Sunday, January 31, 2016

Make it Hot - a rap argument for a global carbon tax by Baba Brinkman


When a global carbon tax is promoted in a rap song, isn't it time to listen?

"Baba" Brinkman is a Canadian rapper and playwright best known for recordings and performances that combine hip hop music with literature, theatre, and science. He draws upon literature and science for his inspiration.

Brinkman's latest series of Rap songs focus on the science, politics and economics of climate change are part of his latest hip-hop theatre show, "Rap Guide to Climate Chaos", which premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Coal on the skids - China, India, USA, Great Britain, and Australia


Coal production and the seaborne coal market are all suffering as renewables ramp up and coal-fired power is reassessed due to pollution, health and greenhouse gas emission concerns.

Coal prices for Newcastle thermal coal is just above US$56 per metric ton. Major coal markets in India and China are drying up. Vietnam has just announced a review of coal power citing the need to implement all international commitments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

There is increasing closure of coal power stations driven by health impacts from pollution as well as growing concern to reduce emissions after the historic UN climate conference Paris Agreement.

Coal is in structural decline. And it needs to be.

A study by Ekin and McGlade published January 2015 into fossil fuel resources and the 2 degree limit found that, without any Carbon Capture and Storage, 88 per cent of coal needs to stay in the ground, unburnt.

So here is a list of recent heartening news on the coal front.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Vietnam reviews coal expansion in wake of Paris Agreement on climate change


In the wake of the Paris agreement, Vietnam has announced a review of all it's new coal plants in the planning pipeline and under construction. Vietnam is currently the third largest builder of coal plants in the world.

In a statement (vn) released on 19th January, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stated the government’s intention to “review development plans of all new coal plants and halt any new coal power development”.

In addition, the Premier stated that Vietnam needs to “responsibly implement all international commitments in cutting down greenhouse gas emissions; and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.” an implied reference to the Paris Agreement from the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2015.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

UK: Plane Stupid Climate activists convicted, face prison for Heathrow runway occupation


Guilty verdicts have been handed down against 13 climate activists protesting against the expansion of Heathrow airport in the UK. The Heathrow13 were on trial for climate change direct action civil disobedience occupying a runway of Heathrow airport in July 2015.

On the same day in France a judge of the Supreme Court in Nantes handed down an eviction notice to farmers and inhabitants of Notre-Dame-Des-Landes (NDDL) north of Nantes. These farmers and new occupants are resisting the construction of a new airport.

Civil aviation is one sector where carbon emissions are rapidly growing contributing to climate change, with little being done to constrain or reduce greenhouse gas pollution from this and the associated shipping industry. Currently 5 per cent of global emissions, more than the UK and Germany combined, come from shipping and aviation. The UN climate conference in Paris considered this sector in the draft versions of the agreement, but any mention of this sector was dropped from the final agreement.

France: Judge orders farmer evictions, but without fines against #NDDL airport opponents


On Monday a judge of the Supreme Court in Nantes announced the verdict to evict the historical inhabitants of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL) area where a new airport is slated to be built by the French State. This new airport would be located 30km north of Nantes and constructed by multinational Vinci.

Eight of the eleven families were granted a two-month period to leave, until March 26. "In fact the protection granted to housing also protects the farms," ​​said Defence lawyer Mr. Le Moigne. The three other families affected by the evictions have no more time on the Zad and must leave immediately.

On the same day in London climate activists from Plane Stupid were convicted for their occupation of a Heathrow airport runway in July 2015 over plans to extend the airport by the Cameron conservative government, breaking an election promise.

Civil aviation is one sector where carbon emissions are rapidly growing contributing to climate change, with little being done to constrain or reduce greenhouse gas pollution from this and the associated shipping industry. Currently 5 per cent of global emissions, more than the UK and Germany combined, come from shipping and aviation. The UN climate conference in Paris considered this sector in the draft versions of the agreement, but any mention of this sector was dropped from the final agreement.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Regional impact of global 2 Degrees C actually means far higher temperatures


Here is a good reason why we should be aspiring to meet the lower end of the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F).

In Paris diplomats adopted a temperature goal of "well below 2 degrees" of global warming and aspire to reach 1.5 degrees. This was a laudatory effort to bring climate policy into line with the climate science, which argues that beyond the 2 degree barrier we are likely to experience abrupt climate tipping points and enhanced climate feedbacks.

But 2 degrees Celsius average global temperature rise is a little misleading. "This climate target is abstract and invites misunderstanding,” says Sonia Seneviratne, Professor of Land-Climate Dynamics at ETH Zurich.

Seneviratne says that many people are likely to interpret two degrees globally as two degrees of warming in their region. They may then not push as hard for reducing CO2 emissions in their countries.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rapid Indian Ocean warming affecting marine plankton, fish stocks



The ocean heat uptake has doubled since 1997 resulting in warmer surface layers of the oceans, as well as increasing ocean warming at greater depths. One of the symptoms of this can be seen in the rapid warming of the Indian Ocean. This ocean has the largest warming trend in sea surface temperatures in the tropics over the past century. This has resulted in a 20 per cent reduction in primary plankton productivity for the period 1998 to 2013, contributing to reduced fish stocks and adding a threat to food security.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Guest Post: It's official: 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded


Janette Lindesay, Australian National University and Mark Howden, CSIRO

It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record. The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed overnight that 2015 saw the global average temperature climbing to 0.90°C above the 20th-century average of 13.9°C. The record has been confirmed by the UK Met Office.

It’s been only a year since the record was previously broken, but 2015 stands out as an extraordinarily hot year. 2014, the previous hottest year, was 0.74°C above the global average. December 2015 marks the first time in the NOAA record a global monthly temperature anomaly has exceeded 1°C - it reached 1.11°C.

Every month since February 1985 has been warmer than average, and 2015 is the 39th consecutive year with above-average annual temperatures in an uninterrupted run that began in the mid 1970s. Ten months in 2015 beat previous records for those months.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Occupation of #Santos #Pilliga #CSG site by traditional owners, local farmers


Santos plans for a Coal seam gas field in the Pilliga region of western NSW has met stiff opposition from local farmers and traditional owners. A Santos test site was occupied on Sunday by 120 people in a mass civil disobedience action.

Santos want to build a waste water treatment plant at the Leewood site near Narrabri. After that they plan to drill over 850 coal seam gas wells to establish a gasfield in the Pilliga Forest. This is the largest undisturbed inland forest left in Eastern Australia.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

France: 5000 rally in Rennes against #NDDL #ZAD evictions and airport construction


Original article published at San Fransisco Bay Area indymedia

5000 people joined a rally in Rennes, France, on Saturday to stop the Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL) proposed airport and the evictions of historical occupants from the site.

The event was called "backhoe cycling" and provided three assembly points with processions which took off at 11 am to converge on the city of Rennes Town Hall.

The proposed airport is contentious with the proposal being in train since the 1970s and being supported by the French state Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Loire-Atlantique Regional President @BrunoRetailleau. Opponents argue that the existing Nantes Loire-Atlantique airport is far from operating at capacity for the runway, while the terminals could be renovated and expanded to allow for better passenger processing.

The site of the new airport, 15km north of Nantes, is on agricultural land and wetlands which supports 130 protected species, including 5 species that have not been adequately considered in the project environmental assessment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Extreme heat across Victoria: heat health alert and total fire ban in place


At a press conference this afternoon people across Victoria were warned of the extreme bushfire threat, and equally, the health threat from extreme heat. Temperatures across the state are forecast to exceed 40 degrees C.

The Victorian Health Department, Vic Health, have issued a heat health alerts for north Central and North East regions with Central region, which includes Melbourne, on the threshold.

Total Fire bans have been issued for eight of the nine regions, with East Gippsland being the exception.

"One of the most important things about tomorrow is it is hot across most parts of Victoria. It will reach 40 degrees in most districts and it will be extremely hot all day with very strong winds." said Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

France: 20,000 people protest #NDDL airport construction as a climate crime near #Nantes


Article originally published at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia.

400 tractors, 1,000 cyclists and 20,000 marchers turned up on the ring road on the periphery of Nantes to protest the Notre-Dame-Des-Landes (NDDL) proposed airport, and support the ZAD ongoing occupation. The protest blockaded the Chevire Bridge over the Loire River on the ring road before dispersing before midnight under a heavy police presence.

Town of Yarloop destroyed in #Waroonafire #bushfire maelstrom



The Waroona bushfire South of Perth was started by lightning strike last Wednesday. It rapidly grew to be an uncontained uncontrollable fire of such size, ferocity and intensity that it produced pyrocumulus clouds creating it's own local convective weather.