Climate Action Monaro Newsletter 1 Dec 2018

It’s been quite a week:

  •  the Queensland fires,
  • the Children’s March for Climate Action,
  • Adani announcing it had the funds to proceed with its mega-coal mine,
  • the UN Environment Program’s Emissions Gap Report,
  • UNFCCC’s COP24 starting today in Poland,
  • first birthday of South Australia’s Tesla battery, and
  • the US National Climate Assessment.

Queensland fires: One man is dead and 10,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Central Queensland. To quote from the first story below: Ecologist Dr Philip Stewart says the Queensland fires were “absolutely” a result of climate change. “Climate is a driver of wildfire and of fire full stop,” he said. “So when we start to see an increase in temperature, we start see an increase in energy availability in that atmosphere, and that obviously will increase the potential for high-intensity fires and fast fires as well.” Have a look at the attached David Pope cartoon from yesterday’s Canberra Times. It’s a classic and ties in with the Adani story below.

Children’s March: Despite the Prime Minister telling children to stay in school, the march in Sydney was extraordinarily successful with thousands gathering in Martin Place. It was notable for some great placards and some, not least Jean Hinchcliffe (14), displaying admirable media skills.

Adani:  The Indian company declared it had enough money to proceed with its mega (scaled down) coal mine and would do so shortly, possibly before Christmas. Clearly, they want to get in ahead of a federal election next year that may well see a change of government. Two obstacles stand in its way: native title has still not been extinguished; and Aurizon (freight rail company) is yet to give approval for Adani to use some of its rail line to take the coal to the port at Abbot Point. Let’s hope Aurizon drags its feet and that the appeal by traditional owners, yet to be heard by the full bench of the federal court, is successful.

UNEP’s report: This was critical of Australia and said Australia would not be fulfilling its commitments on emissions reduction.  Prof Andrew Blakers who we had as speaker at the renewable forum on 21 November, has countered this by saying we will reach the targets because of the recent upsurge in building renewables (despite the obstacles put in the way by the federal government).

COP24: The Conference of Parties meets for the 24th time, starting today, in Katowice, Poland (a country still heavily dependent on coal). Countries are aiming to finalise the implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement. Environment Minister Melissa Price is leading the Australian delegation which is a bit of a worry as she said through the week that Adani’s mine would have no direct effect on the Barrier Reef (she ignores the 10,000 coal ships that will ply the waters of the inner reef once the mine is built). Nevertheless, she might learn something at COP24. For those who can get to Canberra, you may be interested in the forum “Explaining the Katowice Climate Change Conference” on 19 December from 6.00 to 7.30pm at ANU. You can register here.

South Australia’s Tesla battery: Happy first birthday, battery! You have been a success. It has made money, lowered prices and boosted grid security. As the article says below, it has become a major signpost to the future of faster, cheaper, smarter and cleaner grid.

The US National Climate Assessment warned that climate change would cause 10% reduction in the US economy by 2100 to which President Trump responded: “I don’t believe it.”  It actually may be far worse that that because of various uncertainties, not least how climate change will affect food production.

Repower Monaro’s renewable energy forum from 21 November gained great coverage in the Queanbeyan Age on Wednesday with a full front page picture of the three speakers on page one and, on page 3, more photos of the meeting and John Hewson as well as of the audience. (You’ll have to buy a paper as I can’t get on-line!)

I attended the Energy Update at ANU on Thursday morning with very informative speeches by Sarah McNamara, Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Council (insisting in answer to a question of mine that they would support emissions reduction in any renewed NEG), and Ian Cronshaw, of the International Energy Agency (IEA), on the 2018 World Energy Outlook (WEO). I then raced off to Parliament House to a forum on “The human face of climate change” which included a memorable talk by Bega Councillor Jo Dodds who spoke of the Tathra bushfires in March.

All the best, Jenny

Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro


Why Queensland’s ‘mega-fires’ have been described as extraordinary

Scientists say bushfires are burning more intensely than they have before, the season is extending and heatwaves are getting worse. Their message? Climate change is changing fire in Australia, take notice.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-01/why-qld-bushfires-have-been-described-as-abnormal-unprecedented/10571122


‘I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea’: Striking students rally for climate

Students defy the Prime Minister’s calls to stay in school and instead gather in their thousands to protest against inaction on climate change. But the Federal Government says all they’re learning how to do is “join the dole queue”.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-30/australian-students-climate-change-protest-scott-morrison/10571168


Climate change is the biggest threat to our futures.  Striking from school is not a threat.

Milou Albrecht, Harriet O’Shea Carre and Jean Hinchcliffe

We are walking out for a day to send the Australian government a message: you can no longer pretend we are not here.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/29/climate-change-is-the-biggest-threat-to-our-futures-not-striking-from-school


Forget 50% – Australia on track to reach 78% renewables grid by 2030

New report says Australia is heading to a 78 per cent renewables share by 2030 on current trajectories, and any smaller targets would lead to a huge slump in…

https://reneweconomy.com.au/forget-50-australia-on-track-to-reach-78-renewables-grid-by-2030/


Tesla big battery turns one, celebrates $50 million in grid savings

The Tesla big battery in South Australia on Friday celebrates its first anniversary since swinging into action on November 30 last year – a day before its official opening.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-big-battery-turns-one-celebrates-50-million-in-grid-savings-95920/


‘We are ready to start’: Adani to begin controversial mine operation

Indian energy giant Adani announces a scaled-down version of its Carmichael mine and rail project in central Queensland will go ahead, and will be 100 per cent self-financed.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-29/adani-carmichael-coal-mine-go-ahead-plans-to-self-fund/10567848


Carmichael mine: federal election, rail access and native title stand in the way

Adani’s plans to get started quickly on a scaled-down version of its Queensland mega-mine still face numerous obstacles

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/01/carmichael-mine-federal-election-rail-access-native-title


Coal power on way out, sooner rather than later, says AEMO

Australia’s remaining coal-fired power plants are on borrowed time, and are as likely to be retired sooner rather than later, the chief of Australia’s Energy Market Operator has confirmed, in a keynote speech outlining the core assumptions used to shape AEMO’s Integrated System Plan.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/coal-power-on-way-out-sooner-rather-than-later-says-aemo-38807/


Green is the new black: how renewables and storage will replace coal

Lachlan Blackhall

What the community really needs is for government and industry to get on with building Australia’s future energy system.

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/green-is-the-new-black-how-renewables-and-storage-will-replace-coal-20181128-p50j02.html


World must triple efforts or face catastrophic climate change, says UN

Rapid emissions turnaround needed to keep global warming at less than 2C, report suggests

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/27/world-triple-efforts-climate-change-un-global-warming