Mastodon September 2016 | Climate Citizen --> Mastodon

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Netherlands parliament increases climate targets: 25 percent by 2020, 55 percent by 2030

The Netherlands parliament, in a non-binding vote, decided to increase their countries emission reduction targets to 25 percent by 2020 and 55 percent by 2030. This will almost certainly require the shut down of the 5 remaining coal fired power stations to achieve these targets.

These targets align the Netherlands with the temperature goals articulated in the Paris Agreement that were formulated and agreed to at COP21 last year in Paris.

During 2015 five coal fired power stations were closed down, however 3 of the 5 remaining power stations were new plants that had only come on line in 2015. These new power stations were built by Germany's E.ON and RWE, and France's Engie at a cost of 5.5 billion euros. These are now looking to be stranded assets.

The Netherlands had a 5 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions during 2015 and coal fired power has been blamed for this increase in emissions.

According to Reuters:

Dutch carbon dioxide emissions were 2 percent higher in 2015 than in 1990, mostly due to the increase in coal-powered generation.

Overall greenhouse gas emissions were 12 percent lower in 2015 than in 1990, as use of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine containing gases have all been sharply reduced.

The vote ocurred in the Dutch parliament on the night of 22 September 2016. Both Liberal and Labour parties say they will now push for speedy implementation of the motion. The Labour party is part of the centre right coalition government but backed the opposition parties for this motion.

The Dutch government has been under pressure from citizens to step up climate action. In the Urgenda case, some 900 citizens took their government to court and won arguing for the Dutch government to have climate policies in place that were in keeping with the best climate science advice with emission reduction targets of 25 percent by 2020.

The Dutch coalition Government had initiated an appeal of the judgement, while preparing a climate package for early November. It now seems that appeal may not be necessary.

Voters in the Netherlands will head to the polls in March 2016. There are fears Geert Wilders’ far-right, populist and anti-immigrant Freedom Party may make major electoral inroads, and attempt to wind back renewable energy and climate policies.

Above average heat has continued during September in the Netherlands. The month is forecast to end at 17.2°C average, which while normal for July and August, will be the 3rd warmest September on record, according to a tweet by Kees van der Leun.

Read more at the Guardian: Dutch parliament votes to close down country's coal industry

Here is how Kees van der Leun saw the parliamentary vote:

Monday, September 19, 2016

What impact #sealevelrise on Melbourne's privatised port facilities?

The Andrews Victorian state government has been successful with the sale of the Port of Melbourne for $9.7 billion, an election promise. The government had been expecting around $7 billion for the asset. Technically, its not a sale, but a 50 year lease of the port’s commercial operations. The long term lease of Australia's largest port facilities had bipartisan support, with the State Liberal Party, when in power, doing much of the initial paperwork to bring about the privatisation.

The new owners of the Port of Melbourne are the Lonsdale consortium which includes the Queensland Investment Corporation, the Future Fund, GIP and OMERS.

This is another public asset sale deriving from neoliberalism which has had the support of both major political parties. There are really very few state owned assets left to flog now.

The money will be a windfall gain for the state's budget, but it sacrifices future revenue and control of Port infrastructure. The port is a major gateway for imports and exports and holds a near monopoly position. Being at sea level, the port facilities are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise due to climate change.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Solar thermal for South Australia? Solar Reserve says 6 power stations may be built

Originally published at

Solar Reserve has a plan to build a solar thermal power station with 8 hours molten salt storage at Port Augusta which would diversify South Australian electricity generation, bringing jobs and solar innovation to the state.

A report in the Adelaide Advertisor says that once the first power station is built with locked in long term contracts and finances, a further 5 solar thermal power stations of a similar size could be built across the north of the state. Leigh Creek, Woomera, Whyalla, and Roxby Downs have all been identified as possible sites. This would then amount to about 650MW capacity, as much as the expanded interconnector with Victoria.

Monday, September 12, 2016

ARENA briefly made Australia a world leader in renewables R&D. Time to #SaveARENA

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is facing a huge funding cut of $1.2 billion as part of the budget omnibus the Federal Government wants to pass. It is responsible for providing seed funding for innovative renewable energy projects. The latest funding round has just been released. It features substantial seed funding for 12 major solar projects and builds on innovative seed funding for renewables projects in previous years.

According to the Guardian, "The only time in Australia’s recent history that research and development for renewables outstripped R&D for fossil fuels was when the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) began making grants to renewables in 2013, the study of International Energy Agency figures found."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Turnbull increases climate aid for Pacific at Regional leaders meeting

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended the Pacific Leaders' meeting forum, and announced a small increase in climate related aid for the region. But this comes after the Abbott Government slashed Australia's foreign aid budget to extremely low levels in 2014.

Related: Pacific pariah: how Australia’s love of coal has left it out in the diplomatic cold | Pacific Island nations lead in ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change

Pacific Island nations lead in ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change

The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting has concluded in Pohnpei in the Marshall Islands. A major focus of this meeting was action on climate change following Paris and COP21.

The Statement following 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting was released by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Honorable John Silk:

“Today’s communique is a clarion call to action that even with the Paris Agreement, there remains a lot of work to do to guarantee there will still be 16 seats at the Pacific Islands Forum in a hundred years from now.”

“The Pacific is strongest when we come together and fight as one. Along with our big brothers and sisters in Australia and New Zealand, we have declared that we will continue to push for an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol in October, and to see ambitious climate action across all sectors. This must include reducing aviation and maritime emissions in line with the 1.5°C temperature target we all agreed in Paris.”

“I want to particularly thank President Christian for the Federated States of Micronesia’s tireless leadership in the Montreal Protocol negotiations, beginning with their first submission in 2009. If we succeed in Kigali, it will be one of the best examples of island leadership that we have ever seen and help us avoid up to half a degree of warming – the biggest chunk yet off the ambition gap.”

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Guest post: Pacific pariah: how Australia’s love of coal has left it out in the diplomatic cold

Tony De Brum with Coalition of High Ambition at Paris COP21. The Marshall Islands helped to galvanise what became an inexorable push towards a 1.5-degree target in Paris
Photo: John Englart, CC BY-SA

Wesley Morgan, The University of the South Pacific

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have some explaining to do when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Pohnpei, Micronesia, this week.

Australia’s continued determination to dig up coal, while refusing to dig deep to tackle climate change, has put it increasingly at odds with world opinion. Nowhere is this more evident than when Australian politicians meet with their Pacific island counterparts.

It is widely acknowledged that Pacific island states are at the front line of climate change. It is perhaps less well known that, for a quarter of a century, Australia has attempted to undermine their demands in climate negotiations at the United Nations.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Deciphering the US-China bilateral climate change outcomes

This article first appeared at

The nine point statement on the U.S.-China Climate Change Outcomes in Hangzhou China negotiated between Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama outlined the growing bilateral cooperation between the US and China on climate policy in a number of meetings since 2013. (First outcome).

These bilateral negotiations should be widely welcomed. They proved to be an important stage setter for the Paris Agreement at COP21 in Paris which set in place for the first time a true international framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dealing with climate change.

Read the U.S.-China Climate Change Outcomes ( in full.

United States and China ratify Paris Agreement

The formal occasion in Hangzhou China was used to lodge instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and call for all other UNFCCC signatory countries to ratify the agreement this year. (Second Outcome)

Read more on this by me: China and the United States Ratify Paris Agreement on climate

China and the United States Ratify Paris Agreement on climate while Australia fumbles on policy

On Saturday China agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement according to the Guardian, with members of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee adopting "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement" on Saturday morning.

China is the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter with about 24 percent of total global emissions. The USA is second on about 12 percent of global emissions.

The report comes on the eve of the G20 summit in Hangzhou China over the weekend, where China, US set to release review of each other’s fossil fuel subsidies in historic move at G20 summit according to the South China Morning Post.

The announcement comes as Xi Jinping and Barack Obama met ahead of the start of the G20 on Sunday to make a joint statement on climate change and submit their country instruments of ratification to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shining a light in Melbourne on Reef not Coal

Originally posted at Climate Action Moreland

Last night I ventured to Federation Square. I had heard that Nemo and Dory were in town.

The Climate Guardian angels were also there poignantly making a statement with a piece of the redline ribbon from Paris COP21 last year. The redline derives from diplomatic symbolism for a boundary or limit which should not be crossed. No new coal mines or other fossil fuels is one such boundary for a safe climate, backed up by research by McGlade and Ekins (2015) (See Unburnable carbon: why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground). Two of the Angels present are from our Climate Action Moreland group.

Seems the East Australian current is warmer and going further south. The Tasman sea has warmed by over 2 degrees C in the last 70 years - it's a global sea surface temperature hotspot. That's climate change for you.