Climate Newsletter 9 June 2018

In South Australia, steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has unveiled a stunning plan to provide cheap solar power to five major South Australian companies, promising to slash their electricity costs by up to 50 percent.

Just as we’re beginning to think there’s little hope in the federal government, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledges the climate is getting warmer. And Agriculture Minister David Littleproud also comes out of the side of rationality. He says the climate is changing and the “disruption that’s happening with the technology, moving towards renewable energy… is exciting. I think it is a good thing.” He also says we must use ‘the best science available’. Hurray.

Poor old Western Australia is having a hard time this week, being battered by storms. And then prescribed burning fires got out of control because of strong winds, particularly near Albany.

It’s good news from Queensland with a massive wind-farm being approved north west of Rockhampton. In addition, a massive solar farm on 154 hectares will be built near Warwick on the Darling Downs to provide all of the University of Queensland’s electricity needs, though there have been protests because the Darling Downs is, of course, prime agricultural land.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) finds that there was mass coral bleaching in successive years in the northern Great Barrier Reef which is unprecedented in the historical record. This will, of course, have dire effects on the tourist industry.

There were assertions through the week at the Energy Networks Australia conference that too much solar in the system was going to cause blackouts because of frequency problems. As Giles Parkinson of ReNew Economy, however, points out, the new inverters will deal with all the problems of frequency and thus blackouts will be rare.

A new study published in Nature Climate Change this week warns that the transition to renewables is so rapid that fossil fuel companies could be left with trillions of dollars in stranded assets and spark a global financial crisis.

The Renewables 2018 Global Status Report released this week finds that the transformation to renewables is picking up speed in the electricity sector, but urgent action is required in heating, cooling and transport.

Tesla owners roll out Australia-wide charging network – for all EVs
Tesla owners club installs Round Australia Electric Highway, providing all EV drivers with usable charging route – while governments and industry catch up.

Why you may only need to charge your EV once a week, or less
Range anxiety? Most EVs would need to be charged less than once a week to meet the average daily commute of Australian drivers.

A bird’s eye view of New Zealand’s changing glaciers
Andrew Lorrey, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research; Andrew Mackintosh, Victoria University of Wellington, and, Victoria University of Wellington
Forty years of continuous end-of-summer snowline monitoring of New Zealand’s glaciers brings the issue of human-induced climate change into tight focus.

National party comments on drought and climate ‘a disservice’ to farmers
The majority of farmers and National party voters say they are ‘increasingly frustrated’ at the lack of action on climate change at a federal level

Record year for solar and renewables, but still not fast enough
REN21 report says record 98GW of solar capacity added globally in 2018, 52GW of wind, and 178GW total of all renewables. But other sectors – including transport, heating, and cooling – coasting along “as if we had all the time in the world.”

If we all became vegan tomorrow
Chris Saltmarsh and Harpreet Kaur Paul
The Guardian repeats the myth that becoming vegan is the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.

What is the carbon bubble and what will happen if it bursts?
As the world moves towards a low-carbon economy, fossil fuel investments worth trillions of dollars, from oil wells to cars, will lose their value

Geoengineering: ‘The Voldemort of climate change’
Geoengineering solutions to climate change sound like magic, but a leading proponent says most people working on climate change dare not speak its name.

Limiting global warming to 2 degrees now ‘aspirational’: scientists
The chances of limiting dangerous climate change to less than 2 degrees are rapidly disappearing as carbon emissions again ramp up in China, scientists say.

(on the other hand…)

Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by changing how we travel, heat homes, use devices
Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by unprecedented improvements in the energy efficiency of everyday activities, according to new research from an international team of scientists at IIASA.

Newsletter from Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro

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