Climate Newsletter 13 May 2018

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

The federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday, and despite finding billions for tax cuts and maintaining subsidies to coal companies, the government found nothing to facilitate the vital transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Climate change is probably the biggest existential threat facing the planet, yet there was no mention of it in the Treasurer’s Budget speech. The Climate Change Authority’s budget was cut further and there was no new money for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERT) which is the government’s main tool for reducing emissions.

The government, of course, has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030, a mere 12 years away, yet its own report has found emissions have risen for the third year in a row. They rose 1.5 per cent through 2017.

The world crossed another threshold  with global carbon dioxide levels reaching 410ppm at the Mauna Loa laboratories in Hawaii where father and son Charles and then Ralph Keeling have measured their inexorable rise since 1958. Pre-industrial levels were no more than 280ppm. These (410ppm) are the highest levels in the past 800,000 years for which we have reliable ice-core data. Back three million years ago in the mid-Pliocene, levels were also around 400ppm but sea-levels were 20 metres higher than today.

As mentioned before, Climate Action Monaro is co-organising the regional conference of the NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) Conference in Queanbeyan on May 26 and 27 – two weeks from now!  The focus is on renewables and on forests, both of critical importance to climate change. Registration is quite modest ($25) and includes lunch. On Sunday there is a tour of the Mugga Lane solar farm.

While our federal government flounders on effective climate action, California continues to set an example, this time mandating that all homes built from 2020 be fitted with solar panels.

This week saw the Bonn climate talks wind up. These are the Preparatory meetings for the Conference of Parties (COP24) talks in Poland at the end of the year that will work on further implementation of the Paris Agreement made at COP21. Unfortunately, the Polish government is repressive and wants to ban environmental and indigenous groups from actively participating in COP24.

I commend the final story to you about what real climate ambition looks like. If you don’t have time to read the article, the message about how to keep within 1.5oC warming is: i) radically increase energy efficiency, ii) radically increase renewable energy, iii) electrify everything! and iv) and maybe do a little negative emissions e.g. afforestation, reforestation, and soil carbon sequestration.

Please sign the petition to the Senate as part of the ‘No new bad investments’ (NMBI) campaign, in this case, calling for a ban on all new off-shore drilling and exploration for oil and gas.


Turnbull’s election budget dumps on climate and renewables
Giles Parkinson
Turnbull government finds $15 billion in short term tax handouts, and $140 billion in long term tax promises for the better off – but nothing on climate and renewables. Meanwhile, Australia misses out on global renewable jobs boom.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/turnbulls-election-budget-dumps-on-climate-and-renewables-79759/


Emissions rise for third consecutive year
Climate scientists argue Australia risks cementing its reputation as a “global climate laggard” as the country’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-emissions-rise-for-third-consecutive-year


Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold
Carbon dioxide concentrations have now passed 410 parts per million, sustained over a month.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/03/earths-atmosphere-just-crossed-another-troubling-climate-change-threshold/


California mandates solar PV on all new residential buildings

California Energy Commission has, as predicted, mandated rooftop solar PV installations on all new residential buildings from 2020.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/california-mandates-solar-pv-new-residential-buildings-46941/


Poland Should Welcome Activists to U.N. Climate Talks
Katharina Rall
As this month’s climate talks in Germany come to an end, some participants are feeling a little queasy. Environmental activists and indigenous peoples worry about their ability to actively participate in the annual UN climate talks, in Katowice, Poland in December.
https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/05/09/poland-should-welcome-activists-un-climate-talks


Renewable energy now employs 10.3 million people globally
The renewable energy industry employs 10.3 million people worldwide, according to new data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/renewable-energy-now-employs-10-3-million-people-globally


South Australia solar market slump blamed on Liberals policy void
South Australia rooftop solar market falls sharply in April, confirming reports from solar retailers who blame uncertainty caused by policy cloud of new Liberal government.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australia-solar-market-slump-blamed-on-liberals-policy-void-23947/


Global warming is melting Antarctic ice from below
Warming oceans melting Antarctic ice shelves could accelerate sea level rise
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/may/09/global-warming-is-melting-antarctic-ice-from-below


Carbon satellite to serve as an important tool for politicians and climate change experts
A new satellite that measures and provides detailed carbon balance information is one of the most important new tools in carbon measurement since infrared light, believe researchers from the University of Copenhagen. The researchers expect the satellite to be a valuable tool for the UN’s work on climate change related to the Paris climate accord.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/fos–cst050818.php


Real ambition on global warming: What it would look like
New scenarios show how to hit the most stringent Paris targets.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/5/7/17306008/global-warming-climate-change-scenarios-ambition


Letter published in Canberra Times, 6 May 2018

Rule out coal

The federal government has promised half a billion dollars to the Great Barrier Reef for improving water quality with changed farming practices; for reef restoration science; to combat the crown-of-thorns starfish; for community engagement; and for monitoring reef health.

It would all be splendid were it not for the fact that this same government keeps pushing the National Energy Guarantee with its totally inadequate emission reduction targets and which retains the use of coal in future energy plans.

This same government whose resources minister keeps pushing for the Adani coal mine to go ahead. If the government is serious about saving the reef, it has to rule out coal and new coal mines now.

It has to shift the economy away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible and promote the use of renewable energy.

Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW


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