1. ‘Time is Running Out’
According to Sharon Kelly at Desmog, that is a quote from a speech in 1965:
- “The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.”
The speaker was concerned that by the year 2000 the heat balance would be so modified as to possibly cause marked changes in the climate. And:
- “The report further states, and I quote: ‘… the pollution from internal combustion engines is so serious, and is growing so fast, that an alternative nonpolluting means of powering automobiles, buses, and trucks is likely to become a national necessity.’”
Believe it or not, the speaker was Frank Ikard, then president of the American Petroleum Institute (API) speaking at an oil industry conference. Back in 1965.
Since then the API has learnt how to be dishonest about climate change.
2. The more they know the more stupid they become
That’s not exactly how David Robson put it in his New Scientist article about his book The Intelligence Trap, which is about how intelligence and expertise sometimes makes people more likely to err.
He cites a study by Dan Kahan at Yale University who looked at what Democrats and Republicans about the issue of climate change. Here’s the graph:
For the Democrats he tested, the greater their scientific literacy, the more likely they were to endorse a statement about human-made global warming. For the Republicans, those with higher science intelligence were more likely to deny climate risk.
It is said to be a case of ‘motivated reasoning’:
- which means we apply our intelligence in a one-sided manner, to build arguments that justify and rationalise our own intuitive views and demolish the arguments of others. And the smarter and more knowledgeable you are, the more convincing those arguments can seem.
Motivated reasoning is a particular problem for charged issues like climate change, because questioning our beliefs on such subjects may erode our whole political identity.
Kahan got similar results when he asked about Obamacare:
- more knowledgeable participants were more likely to believe the fallacious claims that “death panels” would decide who was worthy of treatment – even after they had been offered information debunking the idea.
That’s Nicole Hasham at the SMH.
- The 20 most vulnerable electorates are expected to see an increase in average maximum temperatures of between 4.77 degrees (Groom) and 3.81 degrees (Hume).
The Australian Conservation Foundation has commissioned research by the ANU who used a model to predict how climate change is likely to affect 4000 locations around Australia including each federal electorate.
- It found that five of the six worst-hit seats were held by Nationals MPs. The most vulnerable seat, Groom, is held by Queensland Liberal MP John McVeigh.
The 20 most vulnerable electorates are expected to see an increase in average maximum temperatures of between 4.77 degrees (Groom) and 3.81 degrees (Hume).
Of those 20 electorates, eight were held by the Nationals, five each were held by the Liberal and Labor parties, one was held by independent Bob Katter and one was the redrawn seat of Canberra, which does not yet have a federal member.
The seats of the two federal ministers largely responsible for Australia’s climate change response, Environment Minister Melissa Price (Durack) and Energy Minister Angus Taylor (Hume) are also on the top-20 list.
Many Nationals seats most vulnerable to climate change are held by MPs who vocally back the coal industry including Barnaby Joyce (New England), Andrew Gee (Calare), Ken O’Dowd (Flynn), Michelle Landry (Capricornia) and Llew O’Brien (Wide Bay).
A third minister ranks in the top 20 – Agriculture Minister David Littleproud’s seat of Maranoa in western Queensland is forecast to experience the second-biggest temperature rise by 2050, up 4.6°C by 2050.
The third-biggest leap is Mr McCormack’s seat of Riverina, which will increase by 4.1°C.
That’s from Andrew Tillett in the AFR.
The Land and the regional press also carried the story.
3 to 4°C may seem a lot, but remember over 70% of the globe is ocean, which will heat less than the land.
4. Essential Report on climate action
Peter Lewis who runs the Essential Report looks at what they found in the last survey. The question was:
- Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?
62% agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity.
- By age groups, those aged under 35 split 72%/16% and those aged 55+ split 52/39%. People with higher education were more likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity – those with university degrees split 71/22%.
Respondents were asked whether the government was doing enough:
Women, The Greens, and Labor voters seem to have their heads on straight, but even a third of LNP voters know which way is up.
Shorten could make it a climate change election and Richard di Natale should make it a climate change election.
Guy Debelle, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, warned a forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Development on Tuesday that climate change created risks for Australia’s financial stability in a number of different ways. He indicated that the impact was broader than agriculture, affecting the economy generally as well as parts.
- “Companies that generate significant pollution might face reputational damage or legal liability from their activities, and changes to regulation could cause previously valuable assets to become uneconomic.
“All of these consequences could precipitate sharp adjustments in asset prices, which would have consequences for financial stability.”
Next to that part of the text is a link to an article Morrison government has not ruled out supporting coal, energy minister says.
Former reserve bank board member, economist Warwick McKibbin, says the effect of climate change goes way beyond temporary supply shocks, as when Cyclone Yasi wiped out the banana crop. McKibbin says:
- even if little action is taken to reduce emissions in Australia, 80 per cent of the impact on the Australian economy would come from policies introduced by other countries.
Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change, said it now remained for Treasury to reveal its position, to bring all four members of the Council of Financial Regulators onto the same page now that ASIC, APRA and the reserve bank have got the message.
6. The worry about Snowy 2.0
When the Morrison government are not pursuing dreams about coal, they are spruiking Snowy 2.0. They need to read Giles Parkinson – Modelling suggests Snowy 2.0 will lift prices, defend coal, kill batteries:
- The detailed modelling underpinning the investment in the massive Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme confirms the worst fears of many in the industry: it will likely cause wholesale prices to rise in the medium to long term, it will sustain the business models of coal generators, and it will put a huge dent in the battery storage industry.
Very much the opposite of what they have been telling us.
When the project was first mooted two years ago, I suggested it might be a giant red herring. Now it’s looking worse than that.
7. Renewables players downgraded by AEMO
When we turn on the lights there is no way of telling which generation plant produced that electricity. AEMO, the market operator, has the job of deciding how much is lost along the way, and how much of the electricity generators put into the system makes it through and should be paid for.
Last week Australia’s fleet of wind and solar projects – and many thermal generators for that matter – were told they will be “de-rated” in the next financial year because of severe congestion in parts of the grid.
“It’s a bloodbath” was one of the milder responses from generators, according to Giles Parkinson’s article New solar, wind projects may stall in face of network “bloodbath”:
The MLF is a key calculation because it can make or break a power project. It reflects how much of a power plant’s output at source arrives at destination (load) and is credited for payment.
An MLF of 1.0 means a power plant gets credited for all its output. An MLF of 1.04 means it gets a premium, probably because it is close to load. But an MLF of lower than 1.0, such as 0.9 or 0.8, means a big reduction in output credits, and revenue.
Many solar and wind farm operators contacted by RenewEconomy say the latest downgrades – of up to 20 per cent in some instances, and more than 5 per cent in many cases – will have a major impact on the industry.
Everyone with half a brain knows that the grid needs to be reshaped to take account of decentralised generation which in many cases will come from different places than it did in the past. Also half or more of consumers power bill comes from poles and wires.
This is what a national energy minister should be thinking about. So far the only response has been to propose a future second connection from Victoria to Tasmania, in relation to mooted the ‘Battery of the Nation’ project.
It’s beyond pathetic.
8. World investors deserting coal
- More than 100 global financial institutions over the past six years have announced they will no longer invest in thermal coal – a move that is likely to leave future coal projects as “stranded assets”, according to a new report.
The report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said:
- there was global momentum against lending to coal, with a bank or insurer turning their back on coal once every two weeks.
The report said that since the start of 2018 there had been 34 new or updated announcements from global financial institutions divesting from coal.
- The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund will divest $8 billion worth of oil and gas holdings, which could include stakes in Australian companies such as Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Beach Energy.
Norway’s $US1 trillion sovereign wealth fund announced on Friday evening it would seek to phase out holdings classified as exploration and production companies from the portfolio in order to “reduce the aggregate oil price risk in the Norwegian economy”.
There are 134 companies poised for the chop, including major global energy players such as Inpex, Anadarko Petroleum and CNOOC.
- Regulators and investors controlling $US32 trillion are ratcheting up pressure on large emitters to improve their climate change risk disclosure as a first step in managing the risk.
It’s time we elected politicians who are living in the real world.