Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In climate fight, carbon removal is still a risky path

Assuming that the deployment of carbon removal technology will outpace emissions and conquer global climate change is a poor substitute for taking action now, say researchers.

With the current pace of renewable energy deployment and emissions reductions efforts, the world is unlikely to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This trend puts in doubt efforts to keep climate change damages from sea level rise, heat waves, drought, and flooding in check. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, also known as “negative emissions,” has been thought of as a potential method of fighting climate change.

In their new perspective published in the journal Science, however, researchers from Stanford University explain the risks of assuming carbon removal technologies can be deployed at a massive scale relatively quickly with low costs and limited side effects—with the future of the planet at stake.

Read the post by Devon Ryan on Futurity - “In climate fight, carbon removal is still a risky path.”

NATO encouraged to address climate risks to its mission in new report

Washington, D.C., May 22 2017 — In a new report, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, applauds NATO’s attention to climate change while offering recommendations for how the Alliance can more thoroughly address climate-related risks to the NATO mission. 
 MEETING, FEB. 15, 2017. 
The report, titled The Alliance in a Changing Climate: Bolstering the NATO Mission Through Climate Preparedness arrives ahead of the North Atlantic Council meeting on May 24th-25th.

Read the Center for Climate and Security story “NATO encouraged to address climate risks to its mission in new report.”

Labor senator breaks ranks and says Adani coalmine would be a 'huge mistake’

The federal Labor senator Lisa Singh has said the Adani coalmine would be “a huge mistake for this country” in a departure from the official Labor position. The opposition maintains the controversial project can proceed on its merits, but without any government support.
 Labor senator Lisa Singh (centre) with Tasmanian
independent senator Jacqui Lambie. Singh has said
 the proposed Carmichael coalmine has no merit.
Singh, a left-leaning Tasmanian senator, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday the coal project had absolutely no merit.

“If we are going to be serious about climate change, we should not be starting any new coalmines in this country,” she said. “I understand the need for jobs in the regions, but those jobs need to be long-term sustainable jobs.

Read Katherine Murphy’s story on The Guardian - “Labor senator breaks ranks and says Adani coalmine would be a 'huge mistake’.”

Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut

So what are we going to do about it? This is the only question worth asking. But the answers appear elusive. Faced with a multifaceted crisis – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do.
 ‘Billions of people still live in the hole in the middle’:
a street boy collects stones in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 
The most they tend to offer is more economic growth: the fairy dust supposed to make all the bad stuff disappear. Never mind that it drives ecological destruction; that it has failed to relieve structural unemployment or soaring inequality; that, in some recent years, almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that’s left.

Read the story by George Monbiot on The Guardian - “Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut.”

War on Waste: Do you know how many times you need to use your green bags?

Which type of bag should you use to take your groceries home if you're trying to have as little an impact as possible on the environment?
Plastic bags are banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and NT.
The answer might seem obvious: a robust and durable bag that can be re-used over and over again.
"If you're able to do that over a long time frame, then you're going to have an environmental advantage," said Associate Professor Karli Verghese from the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT.

But the key words there are "long time frame". Because you might be surprised by the number of times you have to use these bags before they become more environmentally friendly.

Read Michael Collett’s story on ABC News - “War on Waste: Do you know how many times you need to use your green bags?

A Momentous Month for Tackling Climate Change

It has been a remarkable month for global resolve on tackling climate change.

The most conspicuous indicator has been the crescendo of corporate CEOs and global investors calling on President Donald Trump to support the Paris Climate Agreement. Dozens of iconic CEOs from Dow Chemical Company, General Electric, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America took out full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal urging strong support for keeping the U.S. in the Paris Agreement.

Just days before, more than 200 global investors, collectively managing $15 trillion in assets, sent a letter to the President and other G20 world leaders calling for the same action.
The growing number of high-profile voices is remarkable and heartening, to be sure, and we hope the President is listening.

Read Mindy Lubber’s story on Greentech -  “A Momentous Month for Tackling Climate Change.”

Snowy Hydro expansion could cost double initial $2 billion estimate

The bill for the Snowy Hydro expansion could be twice the initial estimate,  while the project's delivery time frame has been increased by two years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's pet project to
 expand the Snowy Hydro scheme is going to cost
more and take longer than expected.
Executives from Snowy Hydro Limited have estimated that an essential upgrade of power transmission lines from the mountains into Sydney and Melbourne will cost up to $2 billion, effectively doubling the cost of the total project.

When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the "supercharged" pumped-hydro scheme in March, he estimated it would take four years to dig 27 kilometres of tunnels and sink a turbine a kilometre below ground to make the project ready to plug in to the National Energy Market.

Read Heath Aston’s story in today’s Melbourne Age - “Snowy Hydro expansion could cost double initial $2 billion estimate.”