Climate Newsletter: 20 March 2018

From Jenny Goldie: President, CAM

As I write, people in South Australia and in Batman, Melbourne, are voting and a lot of their decisions will be based on support for renewable energy (SA) or opposition to the Adani mine (Batman). A couple of relevant articles are below. Bill Shorten’s ambivalence on Adani had been disappointing, but he seems to have firmed up his opposition to the mega-coal mine. To what extent it will determine the result in Batman remains to be seen.

A friend has been visiting Venice recently and reports it is already feeling the effects of sea-level rise, not just from rising water but also the effects of seawater on the buildings. He sent this video. Sea-level rise has become a source of morbid fascination for me, and I was struck by this youtube video of what would happen if all the ice on the Earth melted. (OK, it will take 5000 years, but a 2.5 metre rise by 2100 is on the cards.)

We were saddened by the death of Stephen Hawking this week though it was amazing he lasted as long as he did with Motor Neurone Disease. While teaching us about the complexities of space, time and the universe, he also warned that human activity is causing irreversible planetary damage and that we must take action to halt climate change.

US President Trump finally sacked Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon-Mobil, which denied climate change despite the evidence for decades. (Tillerson more or less accepted the science while in office.) Unfortunately, Trump has replaced him with Mike Pompeo, a climate denier who has received money from the infamous billionaire Koch brothers who have done their utmost to discredit climate science for years.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is holding a massive rally in Macquarie Street, Sydney, at 12 noon in a week’s time to protest against coal and gas mining.  Sydney is a long way away from the Monaro, but if you happen to be there and can attend, you can RSVP here.

Turns out that if fracking is allowed in the Northern Territory, it will release far more emissions than even the dreaded Adani mine. There’s another day of action National Day of Action on Wednesday 21 March in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to show solidarity with Traditional Owners in the NT and call for climate action.

All the best, Jenny


Batman and Labor on Adani

Karen Middleton
As today’s Batman byelection brings Labor’s coal policy into relief, Adani finds it still has not got approval for its Carmichael mine.
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2018/03/17/batman-and-labor-adani/15212052005957


SA election promises compared: how do the policies add up?

South Australia’s major parties have matching commitments in some areas – here are the major points of difference
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/16/sa-election-promises-compared-how-do-the-policies-add-up


No longer ‘alternative’, mainstream renewables are pushing prices down

Simon Holmes à Court
While the government insists that renewables have made our grid unreliable, lights have stayed on and prices are dropping
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/16/no-longer-alternative-mainstream-renewables-are-pushing-prices-down


CEFC backs push for solar and storage in all new-build homes

The shift towards making built-in solar and battery storage the “new normal” for new-build homes in Australia now has the backing of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, in a joint initiative with leading property development group, Mirvac.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/cefc-backs-push-for-solar-and-storage-in-all-new-build-homes-29088/


Climate change threatens survival of thousands of species in our lifetime

An alarming study finds at 4.5 degrees warming, the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems could witness extinction of half their plant and animal species.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13032018/climate-change-species-at-risk-biodiversity-plants-animal-migration-global-warming


Eastern Mediterranean summer will be two months longer by end of 21st century

The eastern Mediterranean is experiencing monumental climate changes poised to significantly affect regional ecosystems and human health. According to a new Tel Aviv University study, these changes will drastically alter the duration of summer and winter in the region by the end of this century.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/afot-ems031418.php


Models assume we’ll cover Earth in trees. That’s a problem

The farmland of central Illinois might rarely be at the forefront of controversial climate action — but its moment arrived last spring when a Decatur-based ethanol plant became one of the first of its kind to launch an ambitious strategy to combat global warming.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060076159


Stephen Hawking’s final warnings urged world to halt climate change

In his last years, Hawking used his platform to warn that human activity is causing irreversible planetary damage and that we must take action to halt climate change.
https://www.ecowatch.com/stephen-hawking-climate-change-2547368270.html


Scientists just showed what building a new suburb does to the atmosphere

It’s the latest evidence highlighting the environmental consequences of suburban expansion, often accompanied by more miles driven by cars and larger free-standing homes that require more energy for heating and cooling.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/08/scientists-just-showed-what-building-new-suburbs-does-to-the-atmosphere/?utm_term=.72343026b34c


Snowy 2.0 put on development fast-track as environmental concerns rise

https://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/snowy-2-0-put-on-development-fast-track-as-environmental-concerns-rise-20180309-p4z3l4.html


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