1. Cyclone Winston the second strongest to make landfall
Cyclone Winston, which hit Fiji with winds of almost 300 kph, was the second strongest to make landfall, the strongest being Taiphoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013.
Jeff Masters lists the 13 strongest cyclones by windspeed to make landfall using 1-minute averaging:
Six of them were this century. Scientists have suggested that with global warming we will get more strong cyclones. You’d really need to include those that don’t make landfall to ascertain a trend.
2. Coral bleaching on Great Barrier Reef
Coral bleaching on Lizard Island off Cairns is the worst in more than 15 years, prompting fears about other northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef over the next few months.
Still the Minister for the Environment (my local member) has his fingers crossed, which seems the best he can do!
3. Back to the future with fossil fuel growth centre
Actually it is more than fossil fuels, it iuncudes uranium – anything but renewables. And it’s to be known as NERA, almost the reverse of ARENA. Here’s Christopher Pyne’s blurb:
- A new Growth Centre established by the Australian Government will drive innovation, competitiveness and productivity across the oil, gas, coal and uranium sectors.
The Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, to be known as National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), will promote collaboration and innovation across the energy resources sector.
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said the Australian Government was investing $15.4 million over four years in the growth centre.
“This Growth Centre will focus on harnessing the sector’s existing competitive strengths, embracing innovation and putting research to work,” Mr Pyne said.
“The Growth Centre will work closely with researchers from universities, CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres to build links with business and industry organisations.”
“Importantly it will also promote industry-led research in priority areas by facilitating deeper engagement between industry and researchers.”
They say it is going to position Australia for “the next wave of investment”. That’s when everyone who took the Paris climate talks seriously is making fossil fuels redundant!
Here are some of the reactions:
Climate Council – New fossil fuel centre “nonsensical”
Sophie Vorrath at RenewEconomy – Coalition digs deeper into fossil fuels with new “growth centre”
John Englart, Citizen journalist at No Fibs – Fossil fuel growth centre funded while silence on Mission Innovation global commitment reports @takvera (also published at Climate Citizen)
Thom Mitchell at The Insider – Cutting Climate Science, Funding Fossil Fuels’ Growth: Welcome To The Age Of Innovation
Darren Coyne at Echo NetDaily – Greens slam ‘fossil-fuel’ research centre funding
Ben Parr at The Conversation – Fossil fuel growth centre harks back to old ideas about climate costs
4. Heat, the silent killer
During the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in Melbourne 173 people died. Many may not realise that there were 347 additional deaths during the heatwave of people not associated with the bushfires.
The Climate Council has released a report The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat by Elizabeth Hanna and Lesley Hughes.
Those at greatest risk are tthe elderly, the very young, those with existing health problems, the marginalised and outdoor workers.
On days over 35°C, only about 40% of fully acclimatised workers can operate at or near full capacity. This is what the urban heat island looks like:
In cities of more than a million the urban centre can be 1°C to 3°C hotter than surrounding areas.