Climate clippings 150

1. Abbott government’s 2030 emissions target dubbed ‘pathetically inadequate’

The Abbott Government’s 2030 emissions target aims to put us at the back of the pack internationally, and the Government will do next to nothing to achieve the target.

The target is a reduction of 26% on 2005 emissions. Using 2000 as the base year the reduction is only 19%, compared to the 40 to 60% recommended by the Climate Change Authority.

I’ll attempt a longer post in the next day or two.

2. Adani and Commonwealth Bank part ways

    The Commonwealth Bank’s role as adviser to Australia’s biggest coal project, Adani Mining’s proposed Carmichael Mine in Queensland, has ended, dealing a heavy blow to its prospects and a significant victory for environmental groups.

    It comes as environmentalists claimed a victory in their case against the project after the Federal Court overturned Adani’s federal environmental approval. Environment Minister Greg Hunt was forced to concede defeat for not taking into account two threatened species – the yakka skink and ornamental snake – before he signed off on the project in 2014.

There’s more at Quiggin’s, who asks why the Queensland government is still calling for expressions of interest in dredging for the proposed Abbot Point port expansion.

Lenore Taylor finds Tony Abbott’s defence of the Carmichael coalmine passionate but baseless. He’s all over the place, accusing the courts of being unpatriotic and wrong, and greenies of ‘sabotage’. Taylor reckons Indian coal imports declined 11% in July 2015 compared with July 2014, and they aim to stop coal imports “within the next year or two”.

Now Standard Chartered, one of the largest investment banks in the UK, has walked away from the Carmichael mine and a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis predicts a rapid decline in coal imports to India – 20 per cent a year, effectively starting now.

This article suggests that 32% of new power in India will be from coal, but India plans to double the domestic coal mining industry. The end of imported coal is in sight.

3. Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Barack Obama’s new Clean Power Plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by roughly 32 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

The head of power to do this comes from the 1990 update to the Clean Air Act. Climate Progress explains:

    When Congress passed, and President George H.W. Bush signed, the 1990 update to the Clean Air Act, it included a section on pollutants not specified or envisioned by lawmakers at the time. In 2007, the Supreme Court decided in Mass. v. EPA that carbon dioxide qualified as a pollutant that could be regulated under that section of the Clean Air Act if the EPA found it to be a danger to public health. In 2009, the EPA found exactly that, and so the Obama administration began regulating sources of carbon dioxide. It started with mobile sources, and setting greenhouse gas emission standards for cars, trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles. The Clean Power Plan is just the next step in regulating carbon pollution as required by the Clean Air Act. Monday’s announcement will set the EPA, working with the states, to regulating power plant carbon pollution.

    The EPA also released its final rule for new, modified, and reconstructed power plants. Unlike the rule for existing plants, this rule sets a specific limit on coal-fired plants: 1,400 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour, which is less-stringent than the proposed rule’s standard of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour. This change was made, after feedback the EPA received about the cost of implementing a carbon capture and sequestration system.

This article suggests that the Clean Air Act will set the cap and that carbon trading will follow.

This article outlines the possible legal battle, concluding:

    Generally, the government is on solid legal footing to defend the Clean Power Plan, although it will be a slog.

The bigger danger would come from the election of a president who thought differently.

4. Ergon trials solar + storage and energy trading for households

    Queensland regional network operator Ergon Energy is to launch its first major solar and storage pilot program that could be replicated across its network and for many of its 100,000 solar customers, particularly in remote areas.

    Ergon on Thursday announced a deal with US solar giant SunPower and emerging battery storage solutions Sunverge to conduct a solar and storage trial in 33 homes in three Queensland towns.

    While each home will be able to provide around 75 per cent of their needs through the solar and battery storage units, the real significance lies in how their output can be aggregated – help meet peak demand and overcome network constraints.

    In short, it is significant but early step towards the changing shape of the energy market from the historical focus on baseline and peaking resources and vast networks, to one focused on decentralised, or localised generation and network management.

5. Rising costs of flood defences could put world’s major deltas at risk

    Rising seas, sinking land and increasingly expensive flood defences could see the risk of flooding in deltas such as the Mississippi and Rhine rise eight-fold, a new study finds.

The study looked at 48 river deltas around the world, between them home to around 340m people.

One thought on “Climate clippings 150”

  1. 26% reduction by 2030? Didn’t Joe Hockey say that the Age Of Entitlement is over? If so then why are we molly-coddling the polluters?

    If Australia really is The Clever Country, we should be able to take a 70%~80% reduction in our stride – so why the blazes aren’t we aiming for that?

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