In response to the Trump administration’s intense politicization of the issue, The Washington Post now
dedicates more resources to covering climate policy
“there are really big stories about climate refugees and cities that are threatened and desperately trying to adapt to climate change,”
Climate Journalism: The Coverage Heats Up InsideClimate News and Climate Central have dominated U.S. climate journalism, but The New York Times and Washington Post now are trying to catch up. UnDark, 03.23.2017 / BY Robin Lloyd For about a decade, niche websites have dominated U.S. journalism coverage of climate change and policy responses to it. General news publications and broadcasters, as well as media outlets dedicated to science, have failed to consistently match the volume, quality, and depth of coverage published by outlets such as Climate Central and InsideClimate News, both of which are nonprofit, non-partisan organizations. InsideClimate reporters David Hasemyer, Elizabeth McGowan, and Lisa Song even won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for their coverage of a Michigan oil spill.
SAD! Major TV networks spent just 50 minutes on climate change — combined — last year. Grist, 23 Mar 17
That’s a dramatic, 66-percent drop in coverage from 2015 across evening and Sunday news programs airing on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, according to a new study from Media Matters. ABC, for one, spent just six minutes on climate issues in 2016.
Other insights from the study:
- Together, the networks aired five segments of climate science denial from Trump and his team — without rebuttal.
- No network covered climate change’s impact on national security or the economy.
- And none of them aired a single segment on the effect a Trump or Clinton presidency would have on the climate — until after the election.
Great to know that TV news is taking the defining issue of our time so seriously. http://grist.org/briefly/major-tv-networks-spent-just-50-minutes-on-climate-change-combined-last-year/
‘Campaigners will occupy work sites, chain themselves to machinery and clog phone lines, Galilee Blockade says’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/25/anti-adani-activists-vow-direct-action-against-mine-contractor-downer
Joshua Robertson @jrojourno https://www.theguardian.com/profile/joshua-robertson 25 March 2017:
“A group of activists say the mining contractor Downer Group is the “prime target” of a civil disruption campaign to force it to walk away from a $2bn deal to build and run Adani’s proposed Queensland coalmine.
“Galilee Blockade organisers warn members of their network will occupy work sites,
chain themselves to machinery and clog phone lines, among other actions that will cost Downer money
until it exits a non-binding contract over the contentious Carmichael site.
“The protest group, which differentiates itself from a growing number of anti-Adani campaigns
by vowing to engage in “direct action” that will result in mass arrests, considers that the size and scope of Downer’s operations make it especially vulnerable. … ”
Carmichael coalmine ‘The latest news and comment about the plan to build a huge coalmine at Carmichael in the Galilee Basin in Queensland.’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/carmichael-coalmine
“Environmental Progress (EP) is a research and policy organization fighting for clean power and energy justice to achieve nature and prosperity for all”
Michael Shellenberger February 17, 2017 “the overwhelming amount of harm caused by accidents are due to fear and panic, not radiation exposure.”
“Nations must work together to develop a long-term plan for new nuclear plant construction to achieve economies of scale”
” Governments should invest directly or provide low-cost loans….financing is the key to opening up the global market….That will require that national governments work together to increase public demand and social acceptance of nuclear”
“What’s needed is an independent, serious and sustained effort by health and medical professionals to help Japanese and other publics to overcome fears based on grossly unscientific information…..
The truth is that human beings around the world have been victimized by fake news about nuclear power since the late 1960s. When most people learn the basic facts about nuclear they become far more supportive of it”.
MIT Technology Review believes a Westinghouse bankruptcy means an end to new nuclear construction in the United States.
Nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric to file for bankruptcy next week http://www.utilitydive.com/news/reports-nuclear-firm-westinghouse-electric-to-file-for-bankruptcy-next-wee/438880/ Robert Walton@TeamWetDog, March 24, 2017
Toshiba informed its main lenders
today it is planning for Westinghouse Electric Co., the nuclear engineering firm overseeing construction of new generating facilities in Georgia and South Carolina, to file for bankruptcy on March 31, according to sources briefed on the matter, Reuters reports. Continue reading
#StopAdani ‘This is the environmental issue of our times and the Great Barrier Reef is at stake. But people standing up for what they believe in has unbeatable power’
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/24/the-adani-mine-is-this-generations-franklin-river-people-power-can-stop-it 24 March 2017:
” … The Adani corporation’s dirty coalmine is an impending disaster with effects which will reach far beyond Australia.
“Everywhere I go people ask me about it. They cannot believe that, at a time when we should be drastically cutting the pollution which drives global warming, Australia’s authorities would even consider building the world’s biggest export coalmine.
“Lending Mr Adani, a billionaire, a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to carry this project into reality would be the political mistake of the decade. The Turnbull government would be literally paying Adani
to ride roughshod over Indigenous rights, to contaminate the groundwater of the Galilee Basin, to consign threatened species to the dustbin of history and to increase the already disastrous impact of coral death worldwide. … “
Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/21/record-breaking-climate-change-world-uncharted-territory
Earth is a planet in upheaval, say scientists, as the World Meteorological Organisation publishes analysis of recent heat highs and ice lows, Guardian, Damian Carrington, 20 Mar 17, The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.
Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows. Continue reading
Submissions on the paper close at 5pm AEST on 5 May 2017
Coalition sets climate parameters, as two more quit key advisory body, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 24 March 2017, Stage one of the federal government’s 2017 review of climate change policies is finally underway, with the release on Friday of a 40-page discussion paper for public consultation.
The Coalition’s climate review, announced by the Turnbull government in December 2016 and due for completion by the end of the year, was seen by some – at the time – as a positive development; an opportunity for it to get serious about its climate change policy, both current and future.
But the publication of the discussion paper – almost two months behind schedule and amid claims from the federal government’s own Climate Change Authority that it “doesn’t take the issue seriously” – does not immediately inspire confidence. Continue reading
Climate change makes weather extremes the new normal http://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-makes-weather-extremes-the-new-normal/a-38085847 On World Meteorological Day, DW provides an overview of how global warming is changing our lived experience of the climate. News of the hottest year, the wettest winter and suffocating summers are no longer a surprise. We’re getting used to extreme weather – and that’s worrying.
In 2016, Earth’s surface reached its warmest temperatures since 1880. It was the third year in a row to set a global record, as confirmed in the recently published World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2016.
Not surprisingly, 2017 is also expected to follow the trend, even though February 2017 was slightly cooler than the same month last year.
During the 20th century, the average temperature on Earth increased by around 1.8 degree Fahrenheit (1 Celsius). That may not seem much. But for comparison, temperatures during the last ice age were only 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than today, according to NASA.
Small changes in temperature mean huge changes for the environment, and the Earth’s climate record shows such fluctuations have been extremely rare historically. Violent weather
Extreme weather events used to occur on average only once in 100 years, but climate change is increasing their frequency, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns. And people and ecosystems around the world are feeling the impact.
Hurricane Matthew had devastating consequences in Haiti and part of the United States. Severe droughts and floods in 2016 have affected millions of people around the world.
Australia recently saw a severe heat wave and after years of severe drought, California is now dealing with extreme floods.
In May, Canada suffered its most damaging wildfire – and most costly natural disaster – ever. Some months later, the United States also experienced its most destructive wildfire in modern history.
Europe hasn’t escaped either. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had their wettest winter on record. Intense flooding hit France and Germany during May and June 2016, while France had its driest July and August on record.
European natural wonders such as the Alps are also at risk. The mountainous area is heating up twice as fast as the global average, which could lead to fire seasons lasting 30 to 50 days longer by 2050.
In March 2017, much of Peru is under a state of emergency due to devastating floods.
While some of these events are directly related to human activity and climate change, some remain under question. Climate change to blame
The 2016 European Environmental Agency report on climate change impacts, stated that global climate change had significantly increased the probability of extreme climate events in Europe.
Despite a range of factors leading to extreme weather, the vast majority of scientists have no doubt that extreme weather is connected to climate change.
While climate change may not be directly be causing, such events it is to blame for the increasing frequency and strength with which they hit.
Referring to Peru’s recent floods, Mojib Latif, a professor of oceanology and climate dynamics at GEOMA (the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany), said El Nino events have indeed become more frequent and stronger in recent decades.
The extreme El Nino climate pattern corresponds to climate change models, he said. However, he emphasized, it is still unclear whether this will become a trend.
While causes of recent natural disasters are still questioned, a recent study published in Nature Climate Change exposes a close relationship between global warming and concrete climate events.
Peak temperatures influence precipitation rates: For every additional degree Celsius, precipitation rates can increase from 5 to 10 percent.
For scientists, the link between fossil fuel emissions and global warming that is contributing to extreme weather is also beyond question.
“With carbon dioxide reaching a record annual average concentration of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident,” Petteri Taalas, WMO secretary general, said in the report.
Disastrous consequences Drought has left millions of people – mainly in Africa – starving because crops have failed, while flooding has displaced thousands of communities in Southeast Asia, the WMO reports.
Agricultural production is at risk in countries affected by flooding – not to mention those hit by natural disasters such as hurricanes. That not only puts food security at risk, but has broader economic impacts.
For example, in Australia a threat to agricultural production could have major consequences, as it represents one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, the Australian Climate Council reported. Extreme weather events linked to global warming have reprecussions throughout society.
The Union of Concerned Scientists mentions, among others: public health impacts, infrastructural and economic costs, and the destruction of biodiversity.
In cooler climes such as Germany, an early spring might put a smile on many people’s faces. But its global consequences threaten to create a very bleak future.
How the fossil fuel industry has screwed energy consumers, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 24 March 2017 As we absorb the hysterical claims – in the ABC, Fairfax, the Murdoch media and commercial TV – about the prospect of imminent power shortages, let’s just cast our eyes back just two and a half years when the fossil fuel industry was predicting …. wait for it …. an unprecedented supply glut.
According to the Australian Energy Market Operator at the time, there would be no need for any new generation for up to 10 years in south-eastern Australia, because of what was then described as that “unprecedented glut”.
“What we’re saying is that is that there’s an oversupply of generation capacity at present,” an AEMO spokesman, Joe Adamo, told the ABC at the time. And you can see that from those forecasts there. [graph on original]
The fossil fuel industry and big business seized on those forecasts to argue forcefully that the renewable energy target should be heavily cut, if not scrapped.
The Abbott government needed no encouragement, and despite being foiled by the Senate in its attempts to kill it entirely, it did succeed in cutting the RET, and sparking an investment drought that lasted from 2013 until the end of last year.
As Alan Pears and David Leitch each wrote in separate pieces on Thursday, Australian consumers and businesses are now paying the price for that act of policy vandalism, and the huge delays in investment in renewable energy that occurred thanks to the Abbott government.
Leitch puts the extra cost – in terms of wholesale electricity prices – at more than $11 billion. And soon enough, that will filter through to retail costs, already surging out of control according to a recent study by the Grattan Institute (and many others)……
Fast forward to now, and even though there has been no increase in demand, the fossil fuel industry is revelling in unprecedented profits, as spot and future price soar across the nation – particularly in the coal states.
Because of the lack of competition that could have been introduced if the RET policy was held steady, the incumbent generators can now use their market power to artificially inflate prices, and somehow convince mainstream media and conservative politicians that it is all the fault of wind and solar.
“It looks like the generators succeeded, as expected, in delaying investment until they could enjoy a price bonanza as they withdraw faster than replacement can get underway now,” says one senior executive, who declined to be named.
Spark Infrastructure, which runs two of the three networks in Victoria, and the only network in South Australia, was not so shy, writing in its submission to the Finkel Review that fossil fuel generators were deliberately dealing in “scarcity” to push up prices.
They did this, it said, by deliberately withdrawing capacity at critical times…….
The South Australian government, to its credit, has decided to try and tackle this nonsense by introducing an “energy supply target”, which seems deliberately calibrated to ensure that the fossil fuel industry does not shut down more capacity, and create more scarcity………http://reneweconomy.com.au/fossil-fuel-industry-screwed-energy-consumers-18974/
Can wind turbines make you sick? Debate divides tiny Victorian town of Waubra, ABC Radio, PM By Danny Tran, 24 Mar 17, In the sleepy Victorian town of Waubra, a bitter feud over wind power is driving a wedge between neighbours and friends.
- There are 79 wind farms in Australia and more than 2,000 turbines producing 5 per cent of the nation’s electricity
- Waubra’s own wind farm is one of the largest in Australia, with 128 turbines on the properties of 37 farmers
- Wind turbine syndrome describes symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms
About two hours north-west of Melbourne, Waubra produces enough electricity from its wind turbines to power two of Victoria’s largest regional cities.
But after almost a decade of operating, wind power remains a painful issue in the town, which is only home to about 500 people.
Waubra is so synonymous with wind power that opponents have christened the so-called illness that some claim comes with living near turbines “Waubra disease”.
The town might be at loggerheads over whether wind can make you sick, but what does the science say?
What is wind turbine syndrome?
Waubra disease, better known as wind turbine syndrome, describes a range of symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms, ranging from headaches to nausea.
It was first coined in 2009 by New York paediatrician Dr Nina Pierpont, who claimed wind turbines disrupted the inner-ear through inaudible, low-frequency vibrations.
The claims were rubbished by science and health bodies across the world, but anti-wind power groups seized on Dr Pierpont’s claims, which quickly spread to Australia.
Experts dismiss wind turbine syndrome as the result of a “nocebo” effect, where negative expectations of symptoms can amplify an actual negative effect — the opposite of a placebo.
But that hasn’t stopped Waubra locals from taking a side………
the Australian Medical Association’s Victorian president, Dr Lorraine Barker, said that anxiety over being near wind turbines can cause symptoms of its own.
“There is no indication that infrasound, for instance, could induce the symptoms … [but] anxiety certainly can,” Dr Barker said.
“Noises that are continuous in the background can be irritating, so that level of irritation may affect someone if they are standing very close to a wind turbine.
“However, infrasound, or the sound that is beyond the detection of the human ear, is not believed to cause harm to humans.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-24/victorian-town-divided-over-wind-turbines/8373760
CLIMATE. The worrying thing about climate change is not only that it’s happening so fast, but that it could now be seen as “normal”. The World Meteorological Organisation is telling us that the world climate is now in ‘uncharted territory’.
This month, my websites have focused on MEDIA. And that scene is worrying, too, as mainstream media has trivialised or ignored climate change. . However, that might now be changing.
NUCLEAR. As climate change risks becoming “normalised”, so, too, does the Fukushima situation. As if the 6th anniversary is over – now we can all ‘move on’? Deadly nuclear radiation levels detected in Fukushima. 80% of families not going back to Fukushima after housing aid ends. Fukushima fishermen fight release of tainted water as tritium standoff continues. Yakuza gangsters thriving. And lots more…
CLIMATE. Leaders of Australian Climate Change Authority quit over government’s inaction
This week, it’s all about Adani’s planned mega coal mine. The Stop Adani Alliance is being lainched by former Greens leader Bob Brown. Adani investors misled? Money shifted to tax haven as Australian govt subsidises loan. Immense coal mine “good for the environment” says fossil fuel lackey Resources Minister Matt Canavan. Australian cricketing great Ian Chappell wants Adani solar, but NOT Adani coal mine. 73% of Australians want investment in solar, not coal.
RENEWABLES and MEDIA. Australian media distorts facts on renewable energy: 1. ABC’s Chris Uhlmann. Media distortion 2. THE AUSTRALIAN. Media distortion 3. Fairfax.
“Small” rooftop solar is driving Australia’s solar energy boom: rooftop solar the unsung hero in recent South Australia blackouts. Victoria and South Australia embrace grid-scale storage for power reliability. First Nations Renewable Energy Alliance- a formidable lobby group takes off.
NUCLEAR. Radioactive Repeat: federal radioactive waste Groundhog Day increases uncertainty. Govt advances 2 sites at Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula for assessment as radioactive waste dumps.
Aboriginal issues. Senate Inquiry report tabled: Labor support for Native Title Bill profoundly disappointing.
Aboriginal Elder Tony Clark concerned with nuclear waste facility, Transcontinental, 23 Mar 2017, Adnyamantha and Kujani Traditional Elder Tony Clark says if the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility at Barndioota continues to the next stage, a federal court legal intervention may take place.
Mr Clark has previously led the charge of the Kujani people’s Federal Court win against the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility for Woomera in 2004.
The potential intervention would come from a group of Adnyamantha and Kujani people who are concerned the proposed facility holds a significant risk to the survival of the Pungu Purrungha song line.
The songline travels across a body of water more than 70 kilometres in length from Hawker to Lake Torrens, and is an important piece of local Aboriginal history.
It’s also believed to be at least 85,000 years old.
Mr Clark said he’s opposed to the facility and that he and others are not afraid of taking potential legal action. “If they proceed to the next step on our country … then we would look towards seeking legal intervention in the federal courts,” he said.
The proposed site,130 kilometres north of Port Augusta, will store low-level and some intermediate-level nuclear waste. The low level purpose-built repository would be about the size of four Olympic size swimming pools with a 100 hectare buffer on the 25,000 hectare property.
Designs have not been prepared for the national repository but it will be modelled on above-ground storage and disposal facilities overseas……
Mr Clark said the ‘cultural and spiritual well-being’ of the Adnyamantha people is at risk if the facility proceeds, and he believes section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989) plays an important role in the facility’s future.
The act states an Aboriginal person may enter, travel across or stay on pastoral land for the purpose of following the traditional pursuits of the Aboriginal people.
Mr Clark said the Adnyamantha people’s cultural and spiritual well-being may be at risk if they can’t access the Pungu Purrungha song line and that this section shows no Pastoralist can stop Aboriginal people accessing a traditional site like the Pungu Purrungha song line.
“Our cultural and spiritual well-being is at risk, along with our physical contact to the land under various acts of parliament, including section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989).”
A Spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said the (federal) government has said it will deliver a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in a centralised, purpose-built repository.
“The government has not formed a view that it should be located in Barndioota,” the spokesperson said…..http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/4547617/nuclear-proposal-may-go-to-courts/
Former Greens leader Bob Brown to launch alliance to oppose Adani coalmine https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/22/former-greens-leader-bob-brown-to-launch-coalition-to-oppose-adani-coalmine The Stop Adani Alliance says north Queensland coalmine would ‘fuel catastrophic climate change’, Guardian, Paul Karp, 22 Mar 17, The former Greens leader Bob Brown will launch a new alliance of 13 environmental groups opposed to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine on Wednesday in Canberra.
The Stop Adani Alliance will lobby against the coalmine in northern Queensland, citing new polling that shows three-quarters of Australians oppose subsidies for the mine when told the government plans to loan its owners $1bn.
The alliance’s declaration argues the mine will “fuel catastrophic climate change” because burning 2.3bn tonnes of coal from the mine over 60 years of operation would create 4.6bn tonnes of carbon dioxide. It states the project would “trash Indigenous rights”, citing the fact Adani does not have the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
The alliance’s members include the Bob Brown Foundation, the Australian Conservation Foundation, 350.org, Get Up, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The alliance will call for:
Urgent and serious action to cut carbon pollution;
- A complete withdrawal of the Adani Carmichael mine, rail and port project;
- A ban on new coalmines and expansions in Australia; and
- An end to public subsidies for polluting projects.
Brown said the groups were “drawing a line in the sand with Adani, just as previous generations did with the Franklin River dam”, a campaign of which he was a leader.
“Adani’s coalmine will be the most dangerous in our history, ramping up global carbon pollution precisely when emissions need to be drastically cut,” he said.
Brown will be joined at the launch in Canberra by alliance spokesman and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Geoff Cousins, and Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network codirector Amelia Telford.
According to a new ReachTel poll taken on 14 March, 74.8% of voters agree that “Adani should fund its own project” rather than rely on a proposed $1bn loan from the federal government.
The poll replicates results in January that showed three-quarters of respondents were opposed to loaning $1bn for a train line to the Adani coalmine.
The government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund granted Adani “conditional approval” for a $1bn loan in December 2016.
Two quit Australian climate authority blaming government ‘extremists’ John Quiggin and Danny Price resign over Coalition’s ‘rightwing anti-science activists’ and climate change political point-scoring, Guardian, Helen Davidson, 23 Mar 17, Two members of the Climate Change Authority have resigned, with one accusing the government of being beholden to rightwing, anti-science “extremists” in its own party and in the media.
John Quiggin told Guardian Australia he informed the federal minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, of his resignation on Thursday. It follows the resignation of fellow climate change authority member, Danny Price, who quit on Tuesday.
“The government’s refusal to accept the advice of its own authority, despite wide support for that advice from business, environmental groups and the community as a whole, reflects the comprehensive failure of its policies on energy and the environment,” Quiggin said.
“These failures can be traced, in large measure, to the fact that the government is beholden to rightwing anti-science activists in its own ranks and in the media. Rather than resist these extremists, the Turnbull government has chosen to treat the vital issues of climate change and energy security as an opportunity for political point-scoring and culture war rhetoric.”
Quiggin said his immediate reason for resigning was the government’s failure to respond to the authority’s third report of the special review into potential climate policies, which the government had requested and which it was legally required to respond to.
“The government has already indicated that it will reject the key recommendations of the review, particularly the introduction of an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry.”
Quiggin said he didn’t believe there was anything to be gained “by giving objective advice based on science and economic analysis to a government dominated by elements hostile to both science and economics”…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/23/two-quit-australia-climate-change-authority-john-quiggin-danny-price