Breaking Waves: Ocean News

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 - 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 - 12:00
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...
12/12/2018 - 11:35
EU, Canada, New Zealand and developing countries to keep global warming below 1.5C The EU and scores of developing countries have pledged to toughen their existing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to enable the world to stay within a 1.5C rise in global warming. The promise, which follows increasingly dire scientific warnings, was the most positive message yet to come from the ongoing talks in Poland. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 10:22
Galleries and arts promoters should be made to feel too ashamed to take money from industries linked with climate breakdown Those attending the COP24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland, this week have been greeted by a bizarre sight: an artistic celebration of one of the main fuels responsible for destroying the global climate. Katowice is the centre of Poland’s coal industry, and despite hosting a conference that represents the last chance saloon when it comes to taking meaningful action on climate change, local politicians pride themselves on the black stuff. Perhaps we could have expected no different when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change decided on such an inappropriate venue and to allow coal companies to sponsor the talks. If we do make it through climate change with some form of civilisation intact, we will look back at some of the things we are doing now with the moral repugnance we feel towards slavery. There are legitimate parallels here. Climate change will most hurt those yet to be born. Our failure to make the dramatic changes needed to our economy and society means we are behaving as if we own the lives of future generations and have a right to steal their lives from them. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 08:05
Forty-nine companies accused of human rights and environmental abuses Facebook is among a number of companies from the US, UK, France, Switzerland and China named on a “dirty list” of corporations accused of involvement in human rights and environmental violations in Myanmar, or of doing business with the country’s military, which is accused of genocide. A list of 49 companies, compiled by the pressure group Burma Campaign UK, reveals the global breadth of international organisations that have continued to provide arms, infrastructure, technology, engineering and expertise to the Burmese military, or supported projects that have been accused of causing environmental destruction, such as hydroelectric dams and jade mines. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 06:00
‘The changes have become more radical’: farmers are spending more time and money trying to grow crops in new climates Richard Oswald did not need the latest US government report on the creeping toll of climate change to tell him that farming in the midwest is facing a grim future, and very likely changing forever. For Oswald, the moment of realisation came in 2011. Continue reading...
12/12/2018 - 06:00
All 16,000 buses in the fast-growing Chinese megacity are now electric, and soon all 13,000 taxis will be too You have to keep your eyes peeled for the bus at the station in Shenzhen’s Futian central business district these days. The diesel behemoths that once signalled their arrival with a piercing hiss, a rattle of engine and a plume of fumes are no more, replaced with the world’s first and largest 100% electric bus fleet. Shenzhen now has 16,000 electric buses in total and is noticeably quieter for it. “We find that the buses are so quiet that people might not hear them coming,” says Joseph Ma, deputy general manager at Shenzhen Bus Group, the largest of the three main bus companies in the city. “In fact, we’ve received requests to add some artificial noise to the buses so that people can hear them. We’re considering it.” Continue reading...