Monday, December 19, 2016

Installing #Solarhotwater makes both financial and climate sense


I came home from attending #COP22 in Marrakech only to have my gas-boosted hot water system die a week or so later. A good opportunity to upgrade to an electric boosted solar hot water service to increase household energy efficiency and reduce emissions, although lousy timing for my Christmas finances.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Guest Post: “We’ll always have Paris”



This detailed, but succinct analysis of the United Nations climate conference at Marrakech, COP22, by the Heinrich Boll Foundation is well worth reading. The authors are Lili Fuhr, Liane Schalatek, and Simon Ilse. The original was published 1 December 2016 and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons- Share-Alike licence.

At the UN’s COP 22 climate conference in Marrakech, the international community closed ranks despite (or perhaps because of?) the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president. Thanks to its swift ratification by currently more than 110 countries, negotiations on the technical implementation of the Paris Agreement could begin. The pace must increase significantly, however, if the 1.5°C limit is still to be met.[1]

The Paris Agreement entered into force on the 4th of November, two days before the opening of the climate conference in Marrakech. A majority of states had ratified the agreement in their national parliaments. Never before have so many countries joined an international agreement in such a short time – a mere ten months. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised the determination of the states in the last speech of his tenure at the conference in Marrakech. Shortly thereafter – two days into the summit – the elation vanished abruptly. The clear election victory of Donald Trump – who has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and questioned the gamut of U.S. international commitments – depressed the mood in Marrakech. The well-founded fear that Trump would back out of the Paris Agreement and reverse all of the achievements of his predecessor Barack Obama, or even cancel U.S. membership in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dominated almost all discussions. The intended broad theme of the conference – climate change in Africa – thus took a back seat.

A lot is at stake for the continent: Africa already suffers heavily from the impacts of climate change. African governments are calling for financial and technological support as well assistance in building their capacity for the implementation of their national climate plans – and not just with regard to climate protection, but especially on the much more urgent issue of climate change adaptation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marrakech: we will move ahead



On the last day of the UN climate conference, COP22 in Marrakech, Greenpeace organised a photo shoot outside the entrance to the COP22 conference venue with a huge banner saying: We will move ahead. It was advertised to delegates as the largest photo shoot of the UNFCCC 'family'. Party delegates and observers, media and members of the secretariat gathered for the photo.

After the emotional rollercoaster ride of the US presidential election and considerable chatter about what a Trump Presidency would mean for climate action, the event was a fitting summary of the resolve of people at the conference. To forge ahead despite a climate denialist being elected President of the USA.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Marrakech Action Proclamation at COP22


Host country Morocco developed the Marrakech Action Proclamation (PDF), which was read out to the full Plenary on Thursday 17 November 2016.

The one page statement articulates the urgency of climate change, and the unstoppable global momentum on climate action and sustainable development action by governments, businesses, investors, sub-regional government and cities. It can be read as a veiled message to Donald Trump and his election to the US Presidency, that the world is proceeding to act on climate change. In Fact, Ed King from Climate Home has done just that: Marrakech Call decoded: UN sends Trump its climate demands.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Julie Bishop signs Second Because the Ocean Declaration



Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sure has the gift of the gab with fine rhetorical statements on Australia’s strong targets (ahem), that presently commits the world to 4 degrees C or more of warming.

I caught up with her on Monday night of the second week of COP22 in a high level event at the French Pavillion. She was there with several other ministers to sign the second ‘Because the Ocean declaration’ to improve ocean and reef conservation efforts as part of the UNFCCC climate change process. (See details on signing the First Declaration in Paris at COP21 here)

She highlighted the Australian Government’s 2015 Reef 2050 plan, and $2 billion over 10 years to reduce water pollution affecting the Great Barrier Reef at both this event and later in her ministerial statement to COP.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kick Polluters out of COP22: Climate Justice activists stand with Moroccan communities


Article first published at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia

Morocco has painted itself as a green leader at this UN climate conference, and in many ways it is, but beneath the surface there are also the stories of pollution, greenwashing and hypocrisy which activists have brought to light.

Activists on Thursday highlighted two of these stories, of heavy pollution caused by phosphate mining of the water at Safi, a town on the Moroccan coast, and at Managem's silver mine at Imider. Water is Life. The phosphate company and the silver mining Company are both sponsors of COP22 that are destroying the water quality, health and life of local communities.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Multilateral assessment of Australia at COP22 for climate action



Australia was under the spotlight at COP22 in Marrakech as part of the SBI multilateral assessment process for climate action. You can read the 31 pages of written questions and responses already on record (PDF).

Each country was allocated 30 minutes of live questioning following a brief statement by the country being questioned.

Europe was up first with their statement and then questions from USA, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Singapore, China. Europe then responded to these questions.

Then it was Australia's turn with Australia's lead negotiator Ambassador Patrick Suckling saying that the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is delivering real emissions cuts and that Australia is on target for meeting 2020 and 2030 targets.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Investor perspectives on beyond Paris and the US election at #COP22



Ceres and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) press conference on Beyond Paris and the US elections: investor perspectives. It highlighted that climate change is viewed by many businesses as both a risk and an opportunity.

Kids win: US #climate court case moves forward



The Our Children's Trust climate court case against the US President, US Government and Fossil Fuel Industry has passed another hurdle with Federal Judge Ann Aiken rejecting U.S. government and fossil fuel industries motions to dismiss.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Strong ambition needed to meet 1.5C #ParisAgreement Target #COP22



According to the latest Climate Action Tracker assessment of national climate plans (NDCs), the Paris Agreement current commitments will lead to a warming of 2.8degC, with a likely chance of holding warming below 3.1degC.

It is clear that more ambition is needed, and the earlier emission reductions happen, the greater the benefit.

I was unable to make this press conference but Dr Cara Augustenborg did a sterling job of tweeting the main points. The Press conference is available as video on demand.

Host country, Morocco, is one of the few countries rated by Climate Action Tracker as 'Sufficient' in their climate targets and climate action. Morocco, along with Nepal are the only countries to update their climate plans (NDCs) since the Paris Agreement was agreed.

Australia ratifies #ParisAgreement as #COP22 meets



Waking up in Marrakech to the news that Australia has stayed the course and ratified the Paris Agreement. Welcome news after Trump was elected President of the United States promising to wind back United States climate action. See my article on the response from climate NGOs to Trump's election.

I commented at the end of October of Australia's efforts to ratify the treaty. It was leaked in a tweet by French Environment Minister Segolene Royal that it might be done by Novenber 15. They got it done five days earlier, in time for the high level ministerial meeting at COP22 next week.

The ratification is significant as it is for both the Paris Agreement and the Doha Amendment. The Doha Amendment establishes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol up to 2020. As of 7 November 2016, 72 nations had ratified the Doha amendment.

It also comes at a time providing a small ray of hope to attendees at the climate talks in Marrakech after the US election results and Trump's policy threats to withdraw from the Paris Agreement (difficult though that might be)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

US Climate Action Network responds on US election result and climate policy



We woke in Marrakech to the surprise news of Donald Trump being elected President of the USA, with everyone asking, what will this mean for the #ParisAgreement. I attended the US Climate Action Network Press Conference.

"President-elect Trump has the opportunity to catalyze further action on climate that sends a clear signal to investors to keep the transition to a renewable-powered economy on track. China, India, and other economic competitors are racing to be the global clean energy superpower, and the US doesn’t want to be left behind." said Tina Johnson, Policy Director, US Climate Action Network.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

COP22 opens in Marrkech

Inside Casablanca plenary room for openning plenary COP22

Rain greeted the first day of this year's UN climate talks in Marrakech. But that did not dampen the spirits, still on a high from the December 2015 climate agreement concluded in Paris.

At least some of the politicians and bureacrats know that we are already feeling the impacts of a hotter climate. There is a sense of urgency, that we cannot sit on our laurels, but need to continue to maintain the momentum.

I was able to grab a seat in the Casablanca Plenary hall and watch the proceedings live in the neighboring Marrakech Plenary Hall. There were the speeches and some theatre involving LED lights, a giant plastic ball of earth with a smiley face, and a troupe of drummers.

Turkey wins first fossil of the day award of COP22

1st COP22 Fossil of the Day was Turkey

Each UN climate conference Climate Action Network gives awards to those nations that do the most in retarding negotiations.

For COP22 on Day 1 that award went to Turkey.

Turkey won COP22’s inaugural Fossil of the Day award as it argued for financial support under the Paris Agreement, yet is still to ratify the agreement. Turkey has plans to build 70 new coal power plants that would add over 70 GW of dirty energy capacity. A very real carbon bomb that would undermine the Paris Agreement.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Newcastle residents celebrate ParisAgreement entry into force forming a 2100 sealevelrise high tide mark



On November 4, residents of Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales celebrated the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Hundreds of people woke up early and formed a high water tide mark line to indicate where sea level rise may reach by 2100.

"Hundreds of people have come together in Newcastle this morning in response to the governments failure to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, which comes into force today. The group formed a blue line signifying the predicted high tide for Newcastle in 2100 and are calling on the federal government to ratify the agreement and start phasing out fossil fuels as a matter of urgency." said the group in a Facebook posting by the Hunter Community Environment Centre.

Guest Post: Global climate talks move to Marrakesh: Here's what they need to achieve



As the Paris Agreement enters into force on November 4, 2016 this article provides a good summary of what the UN climate talks at Marrakech COP22 needs to do to be broadly seen as successful.

Adil Najam, Boston University and Henrik Selin, Boston University

Even though evidence on an ever-worsening global climate keeps pouring in with alarming frequency, the last 12 months have, in fact, been a relatively good year for global climate policy. Next week, the world’s countries meet in Marrakesh, Morocco, to follow up on the gains made at Paris last year, and to try to reconcile these two facts.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Climate win: Hazelwood closing end of March 2017



Republished from Climate Action Moreland: The official announcement of Hazelwood's future has been made by French company Engie on the eve of the Paris Agreement coming into force and the start of the UN climate conference COP22: Hazelwood will close by end of March 2017.

Hazelwood is Australia's, indeed the industrial world's, most polluting power station.

We should celebrate this as a definite climate win. Climate Action Moreland, along with many other community groups, have been campaigning for closure of Hazelwood with a just transition for the workers and community since 2009.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Momentum from #ParisAgreement for climate action at #COP22 Marrakech



The Paris agreement will enter into force on November 4, 2016 in record time. Never before has an international United Nations Agreement come into force so quickly. But Australia is still to ratify. Unfortunately with the lack of ambitious targets and climate policies Australia is on the outer as theParis Agreement comes alive for Marrakech.

Three days after the Paris Agreement comes into force the UNFCCC climate Conference of the Parties, COP22, will meet in Marrakech to discuss the finer details of the Paris Agreement and how action can be taken further on climate change. This will include encouraging other actors, such as city level and regional governments and businesses, to step up.

In the last two months there has also been significant steps on a global level in two other areas which has maintained the momentum of the Paris moment: aviation emissions and phasedown of HFC greenhouse gases under the Montreal Protocol.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Frydenberg in Hazelwood power station closure talks with Engie in Paris




Rather than just meeting Environment Minister Segolene Royal and discuss the upcoming COP22 in Marrakech, the real reason Josh Frydenberg was in Paris was to meet with the Management of Engie, the owners of the Hazelwood coal fired Power station.

It has been rumoured Hazelwood may close down as soon as April 2017, and Engie is under pressure from the French state to disengage from coal. The French state owns a one third share of Engie.

Engie, trading as GDF SUEZ/ Australian Energy, is listed as the third highest carbon polluter in Australia by the Australian Conservation Foundation. In the 2014-2015 year Hazelwood Hazelwood was responsible for 15.5 MT CO2-e of emissions. It's emissions intensity was 1.4 Tonnes CO2/MWh. (See Australia's Biggest Polluters PDF)

"We're very conscious at the Federal Government level of the heightened speculation about Hazelwood's future," he told 774 ABC Melbourne's Mornings with Jon Faine as reported at the ABC online.

Australia making efforts to ratify #ParisAgreement by 15 November at #COP22



Segolene Royal, France's minister for the Environment, in tweeting a photo with Josh Frydenberg, appeared to announce when Australia is likely to lodge our Paris Agreement ratification documents.

"Entretien avec le ministre de l'Environnement d'Australie : l'Australie met tout en œuvre pour ratifier l'#AccordDeParis le 15/11 #COP21" she said.

This translates as: A meeting with the Australian Environment Minister: Australia is making every effort to ratify the #ParisAgreement by 15/11 #COP21

An unusual way to hear about an Australian treaties process and when it is likely to be complete.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Warm ocean water melting Antarctica from below adding to sea level rise



Latest observational data from Amundsen Sea embayment (ASE) of West Antarctica confirms the retreat of ice shelf grounding lines caused by warmer water melting the underside of the ice shelves.

Warm ocean waters are melting the junction of the ice shelves where they meet the bedrock, so that the grounding line retreats. This then allows for an acceleration in glacier dischange of ice mass to the sea increasing sea level rise.

Many of the glaciers of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) have topographies where they get deeper as they go further inland.

As the ice shelf grounding line retreats into deeper areas due to basal melting by warmer water, it moves much more rapidly, which then allows more warm water to continue the process of basal melting, and so the ice mass discharge from the glaciers speeds up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Victorian Solar Feed-in Tariffs to recognise Greenhouse gas avoidance



First published at Climate Action Moreland.

New solar feed-in tariffs (FIT) are being introduced by the Andrews Labor government in Victoria, based on the time-of-day - peak, off-peak and shoulder – which better reflects current electricity pricing. The new tariff structure will also compensate solar households with a tariff component taking into account the environment value of greenhouse gases avoided.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the changes as a fairer way to pay people for the solar and wind power they produce for the electricity network.

“Victorians should be fairly compensated for the power they generate – plain and simple.” said Lily D'Ambrosio. “Households will now be compensated through the most cost effective and fairest system available, which is through a time-of-use feed-in tariff.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seagrass carbon Storage - marine biosequestration could be important for negative emissions


Updated 28 October.

Blue carbon is part of the solution to tackle climate change. So why aren't we talking about it far more?

Blue carbon refers to the carbon sequestration potential of coastal ecosystems: that zone reaching from just above the high tide mark to the coastal shallows. It includes salt marsh, mangroves and seagrass meadow ecosystems.

We need to take care and nurture our coastal ecosystems as they can play a vital role in bio-sequestration of carbon at rates far in excess of forests and soil carbon farming.

Biologists working with seagrasses met to present papers and discuss scientific practices at the 12th International Seagrass Biology Workshop (ISBW) (Conference website) in Wales 16th to 21st October. Just before the conference 122 scientists across 28 countries associated with the World Seagrass Association released a statement on the global importance of conserving and expanding seagrass meadows.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nobel prize for Literature to Dylan. The Times they are a changin': two songs through a climate change prism



The 1964 classic protest anthem The Times they are a changin' by Bob Dylan is just as relevant as a song about climate change. That is the poetic greatness of Bob Dylan, who has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016.

Try listening to Blowin in the Wind as an ode to wind turbines and wind power as part of the solution to the necessary energy transition to a zero carbon economy and social justice.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Australia on outer as Paris Agreement comes alive for Marrakech #COP22


Article first published at nofibs.com.au

This year's annual United Nations climate conference is meeting in Marrakech from November 7-18. Our Nofibs reporter John Englart will be attending as an NGO Observer for Climate Action Moreland/CANA.

An international milestone was passed this week with Canada, the European Union, India and even New Zealand ratifying the Paris Agreement. The agreement was negotiated in December 2015 at the United Nations Climate conference in Paris COP21.

The significance of this is that the two thresholds set for the agreement coming into effect - ratification by at least 55 nations and 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - has now been met. The Agreement enters into force thirty days after both thresholds are passed. The UN has now determined the Paris Agreement goes into effect as 4 November 2016.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Netherlands parliament increases climate targets: 25 percent by 2020, 55 percent by 2030



The Netherlands parliament, in a non-binding vote, decided to increase their countries emission reduction targets to 25 percent by 2020 and 55 percent by 2030. This will almost certainly require the shut down of the 5 remaining coal fired power stations to achieve these targets.

These targets align the Netherlands with the temperature goals articulated in the Paris Agreement that were formulated and agreed to at COP21 last year in Paris.

During 2015 five coal fired power stations were closed down, however 3 of the 5 remaining power stations were new plants that had only come on line in 2015. These new power stations were built by Germany's E.ON and RWE, and France's Engie at a cost of 5.5 billion euros. These are now looking to be stranded assets.

The Netherlands had a 5 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions during 2015 and coal fired power has been blamed for this increase in emissions.

According to Reuters:

Dutch carbon dioxide emissions were 2 percent higher in 2015 than in 1990, mostly due to the increase in coal-powered generation.

Overall greenhouse gas emissions were 12 percent lower in 2015 than in 1990, as use of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine containing gases have all been sharply reduced.

The vote ocurred in the Dutch parliament on the night of 22 September 2016. Both Liberal and Labour parties say they will now push for speedy implementation of the motion. The Labour party is part of the centre right coalition government but backed the opposition parties for this motion.

The Dutch government has been under pressure from citizens to step up climate action. In the Urgenda case, some 900 citizens took their government to court and won arguing for the Dutch government to have climate policies in place that were in keeping with the best climate science advice with emission reduction targets of 25 percent by 2020.

The Dutch coalition Government had initiated an appeal of the judgement, while preparing a climate package for early November. It now seems that appeal may not be necessary.

Voters in the Netherlands will head to the polls in March 2016. There are fears Geert Wilders’ far-right, populist and anti-immigrant Freedom Party may make major electoral inroads, and attempt to wind back renewable energy and climate policies.

Above average heat has continued during September in the Netherlands. The month is forecast to end at 17.2°C average, which while normal for July and August, will be the 3rd warmest September on record, according to a tweet by Kees van der Leun.

Read more at the Guardian: Dutch parliament votes to close down country's coal industry

Here is how Kees van der Leun saw the parliamentary vote:












Monday, September 19, 2016

What impact #sealevelrise on Melbourne's privatised port facilities?



The Andrews Victorian state government has been successful with the sale of the Port of Melbourne for $9.7 billion, an election promise. The government had been expecting around $7 billion for the asset. Technically, its not a sale, but a 50 year lease of the port’s commercial operations. The long term lease of Australia's largest port facilities had bipartisan support, with the State Liberal Party, when in power, doing much of the initial paperwork to bring about the privatisation.

The new owners of the Port of Melbourne are the Lonsdale consortium which includes the Queensland Investment Corporation, the Future Fund, GIP and OMERS.

This is another public asset sale deriving from neoliberalism which has had the support of both major political parties. There are really very few state owned assets left to flog now.

The money will be a windfall gain for the state's budget, but it sacrifices future revenue and control of Port infrastructure. The port is a major gateway for imports and exports and holds a near monopoly position. Being at sea level, the port facilities are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise due to climate change.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Solar thermal for South Australia? Solar Reserve says 6 power stations may be built


Originally published at nofibs.com.au

Solar Reserve has a plan to build a solar thermal power station with 8 hours molten salt storage at Port Augusta which would diversify South Australian electricity generation, bringing jobs and solar innovation to the state.

A report in the Adelaide Advertisor says that once the first power station is built with locked in long term contracts and finances, a further 5 solar thermal power stations of a similar size could be built across the north of the state. Leigh Creek, Woomera, Whyalla, and Roxby Downs have all been identified as possible sites. This would then amount to about 650MW capacity, as much as the expanded interconnector with Victoria.

Monday, September 12, 2016

ARENA briefly made Australia a world leader in renewables R&D. Time to #SaveARENA



Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is facing a huge funding cut of $1.2 billion as part of the budget omnibus the Federal Government wants to pass. It is responsible for providing seed funding for innovative renewable energy projects. The latest funding round has just been released. It features substantial seed funding for 12 major solar projects and builds on innovative seed funding for renewables projects in previous years.

According to the Guardian, "The only time in Australia’s recent history that research and development for renewables outstripped R&D for fossil fuels was when the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) began making grants to renewables in 2013, the study of International Energy Agency figures found."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Turnbull increases climate aid for Pacific at Regional leaders meeting



Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended the Pacific Leaders' meeting forum, and announced a small increase in climate related aid for the region. But this comes after the Abbott Government slashed Australia's foreign aid budget to extremely low levels in 2014.

Related: Pacific pariah: how Australia’s love of coal has left it out in the diplomatic cold | Pacific Island nations lead in ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change

Pacific Island nations lead in ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change

The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting has concluded in Pohnpei in the Marshall Islands. A major focus of this meeting was action on climate change following Paris and COP21.

The Statement following 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting was released by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Honorable John Silk:

“Today’s communique is a clarion call to action that even with the Paris Agreement, there remains a lot of work to do to guarantee there will still be 16 seats at the Pacific Islands Forum in a hundred years from now.”

“The Pacific is strongest when we come together and fight as one. Along with our big brothers and sisters in Australia and New Zealand, we have declared that we will continue to push for an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol in October, and to see ambitious climate action across all sectors. This must include reducing aviation and maritime emissions in line with the 1.5°C temperature target we all agreed in Paris.”

“I want to particularly thank President Christian for the Federated States of Micronesia’s tireless leadership in the Montreal Protocol negotiations, beginning with their first submission in 2009. If we succeed in Kigali, it will be one of the best examples of island leadership that we have ever seen and help us avoid up to half a degree of warming – the biggest chunk yet off the ambition gap.”

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Guest post: Pacific pariah: how Australia’s love of coal has left it out in the diplomatic cold




Tony De Brum with Coalition of High Ambition at Paris COP21. The Marshall Islands helped to galvanise what became an inexorable push towards a 1.5-degree target in Paris
Photo: John Englart, CC BY-SA


Wesley Morgan, The University of the South Pacific

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have some explaining to do when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Pohnpei, Micronesia, this week.

Australia’s continued determination to dig up coal, while refusing to dig deep to tackle climate change, has put it increasingly at odds with world opinion. Nowhere is this more evident than when Australian politicians meet with their Pacific island counterparts.

It is widely acknowledged that Pacific island states are at the front line of climate change. It is perhaps less well known that, for a quarter of a century, Australia has attempted to undermine their demands in climate negotiations at the United Nations.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Deciphering the US-China bilateral climate change outcomes


This article first appeared at indybay.org.

The nine point statement on the U.S.-China Climate Change Outcomes in Hangzhou China negotiated between Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama outlined the growing bilateral cooperation between the US and China on climate policy in a number of meetings since 2013. (First outcome).

These bilateral negotiations should be widely welcomed. They proved to be an important stage setter for the Paris Agreement at COP21 in Paris which set in place for the first time a true international framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dealing with climate change.

Read the U.S.-China Climate Change Outcomes (Whitehouse.gov) in full.

United States and China ratify Paris Agreement

The formal occasion in Hangzhou China was used to lodge instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and call for all other UNFCCC signatory countries to ratify the agreement this year. (Second Outcome)

Read more on this by me: China and the United States Ratify Paris Agreement on climate

China and the United States Ratify Paris Agreement on climate while Australia fumbles on policy



On Saturday China agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement according to the Guardian, with members of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee adopting "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement" on Saturday morning.

China is the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter with about 24 percent of total global emissions. The USA is second on about 12 percent of global emissions.

The report comes on the eve of the G20 summit in Hangzhou China over the weekend, where China, US set to release review of each other’s fossil fuel subsidies in historic move at G20 summit according to the South China Morning Post.

The announcement comes as Xi Jinping and Barack Obama met ahead of the start of the G20 on Sunday to make a joint statement on climate change and submit their country instruments of ratification to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shining a light in Melbourne on Reef not Coal


Originally posted at Climate Action Moreland

Last night I ventured to Federation Square. I had heard that Nemo and Dory were in town.

The Climate Guardian angels were also there poignantly making a statement with a piece of the redline ribbon from Paris COP21 last year. The redline derives from diplomatic symbolism for a boundary or limit which should not be crossed. No new coal mines or other fossil fuels is one such boundary for a safe climate, backed up by research by McGlade and Ekins (2015) (See Unburnable carbon: why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground). Two of the Angels present are from our Climate Action Moreland group.

Seems the East Australian current is warmer and going further south. The Tasman sea has warmed by over 2 degrees C in the last 70 years - it's a global sea surface temperature hotspot. That's climate change for you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

54C temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq as heat spikes pose increasing health risk


Last week Kuwait and the city of Basra in Iraq sweltered in 54C heat reported Dr Jeff Masters on the Weather Underground blog. At these temperatures, a major heat hazard is posed to human health.

The heat danger to human health was outlined by Steven Sherwood and Matthew Huber (2010) in the study: An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress which I reported on in May 2010: Scientists outline health limits of heat stress with Climate Change.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Climate and Environment #Ausvotes election 2016 scorecards



This is an abridged version focussed on climate change scorecards, of an article at nofibs.com.au detailing 39 election scorecards across multiple issues.

Still undecided after several weeks of the election campaign? Are you confused on policies? Do you have a pet issue that may influence your vote? I might have just the election issue scorecard to help you decide.

I have always been more interested in party policies than voting for the personality of a candidate or leader. Ultimately policies are what really count, although there is evidence that many electors are more influenced by appearance than policies, according to psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson in New Matilda.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Eminent Australians Climate Emergency call met with political silence in Federal Election



On Thursday 23rd June a host of eminent Australians called on the next Australian Government to declare a climate emergency. The call was made in an open letter published as a half page advertisement in The Age Newspaper.

Yet the open letter produced just two news stories at the ABC (here and here)

There was no other coverage. No comment by political leaders. Just a political silence. In the middle of an election campaign.

The issue being raised is a fundamental one which affects us all and future generations, yet political silence reigned.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Love in the Time of Coral Reefs



A powerful song by singer songwriter Ruth Mundy - Love in the Time of Coral Reefs

Thank you Ruth. It made me cry, and it made me angry.

Human induced Ocean warming and ocean acidification have doomed coral reef ecosystems and the Great Barrier Reef.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Climate blocker Josh Frydenberg's office shut down for climate crimes



Climate activists invaded the campaign office of Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg on Burke Rd, Camberwell in Melbourne. The climate campaign organisation 350.org have listed Josh Frydenberg as a 'Climate Blocker' on their website.

About fifty people turned up around 9.30 this morning with 12 people aged from 19 to 76 occupying the office, while others decorated the outside of the office with Climate crime scene tape, draped climate emergency banners, and signs about global warming impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Liberals having a Missing Climate Plan, but don't want you to know



The High Court has found there is an implied right of political speech in the Australian Constitution, but that doesn't stop the Liberal Party putting pressure for an inconvenient election billboard to be taken down.

Environment Victoria paid for a Billboard opposite and a bit down the road from the Liberal Party campaign headquarters in the marginal seat of Deakin in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

The billboard was up for about 72 hours on the busiest intersection in Deakin. Environment Victoria say the local branch of the Liberal Party made a complaint to the owner of the site, who then had the billboard taken down.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

May 2016 13th month of record global temperatures as scientists warn: climate emergency



From April 2015 to May 2016 each month has been a new record for global average temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is an unprecedented series of broken global temperature records. And scientists are warning now that we are in unprecedented territory facing the start of a climate emergency.

May 2016 was 0.87°C above the 20th century average according to NOAA. Each month from December to April was at least 1°C or more over the 20th Century average.

According to Climate Central, The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Polling shows most Australians want reef prioritised over coal #ReefElection


79 per cent of voters who read the Sydney Morning Herald either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining.

Analysis of Fairfax Media's YourVote tool, which is similar to Votecompass in gauging online readers' beliefs to determine their political leanings, shows that out of about 63,000 responses, about 79 per cent either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining. Yet both the Labor and Coalition parties have prioritised coal over coral.

Related:

Bandaids for an unmitigated reef catastrophe #ReefElection


Image: Malcolm Turnbull, Greg Hunt, Ewen Jones travelling to Magnetic Island. Photo: Greg Hunt/twitter. Article first published using storify at nofibs.com.au

A promise by the Prime Minister to divert $1 billion in Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) funding to improve reef catchment water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been soundly criticised as legally problematic, inefficient and far below the funding scientists say is required to Save the Reef.

This video, published on 2nd June 2016 from the Climate Council, articulates the climate change threat facing the reef, with statements from tourism operators, marine scientists and climate scientists.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Storms, floods and avoiding the dots on climate in the Federal election


This article was originally published at nofibs.com.au

During a tour of flood affected areas in Tasmania on Thursday 9 June, the Prime Minister was asked a question (See SMH report) relating to extreme weather events and climate change:

Taking the renewables roadshow to Wentworth and the Prime Minister's electorate


Article originally posted at nofibs.com.au

The Prime Minister's electorate of Wentworth in Sydney played host to a Solar Citizens forum at Paddington Town Hall: the Wentworth 100 percent renewables forum. Former MP for Wentworth John Hewson turned up and gave the keynote address.

Wentworth is one of the wealthiest electorates in Australia, but it also has the second lowest uptake of solar PV in Australia.

The Paddington Town Hall was used for the forum and had a packed audience. Though Malcolm Turnbull, the member for Wentworth, couldn't make it, the organisers kept a chair vacant on stage with his name on it.

The Prime Minister was invited to a peoples forum up in Brisbane with Bill Shorten, but declined. Instead he appeared on the ABC 7.30 Report interviewed by Leigh Sales, that proved to be a bit of a trainwreck. He probably would have been far better attending the Paddington Town Hall meeting.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Different responses to Extreme rainfall and flooding from France and Australia


Updated: 10 June 2016: Details of climate attribution of French extreme rainfall and flood event

Over the last week we have seen extensive flooding around central France and southern Germany, and the impact of an East coast Low on Australia. They are different weather events but they share a certain commonality in being disastrous intensive rainfall and flood events resulting in death and damage.

The French extreme rain and flood event has recently been attributed to climate change, while the extreme nature of the East Coast Low has not yet been studied for event attribution. Attributing single events to climate change can be statistically difficult due to the range of climate variability. The damage and destruction of both events are consistent with increasing climate trends of greater intensity of rainfall and flood events around the world due to climate change.

While Prime Minister Turnbull and Opposition leader Shorten stayed well clear of mentioning climate change with regards to the extreme rainfall and flooding event in Australia, the French President was far less circumspect, exclaiming (fr) at a press conference that the extreme rainfall and flooding event in France emphasized the importance of the fight against global warming.

"When there are climatic phenomena of this severity, we must all be aware that it is across the world that we must act," he added. "The weather of this magnitude, with people who have been forcibly displaced with emergency relief interventions necessary, is not just a phenomenon that affects only France. It also concerns victims in Germany and Poland," he noted during a press statement with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Support for carbon pricing increases to 63 percent: VoteCompass



The latest Vote Compass data on carbon pricing and climate change shows that Australians want more action on climate change and back carbon pricing. Some 63 per cent of Australians want carbon pricing back and 74 per cent support more government action on climate change. But Coalition voters remain split on carbon pricing.

Support for carbon pricing has increased from 50 percent at the votecompass survey in 2013 to 63 percent in 2016.

For the question on more action on climate change the results also incresed by 13 percent from 61 percent in 2013 to 74 percent in 2016.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Guest Post: As India cuts aerosol air pollution, extreme temperatures may spike making heat health adaptation plans crucial



An insightful article into India's situation with regards to the air pollution problem and extreme heatwave temperatures. This year temperatures spiked to 51C in north western India: Wet Bulb Near 35 C — Heatwave Mass Casualties Strike India Amidst Never-Before-Seen High Temperatures.

The researchers argue that aerosols from air pollution are likely to have a substantial cooling impact at the moment, even as India experiences record temperatures. With roll out of renewables and the push to electrify vehicle transport, air pollution will likely be reduced increasing health outcomes. But it may be at the expense of a spike in temperatures at this time of year which will have a large heat health impact on the population, especially poorer people who cannot afford technological adaptation measures such as air-conditioning. It is another reason why recently implemented adaptation plans in India for heat health are so important, as well as taking effective and rapid emissions reduction on a global level in accordance with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.

What is going on with India's weather?

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, UNSW Australia; Andrew King, University of Melbourne, and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Australia's record Autumn temperatures: 1.86C temperature anomaly



The latest Climate Council report has outlined that Australia has set new record temperatures for Autumn 2016. This is to be expected given the strong El Nino this year, but it comes on escalating yearly global average temperatures from climate change.

According to the Climate Council report, Australia experienced its warmest March, second warmest April and second warmest May on record.

The Bureau of Meteorology said that autumn 2016 is the warmest autumn on record for Australia with the mean temperature anomaly exceeding 1.86 °C - the largest anomaly for any season since spring 2014 when it was 1.67 °C. They argue that while El Niño and other climate drivers were a factor in warmer temperatures, "it is the background trend which now largely explains the more frequent high temperature records."