Friday, February 27, 2015

Manila statement for #climate action calls for solidarity and justice


This original story first published at Nofibs.

The leaders of France and the Philippines issued an ambituous call from Manila for a global climate deal in Paris at the end of 2015.

The President of France Fran├žois Hollande (@fhollande) and President of the Philippines Benigno S. Aquino III issued the Manila call to action on climate change on 26 February 2015. The statement calls on nations to step up for an ambitious and fair agreement based on climate science to be concluded at the UNFCCC climate talks, the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), scheduled for Paris in December 2015.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Impact of climate change science on Regional Forest Agreement stumps bureacrat


This article was originally published at Nofibs.com.au

At Senate estimate hearings on Monday Senator Janet Rice, the Greens spokesperson for forests, asked a number of probing questions on Regional Forest Agreements. One question in particular asked about how climate change science was included in the review of these agreements. The bureaucrats looked like stunned mullets, until one volunteered that the question would have to be taken on notice.

Really? They haven't considered some sort of cost benefit analysis of carbon sequestration? Not even as an opportunity to bid under the Emmissions Reduction Fund for the carbon sequestration potential involved in protection of old growth forests?

Senator RICE: I have one more question on climate, particularly on how climate science has progressed significantly in the years since the first RFAs were struck and climate has not been considered in the reviews so far. I want to know how it is intended that the impacts of climate change and the value of forests for carbon sequestration are going to be taken into account in the review and progress reports to come.

Mr McNamara: We will have to take the question on notice.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Extreme Weather: Severe Tropical Cyclones Lam and Marcia make Australian landfall

Double Trouble: Two severe tropical cyclones are converging on the Australian coast. Tropical Cyclone Marcia developed in the Coral Sea off the Queensland Coast. Tropical Cyclone Lam developed in the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria before moving north and west into the Arafura Sea.

This map from bureau of Meteorology shows Tropical Cyclone Lam hitting the Northern Territory and Tropical Cyclone Marcia about to make landfall between Mackay and Yeppoon on the Queensland coast.

Severe Tropical cyclone Marcia is the 4th recorded category 5 storm to make landfall on the Queensland coast. Previous category 5 storms included Cyclone Yasi in 2011, Cyclone Innisfail in 1918 and Cycline Mahina in 1899. See a list of Australia's worst tropical cyclones at Australian Geographic.

Follow the live reporting at the Brisbane Times or live reporting at the Guardian.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Will Australia be a spoiler or lifter for #Paris2015 global #climate agreement?


This article was originally published at nofibs.com.au

The Geneva negotiating text provides hope for a global climate agreement in the lead up to the United Nations Paris climate negotiations in December 2015.

The Paris climate talks are a significant landmark: whether the international community will negotiate an effective agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming, or allow rising business as usual emissions to cause economic and civilisation disruption due to increasing severity of extreme weather events and rising temperatures.

You just need to look around at the climate impacts we are seeing in Australia whether it is in the bushfires in South Australia, heatwaves in Melbourne, or the increase in jellyfish blooms in North Queensland.

Help send John Englart and Tarryn to blog the Paris COP21 climate talks


I announced late December 2014 my intention of attending and reporting on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Paris from November 30 to December 11 2015. I have been following the climate science, and climate negotiations for some 10 years now.

The Paris climate talks are a significant landmark for whether the international community will negotiate an effective agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming or not.



The window of opportunity for limiting warming to a 2C rise above pre-industrial levels is quickly closing. This is our last and best chance to limit the damage and inter-generational theft that climate change will inflict on present and future generations.



This year I decided I want to report live from the climate negotiations, via twitter, facebook and blog reports to nofibs.com.au, Indymedia Australia and Climate Action Moreland, my local climate action group. I will be going with my teenage daughter who will also help me blog the event and provide a teen perspective.

But we can't do this by ourselves. I have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to cover our accommodation and living expenses for 3 weeks while in Paris. I am negotiating to stay in Youth Hostel style accomodation that is being organised by Civil Society groups for bloggers like myself and Tarryn.

Chip in some money to help cover our basic expenses. The return on the investment will be to ensure some great on the ground live reporting from the Climate talks. I hope in particular to track the Australian negotiators and what contribution they make to a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

I am active in my local climate group, Climate Action Moreland and I am across many of the climate related policies of the City of Moreland. I hope to informally talk with and network among many other climate, environmental and social justice activists from around the world for a cross-pollination of ideas and strategies particularly for local groups and action within urban areas and at the municipal level.

Your donation, whatever amount you can spare, will help Tarryn and I provide you with some really great first hand live reporting and impressions of this important conference. If you can't donate, please share for others to consider contributing. And when we are in Paris live tweeting, facebooking and blogging, share our posts often and widely.

Visit my Ozcrowd Fundraising campaign page to contribute.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Climate change and heatwaves in Melbourne - a Review

Abstract: The impacts of Climate change are now being felt at a regional level in cities like Melbourne. The impact of rising temperatures and increasing frequency, duration and intensity of hotspells and heatwaves on Melbourne and its urban heat island poses challenges in how to respond and adapt. There are multiple risks to human health, maintaining urban infrastructure and urban biodiversity. Countering heatwaves and climate change is a major social and political challenge and will require both rapid mitigation of carbon emissions for the long term and widespread adoption of urban climate adaptation strategies and behaviour at personal, business and government levels.

John Englart 10 February 2015.
Download as a PDF

This article started during my single subject study in Academic Research at NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic) during Semester 1 of 2014. The focus was selected in negotiation with my lecturer. A slightly abbreviated version was handed in as my major assessment for the subject. The other two assessments of the subject were an annotated bibliography and a formal classroom presentation, which was also published at slideshare. I received a high distinction for the subject overall.

This literature review is structured in two parts: the first on Melbourne temperature and heatwave impacts from climate change, and the second on risk management, mitigation and adaptation to rising temperatures, heatwaves, and the urban heat island effect in Melbourne.

I thought limiting my focus to one climate impact - temperature and heatwaves - and one location - Melbourne - would narrow the field substantially, but as I dug deeper and read more widely I found a wealth of relevant literature either relevant to heatwave impact or directly to my regional focus. The bulk of the references are peer reviewed academic studies, but some are academic working papers and presentations, reports to Government, and news articles including several by myself published on this blog, Sustainable Fawkner or Climate Action Moreland.

Contents

Annotated Bibliography - Climate Change, Heat waves and Melbourne (2015)

I started working on this annotated bibliography in February 2014. 10 articles of this annotated bibliography were prepared for my Literature Review on Heatwaves climate Change and Melbourne as part of my subject on Academic Research in Semester 1 of 2014 (TER103) at NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic).

The subject focus, negotiated with my lecturer, highlights the impact of increasing temperature and heatwaves due to climate change and the urban heat island effect with regard to Melbourne.

Students in my class were expected to write up five peer reviewed articles for their research subject. My goal was always to prepare something much more comprehensive and so I negotiated with my lecturer to use 10 peer reviewed articles from this longer annotated bibliography for my assessment. My project turned out much more involving than even I expected.

These entries comprise peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed academic studies, grey literature, and news reports, and a few specific websites. Some articles definitely went off on a tangent with only a very general focus to the region or topic at hand. While Melbourne was a definite spatial focus, I used research from around Australia and the globe to inform my discussion of temperature related climate impacts, mitigation and adaptation action in Melbourne.

My literature review was structured in two parts: the first on climate impacts and the second on risk management, mitigation and adaptation.

I prepared a presentation to my class and wrote up and published the handout at NMIT in a slightly more polished form (also available here on this blog). The presentation slides were published at slideshare.

John Englart 10 February 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Malcolm Turnbull squashes #climate action for #libspill chance as Prime Minister




Malcolm Turnbull was on the unofficial campaign trail on the Central Coast of NSW for the upcoming Liberal Party spill of positions being forecast to take place next Tuesday (10 February). It comes after a confrontation in a 'secret' meeting between Turnbull and Abbott in the Prime Minister's offices on Wednesday 4 February.

Turnbull used a Politics in the Pub event at Wyong with Member for Dobell Karen McNamara, along with some strategic tweets in his travels, to show his leadership colours to his fellow MPs. But one media pack question after the event stood out and made clear Turnbull is willing to trade any credibility and integrity on climate action for a chance at the top job. A repost of my original article for Nofibs.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cool January saw 1.6 degrees above average for minimum temperatures



Don't be fooled by the cool January we have experienced, temperatures are warming up. Melbourne experienced it's coldest January in 10 years despite the initial couple of extreme heat days at the start of the month. Although Melbourne's average maximum temperature of 25.9 degrees was the same as the long term average, the average minimum temperature was 1.6 degrees higher than the long term average. This article was originally published at Climate Action Moreland.

In previous years the average maximum temperature for Melbourne was 28.6 degrees in 2014, 27.3 in 2013 and 27.4 in 2012. The January average minimum temperature was 15.9 degrees, the lowest since 2005, and above the long-term average of 14.3 degrees.

The start of January saw two Heat Health alerts issued by the Chief Health Officer: one for 2nd January and again on the 7th January. Read more about Victorian Heat Health alert system which is triggered when the daily average temperature is predicted to meet or exceed the threshold temperature for that region. For Melbourne it is 30 degrees.

January also saw extensive periods of cloud cover that brought double the January average of rain to some parts of the state. While the rain is welcome, it also increases plant growth which can dry out and become fuel for bushfires.

High temperatures and heatwave conditions are forecast to hit much of Australia and Victoria in the next week. Temperatures in the low and mid 30s and perhaps into the 40s for northern and western districts, are forecast over the weekend and early next week. This will provide good conditions for drying out all that extra plant growth making it more susceptible to burning.



"'If you get two weeks of really hot weather, that will just burn off," Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said, "It's dependent on the temperatures. If we have moderate winds every day, that will dry the landscape." reported the Age.

Some of Victoria's worst bushfires have occurred in early February during extreme heat after previous extensive drying of the landscape.

Keep cool, keep hydrated, and keep safe over hot periods. This applies especially to children, the elderly, and those with existing medical or psychiatric conditions. During business hours Moreland Council Libraries and public offices can be used for respite from the heat.

While summer maximum temperatures have been slowly increasing in Melbourne, the long term from 1910 trend shows a much greater increase in minimum temperatures. January's mild temperatures reflected this trend. These two graphs show data gathered from Melbourne BOM regional office:





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Universities score poorly on #climatechange risk investment


While climate science has been a prominent concern of many university based researchers, these same venerable education institutions have failed to walk the talk in regard to applying climate change science to climate risk investment of their financial assets. A new global survey of universities has found that the overwhelming majority are financially exposed to the risk of stranded assets and physical impacts of climate change.

The global survey by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project was sent to 278 universities during the first half of 2014. Just six universities chose to formally respond to the survey. Research analysts then analysed public information on each university's climate risk investment policies and scored all universities according to policies and performance on: transparency, risk management, low-carbon investment, active ownership, and investment chain alignment.

"This is the first survey in the world to look holistically at universities' endeavours to manage the systemic risks posed to their portfolios," said Dr John Hewson, Chair of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project.

"It is shocking that universities - thought to be at the cutting edge of innovation and problem-solving - cannot grasp the simple mathematics of wasted capital and the need for more transparency in investing, not less," said Dr Hewson.

The report found that 98% of universities are doing little to nothing about climate change risk in their investment portfolios, receiving a D or X grade. Over 75% of universities had no publicly available information on their websites regarding their climate risk management earning an X grade. D Grade is where climate change risk management is rated as poor, and X grade is where no information could be found to rate climate change risk processes at all.