erupt on a scale unmatched since the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. Whoever is prime minister in the 21st century’s Dirty Thirties will have a really unenviable job; expect rapid turnover in governments.

Bear in mind that our domestic woes will be like those of many other rich countries, only worse. Migrants and refugees will still find Canada a better option than staying home.

Wars, revolutions and climate-driven disasters will make demands on us we won’t feel able to respond to.

Poverty at home will trigger new problems in public health, just as it has in Venezuela.

Mercure’s forecast is unlikely to be the first; governments and fossil fuel corporations alike have probably commissioned reports with similar conclusions. With such politically ugly implications, it’s understandable that such reports have not been publicized, let alone acted upon.

But a wise government would break the news to its people, commission still more studies, and commit to acting on them: cutting losses in fossil fuels, subsidizing renewable energy companies, and promoting research in the field that might give Canada a chance to catch up with other transitioning countries.

And if we ignore Mercure’s warning, we will learn our lesson anyway, with a tuition fee of up to $4 trillion.

Read more: Energy, Environment

Press link for more: The Tyee

Clean Energy & Environment worth $4 Trillion #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #Innovation #ClimateChange

Green economy now worth as much as fossil fuel sector

Caitlin TilleyPublished on 05/06/2018, 3:42pm

FTSE Russell reports 6% of global equity market, roughly $4 trillion, comes from clean energy and environmental service sector

The green economy now holds roughly the same market share as the fossil fuel sector, according to market analysts FTSE Russell.

In a report released last week, 6% of globally listed equity was derived from renewable and alternative energy, energy efficiency, water, waste and pollution services. This ‘green economy’ was now worth approximately $4 trillion, roughly the same as the fossil fuel sector.

The green economy is also growing, the analysts said, in contrast to fossil fuels, which has shrunk.

“No longer a loose concept the green economy is now a measurable and definable investment priority,” said the report.

FTSE Russell found that if the sustainable economy maintained its current course, it could represent 7% of the global market capitalisation by 2030, even reaching 10% with $90 trillion in green investment – a target called for by UK economist Nicholas Stern in 2016.

The green economy was widely spread across companies of different size and nature. It also covered a large geographical range.

Whilst approximately two thirds of green market capitalisation was comprised of large companies, small and mid-sized firms represent a higher number of green companies and are more deeply exposed to the need for economic transition.

The energy industry comprises more than half of the green economy. Food and agriculture, water and transport are other important sectors.

In terms of financial value, the US is the largest contributor to the green economy. But Japan and Europe were above average. Germany and France are significant European participants, with higher than average green exposure, each providing around 4% of the green sector.

Press link for more: Climate Change News

Leonardo DiCaprio “Paris Agreement should be seen as just a beginning” #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Leonardo DiCaprio

If humankind needs more evidence that the Paris climate agreement is essential to a sustainable future on earth, and that those goals should be seen as just a beginning, we need look no further than the disasters of 2017.

In just the U.S. alone, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still recovering from one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, costing over US$200 billion in estimated damages already. Of course those regions have experienced hurricanes before, but the intensity and damages of the 2017 storms is unprecedented, fueled by the warming of the ocean.

In my home state of California, hundreds of thousands of residents witnessed wildfires race through their communities and turn homes, businesses, and lives to ashes. Fires are also naturally occurring, but the conditions that made these fires especially destructive can be traced to human causes. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, California’s average temperature rose about 1.1 degrees Celsius in recent decades.Those higher temperatures have stripped trees and brush of moisture, paving the way to more devastating wildfires.

The same thing is happening all over the world, as sixteen of the last seventeen years set new temperature records. In Africa, droughts have become more regular and long-lasting as moisture is baked out of the soil. In south Asia, natural monsoon rains became floods of epic proportions – – a third of Bangladesh was underwater at one point last year.

With 2017 as a stark reminder of what’s at stake, it’s easy to become discouraged, but the Paris Agreement highlights what can be done to prevent things from getting even worse. Spurred on by Paris commitments, clean renewable energy is spreading to every corner of the planet. Australians installed over three million solar panels last year. My foundation helped Fiji develop a solar program for its rural villages. In Scotland, enough wind energy was generated one day to power almost twice the entire country’s electricity demand.

Transportation is changing too. The fuel economy standards put in place in America by President Obama have already saved drivers more than $57 billion at the gas pump and, if fully implemented, will cut oil consumption by about 12 billion barrels and reduce greenhouse gas pollution equal to closing 140 coal-fired power plants. Even more exciting, the UK, France and China have announced plans to ban the sale of new petroleum-powered cars by 2040.

It’s also a good sign that more people understand the risks of inaction. A poll released in March 2018 found that 62% of Americans accept the fact that the effects of global warming have already begun.

Maybe that’s why millions of people marched last year all over the globe demanding climate action. I was especially inspired by the number of indigenous leaders I met, who joined the march in Washington DC, many of whom testified persuasively about seeing the impacts of a rapidly changing climate on their homelands. And no one could miss noticing how many young people marched too, which is essential if we hope to have future leaders in government and business that understand the urgency of the crisis we’re facing.

But let’s not assume that wake-up call disasters, rapidly advancing technology, and passionate activism will add up to a complete solution. Our nations need to use the Paris Agreement only as a down payment. We need to embrace nothing less than a switch to 100% clean renewable energy and sustainable regenerative farming methods by mid-century if we hope to achieve our climate goals and sustain life for the expected human population of around ten billion by then. We will need to preserve at least half the planet for nature by then too, not just to protect wildlife and habitats, but for the ecosystem services that only Nature can provide to those human communities.

The Paris Agreement was not just a success of governments. Businesses, NGOs, cities, youth and indigenous leaders all played their part and it would not have happened without them. If we are to succeed in the future in making progress on climate change and other crucial issues, we need to remember that this is responsibility of all of us, and we all have a part to play”.

Christiana Figueres speaks about “a transformation that is now unstoppable, irreversible and more than anything else, it is exponential.” The one ingredient we must now add to her prediction, if we hope to avoid the worst consequences of a warming planet and bequeath a healthy planet to our children, is a sense of urgency that speeds up this transformation before it’s too late.

Press link for more: Profiles of Paris

Working on #climatechange is an act of love. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Working on climate change is an act of love

By Catherine Abreu in Opinion, Energy, Politics | May 28th 2018

Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, poses for a photo at Meech Lake, in Gatineau, Que. on May 17, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Three years ago I could not have imagined that Canada would become a contender for the title of global champion for climate action.

Nor could I have predicted a pan-Canadian framework that establishes a shared vision for climate policy and clean growth across the federal and most provincial and territorial governments, and many sectors of our economy.

Given such unforeseen progress and the grueling work by government and Canada’s environmental community that went into it, I could not have anticipated that in 2018 we would find ourselves mired in the same painful conflict that has played out again and again in North America for more than a decade.

I refer to Indigenous and frontline communities standing up against an unwanted pipeline that industry and governments are determined to push through.

Meanwhile, the climate policies we have worked so hard for are under threat as short-sighted politicians take potshots at long-term protection of our health and our environment.

How heartbreaking.

And so these moments hurt – these moments where ambitious climate policy is undermined by expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.

They enrage.

And we fight because we have to to protect what we love. #climate #CDNpoli #BCpoli

The truth is that working on climate change is not a fight: it is an act of love.

Those of us who dedicate our lives to this effort, in whatever setting we choose to work (there are climate activists in governments and businesses everywhere), do it because we love our families, our children, the lake we swam in as teenagers, the communities we have seen suffer as weather gets more extreme and sea levels rise.

We do it because we see the injustice and inequity and colonial ideology that both drives and is exacerbated by climate change, and we have to believe in a world liberated from these institutions of violence.

And so these moments hurt – these moments where ambitious climate policy is undermined by expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.

They enrage. And we fight because we have to to protect what we love.

Canadians are told that climate action and opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline are fights against workers in Alberta’s oil sands, people who are also trying to protect and provide for those they care about.

Canadians are also told that these activities are a fight against the overall viability of Canada’s economy and, therefore, a fight against Canadians everywhere.

What cruel lies.

What climate action and opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure are is a fight against the influence of an oil and gas industry that is too used to calling the shots in Canada; a fight against a vision of economic success that ignores the jobs and wealth generated by sustainable industries and pins all our hopes on extracting the last dregs of our fossil fuel resources and exporting them to be burned up in a world that has already warmed by over one degree celsius.

Canada’s media and politicians are consumed by a debate that pits “the economy” against “the environment.” We should all know by now that it is absurd to suggest that the economy exists in a vacuum divorced from the ramifications of environmental degradation. Ask any fisherman who experienced the cod collapse in my mother’s home province of Nova Scotia how the economy fairs when ecosystems break down.

It is tragic that one of the most challenging conversations we need to have as a nation is being distilled into an oversimplified and polarizing debate. We deserve a discussion that offers a mature conversation about how we will address climate change while fairly and justly transitioning away from the fossil fuel production the climate can no longer afford.

I refuse to be sold short by an old, dangerous, truncated story of Canadian prosperity that reduces our economy to a pipeline and suggests that measures like carbon pricing – a tool being used by almost 70 jurisdictions worldwide with little issue – is going to kill jobs. Particularly when I can look around and see working examples of economic diversification paired with climate action everywhere.

Renewable energy has created 15,300 direct jobs for Indigenous workers across Canada in the last eight years. Efficiency Nova Scotia has created 1,200 long-term jobs in one Maritime province alone. Kinder Morgan has told the National Energy Board it would create just 90 long-term pipeline operating jobs with the Trans Mountain expansion. Some of the world’s first all-electric low-emissions mines are being built in Northern Ontario and Quebec and will employ hundreds. Cutting methane pollution in Alberta will create thousands of jobs. The evidence is bountiful.

This is one of those moments in history that calls on all of us to stand unflinchingly in the hard truth of our condition. We cannot shrink in fear of the impacts of climate change and the implications of the tremendous effort demanded of us. We can not continue to soothe ourselves with half measures, significant as they may be. Transformational renewal and nothing less is what Canadians deserve, and it is already playing out right before our eyes.

Catherine Abreu is executive director of Climate Action Network Canada

Press link for more: National Observer

Rachael Carson environmental hero. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Rachel Carson, the long green line and our environmental heroes – past and present

Rachel Carson knew she would be criticized for connecting pesticides to the death of songbirds when Silent Spring was published in 1962.

As a scientist, though, she didn’t expect to be vilified by an entire industry, or to be called an alarmist and Communist.

Despite the attacks, she had the courage to keep going, all the way to the White House where she met with President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee, and to Capitol Hill where she testified before senators.

That determination is what ultimately made Carson the most significant American environmentalist of the past century, and why she’s been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager.

Carson opened our eyes to the harm we were doing to the environment, ultimately making our nation a better steward of our natural heritage. Everyone in the environmental community follows in her footsteps.

It’s been nearly 50 years since Environmental Defense Fund was founded on her legacy. We, like so many of our peers, are part of a long green line that started with her signal work, relentlessly following the science, even when it leads to unexpected places.

We work every day to open eyes – just like Carson did in the early days of the environmental movement.

“Who can carry on my work?”

In 1985, I found myself in a magnificent villa perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the central California coast. It belonged to Margaret Owings, an EDF trustee, and great protector of wild animals.

We sat in her living room with a spectacular view of the ocean when Margaret told me a moving and humbling story. More than two decades earlier, before Carson’s untimely death from breast cancer, the two women had met in New York City when Carson received the Audubon Medal.

After the ceremony, they had talked about the future of environmentalism and how to keep the fledgling movement alive. Carson, who was very ill, told Owings she didn’t know who would carry on her work.

Her words made a big impression on Owings. Recounting their meeting to me, she said she had since felt almost a personal responsibility to continue the fight, to take the baton.

Her story helped me see the power of continuity. It was as if Carson was still there with us, telling us to keep going.

We’ve come a long way since Silent Spring, but we also know our work will always go on.

With a vote in Congress or the rap of a judge’s gavel, protections for which our activists worked years can be weakened or eliminated.

We know that in an instant, environmental progress can be reversed, and that requires vigilance by all of us. With a vote in Congress or the rap of a judge’s gavel, protections for which our activists worked years can be weakened or eliminated.

When that happens, we just get back up, dust off and continue the fight. Because we know that environmental stewardship is good for the economy, for business and for people.

Unlike Carson in her day, we can now mobilize the support of hundreds of thousands, even millions, and we have the backing of a new generation of leaders.

Executives calling for a price on carbon

The founder of Moms Clean Air Force, with half a million activists, Dominique Browning is one such leader working for a clean and healthy environment. It makes her a fitting recipient of Audubon’s Rachel Carson award later this month.

By enlisting parents and educating others about what’s happening to our air and climate, Browning and her organization have made a real difference for America’s children and grandchildren. This is in the best tradition of Rachel Carson.

She, too, is part of that green line running from one decade to the next, and from one courageous leader to another, as we continue our work, day in and day out, to defend our environment.

Join us today

Press link for more: EDF.ORG

Nitrous oxide, N2O a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange

Nitrous oxide, N2O is a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide and roughly 10 times more potent than methane in warming potential re global warming.

Note however than both nitrous oxide and methane are present in the atmosphere at ppb levels whereas carbon dioxide is present in ppm concentrations.

Also note that nitrous oxide can react with and thus deplete atmospheric ozone.

Nitrous oxide is produced (and removed) by microbial action, is emitted by some  industrial processes, can be released from nitrogen fertilizers,  but especially is released by combustion of fossil fuels and burning of biomass.

Press link for more: Planet Forecasts

A VICTORIAN-based ag-tech business has launched an ambitious new project to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from dairy farms by up to 80 per cent.

Ballarat-based Precision Agriculture will run the project in Gippsland, with a focus on managing nitrogen fertiliser to combat volatilisation.

To this end, the Precision Ag team are looking at the rate, source, timing and placement of N-based fertilisers to see if more accurate application can cut the amount of N that is lost.

Dairy farmers use N-based fertiliser to improve growth rates in their pastures.

In particular, the use of variable rate technology will be pursued as a means to cut N losses.

Precision Agriculture manager of research and innovation, Dean Jones, said the company will be working to demonstrate how variable rate application of fertiliser can reduce the amount of free nitrogen leading to a reduction in nitrous oxide emissions.

“The aim is to increase nitrogen use efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using smart farming techniques,” Mr Jones said.

And should the project be successful it will have national implications.

“The project will focus on the Gippsland region, however the techniques we use are relevant to dairy farms nationally.”

He said Gippsland’s climate was a key reason the company was doing its work in this area.

“The region’s high rainfall, access to irrigation and predictions that Gippsland will be less impacted by climate change than many agricultural regions were all factors we considered,” he said.

Funded by the Victorian government’s Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) Climate Change Innovation Grants, the project is part of a series of Victorian government schemes designed to address climate change.

Press link for more: Farm on line

Yes @mattjcan your symbolic war went wrong. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Canavan’s symbolic war that went wrong

February 10 2018 – 12:15AM

By Richard Denniss

Politicians love symbols, whether it’s standing in front of a wall of flags, wearing a ribbon on their lapel or being photographed with workers in hard hats.

Voters love symbols, too.

Political travel expenses are, for many voters, a symbol of all that’s wrong with politics.

Traffic jams are a symbol of all that’s wrong with immigration policy and the number of women in cabinet is a symbol of a party’s concern about gender equity.

Of course, different issues have different importance for different voters.

Labor’s Adani stance

But some symbols unite unlikely allies. And just as Bronwyn Bishop’s preference for helicopter travel created an unlikely coalition of disgust, the Turnbull government’s problem is that the Adani coal mine has become a symbol that unites all voters worried about climate change, corporate welfare, multinational tax avoidance and the need to create jobs in regional Australia.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, has always been a fan of the Adani mine. and When he secured the $5 billion of taxpayers’ money for his Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, the mine’s prospects were looking rosy.

Of course, he knew that environmental groups would complain about using public money to help build the world’s largest export coal mine, but such complaints were part of the strategy.

Protestors gather at Federal Parliament this week to oppose the Adani coal mine. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Symbols are only powerful when people notice them, so for Canavan it was essential to have a big fight with the environment movement over whether Queensland needed to create jobs or protect the climate.

Without the fight, no one would notice the minister or his project.

The mine, which is 160 kilometres from the nearest small town of Clermont, is designed to be “automated from pit to port”.

Without a big national fight about its symbolism, the would be pretty easy to miss.

As Adani’s own economic expert, Jerome Fahrer, pointed out in court, the mine would not noticeably affect the Queensland or Australia’s unemployment rate.

Fahrer said under oath “the benefits of this project are not about jobs, they’re about incomes”.

The only way for Canavan to make the project look like a big deal for the economy, as opposed to a profitable deal for Adani, was to pick a fight with environmentalists and use that fight to appear in the media every day talking about the “tens of thousands” of jobs he would create and that his opponents would stop.

But while political debates about coal mines may be largely symbolic, there is nothing symbolic about being unemployed.

There are more than 700,000 jobless Australians.

With the unemployment benefit, Newstart, just $245 a week, it’s easy to understand why voters worry about jobs.

In turn, when you ask voters if they prefer governments to create more jobs, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll say yes.

That’s what the Coalition hoped people would focus on.

But if you ask people whether we should build new coal mines, most voters say no.

Similarly, if you ask people whether taxpayers should subsidise new coal mines, an overwhelming majority say no. And that’s where things started to go wrong for Canavan’s strategy.

While he wanted a big national debate to make his pet project, and himself, look nationally significant, he didn’t get the debate he hoped for.

Rather than become a symbol of the Coalition’s commitment to ignoring environmentalists and creating jobs, the Adani mine is a symbol of the government’s determination to give public money to a foreign company that’s is registered in the Cayman Islands.

At a time the Tax Office is publishing data on the number of big mining companies that pay no tax, and at a time when the mining industry is demanding a $65 billion cut in company tax, the Coalition wants to give $1 billion to a foreign company registered in a tax haven.

One Nation campaigned against the Adani subsidies at the recent Queensland state election. Indeed, Pauline Hanson was photographed in front of her party’s posters, which declared “no free rail for Adani”.

While Canavan has worked tirelessly to suggest it is only environmentalists who oppose the Adani mine, multiple polls show that most One Nation and Coalition voters have similar concerns.

The Adani mine is a symbol of the blinkered vision that the Coalition has about our economic future and the best way to create jobs in regional Australia.

Far more Australians work in tourism than in coal mining.

If the Coalition took the budget, or regional job creation, seriously, it would look at all the ways to create jobs in north Queensland, compare the costs of a range of projects and programs, and choose the policies that create the most jobs per taxpayer dollar spent. But despite years of telling Australians that a highly automated coal mine far from population centres is a great way to create jobs, the Coalition is yet to produce any comparative research to suggest that $1 billion for a coal rail line would create more jobs than $1 billion invested in tourism, manufacturing, education or anything else.

The Adani mine has also become a symbol of the Coalition’s ideological confusion.

Having spent decades saying we needed to cut subsidies to manufacturing and other exporters, the so-called “free-traders” have now embraced the idea that subsidies are a great way to create jobs.

Only three years ago, they were proudly scrapping aid for the car industry in Victoria on the basis that industries should stand or fall on their own two feet.

So thanks to Canavan, Australia is finally having the debates about climate change, the role of government and corporate tax evasion that we avoided for decades.

The Coalition succeeded in making Adani a symbol, but a symbol of our nation’s determination to mine more coal as at a time the world is buying less of it, to give industry aid to powerful groups like miners but deny it to emerging industries like renewables, and to give taxpayers’ money to foreign companies rather than collect a fair share of tax for Australians.

It’s easy to see why every party other than the Coalition opposed elements of the Adani mine in the recent Queensland election. What’s impossible to see is the case for the Turnbull government sticking with its support for the mine. Bill Shorten mustn’t be able to believe his luck.

Richard Denniss is The Australia Institute’s chief economist. Twitter: @RDNS_TAI

Press link for more: SMH.COM.AU

California Governor rebukes Trump on #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol 2 minutes to midnight #qldpol

California governor rebukes Donald Trump in warning of ‘immediate and genuine risk’ of climate change, nuclear weapons and poisoned politics

Jeremy B White San FranciscoThursday 25 January 2018 21:46 GMT

California Governor Jerry Brown used his final State of the State address to warn of imminent peril from climate change and nuclear weapons, drawing a sharp contrast to Donald Trump.

“Our world, our way of life, our system of governance — all are at immediate and genuine risk.

Endless new weapons systems, growing antagonism among nations, the poison in our politics, climate change,” Mr Brown said before a joint sessions of the California Legislature in Sacramento, with potential successors looking on.

Offered in the final year of his fourth term leading America’s most populous state, Mr Brown’s cautionary remarks echoed some long-standing themes.

He has aggressively pursued state-level policies to limit the effects of climate change, positioning California as a global leader in contrast to the President’s scepticism of climate science.

California has also enacted policies shielding immigrants from deportation in deliberate defiance of the Trump administration.

“Despite what is widely believed by some of the most powerful people in Washington, the science of climate change is not in doubt,” Mr Brown said.

The science and reality of #climatechange keeps getting stronger.

How much longer can Washington deny and delay?

And his reference to destructive weapons implicitly rebuked the Trump administration, which has dangled the threat of a nuclear strike over a belligerent North Korea.

The President himself has hinted at annihilating the country and taunted Pyongyang with a reference to his “nuclear button”.

Kim Jong-un inspects weapon North Korea says is powerful hydrogen bomb

Shortly before Mr Brown’s speech, his official account shared a tweet from former Secretary of Defence William Perry, noting that the “Doomsday Clock” managed by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — a symbolic representation of the world’s proximity to disaster — had ticked to two minutes to midnight because “world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.

Mr Brown delivered a keynote address at a 2015 symposium focused on the Doomsday Clock, warning of the “catastrophic consequences” of climate change and nuclear arms competition.

Press link for more: Independent.co.uk

#ClimateChange among Top Risks Facing World – WEF #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Extreme Weather and Climate Change Among Top Risks Facing World – WEF | UNFCCC

Extreme weather events such as coastal storms and droughts, failure to reduce carbon emissions and build climate resilience, and natural disasters are among the top risks that pose a serious threat to global stability, according the latest Global Risks Report 2018 published by the World Economic Forum.

The intensification of environmental and climate related risks comes on the heels of a year characterized by high-impact hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – causing major destruction in the US and the Caribbean island states, extreme temperatures and the first rise in global CO2 emissions in four years.

Speaking about the report, Alison Martin, Group Chief Risk Officer of Zurich Insurance Group, said: “Extreme weather events were ranked as a top global risk by likelihood and impact. Environmental risks, together with a growing vulnerability to other risks, are now seriously threatening the foundation of most of our commons.

Unfortunately, we currently observe a too-little-too-late response by governments and organisations to key trends such as climate change.

It’s not yet too late to share a more resilient tomorrow, but we need to act with a stronger sense of urgency in order to avoid potential system collapse.”

The report was published a few days before the beginning of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which will be attended by the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa.

In Davos, the UN’s top climate change official will meet with government and non-state leaders to discuss how to drive forward the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the key international agreement designed limit the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, thereby preventing the worst impacts of climate change.

The report notes that climate action initiated by a growing network of cities, states and businesses is emerging as an important means of countering climate change and other environmental risks.

Global risks are increasingly interconnected

The report also warns that biodiversity is being lost at mass-extinction rates, agricultural systems are under strain, global food supply is in danger, and pollution of the air and sea has become an increasingly pressing threat to human health. Some of these risks can cause a chain of events – large scale displacement, water scarcity – that could jeopardize social, political and economic stability in many regions of the world.

For instance, the latest data shows that over 75% of the 31 million people displaced during 2016 were forced from their homes as a result of weather-related events.

Among the 30 global risks the experts were asked to prioritize in terms of likelihood and impact, five risks – extreme weather, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, major natural disasters and man-made environmental disasters, and failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change – were ranked highly on both dimensions.

The report points out the interconnectedness that exists both among these environmental risks and between them and risks in other categories – such as water crises and involuntary migration. Also notable is the economic cost attached to natural disasters and coastal storms that cause devastation of critical infrastructure.

The report suggests that a trend towards nation-state unilateralism could make it more difficult to sustain the long-term, multilateral responses that are required to counter rising temperatures and the degradation of the global environment.

The report – which shares the perspectives of global experts and decision makers on the most significant risks that face the world – asked nearly 1,000 respondents for the views about the trajectory of risks in 2018. Nearly 60% of them pointed to an intensification of risks, compared with just 7% pointing to declining risks.

See the relevant World Economic Forum press release.

Download the Global Risks Report 2018 here.

Press link for more: COP23.UNFCCC.INT