Adani Protests make local, national & international news #StopAdani 


I was proud to stand with 700 Cairns locals on Sunday, ordinary people demanding protection for the Great Barrier Reef. 

Demanding that the Australian & Queensland governments stop supporting the opening of new coal mines. 

We listened to scientists who have witnessed back to back coral bleaching caused by climate change saying we need to honour our international agreement signed in Paris last year. An agreement to limit global warming to below 2C. 


The NAIF (North Australian Infrastructure Fund) a fund set up to develop Australia’s north is meeting in Cairns this week. Under consideration is a billion dollar loan to an Indian Billionaire to build a railway to open up the vast Carmichael area to coal mining. The carbon released from mining this coal would push the global temperature well above the 2C agreed in Paris. 

It would be stealing our children’s future. 

The protest gathered much local, national & international media.

Cairns Post Cairns Post
7 News Cairns Ch7p news

UK Finance UK Finance

Times & Democrat The Times And Democrat

Townsville Bulletin Townsville Bulletin

Power100 Power100.com

TWvideo TWvideo

Media Com Today mediacomtoday.com

It seems that people all over the planet are demanding climate action, investment in renewable energy and sustainable economies. 

Climate Change promises a frightening future. #StopAdani

Are the Effects of Global Warming Really that Bad?

The Missouri River encroaches on homes in Sioux City, Iowa, during a 2011 flood Stocktrek Images/Media Bakery

Eight degrees Fahrenheit. It may not sound like much—perhaps the difference between wearing a sweater and not wearing one on an early-spring day. But for the world in which we live, which climate experts project will be at least eight degrees warmer by 2100 should global emissions continue on their current path, this small rise will have grave consequences, ones that are already becoming apparent, for every ecosystem and living thing—including us.

According to the National Climate Assessment, human influences are the number one cause of global warming, especially the carbon pollution we cause by burning fossil fuels and the pollution-capturing we prevent by destroying forests. 

The carbon dioxide, methane, soot, and other pollutants we release into the atmosphere act like a blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm. 

Evidence shows that 2000 to 2009 was hotter than any other decade in at least the past 1,300 years. This warming is altering the earth’s climate system, including its land, atmosphere, oceans, and ice, in far-reaching ways.
More frequent and severe weather

Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts.

A warmer climate creates an atmosphere that can collect, retain, and drop more water, changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier. “Extreme weather events are costing more and more,” says Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative. 

“The number of billion-dollar weather disasters is expected to rise.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2015 there were 10 weather and climate disaster events in the United States—including severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfires—that caused at least $1 billion in losses.

 For context, each year from 1980 to 2015 averaged $5.2 billion in disasters (adjusted for inflation). 

If you zero in on the years between 2011 and 2015, you see an annual average cost of $10.8 billion.
The increasing number of droughts, intense storms, and floods we’re seeing as our warming atmosphere holds—and then dumps—more moisture poses risks to public health and safety, too. 

Prolonged dry spells mean more than just scorched lawns. Drought conditions jeopardize access to clean drinking water, fuel out-of-control wildfires, and result in dust storms, extreme heat events, and flash flooding in the States. 

Elsewhere around the world, lack of water is a leading cause of death and serious disease. At the opposite end of the spectrum, heavier rains cause streams, rivers, and lakes to overflow, which damages life and property, contaminates drinking water, creates hazardous-material spills, and promotes mold infestation and unhealthy air. A warmer, wetter world is also a boon for food-borne and waterborne illnesses and disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
Higher death rates

Today’s scientists point to climate change as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” 

It’s a threat that impacts all of us—especially children, the elderly, low-income communities, and minorities—and in a variety of direct and indirect ways. 

As temperatures spike, so does the incidence of illness, emergency room visits, and death.
“There are more hot days in places where people aren’t used to it,” Haq says. “They don’t have air-conditioning or can’t afford it. 

One or two days isn’t a big deal. 

But four days straight where temperatures don’t go down, even at night, leads to severe health consequences.” 

In the United States, hundreds of heat-related deaths occur each year due to direct impacts and the indirect effects of heat-exacerbated, life-threatening illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. 

Indeed, extreme heat kills more Americans each year, on average, than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and lightning combined.
Dirtier air

Rising temperatures also worsen air pollution by increasing ground level ozone, which is created when pollution from cars, factories, and other sources react to sunlight and heat. 

Ground-level ozone is the main component of smog, and the hotter things get, the more of it we have. Dirtier air is linked to higher hospital admission rates and higher death rates for asthmatics. 

It worsens the health of people suffering from cardiac or pulmonary disease. And warmer temperatures also significantly increase airborne pollen, which is bad news for those who suffer from hay fever and other allergies.
Higher wildlife extinction rates

As humans, we face a host of challenges, but we’re certainly not the only ones catching heat. 

As land and sea undergo rapid changes, the animals that inhabit them are doomed to disappear if they don’t adapt quickly enough. 

Some will make it, and some won’t. 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 assessment, many land, freshwater, and ocean species are shifting their geographic ranges to cooler climes or higher altitudes, in an attempt to escape warming. 

They’re changing seasonal behaviors and traditional migration patterns, too. And yet many still face “increased extinction risk due to climate change.”

 Indeed, a 2015 study showed that vertebrate species—animals with backbones, like fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles—are disappearing 114 times faster than they should be, a phenomenon that has been linked to climate change, pollution, and deforestation.
More acidic oceans

The earth’s marine ecosystems are under pressure as a result of climate change. Oceans are becoming more acidic, due in large part to their absorption of some of our excess emissions. 

As this acidification accelerates, it poses a serious threat to underwater life, particularly creatures with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, including mollusks, crabs, and corals. 

This can have a huge impact on shellfisheries. 

Indeed, as of 2015, acidification is believed to have cost the Pacific Northwest oyster industry nearly $110 million. 

Coastal communities in 15 states that depend on the $1 billion nationwide annual harvest of oysters, clams, and other shelled mollusks face similar long-term economic risks.
Higher sea levels


The polar regions are particularly vulnerable to a warming atmosphere. 

Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere on earth, and the world’s ice sheets are melting fast. 

This not only has grave consequences for the region’s people, wildlife, and plants; its most serious impact may be on rising sea levels. 

By 2100, it’s estimated our oceans will be one to four feet higher, threatening coastal systems and low-lying areas, including entire island nations and the world’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami as well as Mumbai, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro.
There’s no question: Climate change promises a frightening future, and it’s too late to turn back the clock. 

We’ve already taken care of that by pumping a century’s worth of pollution into the air nearly unchecked. 

“Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow, we’d still see some effects,” Haq says. 

That, of course, is the bad news. 

But there’s also good news. 

By aggressively reducing our global emissions now, “we can avoid a lot of the severe consequences that climate change would otherwise bring,” says Haq.
Press link for more: NRDC.org

All Nations Agree to Restore Ocean Health #StopAdani 

All Nations Agree to Restore Ocean Health
By Suzanne Maxx
NEW YORK, New York, June 12, 2017 (ENS) – The 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed by consensus to a 14 point Call for Action that will begin the reversal of the decline of the ocean’s health at the conclusion of the first-ever United Nations Oceans Conference. The week-long conference, which closed Friday, addressed key topics for our common future with the oceans.
The Call for Action states, “We are particularly alarmed by the adverse impacts of climate change on the ocean, including the rise in ocean temperatures, ocean and coastal acidification, deoxygenation, sea-level rise, the decrease in polar ice coverage, coastal erosion and extreme weather events. 

We acknowledge the need to address the adverse impacts that impair the crucial ability of the ocean to act as climate regulator, source of marine biodiversity, and as key provider of food and nutrition, tourism and ecosystem services, and as an engine for sustainable economic development and growth. 

We recognise, in this regard, the particular importance of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
UN


The first-ever UN Oceans Conference in session, June 5, 2017 (Photo © Suzanne Maxx)

The oceans generate employment for over 200 million people, and are the primary source of protein for three billion people. 

The Earth is mostly water, and 97 percent of our planet’s water is in the oceans, which cover the majority of the planet’s surface.
At the opening of the conference President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji who co-organized this conference with support from Sweden, began with the unifying words, “We the people of the world…”
“In small island states like Fiji, trash will outweigh fish by 2050,” he told the 6,000 conference participants from governments, small island nations, civil societies, nongovernmental organizations, corporations and scientists.
Fijians set the stage using the native ceremonial kava ritual, and from opening to the closing the barriers that usually divide those in suits from bare chested or Hawaiian shirt-clad participants were broken down.
The barriers between those living island life with the primal intimacy of the ocean and nature, and those living in the concrete sea of urban areas seemed to melt away in a common concern for the health of the oceans.
fish on reef


Schooling fairy basslets on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef, now threatened by climate-induced coral bleaching and industrial development. 2007 (Photo by GreensMPs)

The Ocean Conference unpacked the Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) #14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine life.”
Goal 14’s targets were explored through concept papers and side events on: marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, ocean acidification, biodiversity, overfishing, marine preserves, illegal, fishing industry subsidies and the World Trade Organization, small scale artisanal fishing and economic benefits to Small Island Developing States, ocean energy, shipping, the Law of Area Boundaries of National Jurisdiction, and the Law of the Sea.
All of these topics play into the equation of ocean stewardship.
Thomson commented, “Human induced problems need human induced solutions.”
Many solutions were presented in a myriad of side events. Solutions ranged from innovative ways to clean up ocean plastics on a large scale, to re-planting coral at reef scale, to tracking whale migration using drones to better understand their needs.
A solutions panel was held every day during the conference in the media zone.
Runit Dome


Aerial view of the Runit Dome located in the crater created by the Cactus nuclear weapons test in 1958. Runit Island, Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands (Photo by U.S. Defense Special Weapons Agency)

One of the most challenging issues, the cutting of fishing subsidies, was left in the hands of the World Trade Organization.
The conference bustled with news of problems, like the Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands that is leaking radioactive nuclear waste into the South Pacific waters, a result of nuclear testing by the United States.
There were many solutions proposed such as the Seychelles no plastic law banning the use of plastic bags, bottles, plates and cutlery, and solutions from island regions who shared their approach to creating and policing Marine Protected Areas.
The Outcome document, and 1,328 Voluntary pledges registered as the conference closed create an arena for the words to take shape in actions.
The hashtag #SavetheOceans allowed the Oceans Conference to have a presence on social media.
Attention to the humanity’s role in the oceans crisis to become aware of the problems and learn about solutions was achieved. Instagram alone showed more than 56,000 ocean posts, a tide that changes the landscape of traditional media. The commitment to the SDG14 is open on-line, and all are encouraged to participate.
“Governments can’t do it alone” was stated throughout the conference by various prime ministers. This “Multi-stakeholder Partnerships” approach to allow governments to team up is a formula devised to make the UN’s efforts more effective.
It was noted in the Plenary that just half of the global military expenditure of governments would be enough to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ocean icons like Dr. Sylvia Earle shared a panel with Trammell Crow. They offered their insights into the degradation of the oceans over the years.
Fabien Cousteau described the state of the oceans in which 90 percent of large fish species have disappeared due to overexploitation, 50 percent of corals have died where there is ever increasing acidification.
Necker Island based Sir Richard Branson explained, “While this gathering of the new [solutions] might be a tiny blip in the history of our planet, our task is to make it the world oceans day where we change our destiny.”
Thomson Maxx


UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson with ENS reporter Suzanne Maxx, June 9, 2017 (Photo by Tomas Pico / UN)

In an interview with ENS about the financial mechanisms needed to turn proposals into solutions, such as the Green Climate Fund, green bonds or carbon offsets, Thomson expressed optimism.
“It looks good,” he said. “I was in a meeting this morning with the four largest financial houses in the world actually, “The Economist” brought us together, and we were discussing that green bonds that were nonexistent not so long ago – zero. 

In 2013 there was 11 billion worth of green bonds issued. 

The bond market now is around 20 billion in bonds. The estimate for the bonds this years is 130 billion.”
He explained this exponential growth, saying, “It had to do with humanity carrying on the way they are going, ignoring sustainability, and that has changed.” 

Ocean-related bonds are on the horizon, he said. “If that is good for green bonds, then it has to be good for blue bonds.”
Brought up with no electricity until the age of 26, Thomson said, “If you are off grid, you’ve got so many renewable energy resources. In fact, if you’re off-grid it is preferable to go with all the renewable energy options, especially with the ocean.”
“There is a huge amount of off-the-grid action for rural islands, and the ocean will provide energy as well. In Fiji, we don’t have the technology or financial resources for that, but we are interested in partnerships [to generate energy] with tidal, wave action, and the gradient of ocean temperature differences.”
“I am confident that with the broad support from member states and other stakeholders with concrete actions we can save our oceans,” Thomson said.
Thomson explained, “That is basically our work plan going forward, not just us, but everybody. The next step is for the General Assembly to endorse, at its 71st session, the call for action as adopted by the Conference.”

Press link for more: ens-newswire.com

We’re not doing enough to meet Paris Targets #StopAdani 

Climate change efforts still ‘not nearly enough’ to meet Paris targets

A new clean energy report has a mixed outlook for the future: Wind and solar power will soar in coming decades, but we’ll still be heading toward dangerous levels of global warming. 


The big takeaway from Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) latest analysis is that, despite the explosive growth we’ll see in renewables — thanks to plummeting prices and improving technology — our current efforts simply aren’t sufficient to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term.


This is true regardless of whether President Donald Trump pulls the United States from the international Paris Agreement on climate change, though certainly it will be even harder to reduce emissions if that happens, said Colleen Regan, a BNEF analyst who contributed to the new report.

Analysts considered existing energy policies, observed electricity prices, and price projections to forecast how the global electricity sector might look by 2040. It assumes governments and companies will build the “least-cost” power system possible.
“We see that wind and solar become some of the least-cost options in the 2020s, and that does lead to a significant amount of wind and solar build,” Regan said.
Chinese workers install solar panels in Wuhan, China.


Chinese workers install solar panels in Wuhan, China.
Image: kevin frayer/Getty Images
Those two sources alone could account for 48 percent of installed electricity capacity and 34 percent of electricity output worldwide in around two decades — up from today’s 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively, the report found.
Renewable energy as a whole could attract $7.4 trillion in global investment by 2040. That’s about three-fourths of the total $10.2 trillion that will be spent on new power generation capacity.
About one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from burning coal, oil, and natural gas for electricity and heat, making it the biggest single source of emissions.
Yet all those developments won’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels, analysts said, meaning that central goal of the Paris Agreement likely won’t be met.


The BNEF report says global emissions from electricity will likely hit their peak in 2026 as governments and companies shift away from coal and toward lower-carbon sources, such as wind and solar power, in step with the promises of the agreement. 
After peaking, emissions will decline by 1 percent per year out to 2040. That’s in contrast with the International Energy Agency’s forecast, which expects emissions to steadily rise for decades to come.
Yet this rate of decline “is not nearly enough for the climate,” according to the report.
The 2-degree target is the line scientists say we can’t cross if we’re going to avoid catastrophic changes in sea level rise, extreme weather events, precipitation patterns, and other effects.


Still, the report doesn’t mean the world is locked into these projections, or that the Paris treaty is entirely futile. It just means we’ll need to devote far more time and money to fighting climate change than we do today.
And despite the monumental task, the world is already making significant progress in shifting toward a lower-carbon energy mix. In its annual report this week, energy giant BP pointed to the rapid rise of solar and wind power and the long-term decline of coal.
Solar power generation jumped 29.6 percent, while wind power grew by 15.6 percent, according to BP. Coal production, meanwhile, fell by a “whopping” 6.2 percent.
The U.S. hit its own clean energy milestone this spring. 
For the first time, monthly electricity generation from wind and solar exceeded 10 percent of total U.S. generation, based on March data, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. That’s up from 7 percent for all of 2016.
Globally, carbon emissions have remained essentially flat for the last three years thanks to rising renewable and energy efficiency projects, and to a lesser extent because of sluggish economic growth, BP said.
Countries still have a long way to go to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. But even if we’re not moving fast enough, we’re heading in the right direction, according to these reports.

Press link for more: Yahoo.com

We need a Strong Carbon Price. #auspol #StopAdani 

Leading Economists: A Strong Carbon Price Needed to Drive Large-Scale Climate Action
Berlin, May 29, 2017 – Meeting the world’s agreed climate goals in the most cost-effective way while fostering growth requires countries to set a strong carbon price, with the goal of reaching $40-$80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020 and $50-100 per tonne by 2030. 

That’s the key conclusion of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, led by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicholas Stern.

Convened by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC)[1] at Marrakesh in 2016 and supported by the Government of France and the World Bank Group, the Commission brought together 13 leading economists from nine developing and developed countries to identify the range of carbon prices that, together with other supportive policies, would deliver on the Paris climate targets agreed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015. 


“The world’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy is the story of growth for this century,” said Commission co-chairs Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern. “We’re already seeing the potential that this transformation represents in terms of more innovation, greater resilience, more livable cities, improved air quality and better health. 

Our report builds on the growing understanding of the opportunities for carbon pricing, together with other policies, to drive the sustainable growth and poverty reduction which can deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Commission’s report, released today in Berlin at the Think20 Summit[2], concludes that a well-designed carbon price is an indispensable part of a strategy for efficiently reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also fostering growth. 

It states that a strong and predictable carbon-price trajectory provides a powerful signal to individuals and firms that the future is low carbon, inducing the changes needed in global investment, production, and consumption patterns.

The Commission concluded that a $40-$80 range in 2020, rising to $50-$100 by 2030, is consistent with the core objective of the Paris Agreement of keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees.

 Carbon prices and instruments will differ across countries, and implementation and timetables will depend on the country context. 

The temperature target remains achievable with lower near-term carbon prices if complemented by other policies and instruments and followed by higher carbon prices later. 
However, this may increase the aggregate cost of the transition.


The Commission noted the importance of complementing carbon pricing with a range of well-designed policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation and technological development, long-term investment in sustainable infrastructure, as well as measures to support the population in the transition to low-carbon growth.
“Specific carbon price levels will need to be tailored to country conditions and policy choices,” said Commission member, Professor Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

“Carbon pricing makes sense in all countries but low-income countries, which may be more challenged to protect the people vulnerable to the initial economic impacts, may decide to start pricing carbon at a lower level and gradually increase over time.”
In its five months of deliberations, the Commissioners explored multiple lines of evidence to reach its conclusion on the level of carbon pricing that would be consistent with achieving the 2C-or-below temperature objective of the Paris Agreement. 

They analyzed national mitigation and development pathways, technological roadmaps, and global integrated assessment models.
The Commission found that explicit carbon-pricing instruments, like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme, can raise revenue for countries efficiently and these revenues can be used to foster green growth in an equitable way, depending on their circumstances. 

Options include returning the revenue as household rebates, reducing taxes on labor or investment, supporting poorer groups in society through cash-transfer programs, supporting new green technologies, helping companies transition to lower-carbon technologies or investing in basic services like energy, water and sanitation.
The report also points to action on carbon pricing by the private sector with hundreds of corporations already setting internal carbon prices to help inform their decision-making. Together with the Carbon Pricing Corridor Initiative led by We Mean Business and the Carbon Disclosure Project which focuses on carbon pricing in the power sector, the Commission’s report will help contribute to the design of climate policies and carbon pricing instruments around the world.

Press link for more: Carbon Pricing Leadership

We need a Citizens’ Charter on #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Is There A Need For A Paris Agreement Between Governments And Citizens?

Shyam Saran

We need a Citizens’ Charter on Climate Change to realise the promise of Paris

India_Paris Agreement
Now that the United States, under President Donald Trump, has walked out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the role of civil society, communities, businesses and industry, and individual citizens, in dealing with the challenge of climate change has become even more critical. 

All non-governmental constituencies must not only use the instrument of public opinion to persuade governments to do more, but also take the lead themselves and serve as role models.


Climate change is integrally linked to the lifestyle choices we make as individuals and families. 

These, in turn, reflect our deeply ingrained value systems. 

Modern societies treat nature as a dark force to be conquered and subjugated through technology to serve our material needs and aspirations. 

The products we design, produce and consume reflect our preference for disposability over durability. 

We rate novelty higher than reliability. 

Our consumer markets are based on use and discard. 

Our production processes are linear and once-through, using raw materials to produce finished goods with huge waste inherent in the system. 

Affluence is associated with excess. 

It is this value system and mindset that lie at the heart of the climate change challenge.
As citizens, we must be concerned about the threat posed by climate change to present and future generations and recognise the need to adopt ecologically sustainable lifestyles.

 The concept of affluence itself must change.

 Material comforts are desirable, but to have a green earth to walk upon, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink should be valued as indispensable to any concept of well-being.

So what do we need to do as citizens? 

We need a Citizens’ Charter on Climate Change in which participants voluntarily pledge practical actions for their part as citizens, families, localities and civil society groups, to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. 

These could include the following representative examples:
Adopt a vegetarian diet, which can significantly reduce the quantity of resources required to sustain expanding non-vegetarian consumption in the form of beef, mutton and poultry.

 Some people have gone further and become “vegans”, rejecting even dairy products. 

There could be a range to choose from, for example, eating meat only once a week to begin with. 

The idea is to involve citizens actively in promoting ecological security through the frugal use of resources.

Our world is in danger of being choked with plastic waste. 


Our oceans are becoming a toxic pool, thanks to the plastic and other hazardous waste we are constantly dumping into them. 

In our own daily lives, could we pledge to dispense with mineral water dispensed in plastic bottles and use reusable steel drinking bottles instead? Could we dispense with plastic shopping bags and carry our own cloth or paper bags instead? Could we persuade governments to set up water ATMs to dispense clean drinking water at affordable prices so that there is no need felt to buy bottled mineral water?

There are now biodegradable party plates, bamboo plates, glasses and even edible cutlery available in the market for parties and public events. Could we pledge to use them for our family and social events and demand that the government do the same for public events?

We have the right to mobility but not necessarily to own and use private vehicles. 

In our digital world it is possible to operate car pools and share transport services. We should demand efficient and affordable public transportation from governments and accept that financing such projects may need heavy, even punitive, taxation on private transportation. 

We should pledge to use bicycles — but governments must provide safe cycle lanes.

Businesses can make significant contributions by adopting zero waste, power positive and water positive production and distribution processes. 

This would be possible through the adoption of renewables and recycling and pledging never to dump toxic effluents into our rivers and toxic gases into the air. 

As citizens we can promote such change in corporate behaviour through informed choices we make as consumers of products businesses put on the market.

These actions could be organised in small communities and localities; they can be on a national scale and in our interconnected world, even across borders. Witness how in the US, civil society groups, states such as California and several socially aware businesses, are rejecting what President Trump has done and are going ahead with even more vigorous efforts at their respective levels to realise the promise of Paris.
The notion of ecological sustainability is deeply embedded in Indian culture. Traditionally, nature is revered as a mother, a source of nurture and not a force to be harnessed for our material comfort alone. Our culture enjoins upon us to never extract from nature more than its capacity to regenerate. This is the perspective through which we must look upon the bountiful but fragile planet that is our only home in the universe.
Shyam Saran is a former foreign secretary, Government of India. He served as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Climate Change from 2007 to 2010. He is currently member, governing board of Centre for Policy Research, and a trustee of WWF India. Views expressed are personal and do not represent the views of the United Nations or any of its agencies. 

Press link for more: In.one.un.org

Air pollution kills 500,000 people in India every year. #StopAdani 

Air pollution in India is so bad that it kills half a million people every year

By Chelsea Harvey May 11, 2016 


 

An Indian national flag flies as a thick layer of smog envelops the city skyline after Diwali festival, in New Delhi, India. 

New Delhi is imposing new rules to reduce its notoriously snarled traffic and fight extreme air pollution that has earned India’s capital the title of world’s most polluted city. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

A new paper has added to the growing body of research indicating that India’s air pollution has become a matter of life and death. 

The study, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that outdoor air pollution in the country is contributing to more than half a million premature deaths each year at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.

The deadly power of air pollution is no new finding.

 Numerous studies have concluded that both outdoor and indoor pollution can cause a variety of serious diseases, including ischemic heart disease, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, increased risk of stroke and even lung cancer. 

One study published last year in Nature, for instance, estimated that a type of pollution known as “fine particulate matter” — tiny toxic particles that can be released by a variety of sources, including the burning of fossil fuels or organic matter — is responsible for about 3 million deaths worldwide each year.  

In certain parts of the world, particularly India and China, air pollution is an ever-growing public health concern. 

This may be especially true for India, which reportedly surpassed China earlier this year in the overall amount of fine particulate matter pollution its citizens are exposed to.

 That report, which was published in February by Greenpeace, found that fine particulate matter levels in New Delhi came to about 128 micrograms per cubic meter, in comparison to Beijing’s 81 and Washington D.C.’s 12. 

 In contrast, the World Health Organization recommends that nations shoot for an annual average of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. 

The authors of this week’s paper have pointed out that most studies that model pollution-related mortality have focused on Europe and the United States, with comparatively few studies on mostly urban areas in India. 

A few broad studies have attempted to produce estimates for the globe as a whole, including regional estimates for India or South Asia — these included two independent 2015 studies and a 2014 World Health Organization report, all of which suggested that pollution-related premature deaths were above 0.5 or 0.6 million annually.
The new study, which focuses specifically on India, further supports those estimates. The study relied on computer simulations of outdoor air pollution levels throughout the nation — including both fine particulate matter and ozone, which is also known to cause respiratory disease — using data from national inventories on pollutant emissions. The researchers then used a model (relying on previous research on the human health response to pollution exposure) to estimate the number of associated premature deaths. All the simulations were based on 2011 data.
Their results suggested that about 570,000 premature deaths in India were caused by exposure to fine particulate matter in 2011, and an additional 12,000 were caused by exposure to ozone. The most severely affected part of the country was the Indo-Gangetic region, which includes the northern strip of the country.

“[It’s] good to see that the results from this study are in good agreement with our work, which shows that these numbers are quite robust, and that air pollution is indeed an important cause of premature death,” said Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, who led one of the 2015 global studies on pollution and premature mortality. Lelieveld was not involved with the new study.
In addition, Marko Tainio of the University of Cambridge (who was also not involved with the research) noted that the results are well in line with estimates produced by the 2013 Global Burden of Disease study (GBD), which is a collaborative effort among the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and other academic partners, which quantifies the health effects of various diseases and injuries around the world.


“The paper in Geophysical Research Letters used similar methods than the ones in the GBD study so I would have expected similar results,” he said by email.
In all of these cases, there is no physical way to tell who has actually been killed by air pollution. Rather, the methods rely on statistical algorithms (computer models, essentially) to construct estimates about a population’s response to pollution exposure using previous concrete observations on pollution and public health. The problem is that most of these observational studies have taken place in regions with comparatively low pollution levels, such as Europe or the U.S., said Michael Jerrett, chair of the department of environmental health sciences at the University of California Los Angeles, who was not involved with the new research.  

“We don’t have any epidemiological studies from China or India that look at the long-term effects of air pollution on mortality,” he said. That means that modeling studies on health and pollution in these places are essentially extrapolating human responses to high pollution levels using results from less polluted places — meaning scientists can’t quite know for sure whether the results produced by the models are completely true to real life.
This makes the method slightly controversial among some scientists, Jerrett noted. However, it’s also one of the only available options for this type of research until the missing studies are conducted in those parts of the world.
Additionally, Jerrett said that these types of modeling studies are forced to assume that all types of particles included in fine particulate matter pollution — which may include a variety of different substances, including heavy metals, acids or carbon compounds — are equally toxic, which research suggests is likely not the case. Emissions containing varying concentrations of different particles may affect human health in different ways. For the time being, though, there’s not much that can be done to correct for this issue in existing models. And overall, Jerrett agreed that this particular paper “looks like it’s a well-conducted study building on a longer research tradition.”

In addition to estimating the number of premature mortalities across the nation, the researchers converted these calculations into years of life lost. They concluded that exposure to fine particulate matter in India translated to about 3.4 life years lost.
“This is a point of concern because overall average life expectancy is already low (64 years) in India, ranked 150 worldwide in 2012, and future increase in PM2.5 concentration may worsen the situation,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers also estimated the economic cost of the mortalities using a function known as “value of a statistical life,” or VSL — essentially, the monetary value of a change in a person’s likelihood of dying. This is sometimes thought of as the amount of money a society would be willing to spend to save an individual citizen’s life. This value generally differs by country and depends on factors such as growth in gross domestic product and income.  
From these calculations, the researchers concluded that the cost of the estimated premature mortalities came to about $640 billion in 2011 — notably, about 10 times higher than the country’s total expenditures on health that year.  
Altogether, although there are still some uncertainties associated with the methods, the paper adds to an ever-increasing collection of studies highlighting the dramatic health consequences of heavy pollution. And it’s worth noting that this particular study did not even include the effects of indoor air pollution, from sources such as indoor cooking and heating, which are also known to contribute to similar health problems.  
“Our estimates on premature mortalities, economic loss and life lost years provides important information to elective members and policy makers to propose or impose emission controls to benefit reduced public health risk due to exposure to outdoor air pollution,” the authors wrote.
And Jerrett added that more stringent standards for air pollution control may also help lead to a decrease in the kinds of emissions that contribute to global warming. This means that stricter pollution control in India would not only help save lives in that part of the world, but would also be a win for the planet as a whole.

Chelsea Harvey is a freelance journalist covering science. 

She specializes in environmental health and policy. 

 Follow @chelseaeharvey

Press link for more: Washington post

India the next green energy giant. #StopAdani 

By Sohrab Darabshaw

Energy experts, the domestic media, research organizations and even representatives of other governments seem pretty sure that India is the next green-energy giant in the making (U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent assertions notwithstanding).


Trump, while announcing his country’s intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, justified it on the grounds that the agreement was unfair to the U.S., and that it was skewed unfairly in favour of developing countries, such as India.


In the wake of that move, many in the Indian media have pointed out that a fact that the Trump administration seemed to have missed was that while India was the third-largest contributor to carbon emissions today, the U.S. was the second. 

The U.S.’s per capita carbon emission was still significantly higher than other large countries, according to data from the World Bank, and far higher than that of both India and China, according to a report in the online publication Scroll.
Not many within or outside the country are doubting India’s stated aim of ensuring that 40% of energy used would come from non-fossil fuels and rapidly developing renewable energy sources by 2030.


Finland’s Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen told the Economic Times, India had the potential to lead emerging economies when it comes to renewable energy and sustainable development. 

He added the way India was moving towards the generation of solar and wind energy could be an example for the developing world and the concept of “circular economy” that promotes reusing and recycling resources was fit for India.

MetalMiner reported just a few days ago that India had overtaken the U.S. to become the second-most attractive country after China for renewable energy investment, according to a report by UK accountancy firm Ernst & Young.
One of India’s own central government ministers, Harsh Vardhan, denied Trump’s allegation that India would double coal production till 2020. 

Speaking at the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, he added the country was hoping to achieve climate targets “well before time.” He was speaking at the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing.
The minister pointed out to the fact that India was working incessantly to increase its share of renewable energy, even to the extent of announcing the cancellation of new coal mines.
Some experts in India felt that Trump’s recent allegations could put a damper on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S. Trump’s message — India is a big polluter and is not doing and is expected to do much on climate change — may not go down well with the Indian administration.
The CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Arunabha Ghosh, cautioned that rather than impulsively reacting to Trump’s provocation, India must clinically examine the breadth and depth of its energy and climate relationship with the U.S. to decide which areas of cooperation, if any, still hold promise.

India saw nearly $10 billion invested, both in 2015 and in 2016, in renewable energy projects. Last year, $1.9 billion of green bonds were issued. India’s solar targets alone need $100 billion of debt.
Posting in the Bloomberg View opinion section, columnist Mihir Sharma, however, struck a slightly skeptical note.
“India is not like China, or the U.S., or Australia or Germany when it comes to meeting its Paris pledges,” he wrote. “In India, hundreds of millions of people still live without electricity – a big part of what keeps them desperately poor.

 India also has a shrunken manufacturing sector, partly because electricity is so expensive (relatively) and its supply so variable. 

No democratically accountable Indian government can ever favor an international agreement over fixing these two problems.”
Sharma added coal “looks bad” in India at the moment because “its economy is struggling and because it is so services-intensive. 

Over the past few years, coal plants have used less and less of their capacity as growth has slowed.”
But, if India’s economy does take off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might indeed be faced with such a choice.


Modi – who as a chief minister decried climate deals as infringing on Indian sovereignty – has already gone out on a limb and reversed decades of Indian climate policy in signing the Paris agreement.
If he’s ever actually confronted with that choice – one that’s much more real than the one Donald Trump faced – I wouldn’t be as sure as all the headline-writers that he won’t follow Trump’s lead.
Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, while speaking to Times of India blogger Rohit E. David, opined India must move ahead on energy security, not because it needed to make up for Washington’s withdrawal, but because low carbon growth could lift millions out of poverty and improve public health. 

Modi said it would be a morally criminal act for the world not to do its part on climate change – a very strong signal of support, Solheim told the interviewer.

The Adani Coal Mine is a Killer!! #StopAdani #auspol 

Will Adani’s coal mine kill 500,000 people?

Credit: J.B. Russell
by Graeme Taylor
If all goes as Adani plans, coal from its proposed mine in Queensland will produce enough air pollution to kill hundreds of thousands of Indians.

 Given that this risk is not only known but avoidable, would it be fair to say that the businessmen and politicians developing this mine will be guilty of premeditated mass murder? 

Here are the facts and the competing arguments: you make the call.

Scientists found that air pollution from coal burnt to generate electricity in India causes the premature deaths of 80,000 to 115,000 people per year from chronic lung conditions, respiratory infections, heart diseases, strokes, bronchitis and trachea and lung cancers. 


10,000 of these victims are children under the age of 5. 

In addition every year tens of millions of cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments are linked to coal pollution including 21 million asthma attacks. 

During the 12 month period studied (2011-2012) 503 million tons of thermal coal was burned. 

Since Adani plans on mining almost five times as much coal in Queensland this massive project could cause half a million premature deaths and 100 million asthma attacks.
These horrifying statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise.

 Breathing the filthy smog in cities like New Delhi or Beijing is equivalent to smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day—one in eight people in the world now dies from air pollution.

The owners of Adani are perfectly aware that coal pollution seriously damages both human health and the environment. 

However, they maintain that the benefits will outweigh the costs as coal generated electricity is needed to help eliminate poverty in India and end hunger. 

But while this was a reasonable argument in the 20th century, it’s not valid in the 21st, as it is now cheaper to source electricity from clean solar plants than from dirty coal-fired generators.

Adani also reasons that high-quality coal from the new mine will replace low-quality coal from India and Indonesia, thereby reducing pollution from many existing thermal generating plants. 


Since other countries will sell India dirtier coal if Queensland coal isn’t available, building the mine is an ethical decision that will help the environment and save lives.
This argument is called the drug dealer’s defence: if I don’t sell your kids crystal meth another dealer will—and the courts should let me deal drugs because my high-quality products won’t kill as many children as the junk sold by my competitors! 
Although the quality of Adani’s coal is debatable, the bottom line is that even if the pollution from Queensland coal causes fewer deaths than the coal shipped from other countries, it will still kill hundreds of thousands of people. 

Is it possible to justify the production and sale of an additional source of pollution when safe alternatives are available? 

Or is developing this mine just as criminal as building a lab to manufacture deadly drugs? 
In Australia the charge of murder by recklessness applies if a person caused a death through acting in an unjustifiable manner while knowing that such an action was likely to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm. 

On the other hand, a charge of manslaughter by criminal negligence applies if the accused caused unintentional death by choosing to act in a reckless manner even though he was aware that he was creating a high risk of death or serious bodily injury. 
In Nydam v R the difference between the two offences was described as “An instance of the former might be to kill a person in a street by intentionally dropping a large block of stone from a high building into the crowded street below: an instance of the latter might be to kill a person in a street by carelessly letting fall a large block of stone from a high building into a crowded street below.” 
I will leave it up to you (and lawyers) to decide whether either of these criminal charges could or should apply to the Adani mine.

Dr Graeme Taylor is a social scientist, lecturer and writer. He is the author of Evolution’s Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World, which won the 2009 IPPY Gold Medal for the book

 “Most likely to save the planet”.
Press link for more: Climate Code Red

One Canoe, One island, One Planet. #Hawaii #StopAdani 

Hawaii becomes first state to pass laws in support of Paris accord
Sentinel & Enterprise
By Katie Mettler
The Washington Post
When the traditional Hawaiian canoe Hokule’a set sail four years ago, the wayfinders on board — men and women navigating the open sea by a map of stars — vowed to seek a renewed sense of self and share with the world a treasured message:

 Malama Honua.


The Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe built to revive the centuries-old tradition of Polynesian exploration, makes its way up the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Sailed by a crew of 12 who use only celestial navigation and observation of nature, the canoe is two-thirds of the way through a four-year trip around the world.

Bryson Hoe/C


In Hawaiian, it means to care for Island Earth, a mission especially important to Pacific Islanders, whose home and economy is under constant threat from the rising seas and coral bleaching caused by a warming planet.


This week, the wayfinders will return to a Hawaii that on Tuesday took a defiant stand, becoming the first state to legally implement portions of the landmark Paris climate agreement that President Trump chose to abandon.
“Climate change is real, regardless of what others may say,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at a bill signing ceremony Tuesday in Honolulu.


 “Hawaii is seeing the impacts firsthand. 

Tides are getting higher, biodiversity is shrinking, coral is bleaching, coastlines are eroding, weather is becoming more extreme.

 We must acknowledge these realities at home.”
Ige said the state has a “kuleana,” or responsibility, to the Earth.
“Like the voyaging canoe Hokule’a, we are one canoe, one island, one planet,” the governor said. 

“We cannot afford to mess this up. 

We are setting a course to change the trajectory of Hawaii and islanders for generations to come.”
With Ige’s signature, two bills became law.

 

The first, SB 559, expanded strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide, a tenet of the Paris agreement.

 The second, HB 1578, established the Carbon Farming Task Force within the state’s Office of Planning, to support the development of sustainable agriculture practices in Hawaii, a skill native islanders had once mastered before planes, freighters and Amazon linked them to the mainland.
Both bills were introduced in January, after President Trump moved into the White House and began what many climate scientists felt was a wholesale dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency and a reversal of the steps taken by the Obama administration to combat global warming.
They weren’t meant to be signed into law for several more weeks, Scott Glenn, an environmental adviser to Ige, told The Washington Post. 

But after Trump announced the United States would exit the Paris agreement, Glenn and his co-chair on the Sustainable Hawaii Initiative recommended the bill signing and ceremony be moved up because “this was of such national importance,” he said.
Senate majority leader Sen. Kalani English, a Democrat, introduced SB 559 and said in a statement Tuesday that it gave Hawaii the “legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies . . . despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty.”
Ige also committed Hawaii to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a collection of 12 states — including Massachusetts — and Puerto Rico who have vowed to uphold the Paris climate agreement on the state level.

Press link for more: Sentine Land enterprise