The key to unlock the current climate action stalemate

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The greatest threat humanity has ever been confronted with is not climate change. It is us, human beings, and the way we have organised ourselves in democracies where money flows both openly and secretly back and forth between powerful commercial interests and members of our governments. The threat of climate change itself is something we can tackle if we set our mind to it. We have the technology, and we have the knowledge. It’s the climate action stalemate among ourselves and decision makers, our collective inaction and even lack of interest in the topic, which over decades have allowed the danger of climate change grow to this level where it is now a life-threatening global emergency.

The good news, if we accept this premise, is this means that we, humans, also hold the key to unlock this deadlock. And our main task as campaigners for climate action is then to make people realise and fully understand that this is the case.

Collecting a massive amount of signatures for the Climate Emergency Declaration petition is one way to visualise the public support for serious mobilisation.

Gandhi’s old saying that we must ‘be the change’ also still holds, because it is when we show how we think through how we act, consume and invest, rather than just by voicing our opinions, we create those real life changes, which can inspire and become learning-pieces for others around us, until the mindset eventually becomes standard at all levels and sectors in society.

If just 10 per cent of a population is strongly convinced that this is they way we can overcome the problem of climate change, then scientific studies have shown that 10 per cent is that tipping point where the idea will keep spreading until it becomes the norm, the general mindset, among a majority of the population.


 [CLIMATIC ROOT TREATMENT]  is a series of blogposts seeking to uncover and understand the deeper roots of society’s problems with taking appropriate action on the climate emergency, and to explore the advantages we could see once the action sets in.


“The [fossil fuel] industry thinks we are all fools, so all I can say is dig deep, find the facts, knowledge is power.”
~ Damian Marchant from Frack Free Moriac




Record-shattering global temperatures highlight humanity’s immense failure to protect ourselves and our civilisation as well as this planet’s species and ecosystems. Scientists have called for politicians to act since the 1980s, but there is resistance in the system: acting on air pollution means making costly investments and changes in the energy infrastructure, farming practices and well-established consumer habits, as well as overruling the most powerful and influential lobby group on the planet, financed by the fossil fuel industry.

Both the federal government and the opposition in Australia learned their Carbon Tax lessons. As a result, we can hardly expect politicians to act until polls show that their voters strongly demand it. The majority of voters, however, don’t see why they should be demanding anything, because “what’s the point? If climate change really was such a problem, wouldn’t we see our politicians get their act together?”, they argue.

Welcome to the climate action stalemate.

History has shown that humans are able to take action when a disaster occurs. But in the wicked case of the climate emergency, the deadly consequences of our carbon emissions only become visible after a delay of three-four decades. The extreme weather events, the global temperature rises and the melting of the ice poles which we are seeing today, is a result of those greenhouse gasses we emitted back in the 1970s and 1980s, and before. We haven’t yet seen what the consequences will be from the hundreds of gigatonnes of carbon we have emitted since then.

As things have developed over the last decade, it begins to look like we will have to come to terms with that humanity – the sum total of seven, soon eight billion individuals – is unable to respond to a disaster that only comes creeping slowly towards us and is primarily shown to us in theory by scientific graphs and projections that only look scary if you understand what they mean. For instance, a couple of degrees temperature rise doesn’t really sound like something to be afraid of.

What the average temperature and air pollution graphs sadly suggest is that no matter how hard activists in the climate action movement have been working to call for politicians to change their policies, it has not been working. The political will to take action is lacking, because – as Australian leaders learned from the battle where the repeal of the Carbon Tax became an election theme winner – politicians have reasons to believe it would be political suicide to implement costly legislation and change of financial priorities if they don’t have a very strong support in the population.

In other words: the problem falls back on us, the people.

Trouble here is that most orderly and civilised citizens are brought up to trust our leaders and authorities. First our parents, then the school teachers, then the politicians, and the police. We are brought up to do what we are told – not to rebel and act on our own. Most people don’t feel they have any influence on governments – apart from the microscopic influence each of us have when we vote at the elections – and with a problem as huge as global warming, if Australians miraculously were to completely slash their emissions over night, this would not even amount to reducing one per cent of the global emissions. So, it all looks pretty dark and impossible – which again means that most people prefer not to think about these issues at all. “If it really is such a problem as the scientists seem to think, then it must be up to our politicians to solve it,” people say. “When my neighbours don’t care, why should I?”

So, the people is waiting for the politicians. And the politicians are waiting for the people.

The mainstream media, which potentially could make a difference in this stalemate by educating their readers and viewers about what needs to happen, is dealing with financial threats of their own – caused by the ongoing digitalisation and the younger generations’ disinterest in spending money on their products, so no way would they take up that challenge to tell people about something they so obviously prefer not to be reminded of.

Meanwhile, billion-dollar subsidies continue to be handed out to the polluters, and new licences to look for more oil, gas and coal continue to be issued – even rushed through – by our governments. No matter how many time the climate activists are crying wolf, the procrastination and manipulation continues, driven by greed and cynical economic interests.

“The gas industry has lobbyists everywhere. The gas industry has former staff everywhere. And when the main determinant of the gas industry’s future profits is the decisions of today’s politicians, you can bet that no matter what the problem, someone will argue that the answer is gas. It’s not climate change that needs to be tackled in Australia; it is the entrenched political power of the fossil-fuel industry. And unfortunately for those paying attention to the climate science, that battle has barely begun.”
Richard Denniss – in The Monthly


Fossil fuel companies are among the richest companies in the world. There are several of these companies that have bigger turnover on a yearly basis than the total GNP of countries the size of Denmark.

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In Australia’s case, the country’s parliament is infiltrated by fossil fuel industry puppets who, as senator Malcolm Roberts recently did in his submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the Paris Agreement, claim that “There is no empirical evidence presented anywhere in the world proving carbon dioxide from human activity affects global climate or evidence that its production needs to be cut” – for which reason they are lobbying for that Australia shouldn’t even ratify the global Paris Agreement or aim to keep the global temperature rise under 2°C.

When politicians refer to that “in Paris the world agreed that global average warming must be limited to somewhere between 1.5°C and a maximum of 2°C,” then this is wishful thinking. It is hoped that the voluntary non-binding national climate objectives will be tightened during the 2020s. It is clear to everyone that in this agreement there is no connection between means and goals. However, not to ratify the agreement would be even more absurd, considering that it is a strong signal that the supertanker has slowly started its Great Turning.

Scientists are warning us that the problem with our tendency to continue waiting until things really begin to go wrong, is that this is a recipe for runaway disaster. As nasty and cynical as it may sound, there will be people dying in that process. As we just saw hundreds of people dying in Haiti recently. But in this case it’s actually the world’s wealthy oil, coal and gas barons and their puppets in our governments who are the worst and most heinous cynics. They are prepared to let mankind and all life on the planet go to hell for their own personal gain, while they gladly sponsor media propaganda and advertisements to make everyone believe that everything is safe and good, its all about “jobs” and protecting the status quo.


The problem with being too late

This... is our problem
This… is our problem

So, as a result, instead of stopping our pollution, we continue to move very fast in the wrong direction. CO2 measurements are crossing new levels much sooner than expected. The most discouraging news is maybe that the Earth is showing increasing sensitivity to the changes. When we continue to pump greenhouse gases – including methane which is a gas with 86 times more greenhouse effect than CO2 over a 10-12 year period – into the atmosphere in ever increasing quantities, then the devastating consequences won’t rise little by little in a linear manner. When we begin to trigger tipping points, then others tipping point are drawn with them, with one primary consequence that we could face enormous problems with feeding the growing world population.

This is not some hypothetical Armageddon – this is very soon everyone’s reality. Some of the problems will develop slowly over decades, others will be abrupt, and clinging to denial will remain the most convenient choice for some people. At the time when our scientists are 100 per cent certain that the feedback mechanisms have set in, it will be too late to do anything about it. We are collectively in trouble, no matter how hard we try to make it ‘go away’ in our daily lives.

The troubled state of our climate


Earth’s Long-Term Warming Trend, 1880-2015 – 30-second video animation by NASA.gov on Youtube.com

This visualisation illustrates Earth’s long-term warming trend, showing temperature changes from 1880 to 2015 as a rolling five-year average. Orange colors represent temperatures that are warmer than the 1951-80 baseline average, and blues represent temperatures cooler than the baseline. Credits: GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend — 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001.


NASA Warns Of Mass Extinction If We Don’t Fix Climate Change
Published on youtube.com on 30 August 2016

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The polar emergency
Very large and abrupt changes are about to happen at the poles. Both Alaska and Siberia are experiencing historical temperature records, there are days when it is warmer in Alaska than in Florida. Winter temperatures at many places are +10°C higher than the normal average. New records were set in Novosibirsk (30.4°C), Tomsk (31.5°C), and in Tuva Republic (31.7°C). Perma-frost is thawing. Scientists who have worked with in this field for decades are surprised how fast these changes are occurring now. We are heading straight for one of the most dangerous climate ‘tipping points’.

Professor Peter Wadhams from Cambridge University has calculated that the thawing permafrost in only five years alone has the potential to increase the average global temperature by 0.6°C. If this happens, we can forget about the Paris Agreement’s goals, because what will then happen in the following five years – and beyond? The negative feed-back mechanisms will go into overdrive and rise exponentially.


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The victims
The results of this is visible in mainstream tv news programs almost every night, but not presented as climate change news, or global emergency news. In the media, the journalists prefer to talk about ‘natural disasters’ and ‘extreme weather events’ without any connection to what is actually going on.

In the light of the climate stalemate, it is actually not a bad thing that the measurable changes and the visible, tangible symptoms of the imminent climate catastrophe gradually are becoming more obvious. It is terrible and tragic for the people who get hit, but at the same time, these incidents make an increasing number of citizens and decision makers realise that something is utterly wrong.

As the Climate Institute documented recently, a growing number of Australians are realising we actually have to to change the way we do things – and much more urgently than we imagined. Within just a few years, not decades, we have to stop polluting the atmosphere. Which also is to say: to make it cost something to pollute the atmosphere, and eventually: to completely ban any pollution of our air space as we increasingly do it with the other environments around us. This will have to happen much faster than both science and politicians until now have been willing to admit.

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In case of (climate) emergency, break glass

One of Australia’s leading environment groups, Environment Victoria, opened the climate emergency conversation among their members in their latest newsletter where Nick Aberle wrote:

“Australia’s emissions are rising again. Global concentrations of carbon dioxide are spiralling out of control and, as a result, global temperatures are too. (…) Each of the last 16 months since May 2015 has been the hottest on record for that month. February 2016 was the hottest of all, a staggering 1.6 degrees above the historical baseline.

The problem is, this is more than numbers on a page. Real world evidence of unprecedented warming is all around us: the Great Barrier Reef literally dying before our eyes; unseasonably early bushfires in the Otways; unprecedented bushfires destroying ancient forests in Tasmania; mysterious holes appearing in melting Siberian permafrost; Sydney’s coast being battered by crazy storms and ocean swells. Sadly, the list goes on. (…)

Make no mistake – this is a crisis. So now what? As Einstein famously said, those with the privilege to know have the duty to act.

When events at Pearl Harbor forced his hand, US President Roosevelt called the captains of industry to the White House and gave them a list of how many tanks, fighter planes and bombers they would need to build in coming months and years. The industrialists said they couldn’t do that while still manufacturing their cars. Roosevelt’s reply? He said they didn’t understand: he was going to ban the sale of private automobiles. Roosevelt knew how serious the situation was and acted accordingly.

This story encapsulates how quickly we can change our thinking and our priorities when we need to. And we need to right now.”
Nick Aberle, climate campaigner, Environment Victoria, in a newsletter article


Sign the petition
Sign the petition


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Decades of procrastination and silence on climate
It’s important to understand as far as the climate threats are concerned, there is nothing new under the sun. It has been crunch time for quite a while. Even though we have known about the problem with global warming for decades, our elected leaders have done next to nothing about it. It is symptomatic that the more power a politician gains, the more apathetic and passive he or she becomes towards the climate emergency.

Malcolm Turnbull is an excellent example of this. Speaking at the Deakins on the Politics of Climate Change in 2010, Malcolm Turnbull said:

“Climate change is real, it is affecting us now, and it is having a particularly severe impact on Australia. And yet, right now, we have every resource available to us to meet the challenge of climate change except for one: and that is leadership. Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership, a political cowardice the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime before.”

Six years later, after becoming the country’s leader as Prime Minister, he has turned lack of climate action leadership and political cowardice into a brand for his entire government.

As we are witnessing the climate emergency unfold, the result of our politicians’ deliberate procrastination and inaction has started to cause exactly the kind of damage and deadly destruction which scientists warned us about decades ago.

In the midst of all the despair and chaos caused by extreme weather events, flooding, droughts, bushfires and dying coral reef, there is no reason why media shouldn’t hold our leaders accountable for this mess. It is not like they haven’t been told.

First of all, why haven’t they been listening? One very clear example is the headline in the New Scientist in 1988 – that is almost 30 years ago. It said, rather straight forward: “Time for politicians to act”. The article warned:
 

“The time to ‘wait and see’ whether global warming poses a serious threat to life on Earth is over, says a report released this week by the Joint Energy Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in Britain. The report calls for an international effort to control pollution from carbon dioxide.”
Quote from New Scientist, 1988

 
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The 1988-report ‘The Greenhouse Effect: Issues for policy makers’ stressed that “although the developed countries consume four-fifths of the fossil fuels burnt each year, less-developed contries will be most vulnerable to the ill effects of global warming, such as rising sea levels.”

» Source: www.books.google.com.au | Share this on Facebook





» The New York Times – 21 October 2016:
News Coverage of Coal’s Link to Global Warming, in 1912

Silence on climate in American politics
It was a combination of the growing scientific alarm about the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a long hot summer in 1988 that made ‘climatic change’ an election issue in the US. On the campaign trail, then-Vice President George H. W. Bush announced in his presidential campaign:

“Those who think we’re powerless to do anything about the ‘greenhouse effect’ are forgetting about the ‘White House effect’. As President, I intend to do something about it… In my first year in office, I will convene a global conference on the environment at the White House… We will talk about global warming… And we will act.”

This was in the early days when climate change was not yet turned into a left versus right-wing political issue. George Bush was far from the first in American politics to be talking about global warming. Awareness of the threat of climate change goes back more than half a century, well before its sudden arrival on public policy agendas in 1988, explains Marc Hudson, a PhD Candidate from the Sustainable Consumption Institute at University of Manchester, in The Conversation on 20 October 2016.

According to Hudson, Lyndon Johnson, who was president of the United States from 1963 to 1969, made the first presidential statement about climate change. The words were written for him by pioneering climate scientist Roger Revelle.

Andrew C. Revkin reported in the New York Times that scientific analysis pointing to a human role in warming the climate through burning fossil fuels goes back to 1896, with Svante Arrhenius’s remarkable paper, ‘On the Influence of Carbonic Acid [Carbon Dioxide] in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground’.

Starting in the late 1930s, Guy Stewart Callendar, a British engineer and amateur meteorologist, stirred the field by calculating that rising carbon dioxide levels were already warming the climate. Check out his 1938 paper on the subject: ‘The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Temperature’.

By 1956, the New York Times was writing on combustion-driven global warming.

» The Conversation – 20 October 2016:
Why the silence on climate in the US presidential debates?

“Why talk about the fate of the planet when there’s the national debt to obsess over?”


» Vox.com – 20 October 2016:
That’s four straight debates without a single question on climate change. Good job, everyone



Emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise
In short: it has been ‘Time for politicians to act’ through decades – and we, the voters, aren’t really aware of this, so we somehow allow them to continue procrastinating and finding excuses for supporting the fossil fuel industry while cutting support to renewables energy projects and new innovation in the field.

Meanwhile, scientists observe how the global average temperature and atmospheric pollutant concentration graphs rising steadily every year. As the atmospheric parts-per-million-measurements and global temperature graphs show us, George Bush along with the entire planet’s elected leaders have deliberately chosen to ignore these warnings from the scientists. Instead they chose to listen to the fossil fuel industry’s lobby groups and the economic wealth they represent and has been offering both academics, media, propaganda ‘institutes’ and politicians generous lumps of.

Historically, our global dependence on fossil fuels has never been greater. The growth of our oil consumption continues, currently with very low oil prices, due to overproduction, and with new fossil players entering the market with shale gas, coal seam gas and tar sands oil. Our global gas consumption also has never been higher – it’s growing rapidly, because gas increasingly replaces coal.

A small spot on the bright side is that global coal consumption has stagnated and recently, slowly, started to fall, mainly because China and partly the US are phasing out coal. Even so, China is still building new coal plants, while at the same time reducing their general levels of utilisation. In addition, India and others currently plan to build many new coal plants, as mad as it may sound.

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There has been much focus on renewable energy – and with good reason. Renewables have enjoyed high growth rates in recent years, and wind turbines are increasingly being supplemented by solar panels and large-scale solar plants. However, overall it is still from a very low base. Even the optimistic Outlook predicts that China’s wind energy will not exceed 20 per cent of China’s energy consumption by 2050. Centre for Renewable Energy Development expects renewable energy to cover 30 per cent of China’s energy in 2030, and the same goes for many other countries.

The renewable energy sector is growing rapidly, albeit from a very low level. Wind energy does not even cover five per cent of the world’s energy consumption yet. We are still very far from the point where even half of the energy consumption on the globe comes from renewable energy.

Global Energy Outlook, published by some of the world’s leading companies and bodies in the field, concludes that in 20 years from now, the annual global emissions of greenhouse gases will be between five and 20 per cent higher than today – a shockingly dangerous and completely unsustainable level.


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Our political system is broken
In summary, it is no surprise – and actually something that many people are aware of, though they don’t speak up about it – that we are now beginning to see the results of this failure to act responsibly on the greatest, most wicked and most devastating risk human beings have ever had to deal with.

We, the voters, the people, or whatever you like to call us – ‘common man’, you and I – we need to realise that when it comes to dealing with the challenges of global warming – which is done first of all by cutting our fossil fuel emissions and changing a system that rewards polluters instead of punishing them – our political system is broken. It is unable to help us, until – like it happened in Egypt in 2011, triggered by one powerful statement, there is some kind of a popular uprising, a change in the consensus, and the way the media reports on it. In Egypt’s case, in the beginning of 2011, the uprising was triggered by a woman who posted a four-minute talk on Youtube.com, where she called on people to gather at Tahrir Square. The video went viral, and days later, a million people had gathered there, writing history.

When our political system is broken, this means is that the first move needs to come from somewhere else. Only, in our society, there is no ‘somewhere else’. The scientists have been screaming for decades, that didn’t help. The emergency staff, doctors, firefighters, the army – they are all afraid that they could be accused of being ‘politisised’. Even the nation’s two public broadcaster, who really should see it as their job to mobilise the population to protect itself, are paralysed because their boards have become infiltrated with climate change sceptics and deniers, and any obvious steps to support a climate action agenda could give the government yet another argument to reduce their funding.

There is no ‘somewhere else’ to turn to. There is only us, the people, the common man and woman. We are the ones who need to act. We need to speak up, and to organise ourselves. We need to understand that the most powerful way to show our leaders that they need to change is by ‘being the change’: making some radical changes in our own behaviour.

Here’s a person – the American actor Woody Harrelson – who expresses the situation pretty well:

For a two-minute video where a man talks about the power that we have as consumers and why we must begin to make more conscious choices when we buy stuff, it is pretty impressive that this video has been viewed 48 million times during a little over two months. That figure in itself could be an indication that something is changing now. As Harrelson says in this talk, “People are beginning to wake up.”

In The Sustainable Hour we meet people every week who tell us that they have become aware of this connection, and therefore have started to act accordingly.

We are still able to avert the worst part of the climate catastrophe but it requires that the will to act is present at an entirely new and much broader level – starting with the will among ourselves, people like you and me. It requires we are able to show – and help make everyone around us understand – that we actually already have a majority of the population on board. People are generally not taking confident carbon-reducing action themselves, because thanks to the fossil fuel industry’s deliberate misinformation, there is a lot of confusion and mistrust about what needs to be done, and whether it will have any effect.

We need an ambitious, collective manifestation of the fact that the danger is real and that the need for action is urgent. The longer we wait with taking action, the more sharply will we need to increase our level of efforts. That’s why we need a climate emergency declaration. We will never reach our goal to create climate safety and stability if we only make scattered single-issue campaigns, each engaging in one specific issue – a coal mine, a fracking permit, drilling for oil in the ocean, and so on.

A broken political system has put the future of life on this planet at stake. A climate emergency declaration can fix this problem. It enables us to do everything we possibly can to prevent an unmanageable, accelerating climate chaos.

The call for a climate emergency declaration is at the same time a call for a new generation of honest politicians who – similar to what Churchill did when he mobilised his countrymen 70 years ago to take up the terribly inconvenient battle against Hitler – dare to look the climate emergency in the eye, unify the Parliament around the emergency declaration and the launch of a historic, massive effort to transform our society, and eventually the entire world, into a zero carbon civilisation.

In 1962, American President John F. Kennedy gave his famous Moon Speech, written by his legendary speechwriter Ted Sorensen. Now we need an Earth Speech. We need many of them. The first one could just as well be given here in Australia as well as anywhere on this planet.



Leonardo DiCaprio has a new documentary film coming up, ‘Before the Flood’, which seems to carry much of the same message. Watch his two minute trailer here:

The Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist has spent the past three years asking a wide variety of people around the world about climate change. His collection of interviews in the film – ranging from Barack Obama and the Pope through to Elon Musk and Piers Sellars – cover the science, impacts, vested interests, politics and possible solutions.

« Review: 7 key scenes in Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate film Before the Flood

» www.nationalgeographic.com.au/tv/before-the-flood



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» Read more about the Australian Climate Emergency Declaration and petition on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org

» Download a Climate Emergency Action Plan as PDF documentPowerpoint document

» Tips if you would like to organise a meeting or help promote the petition



This blogpost has talked a lot about ‘politicians’ – but it must be emphasised that luckily not all politicians are the same. In Australia, in particular The Greens stand out as one party which has recognised – and suggests policies to respond to – the climate emergency. Some members of the Labor and Liberal parties we have talked to do recognise the climate emergency off the record, but they refuse to make any public statements about it. This is what needs to change. Apart from the lobbyism from the fossil fuel industry, there is no reason why protecting our climate should not be a Labor and a Coalition objective just as well.







Australian climate science guidance

Learn about observed climate change over Australia, projections for regions, datasets, journal papers and other climate science on CSIRO’s official website about climate change in Australia:

» www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au






“If we do not plan, now, to limit carbon emissions beyond this century, we will foolishly raise the oceans dramatically for thousands of years. (…) We are doing ourselves a dreadful disservice by consistently framing 2100 as essentially the last, final year of impacts. We’re thinking in a blinkered way decades out, while our foot is pressing hard on a warming accelerator that has serious impacts centuries out. (…) 2100 shouldn’t be regarded as a terminal year. To do so is folly, a fallacy in thinking. Life goes on, people do not end there, and seas will not suddenly halt their rise then.”


» Scientific American Blog – 19 October 2016:
Exposed: The Climate Fallacy of 2100



More information

» Council on Foreign Relations – 29 June 2016:
A Conversation with the Director of the CIA

» The Siberian Times – 14 June 2016:
Weather turns tropical across Siberia as abnormal summer heat roasts six regions

» The Independent – 4 June 2016:
Arctic could become ice-free for first time in more than 100,000 years, claims leading scientist

» Scientific American / Climate Central – 14 January 2016:
Warming May Mean Major Thaw for Alaskan Permafrost
Continued warming is melting down frozen ground, surprising scientists

» TED – 2007:
A critical look at geoengineering against climate change

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The current climate situation

“This year, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record. But you can still hear people repeating the old claim, first proposed by fossil fuel lobbyists, that global warming stopped in 1998.

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Arctic sea ice covered a smaller area last winter than in any winter since records began. In Siberia, an anthrax outbreak is raging through the human and reindeer populations because infected corpses locked in permafrost since the last epidemic in 1941 have thawed. India has been hammered by cycles of drought and flood, as withering heat parches the soil and torches glaciers in the Himalayas. Southern and eastern Africa have been pitched into humanitarian emergencies by drought. Wildfires storm across America; coral reefs around the world are bleaching and dying.”
George Monbiot


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“The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as the global average. Sea ice cover in the Arctic has undergone a widely reported decline in recent decades with sea ice extent reducing by around 12% per decade since the satellite record began in 1979.”

» www.carbonbrief.org


» Washington Post – 20 September 2016:
Scientists may have solved a key riddle about Antarctica — and you’re not going to like the answer

» NASA – 15 September 2016:
Arctic Sea Ice Annual Minimum Ties Second Lowest on Record

» e360.yale.edu – 23 May 2016:
Why CO2 ‘Air Capture’ Could Be Key to Slowing Global Warming
“…as emissions keep soaring, Lackner says in a Yale Environment 360 interview that “air capture” approaches may be our last best hope.”

» Washington Post – 26 February 2016:
The suddenly urgent quest to remove carbon dioxide from the air

» Atmosperic Chemistry and Physics – 22 March 2016:
Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms – ‘Evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2°C global warming could be dangerous’

“Greenland has lost more ice in the last few years than we thought. A new study published in Science Advances sets the record straight. Greenland already adds around 0.5 millimeters of sea level rise a year — now that number is 7.6 percent higher.”

» Grist – 21 September 2016:
Greenland has lost more ice in the last few years than we thought





Climate change hit avocado farmer on Mornington Peninsula

“Steve Marshall normally picks about half a million avocados a year from his Mornington Peninsula orchards. But Mr Marshall said he will not pick a single piece of fruit this season after a heatwave wiped out his entire crop last summer.
Mr Marshall said it was the second time he had lost a crop to heat stress. He said his experience with the damage from days of extreme heat had forced him to consider the effects of climate change.”

» ABC Rural – 14 October 2016:
Avocado grower says loss of crops to heat stress highlights effects of climate change



Citi: Clean energy will be free

Global investment bank Citi is predicting that the combination of near zero-variable cost energy sources such as solar and wind, along with smart analytics and “big data”, may deliver what the nuclear industry promised nearly half a century ago – free energy.

“The notion of free energy came to prominence in the 1960s, as nuclear fusion was touted as a way to provide free energy,” Citi writes in the latest of its “Disrutive Innovations” series, in a section focusing on Big Data and the energy industry.

When those claims were made about nuclear fusion, the technology was in the embryonic stage, and it turned out nuclear energy wasn’t free at all, but incredibly expensive, and getting more so by the year. But wind and solar, along with demand and storage optimisation, may finally deliver on that promise, Citi says.

“Big Data and advanced analytics are developing rapidly to improve forecasting, automation, customisation, and the democratisation of energy,” it says in its reports. “The end result is that we are producing more energy with fewer resources ….. the goal of dramatically lowering energy costs for all, with the possibility of free energy in some corners, may finally come to fruition.”

Australian renewables increased
The Clean Energy Australia Report 2015 includes a comprehensive round-up of renewable energy projects, investment, employment and electricity generation. It is the only analysis that includes the National Electricity Market, the Western Australian electricity grid and other major regional grids across the country in areas such as the Northern Territory.

The main findings from the report are as follows:

• Renewable energy provided 14.6 per cent of Australia’s electricity in 2015, enough to provide power for the equivalent of approximately 6.7 million average homes. This was up on the 13.5 per cent of electricity delivered by renewables the year before.
 
• Power generation from Australia’s hydro plants was down due to low rainfall, but wind and solar generation each increased by just over 20 per cent to more than compensate for the drop in hydro power.

» See more at: www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au


“Despite a concerted effort to create a panic about renewable energy following the South Australian storm, public support for ambitious renewable energy targets remains high.”
Peter Lewis in The Guardian: Sorry, shock jocks, but the public isn’t buying into a renewable energy panic


Climate above politics?




Our submission to the Australian Government
Our submission to the Australian Government

» Submission for the parliamentary inquiry into the Paris Agreement



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One comment

  1. Equity is going to be essential in climate change mitigation and it’s something professor in business schools should be working on now.

    Here is the issue; if you have $200,000,000 stashed away in the Cayman Islands as your Prime Minister has, he and his family will be able to buy their way back into the 20th century and ignore the need to cut personal carbon pollution from an average of 22 tonnes to 2 tonnes or less per year (Turnbull may be more like 44 tonnes a year or more). 


    So we need a way to stop people buying their way back into consumption that people could have before climate change mitigation became the imperative it is today. 


    Perhaps the answer is to drop the idea of money and cancel all bank accounts. Everybody could be issued with a “ration card” that would allow them to consume to the equity level of two tonnes of CO2.

    
So why aren’t economic professors writing about alternatives? We need innovation and getting rid of money may be essential.

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