About GroundSwell Bass Coast

Escalator500We’re a community group concerned with understanding the many dimensions of climate change, located 120km SE of Melbourne. We meet at San Remo pub, at 7.30PM on alternate Tuesdays, everybody welcome. Please click Climate Emergency Petition to help make climate a big election issue.

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The Lucky Country?

As the cover of the sixth edition <of The Lucky Country> says, “the book was a wake-up call to an unimaginative nation, an indictment of a country mired in mediocrity and manacled to its past”.  It described Australia as ‘a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck’.

A 2015 United Nations report rated progress toward sustainability using a range of economic, social and environmental indicators. It ranked Australia 18th out of the 34 OECD countries: below New Zealand, Canada and even UK. We’re among the worst of affluent countries on such indicators as our per capita resource use and waste production, greenhouse gases released per unit of economic output and our obesity rate. We’re also well below average on social indicators such as average level of education, gender pay difference, parental leave provisions and percentage of women in elected office, as well as economic indicators such as the poverty rate and the degree of inequality… We also get a relatively small fraction of our electricity from renewables, as confirmed by a recent study finding we are twentieth in the world for the share of power coming from large-scale solar. We should be ashamed to see that cold, wet Britain ranks third…Interestingly, the top four countries when ranked by progress toward sustainability were the Scandinavian nations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The USA ranked 29th – ahead of only Greece, Turkey, Chile, Hungary and Mexico…We should be using the Scandinavian approach as a model for our future, rather than copying the much less successful US approach by selling our public assets and eroding the public provision of essential services like education and health care.

Horne called for a revolution in economic priorities, moving away from being what he called ‘a stupid country’ that exported minerals and farm produce, by investing in education and science so that we would be better equipped for the world of the twenty-first century. Instead we have further run down our manufacturing base, mainly by opening up our markets to cheaper imports produced by cheap labour.

Note – much more could be copied from this ABC show, strongly recommend you buy the book, antidote for John Howard wheedling about non-event  Menzies

>more> ABC_RN Ockham’s Razor

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Vast kelp forests devastated by marine heatwave, Australian study reveals

100km of kelp forest died following a marine heatwave in 2011 which saw the ocean temperature increase by 2C…death of the kelp caused functional extinction of 370sq km of rocky cool-climate reefs, extending down the coast from Kalbarri, about 570km north of Perth, Western Australia.


Photograph: Darryl Torckler/Getty Images
Tasmania’s remaining giant kelp forests appear to have been more resilient to the heatwave

….suggested southern kelp forests were more able to withstand heatwaves than northern kelp forests, Prof Craig Johnson, from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, told the Guardian…He agreed with Wernberg that it was likely kelp forests would retract to the southern-most corners of the continent as temperatures warmed, which would see the majority of species dependent on the reef pushed out. Tasmania’s remaining giant kelp forests appear to have been more resilient to the heatwave…Tasmania has already lost 95% of its giant kelp forests, due to ocean warming over the past 80 years, but remaining species appear more resilient. The species grows so fast you can measure it in the morning and come out after lunch to find it’s grown another 30cm. Johnson said the value of the Great Southern Reef was “completely under-appreciated,” and that the number of endemic species was “orders of magnitude more on the Great Southern Reef than the Great Barrier Reef”…The study, Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem, was published in the journal Science on Thursday

>more> TheGuardian

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Hottest year on record almost certain

Last month “was the warmest September in 136 years of modern record-keeping,” reports NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)…This follows a record-setting July and August, which were so hot, they tied each other for the “warmest month ever recorded.”

Monthly temperatures (departure from 1980–2015),
superimposed on the 1980–2015 mean seasonal cycle.
(Credit: NASA/GISS/Schmidt)

Whereas GISS director Dr. Gavin Schmidt had been saying there was roughly a 99 percent chance that 2016 would top 2015, he tweeted Monday that “With data now available through September, 2016 annual record (~1.25ºC above late 19th C) seems locked in.”..Indeed, it now appears 2016 will crush previous record for hottest year, set in 2015, which itself crushed previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014 — a three-year run never seen before in the 136-year temperature record.

NASA’s Land and Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI)
with respect to the 1880–1899 baseline (°C)

Note – 1.5degC limit target for 2050, set in Paris, no chance, all but gone in 2016, unless zero carbon tomorrow or the next day

>more> ClimateProgress

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Ocean heatwave destroys Tasmania’s unique underwater jungle

Tasmanian kelp forest (Photo: Emma Flukes)

Tasmanian kelp forest. Photo: Emma Flukes

It was one of Australia’s great marine ecosystems; a must-see spectacular on many divers’ lists, sheltering a multitude of fish, algae and crustaceans. 

A natural wonder, which this year was smashed into oblivion by a massive underwater heatwaveThis is not the Great Barrier Reef, but its southern equivalent; an underwater jungle that in the middle of last century ran 250 kilometres along Tasmania’s east coast. The trees, up to 45m tall, were Macrocystis pyrifera – giant kelp – the world’s largest seaweed.

Last year, the EAC sent down its biggest belch of hot water yet: an extreme and unprecedented heatwave that sent temperatures soaring through December and staying high for the whole summer. In those conditions, the kelp simply cannot regrow after the winter storms…The warming seas are now warm enough to support the spawning of the long-spined sea urchin, an invasive pest that scours the seafloor. Giant kelp normally booms and busts, ripped away by storms before reclaiming the territory. But now the urchins move in like a herd of underwater goats, nibbling away the new strands of kelp before they can grow beyond their reach. The result is acres of bare rock, covered with black, spiny invaders. Johnson believes that overfishing of the local rock lobsters – known down here as crayfish – has allowed the urchins to establish themselves in plague proportions.

>more> ClimateChanegNews

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Investors threaten car industry on climate

Major investors have warned the automotive industry it needs to accelerate its readiness for a low-carbon world if it is to retain their support and prosper…Vehicle makers must put climate change specialists on their boards, engage better with policy-makers, and invest more heavily in low-emission cars, says a network of 250 global investors with assets of more than $24trillion…The demands come in a new report, Investor Expectations of Automotive Companies, published this week by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)…“Long-term investors want to ensure that automotive companies are prepared for the challenges stemming from climate change, new technologies, changing policies and shifts in demand caused by global trends,”

>more> Climate New Network

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Clouds messed up by climate change is big deal

Clouds are now moving poleward because of a northward shift in the storm tracks due to the expansion of circulation patterns in the tropics. As a result, these clouds are reflecting less sunlight back out to space than they did at lower latitudes because less sunlight is hitting them when farther north.

There is also more sunlight reaching the mid-latitudes, heating up the surface. This raises temperatures, especially in some arid parts of the world – causing additional warming of the climate system.

There’s only one conclusion we can draw from these alarming findings: We need to curb climate change, and fast.

>more> edf.org

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SA more baseload …why?

As we necessarily decarbonise the national electricity system and increase renewable energy penetration, technologies such as storage and solar thermal will become increasingly necessary to provide for both peak capacity and reliability of supply,” it says.

baseload south australiaOne thing it won’t need, is more “base-load” generation. As RenewEconomy pointed out last week, there is no room for additional baseload in the state, just for more “flexible” capacity such as storage. The MEI reinforces that, and says that the baseload need in South Australia is for “minus” 210MW.

>more> RenewEconomy

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Solar Impulse completes first round-the-world flight powered by the sun

Inserting this here as contrast previous item – The 2.3 tonne Solar Impulse plane is powered by 17,248 solar cells and 4 lithium-ion batteries connected to the electric motors that drive the propellers. It uses the batteries to provide the energy to fly through the night, where it slowly loses altitude. The solar panels provide the power to the electric motors and charge the battery during the day, when the plane regains altitude so it can use less power at night.

Solar Impulse 2 above the clouds

>more> RenewEconomy

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Emission offsets for aircraft

CREDIT: John DeCicco, University of Michigan Energy Institute

Air travel accounts for 3% of U.S. emissions, 11% of the USA transportation sector, which this year is likely to surpass energy generation and become the most polluting sector. Last year, EPA said aviation greenhouse gases are a health hazard. Such determination is often the first step towards developing a rule under the Clean Air Act…CORSIA — short for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation — the industry will voluntarily (at first) offset its emissions through the purchase of credits, or the funding of still unspecified projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere…CORSIA applies only to international flights, which make up about 60% of aviation-related emissions, according to Associated Press. Domestic flight emissions fall under the Paris Accord, a global agreement that just passed the threshold to enter into force in early November…Important airport hubs will fall under the plan, as some 65 countries — including the United States, Mexico, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore — agreed to participate…Still, the system will be voluntary from 2021 to 2026. Australia watches from sidelines while good old NZ is fully committed.

>more> ThinkProgress

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Ratify Paris Climate Change target, pledge your support

untitledcop21ratPlease sign >pledge> via GetUpCommunity to let Minster for Energy and Environment know you’re not happy Australia is an outcast until we ratify, with 55% of countries with 55% of global emissions, per COP21 climate change commitment…

New Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, however, has signalled a major change in direction. This week he mandated a national carbon trading scheme, that will set a carbon price of $C50/tonne by 2022. “After decades of inaction, after years of missed opportunities, we will finally take real and concrete measures to build a clean economy, create more opportunities for Canadians, and make out world better for our children and grandchildren,” Trudeau told parliament.

“Mr Speaker, we will not walk away from science, and we will not deny the unavoidable.” Canada is expected to formally ratify the Paris deal this week.

The second impact of the Paris treaty ratification is that Australia will face inevitable pressure to increase its emission reduction targets. Already criticised by most analysts as inadequate and below Australia’s “fair share”, the unexpectedly quick ratification of the Paris treaty indicates the world is serious about upping its efforts to combat climate change.

“A key reason why countries have moved so fast after Paris is that they now recognise the great attractiveness of the growth and development paths for both rich and poor countries that will result from the transition to a low-carbon economy,” he said.

“In the run-up to COP 22 (Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016), we expect these initiatives to gain momentum as investors and businesses seek to be a part of, and contribute to, the low-carbon transition.”

But, not in Australia.

>more> RenewEconomy

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