Climate clippings 154

1. Hunt stacks Climate Change Authority with Coalition advisors and ex MPs

The Climate Change Authority has been a thorn in the side for the Abbott Government, as we’ve seen over time. The Abbott government tried to kill the Authority, but was thwarted by the Senate.

Now Bernie Fraser, John Quiggin, David Karoly and other good people have been replaced by a bunch who support Direct Action as a policy and seem less than enthusiastic about renewable energy. If the comment by Larissa Waters at the end of the linked piece is correct the Nationals did a “deal with Malcolm Turnbull to keep Tony Abbott’s woeful climate policies in exchange for support.”

2. Sharks help to mitigate climate change

Sharks, we are told, eat the sea creatures who eat marine vegetation. Take out the sharks and more marine vegetation gets eaten, removing a sink for carbon which is more important than the forests of the world.

    Several years ago researchers found that carbon is stored in blue carbon ecosystems in the marine environment.

    “They are the seagrasses, the salt marshes, the mangroves and they’re among the most powerful carbon sinks in the world,” Dr Macreadie said.

    “So they will capture and store carbon at a rate 40 times faster than tropical rainforests like the Amazon and they’ll store that carbon in the ground for millennial time scales.”

    He said as predators were culled and overfished, other marine life consumed more and more vegetation.


    “If we just lost 1 per cent of the oceans’ blue carbon ecosystems, it would be equivalent to releasing 460 million tonnes of carbon annually, which is about the equivalent of about 97 million cars.

So we best be kind to the sharks. Now the NSW Government plans to spend $16 million in what is claimed as a world first strategy in protecting us from sharks.

3. Weipa goes solar

    ABOUT a fifth of homes in a Far Northern town will be powered by the sun, with Australia’s first commercial diesel displacement solar plant starting operations today.

    Rio Tinto and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have announced the Weipa Solar Plant will generate electricity for the mining conglomerate’s bauxite mine, processing facilities and the township.

    At peak output, the 1.7 megawatt plant can generate sufficient electricity to support up to 20 per cent of the town’s daytime electricity ­demand.

    It is the first time a remote Australian mining operation has been supplied with power from solar PV on such a scale.

4. Climate change and financial stability

John D has alerted me to the three items above. He also sent the link to Mark Carney’s speech to Lloyds of London.

For insurers climate change is not a theoretical possibility, it is a reality:

    Since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events has tripled; and

    Inflation-adjusted insurance losses from these events have increased from an annual average of around $10bn in the 1980s to around $50bn over the past decade.

    The challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come. The far-sighted amongst you are anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security.

He concludes:

    The combination of the weight of scientific evidence and the dynamics of the financial system suggest that, in the fullness of time, climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer-term prosperity.

    While there is still time to act, the window of opportunity is finite and shrinking.

    Others will need to learn from Lloyd’s example in combining data, technology and expert judgment to measure and manage risks.

    The December meetings in Paris will work towards plans to curb carbon emissions and encourage the funding of new technologies.

    We will need the market to work alongside in order to maximise their impact.

    With better information as a foundation, we can build a virtuous circle of better understanding of tomorrow’s risks, better pricing for investors, better decisions by policymakers, and a smoother transition to a lower-carbon economy.

By managing what gets measured, he says, we can break what he calls the Tragedy of the Horizon.

5 thoughts on “Climate clippings 154”

  1. What insurers have to say have to say about the future is worth listening to since they, quite literally will pay the cost of getting their predictions wrong.

  2. John, I gave up investing in insurance companies some years ago, because I was sick of dividends being knocked out by storms and hurricanes around the world. I think only those who are big, have good information databases and are well-managed will survive.

    The article however goes more deeply into the risk to financial stability, and as you said to me, though long, rewards a full reading.

    BilB, Ross Garnaut’s original vision was that the Climate Change Authority would take the politics out of setting longer term goals. They were very independent, but through LNP glasses looked partisan. Hunt is putting the politics back in.

  3. Our home insurance has just landed in the inbasket. The increase from last year is 12%, and is close to ruinous.

    We live up the hill from Ithaca Creek, which floods very easily. A few years ago one house with a swimming pool ended up with someone’s fridge floating in their pool.

    The chances of our place flooding are zero, but we are likely within the grid area on the database that includes the flood-prone areas.

    Also I think they are factoring in what they see as likely coming down the road with an increased incidence of tornado-like supercells and other extreme events.

  4. Brian, shop around, there are insurers that allow you to not be covered by flood.
    Tailor your policy based on your assessment of risk.

    Insurers are basically scaremongering vultures that prey on ignorance and the natural human instinct to not change. But they are still business that need market share and have plenty of competitors.

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