Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marine Scientists call for climate action over Ocean Warming and Acidification

A Marine Climate Change reportcard released by Australian Scientists has warned that: ocean temperatures have warmed; the flow of the East Australian Current has strengthened, and will likely increase a further 20% by 2100; Marine biodiversity is changing in south-east Australia in response; and declines of over 10% in growth rates of massive corals on the Great Barrier Reef are likely due to ocean acidification and thermal stress.

This reportcard is the first-ever Australian benchmark of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and options for adaptation. The report identifies key adaption measures but emphasises the needd for "immediate and vigorous international diplomacy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."


"The objective of compiling this information is to consider options available to environmental and resource managers in their response to changes in ecosystem balance," said project leader, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship scientist Dr Elvira Poloczanska.

"On both sides of the continent there is clear evidence of ocean warming and this is already bringing sub-tropical species south into temperate waters, and in the case of the giant kelp forests in Tasmania, appears to be having a severe impact in just a few years."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Polluters subsidised under emissions trading with households footing the bill

An Emergency Climate rally in Melbourne attacked the Federal Labor Government on its CPRS negotiations saying it had made too many concessions to coal and the power industry.

The Kevin Rudd Labor Government announced the negotiations with Ian McFarlane of the Liberal Party - a much watered down Emissons Trading Scheme - the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). Additional compensation to industry of $7.01 billion, including handouts to Coal Industry doubling to $1.5 billion, and $4 billion more in free permits to coal fired power station owners, and $1.1 billion to mining and manufacturing sector for increased energy prices while compensation to households was reduced by $5.67 billion.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

U.S.: Activists stop blasting on Coal River Mountain

Early on Saturday morning two concerned citizens, Dea Goblirsch and Nick Martin, locked down to a drill rig on Coal River Mountain's Bee Tree mountaintop removal site, effectively stopping blasting. Two others, Grace Williams and Laura Von Dohlen, joined them in direct support, holding a banner with the message "Save Coal River Mountain".

Related: Climate Ground Zero | Coalfield uprising leads to arrests at gov's office | Dr. James Hansen and Daryl Hannah Arrested | Coalfield Uprising Grows, More Sit-ins | Climate Pledge of Resistance | Medically defensible energy policy on climate: phase out coal

Monday, November 23, 2009

Climate civil disobedience action in Canberra for 40% carbon reduction target

Two hundred people blockaded Parliament House in Canberra today calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to secure a strong, legally binding treaty at the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen. Police arrested 130 people, although it is believed none were charged.

Related: Scientists: Climate Treaty more urgent with Global carbon emissions still increasing | Rising Tide Media Release | Coal protesters appealing damages order over Brisbane Climate Direct Action | 21 world leaders, including president Obama, have said they don't expect Copenhagen to produce a binding treaty

Australia: Climate Civil Disobedience on the rise

Blockade of Parliament, Canberra - photo by David HoodTwo hundred people blockaded the entrance to the Australian Parliament today calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to secure a strong, legally binding treaty at the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen. Police arrested 130 people, although it is believed none were charged.

Climate Civil Disobedience action in Canberra | Coal Protestors in court over Brisbane Climate Direct Action | Switch off Hazelwood | Video : Damien Lawson on Civil Disobedience

Coal protestors appealing damages order over Brisbane climate direct action

Two climate protesters were sentenced today in Brisbane and ordered to pay damages of over $3000 to Queensland Bulk Handling Corporation after a protest at the Brisbane coal port in October where they halted coal loading and had to be cut free of port infrastructure.

The protesters, Steve Skitmore (22) and Nathan Elvery (19) from Six Degrees Coal and Climate Campaign pled guilty to charges of trespass and obstructing a police officer and received $300 fines and good behavior bonds. The original damages claim was over $10,000, which the magistrate found "perplexing" and reduced the damages to $3000.

"The QLD government is neglecting to protect the futures of every day Queenslanders by not phasing out the coal industry. When the coal mining companies have so much power in the halls of parliament, the only way to expose the truth here was through civil disobedience" Said Mr Elvery

"Premier Bligh is contradicting every promise she makes to us that she is protecting our futures," Mr Skitmore said.

The pair plan to appeal the compensation order, believing the claim is unfounded and inflated, and merely a tactic to dissuade further climate change protests at a time when they are most needed.

The October protest involved more than 20 people, many in kayaks and canoes who attempted to blockade a coal ship from departing - see Climate Change Kayakers Blockade Coal Ship.

While Newcastle, New South Wales is the largest coal port in the world, Queensland is the largest coal exporting state in the largest coal exporting country in the world.

You can donate via paypal to to help pay these fines and eventually the damages if their appeal fails. See the Six Degrees page: Six Degrees protesters ordered to pay thousands

Sunday, November 22, 2009

USA: Climate Change likely to severely damage U.S. crop yields

Higher temperatures caused by the changing climate are likely to have a devastating effect on crop yields. Corn, soybeans and cotton are the largest three crops by production value in the US which will be affected by extreme heat. Above a certain threhold - 29 degrees - damaging effects have been described as 'damaging large' by a report by Agricultural Economists published in August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Blog: Greed, Green and Grains Blog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Walkers mark the dangers of rising sea level for Melbourne

Community and environment groups today started a 100km walk from Sorrento to Port Melbourne around Port Phillip Bay, to raise awareness about climate change and rising sea levels in Victoria and around the world. Markers were placed along the way to show where the sea level will rise to by the end of the century if efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution do not happen immediately.

Port Phillip Rising | Impacts of Rising Sea level | Flickr Photoset

Friday, November 20, 2009

Firefighters turn climate heat on Canberra

Sydney IMC: Firefighters demanded action on climate change from politicians in Canberra on November 19 while much of south eastern Australia sweltered and suffered with temperatures well above 30 degrees. Many regions were declared severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger. The Firefighters carried a banner "Firefighters for climate change action now" demanded that the Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme be passed by the Senate.

Scientists have reported this week that the Climate Treaty is more urgent with Global carbon emissions still increasing. with Australia the worst emitter on a per capita basis. Scientists have also called for Emissions need to be slashed to save Great Barrier Reef. | Read ACTU media release | Climate Institute Media Release

USA: Medically defensible energy policy on climate: phase out Coal

A new report released November 2009 by Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA) - 'Coal's Assault on Human Health' - details the devastating impacts of coal on the human body, including respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological effects. A chapter is also devoted to coal's impact on global warming. The report makes substantial policy recommendations that detail why coal power should be phased out and replaced with renewable energy sources.

Coal-fired power plants account for more than one third of CO2 emissions in the U.S., and coal is a major contributor to the predicted health impacts of global warming. NASA Climate scientist James Hansen stated in 2008 "that these coal plants are simply not compatible with keeping a planet resembling the one in which civilisation developed. And I think there is going to be eventually pressure to in effect bulldoze those plants, so economically they just don't make sense. You are not going to be able to leave them there 50 years. It will become clear long before 50 years that we have to get rid of them."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Scientists: Climate Treaty more urgent with Global carbon emissions still increasing

The latest global assessment of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities shows emissions still rapidly increasing according to a paper published in Nature Geoscience by 31 authors from the Global Carbon Project. This increases the importance for meaningful negotiations on emission reduction targets and a legally binding international climate treaty from Copenhagen to start reducing emissions.


Le Quéré et al. 2009, Nature Geoscience; Data: CDIAC, FAO, Woods Hole Research Center 2009. From the Media Briefing by Dr Mike Raupach, 18 Nov, 2009, Australian Science Media Centre

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

South Australia faces catastrophic fire danger

Catastrophic Fire Danger warning has been issued for two regions in South Australia - Flinders and North-West Pastoral districts - because of predicted extreme temperatures, strong winds and low humidity. This is the first time this top classification fire warning has been used in Australia.

Fire weather warnings have been revamped following the Black Saturday fires in Victoria in February 2009 which killed 173 people. The Fire Danger warning system has been refined with the top classification being a Code Red Catastrophic Fire Danger [100+], followed by Extreme Fire Danger [75-99] and Severe Fire Danger [50-74] .

Scientists call for emissions slashed to save Great Barrier Reef

Marine and climate scientists have called for at least a 25% cut in carbon emissions from developed countries like Australia to save the Great Barrier Reef. A 25% cut in emissions would amount to peaking at less than 450ppm atmospheric CO2 and a 50/50 chance of staying below 2 degrees Centigrade. And by 2050, emissions would have to decline by up to 90 percent below 2000 levels. Even with this scenario tropical reefs may be substantially degraded.

Related: Marine Scientists report: Ocean Acidification Accelerating; Severe Damages Imminent | Coral Reefs and Ocean Biodiversity threatened by Climate Change | Climate Change: Marine Scientists Demand Action on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Report assesses climate risks of sea level rise for Australia

A new report published by the Australian Government - Climate Change Risks to Australia's Coasts povides a risk assessment of climate change and rising sea level to Austrlian coastal communities. The report shows between 157,000 to 247,600 existing residential buildings will be at risk from sea inundation by 2100, under a sea-level rise scenario of 1.1 metres.



Related: Impacts of rising sea level a wake up call on climate change | Report

Friday, November 13, 2009

Climate Activists call on Obama to stop Indonesian Deforestation

Activists from a Climate Camp in the forests of Indonesia have taken direct action locking down earrthmoving and logging equipment. The site on the Kampar Peninsula of the island of Sumatra is being logged and cleared by Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Ltd (APRIL), one of the largest pulp and paper companies in Indonesia, to make way for tree plantations, grown for pulp and paper. All the activists have been detained by Police.

Related: Climate Defenders Camp established to preserve Indonesian Rainforest Peatlands | Photoset of Direct Action | APRIL watch Blog | Pulpmill watch | REDD Indonesia | Greenpeace Climate Rescue Blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vulnerable Countries call for Ambitious Emissions Targets for Climate Treaty

The Climate Vulnerable Countries' Forum over 9 -10 November has just concluded meeting in the Maldives and released a statement calling for "ambitious emission reduction targets consistent with limiting global average surface warming to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below below  350 p.p.m."

The forum is composed of countries from the Caribbean, Africa, South and South-east Asia, and the Pacific - many being vulnerable to sea level rise. The low lying Maldives announced in March plans to become the world's first carbon neutral nation, and embracing 100% renewable energy instead of oil.

Representatives attended from Kiribati, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Barbados and Bhutan. Observers from several industrialised countries also attended.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed in opening the forum said "We are gathered here because we are the most vulnerable group of nations to climate change. Some might prefer us to suffer in silence but today we have decided to speak...we will not die quietly,"

He called on developing countries to embrace carbon neutral development. "If those with the least start doing the most, what excuse can the rich have for continuing inaction? At the moment every country arrives at [international climate] negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible. This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide. "We don't want a global suicide pact...we want a global survival pact," Nasheed stated in a press release.

Some Background: Climate Change and Development Issues for Island States (Jan 2005)

The declaration released at the end of the forum follows:

It's getting hot in here - November heatwave 'classic climate change weather'

Is it hot enough for you yet in Melbourne? We are in the midst of a heatwave of Several days of highly unseasonal 30+ temperatures in early November. At 4 days of heat in excess of 30 degree so far... it is the longest spell of heat in Melbourne in November since 1925. The record of six days over 30 degrees in November, which occurred in 1896, might very well be broken this week.

The Poles are Melting
Climate IMC | Impacts of Rising Sea Levels | Multinational fossil fuel campaign to undermine Copenhagen | Climate Action means thousands of new jobs

Sunday, November 8, 2009

G20 Finance Ministers fail to agree on Climate Change Finance Package

G20 Finance ministers failed to reach agreement on the financing required for a global agreement to stave off catastrophic climate change, according to WWF Scotland. The Finance Ministers of the G20 countries were meeting in St Andrews, Scotland on 6-7 November.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: "The G20 Finance Ministers meeting turned out to be a mostly irrelevant sideshow on the way to the talks in Copenhagen in a months' time. Failure to come to agreement here is a major disappointment. Given that these are the people who run the biggest economies in the world it seems unlikely that they will manage to devote any serious time to the issue of climate finance before the start of the Copenhagen meeting."

Indymedia Scotland: 'Nae Tae G20.' | Nae Tae G20 in St Andrews Blog

Saturday, November 7, 2009

End CO2lonialism - Activists disrupt Barcelona climate talks final plenary

Adapted from an Original report Indymedia Ireland

At about 5pm this evening as the closing plenary of what can only be seen as a very disapointing climate talks in Barcelona, 2 people got up with a banner and walked toward the front stage shouting "Markets are the problem, not the solution". The banner said "End CO2lonialism". (Video on Youtube)

See Also:  Safeguards Lacking for ending emissions from Deforestation | Canada shamed at Fossil of the Day Awards - Barcelona

Report: Children are already dying because of climate change

"Children are already dying because of climate change and without urgent action these deaths will increase," said Rudolph von Bernuth, Emergency Director for Save the Children. "Nearly nine million children die every year before their fifth birthdays from simple causes like diarrhoea and pneumonia. Climate change will make these threats worse. Climate change is a global emergency for children."

The charity organisation Save the Children Alliance launched a new report detailing the impact of climate change on children worldwide, but particularly in developing countries. The report 'Feeling the Heat - Child Survival in a Changing Climate (PDF)' was launched November 5 during the Barcelona Climate talks leading up to the COP15 Copenhagen Climate Treaty Conference in December 2009.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Industrialised World Intransigence on CO2 emissions dooms Climate Negotiations

Africa abandons Barcelona's pre COP15 climate talks - Anger in the streets at rich nations inaction. Copenhagen Climate Treaty appears doomed - delays likely. Delay is not an option, delay kills.

This week (Nov 2 - 6) the Barcelona International Climate Change Talks are happening, five days of formal negotiations, in the lead up to COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009. Already Barcelona has seen a Manifestation in Barcelona streets - "The climate is not for sale" (Youtube vid | report), Outdoor film screening in city streets of Age of Stupid, TckTckTck wake up call for climate talks, Greenpeace banner drop (Youtube), Anarchist night greeting, Africa boycott U.N. climate talks (Grist report), Evening Water Lobby group targeted, and the Main entrance shut down by activists.

Conservation organisations have warned that the Copenhagen climate treaty threatens to subsidise the destruction of the world's remaining rainforests instead of financing their protection. In Indonesia Greenpeace established a Climate Defenders Camp to preserve Rainforest peatlands (Youtube Video). On October 24, 2009 people in 181 countries came together through 350.org calling for carbon emissions to be capped at 350ppm. It was the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history, at over 5200 events around the world, many of them reported on the Indymedia Network. (Photos)

See also: Barcelona IMC | Indymedia Ireland | Climate IMC
Climate Code Red: the Case for a Sustainability Emergency | Carbon Equity

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Climate Defenders Camp established to preserve Indonesian Rainforest Peatlands

Photo: Greenpeace/ Ardiles Rante. Greenpeace activists and local volunteers attempt to halt drainage by constructing dams on the peatland canalsFifty members of Greenpeace and members of the local forest community have set up a Climate Defenders Camp on the Kampar Peninsula, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They have spent the last week constructing a dam across one of the many canals built to drain the rainforest and peat soils in order to make way for plantations. This forest destruction emits huge quantities of CO2 and has led Indonesia to become the world's third largest climate polluter after China and the US. Global deforestation is responsible for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions.



"We are taking action to stop climate change right here at the frontline of forest destruction. To pull the world back from the brink of a climate crisis, we need Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and other world leaders to commit to much deeper cuts in emissions from fossil fuels and to provide the critical funds needed to end deforestation. If they fail, we will face mass species extinction, floods, droughts and famine in our lifetime," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar. See Photos of the Climate defenders Camp | Youtube Video: Greenpeace - Saving Sumatra's Peatland Forests