Safe Climate News: Viewing Hints

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The war on renewables by “the Australian” newspaper

The Australian newspaper has not allowed facts to get in the way of a good story in its sustained war on renewable energy.

Independent Australian: Norm Sanders: 27 Feb 2017,10063


Severe heatwaves show the need to adapt livestock management for climate

As the climate changes and extreme weather effects become are common, cattle and other livestock are becoming more stressed. … Farmers that already find it difficult to make a profit will need to adapt to these changing conditions, ensuring they mitigate the effects on their livestock. This could take the form of more shade and shelter, but also the selection of different breeds to suit the conditions.

The Conversation: 28 Feb 2017
Elisabeth Vogel, University of Melbourne;
Christin Meyer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and
Richard Eckard, University of Melbourne

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

Northern hemisphere sees in early spring due to global warming

Spring is sprung 26 days earlier than a decade ago, causing problems for the natural cycle of plants and wildlife … While these earlier springs might not seem like a big deal – and who among us doesn’t appreciate a balmy day or a break in dreary winter weather – they pose significant challenges for planning and managing important issues that affect our economy and our society.

The Guardian: Tim Radford: 2 March 2017

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

Massive permafrost thaw documented in Canada, portends huge carbon release.

Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers.

A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama. …

Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Geology in early February. ….

Permafrost is land that has been frozen stretching back to the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. As the Arctic warms at twice the global rate, the long-frozen soils thaw and decompose, releasing the trapped greenhouse gases into the air. Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere.

Inside climate News: Bob Berwyn: 28 Feb 2017

As global food demand rises, climate change is hitting our staple crops

The world needs to produce more food to feed a larger and wealthier population – and climate change, with its heat and extreme weather, is reducing yields of a number of staple crops around the world.

The Conversation: 1 March 2017
Andrew Borrell, The University of Queensland

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Trumpian disregard for the energy facts

“The Coalition campaign in favour of coal, and against renewables, is relentless, even after study after study is produced highlighting how wind and solar, even with integration costs, are a significantly cheaper option than sticking with a coal-based centralised grid.

Last week, the ANU released an analysis highlighting just that. It echoed another detailed study last year, from the CSIRO and the network owners lobby, that put the savings of a high renewable grid at $100 billion over business as usual.

The main fossil fuel generators admit that building new coal power plants is not just a dumb idea, it is uninvestible.

And the financing secured for the third stage of one Australia’s biggest wind projects illustrates why. Electricity from the 109MW Hornsdale 3 project will deliver electricity to its customer, the ACT government, at a fixed price of $73/MWh for the next 20 years.

To put that in context – that is cheaper than electricity almost anywhere on the Australian grid at the moment. It is one-third of the cost paid by Queenslanders for electricity in February, one-half the cost paid in NSW, and it’s cheaper than the predicted prices in any state over 2017/18. ….

And the ACT government that commissioned this? They’re laughing. They know that their cost of electricity is capped for 20 years, but better than that, they get a refund from any excess. So if wholesale prices go above $73/MWh, which is where they are now, then the excess comes back to the ACT and its consumers.

Yet the Coalition continues on, digging themselves deeper into discredited and unfinanceable “clean coal” technologies such as IGCC [Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle]. The world’s flagship IGCC project is at Kemper in the US, where $7 billion has so far been invested and it still hasn’t produced anything.

Renew Economy: Giles Parkinson: 2 March 2017

Electricity prices rises not driven by renewables

Australian states with less new renewable energy (and more coal) have seen higher electricity price increases than those with more new wind and solar.

The argument that a rapid shift to renewable energy generation, such as has been seen in South Australia, drives up consumer electricity prices has been thrown about a lot, lately, by the federal Coalition and right wing media outlets. But that’s not what the data says.

Renew Economy: Sophie Vorrath: 2 March 2017 

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

Why we need an ‘Energy Landcare’ to tackle rising power prices

Without help, lower-income people could miss out on the clean energy revolution – hence the arrival of community projects aiming to boost access to solar panels, batteries and other green technology.

The Conversation: 27 Feb 2017
Nicky Ison, University of Technology Sydney

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

ANU: Wind, solar and hydro grid cheapest option for Australia

A New study by the Australian National University suggests a 100% renewable energy grid, with 90% of electricity coming from wind and solar, will be cheaper than a coal or gas-fired system in Australia.

The study, led by Andrew Blakers, Bin Lu and Matthew Stocks, suggests that with most of Australia’s current fleet of coal generators due to retire before 2030, a mix of solar PV and wind energy, backed up by pumped hydro, will be the cheapest option for Australia, and this includes integration costs.

Renew Economy: Giles Parkinson: 27 Feb 2017

‘Clean coal’, CCS and CSG will not save fossil fuels – their game is up

It’s time to accept the inevitable and fix the shambles that is our energy policy.

Every few years the fossil fuel industry pressures politicians to force “clean coal”, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and more recently coal seam gas (CSG) on an increasingly sceptical community to justify its continued expansion.

This cycle started with the promotion of Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, for coal export to India. The South Australian blackout followed last September when violent storms blew down transmission towers, prompting instant federal government accusations that excessive reliance on renewable energy was the cause, despite clear advice to the contrary. …

In passing, Adani was to be offered a $1bn subsidy to construct the Carmichael rail line, and then a further subsidy for a new domestic coal-fired power plant at the mine was mooted to assist the development of northern Australia.

The prime minister’s National Press Club speech in January emphasised the need for “affordable, reliable and secure energy”, denounced the states for their “unrealistic” renewable targets, encouraged energy storage – and then took an evangelical swing back to coal, straight from the fossil fuel industry hymn book. Priority would be given to “clean coal, and carbon capture and storage (CCS and onshore gas (CSG)”, implying that renewables were neither affordable or reliable.

He continued: “The next incarnation of our energy policy should be technology-agnostic – it’s security and cost that matter, not how you deliver it. Policy should be ‘all of the above technologies’ working together to meet the trifecta of secure and affordable power while meeting our substantial emission reduction commitments.”

So what could possibly be wrong with such a sweeping vision? Well, pretty much everything …

The Guardian: Ian Dunlop

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

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