Climate Newsletter 23 June 2018

First the bad news. The Berejiklian NSW government handed down its Budget through the week and the papers barely mentioned climate change, let alone provide extra money for it. Treasurer Perrottet did not deem it important enough to mention in his Budget speech. And the government hasn’t even spent two thirds of its $208m Climate Change Fund.

Thirty years ago today, on 23 June 1988, NSA scientist James Hansen appeared before the US Congress, warning:  “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now”. This week he said the world was failing miserably to deal with the worsening dangers, blaming those who appear to be doing something but in fact not nearly enough, notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel and California Governor Jerry Brown.

Despite the shift away from fossil fuels towards renewables, BP Review reported this week that global energy demand grew above its 10-year average in 2017 and carbon emissions increased after three years of little-to-no growth. (It would help the demand problem if world population wasn’t growing by 83 million a year.)

But there’s lots of good news – see stories below.

  • Renewables will account for 92 per cent of Australian power by 2050;
  • a poll finds the majority of Australians want to the government to concentrate on renewables;
  • The fossil fuel sector is actually weaker than ever (at least according to Bill McKibben);
  • The main reason given for poor polling, by Alexander Downer’s daughter Georgina,  in the SA seat of Mayo prior to the by-election, is her anti-climate change stance;
  • A rapid rebound of a portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may stabilise the whole ice sheet against catastrophic collapse;
  • The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) sees rooftop solar trebling in the next ten years and batteries even more so (10x); and
  • Researchers have found a way to add a compound to perovskite cells – the potential low-cost alternatives to silicon-based solar cells.

Keep the following date in mind: September 8 for’s loud and vocal call for global climate action and an end fossil fuels. New Zealand and Australia will be two of the first nations to kick off the #RiseForClimate day of action.

Renewables to account for 90pc of Australian power by 2050
A new report forecasts renewable generation will account for more than 90 per cent of Australian power by 2050 as nearly all of the nation’s coal-fired power stations close in the next 30 years, and costs for new build renewables fall compared to coal.

Huge majority supports renewables over coal even at greater cost
A new poll finds a huge majority of Australians want the government to focus on renewable energy infrastructure even if it costs them more.

Some rare good climate news: The fossil fuel industry is weaker than ever.
Bill McKibben
From Wall Street to the pope, many increasingly see fossil fuels as anything but a sure bet. That gives us reason to hope.

Downer on the rocks in Mayo Peter Fitzsimon
More interesting though is the notion that the rejection is due to Downer’s refusal to accept the science of climate change.

A quick rebound of Antarctic crust promotes ice-sheet stability
The unexpectedly rapid rebound of the Amundsen Sea Embayment  may help stabilize the West Antarctic Ice Sheet against catastrophic collapse, says a new study offering a rare silver-lining in glacier research.

AEMO sees rooftop solar trebling in 10 years, batteries rising 10-fold.
AEMO sees rooftop solar and battery storage uptake surging in WA, but grid to remain stable even as fossil fuel plants retire. EV forecasts vary

Researchers solve major challenge in mass production of low-cost solar cells.
A team led by led by André D. Taylor of NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Yifan Zheng of Peking University solved a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells — the intriguing potential challengers to silicon-based solar cells.

Meeting Paris Climate Targets Will Require a Substantial Reallocation of Global Investment
A new analysis by an international team of scientists shows that low carbon investments will need to markedly increase if the world is to achieve the …

Clean energy investment must be 50% higher to limit warming to 1.5C
An extra $460bn per year needs to be invested on the low-carbon economy globally over the next 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5C, a new paper says.

Warming Pacific ‘primed’ for possible El Nino forming by this spring
Farmers beware: a build-up of warm water in the eastern Pacific has lifted the odds for an El Nino forming late this spring, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie,
President Climate Action Monaro

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