Friday, October 19, 2018

Bioenergy carbon capture: climate snake oil or the 1.5-degree panacea?

With the release of the latest special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s time we talk frankly about Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Sequestration, known as BECCS. It is one of the key technologies many models say we will need to limit warming to 1.5.
Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Sequestration, known
 as BECCS, is one of the technologies we may need to
limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
BECCS involves growing plants which remove carbon dioxide as they grow and are then burned in power stations to produce electricity. The resulting carbon dioxide from this combustion is captured and stored underground. The result is carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.

It is the not-so-high-tech wonder many are waiting for, but it comes at a high price. It also risks delaying policies that actually reduce emissions in the first place

Read the piece from The Conversation by the Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Change from Leiden University, Paul Behrens - “Bioenergy carbon capture: climate snake oil or the 1.5-degree panacea?

Boston’s bill for climate change is coming due

Clearly the sight of a dumpster floating down the street in the Fort Point district last January made a lot of Bostonians all too aware that the realities of climate change have become part of their world.
A man walks through a flooded sidewalk off Congress
Street, where water was flowing over from Fort
 Point Channel in the Seaport District on March 2.
The fact is climate change is already here,” Mayor Marty Walsh told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this week where he introduced his plan for Resilient Boston Harbor to deal with the city’s 47-mile coastline and the diverse neighborhoods that line it.

“This is about prevention,” he told reporters at an earlier briefing. “We have a lot of different pieces all over the place. This brings it all together.”

Read the Editorial from The Boston Globe - “Boston’s bill for climate change is coming due.”

Billionaire calls out “total BS” on Morrison’s views of wind and solar

Mike Cannon-Brookes.
Yesterday we wrote about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s interview on Sky News, and how appallingly well it summed up his party’s cynical and ill-informed view – and complete lack of coherent policy – on both climate change and energy.

But, of course, we weren’t the only ones to take exception to the discussion with Sydney shock-jock Alan Jones and former Abbott advisor, Peta Credlin.

In particular, Morrison’s comments on energy were called out by billionaire tech entrepreneur and investor, Mike Cannon-Brookes, who vented his frustration at what he called ” total BS” via his Twitter account (the same one used to invite Tesla’s Elon Musk to build a big battery in South Australia, and we all know how that ended).

Read the story by Sophie Vorrath from RenewEconomy - “Billionaire calls out “total BS” on Morrison’s views of wind and solar.”

Fracking protesters walk free after court quashes 'excessive' sentences

Three protesters jailed for blocking access to a fracking site have walked free after the court of appeal quashed their sentences, calling them “manifestly excessive”.
Left to right: Rich Loizou, Simon Blevins and Richard Roberts. 
Simon Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, were sent to prison last month after being convicted of causing a public nuisance with a protest outside the Preston New Road site near Blackpool, Lancashire. Blevins and Roberts were sentenced to 16 months and Loizou to 15 months.

But on Wednesday afternoon the court of appeal ruled their sentences were inappropriate and they should be freed immediately. Soon after, the trio walked free from Preston prison, where they were greeted with hugs and cheers from dozens of supporters.

Severe weather warning issued as dust storms and strong winds hit South Australia

Damaging wind gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour are forecast ahead of a vigorous cold front, which is expected to reach Adelaide this afternoon.

Lincoln Highway between Arno Bay and Cowell during a dust storm.
The Lincoln Highway between Arno Bay and Cowell.

Dust storms are blowing across parts of South Australia as more severe weather crosses the state, prompting warning messages from emergency services.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for 10 of the state's districts, including Adelaide, the Mount Lofty Ranges and Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The latest thing climate change is threatening is our history

The old city of Dubrovnik, clinging to the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, is one major storm away from a flood that could cover 10 percent of a medieval city long known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” and more recently as a main setting for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
This photo shows the old town of Dubrovnik from a hill above the city.
It’s one of about 40 treasured historical sites across the Mediterranean, including the winding canals of Venice and the ancient city of Carthage, at risk from rising seas, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

The reason for their sweeping vulnerability is the same one that fostered so many civilizations in the Mediterranean to begin with. It’s the lure of the sea, dating back at least to the time of the ancient Phoenicians, who set sail from the now-threatened sites of Byblos and Tyre along the current coast of Lebanon.

Read the story from The Washington Post by Chris Mooney and Brad Dennis - “The latest thing climate change is threatening is our history.”

The Morrison government’s biggest economic problem? Climate change denial

Last week Peter Costello accused Malcolm Turnbull of failing to develop an economic narrative to unite the Coalition. Turnbull promised this when he challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but, said Costello, it never came, and the result is a government struggling to manage deep differences over social issues. There was “jobs and growth”, but this is really just a goal without much of a story about how to get there, except for the company tax cuts.
The government’s stubborn commitment to coal is alienating
 it from its natural supporters in the business community.
The big question, though, is why the government does not have a coherent economic narrative.

One possible answer is that it has been too preoccupied with social issues such as religious freedom and before that, same-sex marriage, to give the economy sufficient attention. There is something in that.

Read what the Emeritus Professor of Politics, La Trobe University, Judith Brett, has written on The Conversation - “The Morrison government’s biggest economic problem? Climate change denial.”