Climate Change #1
Words Arthur Hunt
Climate discussions in Poland
As leaders and scientists from 200 nations recently gathered for the COP24 climate discussions in Poland, the Washington Post reported that global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018. Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, but in 2017, global emissions grew 1.6%. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7%, with national increases in China 5%, India 6% and USA 2.5%. “When it comes to promises to begin cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change, the world remains well off target.”
British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough was invited to occupy “The People’s Seat” at the conference and he urged world leaders to agree ways to limit global warming, to get on and tackle "our greatest threat in thousands of years …Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend, is in your hands,"
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us."
Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, who inspired students around the world, including Australia, to walk out of their classrooms over climate change inaction, spoke at the conference. She said “Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? …And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?…And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago."
The BBC website reported that “negotiators in Poland finally secured agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact (to limit global temperature rises to well below 2C) operational in 2020. Delegates believe the new rules will ensure that countries keep their promises to cut carbon.”
However, the Washington Post reported that while the agreement prompted a standing ovation from the delegates, some questioned whether the steps taken in Katowice were big enough as global emissions continue to rise. Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development said “In the climate emergency we’re in, slow success is no success.” http://cop24.gov.pl/
Coal-fired power - the facts
The future of coal-fired power was recently promoted in a headline in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin that said “708 coal-fired power stations being built around the world.” However closer examination of “Global Coal Plant Tracker,”7 the source of this information, showed that only 270 plants are under construction and 438 are still in the planning or approval stage. While there are 2440 plants operating around the world, 999 were closed from 2010-2018. https://endcoal.org/tracker/
Rooftop solar milestone
The Clean Energy Council reports that Australia has achieved another record, with rooftop solar on two million households. The nation’s top five solar postcodes are Bundaberg (Q), Mandurah (WA): Hervey Bay (Q), Caloundra (Q) and Toowoomba (Q). For advice on rooftop solar, visit www.solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers.
Huge renewable energy project moves forward
The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin reports that construction on Australia's biggest wind farm, with a generation capacity of 800 MW, will start in late 2019 at Clarke Creek, 150km north west of Rockhampton. Earlier this year, the project received Queensland Government planning approval for up to 195 wind turbines adding to approval already secured for a 400 MW solar farm and a large utility scale battery. Recently Federal environmental approval was also secured. The project will supply around 4% of Queensland's electricity. http://www.clarkecreekwindandsolar.com.au/