Climate Action Monaro Newsletter 7 April 2018

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

As if it wasn’t bad enough to have a lump of coal brought into parliament a few months ago, 20 or so Parliamentarians led by Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Barnaby Joyce, Kevin Andrews and Craig Kelly, have formed the Monash Group to push for a new coal-fired power station. To his credit, Treasurer Scott Morrison (a wielder of coal in the earlier stunt), declared it was not economic and rejected the idea. The next day, the descendants of General Sir John Monash, who was a civil engineer and an Australian military commander of the First World War, complained about the group using the name Monash for their “anti-science, anti-intellectual” proposal.

Despite Morrison’s rejecting the idea of a new coal power station, the Prime Minister clearly thought a sop to the backbench was in order. He is pushing Alinta to buy the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station from AGL so that base-load power can continue after its planned closure in 2022. PM Turnbull wants  another three years or so of it so it coincides with the opening of Snowy 2.0 (pumped hydro). Fortunately, the heroic Andy Vesey of AGL is standing firm and not selling, and using it as a base to develop renewables.

Someone needs to tell the PM that base-load power is not what is required any more, rather dispatchable power is, and old power plants like Liddell do not deliver dispatchable power. And he needs to know that coal-fired power stations caused a surge in airborne mercury pollution, according to a study done in Victoria’s Latrobe valley.

David Spratt, from Climate Code Red, released a report two days ago that finds we will reach 1.5oC warming within a decade, based on a number of recent scientific papers. This of course, was the more ambitious limit of warming (as against 2oC) set by the Paris Agreement. You can read the report here.

One of the world’s leading climate activists, Bill McKibben, is coming to Australia soon. He will speak in Canberra on May 2 on accelerating climate action. He’s always worthwhile but you have to pay.

Good to see our federal MP, Mike Kelly, standing firm against a nuclear power plant for the South Coast. While nuclear power does deliver carbon-free power once built, building the plants uses a lot of energy as well as the decommissioning.  And as he says, the waste and risk issues have still not been resolved.

Meanwhile, it’s been a hot, dry start to the year. Rather than being a source of pleasure as some news readers would have us believe, for anyone who worries about climate change, it simply provokes anxiety.

 Deadheads of coal wars aren’t worthy of a giant like John Monash

Tony Wright
Would Sir John Monash, an innovator as both a military man and a civil engineer, want his name associated with propping up a creaking industry?
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/deadheads-of-coal-wars-aren-t-worthy-of-a-giant-like-john-monash-20180404-p4z7ow.html

 Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades

Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks, Australian National University
Solar photovoltaics and wind power are on track to supplant fossil-fuel-based electricity generation by the 2030s. The only thing holding back the renewable revolution is politics.
https://theconversation.com/solar-pv-and-wind-are-on-track-to-replace-all-coal-oil-and-gas-within-two-decades-94033

AGL chief determined to turn Liddell into renewables hub

Andy Vesey says plant remains an extremely valuable piece of AGL’s portfolio until its closure
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/06/agl-chief-determined-to-turn-liddell-into-renewables-hub

Coal hypocrisy all round

Ben Oquist
It is hard to know what is worse – the hypocrisy of an energy company claiming to be green yet trying to prevent coal stations closing, or a Federal Government that preaches the need for reliability and business confidence as it drives investor uncertainty to new heights. But that’s energy policy in Australia today.
https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/coal-hypocrisy-all-round-20180406-p4z861.html

Antarctica retreating across the sea floor

Antarctica’s great ice sheet is losing ground as it is eroded by warm ocean water circulating beneath its floating edge, a new study has found. Scientists have tracked the movement of Antarctica’s grounding line using European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 across 16,000 km of the coastline.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/uol-ara032918.php

The Guardian view on Antarctica: The worrying retreat of the ice

Guardian editorial
The only thing more frightening than an advancing glacier may be one that is shrinking and raising sea levels round the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/05/the-guardian-view-on-antarctica-the-worrying-retreat-of-the-ice

Australian rooftop solar boom rolls on – 351MW in first quarter

Rooftop solar installation boom continues in March, and total for first quarter is more than one third more than the previous record as households and …
https://reneweconomy.com.au/australian-rooftop-solar-boom-rolls-on-351mw-in-first-quarter-26595/

Coalition still kidding itself about price of coal generation

Giles Parkinson
Scott Morrison is right to dismiss new coal generation as uneconomic, but his estimates of existing coal costs is half what NSW back coal generators charged for off-peak baseload this past winter. It is time the Coalition stopped kidding itself.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/coalition-still-kidding-itself-about-price-of-coal-generation-24853/

Portugal generated 100% of its energy from renewable sources in March

It aims to run only on renewable energy year-round by 2040.
https://qz.com/1245048/portugal-generated-enough-renewable-energy-to-power-the-whole-country-in-march/

 Hot, dry start to 2018

Hot dry start set to continue for Sydney, much of NSW
The state – and Australia as a whole – is off to one of its warmest starts to any year.

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/hot-dry-start-to-2018-set-to-continue-for-sydney-much-of-nsw-20180403-p4z7k6.html

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