This site is a research tool that has been specifically created for the community of the Ballarat region in Victoria, Australia. It is designed for individuals that “get it” and are looking for quick access to the latest and most reliable material available on the many interrelated issues of climate change to assist them to respond effectively in their own area of influence. It cuts through the dross to assist in good decision making and to facilitate action at the local level. PLEA Network Coordinator, Hazen (About Us) (Summer – Deep South)

 💡 To get the best value out of this site, open and read this first 💡

 

This site acts as a filter and pointer for individuals looking for specific climate change information/ resources. It is an entry point to the most active players in the global climate change arena. It is NOT a blog and you will find no mention of how to change a light bulb, make compost or insulate your house.

I would suggest when first visiting this site you spend some time looking over the pages to see what sort of information is provided.There are: overviews; videos; latest news; articles; interactive maps; reports and a vast number of links to external sites. It is a continuing work in progress as new sites and information are found and the space of climate change evolves. Sources of all material can be accessed through the provided links to reports; articles and the “Read More here” links at the bottom of most articles. 

I have tried to make the navigation as logical and friendly as possible:  there are a number of sub pages under the main pages; at the top of each page there is a “What you will find on this page” which details the sub headings and are jump links to the content; when clicking on an image it will either enlarge or go to an external link; the symbols ∨/∧ indicate “show & hide” text; text in blue indicates a link to further information; external links will open in a new tab; internal links and pdfs will open in the same page – remember to go back instead of closing page; and there is also a handy back to top button. To keep things tidy, posts will either become part of the static text or be archived as posts. The “archive library” provides a variety of ways to search for older posts. Home page also has a section – “Highlights recently added...”

Once you have a good idea of what is on offer, home in on your issue/topic of interest. Revisit when you need to update info/resources to assist in any initiative you may be involved in – and go forth and multiply! When returning for updates check: date when I have last updated site (on right-hand side); main pages of interest (or search the “site topics index“) to see if there has been any new material added; latest news; and older posts through the “category” and “tag” options on the “archive library” page.  Many of the a/v inserts/articles are offered on a “free share” basis. If you think something would be useful for presentations, etc please go to the source to obtain a copy. 

💡 A final value tip: To turn information into knowledge try reading rather than just scanning. Turning that knowledge into understanding and action is up to you.

As this site is a continuing work in progress – check in occasionally to see updates. If you would like to offer suggestions for other sites and info please let me know through Contact Us. If you find this site useful your feedback would also be welcome.

Continue Thinking Globally but ACT Locally Immediately!

What you will find on this page: LATEST NEWS; Ecological Footprint Explorer (data maps); Oz 2016 State of Environment Report2016 hottest year recorded (report); global 2C warming limit not feasibleleading economists call for inclusive and sustainable development in Stockholm Statement; climate action time warp (video); Kiwis vs Oz (video); dumbest policy on earthSolar SmackDown – Poms vs Oz (video); perspective in the debate (video): climate reality check; carbon budget countdown 2017confused? new Oz climate developing;World Economic Forum risks for 2016; ongoing legacy of 2015; dangerous climate warming myth – reality; Australia in 2040; fossil fuel (interactive graph); what is happening to our world; want to be counted (video);  discouraged by scale; movement for change (video); downshifter; using the legal system for change; information & resource sites; Australian alliances for climate action

SOME HIGHLIGHTS RECENTLY ADDED TO SITE: 

 

Latest News

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End Latest News

Ecological Footprint Explorer

Every year, Global Footprint Network publishes the National Footprint Accounts, including the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity for over 200 countries and regions. Explore the 2017 Edition of the National Footprint Accounts here. Australia’s per capita Ecological Footprint fell 22% between 2003 and 2013. This can be mostly attributed to a carbon Footprint decrease. Explanations include a drop in household electricity demand in 2010, possibly due to energy standards on appliances and increasing electricity prices. Furthermore, the carbon pricing system enacted by the Labor Party is concomitant with the carbon Footprint drop observed from 2012 to 2013. We look forward to seeing economists and energy policy experts in Australia use our data and provide a more detailed analysis, potentially drawing useful lessons for future policy making.

Even though I try and keep away from the circus of US politics, the following article may assist in unraveling what the actions of President Trump means to US action/non action re climate change

28 March 2017, Climate Central, Trump Moves to Dismantle U.S. Climate Rules. President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday rescinding numerous federal climate policies and calling for the review and replacement of the Obama administration’s most ambitious effort to control climate pollution — the Clean Power Plan. The order is Trump’s most aggressive move yet to dismantle federal climate regulations even as established climate science shows that man-made global warming is a growing threat to human life and the economy. In all, Trump’s executive order targets at least 23 federal rules, regulations, executive orders, memorandums and reports related to energy and climate change, many of which are likely to be tied up in years of legal wrangling before being decided. The total number is likely much higher because the order directs federal agencies to tally up all their rules and regulations that can be interpreted to “constrain” energy production and prepare them to be rescinded if they’re deemed to be a “burden” on energy production and use.  Legal experts and climate scientists say the move abdicates U.S. leadership on climate change and incentivizes nearly unfettered fossil fuels development across the country. Those steps could diminish the chances that countries can prevent the world from warming to levels that scientists consider dangerous — 2°C (3.6°F). ….The details of Tuesday’s executive order show the breadth of the Trump administration’s desire to dispense with existing U.S. climate and energy policy. Read More here

In regard to our own circus….The government’s Review of Climate Change Policies discussion paper is out. Submissions In announcing Australia’s 2030 target, the Government committed to review its climate change policies during 2017. The review aims to ensure policies remain effective in achieving Australia’s 2030 target and Paris Agreement commitments.  If you wish to have your say the Government invites written submissions on the Discussion Paper. Submissions are due by 5:00pm AEST, Friday, 5 May 2017. Access the discussion paper here

18 March 2017, The Guardian, CO2 emissions stay same for third year in row – despite global economy growing. International Energy Agency report puts halt in emissions from energy down to growth in renewable power. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy have not increased for three years in a row even as the global economy grew, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Global emissions from the energy sector were 32.1bn tonnes in 2016, the same as the previous two years, while the economy grew 3.1%, the organisation said. The IEA put the halt in growth down to growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas and improvements in energy efficiency but said it is too soon to say that global emissions have peaked. The biggest drop was seen in the US, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3%, while the economy grew 1.6%, following a surge in shale gas supplies and more renewable power that displaced coal. US emissions are at their lowest level since 1992, while the economy has grown 80% since that time….. The pause in emissions growth was welcomed by the IEA, but it warned it was not enough to meet globally-agreed targets to limit temperature rises to below 2C above pre-industrial levels – considered to be the threshold for dangerous climate change. Read More here

11 February 2017, The Guardian. This article concludes with the following – “I think it should be said up front. We’ve been enduring this climate war nonsense for more than a decade and now we’re wearing the consequences – rising prices, unreliable power supply and increasing emissions. Responding with a parliamentary pantomime to try to shift the blame to a fictitious renewable industry bad guy is true ideological idiocy and also negligent, because it puts the shallowest, shortest-term and most opportunistic strategy for political survival ahead of households, investors and future generations.” Here, Here!

The article also provides an excellent summary in response to the ludicrous lump of coal farce – which was yet another moment of wide eyed astonishment. Access full article here

Clarke and Dawe absolutely nail the Australian energy debate

Australia 2016 State of the Environment Report

Diagram of DPSIR conceptual modelReports Executive Summary: In the past 5 years (2011–16), environmental policies and management practices in Australia have achieved improvements in the state and trends of parts of the Australian environment. Australia’s built environment, natural and cultural heritage, and marine and Antarctic environments are generally in good condition.There are, however, areas where the condition of the environment is poor and/or deteriorating. These include the more populated coastal areas and some of the growth areas within urban environments, where human pressure is greatest (particularly in south-eastern Australia); and the extensive land-use zone of Australia, where grazing is considered a major threat to biodiversity.In Australia, the key drivers of environmental change are population growth and economic activity. The extent to which these drivers lead to environmental impacts depends on a range of factors, including:

  • how many of us there are
  • where and how we live
  • the goods and services we produce (for both domestic and export markets) and consume
  • the technologies we use to produce our energy, food, materials and transport
  • how we manage the waste we produce.

 

Keeping impacts within limits is one key to a sustainable future. If not managed well, drivers can generate pressures that have immediate and long-term negative consequences for the environment. If managed well, however, drivers can be harnessed to achieve environmental benefits. The main pressures facing the Australian environment today are the same as in 2011: climate change, land-use change, habitat fragmentation and degradation, and invasive species. In addition, the interactions between these and other pressures are resulting in cumulative impacts, amplifying the threats faced by the Australian environment.

 

It’s official 2016 the hottest year recorded

18 January 2017, Climate Central, 2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of record keeping and the third year in a row to take the number one slot, a mark of how much the world has warmed over the last century because of human activities, U.S. government scientists announced Wednesday. 2016 is a “data point at the end of many data points that indicates” long-term warming, Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch of the National Centers for Environmental Information, said. While the record was expected, the joint announcement by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came in the midst of Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees, several of whom have expressed doubts about established climate science, as has Trump himself.Many climate scientists, policy experts and environmentalists are concerned about the potential for the incoming administration to limit funding for climate science and roll back both national and international progress toward limiting the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. According to NOAA data, the global average temperature for 2016 was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average and 0.07°F (0.04°C) above the previous record set last year. In NASA’s records, 2016 was 1.8°F (0.99°C) above the 1951-1980 average. Read More here and Climate Council Report here 

 

 

Global 2C warming limit not feasible, warns top economist

4 January 2017, Climate Home, With “extreme policy measures”, a 2.5C limit is in reach, according to latest climate model from William Nordhaus. Agreed by 195 countries in December 2015, the Paris climate deal was billed as an historic game-changer by UN officials when it came into force last November. Not everyone is convinced, least of all the respected climate economist William Nordhaus, who dismisses the deal as “rhetoric” in a new paperThe Yale academic – who has explored the implications of climate change since the early 1990s – ran the numbers through his economic model known as DICE and came up with some bleak answers. “The international target for climate change with a limit of 2C appears to be infeasible with reasonably accessible technologies – and this is the case even with very stringent and unrealistically ambitious abatement strategies,” he writes. “This is so because of the inertia of the climate system, of rapid projected economic growth in the near term, and of revisions in several elements of the model. A target of 2.5C is technically feasible but would require extreme policy measures.” Nearly 200 countries submitted climate plans as part of the Paris deal. Independent analysts reckon their combined emission cuts will only limit warming to 2.7C above pre industrial levels, breaching the global target and likely to lead to faster sea level rise and erratic weather events. Ramming home the message, Nordhaus says: “notwithstanding what may be called ‘The Rhetoric of Nations,’ there has been little progress in taking strong policy measures.” Access full report here: PROJECTIONS AND UNCERTAINTIES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN AN ERA OF MINIMAL CLIMATE POLICIES

Leading economists call for inclusive and sustainable development in Stockholm Statement. 

16 November 2016, Sida, Thirteen of the world’s leading economists, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and four former Chief economists of the World Bank, have summarized their accumulated know-how in the Stockholm Statement. Traditional economic thinking no longer applies. Inequality within countries is threatening social cohesion and economic progress and development needs to be seen in a broader perspective in order to achieve more equitable and sustainable results. ”Inclusive economic development is the only socially and economically sustainable form of development.” This sentence is taken from the ”Stockholm Statement”, developed by four former Chief Economists of the World Bank including the Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz and nine leading economists*. Sida and the World Bank co-hosted a meeting in Stockholm 16-17 September 2016 with the purpose of discussing the challenges faced by today’s economic policymakers. The meeting gathered a distinguished group of the world’s leading thinkers and academics to discuss today’s most pertinent development challenges and the way forward. The outcome of the meeting is the ”Stockholm Statement”, which identifies a set of principles to help frame country-level policies in a rapidly changing and globalizing world. The Statement emphasises the importance of policies that tackle inequalities. Trickle down growth policies where the state has a minimal role and the rest is left to the market are not sustainable. It is underlined that the trend towards “unfettered markets” of the last quarter century explains some of the recent crisis (financial crisis of 2008) and the current levels of inequality. GDP growth is needed as a means to achieve societal objectives. This requires a combination of a particular focus on the most deprived groups, deliberate interventions to eradicate oppressive norms and discriminatory practices as well as to attend to the impact of global technology on inequality. Read More here Access full Stockholm Statement here. Also refer to Steady State Economy page for more on how economies of the world could be transformed

 

Climate Action Time Warp

 

 

Open the Climate Council Time Warp here

 

 

 

Another neighbour leaves Oz in its dust

 

The dumbest policy of earth….

The International Energy Agency estimates that countries spent $US493 billion on consumption subsidies for fossil fuels in 2014, while the UK’s Overseas Development Institute suggests G20 countries alone devoted an additional $US450 billion to producer supports that year. Throw in the unpaid environmental and climate impacts, and the International Monetary Fund puts total annual subsidies for fossil fuels at more than $5 trillion. Read More here 

 

If the Poms can do it why can’t Oz?

Needing some perspective in the debate?

It’s the economy that needs to be integrated into the environment – not the other way around

Money14 June 2016, The Guardian, Six months and counting. BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy is a standard industry reference document. It’s a useful indicator of trends, if occasionally the victim of politics. But the newest edition brings welcome news that the growth of global carbon emissions paused in 2015, partly to do with a shift to renewables, and partly the result of passing economic conditions, both notable in China. But BP, the company that once promised to go “beyond petroleum”, is sticking firmly with oil and gas. Its get-out strategy from appearing over-fossilised in attitude, is to call for a “meaningful carbon price,” advocated by its chief economist, Spencer Dale. Superficially, that seems a safe, sensible and increasingly popular option. The idea of carbon pricing is widely supported across the political, campaign and expert spectrum. But there is reason to doubt either the sincerity or analytical rigour of BP’s faith in carbon pricing as the principal tool for tackling climate change. A curious by-product of the EU referendum has been an unprecedented level of scrutiny and scepticism given to economic models. Lurid claims by both sides about possible costs and benefits rely on them. An uncritical mantra of headline statistics about the economy is a staple of daily news. We are meant to just accept simple interpretations of a rise or fall in growth, the deficit, a movement in prices or the reaction of “markets”, however bizarre may be the presence or absence of various assumptions buried in the underlying models……It is the economy that needs to be properly integrated into the environment so that its limits to growth can be understood. Read More here

 

Risk = potential future damage x
probability of occurrence

RiskindicatorGlobal Challenges Foundation: How can we make something as abstract and complex as risk into something comprehensible? We believe that a key to doing this lies in being able to compare the probability of catastrophes so great that their consequences are unimaginable, with the likelihood of minor events which we must face on a daily basis. It is one thing to say that, with current levels of greenhouse gases, the risk of the global temperature rising by six degrees is 0.5 percent. But explaining that this corresponds to an increase in the number of aviation accidents from 30 a year to more than 400 a day gives a different perspective, and it is here that the risk and opportunity indicator comes into the picture. Click on graphic to take you to GCF’s interactive RISK INDICATOR that provides a range of options to choose from – PPM; degrees, databases and another risk to compare it with. For example: PPM of 400; 2 degree warming, an IPCC optimistic database and compared to dying in a terrorist attack = Exceedance Probability of 33.5% compared to dying in a terrorist attack of 0.00018%. Have a go….

Climate Reality Check, After Paris Counting the Cost

March 2016: Break Through Report:”…..Whilst policy-makers and advocates often talk about a carbon budget of allowable fossil fuel use that would keep warming to 2°C, the evidence shows we have no such budget for a sensible risk-management, low-risk probability of exceeding the target. There is no carbon budget if 2°C is considered a cap (upper boundary) as per the Copenhagen Accord, rather than a target (which can be significantly exceeded).

And there is no carbon budget for fossil fuel emissions after accounting for likely future food and deforestation emissions. Anderson and Bows have shown that even with a too-high goal of holding temperatures to 2°C (with only a 66% probability of success), for developed economies to play an equitable role they would have to cut their emissions by 40% reduction by 2018, 70% reduction by 2024, and 90% by 2030 from 1990 levels.”

And where is the leadership? The report continues…..

“The reasons for not doing what is obviously in our collective best interest have been widely canvassed, but one striking element is the lack of public ideas leadership. How many figures of public standing in Australia are prepared to consistently canvas the main issues discussed here, even if we disagree about some of the details? You could count them on the fingers of one hand. In fact, how many are prepared to talk about these issues in the public arena at all? Timidness and a relentless bright-siding infuse the public conversation, as if people cannot bear to hear the truth. But what if public is more prepared for the conversation than are our public ideas leaders? Recent work by Melanie Randle and Richard Eckersley investigated the perceived probability of threats to humanity and different responses to them (nihilism, fundamentalism and activism) in the US, UK, Canada and Australia: So here is the great irony: people have got a fair, intuitive sense of what might be coming, but our ideas leaders can’t talk about it. Now is the time to press those who aspire to leadership on climate issues and action to ask the questions that prompted the writing of this discussion paper. If the propositions are contentious, let’s debate them rather than keeping them hidden under a cone of silence. Repressing troubling thoughts does not resolve them, but means only they will come back to haunt us in an increasingly intense manner.” Read the full report here

 

Carbon Countdown 2017- another way to look at it

5 April 2017, Carbon Brief, Analysis: Just four years left of the 1.5C carbon budget. Four years of current emissions would be enough to blow what’s left of the carbon budget for a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C. That’s the conclusion of analysis by Carbon Brief, which brings the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) carbon budgets up to date to include global CO2 emissions in 2016. Our infographic above shows how quickly the budgets for 1.5C, 2C and 3C will be used up if emissions continue at the current rate. For 1.5C, this could be a soon as four years’ time. CO2 emissions The IPCC has previously laid out estimates of how much CO2 we can emit and still keep global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5C, 2C or 3C above pre-industrial levels. These are known as carbon budgets. For each temperature limit there are three budgets, each corresponding to a different probability of staying below that limit: 66%, 50% and 33%. (Strictly speaking, these aren’t probabilities, but are the proportion of all the model simulations that keep warming below that temperature limit.) Now that provisional data is available for 2016, we can see what shape the budgets are in after another year of emissions. Update for 2016 According to the Global Carbon Project, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production in 2016 totalled 36.4bn tonnes, a rise of less than 1% compared to last year. This is the third year in a row of very small emissions growth, tentatively suggesting they may be showing signs of peaking. Including emissions from land use change – only an estimate at present – puts total CO2 emissions at 39.9bn tonnes for 2016. This is slightly below the 41.1bn tonnes from 2015, which saw large land use emissions as a result of peat fires in Asia. The animation below shows how the carbon budgets look at the end of 2016. With the current rate of emissions, there are now just four years and one month left in the budget for 1.5C. You can see the calculations and full results here. Read More here

Are you confused? You are not alone…

confusion15 April 2016, Renew Economy, Turnbull’s Jekyll and Hyde climate and clean energy policy. Environment minister Greg Hunt this week has been on a mini-tour of Western Australia, with the head of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – which he wants to de-fund – announcing the sort of grants for solar and battery storage installations that he wants to stop. If there was any hint of irony in praising the work of ARENA and taking credit for the initiatives of an institution that the Coalition has spent much of the last three years trying to abolish, it was not immediately apparent. “The Turnbull government is providing $17 million funding for nine new R&D projects set to deliver renewable energy technologies and solutions suited to the 21st century,” Hunt proudly announced in a press release, before enthusing at the opening about the potential for Australia to lead the world in battery storage. “I’m delighted to announce that in partnership with Synergy, the Australian government is contributing $3.3 million for a community household storing of – solar storage and energy facility,” he told a gathering of media and dignitaries. “Behind us we have 1.1 million hours’ worth of storage. This is the real world, this is the future that is behind us in terms of storage, solar energy on the roofs in front of us, the storage behind us.” And on it went. Indeed, Hunt’s speech was a compilation of everything that people find confusing and dumbfounding about this Turnbull government. Australia will be among the first to formally sign the Paris climate deal, but it still hasn’t the domestic targets or the policies to get anywhere near its share of meeting that agreement; it professes support for wind and solar but has no new developments to show for it; it claims to have brought certainty to the renewable energy industry, when the only certainty in the last three years has been the lack of investment; it hails innovative solar and storage projects and then removes the funding mechanism that makes them possible; it applauds the work of a key agency it has tried to dismantle and finally strips it of funding; it wants to cease grants to clean energy projects “to protect taxpayers money” but then uses grants to polluters as the basis of its emissions reduction fund. Read More here  Also read more on the Australian Response page

 

New Australian climate developing

aust_seasonalrainfallzones_1900_1999_538x464February 2016: A new climate is emerging in Australia, according to new maps released by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC). AEGIC analysed data from more than 8000 Bureau of Meteorology stations around the country and discovered that
traditional rainfall zones have changed significantly since 2000. The findings were presented as part of a talk entitled “South-west Western Australia is losing its Mediterranean Climate” by AEGIC agro-meteorologist Dr David Stephens at the 2016 GRDC Perth Grains Research Update (Perth Convention Centre, 29 February-1 March 2016). Dr Stephens said the new analysis revealed striking changes to the Australian climate over the past 16 years.aust_seasonalrainfallzones_2000_2015__538x464 “Since 2000, there has been a general increase in summer rainfall across Australia, and a corresponding decrease in winter rainfall, leading to shifts in rainfall zones extending for hundreds of kilometres,” Dr Stephens said. “Rainfall between May to October over much of the heavily populated regions of southern Australia has decreased 10-30%, while summer rain has increased up to 40% in some areas. Access source & more information

 

 

 

15 February 2016, The Guardian, Why don’t we treat climate change with the rigor we give to terror attacks? 

They’re both extreme hazards, but evolutionary responses favor real-time threats, not those that take place on an extended time scale. Extreme weather, water shortages and the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika are all having very real effects on everyday realities globally, and they are all linked to a fast-heating earth system. Yet we stilldon’t treat climate change with the reverence we reserve for something like a terrorist attack.  Maybe the blame goes deeper, into our very natures: evolution did not design our bodies to treat climate change with urgency. Responses favor real-time threats, not those that take place on an extended time scale. Shrinking Arctic ice cover, erratic changes in winter snow cover or rapid shifts in heat and cold don’t provide the same sense of threat as our fear of terrorist attacks or other bodily harm. The challenge in moving more forcefully to stop the flow of greenhouse gases is that if you have to stop and think about whether a specific action or activity is threatening, that very process engages very different parts of the human brain, and not the ones that impel us to action. The hormones that flood through our bodies to provide increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running won’t kick in when the threat is one that can only be understood through research and thought. If you want to worry whether climate change will eventually make it more difficult for humans to feed themselves, for example, you need to break out the books and study science, statistics and a lot of other disciplines. Even after you study, it is hard to share that thought with your fellow humans in a way that elevates this to an Isis-like threat. Read More here

19 February 2016, climate change has dropped off the political radar 

Was the political masterstroke signed off in Paris the zenith of climate action, wonders Climate Home’s editor as countries go eerily quiet on what next. ‘After Paris, what now?’ is a comment increasingly heard in conversations with civil society activists, diplomats and government officials. A senior figure involved at the Paris talks asked me recently if I’d heard what plans NGOs had to keep the pressure up on leaders through 2016. They’d heard little. Neither, I confessed, had I. It’s a curious state of affairs given last December nearly 200 countries finally agreed to start walking towards a future without fossil fuels. But there are concerns that the diplomatic masterstroke signed off in the French capital was the zenith – and now world leaders have other things on their mind. Fears of a global economic slump, US presidential elections, crashing oil prices, Syria, Brexit and the militarisation of the South China Sea have knocked global warming off the front pages. Add to that a mini exodus of the key figures who helped make Paris a success: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres leaves in July, COP21 president Laurent Fabius unexpectedly quit this week. It’s still unclear who’s running the show for Morocco at this year’s UN summit. Control of the COP22 summit was first with the environment ministry, then foreign affairs, and now with the department of interior. And there’s also flux at NGO level, with the WRI’s Jennifer Morgan leaving her influential role as unofficial civil society strategy chief to take joint charge of Greenpeace. Earlier this week members of the Climate Action Network – a broad coalition of green NGOs – met in Berlin to work out a path forward. Those taking part described the talks as positive. But with many US groups focused on the presidential elections and funding flows slowing, there’s a fear political pressure on the global process will dissipate. Read more here

 

Yes, we are all connected

World Economic Forum Reports: Top Global Risks

January 2016 WEF Resilience Report: For over a decade, the Global Risks Report series has shed light on the increasing interconnectedness and rapidly evolving nature of global risks. As of its 2015 edition, the Report has put forward actionable solutions to address global risks, the scope of which is beyond the domain of just one actor. As global risks are increasingly felt in tangible ways by institutions, economies and people alike, the Global Risks Report 2016 calls for the “Resilience Imperative” – an urgent necessity to find new avenues and additional opportunities to withstand, mitigate, adapt to and build resilience against global risks and threats through collaboration among stakeholders. View Full Report here

January 2016, WEF The Global Risks Report 2016: …. Also prominent in the Global Risks Landscape 2016 are environmental risks such as failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, which is considered the most potentially impactful risk and the third most likely, with water crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse rising up the list of concerns. Environmental worries have been at the forefront in recent years (Figure 1.1.1), reflecting a sense that climate change–related risks have moved from hypothetical to certain because insufficient action has been undertaken to address them. The increasing volatility, complexity and ambiguity of the world not only heightens uncertainty around the “which”, “when”, “where” and “who” of addressing global risks, but also clouds the solutions space. We need clear thinking about new levers that will enable a wide range of stakeholders to jointly address global risks, which cannot be dealt with in a centralized way. Taken together, this calls for a resilience imperative – an urgent necessity to find new avenues and more opportunities to mitigate, adapt to and build resilience against global risks and threats through collaboration among different stakeholders. View Full Report here

What will be an ongoing legacy of 2015? 

1 January 2016, Truthdig, …. So what was the most significant event of 2015? It wasn’t a single event. Rather, it was a worsening of something that started several years before. It was the fast-increasing, huge migration of immigrants—many running for fear of their lives—making their dangerous and often fatal way by land and across the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the oceans of Asia. It is the greatest forced mass movement of refugees since World War II, caused by the confluence of civil war, brutal regimes, sectarian and ethnic hatred, and climate change all coming together in a world too weak and preoccupied to deal with such powerful forces. Read More here 

Dangerous climate warming – myth & reality

I have recently come across the following report, again, since I downloaded it in October 2014 – It is even more relevant since the COP21. 

The stated purpose of international climate negotiations is to avoid “dangerous” climate change or, more formally to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic  interference with the climate sytem”. But if conditions existing today are already sufficient to push more climate system elements past their tipping points and create “catastrophic” breakdown without any further emissions, what then is our purpose and what do we say? This report explores recent scientific literature to explore seven myths of the predominant climate policy-making paradigm:

  • Myth 1: Climate change is not yet dangerous
  • Myth 2: 2oC is an appropriate focus for policy making
  • Myth 3: Big tipping points are unlikely before 2oC
  • Myth 4: We should mitigate for 2oC but plan to adapt for 4oc
  • Myth 5: We have a substantial carbon budget left for 2oC
  • Myth 6: Long-term feedbacks are not materially relevant for carbon budgeting
  • Myth 7: There is time for an orderly, non-disruptive reduction in emissions within the current political-economic paradigm

WRONG! Access full report here

Global average temperature reaching 1oC for the first time

25 November 2015, WMO: 2015 likely to be warmest on record, 2011-2015  – warmest five year Period: The global average surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Access article here. For more details go to the The Science page

Do you need an idea of what it might be like in 2040?

Prof. Jean Palutikof founding Director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) at Griffith University, provides a graphic picture that might be useful. Why do I think her view is worth considering? Professor Palutikof was based at the UK Met Office during which time she managed the production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability). Professor Palutikof is among the foremost scholars of climate change adaptation and was lead author and review editor for several assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Access article here

Paris has come and gone – the stats keep piling up

For a bit of perspective on the magnitude of the task checkout this interactive tool developed by The Guardian’s “Keep it in the Ground” campaign.

To share this interactive tool go here

And the targets stay the same and are we surprised! 

To obtain the latest on what the Australian emission targets announced in August mean to Australia and global emissions go to “Australia’s global pledge

14 August 2015, Renew Economy: The shifting of baselines from 2000 levels to 2005 – widely regarded as a trick to make targets appear stronger than they are – can make it somewhat confusing to understand and compare 2030 targets offered by the major parties. Because of this, and being somewhat of visual person, I decided to chart the differences, along with the recent recommendations from the Climate Change Authority (CCA), the Government agency created specifically to make independent recommendations on climate targets.

oz emissions3

As you would expect, the Greens have the most ambitious target, followed by Labor and then the Coalition. Interestingly, Labor’s 2030 target (driven internally by the influential Labor Environmental Action Network’s ‘50/50’ campaign) is right in the middle of the CCA’s recommended range. This could indicate that Labor is laying the groundwork to align itself with the independent body. As to whether these targets are consistent with a 2°C goal is a harder question to answer, mainly because the effort is shared internationally (the Coalition’s targets certainly put us close to the back of the pack though). My interpretation is the Greens target are the most aligned with the science, while the CCA/Labor targets are more politically palatable, but still in the ballpark to get us there. The Coalition target, as it stands, will lock in failure. Read More here

A quick summary (12/8/15 Business Green): “….When commitments are translated to the 2005 baseline year used by Australia, it appears the 26 to 28 per cent reduction is towards the lower end when compared to other countries. The US has a 26 to 28 per cent reduction target, but for five years earlier in 2025. The equivalent 2030 target is 41 per cent. The UK has a 50 per cent reduction by 2025, based on 1990 levels, which translates as a 48 per cent cut when compared directly to Australia’s 2005 baseline. New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, the EU and Canada also have greater planned cuts than Australia when their commitments are considered with a 2005 starting point. Conversely, Japan and Norway have weaker targets than Australia. China, the world’s largest emitter, has no set reduction target beyond a pledge its carbon dioxide emissions will peak by 2030. The government’s independent Climate Change Authority recommended emissions be slashed between 45 to 65 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The decision not to adopt this recommendation means Australia will remain the highest per capita emitter in the industrialised world….” Read More here

Latest summary of what is happening to our Earth

Melting pavementI have been avoiding highlighting the latest report from Dr James Hansen et al (released 20 July 2015) as I would prefer not to be categorised as “alarmist” but there comes a time when facts are facts and if they alarm people then so be it – please be alarmed and then proceed to DO SOMETHING! At this stage of urgency the greatest need is to provide a strong voice to our political dinosaurs to stop propping up an industry that is past its use by date and put in place the measures to decarbonise Australia as quickly as possible and to stop outsourcing our emissions elsewhere. 

However what also needs to be understood is that this type of action WILL transform how we all live; WILL hurt; WILL be disruptive; WILL be anything but smooth; WILL cost; WILL be unpredictable; and WILL certainly make us exceedingly uncomfortable. You can’t have your cake and eat it too! Therefore our democratic voice needs to give “permission” for this uncomfortableness to happen and the ones who have a greater buffer of resilience need to carry more of the burden. Remember that it is OUR consumptive lifestyle that IS the problem.

Following is the conclusion of the Hansen et al report (Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous)

surface air temperature change HansenWe conclude that the 2°C global warming “guardrail”, affirmed in the Copenhagen Accord (2009), does not provide safety, as such warming would likely yield sea level rise of several meters along with numerous other severely disruptive consequences for human society and ecosystems. The Eemian, less than 2°C warmer than pre-industrial Earth, itself provides a clear indication of the danger, even though the orbital drive for Eemian warming differed from today’s human-made climate forcing. Ongoing changes in the Southern Ocean, while global warming is less than 1°C, provide a strong warning, as observed changes tend to confirm the mechanisms amplifying change. Predicted effects, such as cooling of the surface ocean around Antarctica, are occurring even faster than modeled.

Our finding of global cooling from ice melt calls into question whether global temperature is the most fundamental metric for global climate in the 21st century. The first order requirement to 44 stabilize climate is to remove Earth’s energy imbalance, which is now about +0.6 W/m2 , more energy coming in than going out. If other forcings are unchanged, removing this imbalance requires reducing atmospheric CO2 from ~400 ppm to ~350 ppm (Hansen et al., 2008, 2013a).

The message that the climate science delivers to policymakers, instead of defining a safe “guardrail”, is that fossil fuel CO2 emissions must be reduced as rapidly as practical. Hansen et al. (2013a) conclude that this implies a need for a rising carbon fee or tax, an approach that has the potential to be near-global, as opposed to national caps or goals for emission reductions. Although a carbon fee is the sine qua non for phasing out emissions, the urgency of slowing emissions also implies other needs including widespread technical cooperation in clean energy technologies (Hansen et al., 2013a).

The task of achieving a reduction of atmospheric CO2 is formidable, but not impossible. Rapid transition to abundant affordable carbon-free electricity is the core requirement, as that would also permit production of net-zero-carbon liquid fuels from electricity. The rate at which CO2 emissions must be reduced is about 6%/year to reach 350 ppm atmospheric CO2 by about 2100, under the assumption that improved agricultural and forestry practices could sequester 100 GtC (Hansen et al., 2013a). The amount of CO2 fossil fuel emissions taken up by the ocean, soil and biosphere has continued to increase (Fig. S23), thus providing hope that it may be possible to sequester more than 100 GtC. Improved understanding of the carbon cycle and non-CO2 forcings are needed, but it is clear that the essential requirement is to begin to phase down fossil fuel CO2 emissions rapidly. It is also clear that continued high emissions are likely to lock-in continued global energy imbalance, ocean warming, ice sheet disintegration, and large sea level rise, which young people and future generations would not be able to avoid. Given the inertia of the climate and energy systems, and the grave threat posed by continued high emissions, the matter is urgent and calls for emergency cooperation among nations.

While you are waiting/working to change the world – do you wish to be counted?

 A very simple way is to sign on to the numerous “statements”/petitions circulating the globe trying to get the critical mass of numbers to make the ruling elite take notice. Here is a sample below – take your pick: 

Global Population Speak Out Campaign – PI’s annual global grassroots initiative, Global Population Speak Out (GPSO), is designed to bring new voices into the realm of population activism. By demonstrating that population is an approachable issue, especially in the context of sustainability initiatives and discussions, the capacity of the international community to achieve long-term sustainable living solutions is strengthened. Sign up here

For more options view these sites:

 

Feeling discouraged with the scale of the task? Does this help?

22 May 2015, Ralph Nadar: “…Over the years, I have been astonished at how less than one percent of the citizenry, backed by the “public sentiment,” have changed our country for the better by enacting reforms to protect the people from abuses of power, discrimination and deep neglect…” Read More here

Do you want to know how a “movement for change” starts?

Source: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Are you a “downshifter”? 

The Australia Institute’s report, “Downshifting in Australia: A sea-change in the pursuit of happiness“, states, “Australians are increasingly locked into a pattern of escalating desire. Satisfying this desire demands more debt and more pressure to work longer and harder. In the words of one commentator: ‘In rich counties, consumption consists of people spending money they don’t own to buy goods they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.’ …In this study, downshifters are defined as those people who make a voluntary, long-term change in their lifestyle that involves accepting significantly less income and consuming. Motives may be varied and include those relating to personal life and those based on principle. Read More here

26 May 2015, The Conversation: Want to help the environment? First fix your work-life balance. When it comes to climate change, do you practice what you preach? While many of us express strong concern about the issue, there tends to be a yawning gap between this concern and many people’s willingness to actually act on it by doing things like using less power or petrol. Why should we care about this “value-action gap”? Well for one thing, these practices can make a big difference: up to an estimated 20% of household emissions, according to one US study. Read More here

Also visit the Downsizing Plan B page for a continuation of this theme

Key Information and Resource Sites 

 

Australian Alliances for climate change action (c/- ACF website)

  • ACF is an active part of Climate Action Network Australia (CANA), an alliance of regional, state and national environmental, health, community development, and research groups working together to support a dynamic, diverse and growing climate movement in Australia.
  • In 2015, as part of the Climate Roundtable, ACF joined 10 unlikely allies to speak out for strong policy to cut pollution and support clean energy. Together, ACF, WWF, The Climate Institute, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Australian Industry Group (AiGroup), Business Council of Australia, Aluminium Association of Australia, Energy Supply Association of Australia and the Investor Group on Climate Change agreed to some joint principles on climate change.
  • ACF played a pivotal role in establishing Say Yes Australia, a collaboration of leading civil society organisations representing youth, workers, the environment and the community specifically  created to run the powerful price on carbon pollution campaign in 2011. Say Yes represents over 3 million Australians.
  • The Southern Cross Climate Coalition is an alliance of the Climate Institute, the Australian Council of Social Service, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Together, we work to cut pollution with policy that is fair and creates jobs in Australia.
  • The Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change was formed in 2004 by ACF with six of Australia’s largest businesses — BP Australia, Insurance Australia Group, Origin Energy, Swiss Re, Visy Industries and Westpac — to publicise the business risks and opportunities of climate change and to work co-operatively on solutions.
  • On climate change, we also collaborate with unions on Union Climate Connectors and with community groups in the Climate Action Network Australia.

 

 

 

 About Us

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Project: Local Earth Awareness Network was established in 1988 to help raise the awareness of the local community to the environmental crises that face humanity and ways to respond at the local community level. The need to “THINK Globally and ACT Locally” is even more urgent now.

 

The PLEA Network: 

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