Australian news, and some related international items

Australian authorities covering up severity of Great Barrier Reef’s plight

barrier-reeefGreat Barrier Reef disaster: Marine biologist lashes out at reef authorities for ‘cherry-picking to try and paint a better picture’ IBT, By  @ritwikroy1985 on April 14 2016 The Great Barrier Reef is getting destroyed by massive coral bleaching, and marine biologist Glen Holmes is disappointed with the statements by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC). Despite reports that the Great Barrier Reef may never recover from the extent of damage done by widespread coral bleaching, the RRRC has said that popular diving areas near Cairns have suffered only low levels of damage.

Recent underwater surveys have found that of the 32 reefs between Lizard Island and Cairns, only five percent have suffered from bleaching and that only has low level of damage. RRRC managing director Sheriden Morris said the bleaching was “patchy,” which means the corals have a good chance of recovery. However, Holmes believes it is too early to be passing such comments.

“It’s way too early to be hanging comments off reports on the level of mortality. I think they’re cherry-picking to try and paint a better picture,” said Holmes.

Morris on the other hand believes reefs off Cairns are more likely to recover than others, reports AAP.

Unfortunately, according to Independent Australia, the Great Barrier Reef may lose out to mining giant Adani as State and Federal governments are favouring the mining giant more than the world heritage site. This has irked conservationists around the globe and numerous Australians who want to preserve the natural wonder.

CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Kelly O’Shanassy said that if Federal and State governments side with Adani, there will be “hell of a fight.” The Queensland government had already given Adani the licence to dig Australia’s biggest ever coal mine.

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine will produce massive climate pollution and as the Great Barrier Reef can undergo coral bleaching with even a little temperature change, O’Shanassy is at a loss of words and she can’t believe how the licence was given as Carmichael will be raising Australia’s water temperatures greatly.

According to The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, almost 95 percent of the reefs in the northern region are severely bleached. The convenor of the taskforce, Professor Terry Hughes, said every reef showed highly levels of bleaching “from the reef slope right up onto the top of the reef.”

“We flew for 4000km in the most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef and saw only four reefs that had no bleaching. The severity is much greater than in earlier bleaching events in 2002 or 1998,” Hughes added…….

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Ice shelves collapsing in Antarctica at an alarming rate

ice-sheets-meltingScientists Are Watching in Horror as Ice Collapses Everything we learn about ice shows that it is disturbingly fragile, even in Antarctica. National Geographic, By Douglas Fox APRIL 12, 2016 “……..The catastrophic collapse of Larsen A and several other ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula has yielded important lessons about the vulnerability of Antarctica’s ice sheets to a warming climate. A new analysis of ice sheet instability, published March 31 in Nature, took the public by surprise when it projected that global sea level might rise six feet by 2100, and as much as 40 to 50 feet by the year 2500. (Read “Why the New Sea Level Alarm Can’t Be Ignored.”) That study seemed to double, overnight, the amount of sea level rise that can be expected. But many glacial scientists weren’t surprised. The new estimate is based on insights that have emerged slowly, over 20 years, in the aftermath of these ice shelf collapses.

The Aftermath of an Ice Shelf Collapse Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change thawing Mt Everest’s glaciers, endangering villages

global-warming1Climate Change Is Melting Everest Research shows that higher temperatures around the world’s tallest peak are thawing its glaciers, which could spell doom for villages in the Khumbu Valley, Outside, By: Anna Callaghan Apr 12, 2016 “As a colorful circus of tents pops up at Everest Base Camp this spring, a pair of Ph.D. students will set up camp 1,000 feet downvalley, on the Khumbu Glacier, resuming a research project they started last year. Their goal: to determine just how quickly the world’s highest glacier is melting.From the Alps to the Andes, ice at high elevations is disappearing rapidly. On Everest, the effects of a warming planet are likely to manifest in two ways that affect climbers. First, the Khumbu Glacier will shrink, and parts of it could possibly become impassable for climbers. Someday, even Base Camp may have to be moved from its current location on the glacier to another spot nearby.

Second, the Khumbu Icefall between Base Camp and Camp I may see a higher frequency of rock and ice avalanches—like the one that killed 16 Sherpas in 2014. The Icefall naturally migrates downhill between three and four feet per day, but that could accelerate as temperatures rise. Earth’s average surface temperature has gone up by more than 1.5 degrees since the late 1800s, and two-thirds of that warming has taken place since 1975

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if you increase the temperature where ice is normally frozen to the bedrock, the hold is going to be weakened and become increasingly unstable and the ice is more likely to detach from the bedrock,” says Duncan Quincey, professor of geomorphology at the University of Leeds, in the UK. He is supervising the research of Owen King and Scott Watson, the Ph.D. students who will spend a few weeks on the glacier this spring. “In places like the Icefall we’ve seen these tragic accidents, and I think it’s fair to say it’s symptomatic of high-elevation warming.”……

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable energy boom in Asia Pacific

renewable-energy-pictureAsia Pacific at the heart of global renewables boom Investments in clean energy reached record highs last year, spelling an optimistic outlook but new sources of competition for industry players. Eco Business, By Vaidehi Shah, 7 Apr 16,   The global clean energy sector continued its breakneck development with a record US$329 billion of new investments last year, and Asia Pacific is at the heart of this boom, according to a new report by professional services firm EY.

The London-headquartered consultancy’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index 2016 report, released in late February, showed that Asia Pacific secured almost US$180 million in clean energy investments last year – more than half of the global total.

China topped the index with US$110.5 billion in investments, followed by the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and India.

Wind and solar are the key energy sources driving the spike in global renewable energy investment, found EY. Together, the two sectors snapped up US$270 billion in clean energy investments last year, more than 80 percent of the US$329 billion total.

They also accounted for half of all new power generation capacity installed last year, contributing 120 gigawatts of new energy projects.

Asia Pacific saw more clean power going online than any other region, with 36 GW of solar and 31.5 GW of wind capacity added. This capacity was significantly higher than 8.9 GW in North America for solar energy, and 15 GW for Europe last year.

Asia Pacific’s electrifying growth

Matthew Rennie, managing partner, power and utilities, EY Australia, noted that India, Indonesia and Singapore are some of Asia’s most exciting markets.

With US$10.9 billion in clean energy investments last year, “India is the rising star of the Asia Pacific renewables market, and is starting to challenge China as the present index leader,” he said.

The rapid growth of investments in India is thanks to the government’s ambitious target to install 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022, announced last year. The country has also allocated US$400 million to finance this goal in its 2015 budget.

Indonesia, too, plans to scale up renewable energy………

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s Bruny Island residents to sell solar power to the grid

Residents onmap-Tasmania-solarafter $2.9m renewable energy grant   April 14, 2016 RESIDENTS  of Bruny Island have the chance to turn their homes into mini-power ­stations and trade on the national electricity grid to boost the island’s energy security and offset their power costs at the same time.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency yesterday announced $2.9 million to help a project to help fund solar panels and batteries for up to 40 households on the island.

Harnessing the surplus power they generate is hoped to help take pressure off Bruny Island’s power system during peak times.

The systems will include software that allows homeowners to sell their power back to the grid during times of peak demand — and hence prices — on the National Electricity Market.

 Dean Spaccavento from Rep­osit Power, which created the software that underpins the system, said the project was a smart response to the power supply issues the island faces.

“The reason Bruny Island was chosen was because of the constraints they have from their undersea cables,” he said. “A battery with a solar panel can be converted into a remarkable power stat­ion. It’s fast and can both produce and consume power in an instant — it’s the type of power station the future needs.”

He said the benefit for households was they could sell their power into the market at a price of about $1 per kilowatt hour — compared to the much lower 5.5c per kilowatt hour feed-in tariffs available at present.

TasNetworks will begin consulting Bruny Island residents about the project over the coming months and seeking expressions of interest via public forums on the island this year.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | solar, Tasmania | Leave a comment

New board and chairman for Australian Renewable Energy Agency

Australian Renewable Energy Agency gets new board and chairman
The environment minister, Greg Hunt, announces six new directors who have been appointed for a two-year term,
Guardian, , 13 Apr 16,  The government has appointed six new directors to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) board, to be headed by a new chairman, Martijn Wilder, an environmental markets lawyer.

The appointments of Arena’s former board members expired in January, leaving it governed by the environment department secretary, Gordon de Brouwer.

On Wednesday the environment minister, Greg Hunt, announced six directors who have been appointed for a two-year term.

Wilder was appointed both a director and chairman of the Arena board. He is the head of Baker & McKenzie’s global environmental markets practice, an adjunct professor at the Australian National University, and board director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The other five directors are Susan Jeanes, Meg McDonald, Katherine Woodthorpe, Maria Atkinson and Jonathan Jutsen.

The appointments follow the government’s decision in March to restructure Arena and the CEFC by setting up a clean energy innovation fund. The fund will in time take over Arena’s role of providing grants to help commercialise emerging technologies.

The government said Arena would “continue to manage its existing portfolio of grants and deliver the announced $100m in large-scale solar projects”. Arena would then move from a grant-based role to predominantly a debt and equity basis under the new CEFC…….

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment