Climate Newsletter 21 May 2018

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie,
President Climate Action Monaro

Some good news this week. The Climate Council reports that almost half Australian companies switching to renewables. The ACT government has brought forward the deadline for zero net emissions to 2045 (from 2060 initially). At the same time, the European Union (EU) has made its deadline for reaching zero net emissions to 2050. And one of the largest engineering firms in the world, AECOM, is no longer working on the Adani rail line which hopefully will be a deadly blow to the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

Not sure it’s good news but a Senate Inquiry told Parliament this week that climate change represents a current and existential risk. We can but hope that the Monash Forum of climate deniers (Abbott, Abetz, Andrews et al) will take note.

On the bad news front, we knew emissions were up in Australia for the third year in a row, but now we find it could be an underestimation.  Also, sadly, 21 new acreages in Great Australian Bight have opened up for oil and gas exploration plus 13,000 sq km in Victorian coastal waters for gas. And depressingly, we have passed a new milestone. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that we have had 400 consecutive months of above average temperatures globally. December 1984 was the last time the world had below average temperatures.

The prospect of losing biodiversity (notably insects, see below) under climate change really is bad news but the good news is that if we can limit warming to 1.5 rather than 2 degrees, we will lose less than otherwise.

The ever-excellent Climate Institute is putting on another lecture: The Green Climate Fund, climate finance and the imperatives and pathways for global transformation on May 29 at the Crawford Building in ANU. The speaker is Howard Bamsey who now heads the Green Climate Fund, set up by the UN to support developing countries drive a paradigm-shift towards low-emissions and climate resilience. You can register here.

Glaring inconsistency: National emissions jump may be underestimated
Australia’s greenhouse gases rose for a third consecutive year in 2017, led by emissions from the gas and transport sectors, according to federal government data. Environmental groups, however, say the true emissions figure may be under – estimated because large-scale land clearing – particularly in Queensland and lately in NSW – is not being accurately represented.

Climate change an ‘existential security risk’ to Australia, Senate inquiry says
Climate threat is not a possible future threat.  It is endangering Australia now, parliament told

ACT brings forward zero emissions target to 2045
ACT government brings forward its zero emissions target to 2045, turning its focus to transport and gas, and laying down the gauntlet for other states and the federal government to follow.

Climate change: The EU’s aiming to set a goal of zero-emissions by 2050
Reaching zero emissions is crucial if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. The EU could show other countries how to get there.

Engineering Firm’s Withdrawal From Adani Coal Project Should Be ‘Final Nail In The Coffin’, Says Greenpeace
One of the world’s largest engineering firms – and a key partner in Indian company Adani’s push to open up the Galilee basin in Queensland…

Almost half of Australian big business moving to renewables
Climate Council says capacity of firms to generate solar power has doubled in less than two years

More of the Great Australian Bight opened to oil and gas
Government releases new acreages for offshore exploration as protesters oppose drilling

The earth has had warmer-than-average temperatures for 400 straight months now

For 400 consecutive months — that’s more than 33 years — the earth’s temperature has been above average, and climatologists aren’t mincing words as to why.

Global 2 degrees C rise doubles population exposed to multiple climate risks compared to 1.5 degrees C

New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2 degrees C, compared to a rise of 1.5 degrees C.

Climate change on track to cause major insect wipeout, scientists warn
Insects are vital to ecosystems but will lose almost half their habitat under current climate projections

Limiting warming to 1.5 degree C would save majority of global species from climate change
New research finds that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C would save the majority of the world’s plant and animal species from climate change. Species across the globe would benefit — particularly those in Southern Africa, the Amazon, Europe and Australia. Examples of animals to benefit include the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Reducing the risk to insects is important because they are vital for ‘ecosystem services’ such as pollinating crops and being part of the food chain.

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