Monday, March 10, 2014

Australia's 2014 summer breaks more records


Reading the climate Council latest report on the Angry Summer 2013/2014 (PDF) I was struck by the extent and rapidity of the changes in temperature we are seeing now.

The angry summer we have just experienced comes on top of 2013 being the hottest year on record for Australia, with temperatures off the charts setting new temperature records. A risk attribution study found that 2013 record temperatures could be clearly attributed to climate change with 2013 temperatures not found in 13,000 model years of simulations under a natural only scenario.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Climate change gives a clear signal in 2014 State of the climate Australia report


The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have published their latest State of the Climate report for Australia for 2014 which shows a clear signal of anthropogenic climate change for the Australian region.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that climate change is occurring but refuses to acknowledge that this is overwhelmingly caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. He says he believes in the science and then continues dismantling the small amount of climate mitigation policies we have in place in the carbon price, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Climate Change Authority, and appointing Dick Warbuton an advowed climate sceptic and anti-wind advocate to chair the Renewable Energy Target review panel.

Professor Neville Nicholls from Monash University, writing in a post at the Conversation, clearly articulated the dangers in not taking appropriate climate action:

"...we are already seeing the impact of more severe heat events and more weather conducive to fire activity.

Heat events and bushfires already cause increased death and illness, as well as destroying property and damaging infrastructure. The recent increases in the climate drivers of severe heat events and bushfires have exacerbated the risks.

These heatwaves and bushfires are bringing home the reality of climate change. They affect Australian families and their homes – they are not something that happens to other people a long way away, or will happen to us a long time in the future. They are a clear and present danger to us, right now.

The Climate Change Authority last week, after extensive analysis of scientific conclusions, economic modelling and examining climate action happening on an international scale recommended that our greenhouse gas emissions target be lifted to 19 per cent by 2020 from 5 per cent on 2000 levels.

USA: 398 arrested in civil disobedience at the White House saying no KXL



Washington, March 2, 2014: over one thousand young people marched on the White House demanding President Obama reject the Keystone XL pipeline and uphold his commitment to protecting the environment. Hundreds of these students then handcuffed themselves to the White House fence in the largest youth act of civil disobedience in a generation! There were 398 arrests.

According to DC Indymedia, "an estimated 2,000 opponents of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline marched from Georgetown University to the White House for the largest one-day civil disobediance against the pipeline DC has seen."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent says Australia's Climate Change Authority


The Australian Climate change Authority has released its final assessment on what Australia's climate emissions reduction target should be. They say that the global conditions have clearly been met for Australia increasing emissions reduction from 5 per cent on 2000 levels to 19 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

In 2009 the Australian Government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave an unconditional guarantee of a 5 per cent target to the Copenhagen UN Climate Change conference. This was part of a range of 5 to 25 per cent with specific conditions attached for increasing the target past 5 per cent. Australia's formal target needs to be advised by 30 April 2014, although governments can strengthen their targets at any time. This target and the conditional range had bipartisan support: Both Labor and the Liberal and National Parties supported this international undertaking.

Bernie Fraser, the chair of the Climate Change Authority, said during the press conference:

"The five percent minimum isn't credible in terms of the task that has to be done and the time frame to stick to the 2020 target of a minimum of 5 per cent would, within the framework of the present global budget, Australia's share of that global budget, would impose a virtually impossible task of catching up, making up that lost ground and getting to the end result in the time available.