Warmer globe = heavier downpours: UK needs flood prevention

“There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly heavy rain events.”  (UK Met Office)   It is basic physics:  A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. This contributes to heavier downpours

The globe’s increasingly erratic climate has shown its ability to impact even a rich country like the UK. ‘Storm Desmond’ has deposited very large quantities of rain over Scotland, northern England and north Wales, causing widespread flooding – particularly in Cumbria. The Met Office say that Honister Pass has set a UK rain record for any 24-hour period, of 341.4 mm. Provisional data has a new 48 hour rain record at Thirlmere of at least 405mm – that’s 16 inches.

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Scientists link extreme global weather to El Niño and climate change

Scientists say the extreme global weather of the last few weeks: some of the worst floods ever known in Britain, record-breaking temperatures over the Christmas holiday in the US and the forest fires in Australia, are linked to El Niño which is making impacts of man-made climate change worse

Continue reading Scientists link extreme global weather to El Niño and climate change

Obama releases the biggest energy efficiency rule in US history

The US Energy Department has just released a standard governing commercial air conditioners and furnaces: the largest energy-saving standard in history will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date.

Heating and cooling consumes a gigantic amount of energy across America –  they keep us comfortable in large buildings.  The new standard will save $ 167 billion in costs for businesses over the life of the standard, and save 885 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

These Energy Department standards require ever improving levels of energy efficiency for dishwashers, refrigerators, and more.

The Washington Post: 17 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, regulation
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South Australia is pushing beyond 50% renewables

South Australia is pushing towards 50 per cent wind and solar – which it expects to reach in 2016, and beyond towards100 per cent renewables.

Just a few years ago it was thought impossible for more than 10 per cent variable wind and solar to be absorbed, even into Europe’s large grid. Now 70 per cent can be absorbed without storage.

Now it is. Work done on King Island by Hydro Tasmania, and in Alice Springs by CAT Projects and ARENA show that high levels of variable renewables can be easily absorbed into a local grid, and these lessons are important for a state like South Australia.

South Australia has always relied on the interconnector with Victoria, and never more heavily than when there was no wind and solar in the market.

Renew Economy: 17 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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Adelaide heatwave a first: A sign of climate change

Adelaide’s ongoing severe heatwave is a first for this time of year and the “sort of signal you will see with climate change”, a Bureau of Meteorology head says.  He said Adelaide had never experienced a sequence of four 40 degree Celsius days during December.  The city sweltered through another hot night last night, with the mercury dropping to only 25C by about 6:30am.

ABC News: 17 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, extremes
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A range of opinion on Paris Climate talks

The Paris Climate Talks deal generally got a very good press. …  this was a “landmark victory” … Yet a closer look reveals some telling differences.

Continue reading A range of opinion on Paris Climate talks

Victoria should keep Alcoa with cheap solar electricity

In the new low-carbon economy,  Alcoa is exactly the sort of industry that should stay here (The Age, 16/12).  But it should be powered by a resource Australia has plenty of – sunshine. Here is an opportunity to move Australian industry into the new fossil-free age by powering Alcoa with electricity from a solar plant in the state’s north.

A concentrated solar thermal plant with molten salt heat storage could supply 24-hour electricity to Alcoa in Portland. Such plants have been built in Spain and the US and local energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions has shown they would be feasible here.

Certainly the up-front cost would be higher, but if Australia is to [take advantage of] the new age of clean energy this is just the sort of innovative venture we should support.

In the longer term, because of our plentiful solar and wind resources, Australia could become a world energy superpower. But not unless we start now.

Keith Burrows, Fairfield
Letter to Editor: The Age: 17 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, OzPolitics
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Adani boss failed to disclose link to African pollution disaster

The Environment Department wrote to Jeyakumar Janakaraj in August seeking information about the environmental record of executive officers.  He is driving Australia’s biggest mining project.  He failed to disclose that a company he ran in Africa was guilty of serious environmental breaches, despite this request.

If any company is reckless or negligent in the information they provide, it’s an offence and there are criminal fines and prosecutions that can be brought.

The article shows a good map of the Adani proposed rail line.

ABC: Mark Willacy: 10 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, risks
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Australia’s plankton moving south due to climate change


Australia’s plankton population, a vital key in the human food chain, has moved 300 kilometres south in 30 years: CSIRO Plankton Report 2015.

Plankton produces about half the oxygen humans breathe.  And determines numbers of fish, marine mammals and turtles in a region.  Scientists attribute the move of plankton to climate change.

ABC: CSIRO: 15 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, risks
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Waleed Aly takes on Andrew Bolt over climate change

Waleed Aly has demolished columnist Andrew Bolt’s repeated claim that Earth has not warmed for 18 years.  Bolt bases his claim on a graph produced by Carl Mears.  Waleed shows Mears on video saying it is clear that the world has warmed over the last 18 years – and that when you do real science you cannot just use data that fits your pre-drawn conclusions.

Andrew Bolt is one of Australia’s most prominent climate change sceptics.  Waleed’s video is worth a view.

Sydney Morning Herald: Waleed Aly: 10 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, OzPolitics
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