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 in Central Victoria)

 💡 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 NEWSPreparing for the Era of Disasters (report); attribution mapping of extreme weather (interactive map);  2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880 (temp trend visualisation); annual climate statement 2018 (video); understanding our heatwave weather2018 emissions still rising; annual climate report 2018need to change the frame for decision makers2017 global emissions rising (report); APRA: Will business take the lead400 years to transform energy systems (graph); 2017 extends period of exceptional warm years;  cost of natural disasters & resilience (report); REMEMBER: it is all in the language;  Clarke & Dawe on the energy debate (video);  global 2C warming limit not feasible;climate action time warp (video); Kiwis vs Oz (video); dumbest policy on earthSolar SmackDown – Poms vs Oz (video); perspective in the debate (video): dangerous climate warming myth – reality; Australia in 2040;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: 

Groundhog day revisited! If you regularly visit my site you may have noticed I do not post as much as in the past. I have found that the vast majority of “news” is just a repetition of what has been going on for decades – same old same old – only our changing climate relentlessly continues on an upward trajectory. I will however continue to add the most interesting developments twice a month. 

 

Latest News

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End Latest News

Australia needs a national plan to face the growing threat of climate disasters

Thumbnail8 March 2019, Conversation: We are entering a new era in the security of Australia, not because of terrorism, the rise of China, or even the cybersecurity threat, but because of climate change. If the world warms beyond 2℃, as seems increasingly likely, an era of disasters will be upon us, with profound implications for how we organise ourselves to protect Australian lives, property and economic interests, and our way of life. The early warning of this era is arriving almost daily, in news reports from across the globe of record-breaking heatwaves, prolonged droughts, massive bushfires, torrential flooding, and record-setting storms. In a new special report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, I argue that Australia is not facing up to the pace of these worsening threats. We need a national strategy to deal specifically with climate disaster preparedness. Read more here

 

 

Attributing extreme weather to climate change 

Image result for attribution of extreme weather

6 July 2017, Carbon Brief: In the early 2000s, a new field of climate science research emerged that began to explore the human fingerprint on extreme weather, such as floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms. Known as “extreme event attribution”, the field has gained momentum, not only in the science world, but also in the media and public imagination because of the power it has to link the seemingly abstract concept of climate change with our own tangible experiences of the weather. Scientists have published more than 230 peer-reviewed studies looking at weather events around the world, from Hurricane Katrina to Russia’s 2010 heatwave. The result is mounting evidence that human activity is raising the risk of some types of extreme weather, especially those linked to heat. Carbon Brief’s analysis suggests 68% of all extreme weather events studied to date were made more likely or more severe by human-caused climate change. Heatwaves account for 43% such events, droughts make up 17% and heavy rainfall or floods account for 16%. Read more here

2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend, according to NASA, NOAA

6 February 2019, Global Climate Change (NASA): Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. “2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.


Gavin Schmidt provides some clarity on – The best case for worst case scenarios: Scientists have been looking at best, middling and worst case scenarios for anthropogenic climate change for decades. For instance, Stephen Schneider himself took a turn back in 2009. And others have postulated both far more rosy and far more catastrophic possibilities as well (with somewhat variable evidentiary bases)….. However, I’m not specifically interested in discussing these articles or reports (many others have done so already), but rather why it always so difficult and controversial to write about the worst cases.

There are basically three (somewhat overlapping) reasons:

  1. The credibility problem: What are the plausible worst cases? And how can one tell?
  2. The reticence problem: Are scientists self-censoring to avoid talking about extremely unpleasant outcomes?
  3. The consequentialist problem: Do scientists avoid talking about the most alarming cases to motivate engagement?

 

These factors all intersect in much of the commentary related to this topic (and in many of the articles linked above), but it’s useful perhaps to tackle them independently. Read more here

 

Annual Climate Statement for 2018 (BOM)

What is happening to our weather?

25 January 2019. If you would like to get a basic understanding of why our weather is behaving as it is access this article from The Conversation about the stubborn high-pressure system behind Australia’s record heatwaves. 

More about the Atmospheric Blocking Increase

Climate change is thought to increase the frequency of large scale atmospheric pressure patterns with little or no movement—referred to as atmospheric blocking—by increasing changes in wave activity that exceeds the jet stream’s capacity.[1] Studies have begun to identify an anthropogenic component in recent blocking events that drove sustained extreme weather, including the 2003 European heatwave, the 2010 Moscow wildfires, the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma drought, and the 2011-2016 California drought. Access more here

Emissions STILL on the rise – should this be a surprise!

5 December 2018, The Conversation, Carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise more than 2% (range 1.8% to 3.7%) in 2018, taking global fossil CO₂ emissions to a new record high of 37.1 billion tonnes.

The strong growth is the second consecutive year of increasing emissions since the 2014-16 period when emissions stabilised, further slowing progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement that require a peak in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. Strong growth in emissions from the use of coal, oil and natural gas suggests CO₂ emissions are likely to increase further in 2019.

Strong energy demand is behind the rise in emissions growth, which is outpacing the speed at which decarbonisation of the energy system is taking place. Total energy consumption around the world increased by one sixth over the past decade, the result of a growing global middle class and the need to provide electricity to hundreds of millions of people living in poverty. The challenge, then, is for all nations to decarbonise their economies while also satisfying the need for energy, particularly in developing countries where continued growth in energy supply is needed.

These analyses are part of the new annual assessment of the Global Carbon Project (GCP), published today in three separate papers. The GCP brings together scientists who use climate and industrial data from around the world to develop the most comprehensive picture of the Earth’s sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. Read More here

Annual Climate of the Nation Report

COTN.png12 September 2018, Australian Institute: The annual Climate of the Nation report has tracked Australian attitudes on climate change for over a decade. This is the first Climate of the Nation report produced by The Australia Institute, after being produced for a decade by the Climate Institute. The Australia Institute is delighted to be continuing this important work. The 2018 Climate of the Nation report was launched today in Parliament House by former Liberal party leader and Professor at ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, John Hewson. Click on image to access report. Read more here

Is this where Australia is heading? Or, are we already there?


14 August, VOX, The West (California) is on fire … again. The fire season now runs almost year-round, and 2018 is already worse than usual in California, Colorado, and Oregon. Wildfires have almost become a year-round threat in some parts of the western United States. From Colorado to California, it feels like the blazes from last year never went out. Flames ignited forests and chaparral virtually nonstop in 2017, and the year ended with record infernos in Southern California that burned well into 2018. Officials don’t refer to “fire seasons anymore but rather to fire years,” Jennifer Jones, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center, told me in an email. The NIFC reports that this year, wildfires have burned more than 5.6 million acres, about 27 percent above the average since 2008. At the moment, 15 states are reporting large fires, from Alaska to New Mexico. Read More here

Weather presenters in US increasingly including climate info in reports

Local US weather casters have become one of the primary conduits for news on global warming. One nonprofit helped push the change. Steve LaPointe has been a television weatherman for nearly three decades, and for most of his career, he didn’t focus much on global warming. He was skeptical about the science behind it, particularly the notion that human behavior was heating the planet. But the issue wouldn’t go away. So LaPointe began to do “a lot of homework,” he said, reading research papers and consulting fellow meteorologists, who connected him with a nonprofit, Climate Central, that spreads information on climate change. LaPointe increasingly came to realize he was wrong — that the evidence that greenhouse gases are warming the Earth is “irrefutable.” Now, LaPointe routinely reports on the effects of climate change — from the escalated growth of poison ivy to a jump in the number of high-pollen days — alongside his usual seven-day nightly forecasts on CBS affiliate WRGB in Albany, New York. Many other weather presenters are following. Read more here and go to the Mainstreaming our changing climate page for what is happening in Australia.  

The need to change the frame – reality not doom

14 May 2018, Nature Geoscience, Politically informed advice for climate action: …..Researchers are not in a position to change core features of the policymaking process that limit the use of evidence, such as time constraints, path dependencies, limited capacity to digest new information, industries exerting their influence, and competing values. And scientific advisers will not be able to force policymakers to overcome inconsistency between talk, decisions and actions. But they can play their part in hedging inconsistency in climate policy.

Consider the following thought experiment: assume that during the course of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Cycle, the research community adopts standards for assessing the achievability of climate stabilization targets more realistically19, and, for instance, communicates its findings in a slightly different way. Instead of saying “yes, meeting the 1.5 °C target is still feasible, but only if A, B and C happens”, the core message would be “no, meeting the 1.5 °C target is currently not plausible, unless governments implement A, B and C”.

The difference in wording is small, and scientifically, both versions are probably equally valid. But the climate policy perspective changes considerably. In the first case, policymakers can focus on the ‘big prize’, the cherished long-term target that is still in sight, and achievement of the target is already assumed. This is a common way of exploiting the future for today’s political gains12, because governments are quite lenient when it comes to delivering the appropriate action. In the second case, instead of handing over the ‘big prize’ to policymakers early on, climate researchers hold it back, but define clear requirements for bringing it again into play, based on the latest scientific findings.

Such a communication would help to shift everybody’s attention, from talk and decisions to actions, and from the far-away future to the next 5 to 10 years20. Shifting the communication from a “yes, if…” to a “no, unless…” frame would prevent climate research and advice from resetting the clock time and again. Instead it puts the pressure where it belongs — on governments. Read full article here.         Go to “Fairyland of 2 degrees” page for more detail  (Doodle by Margaret Hagan)

2017 – Global emissions still rising

Average annual growth in energy demand by fuel

March 2018, Global Energy & CO2 Status Report – The latest trends in energy and emissions in 2017. Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, according to IEA preliminary estimates, more than twice the growth rate in 2016. Global energy demand in 2017 reached an estimated 14 050 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), compared with 10 035 Mtoe in 2000. 

Fossil fuels met over 70% of the growth in energy demand around the world. Natural gas demand increased the most, reaching a record share of 22% in total energy demand. Renewables also grew strongly, making up around a quarter of global energy demand growth, while nuclear use accounted for the remainder of the growth. The overall share of fossil fuels in global energy demand in 2017 remained at 81%, a level that has remained stable for more than three decades despite strong growth in renewables. Improvements in global energy efficiency slowed down. The rate of decline in global energy intensity, defined as the energy consumed per unit of economic output, slowed to only 1.7%* in 2017, much lower than the 2.0% improvement seen in 2016. The growth in global energy demand was concentrated in Asia, with China and India together representing more than 40% of the increase. Energy demand in all advanced economies contributed more than 20% of global energy demand growth, although their share in total energy use continued to fall. Notable growth was also registered in Southeast Asia (which accounted for 8% of global energy demand growth) and Africa (6%), although per capita energy use in these regions still remains well below the global average.

According to the IEA, 2017’s increase in emissions was the equivalent of adding 170 million cars to the roads and was the result of “robust global economic growth of 3.7%, lower fossil-fuel prices, and weaker energy efficiency efforts” all of which also led to the aforementioned increase in energy demand. Read More here

APRA: Will business take the lead?

Image result for insurance extreme events 201729 November 2017, Geoff Summerhayes, Executive Board Member, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The Weight of money: A business case for climate risk resilience. Tonight will be the first time I’ve substantially addressed APRA’s thinking around climate risk since a speech I delivered to the Insurance Council of Australia in February this year. My main message then was that APRA believed many climate-related financial risks were no longer future concerns. They wereforeseeable, material and actionable now”. As the prudential regulator, APRA has a clear duty to warn the institutions we regulate if we identify risks that could threaten the interests of Australia’s financial beneficiaries or the overall stability of the system. Economic sustainability – the subject of tonight’s address – refers to creating a level of resilience so the economy, and the financial institutions within in it, are well-placed to withstand the challenges they will inevitably confront. That includes new or unexpected risks; whether that be cyber-crime, technological disruption or climate risk…… The Sustainable Insurance Forum’s view, which APRA shares, is that climate change and – here’s the crucial bit – society’s responses to it – are starting to affect the global economy. APRA is not a scientific body,…… But what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that the transition to a low carbon economy is underway and moving quickly. The weight of money, pushed by commercial imperatives such as investment, innovation and reputational factors, is increasingly driving that shift, rather than scientists or policymakers. Read More here

At this rate, it’s going to take nearly 400 years to transform the energy system

14 March 2018, MIT Technology Review: Here are the real reasons we’re not building clean energy anywhere near fast enough. 

Fifteen years ago, Ken Caldeira, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution, calculated that the world would need to add about a nuclear power plant’s worth of clean-energy capacity every day between 2000 and 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change. Recently, he did a quick calculation to see how we’re doing. Not well. Instead of the roughly 1,100 megawatts of carbon-free energy per day likely needed to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 ˚C, as the 2003 Science paper by Caldeira and his colleagues found, we are adding around 151 megawatts. That’s only enough to power roughly 125,000 homes. At that rate, substantially transforming the energy system would take, not the next three decades, but nearly the next four centuries.Read More here

Carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and takes about a decade to reach its maximum warming effect. In other words, even with all the changes we’ve already seen, we have yet to experience the full impact of the carbon we spewed in 2008 and every year since. 

GRAPH: Global average surface temperatures from NASA’s GISTemp (black) and with the influence of El Niño and La Niña (collectively referred to as ENSO) removed (red). Figure produced by Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

 

Building resilience to natural disasters in our states and territories

21 November 2017, The total costs of natural disasters in Australia are forecast to more than double in real terms to $39 billion per year by 2050, according to a new report released today by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, The report, Building Resilience to Natural Disasters in our States and Territories, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, examines the costs of natural disasters in each state and territory over the last decade and the estimated costs to 2050. The report found the total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia over the 10 years to 2016 averaged $18.2 billion per year, equivalent to 1.2% of average Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In real terms, the total economic cost of natural disasters is forecast to grow by 3.4% per year, double by 2038 and by 2050 reach $39 billion per year in real terms. More than nine million Australians have been impacted by a natural disaster or extreme weather event over the last 30 years. IAG Managing Director and CEO Peter Harmer said the report also examines the role of state, territory and local governments, and how they can effectively build resilience in communities, along with other jurisdictions, businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Read More here  Access Roundtable full report here        Access Roundtable website & fact sheets here

Global Carbon Budget 2017

NOTE: Comments re Australia’s growing emissions. For more information go to carbon budget 2017 also go here

6 November 2017: New York Times: Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals

Climate Science Special Report (US)

3 November 2017, New York Times. What the Climate Report Says About the Impact of Global Warming. The same, only worse. Global warming is affecting the United States more than ever, and the impacts — on communities, regions, infrastructure and sectors of the economy — are expected to increase. That’s the gist of Volume II of the National Climate Assessment, a draft report made public on Friday that focuses on the current and future impacts of climate change. The draft will eventually accompany a report on the science of climate change that was unveiled by 13 federal agencies in its final form on the same day. In addition to comments by members of the public, Volume II is being reviewed by an expert committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. After revisions by the agencies involved it is expected to be published in December 2018. Like the scientific report, the draft of Volume II contains many of the same findings cited in the previous National Climate Assessment, published in 2014. But reflecting some of the impacts that have been felt across the country in the past three years, some of the emphasis has changed. Here’s a look at some of what’s new in the draft assessment. Read More here

Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume I: This report is an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States. It represents the first of two volumes of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990. Access full report here

6 November 2017, Bloomberg: How Trump White House Wound Up Releasing Dire Climate Report – Read More here

 

“500-year” floods are based not on history, but on probability

28 August 2017, VOX, The “500-year” flood, explained: why Houston was so under prepared for Hurricane Harvey. It’s the city’s third “500-year” flood in the past three years. It’s difficult to comprehend the scale of the flooding and devastation that Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath are wreaking on the Houston area. Weather experts call the storm unprecedented, and note that it’s gone beyond even the most pessimistic forecasts. In the final reckoning, it’s certain that Harvey will be classified a 500-year flood — and maybe even a 1,000-year flood. But those terms can be a bit misleading — especially when high-profile people, like the president of the United States, confuse the issue by calling Harvey “a once in 500 year flood.” In theory, a 500-year flood is something that has a 1-in-500 shot of happening in any given year — in other words, the sort of event that’s so rare that it might not make sense to plan around the possibility of it happening. The problem is that 500-year floods are happening more often than probability predicts — especially in Houston. And, especially in Houston, prevention planning hasn’t evolved to acknowledge that a “500-year” flood isn’t really a 1-in-500 chance anymore. “500-year” floods are based not on history, but on probability. The severity of floods tends to get put in terms of years: a 100-year flood, a 500-year flood, a 1,000-year flood. But this isn’t an assessment of “the worst flood in” that time — places like Houston don’t actually have detailed weather records going back to 1017 AD, after all. Read More here

 

REMEMBER: It is all in the language

Term Likelihood of the outcome
Virtually certain >99% probability
Extremely likely >95% probability
Very likely >90% probability
Likely >66% probability
More likely than not >50% probability
About as likely as not 33 to 66% probability
Unlikely <33% probability
Extremely unlikely <5% probability
Exceptionally unlikely <1% probability

If an event is virtually certain, there is a greater than 99% probability that it will occur.

REMEMBER: When you read IPCC/UN reports and see these terms have a think about the probability rating of ordinary activities that we all normally insure against:

  • House burning down: 1% probability
  • Involved in serious car accident in our lifetime: 30% probability
  • And the days we buy a lottery ticket, just in case…: 0.026084% probability of winning (less than 3/100th of a percent)

 

Clarke and Dawe absolutely nail the Australian energy debate

 

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

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….

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

 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

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

Read More here 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.
  • 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.

 

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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.

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