Climate Change #3
Words Arthur Hunt
Climate Reality training
The Climate Reality Project, initiated by former US Vice-President Al Gore, will be conducting a training program in Brisbane on June 5-7, with applications closing on April 18. There is no charge for the program but attendees meet their own travel and accommodation costs.
Australia sets global benchmarks
A misleading argument by some commentators is that Australians do not need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because emissions by other countries are much greater and Australia’s contribution is insignificant. However, Australia’s adoption of rooftop solar power has attracted international attention. A recent analysis from investment banking giant Credit Suisse forecasts a huge opportunity for rooftop solar in the US and it is already attracting new investment. The report suggested that while only around 3% of US rooftops had residential solar in 2017 that figure could easily increase – and compared it to the more than 30% that some Australian states have already achieved.
In addition, a new report by Bloomberg NEF predicts that Australia will become the biggest home battery market in the world in 2019, with 30% of global demand, due to 70,000 new installations driven by subsidies in SA, Victoria and the ACT. Our global influence should not be underestimated and is a strong reason to press on with renewable energy. Unfortunately, we are being left behind in the adoption of electric vehicles by countries such as Norway where electric vehicles now account for more than 40% of sales.
Recent heatwave underlines warnings
The recent heatwave across much of Australia and new temperature records (46.6 degrees in Adelaide was just one) have confirmed the global warming trend which scientists have been warning about with increasing urgency. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Sir David Attenborough repeated the message he gave at the COP24 Climate Conference in Poland. He warned that the environment has changed so rapidly and profoundly because of human-driven climate change that we risk destroying our earthly home. “It is tempting and understandable to ignore the evidence and carry on as usual or to be filled with doom and gloom. … We need to move beyond guilt or blame and get on with the practical tasks at hand."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke at Davos and said the world must aim for zero net emissions of carbon dioxide ‘around 2050’ and expressed optimism that technologies such as carbon capture would advance quickly to make a green revolution possible and beneficial to the world economy. “Spending money on a green Earth and a blue ocean, once deemed costly, is now a growth generator. We must invite more disruptive innovations before it’s too late.’
Hydrogen as a carbon-free fuel which can be produced using renewable energy is one of the new technologies which Japan is embracing. Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has advocated that this will be a major export opportunity for Australia and he is now leading the Hydrogen Working Group of the COAG Energy Council. www.aie.org.au/events/event/aie-brisbane-hydrogen-the-future-is-now
Farmers for Climate Action
There's still time to order your 2019 Farmers for Climate Action calendar! It features adorable real-life photos of ‘farm dogs for climate action’ taken by our farmers all around Australia. Cost $20 www.farmersforclimateaction.org.au
In the USA, the Trump Administration’s budget made severe cuts to climate change and environmental programs. Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget said “As to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.”