Saturday 31 August 2019

Video - Kalang: protecting this NSW forest

Conservation of our existing forests is essential to combat climate catastrophe. Whether the tree is in The Amazon or in NSW it is essential as carbon storage.

This short documentary depicts the beauty and unique ecosystem of the Kalang area and the forests of north-eastern New South Wales, while exposing the unsustainability of past and future logging operations and the destruction of endangered wildlife habitats.

What can you do to help protect this amazing biodiverse region and its inhabitants? - Support the proposed Great Koala National Park: - Sign the petition to protect this ancient native forest and its headwaters from logging on

- Spread the word and share this video !


Leaked IPCC report warns of the future of oceans in climate change: Global Landscapes Forum

Climate change: Big lifestyle changes 'needed to cut emissions': BBC

"People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government's chief environment scientist has warned.

Prof Sir Ian Boyd said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from the so-called Net Zero emissions target.

However, he said technology would help.

The conundrum facing the UK - and elsewhere - was how we shift ourselves away from consuming, he added.

In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian warned that persuasive political leadership was needed to carry the public through the challenge.

Asked whether Boris Johnson would deliver that leadership, he declined to comment.

Mr Johnson has already been accused by environmentalists of talking up electric cars whilst reputedly planning a cut in driving taxes that would increase emissions and undermine the electric car market."

Read the BBC article 

Related: Death, blackouts, melting asphalt: ways the climate crisis will change how we live : The Guardian

Great Barrier Reef outlook now 'very poor', Australian government review says: The Guardian

Five-yearly report says climate change is escalating the threat and window of opportunity for action is now.
"The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has deteriorated from poor to very poor according to an exhaustive government report that warns the window of opportunity to improve the natural wonder’s future “is now”.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s outlook report, published every five years, finds coral reefs have declined to a very poor condition and there is widespread habitat loss and degradation affecting fish, turtles and seabirds.

It warns the plight of the reef will not improve unless there is urgent national and global action to address the climate crisis, which it described as its greatest threat."

Read the complete The Guardian story

Related: Amazon rainforest fire: Five things you need to know: ABC

Monday 26 August 2019

Why does the Amazon matter?: Al Jazeera

"The Amazon is the largest tropical forest in the world, covering more than five million square kilometres across nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

The Amazon Rainforest - Map
It acts as an enormous carbon sink, storing up to an estimated 100 years worth of carbon emissions produced by humans, and is seen as vital to slowing the pace of global warming.

"The Amazon is the most significant climate stabiliser we have, it creates 20 percent of the air we breathe and it also holds 20 percent of the fresh flowing water on the planet," Poirier said."

Read the Al Jazeera story 


Amazon rainforest fire: Five things you need to know: ABC

Sunday 25 August 2019

Amazon rainforest fire: Five things you need to know: ABC

"Record fires are raging in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, with more than 2,500 fires currently burning.

They are collectively emitting huge amounts of carbon, with smoke plumes visible thousands of kilometres away.

Fires in Brazil increased by 85 percent in 2019, with more than half in the Amazon region, according to Brazil's space agency.

This sudden increase is likely down to land degradation: land clearing and farming reduces the availability of water, warms the soil and intensifies drought, combining to make fires more frequent and more fierce."

Read the complete ABC article 


New climate change report underscores the need to manage land for the short and long term: SciFiGeneration

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Death, blackouts, melting asphalt: ways the climate crisis will change how we live : The Guardian

"From power cuts to infrastructure failure, the impact of climate change on US cities will be huge – but many are already innovating to adapt."

"Deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 658 people die every year from heat-related causes. From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States and occurred more commonly among older, younger and poorer populations. Urban heat islands retain heat overnight, preventing people from sleeping well and leading to even more health problems, says Lucy Hutyra, an associate professor of earth and environment at Boston University. Air pollution is often worst on hot days, and when people leave windows open for air flow, the quality of the air can cause respiratory problems. Warmer, moister conditions also mean that heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding is on the rise; so far this year 78 people have died as a result, according to the National Weather Service."

"Economic Impact. According to a 2018 study by Texas A&M University: “The growing number of extreme rainfall events that produce intense precipitation are resulting in –and will continue to result in – increased urban flooding unless steps are taken to mitigate their impacts.” The 2017 National Climate Assessment concluded: “Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades …[and that] … increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions.” Between 2007 and 2011 alone, urban flooding in Cook County, Illinois, resulted in over 176,000 claims or flood losses at a cost of $660m (£545m)."

Read complete The Guardian story


Australia coal use is 'existential threat' to Pacific islands, says Fiji PM

Tuesday 20 August 2019

New climate change report underscores the need to manage land for the short and long term: SciFiGeneration

In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes how agriculture, deforestation, and other human activities have altered 70% of the land on Earth’s surface. 

These changes are significantly adding to climate-warming emissions. They are also making forests and other natural systems, which can store key greenhouse gases, less able to do so.
Many calls to limit emissions focus on those from energy and transportation. But as the IPCC report points out, agriculture and land use are also major greenhouse gas sources. In the past decade, land use was responsible for 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 35% for energy and 14% for transportation.

For the past 20 years, I have been working to understand how severe climate change will be in the coming century. Scientists know that Earth’s climate responds to both changes in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and changes in land use. This report makes clear that solving the climate crisis will require serious choices about how humans interact with the land systems that provide our societies with food, water and shelter.

The story is not all doom and gloom. There are strategies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use, food production and agriculture, and also generate economic and social benefits. Acting on these recommendations would be a big step toward addressing climate change in a meaningful way. 

Read the complete SciFiGeneration article

Sunday 18 August 2019

We Ignore Thousands of Threatened Plant Species at Our Own Peril : EcoWatch

This Hawaiian species threatened with extinction
"Yet, a lot of Earth's flora is at risk of vanishing completely. More than 20 percent of the world's known plant species, or one in five, are threatened with extinction, a 2016 study by experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London found.

Gordon, who was not involved in the study, said that unless we take dramatic action, that figure is "unlikely to improve" due to the continued stresses that all of the world's species, including humans, are facing.

Some of the biggest threats identified in the Kew study include agricultural destruction (such as livestock farming and palm oil production); biological resource use (logging, gathering terrestrial plants); residential and commercial development; and invasive and problematic species. Climate change is also a growing threat."

Read the complete article 


Want to beat climate change? Protect our natural forests: The Conversation

Clean Energy Produces Billions in Health Benefits, Study Finds : EcoWatch

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge

In fact, 10 states across the Midwest could see massive savings. Ohio stands to gain $4.7 billion in health benefits by 2030 if they stick with their current renewable energy standards. The research shows that as states make their demands for renewalble energy more stringent, the health benefits and cost savings increase. 

Read the article in EcoWatch

See also:

Australia's PM Scott Morrison blasted by Pacific heat: The Guardian

Saturday 17 August 2019

Climate Action Rally in Bellingen August 17, 2019

Australia's PM Scott Morrison blasted by Pacific heat: The Guardian

Scott Morrison blasted by Pacific heat while trying to project calm on climate

Things are not under control when it comes to Australia meeting our Paris target, even if Scott Morrison wants us to believe that. 

We’ll get to climate, and the rumble in the Pacific, but I want to begin closer to home. It’s been a busy news week, so you might have missed an excellent story from my colleague Adam Morton on Tuesday revealing that a coalmine in Queensland has nearly doubled its greenhouse gas emissions in two years without penalty under a Morrison government mechanism that is supposed to impose limits on industrial pollution.

According to documents released under freedom of information laws, mining company Anglo American was given the green light under the safeguards mechanism to increase its emissions by about 1m tonnes at its Moranbah North mine, in central Queensland. The case study matters, because it helps us separate spin from substance.

Read the excellent The Guardian article

Denmark sees resolution soon to EU rift on 2050 climate goal: Reuters

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The new energy and climate minister of Denmark, a frontrunner in fighting climate change, said on Friday he was confident fellow EU countries would soon agree to go carbon-neutral by 2050 despite resistance in the east of the bloc.

A push by most European Union nations for the world’s biggest economic bloc to go carbon-neutral by 2050 was dropped to a footnote in June after fierce resistance from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary who fear it would hurt economies like theirs dependent on nuclear power and coal. 

“I think it will happen in the near future,” energy and climate minister Dan Jorgensen said, referring to an EU-wide commitment to achieving a balance between carbon emitted and removed from the atmosphere within the next three decades. 

Read the complete Reuters article

Australia coal use is 'existential threat' to Pacific islands, says Fiji PM

The prime minister of Fiji has warned Australia to reduce its coal emissions and do more to combat climate change as regional leaders prepare to gather in Tuvalu ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum this week.

Speaking in Tuvalu at a climate change conference ahead of the forum on Monday, Frank Bainimarama appealed directly to Australia to transition away from coal-powered energy and asked its government “to more fully appreciate” the “existential threat” facing Pacific nations.

Read the complete article in The Guardian 

Related: Forests, logging and climate change: IA

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Forests, logging and climate change: IA

Logging has a serious effect on climate change, writes Frances Pike.

THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL for Climate Change (IPCC) recommends that "natural solutions" are employed to deal with climate change emergency. The immediate protection and restoration of natural systems for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) are preferred to geo-engineering and B.E.C.C.S — burning biomass as a fossil fuel substitute while using some sort of carbon capture and storage.

It is clear that the resilience of natural systems must be enhanced to withstand climate change impact, lest they falter and collapse, inhibiting their capacity for CDR.

The fairytale that burning wood instead of coal is carbon neutral continues to wreak havoc on the world’s extant forests. But that fairytale could soon end, taking with it the myth that the industrial logging of the world’s native forests has been and is now "sustainable".

For a long time, the falsity of carbon emission accounting for forest bioenergy has been apparently invisible to many policymakers. A Weekend Australian commentator said, in relation to UK power station Drax which has converted to wood: “The CO2 it emitted as a coal station was causing climate change; the increased CO2 now emitted from burning wood is defined by the EC bureaucrats as not existing”.

Read the complete article 

Related: Want to beat climate change? Protect our natural forests: The Conversation

Sunday 11 August 2019

Can Earth be saved? Climate change is threatening the world's food supply, according to a UN panel.: Al Jazeera

Report after report have been warning about the dangers of climate change - and that it is happening right now.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put the minds of more than 100 scientists together.

What they are saying is alarming: Not only are rising temperatures threatening the planet, but so are the world's eating habits.

The way food is farmed is drastically degrading the Earth's land, and scientists predict that is making global warming worse and will lead to food shortages.

So, how will governments respond to this warning?

Presenter: Mohamed Jamjoom

Simon Lewis - Professor of global change science at University College London
Patrick Holden - CEO of Sustainable Food Trust
Jan Kowalzig - Senior climate policy adviser at Oxfam Germany

DESMOG Newsletter

Message From the Editor
This week was all about the Kochs.
Drawing from a major new archive on the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers, Sharon Kelly explains how its documents help illuminate the origin story for Charles and David Kochs' powerful network of influence.
DeSmog also launched a new research tool, the Koch Network Database, to profile the dozens of organizations and individuals linked to Charles Koch or other members of the Koch family, Koch Industries, and related entities.
The Koch political network includes a wide range of groups working to spread the Kochs’ free market vision on a range of civic issues, which includes fighting against regulations on carbon emissions and denying the existence or seriousness of man-made climate change.
Now, you can find this network’s members and activities, all in one place. We have around 50 profiles to start and many more to come. Please let us know if you have any information or documents to contribute.
Have a story tip or feedback? Get in touch:
Brendan DeMelle
Executive Director

Saturday 10 August 2019

We can’t keep eating as we are – why isn’t the IPCC shouting this from the rooftops? The Guardian

by George Monbiot
"It’s a tragic missed opportunity. The new report on land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shies away from the big issues and fails to properly represent the science. As a result, it gives us few clues about how we might survive the century. Has it been nobbled? Was the fear of taking on the farming industry – alongside the oil and coal companies whose paid shills have attacked it so fiercely – too much to bear? At the moment, I have no idea. But what the panel has produced is pathetic. 

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Want to beat climate change? Protect our natural forests: The Conversation

Tomorrow a special report on how land use affects climate change will be released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Land degradation, deforestation, and the expansion of our deserts, along with agriculture and the other ways people shape land, are all major contributors to global climate change.

Conversely, trees remove carbon dioxide and store it safely in their trunks, roots and branches. 

Research published in July estimated that planting a trillion trees could be a powerful tool against climate change.

Read more: Our cities need more trees, but some commonly planted ones won't survive climate change

However, planting new trees as a climate action pales in comparison to protecting existing forests. Restoring degraded forests and expanding them by 350 million hectares will store a comparable amount of carbon as 900 million hectares of new trees.

Natural climate solutions

Using ecological mechanisms for reducing and storing carbon is a growing field of study. Broadly known as “natural climate solutions”, carbon can be stored in wetlands, grasslands, natural forests and agriculture. 

This is called “sequestration”, and the more diverse and longer-lived the ecosystem, the more it helps mitigate the effect of climate change.
Allowing trees to regenerate naturally is a more effective, immediate and low-cost method of removing and storing atmospheric carbon than planting new trees. Shutterstock
Research has estimated these natural carbon sinks can provide 37% of the CO₂ reduction needed to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2℃.
But this research can be wrongly interpreted to imply that the priority is to plant young trees. In fact, the major climate solution is the protection and recovery of carbon-rich and long-lived ecosystems, especially natural forests.

Read more: Extreme weather caused by climate change has damaged 45% of Australia's coastal habitat

With the imminent release of the new IPCC report, now is a good time to prioritise the protection and recovery of existing ecosystems over planting trees.
Forest ecosystems (including the soil) store more carbon than the atmosphere. Their loss would trigger emissions that would exceed the remaining carbon budget for limiting global warming to less than the 2℃ above pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5℃, threshold.

Read more: 40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And hey, they were right

Natural forest systems, with their rich and complex biodiversity, the product of ecological and evolutionary processes, are stable, resilient, far better at adapting to changing conditions and store more carbon than young, degraded or plantation forests.

Protect existing trees

Forest degradation is caused by selective logging, temporary clearing, and other human land use. In some areas, emissions from degradation can exceed those of deforestation. Once damaged, natural ecosystems are more vulnerable to drought, fires and climate change.
Recently published research found helping natural forest regrow can have a globally significant effect on carbon dioxide levels. This approach – called proforestation – is a more effective, immediate and low-cost method for removing and storing atmospheric carbon in the long-term than tree planting. And it can be used across many different kinds of forests around the world.

Avoiding further loss and degradation of primary forests and intact forest landscapes, and allowing degraded forests to naturally regrow, would reduce global carbon emissions. Shutterstock
Avoiding further loss and degradation of primary forests and intact forest landscapes, and allowing degraded forests to naturally regrow, would reduce global carbon emissions annually by about 1 gigatonnes (Gt), and reduce another 2-4 Gt of carbon emissions just through natural regrowth.

Read more: Not everyone cares about climate change, but reproach won't change their minds

Research has predicted that protecting primary forests while allowing degraded forests to recover, along with limited expansion of natural forests, would remove 153 billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere between now and 2150.
Every country with forests can contribute to this effort. In fact, research shows that community land management is the best way to improve natural forests and help trees recover from degradation.

Read The Conversation article

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Why We Need To Change The Way We Talk About Climate Change: Medium

The way we currently communicate climate change — be it through articles in the newspaper, conversations with friends, or billboard adverts — is fundamentally flawed.

Most discussions of climate change are framed negatively. Take the below screenshot from The Guardian’s climate change section for instance (as of 17 Dec 2018). We have climate change ruining dreams of a white Christmas, the message that the next two years will determine humanity’s fate, corrupted businesses, activists not doing enough protesting, and the end of blackcurrants. It’s no wonder most people fail to engage with the narrative around climate change: it’s simply all gloom and doom.


Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash 'could pay for green transition' : The Guardian

Sunday 4 August 2019

One climate change scientist takes on a roomful of sceptics.: SBS

Published on Jun 1, 2011
Can one climate change scientist change the minds of a roomful of climate change sceptics? Insight: Tuesdays at 8:30pm on SBS ONE

Fleeing climate change - the real environmental disaster | DW Documentary

DW Documentary

Published on May 2, 2019

How many millions of people will be forced to leave their homes by 2050? This documentary looks at the so-called hotspots of climate change in the Sahel zone, Indonesia and the Russian Tundra. Lake Chad in the Sahel zone has already shrunk by 90 percent since the 1960s due to the increasing heat. About 40 million people will be forced to migrate to places where there is enough rainfall. Migration has always existed as a strategy to adapt to a changing environment. But the number of those forced to migrate solely because of climate change has increased dramatically since the 1990s. It is a double injustice: after becoming rich at the expense of the rest of the world, the industrialized countries are now polluting the atmosphere with their emissions and bringing a second misfortune to the inhabitants of the poorer regions. One of them is Mohammed Ibrahim: as Lake Chad got hotter and drier, he decided to go where the temperatures were less extreme and there was still a little water, trekking with his wife, children and 70 camels from Niger to Chad and then further south. The journey lasted several years and many members of his herd died of thirst. Now he and his family are living in a refugee camp: they only have seven camels left. Mohammed is one of many who have left their homelands in the Sahel - not because of conflict and crises, but because of the high temperatures. He's a real climate refugee.

Video / Climate Scientist Jason Box: “Our Economic System Is Crashing With Reality”: Democracy Now

Published on Aug 2, 2019
A heat wave is causing unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization just declared July 2019 the hottest month ever recorded. We speak with Jason Box, professor and ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, about the intensifying climate crisis. 

He says humanity must move toward living in balance with the environment. “If we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately stabilize CO2 … there’s no real prospect for a stable society or even a governable society,” Box says. “Perpetual growth on a finite planet is, by definition, impossible.”


Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere :The Conversation

As temperatures soar, a ‘heat dome’ is coming to the Arctic: You Tube

After Europe experienced record-breaking temperatures this month, climate scientists are now concerned that a heat wave will settle farther north. This week, a so-called “heat dome” is expected to strike over the Arctic, causing worries about potential ice melt and rising sea levels. Washington Post reporter Andrew Freedman joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the causes and consequences.

PBS News July 28, 2019

 Related: 'People are dying': how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the US : The Guardian

Saturday 3 August 2019

Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash 'could pay for green transition' : The Guardian

"Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution, according to a new report, significantly cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said."

Link to The Guardian article 


Coalition's emissions reduction fund labelled 'a joke' after first post-election auction

Related: Can planting trees save our climate?