Sunday, January 22, 2017

Resistance in face of a Trump climate denial agenda

Photo by Charlie Furman/twitter @DigitalCharlie

Despite the climate denialism in a Trump administration, it will be difficult to stop the zero carbon transition already underway and driven by economic forces, with action by citizens, businesses and states.

As the minutes ticked past midday with Trump's inauguration on January 20, the website was swept clean of anything climate related. Obama's record in this area has been officially archived and Trump's pages announce an America First Energy Plan.

The plan re-affirms that "Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule." This is the only mention of the word climate on the page.

Bobby Magill at Climate Central has written a detailed article on: Decoding Trump’s White House Energy Plan which he accuses of being "replete with misinformation and specious claims about climate and energy policy".

Reversing President Obama's many achievement's in climate action will not be easy to achieve, although there may be some early wins.

Defending present policy action will require resistance by communities on the ground, by state governments, businesses and through legal means.

Update: If resistance fails, 4 to 8 years of inaction by the United States would mean possibly a 15 to 20-year setback and firmly put the world on the path well over 3C degrees of global warming, according to two climate scientists: Ben Sanderson, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, and Reto Knutti of ETH Zurich, Switzerland in an article published at Yale Climate Connections on 21 January 2017.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

100 climate impacts on oceans and marine ecosystems

Over my last decade of reading on climate change, I have picked up a fact or two on oceans and the marine environment, and written the odd article.

Oceans and the marine biodiversity they encompass are important. Just take a deep breathe and reflect upon the fact that the oxygen we rely upon, every second breathe we take, comes from ocean marine algae. And that's just the start.

Most of us just dabble at the edge of the marine environment with perhaps a visit to the beach. But the oceans are deeply important for providing much of our food, and as a carbon sink and regulator of weather and climate on our planet. From the mangroves and reef ecosystems that border coasts providing many social benefits to us, to the open ocean, and deep seabed with incredible life forms we are still just discovering.

Who could resist an opportunity to detail the many climate change impacts on the oceans and marine ecosystems from marine ecologist, Dr John Bruno, a Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His list, tweeted out using the #100impacts hashtag, comes at a time of the inauguration of the new administration of President Trump. One of the first acts of this new administration was to eliminate all mention of climate change from the Whitehouse website.

The list will build over coming days. Revisit to see the latest posts.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Solar to power Melbourne's trams as Australia's GHG emissions continue to rise

Article first published at

Lily D'Ambrosio, the Victorian Energy and Environment Minister, stepped forward today to announce that Melbourne's tram network will be powered by 100 per cent Solar. Not directly of course. But the government will issue a tender for a new 75MW capacity large scale solar farm to supply the equivalent power needed for the tram network to the electricity grid.

The Government will voluntarily surrender renewable energy certificates matching the amount of electricity used by all of Melbourne’s trams.

About 35MW from the solar farm will be allocated for powering the tram network. “We’ve got the biggest tram network in the world and we’re powering it with renewables and creating local jobs.” said Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Santos Tour Down Under stage shortened due to extreme heat, after riders raise heat health concern

First published at

Cyclists in the Santos Tour Down Under UCI Professional cycling race in South Australia today faced the challenge of riding in temperatures over 40 degrees. Local temperatures on the road are likely to be even higher for the cyclists riding on hot road surfaces. Indeed, Jérémy Maison with the FDJ team measured a local temperature of 50C with their Garmin cycling computer, according to a tweet.

The stage was from the Adelaide suburb of Unley, through the Adelaide Hills to Lyndoch, in the Barossa Valley.

The race length was revised down from 145km to 118km, a reduction of 26.5km, with the finishing circuit reduced from two laps to just one, after cyclists in the peloton complained about the searing conditions.

The real irony though, is the fact that the major race sponsor is the South Australian based Gas and fracking company Santos, whose whole business revolves around fossil fuel extraction which causes climate change and more extreme temperatures.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Guest Post: Arguments for abandoning Commercial Flight in Australia

Life in a post-flying Australia, and why it might actually be ok

Martin Young, Southern Cross University; Francis Markham, Australian National University; James Higham, University of Otago, and John Jenkins, Southern Cross University

In Australia, the amount of aviation fuel consumed per head of population has more than doubled since the 1980s. We now use, on average, 2.2 barrels (or 347 litres) of jet fuel per person per year.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 hottest year on record globally, 4th warmest for Australia

This article by John Englart was first published at Climate Action Moreland.

The official reports are in. 2016 was the hottest year on record according to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). In Australia the Bureau of Meteorology declared 2016 the 4th warmest on record, but with record sea surface temperatures around the continent.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Installing #Solarhotwater makes both financial and climate sense

I came home from attending #COP22 in Marrakech only to have my gas-boosted hot water system die a week or so later. A good opportunity to upgrade to an electric boosted solar hot water service to increase household energy efficiency and reduce emissions, although lousy timing for my Christmas finances.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Guest Post: “We’ll always have Paris”

This detailed, but succinct analysis of the United Nations climate conference at Marrakech, COP22, by the Heinrich Boll Foundation is well worth reading. The authors are Lili Fuhr, Liane Schalatek, and Simon Ilse. The original was published 1 December 2016 and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons- Share-Alike licence.

At the UN’s COP 22 climate conference in Marrakech, the international community closed ranks despite (or perhaps because of?) the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president. Thanks to its swift ratification by currently more than 110 countries, negotiations on the technical implementation of the Paris Agreement could begin. The pace must increase significantly, however, if the 1.5°C limit is still to be met.[1]

The Paris Agreement entered into force on the 4th of November, two days before the opening of the climate conference in Marrakech. A majority of states had ratified the agreement in their national parliaments. Never before have so many countries joined an international agreement in such a short time – a mere ten months. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised the determination of the states in the last speech of his tenure at the conference in Marrakech. Shortly thereafter – two days into the summit – the elation vanished abruptly. The clear election victory of Donald Trump – who has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and questioned the gamut of U.S. international commitments – depressed the mood in Marrakech. The well-founded fear that Trump would back out of the Paris Agreement and reverse all of the achievements of his predecessor Barack Obama, or even cancel U.S. membership in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dominated almost all discussions. The intended broad theme of the conference – climate change in Africa – thus took a back seat.

A lot is at stake for the continent: Africa already suffers heavily from the impacts of climate change. African governments are calling for financial and technological support as well assistance in building their capacity for the implementation of their national climate plans – and not just with regard to climate protection, but especially on the much more urgent issue of climate change adaptation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marrakech: we will move ahead

On the last day of the UN climate conference, COP22 in Marrakech, Greenpeace organised a photo shoot outside the entrance to the COP22 conference venue with a huge banner saying: We will move ahead. It was advertised to delegates as the largest photo shoot of the UNFCCC 'family'. Party delegates and observers, media and members of the secretariat gathered for the photo.

After the emotional rollercoaster ride of the US presidential election and considerable chatter about what a Trump Presidency would mean for climate action, the event was a fitting summary of the resolve of people at the conference. To forge ahead despite a climate denialist being elected President of the USA.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Marrakech Action Proclamation at COP22

Host country Morocco developed the Marrakech Action Proclamation (PDF), which was read out to the full Plenary on Thursday 17 November 2016.

The one page statement articulates the urgency of climate change, and the unstoppable global momentum on climate action and sustainable development action by governments, businesses, investors, sub-regional government and cities. It can be read as a veiled message to Donald Trump and his election to the US Presidency, that the world is proceeding to act on climate change. In Fact, Ed King from Climate Home has done just that: Marrakech Call decoded: UN sends Trump its climate demands.