Climate clippings 151

1. Shorten gets solar + storage and the energy revolution

It’s happening, he says, through the action of consumers and industry.

    “This is a consumer revolution, as much as it is an energy transformation empowering Australian households, communities and businesses,” Shorten said. (It is) putting control back in the hands of the user, shifting the balance away from big power companies.”

In a well-researched and eloquent speech, reprinted in full in the linked piece, Shorten says that the government must seize the day and act. He really does seem to want to make climate change a central plank in his election strategy and take the argument up to Abbott.

In the speech he also emphasises the costs of inaction – to agriculture, to the Great Barrier Reef, to health. Sea level rise will impact our cities and produce instability in the region.

2. Abbott, on the other hand…

Yes, he’s been talking about promoting solar, plus storage (not wind), but as Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes put it this morning, his renewable energy and climate policy is “as shallow as a puddle”.

    “The fundamental mistake Tony Abbot has made,” said the ASC’s Grimes, in an interview with RE on Friday, “is in aligning with the vested interests of the electricity players and against the interests of the voting public.

In a separate piece Grimes talks about Abbott’s silly claim that 50% renewables will ruin us.

    In terms of costs, ClimateWorks’ deep decarbonisation analysis showed that with strong renewable energy, energy efficiency and transport efficiency measures, retail electricity prices would increase at an average rate of 0.9 per cent per year or around 40 per cent to 2050, but average household electricity use (excluding for electric vehicles) would fall by half, so that average household power bills would be reduced by 30 per cent.

ACIL Allen’s economic modelling for the 2014 Warburton Review concluded:

    “Regardless of direction, the impact on retail electricity prices is small, even when considered over the period to 2040.”

3. India will not commit to climate targets

India is continuing to assert that it will not commit to peaking emissions. It’s attitude has always been that emissions reduction is the responsibility of the rich countries. India’s responsibility and right is to create wealth and to bring power to the people.

In per capita terms their emissions are low, but the size of the place makes what they do important for the world:


India is the fourth largest emitter, after China, the US and the EU.

Clean Technica recently ran a twopart series, the bottom line of which is that solar will transform the Indian energy market, either by default or design. The main problem seems to be involved with the politics of the state-owned grids.

Now they are starting to talk about a plateau in emissions starting in 2025 or 2030, which is progress, but still a problem for the planet.

4. Adani turns its focus to renewables and domestic mining

Adani’s most recent company report contained an interesting sentence:

    “With progressive policy measures by the government, we believe that Adani Enterprises is better placed to tap the growth potential in domestic mining and renewable energy space.”

Adani already works in a variety of fields including domestic mining and renewable energy. Seems Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin may be slipping down the priority list.

5. Speed of Glacier Retreat ‘Historically Unprecedented’

Glaciers observed in a recent study are losing between half a meter and one meter of ice thickness every year – two to three times more than the corresponding average of the 20th century.

The concern is for sea level rise, water for irrigation in fertile river valleys, changes in mountain ecology and loss of tourist income.

As one example, the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland:

    is now moving at the rate of 46 meters a day, 17 kilometers a year, which is twice the speed recorded in 2003, which in turn was twice as fast as measured in 1997.

6. NASA launches OMG to study Greenland melting

OMG stands for Oceans Melting Greenland, a four-year study which will deploy 200 robot probes to measure the full extent of climate change in the region. The aim is to get a handle on “factors involving the sea that laps the bases of its great ice masses, and which is also heating up, are less well understood.”

The volume of ice loss is huge compared to glaciers elsewhere. The amount of ice Greenland lost in 2007 was “the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps”.