Breaking Waves: Ocean News

12/13/2018 - 04:00
More than 200 species make their homes at America’s most diverse sanctuary, but construction through the reserve could begin in February On any given day at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, visitors can to see more than 60 varieties of butterflies. In the spring and fall, monarchs and other species can blanket the center’s 100 acres of subtropical bushlands that extend from the visitor center to to the banks of the Rio Grande river, where their property, and US sovereignty, ends. “It’s like something from Fantasia,” said the center’s director, Marianna Wright. “When you walk you have to cover your mouth so you don’t suck in a butterfly.” Continue reading...
12/13/2018 - 02:02
Activist groups warn providing finance for coal-fired power stations is inconsistent with banks’ commitments to Paris agreement Environmental and progressive activist groups are urging Australia’s major banks and financial institutions not to fund new coal projects now that the Morrison government has flagged taxpayer assistance for power generation. The Australian Conservation Foundation, GetUp, Greenpeace, Environment Victoria, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility and the Australia Institute wrote on Thursday to chief executives of the major lenders, warning the provision of finance for new coal, or retrofits of old coal-fired power stations, would be inconsistent with their public commitments to the Paris agreement. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 21:38
If emissions continue at current rate, Australia will miss Paris target by 1.1bn tonnes, Ndevr Environmental predicts Australia’s carbon emissions are again the highest on record, according to new data from the emissions-tracking organisation Ndevr Environmental. Ndevr replicates the federal government’s national greenhouse gas inventory (NGGI) quarterly reports but releases them months ahead of the official data. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 18:44
Mark Butler says party will make decision on using carryover credits from the Kyoto protocol after Paris ‘rule book’ established The shadow climate minister Mark Butler has not ruled out using carryover carbon credits from the Kyoto protocol to help Labor meet its more ambitious emissions reduction targets in the event it wins the next election. Butler expressed reluctance about using accounting tricks as part of Labor’s climate policy arsenal, but told the ABC he would not make a decision about whether carryover credits were in or out until after the Paris rule book was established. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 17:38
EU and 27 countries vow to toughen commitments as environment minister’s address at COP24 UN climate change summit accused of flying in face of reality Australia will not commit to larger carbon emissions reductions above its Paris agreement target, despite a coalition of former allies and Pacific neighbours urging greater cuts. In Paris in 2015 Australia was a part of a bloc of countries called the “High Ambition Coalition”, which includes the UK, the EU, New Zealand, the Marshall Islands and Fiji. Australia is outside that bloc now. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 13:55
Rightwing nationalism threatens the global solidarity needed to avoid a climate catastrophe Global warming is a crisis for civilisation and a crisis for life on Earth. Human-caused climate change was behind 15 deadly weather disasters in 2017, including droughts, floods and heatwaves. The world’s leading climate scientists, in a special report for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have warned that there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. To meet that target, global carbon emissions need to drop by 45% by 2030. Instead they are going up. We need radical, urgent change. So it is appalling that negotiators in Poland at the 24th Conference of the Parties, or COP24, are finding it so hard to push ahead with implementing the climate deal signed three years ago in Paris. This is largely because rising rightwing nationalism has vitiated the global solidarity needed to avoid a catastrophe. Under the Paris agreement, effective action to tackle climate change requires global cooperation on three fronts: first, nations set demanding carbon-reduction targets for their own societies; second, countries are held accountable for meeting these targets through surveillance mechanisms; and third, rich states provide cash for poorer ones to transition to a carbon-free future. Yet none of this is possible when the most important actors on the world stage think that the chief business of the nation state lies at home. The biggest problem is the US president, Donald Trump – a longtime climate-change denier. While negotiators were discussing how to lower carbon emissions, Mr Trump’s officials unveiled two schemes promoting fossil fuels. The US’s rogue behaviour has encouraged others to behave badly: notably Saudi Arabia, which played a key role in attempts to wreck the summit’s “welcoming” of the IPCC report. Last month, Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, chose as his foreign minister a climate-change denier, and the nation has pulled out of hosting COP25. The top European leaders – Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Angela Merkel – are inwardly focused, leaving Poland, the current talks’ host, to sing the virtues of its large coal stocks. The other big players are India and China: the latter has the global heft but is not internationally deft; for the former, the opposite is true. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 13:43
Why did the first big, complex organisms spring to life in deep, dark oceans where food was scarce? A new study finds great depths provided a stable, life-sustaining refuge from wild temperature swings in the shallows.
12/12/2018 - 12:47
‘Peaceful use’ of fossil fuels could mean their continued but decreasing extraction, within enforceable limits constrained by the Paris agreement goals, writes Hugh Richards In the face of the emerging climate emergency (Letters, 10 December) and projected unconstrained growth in global fossil fuel use, this is a plea for people with relevant expertise and influence to take forward the idea for a “non-proliferation treaty” (NPT) for fossil fuels, floated by Andrew Simms and Peter Newell (theguardian.com, 23 October) and supported by Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and others (Letters, 30 October). The analogy between fossil fuels and fissile nuclear materials is imperfect, but it should not be overlooked that the nuclear NPT promotes cooperation in and equal access to “peaceful use” of nuclear technology. “Peaceful use” of fossil fuels could mean their continued but decreasing extraction, within enforceable limits constrained by the Paris agreement goals, and an offsetting role for carbon capture and geo-sequestration (funded by fossil fuel producers). Safeguards and oversight could be provided by a new United Nations monitoring agency, akin to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could also administer a global fossil carbon budget. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 12:18
A new study is starting to unravel that mystery. Researchers found that the soundscape of a reef -- the combined sounds of all animals living nearby -- might play a major role in steering corals towards healthy reef systems and away from damaged ones.
12/12/2018 - 12:00
Morrison government specifies generation projects will need to be coal, gas, batteries or pumped hydro to be eligible for underwriting The Morrison government has sent a clear signal that it is prepared to provide taxpayer support for both new and existing coal plants, opening registrations of interest in its controversial new power generation underwriting program. With the government accelerating to cover off major announcements before the Christmas break, the energy minister, Angus Taylor, will on Thursday use an event at a hydro power station in Tasmania to outline the terms of the new program and urge proponents to get their bids in over the summer break – before 23 January. Continue reading...