Thursday, March 22, 2018

Stumping up for solar switch.

A number of significant solar farms for the region may be in the wings.

But on a smaller scale, Greater Shepparton City Council has pulled the trigger on $225 500 to install solar panels on its own facilities to help cut costs amid the climbing price of power.

And Shepparton, once known as the solar city, may one day be the solar-powered city, with hopes for more council assets to progressively turn to renewables.

Councillors this week commended the spend for the lump sum contract for solar installation on council buildings.

Cr Bruce Giovanetti said councillors were aware electricity costs were set to climb in the next year.

‘‘It’s great to see council is taking a proactive approach to ensuring we can reduce energy consumption costs as much as we can,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully this is just stage one of a number of stages of solar panels on council buildings.’’

Cr Dinny Adem added he was glad to see the transition ‘‘finally taking place’’ to reduce energy costs and the city’s carbon footprint.

‘‘I’m very pleased to see that moving forward,’’ he said.

Following this week’s council meeting, Mayor Kim O’Keeffe argued ‘‘every dollar counts’’ and that the council needed cut costs where possible.

‘‘In this space it is something we need to do,’’ she said.

‘‘Because costs are going to come up against other things that we may have to compromise with. ‘‘This is a great start.’’ 

In November last year, the council predicted the amount it paid for power might increase by up to 50 or 60 per cent in coming years.

A parliamentary inquiry in Shepparton into the health of regional councils’ finances last year heard from council representatives the impact rising power prices had on finances.

While acknowledging the significant price increases experienced, the council said it was on the front foot in managing energy use.

Council’s environment manager Greg McKenzie at the time said energy reduction measures integrated as part of a council plan were expected to reduce energy consumption by 8.5 per cent through to 2020 from 2014 levels.

Mr McKenzie said council energy usage had been predominantly in decline since 2010 and would continue to be, despite major new infrastructure projects in the wings, including the new Shepparton Art Museum and Cosgrove Three landfill.

But despite the decline in use, costs were climbing.

‘‘We recognise that even though our energy usage is declining, our costs continue to rise,’’ Mr McKenzie said.

‘‘The major issue is the volatility of the market. (This is) why council has an energy reduction plan.’’

Story by Thomas Moir from the Shepparton News - “Stumping up for solar switch.”

New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1-5c in 2100

In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly every country on Earth pledged to keeping global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”.

However, at the time, scientists had only modelled energy system and carbon mitigation pathways to achieve the 2C target. Few studies had examined how the world might limit warming to 1.5C.

Now a paper in Nature Climate Change presents the results from a new modelling exercise using six different “integrated assessment models” (IAMs) to limit global temperatures in 2100 to below 1.5C.

The results suggest that 1.5C is achievable if global emissions peak in the next few years and massive amounts of carbon are sucked out of the atmosphere in the second half of the century through a proposed technology known as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Read the RenewEconomy story by Zeke Hausfather - “New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1-5c in 2100.”

Coal plant construction extends dive - but not fast enough: report

Coal-fired power is on track to start shrinking globally by 2022, dimming prospects for exporters of the fossil fuel, including Australia, according to a report by environmental groups.
On current trends, coal plant capacity worldwide could peak by 2022.
China and India, which have dominated construction of new power plants for more than a decade, both cut new capacity sharply for the second year in a row in 2017, the annual Boom and Bust report by Greenpeace, Sierra Club and CoalSwarm found.

Read Peter Hannam’s story from The Age - “Coal plant construction extends dive - but not fast enough: report.”

Joining forces to accelerate low-carbon technology

Here is a copy of the webinar “Redefining the role of business and sport: How they can join forces to accelerate low-carbon technology resources across different sectors” the appeared to step around the elephant in the room - our proclivity to criss, cross the world, often taking tonnes of equipment with us, in pursuit of various sports.

The observations made on an earlier post, concluded that if we are serious about mitigating and adapting to the rigours of climate change, then a victim of that adaptation will be international sport, at least as it is presently played.

Watch the webinar here.

Britain reaches new wind power output record

Britain reached a new record of wind power output on 17 March, as wind farms generated 14.2GW.
New wind power record for Britain.
The National Grid confirmed that at 14:30 GMT, wind power accounted for 34.2% of all energy generated in Britain.

Gas was producing 20.3% of energy, Nuclear created 17.6%, and coal only accounted for 12.9%.

“2017 was a record year for green energy and it’s looking likely 2018 is set to exceed that,” commented Fintan Slye, Director of the System Operator at National Grid.

Read the Energy Digital story by Sophie Chapman - “Britain reaches new wind power output record.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Rushing through the china shop the bull avoids all the expected catastrophes, pirouettes and exits

Rushing through the china shop the bull avoids all the expected catastrophes, pirouettes and exits taking all the real answers to climate change mitigation with it.

That thought entered my mind sitting through the hour-long webinar - “How can business and sport join forces to accelerate low-carbon technologies across different sectors?”

Much discussion in the Sustainable Innovation in Sport 2018 webinar, although worthy, well thought through and relevant to encouraging sustainability in sport, it seemed to skirt the intricate and implanted social issues that must be addressed if climate change is to be adapted to, and so mitigated.

The wedinar, the organisers argued, redefined the role of business and sport and highlighted examples of proven collaborations that would lead to tangible climate action. 

“This webinar”, they added, “Discusses approaches to overcome barriers in the introduction of lower-carbon solutions and decarbonisation of value chains and describes how voluntary economically viable approaches can support the Paris Agreement.”

Little to be questioned there, except our want to rush to all points of the earth, indulge in extravagant social events we link to sport and if we can mitigate the fringes of carbon emissions in doing so, we celebrate.

As aforementioned, most of the ideas discussed during the webinar were worthy and considered sustainability, but did not address the perverse social need we appear to have to pit our sporting prowess against others, even when we know this carnival of sport is caving up Earth’s atmosphere.

So the question is more fundamental - can we continue with this carnival of sport, with its associated carnivals and festivals that encourage millions of people to criss cross the world in polluting aircraft?

The answer, I would suggest is probably “no” and the so the idea of sport on an international basis needs a significant rethink.

Heat on over climate change

More than 140 million people in Africa, Latin America and South Asia could move to another part of their country by 2050 to escape the worsening impacts of climate change, unless urgent action is taken to curb global warming and help people adapt, the World Bank says.

Moving: Venezuelans cross the International Simon
Bolivar bridge into Cucuta, Colombia, as rising numbers
 of Venezuelans flee in a burgeoning refugee crisis.
Globally, the numbers of people forced to leave home because of water shortages, crop failures, sea-level rise, storm surges and other climate threats was likely to be much higher, researchers said.

But if global warming is effectively kept to limits set in the Paris Agreement on climate change, and people are helped to adapt, then the numbers migrating in the three regions will drop to about 40 million people, the study predicted.

‘‘We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality,’’ World Bank head Kristalina Georgieva said.

That preparation needs to include making economies less vulnerable to climate change, helping farmers adapt their growing techniques, and making city infrastructure more resilient to storms, rising sea levels, f loods or drought, the study noted. Cities also need to create enough jobs, and boost health and education services, to meet the needs of the growing number of people migrating to urban areas.

Without that preparation, cities could face serious repercussions, said Kanta Kumari Rigaud, who led the creation of the World Bank report.

‘‘We could see increased tensions and conflict . . . but that doesn’t have to be the future,’’ the environmental specialist said. ‘‘It won’t be a crisis if we plan for it now.’’

In the worst-case scenario, more than 85 million people could leave home by 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million in South Asia, and 17 million in Latin America, the report noted.

And the number of climate migrants could accelerate after 2050, unless there is urgent action to hold global warming to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, the report noted.

The most vulnerable people, however, will be unable to move and will remain trapped in increasingly unviable areas, it predicted.

Many more people are migrating within their own countries than across borders, doing so for economic, social, political and environmental reasons, the World Bank report said.

In 2016, storms, floods and other weather-related disasters — not all of them driven by climate change — forced 23 million people to move within their countries, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

‘‘Although cross-border movement is much more attention-grabbing and can appear more dramatic, right now the internal movement of people forms the bulk of what’s going on,’’ United Kingdom-based Climate and Migration Coalition coordinator Alex Randall said.

Migration was not necessarily a bad thing, he said, and could be a good way to adapt to climate change and improve people’s lives.

‘‘It can be a positive, empowering experience. But it comes with risks as well. The emphasis should be on how we make migration safe,’’ he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Although much migration is likely to take place from the countryside to urban areas, cities themselves will grapple with climate impacts as well.

For example, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges. Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, by comparison, could see slower population growth as it relies on increasingly unpredictable rainfall, the World Bank study noted.

Regions and cities that are likely to attract large numbers of climate migrants include Nairobi, the southern Indian highlands between Bangalore and Chennai, and the central plateau areas around Mexico City and Guatemala City.

But lack of clear data about how a particular area will be impacted by climate change, and when, makes it difficult for cities, governments and communities to plan.
Nonetheless, ‘‘(it’s) important to help people make good decisions about whether to stay where they are, or move to new locations where they are less vulnerable,’’ Ms Georgieva said.

Story in today’s Shepparton News by Alex Whiting (Reuters) - “Heat on over climate change.”