Climate Newsletter 5 May 2018

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

There have been a lot of good things happening this week on the climate front (if you ignore the worsening climate itself!)

On Thursday, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators  (AMPTO) issued a declaration on climate change demanding strong climate policies to protect the future of the Reef. It was signed jointly with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

Not long before, of course, the federal government threw half a billion dollars at the Reef but not in the area that would do most to save the Reef, namely, climate mitigation.

Meanwhile, the Queensland government passed its strong tree-clearing legislation after a three-day gruelling debate. This has huge implications for climate change, of course, because forests are a major sink for carbon dioxide. The Wilderness Society expects the new laws will reduce emissions substantially, ‘possibly akin to shutting down one or two big dirty Hazelwood type coal plants’. It was particularly commendable because it was even stronger than the legislation that was voted down by one vote not long ago.

Also on Thursday in Melbourne, the Repower Australia campaign was launched. Here’s a video from Environment Victoria about it. As part of the national campaign, there is Repower NSW organised by the Nature Conservation Council. (Don’t forget the conference we are co-organising with NCC on May 26-27).

During the week, Climate Action Monaro signed onto the national statement of concern against burning forests for energy, initiated by the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA). You can find the fact sheet attached.

Rio Tinto has decided to get out of coal in NSW, for the first time citing climate change as the reason. Its not the only business who cares, however, with the Carbon Markets Institute conference this week addressing ways in which businesses could reduce emissions.

Two notable visitors have been in Australia this week. First was climate activist Bill McKibben who addressed a good crowd in Canberra on Wednesday (though the star of the night was Bega councillor Jo Dodds of Tathra who spoke passionately about the links between the recent fires there and climate change). Second was French president Emmanuel Macron who called on Australia to lift its game when it comes to climate change.

President Macron was in Sydney to witness Sanjeev Gupta signing an MOU with French renewable energy developer Neoen to buy power from the soon-to-be built 100MW Numurkah solar farm in northern Victoria, for Gupta’s steel works in Victoria. Malcolm Turnbull was also there, and as ReNew Economy writes below, we hope the lesson about using renewables to reduce costs for Australian manufacturing was not lost on the PM.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported on Tuesday that Australia had its second-warmest April on record, with a monthly mean temperature 2.38 °C above average. It was also the eighth driest April on record.

SA faces “big step backwards” on renewable energy
A visiting American climate campaigner and prominent environmental journalist says South Australia would be making a “big mistake” if it were to remove its renewable energy target.

Pilbara renewables hub adds 3GW wind and solar to $20bn plan
Plans for huge renewable energy hub in Pilbara expanded to 9GW of wind and solar, producing as much as planned by Australia’s renewable energy target. Hydrogen storage has also been added to the $20 billion project menu.

Commercial solar hots up in WA, as business wakes up to savings
Perdaman Group says WA commercial PV market is booming, as businesses seek to cut their exposure to grid electricity costs.

Germany reaches 100% renewables for a few hours, 42% so far this year
Giles Parkinson Germany reached 100% renewables for a few hours on Sunday and has averaged 42% for the year – well ahead of its 2020 target.

Sapphire wind farm turns on for ACT’s 100% renewables target
Sapphire wind farms turns on 100MW of capacity to help meet ACT 100% renewables target, with more wind and solar to come.

Gupta signs up solar farm to power Victoria steelworks
Sanjeev Gupta signs contract with Neoen to use new solar farm to power Laverton steel mill in Victoria and slash costs. Turnbull and Macron were on hand to witness signing, and the promise of a cheaper energy future via renewables.

Global warming of 1.5°C or 2°C: The lower limit would reduce flood hazards
A research group led by Goethe University Frankfurt has simulated the scenarios of limiting global warming to 2°C versus 1.5°C with global hydrological models. An important result: High flows and flood hazards will increase significantly over an average of 21 percent of global land area if the temperature rises by 2°C. But if the rise in global warming is limited to 1.5°C only 11 percent of global land area would be affected.

Macron calls on Turnbull to show ‘power of conviction’ in climate change fight
French President Emmanuel Macron issues a challenge to Australia to lift its game when it comes to tackling climate change, citing concerns about the future of Pacific nations.

Powering on: Five ways businesses can cut their electricity bills
Electricity price shocks are the main concern for Australian businesses, but energy analysts say there are five ways companies can drive down power costs.

Our position on climate change is unconscionable for a wealthy country
David Shearman
For most of us climate change is of much less concern than the cost of living, taxes, schools and health services. It’s not good enough

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