Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (Apra) could require financial institutions to test climate risks

Finance sector could face climate-risk testing, says Australian watchdog
Regulator says it may add climate change to the list of scenarios it asks institutions to run to check economic resilience,
Guardian, , 9 Mar 17, Australia’s financial institutions could be required to test climate-risk scenarios as international regulators continue to warn of the economic dangers posed by climate change.

Geoff Summerhayes, executive board member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (Apra), told a Senate committee that climate scenario testing could be added to the other common scenarios Apra requires financial institutions to face to ensure their systems are robust.

It’s been more than a year since the COP21 Paris climate change conference, when the former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was appointed to head a taskforce to provide investors, insurers, banks and consumers with more information. The move was part of plans for a voluntary industry-led code announced by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the G20 body that monitors and makes recommendations about the financial system.

Last month Summerhayes warned climate change posed a material risk to the entire financial system and urged companies to start adapting. Apra is the regulator that oversees the $6tn industry made up of banks, building societies, superannuation, insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Summerhayes said Apra already sent out common scenarios for institutions to test. These scenarios have an economic factor, including an asset price shock and, in the case of the insurance industry, a potential liabilities scenario as well.

 “It is possible in the future that climate could be such a risk that we would want to test,” Summerhayes said. “That is not in our current plans but it is possible as other emerging risks are, that we would scenario test.”

He acknowledged the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) had been very active on climate change. The bank’s governor, Mark Carney, has warned of financial crises and falling living standards unless corporations faced up to the risks. “Apra is not first prudential regulator to make statements about climate,” he said.

Emma Herd, the chief executive of Investor Group on Climate Change, told the committee the political debate in recent years had stopped companies speaking publicly about their strategic response to climate change…….

The Senate inquiry, initiated by Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson and restarted after the federal election, is looking into carbon risk and disclosure in corporate Australia.

March 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

No such thing as ‘clean coal’: WA premier

No such thing as ‘clean coal’: WA premier Tom Rabe, Australian Associated Press March 7, 2017 

There’s no such thing as clean coal, says West Australian premier Colin Barnett, placing him at odds with his federal Liberal counterparts.

Mr Barnett dismissed the notion of clean coal when outlining the balance of energy production in WA, saying more than half of the state’s energy came from natural gas, which he described as a clean technology.

“I mean, all this stuff about clean coal, no such thing as clean coal,” Mr Barnett said. “Natural gas is cleaner, produces less than half of the emissions of a coal power station so it’s a good technology to use.”

Mr Barnett said if re-elected his Liberal government would move to balance energy production between gas, renewable and coal.

Mr Barnett’s comments on clean coal differ with those of his federal counterparts, who are working to finance new coal-fired power.

The federal government is exploring how it can allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in the so-called ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is currently in Indonesia, was unavailable for comment.

March 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Drop in greenhouse gas emissions, as result of spike in renewable energy

Renewable energy spike led to sharp drop in emissions in Australia, study shows [excellent graphs]  Surge in October last year helped greenhouse gas emissions fall by 3.57m tonnes in December quarter, Guardian,   and , 10 Mar 17 A sharp drop in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions at the end of last year came courtesy of a spike in renewable energy generation in a single month, according to a new study.

Australia’s emissions fell by 3.57m tonnes in the three months to December, putting them back on track to meet quarterly commitments made in Paris after a blowout the previous quarter.

The fall is the largest for the quarter since the government began recording emissions in 2001. The report’s authors said this was entirely due to record levels of hydro and wind generation in October. This brought emissions for the year to December to below the year to December 2015.

But projected emissions for the December quarter were still 6.89m tonnes over levels demanded by scientifically based targets set by the government’s Climate Change Authority.

And, long term, the results show Australia is set to run more than 300m tonnes over what is required to meet its Paris targets in 2030.

The analysis was produced by Ndevr Environmental, which analyses data for all Australia’s major emissions sources and compares the results with the government’s commitments made in Paris and the cuts recommended by the Climate Change Authority.

It aims to produce a more timely account than the government’s, which is six to nine months behind.

In the four years to December 2016, Australia emitted 20.7% of its share of what the world can emit between 2013 and 2050 if it intends to maintain a good chance of keeping warming to below 2C.

If Australia continues to emit carbon pollution at the average rate of the past year, it will spend its entire carbon budget by December 2031. Projected to the current second, the graphic shows how much of the carbon budget has been spent.

Matt Drum, the managing director of Ndevr Environmental, said the figures showed renewable energy was “the only thing that’s keeping us in the ballgame” of meeting climate commitments……..

Direct Action is the federal government’s primary carbon reduction tool, which pays polluters to pollute less through a reverse auction – the emissions reduction fund.

There is no evidence the emissions bought through that fund, now largely spent, reduce overall emissions and many of the emissions the government pays to avoid are unlikely to have occurred anyway

March 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

AUSTRALIA’S ANGRY SUMMER- over 300 weather records broken


More than 200 weather records were broken during the intense, “angry summer” just finished, putting stress on Australians and the ageing energy system.
A report from the Climate Council, released on Wednesday, says the summer was characterised by intense heatwaves, hot days and bushfires in central and eastern Australia but heavy rainfall and flooding in the country’s west.
Climate scientist Will Steffen said the effects of climate change could be seen in the 200 records broken in 90 days.
“We’re experiencing unprecedented extreme heat and setting new records at an alarming rate, with every part of Australia feeling the impact,” he said.
“Extreme weather will continue to intensify through this century if we continue to sit on our hands and fail to move rapidly to get fossil fuels out of our economy.”

Extreme weather events have dominated a wetter-than-average year in Australia, with the country also clocking its fourth-warmest year on record in 2016.
Fellow climate councillor and energy expert Andrew Stock said the “ageing, inefficient and polluting” energy system already struggled to cope with heatwaves and extreme weather and would come under even more pressure as these intensified.
The energy system is under scrutiny after blackouts in South Australia and load shedding in NSW during hot days.
“It’s time for Australia to power our economy with a 21st century energy system, one which deploys proven renewable technology and storage solutions instead of relying on high greenhouse emitting fossil fuels,” Mr Stock said.
“These fossil fuels are the very culprits feeding the extreme weather cycle. We have to stop backing the wrong horse.”
The federal government is facing increasing calls – including from big business and electricity generators – to give certainty to the energy sector and put in place some kind of carbon price, such as an emissions intensity scheme.
Records broken over the 2016-17 summer include:
Hottest summer on record for Sydney, NSW as a whole, Brisbane, and Canberra

Hottest Adelaide Christmas day in 70 years at 41.3 degrees

NSW town Moree had 54 consecutive days with temperatures reaching 35 degrees or higher

Canberra had 18 days with temperatures 35 degrees or higher (previously predictions said this wouldn’t happen until after 2030)

Highest summer rainfall for Perth at 192.8mm

Wettest December on record for parts of the Kimberley

Highest daily January rainfall in the east Kimberley

Press link for more:

March 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

State of the Environment report says climate change impact on Australia may be irreversibl

Climate change impact on Australia may be irreversible, five-yearly report says State of the Environment report says heritage and economic activity are being affected and the disadvantaged will be worst hit, Guardian, Katherine Murphy, 7 Mar 17, An independent review of the state of Australia’s environment has found the impacts of climate change are increasing and some of the changes could be irreversible.

The latest State of the Environment report, a scientific snapshot across nine areas released by the federal government every five years, says climate change is altering the structure and function of natural ecosystems in Australia, and is affecting heritage, economic activity and human wellbeing.

It warns climate change will result in “location specific vulnerabilities” and says the most severe impacts will be felt by people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

Record high water temperatures caused “widespread coral bleaching, habitat destruction and species mortality” in the marine environment between 2011 and 2016, it says.

The minister for energy and the environment, Josh Frydenberg, was due to release the report card on Tuesday morning……

Australia’s heavily populated coastal areas are under pressure, as are “growth areas within urban environments, where human pressure is greatest”, the report finds.

Grazing and invasive species continue to pose a significant threat to biodiversity.

“The main pressures facing the Australian environment today are the same as in 2011: climate change, land use change, habitat fragmentation and degradation, and invasive species,” the report’s summary says. “In addition, the interactions between these and other pressures are resulting in cumulative impacts, amplifying the threats faced by the Australian environment……

The report criticises the lack of “an overarching national policy that establishes a clear vision for the protection and sustainable management of Australia’s environment to the year 2050”.

It points to poor collaboration, gaps in knowledge, data and monitoring and a lack of follow-though from policy to action.

“Providing for a sustainable environment both now and in the future is a national issue requiring leadership and action across all levels of government, business and the community,” it says. “The first step is recognising the importance and value of ecosystem services to our economy and society…….

Late last year, the government established a review of its Direct Actionclimate policy. The current policy has been widely criticised by experts as inadequate if Australia is to meet its international emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate change agreement.

Shortly after establishing the review, Frydenberg ruled out converting the Direct Action scheme to a form of carbon trading after a brief internal revolt. Many experts argue carbon trading would allow Australia to reduce emissions consistent with Paris commitments at least cost to households and businesses……

March 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s peak farming group asks govt to consider emissions trading scheme

Farmers back emissions trading scheme, THE AUSTRALIAN, , 7 Mar 17, Australia’s peak farming group has thrown its support behind a carbon price to fix the country’s energy woes, calling on the ­government to reconsider its ­opposition to an emissions ­intensity scheme in the electricity sector.

In its submission to the Finkel review of the Australian energy market, the National Farmers Federation has warned the agriculture sector is struggling without “secure, reliable and affordable” power supply and urges a bipartisan approach to energy policy.

NFF president Fiona Simson said the sector believed the cheapest path to a low-emissions future was “some form of market-based approach”, which could include an emissions intensity scheme.

“For us it is about having everything on the table; we certainly want security of supply, we want affordable power, we are technology neutral and we know we’re moving towards lower emissions,” Ms Simson said.

“It is just how we can actually put everything on the table to guarantee a long-term ­national plan facilitating a smooth, reliable transition to lower emissions generation.”……

The federal government has ruled out adopting an EIS.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel is reviewing the national energy market and is expected to finalise his report to the Council of Australian Governments by mid-year.

The Australian Institute of ­Architects has told the review government needs to focus on the demand side of the energy equation, arguing that making changes to energy efficiency of buildings could deliver up to 28 per cent of the 2030 emissions reduction target and achieve $20 billion in energy savings.

“Buildings contribute to nearly half of the country’s electricity consumption and the building sector offers a great opportunity for more energy productivity gains,” said institute president Ken Maher.

March 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s record-breaking summer heat linked directly to climate change

heatAUSTRALIA’S RECORD-BREAKING SUMMER Australia’s record-breaking summer heat linked directly to climate change  By Natasha Gieling

The record-breaking heat seen across southeast Australia in the last few months was made 50 times more likely by climate change, according to new analysis that links the heat directly to global warming.
Southeast Australia was struck by three major heatwaves in January and February, with temperatures climbing as high as 113°F (45°C) in some places.

On February 10, Sydney Airport recorded its hottest February day on record, with temperatures hitting 109°F (42°C).

The heat was also uncharacteristically persistent — Observatory Hill in Sydney saw temperatures reach above 95°F (35°C) for nine consecutive days in January, breaking a 120-year old record.

Elsewhere, the consistent heat was even more extreme: in Moore, New South Wales, there were 52 consecutive days with temperatures above 95°F (35°C).
The study, conducted by the World Weather Attribution Program at Climate Central, used climate model simulations and observational data analysis to understand how climate change, caused by an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, might have made these heat events more likely.

They found that climate change made the average temperatures seen this summer in Australia 50 times more likely, and made the maximum summer temperatures 10 times more likely.
“In the past, a summer as hot as 2016–2017 was a roughly 1 in 500-year event,” the researchers wrote. “Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1 in 50 years — a 10-fold increase in frequency.”

The analysis also warns that heat events like these — both punctuated heatwaves and long stretches of above-average temperatures — are likely to become more frequent as climate change continues.

In the future, according to the study, heat events like the one this summer could happen as frequently as every five years — and will likely be more intense, with temperatures averaging at least 1.8ºF (1°C) warmer than they were in the past.
The connection between heat waves and climate change has strong scientific support. In 2015, eight papers published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society’s attribution report — an annual report that explains extreme weather events from a climate perspective — all linked climate change to heatwaves, showing that climate change clearly made heatwaves either more likely, more intense, or both.
According to data from NASA and NOAA, 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Before that, both 2015 and 2014 held that distinction.

In fact, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001.

Press link for more: Think Progress

March 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac invest $7bn more in fossil fuels than in renewables

hypocrisy-scaleBig Australian banks invest $7bn more in fossil fuels than renewables, says report ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac provided three times more for non-renewable than clean energy projects in 2016, says Market Forces, Guardian, , 6 Mar 17, Australia’s big four banks invested three times as much in global fossil fuels as they did in clean energy in 2016, despite pledging to help Australia transition to a low carbon economy.

The banks provided a combined $10bn to projects around the world that expanded non-renewable energy, according to finance group Market Forces.

ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank were the worst offenders, investing over $3bn each in fossil fuels. In the same period, ANZ only lent $225m to renewables, giving it a 14:1 ratio. Continue reading

March 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Decision reserved by Federal Court on Adani coal mine issue

justiceFederal Court reserves Adani decision CarmichaelMine2au/business/mining-and-resources/federal-court-reserves-adani-decision-20170303-guq2gd.html  

The Australian Conservation Foundation must wait to learn if its latest challenge against the controversial Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been successful.

The ACF appeared before the Federal Court in Brisbane on Friday to appeal a decision last year that gave the huge Carmichael project the green light.

But the full bench reserved its judgment after it heard submissions from the environmental group, federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Adani.

ACF barrister Saul Holt QC argued the original judge had erred when he found in favour of Mr Frydenberg and the Indian mining giant in August.

Mr Holt claimed the environment minister had not applied or misconstrued the law when he claimed if the mine didn’t go ahead, the same amount of coal could still be produced somewhere else in the world.

Mr Holt said the argument failed to address the impact the Adani mine would have on global warming and in particular, warmer water temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef.

“What someone else might do if this action doesn’t go ahead is irrelevant,” he said.

“The harm is still done by the emission of the carbon by Adani’s coal.”

However Richard Lancaster SC, representing Mr Frydenberg, said the original judge was correct when he agreed his client could only be “speculative” when it came to the impact Adani’s possible emissions would have on global warming.

Mr Lancaster said the projection that 4.64 billion tonnes of coal, or one-183rd of total worldwide emissions, could be produced by the Queensland mine was the “worst case scenario”.

Mr Lancaster said neither the original judge nor the environment minister had erred in their interpretation of the relevant acts.

The full bench of the Federal Court will hand down its decision at a later date.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Australia’s tourism c ompanies complicit in ignoring climate change

coral bleachingSilence is Complicity in Reef’s Destructuon #auspol , John Pratt, 1 M ar 17 Big tourism must demand action to save the reef – its business depends on it
According to a blog post on the home page of the tourism giant Mantra Group, a “family holiday in Queensland would be incomplete without a visit to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world”.
Which raises the question, why isn’t the Mantra Group – one of Australia’s largest hotel and resort operators, with more than $8bn in asset management including a string of resorts in north Queensland – vociferous in demanding action to save the reef?
The question could not be more pertinent given the return of the threat of coral bleaching.
Mantra and other huge hospitality companies with interests on the reef, including Marriott and Accor, were conspicuously muted during the great bleaching of 2015-16.

Nor have any of these companies spoken out strongly against the Carmichael coalmine proposal – despite the mortal threat that fossil-fuel expansion poses to the reef their businesses depend on.
As the Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss, Daniel Gschwind, told the Monthly:

“It’s hard to see how the further development or expansion of the coal industry can support or in any way contribute positively to the future of the reef … There is no denying that the further extraction and burning of fossil fuels is a negative for the reef.”
Port Douglas sits at the hinge of the central and northern sectors of the Great Barrier Reef.

Presumably a large number of those who choose to stay in resorts like the Mantra Aqueous – or the Accor-owned Sea Temple or the Marriott-owned Sheraton Mirage, both also in Port Douglas – have been drawn there by the promise of the reef.

And while the vast majority of the reef experienced some damage, it is the northern sector that experienced the worst.

Last November a team of experts from James Cook University led by Prof Terry Hughes estimated that two-thirds of the corals in the reef’s northern part had died.
I snorkelled some of the impacted areas. I’d seen plenty of images and vision but nothing really prepares you for the scale of the carnage when the algae-covered remains spread out beneath you, all around, in every direction, as far as your goggled eyes can see.
Gschwind believes that most tour operators are not just on the reef “to make a buck” but rather “have a deep, almost spiritual, connection to the places they visit and take their visitors to” so “their interest is very much also in conservation”. The 170 tourism operators who wrote an open letter to the prime minister last year opposing the Carmichael coalmine are no doubt in this category.
But in the fight for the reef’s future, the big end of the tourism street has gone missing. The likes of Mantra, Accor and Marriott profit from the astonishing beauty of the fish and the coral – but where is the much-vaunted corporate leadership when the Great Barrier Reef needs defenders?…….

March 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Coal power now “univestable”, but Australian government keen to subsidise it

Turnbull climate 2 facedCoalition’s “clean coal” plan to power Gina, Clive, Adani in Galilee basin, REneweconomy. By  on 1 March 2017 The so-called “clean coal” power generator being promoted by the Coalition has been revealed to be a 2009 proposal from businessman Clive Palmer that would be used to help provide electricity to Galilee coal mines planned by Palmer himself, Gina Rinehart, and Indian group Adani.

Waratah Coal, the company owned by Palmer’s Mineralogy, confirmed to the ABC on Tuesday that it had made an application to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation last Friday to finance a proposed 900MW coal generator that proposes to use an unproven technology, carbon capture and storage.

The revived plan was originated in 2009, and the details can be found here. It proposed to bury the emissions from the coal plant under the very same coal province that the three mining groups propose to mine – except that it will be “sequestered” in an “un-mineable” area of coal seams some 1km underground.

The $1.25 billion figure comes from its 2009 estimates, but it is expected that this is well out of the ball-park now. It also does not, the application makes clear, include the cost of carbon capture and sequestration.

No plant in the world has come close to making this a commercially viable proposition and the owners of the most advanced project, Kemper in Georgia, now admit it would be impossible make money from coal generation and CCS.

But that hasn’t stopped the Coalition continuing to push “clean coal” over renewables, despite overwhelming consensus that it would cost at least twice as much – and possibly four times as much with CCS – than wind and solar alternatives.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – who as recently as 2010 supported 100 per cent renewable energy scenarios – has now pitched the Coalition’s energy policy firmly behind the construction of new “ultra supercritical” coal plants.

Resources minister Matt Canavan has been particularly vocal in support of a new coal-fired power station in north Queensland. This proposal, from Palmer, is the only proposal in the pipeline. Most other energy investors in the area are instead looking to solar and wind farms.

This comes as new data shows that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, jumping another 2.2 per cent in the last financial year and taking the growth since the repeal of the carbon price to more than 7 per cent.

Much of this growth has come from the electricity sector, due to increased coal-fired generation, and from the new LNG export facilities in Queensland, where more coal and gas is being burned to power the liquefaction of coal seam gas, so it can be shipped overseas.

New studies have again questioned whether coal seam gas is any “cleaner” than coal power, given evidence that “rogue methane emissions” which are not measured by the gas companies, are actually making CSG a dirtier power source than coal…..

The Minerals Council, it has been widely reported, supplied the lump of coal brought into Question Time last month by treasurer Scott Morrison, in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave. The coal was lacquered so Coalition ministers and MPs would not get their hands dirty.

The proposed coal-fired power station in the Galilee Basin reveals the farcical depths of Australia’s energy policy debate. Even the Energy Supply Council, which represents the country’s fossil fuel generators, admits that new coal power is now “un-investable”.

The Coalition wants such coal plants to be funded by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, but this has been dismissed on several occasions by CEO Oliver Yates, who points out that co-financiers would be impossible to find, and any such investment would require billions of dollars in government guarantees and indemnities against a future carbon price.

The Minerals Council, though, is pushing the Galilee coal basin hard. It has previously fought against a carbon price and has launched numerous campaigns to promote coal as a commodity……

March 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales is set to experience many more hot summers, with extreme heat days

heat_waveClimate scientists say likelihood of extreme summers surging due to global warming
Report’s authors say Sydney unprepared for knock-on effects of a significant increase in average summer temperatures,
Guardian, , 2 Mar 17New South Wales, which has just experienced its hottest summer on record, is 50 times more likely to experience another similarly hot summer and 10 times more likely to experience extremely hot days under climate change, according to a group of Australian climate scientists.

The mean temperature in Sydney was 2.8C above average in December, January, and February, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and the three-day heatwave from 9 February to 11 was the hottest on record from Sydney to Brisbane, breaking records set in 1939.

It us the kind of weather event that would have been considered a one in 500-year occurrence before 1910, before global warming had a significant impact on the climate system, but had now become a one in 50-year event, according to a new analysis released on Thursday.

“In the future, a summer as hot as this past summer in NSW is likely to happen roughly once every five years,” the report said.

It could make Sydney a less liveable city, one of the report’s authors, Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, said. Perkins-Kirkpatrick is a research fellow at the University of New South Wales’ Climate Change Research Centre and said Sydney was unprepared for the knock-on effects of a significant increase in average summer temperatures……..

Melbourne University’s Dr Andrew King, another author of the report, said that while Australia had experienced extremely hot days or extreme weather events in the past, the data showed the frequency and severity of those events had increased markedly in the past 20 years and would continue to increase unless drastic action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Yes, people would have experienced 40C days several decades ago around different parts of Australia and in Sydney but we know that these incidences of very hot days are getting more frequent and we are setting more records for heat,” he said.

Australia broke 12 times more records for hot weather than cool weather between 2000 and 2014.

“The purpose of the analysis in this report is to raise awareness that climate change is already impacting on weather in Australia,” King said. “Hopefully it motivates action on climate change, because we know what the solution to climate change is.”

March 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

More Bleaching on Great Barrier Reef #auspol  

coral bleaching  John Pratt 2 Mar 17 Just when you thought the situation couldn’t get much worse for the Great Barrier Reef comes news that devastating coral bleaching will almost certainly increase significantly — again — in the coming months.
Record bleaching hit the 1,400-mile-long reef system in 2016, for the third year in a row, killing more than 65 percent of the coral of the northern reef. Climate change has impacted the ecosystem, as the colorful zooxanthellae are expelled from the coral during times of stress, according to numerous studies and the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Coral can rebound in good times — though it takes as long as a decade — but scientists say that’s not likely to happen soon, if ever. The reef is already warmer than it was at this time last year and there’s a strong strong possibility that March and April will set new temperature highs ― and a new record for coral bleaching. Marine park authority workers are already seeing significant bleaching this season.

Press link for more: Huffington Post

March 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Turnbull government failing badly on climate. pandering to fossil fuel companies

map-turnbull-climateClimate pollution rising: Turnbull, Frydenberg failing, REneweconomy, By  on 1 March 2017 If the Turnbull government had to pay a dollar for every time a minister claimed Australia was ‘meeting and beating’ its climate targets, the money would be stacking up. Their claims, however, would not.

New data, just released under the National Greenhouse & Energy Reporting Scheme, shows the climate policies of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Environment & Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are simply not working.

The data reflects the emissions of approximately 400 of Australia’s biggest companies and sits alongside the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory as an indicator of our emissions trajectory.

The 10 biggest polluters remain the same as last year. although the order has slightly changed.

They include Australia’s biggest electricity generators, AGL, Energy Australia, Origin, Engie and CS Energy, along with mining giants Rio Tinto and Glencore.

Overall, climate pollution is up by 3.4 per cent since last year and by 7.5 per cent since the Abbott-Turnbull government axed the carbon price.    Unlike the government’s current policy, the carbon price was reducing Australia’s pollution. This is evident in the data. [graph on original]

The new data also shows pollution from Australia’s electricity sector, which is responsible for about 35 per cent of our climate pollution, went up 2.6 per cent on the previous year and 5 per cent since the carbon price was removed.

The pollution increases — from specific generators and overall — show there is little incentive for big polluters to clean up their acts when they have a free ride to pollute.

Meanwhile, global warming continues to damage Australian treasures, like the Great Barrier Reef, and increase the likelihood and severity of heatwaves and bushfires.

And there’s no sign Australia’s international commitments under the Paris agreement, including our 2030 target for 26-28 per cent pollution reduction in 2005 levels, will be able to be reached without major policy changes that see Australia phase out fossil fuels and enable a rapid transition to clean renewable energy.

However, instead of acknowledging global warming as a national crisis that demands immediate serious action, the federal government is considering loaning Adani $1 billion for a coal-carting railway line from the Galilee Basin to the Great Barrier Reef coast and wants the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund new coal-fired power stations.

None of this stacks up for investors that see coal in terminal decline and are unwilling to sink their money into facilities that will undoubtedly end up as stranded assets.

Nor is support for coal consistent with our Paris commitments, which include driving down pollution to net zero well before mid-century keeping global warming under 1.5—2 degrees………

Turnbull and Frydenberg continue to blame renewable energy. The data released this week is hard evidence Australia’s pollution is going up and that means Turnbull and Frydenberg’s policies are failing.

March 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Industry request for Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds for new coalmining!

exclamation-fossil-fuel-fightback-1Government green bank receives funding request for $1.2 billion coal-fired power plant, The Age, Adam Morton Amy Remeikis 28 Feb 17   The Turnbull government’s push for taxpayers to finance new coal-fired power stations is facing its first test after an application for support was lodged with the national green bank.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation chief Oliver Yates told a Senate estimates hearing that the agency received an email on Friday from an unidentified company requesting a loan for a proposed $1.2 billion, 900 megawatt coal plant with carbon capture and storage.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the plan, but energy industry experts noted the size and estimated cost were similar to a previous proposal by former mining magnate and MP Clive Palmer for a generator in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Speaking to Fairfax Media on Monday night, Mr Palmer said he had “retired” and directed questions to Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris. But he said the company had spent $20 million on a similar plant under the Gillard government and the project was in a “high state of readiness”.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is banned from financing capture and storage technology, which involves burying the greenhouse gas emitted in burning coal underground. Dropping the ban would require a challenging change in legislation – a step likely to be opposed by Labor and the Greens.

Mr Yates said he believed new coal plants were not commercially viable unless the government was willing to indemnify the owner for the life of the plant.

He said the indemnity would need to cover any future climate change policy – an unquantifiable sum covering decades – and potential delays in construction due to protests.

Mr Yates, a former Macquarie Bank executive director who is stepping down as head of the finance corporation, said he was not aware of any bank that would be willing to lend to a project that may not be viable.

“I don’t see that as a sensible risk position for the taxpayer to take,” he said.

“If a private sector participant wants to go and build anything – they want to build a theme park, want to build the Eiffel Tower – it may not be economically sensible, but they are entitled to go and do it if they want to.”…….

Mr Yates said among the risks facing coal proposals was the falling cost of renewable energy. Coal generators would need to compete to sell the electricity they produced.

An analysis by consultants Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently found new coal plants, with emissions up to 25 per cent lower than Australia’s existing plants, would be more expensive than gas, wind or solar power. Adding carbon capture and storage would dramatically further increase the cost. …….

March 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment