1. Indian heat wave
At Climate Progress Extreme Heat Wave In India Is Killing People And Melting Roads. Temperatures have reached 122°F (50°C), that’s 1°F less than the all-time record.
The Guardian has a more recent report.
- Roads have twisted in the heat. Hospitals are overwhelmed by thousands of dehydrated people, the poor, the elderly and children among the worst hit.
In 10 days some 1,800 have died, a 20-year high.
Meanwhile in Texas they have had enough rain to cover the whole state in eight inches of water.
The developing El Niño is bad for us, but might offer California some hope of breaking the four-year drought.
2. El Niño impacts hurricane season
Not so, says this article. There could be a 50% increase in typhoon activity around Hawaii, but they tend to track east to Northern Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona and West Texas. In the Atlantic reduced activity is likely, perhaps the least since 1998.
3. Health effects of climate change
Speaking of heat, Doctors for the Environment Australia have compiled a report No Time For Games: Children’s Health and Climate (pdf) with a foreword by Fiona Stanley. The report focusses on the direct affects on health and health services of heat and climate-related events, such as bushfires and floods, but also takes in broader topics, such as the spread of tropical diseases and the impact of climate on the fundamental foundations of children’s health – clean air, food, water and social and economic stability.
The ABC has some commentary.
Psychological health should not be overlooked. After the 2003 Canberra bushfires, almost 50 per cent of children showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The report endorses the Climate Change Authority’s emissions targets of 40 to 60% reductions by 2030, which I find conservative. I’d prefer 100%.
President Obama took to Twitter last week to answer climate change-related questions. He was asked:
- in the state of the union speech you said that climate change is a national security issue. Can you explain why it is?
His 137-character reply:
- more severe weather events lead to displacement, scarcity, stressed populations; all increase likelihood of global conflict.
In the exchange Obama also termed climate change a moral and religious issue because “we have a moral obligation to the most vulnerable and the next generation”.
On approving Shell’s exploration for oil in the Arctic he said that oil exploration in the region couldn’t be prevented, and as a result “the highest possible standards” had been set, which I find somewhat underwhelming.
Climate Progress explains the various options Obama had in relation to Shell’s lease in the Chukchi Sea. Some options were open to legal challenge, some would be reversible by a subsequent administration. Making the area a park is not simple and would take longer than Obama has got. Drilling has already been shut off from the most sensitive areas.
6. Quggin on coal
A recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that global fossil fuel use is subsidised to the tune of US$5.3 trillion a year (6.5% of global GDP). In calculating this they took into account all external costs, including the impact on climate change.
China is reducing its dependence on coal and ramping up renewables. For example they have closed down more than 1,000 coal mines this year and shut down all four coal-fired power stations supplying Beijing. China’s air pollution is killing more than half a million people every year.
India is set to follow.
In Australia the political class remains in denial about these developments. The coal boom is fading and will never be repeated.
- For the future, it is our nearly unlimited capacity to generate wind and especially solar power that is likely to be our biggest energy asset.
See also at Climate Progress:
Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods interpret the Essential Report in relation to questions asked about climate change.
A significant 45% want urgent action on climate change, and a further 10% want it within a year. But 15% think our leaders don’t need to act at all and 16% don’t know.
Lewis and Woods think considerable confusion has been created in voters’ minds by recent political action on climate change.
But voters are strongly in favour of putting more emphasis on renewable energy, especially solar, with 71% wanting more emphasis and 14% the same.
8. Renewable energy news
- AGL sees no mass market for home storage until the 2020s. It will be some time before the payback period is less than 10 years.
- AGL’s New Energy division plans to install more than 400MW of solar PV on the rooftops of its customers over the next five years.
- SA Power Networks, the monopoly network operator in South Australia, has caused a furore in the solar industry by proposing a $100 a year network surcharge on solar households. Apparently Queensland and WA have backed away from going down that track.