Saturday 31 October 2020

NSW urges climate action as bushfire royal commission's recommendations tabled (excerpt): ABC News

Pics from this blog

"A former New South Wales fire chief is among those calling on the Federal Government to take urgent action on climate change as the Black Summer royal commission's findings hit Parliament.

Eighty recommendations feature in the report, which acknowledges the evidence that climate change will continue to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

Former top firefighter Greg Mullins is leading calls for the Government to act on the recommendations.

"We need the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to immediately endorse all 80 recommendations, to commit to fund them no matter who is in government, and to take urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions," he said."


"Key recommendations:

Go to ABC story

 Related: 1 year on since Australia's biggest bushfire: Climate Council

Tuesday 27 October 2020

1 year on since Australia's biggest bushfire: Climate Council

Exactly 12 months ago today, the huge Gospers Mountain Fire started from a lightning strike north-west of Sydney. The fire burned for almost 80 days, and became the biggest forest fire in Australia's recorded history. 
One year on, the fire has left a heart-wrenching scar on both the landscape and the communities it tore through. This is what climate change looks like. 
In just a few days, the Royal Commission will hand down its findings into the 2019-20 bushfire season, and it's imperative that it clearly acknowledges the role of climate change in fuelling the 2019-20 bushfires.




Polling Shows Growing Climate Concern Among Americans. But Outsized Influence of Deniers Remains a Roadblock (excerpt): DeSmog




Sunday 25 October 2020

The Arctic is in a death spiral. How much longer will it exist? (excerpt): The Guardian

 "The region is unravelling faster than anyone could once have predicted. But there may still be time to act."

At the end of July, 40% of the 4,000-year-old Milne Ice Shelf, located on the north-western edge of Ellesmere Island, calved into the sea. Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf was no more.

On the other side of the island, the most northerly in Canada, the St Patrick’s Bay ice caps completely disappeared.

Two weeks later, scientists concluded that the Greenland Ice Sheet may have already passed the point of no return. Annual snowfall is no longer enough to replenish the snow and ice loss during summer melting of the territory’s 234 glaciers. Last year, the ice sheet lost a record amount of ice, equivalent to 1 million metric tons every minute.

The Arctic is unravelling. And it’s happening faster than anyone could have imagined just a few decades ago. Northern Siberia and the Canadian Arctic are now warming three times faster than the rest of the world. In the past decade, Arctic temperatures have increased by nearly 1C. If greenhouse gas emissions stay on the same trajectory, we can expect the north to have warmed by 4C year-round by the middle of the century."

Go to Guardian article and photo essay


Related:  Vigorous action needed, and soon, on climate change (excerpt): Yale Climate Connections


Arctic,Antarctica,Greenland ice melt,#icemelting,sea level rise,#climate crisis,

Saturday 24 October 2020

Polling Shows Growing Climate Concern Among Americans. But Outsized Influence of Deniers Remains a Roadblock (excerpt): DeSmog


California burns
"More Americans than ever before — 54 percent, recent polling data shows — are alarmed or concerned about climate change, which scientists warn is a planetary emergency unfolding in the form of searing heat, prolonged drought, massive wildfires, monstrous storms, and other extremes.

Climate change denial

These kinds of disasters are becoming increasingly costly and impossible to ignore. Yet even as the American public becomes progressively more worried about the climate crisis, a shrinking but vocal slice of the country continues to dismiss these concerns, impeding efforts to address the monumental global challenge.

Weather Extremes Driving Climate Concern

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. has already seen 16 billion-dollar weather disasters this year, including horrific fires in the West and powerful storms like Hurricanes Sally, Laura, and Delta on the Gulf Coast.

Florida's coast regularly floods

This reality of intensifying climate disasters in part helps explain the rise in concern on this issue among the American public, says Ed Maibach of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. Maibach is part of a research team that since 2008 has surveyed and categorized American attitudes on climate change into six different groups that they call the “Six Americas.”"

 Go to complete DeSmog story

 Read time: 9 mins  By Dana Drugmand  

Related: Anxiety Mounts Abroad About Climate Leadership and the Volatile U.S. Election (excerpts): InsideClimate News

Thursday 22 October 2020

Boiling Point: Climate change is wreaking havoc on the power grid in ways you never knew (excerpts): LA Times

 Pics from this blog

"There’s been a lot of debate about the extent to which climate change is actually to blame. Officials pointed out that four of California’s five hottest August days in the last 35 years came this past August; others have noted that the state experienced hotter days and higher overall peak electricity demand during a July 2006 heat storm that did not lead to rolling blackouts.

Here’s what’s not in dispute: As the planet gets hotter, largely because of the burning of fossil fuels, the number of blackouts caused by extreme weather is on the rise, in California and across the country.

The nonprofit research organization Climate Central analyzed federal data and released a report last month finding that hurricanes, wildfires, heat storms and other extreme weather events caused 67% more power outages in the United States during the decade ending in 2019 than they did during the previous decade"


"Climate change isn’t the only reason blackouts are on the rise. Roshi Nateghi, an industrial engineering professor at Purdue University, told me rapid urbanization — more people moving to cities — has put greater strains on aging infrastructure. And the data used by Climate Central may overstate the increase in weather-driven outages, since reporting requirements for utilities have gotten more stringent over time.

But there’s no question climate change is playing a role, and the effects will only get worse, Nateghi said.

“A big part of it is that our grid is vulnerable to severe weather and climate events,” she said. “And we have been seeing an increase in intensity and frequency of extreme events.”


Why is extreme weather such a problem for the electric grid? Powerful winds can knock down utility poles. Intense rains can flood substations. Ice can accumulate on wires during winter storms. Wildfires can knock out power lines — or utility companies can be forced to shut down lines to avoid igniting fires. High temperatures can cause fossil-fueled power plants to produce less electricity, which actually happened with California’s natural gas fleet in August."

Go to LA Times story 

Related:  I’m an American Climate Emigrant (excerpts): Sierra

Monday 19 October 2020

Amy Coney Barrett says she’s “not a scientist” and has no “firm views” on the topic of climate change: (excerpts) LAT and NYT

Wikipedia pic from 2018 Amy Coney Barrett
Amy Coney Barrett, the president’s Supreme Court nominee, was asked about climate change during Senate confirmation hearings. She responded that she’s “not a scientist” and has no “firm views” on the topic. The Supreme Court could play a big role in determining whether the federal government is able to mount a serious response to the climate crisis; as Marianne Lavelle wrote recently for InsideClimate News, activists are worried the court’s landmark 2007 climate ruling could be in danger.


Go to LA Times story

"But with Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic

Photo from Alliance for Justice

candidate for vice president, Judge Barrett, the daughter of an oil executive, went further. She described the settled science of climate change as still in dispute, compared to Ms. Harris’s other examples, including whether smoking causes cancer and the coronavirus is infectious.

“Do you believe that climate change is happening and threatening the air we breathe and the water that we drink?” Ms. Harris asked.

Judge Barrett responded, “You asked me uncontroversial questions, like Covid-19 being infectious or if smoking causes cancer” to solicit “an opinion from me on a very contentious matter of public debate,” climate change.

“I will not do that,” Judge Barrett concluded. “I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”

Go to New York Times story 


Related:  Anxiety Mounts Abroad About Climate Leadership and the Volatile U.S. Election (excerpts): InsideClimate News


Sunday 18 October 2020

Vigorous action needed, and soon, on climate change (excerpt): Yale Climate Connections

"Our essays in this series have presented compelling scientific evidence about the warming of the planet, reviewed the evidence that human activity is its principal cause, and discussed the resulting economic and environmental damages.

Now comes the question of what we are going to do about it. The options are clear:

– Nations can work toward eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the scale of future warming.
– Governments and private actors can, and will, invest in measures to protect home and livelihood from effects of changes that cannot be prevented.
– Or human societies and natural ecosystems will suffer the severe harms of inaction.

The more they (really we) do now and in the near future, the smaller will be the residual damages imposed on ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. The choice is ours.

The suffering is already here, of course. In some places, it is almost impossible to bear despite growing investments in adaptation. So what is missing? A commitment to emissions reductions appropriate to the special nature of the climate change threat. Fortunately, with a smart choice of policy measures, the emissions control challenge can still be met at a tolerable economic cost."

Go to complete Yale Climate Connections article 


Related: A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions (excerpts): Guardian


economic impact, ecology, ecocide, greenhouse gas pollution, #globalheating, extreme heat, children,

Saturday 17 October 2020

How the world’s biggest emitter could be carbon neutral by 2050 (excerpts): Vox

 "China’s road to net-zero emissions

The new study contains many significant recommendations; key among them is the timeline for China’s decarbonization.

When Xi Jinping announced the goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, it was broadly interpreted to refer to carbon dioxide, the main gas driving global warming, and not other greenhouse gases, like methane or nitrous oxide. But the researchers suggest otherwise, saying China should reach net-zero for all greenhouse gases by 2060, and net-zero for carbon dioxide by 2050.

In his presentation of the results on Monday, He Jiankun, a Tsinghua professor and climate expert who co-led the study, said his understanding is that Xi’s goal of “carbon neutrality” by 2060 was referring to all greenhouse gases. An expert source told China Dialogue that this interpretation shouldn’t be understood as the official government stance until it is further clarified. But if official, it would mean China would have to cut emissions more rapidly over the coming decades.

The research also shows what net-zero emissions might look like for the world’s top emitter. Under their net-zero emissions scenario, the researchers propose almost entirely replacing fossil fuels with clean energy in the electricity sector, leaving coal power at less than 5 percent of power generation — a massive drop from the almost 70 percent coal supplied in 2019." .....


.... "What to watch for in the coming year

Although this new study has strong backing from people with connections to the highest levels of government, its place in China’s official plans will be clearer when China submits its “mid-century strategy,” a document that all signatories of the Paris Agreement are requested to complete by the end of 2020 to chart out long-term decarbonization. (China is expected to release this document sometime in the next few months.)

As for more immediate decision-making, the study authors also recommend that China upgrade its climate and energy targets under the Paris Agreement and in its five-year plan. China’s carbon emissions are still growing — last year saw a 2 percent increase — so the authors advise that the next five-year plan set a hard cap on carbon emissions at 10.5 billion tons. As for setting new Paris Agreement targets this year, one key recommendation is to up the 2030 target from 20 percent non-fossil fuel energy generation to 25 percent to speed China’s renewable energy build-out.

Whether China adopts these upgraded targets in the coming months will be a first real indication of how and when the country plans to get to net zero."

Go to Vox article

Related: A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions (excerpts): Guardian


China,methane gas,carbon capture,trees,coal,Paris Agreement,#climate crisis,#climatechange, #wewantclimateactionnow

Friday 16 October 2020

Florida Sees Signals of a Climate-Driven Housing Crisis (excerpt): NYT

"Home sales in areas most vulnerable to sea-level rise began falling around 2013, researchers found. Now, prices are following a similar downward path."

In Florida, home sales in areas at high risk from sea-level rise

have fallen compared to areas at low risk.

"The idea that climate change will eventually ruin the value of coastal homes is neither new nor particularly controversial. In 2016, the then-chief economist for the federal mortgage giant Freddie Mac warned that rising seas “appear likely to destroy billions of dollars in property and to displace millions of people.” By 2045, more than 300,000 existing coastal homes will be at risk of flooding regularly, the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded in 2018.

The question that has occupied researchers is how soon, and how quickly, people will respond to that risk by demanding price discounts or fleeing the market. Previous research has begun to tackle that question, showing that climate change, far from being a distant threat, is already starting to hurt real estate values."


Credit...Rose Marie Cromwell for The New York Times

"Then, starting in 2013, something started to change. While sales in safer areas kept climbing, sales in vulnerable ones began to fall. By 2018, the last year for which Dr. Keys and Mr. Mulder obtained data, sales in vulnerable areas trailed safer areas by 16 percent to 20 percent.

A few things happened around that time that might have made prospective home buyers more worried about climate risk, Dr. Keys said. An international report the previous year highlighted the risks of extreme weather events. After that report came out, Google searches in Florida for “sea level rise” spiked.

And people from the Northeast, who account for a significant portion of Florida home buyers, had just lived through Hurricane Sandy, which damaged some 650,000 homes and caused 8.5 million people to lose power, some for months."


Go to NYT original full length story 


Related: I’m an American Climate Emigrant (excerpts): Sierra


Wednesday 14 October 2020

I’m an American Climate Emigrant (excerpts): Sierra

 "My family moved northward for many reasons—climate chaos was among them

We were only a few hours’ drive north of the California-Oregon border when I began to feel the pangs of survivor’s guilt. It was mid-August, and the news from back home was no good. We had busted out of the San Francisco Bay Area just as the heat wave began to sizzle California, and as we drove north through wine country, the temperature gauge in our car said it was 108 degrees outside. Days later, a freak electric storm swung across the state, sparking hundreds of fires. Some of our favorite places were burning: the forested mountains around Santa Cruz and the oak woodlands west of Davis, where we had spent many summer afternoons lounging on the banks of Putah Creek. Smoke was already beginning to choke our friends and former neighbors. “You got out just in time,” a buddy texted. “California is imploding.”

The Oregon coast felt, at that time, like a whole new world. As we threaded our way up Highway 1, the sky was cool and gray, and by evening a thick fog had turned into a spitting rain. The smoke and fires might as well have been on another planet. The rain was a relief, but I couldn’t shake a certain shame. I felt bad about our good fortune, about leaving our community behind to suffer.

I had lived in California for more than 20 years, and my family’s long-planned departure was supposed to be an adventure of sorts, an opportunity to start a new life for ourselves in the Pacific Northwest. For months, we had been looking forward to the move with a mix of trepidation and excitement, the swirl of emotions common to any emigrant: nostalgia for the life we had built, spiked with the thrill of surprising horizons. But now, as grim news piled up in our newsfeeds, the move had taken on a sour taste.

We weren’t merely heading toward a new home in another state. With a disaster unfolding behind us, we were fleeing."

Go to the Sierra article 


climate change refugees,climate refugees,#California,#USA,climate fires,floods,tidal flooding,

Friday 9 October 2020

A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions (excerpts): Guardian

"Author Chris Goodall says tackling the climate crisis is neither difficult nor expensive and can help boost the economy

Illustration: Guardian Design

Net zero. It’s a simple enough concept – the notion that we reduce carbon emissions to a level where we are no longer adding to the stock in the atmosphere. More and more companies and countries are taking the pledge, promising to hit net zero by 2050, 2030 or even sooner.

But it is easier said than done. Industrial processes remain carbon intensive, as do agriculture and aviation. Even the sudden economic halt brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic this year will result in a mere downward blip in global greenhouse gas emissions.

The sharp decline in energy use at the beginning of the pandemic has not persisted. Government stimulus programmes have done little to prioritise green projects – barely 1% of the funds made available around the world will target climate crisis mitigation. Hopes that the virus would push us into radical action to reduce emissions have proved illusory.

This may make us pessimistic about the future – but that would be a

mistake. The last six months have seen a growing realisation around the world that fully decarbonising our societies is technically possible, relatively cheap and potentially of major benefit to society, and particularly to less prosperous sectors.

A sensible portfolio of actions could reduce emissions, provide jobs and improve living standards in forgotten parts of the UK. It won’t be completely painless, but this nine-step plan can transform much of the British economy." ...


...."9. Carbon tax

Lastly, we should try to bring the reluctant oil and gas industries onside by instituting a tax on the production of anything that results in carbon emissions. Rarely in the past have businesses asked to be more heavily taxed. But today almost all large fossil fuel companies are pleading for a carbon levy that provides the necessary incentive for them to wean themselves off extracting oil and gas.

Fighting the causes and consequences of the climate emergency is neither particularly difficult or expensive. The net impact on jobs and living standards will be strongly positive. The programme will require direction from central government, and probably an effective carbon tax, alongside a willingness to hand over some powers to local authorities.

Perhaps this is the most contentious part of the programme I propose: the idea that Whitehall should recognise both that the free market needs some assistance when it comes to the climate crisis, and that devolution of real power to towns and cities could be beneficial to everybody."

Chris Goodall is an author and environmentalist whose latest book, What We Need To Do Now, assesses the steps needed to build a low-carbon world and was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize. He writes a weekly newsletter on low carbon progress around the world, available at

Go to complete Guardian article 

Related: Exxon Touts Carbon Capture as a Climate Fix, but Uses It to Maximize Profit and Keep Oil Flowing (excerpts): Inside Climate News

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Anxiety Mounts Abroad About Climate Leadership and the Volatile U.S. Election (excerpts): InsideClimate News

"VIENNA, Austria—Whenever artist Michael Aschauer returns home after an extended stay in the United States, people here pepper him with questions about the direction America is heading. 

With gallows humor typical of the city, they often ask, "Will it fall apart slowly, or very fast?" he said, adding that Vienna has plenty of experience with how rising and falling empires can destabilize global systems.

Aschauer is married to an American and keenly watches climate and energy politics on both sides of the Atlantic while trying to imagine a post-carbon future. In an informal social media art project, he documents gas stations that have been abandoned or converted to other uses. 

He said it's hard to imagine that Americans would re-elect the

incumbent president, but that it can't be ruled out, either, given the current volatility of U.S. politics. "The outcome will have profound consequences for the future of Earth's climate," he added.

Carbon budgets detailed in recent climate reports show that four more years of pro-fossil fuel policies in the U.S. would make it much harder for the world to reach the Paris climate agreement goal of preventing catastrophic global warming, he said. On the other hand, Biden's decarbonization plan would accelerate demand for renewable energy in the world's biggest consumer economy and speed the global shift to a zero-carbon economy. "


"Debate Debacle

But it's not all fear and loathing—people here say they feel a cultural, social and economic affinity with the U.S. And the interest is even more intense this year, after extensive international media coverage of the escalating cycle of police violence and destructive protests, as well as wildfires, hurricanes, the botched pandemic response and potential election chaos all painted a picture of a country in turmoil. 

Last week's presidential debate reinforced global concerns about the direction of the U.S., said Reimund Schwarze, an environmental economist with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany. Trump's recent statements questioning the legitimacy of the election process raise the specter of widespread unrest, he said."   "


"  "From what I see in the Democratic Party, there is a lot of movement, a lot of mobilization from the other side." Even with time running short for meaningful climate action, he said, there is a hopeful scenario that a generational shift in politics in the U.S. could upend the political landscape for many years to come, leading to fundamental changes in U.S. policy. 

All over the world, people are waiting in suspense to see if Nov. 3 marks the start of that shift.

"I don't want to put any pressure on anyone," Austrian ecologist Sarah Höfler posted on Twitter recently, "but the American election will, in my opinion, decide whether humanity has still a chance in the #ClimateCrisis. It is as simple as that."  "

Go to complete story by Bob Berwyn in InsideClimate News

Related: America's year of fire and tempests means climate crisis just got very real (excerpt): Guardian

 Pics from this blog


Trump,Biden,#climateaction,voters,#USA,European Union,#jailclimatecriminals, 

Sunday 4 October 2020

Exxon Touts Carbon Capture as a Climate Fix, but Uses It to Maximize Profit and Keep Oil Flowing (excerpts): Inside Climate News

Is Carbon Capture a tax scam?
"The company sells the CO2 to other companies that use it to revive depleted oil fields and has relentlessly fought EPA oversight of the practice.

Saturday 3 October 2020

China's zero emissions target puts Australia on notice (excerpts): The Age


Flag: Peoples Republic of China
"Australia's former top climate diplomat has warned China's net-zero emissions target will leave Australia behind, threatening future trade deals and its influence in the Pacific as the Morrison government becomes wedged between the US and China on climate action.

Howard Bamsey, who was Australia's special envoy on climate change during the Rudd government, said the announcement from President Xi Jinping last week had turned the politics of emissions reduction into a sharp economic and diplomatic issue.

Renewables consumption by region


*Commonwealth of Independent States

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020


Professor Bamsey, who was also Australia's ambassador for the environment under the Howard government, said the new policy "pulls the rug out from under the argument" that Australia's domestic climate goals do not need to accelerate because China was yet to increase its ambitions.

"It's clear now China is accepting a leadership role," he said. "Xi made the announcement. That carries all the weight of the state and party.".."


".. Professor Bamsey said the UK, European Union and a potential Biden presidency will pressure Australia to match their climate goals ahead of Glasgow.

"We are an internationally connected economy and we will have to adopt the policies of our trading partners, including our main partner in China," he said. "We won't be able to continue to provide goods and services and ignore the climate dimension.".."


".. The director of the European Union's Centre of Excellence at RMIT, Bruce Wilson, said China's pledge would increase pressure on Australia as it attempts to negotiate free trade deals with the EU and Britain.

"If anyone is trying to do a trade deal with the EU, the Paris deal is non-negotiable," he said.

Professor Wilson said it was still not clear if the EU would accept Australia's use of Kyoto carryover credits to meet its obligations and said a "carbon border tax" was on the agenda for countries not compliant with the EU's environmental standards.

"If you are exporting an emissions heavy product into Europe there will be a tax on that," he said.

"Chief negotiators from the EU and Australia were expected to brief stakeholders about progress on the trade deal on Wednesday afternoon. ..."

Go to The Age article  


 Related: Class action to stop planned coal mine extension filed by climate action-focused Australian teenagers (excerpt): ABC


carbon tariffs,European Union,China,impose trade tariffs on carbon offenders,coal,#renewables,#Australia,#climatechange,



Friday 2 October 2020

America's year of fire and tempests means climate crisis just got very real (excerpt): Guardian

Climate Fire 2018

(Pics from this blog) 

n a flurry of recent fires and storms, the climate crisis has left unmistakable wounds on America. Even in a tumultuous year not short of anguish elsewhere, scientists warn the climate-fueled disasters of 2020’s summer point to major shifts that will upend Americans’ lives like no other threat.

The American west has experienced its biggest year of fire on record, with blazes the collective size of Connecticut roaring across a tinderbox-dry landscape, consuming thousands of buildings, claiming several dozen lives and turning the Bay Area’s sky an eerie orange.

Hurricane damage

Meanwhile, the Atlantic has been so festooned with hurricanes – atone stage this month five storms were strung out across the ocean at once – that meteorologists exceeded their 21 English-language names for major storms and for only the second time had to turn to the Greek alphabet. Appropriately, the two phenomena met on 15 September, when wildfire smoke pouring across the country wafted into Paulette, yet another tropical storm, off the eastern seaboard.

Erosion by rising sea level and storms

Such events are consistent with a heating-up planet, according to scientists, with studies showing that hurricanes are becoming stronger as ocean waters warm up and the atmosphere holds more water vapor. In the west, prolonged, intense heat – perhaps the hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on Earth occurred in California in August – has dried out forests and soils, making them more susceptible to huge conflagrations.

Add in the floods that have soaked swaths of the midwest and the Arctic sea ice that just shrank to its second lowest extent on record and it’s clear climate impacts are now piling upon America in multiples.

Rising sea levels will flood cities

“The changes from greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate system ain’t pretty and they do not come alone,” said Camilo Mora, an environmental scientist at the University of Hawaii and lead author of research that found climatic extremes are causing 400 different types of impacts upon humanity.

These threats are making people “unhealthy, thirsty, poor and homeless”, Mora said. “Climate change is like a horror movie with 400 endings to choose from.”.............."

30 Sep 2020

Go to complete Oliver Milman Guardian story 

Related: Wildfires Explained: The YEARS Project video