Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 2015 Christmas #Heatwave in Europe, US and Canada


December was remarkable for high temperature anomalies in Europe and North America. Many maximum temperature records and high minumum temperature records were broken in the leadup to and on Christmas day, particularly in North America.

2015 is set to be the hottest year on record, but already the UK Met Office has projected that 2016 will likely be hotter still.

In New York City shorts and T-shirts were still being worn, and tomatoes were still ripening. Many people highlighted the irony of turning on air-conditioning at Christmas. Some even pondered having a christmas barbecue or pool party.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Intense Bushfire hits Surf Coast on Christmas Day forcing evacuations


We are already getting a taste of the future with climate change with record temperatures in December, extreme bushfire alerts, and intense bushfires like the Separation Creek and Wye River fire causing town evacuations on the Surf Coast near Melbourne.

On Christmas day BOM Tasmania reported in a tweet "A sweltering 36 degrees in #Hobart today - the hottest Christmas Day on record! Cool change early tomorrow". Temperatures in Adelaide reached 37 degrees, the hottest Christmas Day in 29 years, just short of the temperature of 37.3°C reached in 1986.

In Victoria along the Great Ocean Road there was a major bushfire out of control on Christmas Day along Separation Creek and Wye Valley causing the Great Ocean Road to be closed and town evacuations. Wye River, Allenvale, Kennett River, Grey River were all affected. Most of the houses destroyed were at Wye River and Separation Creek.

A cool change with rain moved through overnight. Initially houses in Lorne were thought to be in danger as the wind changed direction with the cool change, that might push the fire towards the town. Evacuation warnings were issued for the small coastal settlements and for Lorne.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Burying the bad news at Christmas: Australian Greenhouse Gas emissions rising


First published at nofibs.com.au

Australia's Quarterly Update of Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory to June 2015 was published on Christmas Eve. You can usually tell something is trying to be hidden when it is being released late on a Friday to avoid public and media scrutiny. Doubly so if published on Christmas Eve.

I find it hard to believe that some diligent public servant worked hard to get it completed and published on Christmas eve. Almost certainly, it would have gone through Environment Minister Greg Hunt's desk in recent weeks.

According to the report, total Annual emissions for 2014-15 are estimated to be 537.0 Mt CO2-e, which is an 0.8% increase in emissions when compared with the previous year (excluding land use change emissions). If you include emissions from land use clearing and deforrestation, then our emissions increased by 1.3 per cent.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hot night in December heatwave across south-eastern Australia



A heatwave encompassing much of south-east Australia to 20 December broke numerous maximum temperature records with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issuing special climate statement No 53 (PDF).

This included an exceptionally hot night on 19–20 December breaking many minimum overnight temperature records.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Paris moment for climate justice and the historic #Parisagreement of #COP21


In the history of the World the Paris Agreement will be regarded as an historic moment. Even though it was far from perfect and didn’t go far enough. It was part of the Paris moment for climate justice.

Paris was a moral turning point. When 195 countries agreed by consensus to set a target to decarbonise by the later half of the century, an ambitious climate temperature goal and an international framework to achieve it.

It signifies the turning of the tide against fossil fuel pollution, although as Naomi Klein highlights, fossil fuels is not mentioned once in the agreement.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thousands protest for #climatejustice in Paris #D12 as #COP21 concludes


Even though the State of Emergency which prohibits large political protests is still in place, tens of thousands turned out on the streets of Paris for climate justice in various creative protests.

The French state on Friday, relented, and allowed the protest to go ahead.

For two weeks activists had been planning a day for redlines for the climate emergency, to defy the state crackdown on the right to freedom of speech and assembly.

Organisers had embarked on civil disobedience training of thousands of people at the Climate Action Zone in preparation for the day. The Climate emergency, it was argued, was far more important than the security restrictions imposed by the State of Emergency to protect citizens.

Coalition organisers, Climate 21, estimated 30,000 people participated in a rally and march from the Arc de Triumphe via the Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower. Just after 4pm organisers at the other event in Champs de Mars say 20,000 people were in attendance.

As a visitor to France it was one helluva way to see and visit some of the iconic sites of Paris, with 30,000 other people as my tour guides.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Australia joins Coalition of High Ambition at COP21 as announced on twitter


On Friday afternoon with the talks drawing to a close I attended a press conference called by the Marshall Islands. It featured Tony DeBrum, the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister, as well as several ministers in the Coalition of Ambition here at the Conference of Parties.

This new grouping is not a negotiating bloc, but a coalition of parties that want to emphasise and push for much higher ambition at these talks.

Tony De Brum said "You've read things in the media. We want you to hear from us directly. The High Ambition Coalition is emerging as a result of collective efforts of developed and developing countries."

Climate red lines in the UN Blue Zone and for Paris


Thursday was a long night with negotiators working on a draft text released at 9pm Thursday evening. Friday has been set aside for bilateral discussions. A new text is due on Saturday morning. There is still much at stake in these negotiations, and we will not know the full final outcome until the gavel goes down sometime over the weekend.

Greenpeace released a statement on Thursday night based on the 9pm draft text. Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace, said:

“This thing isn’t over until the conference closes, but what’s on the table just isn’t good enough. It’s a very big problem that the emissions targets on the table will not keep us below 1.5 degrees of warming and this draft deal does absolutely nothing to change that. Right now we’re witnessing a display of international impotence. This text should say that countries have to come back soon with better numbers but instead it kicks that can down the road, saying we’ll sort it in ten or fifteen years. That’s too late, they’re closing the door on our best chance to dodge dangerous warming."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Elements for a global climate agreement on the table. Will Ministers deliver? Day 10 of COP21


Climate Action Network held a press conference at 11am this morning. It is obvious that all the elements for an agreement are on the table, but it is still too early to call the final outcome.

Negotiators worked overnight to get a new version of the draft text ready. But further iterations are likely.

Alix Mazounie from RAC France said, “The French presidency is seeing an unprecedented level of support, and this is important because we’ve seen how process can derail talks. But this process, however good, has not yet succeeded in dealing with all the crunch issues. The Paris ambition mechanism, the loss and damage language, and scaling up commitments by 2018—these issues all need to get sorted.

"There are still too many red lines on the table. Compromises need to be made, but there are two kinds of compromises: the ones we want and the ones we don’t. There are ones that will threaten ambition, and ones that will work to deliver the kind of deal we need.” said Mazounie.

As the final text comes closer we see the form more clearly that this is likely to be a binding agreement.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fossil of the Day for Julie Bishop's endorsement of coal for Australia



Australia and Argentina shared a first place Fossil of the Day award for Wednesday 9th December at the UN Climate Change conference in Paris, for fostering coal projects when the world is rapidly turning away from coal due to the impact of greenhouse gases in driving climate change.

Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale was on hand to receive the award for Australia.

Both Argentina and Australia endorsed inclusion of the 1.5 degree temperature limit, along with the 2 degree C limit, in the operative text of the draft agreement during negotiations. At least 109 countries of the 196 countries attending the conference have stated they want to see this lower limit included, lead by the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Aviation and shipping emissions shamed by Fossil of the Day at #COP21



There are many intricacies to negotiating a climate agreement covering greenhouse gas emissions. One of the areas easy to overlook is aviation and shipping sector emissions.

Emissions from aviation and shipping are projected to grow, so it is important that they are considered in any climate agreement.

Aviation is responsible for almost 5 percent of all global warming and its emissions are predicted to grow by up to 300 per cent in 2050. Emissions from bunkers is also forecast to grow 270% by 2050. Such growth rates would make the target of keeping the global temperature increase to under 1.5 or 2°C almost impossible to achieve.

Yet international shipping and aircraft also enjoy tax free fuel subsidies to the tune over over 60 billion US dollars.

Corporate Greenwashing and conflict of interest at UN climate conference #COP21



I was surprised at what I found of the extent of conflict of interest between the sponsors of the UN Climate Conference, the French State and the UNFCCC secretariat.

On Thursday evening I left the UN climate conference at the Le Bourget centre straight after the Fossil of the Day ceremony at 6pm to attend the Pinocchio awards which examines and compares the greenwashed credentials of major corporations.

These awards are run by Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) to highlight corporate mal-practices. The three categories being judged were local impacts, lobbying and greenwashing.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Australia agrees to 1.5 degrees inclusion in #COP21 Draft climate agreement


As Environment Minister Greg Hunt departs after the first week and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop takes over negotiations at the UN climate conference, Australia has supported inclusion of the 1.5 degrees limit in the main draft text along with the 2 degrees limit, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

This is an important goal for many of our Pacific neighbors and nations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. One hundred and eight nations, so far, have said they want this lower limit included.

Paris City Summit of Mayors commits to 100 per cent #renewables by 2050


Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at Cities Climate Summit Photo: ©Mairie de Paris

A meeting of nearly a 1,000 city mayors from around the world meeting in Paris signed a declaration on Friday that supports a municipal transition to 100 percent Renewable Energy. Read the declaration (PDF)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said according to a report on Citiscope, "As I told the negotiators when bringing them our contribution, cities are not waiting for them to give us the solution," she said. "We are moving ahead and making a solution possible."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Climate Vulnerable Forum at COP21 shows climate leadership


The statement by the Climate Vulnerable Forum on Monday evening showed the world what climate leadership really is.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum Adopted The Manila-Paris Declaration (PDF) and committed to zero emissions by mid-century and 100 per cent renewable energy decarbonization by 2050. The leaders of 30 nations, some of them the most vulnerable to climate impacts, were determined to keep the world on track for below 1.5 degrees of warming.

"Individually, we are already survivors; collectively, we are a force towards a fairer, more climate-proactive world," said Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III.

"We refuse to be the sacrifice of the international community in Paris. Anything that takes our survival off the table here is a red line. All parties have an obligation to act. Not doing so is a crime. This Declaration is just the beginning of our efforts to step up our voice and collaboration," said Anwar Hossain Manju, Hon. Minister of Environment of Bangladesh, in a statement on the Climate Vulnerable Forum website.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull at COP21: all style little substance


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull waltzed onto the stage at the UN Climate Conference Loire plenary room on Monday afternoon. He was suave and eloquent. All style, but there was little of substance, or new commitments in his speech.

He announced that Australia was not only going to meet our 5 per cent target by 2020, but we were going to exceed it. "We will meet and beat our 2020 emissions reduction target." he said.

But he gave no commitment to actually setting a new pre-2020 target to aim for.

Our current pre-2020 target puts us at the back of the pack with regard to carbon pollution reduction effort prior to 2020.

If every country took this attitude, then the world would be well on the way to 4 degrees global warming.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris shows it's shoes for climate marching and forms a human chain


Today I observed and sometimes joined a peaceful human chain for a climate of peace on the Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. Organisers estimated about 10,000 people participated in one way or another.

This event took place because Parisians and visitors to Paris were denied the freedom of speech and assembly to march down the street under the state of emergency provisions.

Short video highlights from the human chain event on Boulevard Voltaire:



These provisions were enacted by the French state after the terrorist attacks on November 13 which resulted in 130 deaths and over 300 injured. It caused a dark cloud to hang over the climate conference. Just the fact that national leaders focus was redirected on security and terrorism has detracted from the much needed focus on resolving the climate change issue, which activists have highlighted as the Climate Emergency.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Melbourne #peoplesclimate draws 60,000 people sending PM Turnbull a message to lift targets



Reposted article from Climate Action Moreland website.

Well done to everyone who marched or supported the march, particularly the many shop keepers who allowed signs to go up in their windows. It was awesome with the estimated 60,000 people, who at one point, stretched all the way from Parliament House down Bourke street and up Swanston street to the starting place at the State Library at Latrobe street.

"The majority of Australians want action on climate change," said Geoff Cousins, chair of the Australian Conservation Foundation. "People now realise this is not some theoretical concept. This is affecting their lives on a daily basis and they want something done about it." he told the crowd, according to ABC News.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lowy Institute Survey: climate now a pressing problem, Australians say lift targets


According to a Lowy Institute public opinion poll conducted in October-November 2015 over half of Australia's population believes that climate change is "a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs".

Over the last few years concern has been steadily growing about climate change and the need to take action. The Lowy Institute points out that this is an increase of 16 percentage points since 2012 to 52 per cent.

Another 36 per cent of people reckon that "The problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost."

Just 11 per cent of people believe we "should not take any steps that would have economic costs."

On climate targets, 62 per cent of people think we "should be prepared to make stronger commitments on emissions reductions in the interests of reaching a global agreement". Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt should keep this level of support in mind when they meet other heads of state and our diplomats start negotiating a climate agreement in Paris atthe UN climate conference.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guest Post: Climate change's hotter weather could reduce human fertility

Earlier this month I reported on a new study that said extreme temperature events affected human fertility. Too Darn Hot! Sex, human fertility and birth rate declines due to #heatwave temperature shocks. Now you can read the authors of the study directly in this post from the Conversation US site.

Sidewalk human chain proposed for route of banned Paris march on Sunday


Coalition Climat 21 have proposed a human chain be formed between 12 noon and 1pm along the sidewalks of the Boulevarde Voltaire from between Place de la Republique and Place de la Nation. This was the original route of the march that has been planned for several months for Sunday November 29 in Paris.

Activists announced this action in a media release (fr) on Tuesday 24 November, to get around the ban on marching declared by the French state. The state of emergency declared and then extended after the Paris attacks resulted in the French state prohibiting mass marches in Paris and cities across France.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Music Video: 1.5 to Stay Alive - Climate change and the Caribbean



Time for a music break, and Arthur and Mongstar have done such a cool song for Caribbean Youth Environment Network - Saint Lucia (CYEN) to take to the Paris climate conference.

Help them by signing their change.org petition: A legally binding agreement that keeps global temp. below 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

"CYEN postulates that any increases in temperature beyond 1.5°C will relegate the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to unrelenting cycles of disasters and therefore compromise the future quality of life of all young people."

Australia's #climate stance for Paris #COP21


It seems that Australia has flexibility in negotiating for a global climate agreement in Paris. Minister Hunt even expressed that there is some room for Australia to lift it's targets, after a review, through purchase of carbon credits. But it appears there is no extra funding to the Green Climate Fund on the table.

Australia as a mid-level power carries some influence at sensitive negotiations such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual summit, called the Conference of Parties or simply COP. This year in Paris is the 21st year of negotiations, hence COP21.

Tom Arup in The Age has a good summary of the Australian political negotiating position on climate, writing that Australia's "team now has a negotiating mandate approved by cabinet. It is understood to be flexible and allows Australia to sign up to a strong agreement, including one with lofty language about the long-term ambition of the agreement."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Europe Diary: temperatures tumble in Paris after record warm November start

A spell of cold winter weather has finally arrived in Paris, just after we arrived from Nantes.

Maximum temperatures dropped this weekend to around 7C degrees and minimums are -1C overnight. In early November the temperature almost reached 30C in Paris during a European autumn heatwave setting a number of monthly maximum and minimum temperature records (see my storify below).

Many records in France were broken, sometimes very significantly (especially during the weekend of 7 and 8 November), and the warmth was also exceptional in its duration, according to a Meteo France media statement on 20 November.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Activists vow to mobilise at #COP21 climate summit despite protest ban


At a press conference in Paris on Friday afternoon activists unveiled how they would mobilize people in France to have a say despite the state of emergency that prohibts mass protests.

The Climate 21 coalition, a coalition of 130 groups involving unions, environment, community and climate activist associations, are adamant that the protests scheduled on November 29 and December 12 should proceed in some form taking into account the altered security requirements and sensitivity to the Paris attacks victims and their families.

"We will not renounce our mobilization, but we thought about other ways to occupy public space," said Juliette Rousseau, spokesperson for the Coalition according to a le Monde report (fr).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris #COP21 Climate protests banned



This afternoon the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, ruled that the two large climate marches in Paris and the main cities in France on November 29 and December 12 would be prohibited.

Negotiations between climate activist organisations and the French state have been ocurring early this week regarding approval for civil society public events and the two huge mobilisations, but without coming to agreed solutions. The Paris Prefecture of Police informed Climat21 Coalition late this afternoon (18 November) of the decision to prohibit the two marches.

My sources inform me that any street protest during the COP is also prohibited.

According to an Le Monde report (fr), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that due to the attacks of November 13 and the security situation all events in enclosed spaces and that are easily securable will be maintained. However, the government decided to avoid greater risk and that the planned marches for Paris and other cities in France on 29 November and 12 December would be prohibited.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Europe Diary: Nantes, the abolition of slavery and climate change



On Sunday I visited the Memorial to the abolition of slavery in Nantes and was deeply moved. It is located on the bank of the Loire River, opposite the Palais de Justice that stands on the Ile de Nantes. The city of Nantes has looked into the darkness of it's past in abuse of human rights and sought to document and reflect on that history. There are lessons here in the anti-slavery campaign for the climate change movement.

Europe Diary: Solidarity with the murdered victims in Paris: report from Nantes



The symbol of Peace for Paris unfurled in Nantes during the observance of 1 minute of silence, 16 November 2015.

My journey to the UN climate conference in Paris has involved staying in the regional city of Nantes for a week. Too short a period to do it justice, I fear.

The atrocities committed in Paris have overshadowed my stay in this green and progressive city.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terrorism in Paris casts a cloud across UN climate conference



People around the world will have woken this morning to news of the horrific terrorism attacks in Paris on a Friday night. Over 120 dead, more than 200 injured many seriously. Seven of the eight attackers blew themselves up with strapped on suicide vests and an eighth attacker was shot by police during a storming of a concert theatre. Some of the attackers are feared to be still at large.

President Francois Hollande declared a State of Emergency for France and closed the borders. Parisians have been told to stay at home. Paris, the city of lights, went metaphorically dark as the lights and sparkle on the Eiffel tower were turned off.

Today in Paris public places are closed as the nation observes three days of mourning with the nation's security at its highest level.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Can a leopard change it's spots? Australia's schizophrenic #climate diplomacy


This article originally appeared at nofibs.com.au


It seems Ministers from 62 nations were won over by Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt's charm at Precop with applause being delivered to speeches from Ministers from both Australia and Canada. (see my article on the Paris Precop ministerial meeting)

Australia is being seen as back on side diplomatically on the climate issue, especially after Hunt was a important broker in a deal phasing down HFC emissions in the Montreal Protocol update last week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Canada welcomed at Paris #PreCOP #climate Ministerial meeting


Original article published at nofibs.com.au

A high level informal Ministerial pre-summit climate conference is currently under way in Paris to try and close some of the differences in negotiating positions to set up momentum for the Paris Climate Conference. The outstanding highlight has been the return of Canada to the serious climate discussion table, although it is still very early to see how strong Canada's climate policy and negotiating position will be.

The French Government is putting a lot of diplomatic effort into the UN climate conference (COP21), due to start on Monday November 30 with an initial leaders summit with more than 100 Heads of State attending.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

After years of grassroots climate campaigning Obama cancels Keystone XL pipeline


Yesterday, after many years of delay, President Obama cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline project that would bring the bitumenous oil from the Alberta tar sands to the oil refineries on the Gulf coast.

The pipeline was condemned as opening up tar sands production and enhancing carbon pollution causing climate change. James Hansen famously said in 2011 that it would be game over for the climate if the Keystone XL pipeline was ever allowed to be built.

Stopping the Keystone XL project became highly symbolic for the climate movement and entailed building a broad coalition of indigenous first nation people, ranchers, students, scientists, and activists from all walks of life and from across Canada and the United States.

It involved civil disobedience at the point of construction and more symbolic arrests in front of the White House to lobby and pressure the Obama administration to walk the talk on climate action and not be bullied by the cashed up fossil fuel lobby.

“This is a historic moment, not just for what it means about avoiding the impacts of this disastrous pipeline but for all of those who spoke out for a healthy, liveable climate and energy policies that put people and wildlife ahead of pollution and profits,” said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity in a media statement. “President Obama did the right thing, but he didn’t do it alone: Millions of Americans made their voices heard on this issue, and will continue pressing Obama and other political leaders to do what’s necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.”

“History will hopefully remember this as a moment when the tide began to turn significantly against the forces that have fueled the climate crisis for so long. And there’s no doubt that this hard-earned win attests to the power of the climate movement and sends an undeniable message that Americans want clean energy now,” Love said. “We still have a lot of work to do to get off fossil fuels, but this is proof we have power and we’re on the right track.”

Paris: French Oil giant Total accused of climate crimes against humanity



Climate activists this morning targeted the head office of French petroleum firm Total and accused them of crimes against humanity due to greenhouse gases destroying the climate. The CEO of Total, Mr Patrick Pouyanné, was cited in a convocation of 'criminal' climate practices of his company.

The protest action was organised by Action Non Violent COP21 (@anvcop21) with 112 activists transforming the square outside of Total's headquarters in La Défense (Hauts-de-Seine) of Paris into a Crime Scene.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Victorian Guide to community energy unveiled at Hepburn Wind Coop AGM by Energy Minister


Lily D'Ambrosio, the Victorian Energy and Resources Minister, appeared at the Hepburn Community Wind Cooperative AGM and launched a Guide to Community Energy to empower communities to invest and control their own electricity generation infrastructure. Hepburn Wind is the first modern Victorian community owned energy co-operative.

This continues the positive steps being taken by the Andrews Labor Government in energy transition with the release of the Victorian Renewable Energy Roadmap for public consultation and the current finalising of the Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Community ownership of wind farms and solar farms is particularly high in parts of Europe, especially Denmark and in Germany where the Energiewende has localised electricity infrastructure and empowered communities.

Here is my report on Storify of the Hepburn Wind AGM and launch of the Guide to Community Energy. It was facilitated by Yes2Renewables campaigner Leigh Ewbank's presence and live tweeting.

Australia at sustainability crossroads at #Paris2015 #climate talks



There is much momentum for a binding climate change agreement in Paris, but success is by no means assured. In less than 4 weeks time leaders, ministers and diplomats will sit down to try and again thrash out an agreement over two weeks. This was supposed to happen six years ago in Copenhagen but the negotiations fell apart leaving us with a voluntary accord that was stitched together at the last moment in back room negotiations to save some face.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Paris, the 21st Conference of the Parties more usually called COP21, is expecting 80 world leaders to attend a summit on the first day to give a boost to negotiations. There will be some 160 national delegations in attendance over the two weeks of negotiations.

After the Heads of State summit, the diplomats will continue finalising details of the draft climate treaty. The subsequent two weeks will see Ministers lead their negotiating teams.

Australia will be represented at the leaders summit by our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Environment Minister Greg Hunt will then lead negotiations through the first week, followed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop leading negotiations in the second week.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Too Darn Hot! Sex, human fertility and birth rate declines due to #heatwave temperature shocks



This article originally published at nofibs.com.au.

If your not feeling like sex when it's too darn hot, your not alone. Latest research into human fertility and temperature extremes reveals that birthrates suffer a fall nine months after extreme temperatures events, and although there is a partial recovery in subsequent months, this does not make up for the lost fertility.

The research is based upon data of the effects of temperature shocks on birth rates in the United States between 1931 and 2010. It is contained in a working paper published October 2015 by Alan Barreca, Olivier Deschenes, Melanie Guldi from the US National Bureau of Economic Research and is titled Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change, and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Europe Diary: Halloween heat in UK, France on the road to #Paris2015 #Cop21 #climate talks


This article appeared originally at nofibs.com.au.

I have been travelling in England and Europe for 6 weeks now. It is supposed to be Autumn going into Winter, yet there is still plenty of warmth despite the shorter days. Other than a few days of rain, it has been remarkably fine: T-shirt and shorts weather, although a jacket is sometimes needed for chilly evenings.

Even in Switzerland I was wearing T-shirts and shorts, only pulling on a warm jacket for the journey to the top of Mount Titlis at over 3000 metres altitude in the European Alps.

I realize with my full bag I have probably brought far too many warm weather clothes expecting much cooler Autumn and Winter temperatures. Or maybe it is that bottle of Limoncello from Sorrento weighting my bag down.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Aussie Environment Minister Greg Hunt rebranded as #MinisterForCoal


On Friday the #Ministerforcoal hashtag was trending in Melbourne and then in Australia on Twitter. Activists had decided to inject some honesty into his ministerial position by rebranding him from Minister for the Environment to Minister for Coal.

Fifty or so activists attended his electorate office for the seat of Flinders in Hastings. While one group locked together inside, another group climbed onto the roof and unfurled bannerssaying "Minister for Coal".

The protesters were highlighting Greg Hunt's approval for the second time of the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin. With coal prices being in the doldrums and most Australian and international banks refusing to finance the project, it is looking very much like a stranded asset.

Here is the story as it unfolded in Hastings:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Road to #Paris2015 Bonn talks: More delay and confusion as "US text" roundly rejected


I am presently in Switzerland touring Europe, while the climate talks in Bonn proceed, the last preliminary talks before the major UN climate conference in Paris that start on November 30.

I am keeping a close eye on negotiations as I travel. Climate Justice Info have just released Update No 1 from Bonn, which reveals more delay and confusion as a result of a negotiating text put forward by co-chairs United States and Algeria, which was strongly rejected by G77 and China.

ActionAid, Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development and LDC Watch released the following media statement by Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid.

"Rich nations have been ignoring the needs of developing nations over and over again. The new text drafted by the co-chairs was another example of highhandedness that is biased towards the interests of the US and other developed countries, leaving behind the needs of the poor and vulnerable,” said Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid.

“If we construct the Paris climate deal on the terms of US and other rich nations, many of the people in the developing world won't survive the impacts of climate change," he added.

“The US co-chairs’ text is proof of the bias of this process for the positions and interests of developed country governments. It is unacceptable,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development. “Ambition, the key principle of equity, and means of implementation must clearly be articulated in the text for negotiations if the process is to have any meaning.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Climate Guardians in Environment Minister roof protest over Adani coal mine approval



Melbourne's climate Guardian Angels have descended on top of Environment Minister Greg Hunt's electoral office in Hastings in a rooftop protest at the re-approval of the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin.

Update: after a full day and evening on top of the roof, the Climate Angels have now safely descended. No arrests.

The original Minister's approval for the Carmichael Coal mine had to be set aside when challenged by the Mackay Conservation Group that the Minister had ignored and not taken into account two threatened species.

The Minister, Greg Hunt, has subsequently drawn up an approval notice with conditions and sent a media release on Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project on 15October, 2015. These conditions include establishing offset habitat and $1 million of funding for research programs to improve conservation of threatened species in the Galilee Basin over 10 years.

Europe Diary: London Natural History Museum misses Anthropocene climate education opportunity


Original article published at nofibs.com.au
Like many visitors and tourists to London I took the opportunity to visit the London Natural History Museum. I visited this museum 19 years ago and spent a whole day there with my older step children when they were 11 and 9 years old.

So I was keen to go back and share a new experience at the museum with my 15 year old daughter. Many interactive exhibits had changed, but many case exhibits looked pretty much exactly as I remembered them.

I remember my visit to the Mammals room with the Blue Whale as the centre piece hanging from the ceiling. The blue whale was still there but surrounded by scaffolding being restored. I guess you expect some continual maintenance in a museum, but I was a little disappointed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Europe Diary: #Engie stops new #coal investment but continues existing dirty coal plants #Paris2015


There has been a campaign to close down the aging and highly polluting Hazelwood coal mine and power station for several years. Hazelwood's French owner GDF Suez recently rebranded itself as Engie and in their latest announcement declared they would stop investing in new coal plants. But they refused to give any changed undertaking regarding operating plants such as Hazelwood and Loy Yang B power stations in the La Trobe Valley of Victoria. Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Europe Diary: For #Paris2015 UK and Australia compared on #climateaction


I am on a journey to the UN Paris Climate Change Conference starting on 30 November. My daughter Tarryn and I are travelling the UK and Europe in the prelude to attending the Conference. Read the original article at Nofibs.

While negotiators have managed to reduce the negotiating text from 86 pages to 20 pages (Draft agreement 5th October PDF), the pledged commitments still result in the global average temperature rise to 2.7 degrees C by the end of the century according to Climate Action Tracker.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Guest Post: 25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are


A powerful articulation of how both major Australian political parties have failed us on climate action over the last 25 years by Marc Hudson. Also relevant is Joan Staples 2009 article Our lost history of climate change.

25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are

Marc Hudson, University of Manchester

A divided government firmly on the back foot ahead of a major climate conference, its green credentials shaky, and riven with bubbling tensions between those who want serious climate action and those resistant to it. Sound familiar? But the government I’m describing is not today’s version, but Bob Hawke’s federal government way back in October 1990.

October 11, 2015, marks a quarter-century to the day since the then environment minister, Ros Kelly, brought a proposed carbon emissions target to cabinet. At the time, Jon Bon Jovi was number one in Australia with “Blaze of Glory”, and some of the lyrics are apposite:

You ask about my conscience; And I offer you my soul; You ask if I’ll grow to be a wise man; Well I ask if I’ll grow old.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Storify: Australia setting new early Spring heat and bushfire records


The early spring heatwave has brought a taste of summer extreme heat and bushfires across the continent setting new early season temperature records with temperatures anomolies of 12 degrees C and more over much of southern Australia, particularly Victoria.

This comes as a powerful El Nino is taking place in the Pacific which acts to boost temperatures and drought conditions in Australia. And all this takes place in a hotter environment with Australia having warmed by 0.9 degrees from 1910.

In September the Climate Council warned that Australia faces increased bushfire risk, with bushfire seasons extending for longer due to the impact of climate change.

The Bureau of Meteorology have issued a statement on October 7 which advises that the Indian Ocean Dipole has turned positive which will reinforce the El Nino impact on Australia.

Europe Diary: Report from the UK on renewables


My report for Climate Action Moreland. Read the original.

John Englart reports from the UK that Shell has abandoned Arctic oil exploration for foreseeable future citing the costs involved and the regulatory environment, but this is really a win for the climate movement who have campaigned against Arctic oil as fossil fuel resources that need to remain unburnt. We must remember that BP is undertaking deep water oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight including in a marine sanctuary. All Deep Sea oil needs to remain unburnt for a safe climate.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Storify: Waters are rising no more compromising #floodthesystem San Fransisco



With Shell abandoning Arctic oil drilling for the foreseeable future, and now pressure being applied on banks and other corporates, we are starting to see the power of a movement of movements that raises issues of economic justice and links them to issues of climate justice.

Today in San Fransisco climate activists took direct action to close down the financial district and blockaded particular corporate targets. In the lead up to the Paris Climate talks in December such actions demonstrate the necessity for a major change in the system and for leaders and diplomats to stop compromising on the action needed to be taken.

At least Eight activists were arrested during the protest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shell abandons Arctic oil exploration for foreseeable future


Activists reacted positively to Shell's announcement of an end to Arctic oil exploration in the Chukchi sea.

In a media release today Royal Dutch Shell announced it was discontinuing it's Arctic oil drilling program in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska, blaming the treacherous conditions and the regulatory environment.

Exploratory drilling to 6800 feet was undertaken with some indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, but not in sufficient quantities to warrant further exploration in this part of the basin.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guest Post: Prof Peter Christoff on Prime Minister Turnbull and climate change


If he wants to win an election, Turnbull should go back to his old self on climate


Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne

No more “stop the boats” or “axe the tax”. In announcing his challenge to Tony Abbott on Monday, Malcolm Turnbull promised to take Australian politics away from the mantrafication of policy by three-word chant.

He offered to treat the public intelligently, to engage it with reasoned explanations for policy change, and to fashion a convincing positive economic narrative for Australia.

You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the withered body politic.

Turnbull also campaigned for leadership on the basis that he could save the Coalition from an impending crushing electoral defeat. The immediate bounce in polls after the leadership coup suggests that he mobilises extra support based on public expectations that he will lead a government that is more progressive, intelligent and humane on a range of issues – including climate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

No change in Australian #climate policy with new PM Turnbull


This week Australia watched as the Liberal Party changed the Prime Minister, deposing Tony Abbott in a 54-44 party room vote and reinstating Malcolm Turnbull to the position of party leader and now Prime Minister. The change follows succeeding worsening polls for the Government.

Sunday afternoon Canberra was abuzz with rumours of a leadership challenge in the Liberal Party. Even though the Canning byelection is in progess, this is a sitting week in Canberra when politicians were available for a party room meeting. The #Libspill quickly came to fruition on Monday night in the Liberal party room meeting.

This is the third Prime Minister in 5 years who has been deposed in a party room ballot. Kevin Rudd was deposed by Julia Guillard in 2010, who then went on to form a minority government after a general election with the support of Independent MPs. With polls souring, Guillard was deposed by Rudd near the end of her term in 2013, with Tony Abbott then becoming Prime Minister after the Liberal National Parties won a majority of seats in the general election.

Now it was Abbott's turn to be deposed after serving less than 2 years as Prime Minister and numerous gaffes in government. The most recent gaffe was a laughing response to a joke in bad taste made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on rising sea levels and Pacific nations.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Storify: #SeaLevelRise comment engulfs Dutton, Abbott in Pacific #climate storm


Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has made a joke of Pacific Nations facing rising sea levels due to climate change. The Australian Prime Minister, recently returned from meeting with Pacific Island Nations in Port Moresby, laughed at the joke, before Social Services Minister Scott Morrison pointed out the boom microphone overhead.

Now there are calls for Peter Dutton to resign and Tony Abbott to apologize to the people of the Pacific and the world for the insensitive nature of the comments. The President of Kiribati Anote Tong, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony De Brum and PNG Governor of Oro Province Gary Juffa, among others, have all condemned the comments and called for a public apology.