Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hottest September on record



We are nine months into 2014 and the heat records continue to fall globally. January-September tied with 1998 as the warmest such period on record. For global average temperatures over land and sea, this September was the highest for the month since record keeping began according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It is the 38th consecutive September above the 20th Century average. You need to go back to 1976 for below average temperatures for September.

January March and April were among the four warmest of those months on record, and May, June, August and September all set new global average temperatures records. High ocean surface temperatures have assisted in this record warmth with El Nino still possible to develop if there is sufficient atmosphere - ocean coupling.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Moreland Council increases Heatwave response strategy while Victoria found to be critically deficient

A version of this article was originally published at Climate Action Moreland.

As well as taking the lead with fossil fuel divestment, the other important climate change related item at Moreland Council meeting on 8 October 2014 was a tabling of a report on heatwave strategies including the feasability of council heatwave refuges. The report was initiated as a result of a resolution moved by Cr Bolton at the Council meeting in February 2014 (See my report: Moreland Council calls for greater heatwave emergency planning for Victoria).

The report and decision came a week before the Victorian Auditor General tabled in parliament a damning report titled Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health which listed critical deficiencies in the emergency management of heatwaves and extreme heat events in Victoria. To a large degree these deficiencies derive from poor governance and oversight and the ultimate responsibility for this should be borne by the Baillieu and Napthine Liberal National Government. (See Victorian Auditor General Office: Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health tabled in Parliament 14 October 2014)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fair Food Forum at Coburg Farmers Market discusses agriculture and food security


Originally published at Climate Action Moreland.

Climate Action Moreland members ventured to the Coburg Farmers Market on Saturday to shop, to chat with other Moreland residents about climate change, collect signatures on the Monster climate petition, and listen to candidates for the State Election in November 2014 speak at the Fair Food Forum.

Food security and agriculture are important subjects which we should all be aware of and asking our political representatives about.

Fair Food Week – 10 to 19 October – is organised by Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA). Michael Croft, AFSA President, described the occasion as “Fair Food Week encourages the general community to embrace local food production, purchase and consumption.”

Tony Abbott praises coal for prosperity ignoring huge health and climate costs


Our Prime Minister Tony Abbott is out of touch with the realities of coal with regard to it's ongoing impact on population health and mortality and indirect impact on health and environment through climate change.

At a press conference for opening a new joint venture coal mine by BHP and Mitsubishi he told the world: "Coal is essential for the prosperity of Australia. Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world. Energy is what sustains prosperity and coal is the world’s principle energy source and it will be for many decades to come."

Did you cringe too? Abbott is an international laughing stock for championing coal and ignoring it's health and climate change impacts. His only friend on the international stage is Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has his hands dirty developing the carbon intensive Albertan tar sands.

New coal fired power can't even compete now on cost with renewables already a cheaper source of energy.

His endorsement of coal and coal companies flies in the face of overwhelming support by the Australian public for the rollout of renewable energy generation in Australia.

Here is what Tony Abbott said at his doorstop interview opening the Caval Ridge coal mine on Monday 13 October 2013, according to the Prime Ministers website:

Pacific Climate Warriors join the #Leardblockade to protest coal and climate change


Original story published at Nofibs.

Thirty Pacific warriors are currently touring Australia to share their climate message and ask for our support and solidarity. On Monday they brought their message to Narrabri and the Leard Blockade and saw first hand the destruction wrought by Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek Project and Idemitsu’s Boggabri Coal.

“We are sending a powerful message: we will not stand idly by as the coal industry sinks the future of the Pacific Islands – we are fighting for our god given right to live”, says Mikaele Maiava, for the Climate Change warriors for Tokelau in a brief statement.

Four of the thirty climate warriors come from Tokelau, which transitioned to 100 per cent renewables in 2012. They are only too well aware of the negative impacts of climate change. Read the Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Kuresa Nasau statement from 3 October and understand the motivation of not just the four warriors from Tokelau - Avelio Tumua, Dedles Suega Isaia, Aleki Manuele and Mikaele Maiava - but all the warriors from all the countries of the South Pacific.

Countries that are part of the campaign include: Papua New Guinea, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands, Federated Sates of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati and Fiji.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

AGL Energy occupied over carbon pollution, Gloucester CSG, policy on RET


Over 60 people attended and occupied the AGL Energy head office in Melbourne this morning siting down on the 23rd floor offices of this energy producer and retailer. Several people locked themselves together on the 23rd floor. A number of climate guardian angels locked on to the front doors at street level. Why were they there?

AGL Energy, once regarded as a relatively green and environmentally friendly electricity producer, has in recent years bought and accumulated assets in black and brown coal generation and coal seam gas exploration and exploitation. It is now a major source and polluter of carbon emissions. Along with it's transformation into a major carbon polluting company, it has also argued strongly for changes to the RET scheme for the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) to be abolished and existing arrangements grandfathered, and also the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Target (SRET) to be abolished.

Paul McArdle in a blog post at WattClarity® on 10 October argues that AGL is almost twice as large as the second biggest generator in terms of capacity gemeration for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

  • AGL Energy is developing CSG at Gloucester against the wishes of the local community (Newcastle Herald Story
  • AGL wants the RET scheme to be slashed (Business Spectator Story)
  • AGL Energy has recently bought dirty and polluting brown and black coal generating stations like the Loy Yang A Power station in the La Trobe Valley(Herald Sun story) in 2013, and the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley (RenewEconomy story) in 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

City of Moreland an Australian climate leader in decision to divest

Original article on Climate Action Moreland website.

Tonight the City of Moreland has become the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments.

Moreland joins around 30 cities internationally which have made similar commitments, including Seattle, Dunedin, and Oxford.

It follows recent announcements from Industry superannuation funds HESTA and Local Government Super, statements from ANU and Sydney universities restricting coal investments, and decision by the Uniting Church in Australia and the Perth Anglican diocese to divest from high carbon fossil fuel and mining investments.

Tokelau and Pacific warriors fighting climate change and western intransigence


Island nations are very aware of the threat to their culture and heritage and very lives from the perils of climate change, ocean acidification and sea level rise. Tokelau has chosen to lead by example converting their electricity to 100 per cent renewables in 2012 and now sending climate warriors to Australia to close down the largest coal port in the world for a day.

While we sit and ponder the hand of climate change setting new temperature records in Australia or the most severe drought on record in California, the people of the Carribean, the Indian Ocean and Pacific small Island states suffer the effects of rising sea levels, rising ocean ocidification and increasing intensity of storms.

Although Pacific Island countries only contribute 0.03% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions they will be the first to go under if the business as usual scenarios of the IPCC come to pass.

The leader of tiny Tokelau in the South Pacific knows this too well. The Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Kuresa Nasau, made this statement at the 25th South Pacific Regional Environment Programm (SPREP) Meeting in Majuro in the Marshall Islands on 3 October 2014. The meeting called for less talk and more action on climate change financing such as the Green Climate Fund. Other important themes discussed included the importance of building island resilience, developing the blue-green economy and the growing the co-operation for meaningful and durable partnerships to achieve common goals.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Divestment: Local Government Super add negative filter for coal


Local Government Super, an industry superannuation fund covering local government workers in NSW, has announced increased negative screening for high carbon assets such as coal mining and coal power generators, specifically citing the impact of climate change for this decision.

The additional negative screening will exclude companies from its portfolio with a material exposure to ‘high carbon sensitive’ activities such as coal and tar sands mining, as well as coal-fired electricity generators. The threshold for this screening has been set at a minimum of one third of company revenue.

The Super fund has used negative screening since 2000 regularly reviewing this policy and it's application. The policy has limited investment with companies involved with tobacco, gambling, armaments and old growth forests, as well as excluding companies with poor management of environment, social and governance (ESG) risks.

Local Government Super has about $8 billion in investments. The policy will mean about $25 million will be divested from various mining and energy companies, including $15 million in shares of AGL Energy and Whitehaven Coal.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Moreland Council plan to cut community emissions 22 per cent by 2020


Original article published at Climate Action Moreland.

At the Coburg Carnivale, the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy plan was launched by Moreland Council Mayor Cr Lambros Tapinos, Wills Federal MP Kelvin Thomson and Brunswick State MP Jane Garrett. The strategy aims for community greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 22 per cent by 2020.