We plant about 9 billion trees each year. Unfortunately we also clear about 15 billion, leaving a deficit of 6 billion.
A system of using drones is being developed which could plant trees at 10 times the rate of hand planting and at 20 per cent of the cost by firing germinated seeds into the ground. Continue reading Climate clippings 211→
Start stopping now, is the short answer. No new coal mines, oil wells or gas fields, and start decommissioning existing ones now. “Managed decline” is the new imperative.
A new study released by Oil Change International, in partnership with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.
Helping working families succeed, building small businesses, tackling climate change & clean energy. Top of the agenda.
Yet she herself has mentioned it only obliquely since announcing that she’s running. From the past we have this:
At the National Clean Energy Summit in September of last year, in her first major domestic policy address since stepping down from the state department, Clinton described global warming as “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world”. Continue reading Climate clippings 136→
the state’s electric utilities to boost their renewable energy procurements to 50% of retail electric sales and discussed future initiatives to support rooftop solar, battery storage, grid infrastructure and electric vehicles.
The first phase of California’s high-speed rail system will be a 29-mile stretch from Fresno slightly north to the town of Madera. From there the project will link up with urban centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco, eventually allowing commuters to travel between those two cities at 220 mph and cutting the trip from nearly six hours to less than three. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.
Investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, and says the collapse in the oil price will do little to slow down the solar juggernaut.
“Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and over 80 percent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2°C,” write authors Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins of University College London.
Keeping the increase in global temperatures under 2°C will require vast amounts of fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, including 92 percent of U.S. coal, most of Canada’s tar sands, and all of the Arctic’s oil and gas…
In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn on exploring for new oil and gas resources. The figure should be zero.
Natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan—which devastated the Philippines in 2013 displace more people than war, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva. And as climate change sets off increasingly lethal natural disasters, so will the numbers of environmental refugees increase, Reuters reported.
It is a reality that governments must prepare themselves for. In 2013, some 22 million people were displaced by extreme natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, a number three times the number of those who were forced to migrate because of war, according to the IDMC.
Earlier this summer New Zealand accepted a family who cited climate change as the reason why they had to flee their homeland, thought to be the world’s first official environmental refugees.
Premier Campbell Newman said that “the State Government would work with resource companies to make strategic investments that could create up to 28,000 new Queensland jobs.”
At the same time the Queensland Government has introduced water reform legislation which seems squarely targeted at providing unlimited water to the Galilee Basin mining operation. This is being done in a reckless manner at the possible expense of graziers and towns in the area. Indeed careless disregard is being shown for the integrity of the Great Artesian Basin itself.
Tristan Edis at Climate Spectatorhas taken a look at the folly of official of the official Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics forecasts on fossil fuel energy production. Edis looks at the Australian Energy White Paper, a paper from BZE (Beyond Zero Emissions) entitled A fossil economy in a changing world and the IEA World Energy Outlook 2014. I recommend reading Edis’s article in full but two graphs tell much of the story. First the Australian Energy White Paper fossil energy production projection:
That is the glorious future envisioned by our Tea Party governments in Canberra and Brisbane. Here they are being mugged by reality. The dotted line represents the improved cost of coal production. The continuous line represents the price trajectory:
I would just point out that the author of the BZE report and the article from The Conversation linked at the top of the post is Stephen Bygrave, who is CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Science at UNSW Australia.
Leaving aside the ethics of divestment and pursuing a purely rational economic analysis, the cold hard numbers of putting money into fossil fuels don’t look good.
Unless universities are willing to bet on the destruction of the planet they have committed themselves to understanding and preserving, divestment from fossil fuels is the only choice they can make. Forward-thinking investors of all kinds would be wise to follow suit.
In blunt terms we are dealing with stranded assets here. Beyond that Abbott, Newman and their acolytes should be arrested for treason. Or something!
I’m wondering too whether Clive Palmer’s Galilee Basin holdings will prick his financial bubble.
On the international stage Australia plays a similar role to Poland in Europe. The two countries have much in common: their leaders share a tenuous hold on climate science, a grim determination to extract coal and use it for electricity, don’t like carbon pricing and are trying to keep a lid on renewables.
From what he says, there does seem a difference. Poland gained free carbon permits from the EU negotiations “worth more than $1 billion and promises for funds to help it “modernize” is coal-fired plants after 2020.”
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said after the summit that the threat of veto was simply a “tool” to get the best conditions for Poland’s economy. “Nobody got compensated like we did,” she boasted after the meeting.
In other words they were out for what they could get.
On the basis of the Abbott Government’s form in the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Warsaw last December and actions since, we can expect Australia to be actively hostile to positive outcomes. Not just lead in the saddle bag, an active saboteur.
2. The prospect of a Republican US Senate
There is a 68% chance that the Republicans will control the US Senate after the mid-term elections. For the climate this could be a disaster.
Certainly they are unlikely to control the 60 votes they would need to avoid a Democrat filibuster, and the President has the power of veto over bills. So anti-climate legislation is not so much the worry.
However, the Republicans could block appropriate appointments to various agency positions and regulatory posts.
Secondly, any treaty coming out of the 2015 UNFCCC talks in Paris next year would need to be legislated. This would be impossible and could affect the tenor of the entire negotiations, with one large lame duck at the table.
Third, the US contributions to the IPCC and the UNFCCC could be pulled, making life for those bodies impossible.
a GOP majority in that house of Congress would flip several key committees into Republican hands. In particular, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is up to take over the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would head the Subcommittee on Science and Space, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is in line to take control of the Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) would head up the Budget Committee.
All except Enzi are avowed climate denialists.
Then there’s scary budget negotiations, and more.
3. Global groundwater crisis
A NASA study has found that major groundwater aquifers are being depleted faster than the rate of replenishment, threatening food supplies and security.
The groundwater at some of the world’s largest aquifers — in the U.S. High Plains, California’s Central Valley, China, India, and elsewhere — is being pumped out “at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished.”
The most worrisome fact: “nearly all of these underlie the word’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.”
4. Geoff Cousins heads the ACF
You’ll probably recognise the gravel-voiced tones of Geoff Cousins from his campaign against the Gunns paper mill. He used 20,000 signatures from ANZ customers to pressure the bank to withdraw the project’s funds.
His business credentials include heading the country’s largest advertising company and heading Optus Vision when it slugged it out with News Ltd over rugby league broadcasting rights. He is a director of the Telstra board.
He is now President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, so expect to hear more from him. Now he’s lashed out at the Direct Action legislation and given the BCA (Business Council of Australia) a whack around the ears for supporting the legislation which he says individual companies would have rejected.
If somebody had brought a business case to the boards of one of those public companies for this program, no responsible board would have given it the time of day.
You would have asked first of all how cost efficient it was, you would have asked what was world’s best practice in all of these areas, these sorts of questions, and none of them would have been able to be answered positively in regard to this program.
The ACF are now embarking on a public education campaign about the legislation.
On current trends, the world will be 4–6ºC hotter by the end of the century, exceeding 2ºC within the lifetimes of most people reading this report. This could put up to 400 million people in some of the poorest countries at risk of severe food and water shortages by the middle of the century.
This paper shows how, despite some steps in the right direction to tackle climate change, a ‘toxic triangle’ of political inertia, financial short-termism and vested fossil fuel interests is blocking the transition that is needed. To help break this, governments must commit to phase out fossil fuel emissions by early in the second half of this century, with rich countries leading the way.
In 2012 fossil fuel companies spent $674bn on exploration and development projects. The industry is supported by $1.9 trillion of subsidies public finance, incentives and tax breaks, including the costs of paying for its widespread damage.
Quite simply, most of the stuff should be left in the ground:
These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.
After the last election some friends of my younger brother, feeling blue, decided to turn blue into an optimistic colour, and invented the Blue Sky movement. To join all you have to do is ‘like’ the Facebook site put something blue on your front footpath visible from the road, take a photo and post it on the site. Yes, and take the Blue Sky Pledge, which includes reducing your own emissions, displaying blue for 12 months, and encouraging others to join.