Friday, February 22, 2019

Greta Thunberg: "We are school striking because we have done our homework...We need knew politics. We need knew economics."



While tens of thousands of children were climate striking and marching through the streets of Brussels, Greta Thunberg addressed the European Economic and Social Committee at the EESC event "Civil Society for rEUnaissance".

Greta articulated that it is time for politicians to listen to the scientists and the science, "We don't have any other manifestos and demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand." she said.

She argued cogently that politicians don't want to talk about the climate crisis, but raise conspiracies to mask their own inadequacy in addressing a problem that has gone on for decades with little action.

She accused the European Union of doing only half the emissions reduction that is needed Europe should double what its commitments for its fair share. (Read Guardian article: Greta Thunberg tells EU: your climate targets need doubling)

To answer the argument put forward that students should be in school, Greta suggested that adults should take the place of students on the street, striking for change, "or better yet, join us to speed up the process." she said.



Greta addressing the student climate strike rally in Brussels: "we will be a pain in the arse, we will keep on striking until they do something"




The student climate strike in Basel Switzerland, has resulted on Wednesday in the city declaring a climate emergency, passing the resolution by a two thirds vote (by 71 votes to 17 against and 6 abstentions). The resolution was drafted by climate strike kids.

Read Greta Thunberg's full speech below:



"Tens of thousands of children are school striking for the climate on the streets of Brussels. Hundreds of thousands are doing the same all over the world.

"We are school striking because we have done our homework. And some of us are here today.

People always tell us they are so hopeful. They are hopeful that the young people are going to save the world. But we are not. There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge, because by the year 2020 we need to have bended the emissions curve steep downwards. That is next year.

We know that most politicians don't want to talk to us.

Good, we don't want to talk to them either.

We want them to talk to the scientists instead. Listen to them. Because we are just repeating what they have been saying and saying for decades.

We want you to follow the Paris Agreement and IPCC reports.

We don't have any other manifestos and demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand.

When many politicians talk about the school strike for the climate, they talk about almost anything except the climate crisis.

Many people are trying to make the school strikes a question of whether we are promoting truancy or whether we should go back to school or not. They make up all sorts of conspiracies and call us puppets who cannot think for ourselves. They are desperate to remove the focus from the climate crisis and change the subject. They don't want to talk about it because they know they cannot win this fight, because they know they haven't done their homework, but we have.

Once you have done your homework you realise that we need knew politics. We need knew economics where everything is based on a rapidly declining and extremely limited global carbon budget.

But that is not enough. We need a whole new way of thinking. The political system that you have created is all about competition. You cheat when you can because all that matters is to win, to get power. That must come to an end. We must stop competing with each other. We need to co-operate and work together and share the resources of the planet in a fair way.

We need to start living within the planetary boundaries, focus on equity and take a few steps back for the sake of all living species.

We need to protect the biosphere, the air, the oceans, the soil, the forests.

This may sound very naive, but if you have done your homework you know we don't have any other choice. We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change, because if we fail to do so then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing.

And all that will remain of our political leaders legacy will be the greatest failure of human history, and they will be remembered as the greatest villans of all time because they have chosen not to listen and not to act.

This does not have to be. There is still time.

According to the IPCC report we are about 11 years away from being in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. To avoid that, unprecedented change in all aspects of society need to have taken place within this coming decade, including a reduction in our CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent by the year 2030.

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which are absolutely necessary to make the Paris Agreement work on a global scale. Nor do they include tipping points, or feedback loops, like the extremely powerful methane gas released by the thawing Arctic permafrost.

They do however include negative emission techniques on a huge planetary scale that is yet to be invented, and that many scientists fear will never be ready in time, and will anyway be impossible to deliver at the scale assumed.

We have been told that the European Union intends to improve its emission reduction target. In the new target the EU is proposing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent below its 1990 levels by 2030. Some people say that is good, or that is ambitious. But this new target is still not enough to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This target is not sufficient to protect the future of children growing up today.

If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within its carbon budget of the 2 degree limit, then it means an 80 percent reduction by 2030, and that includes aviation and shipping. So around twice as ambitious as the current proposal.

The actions required are beyond manifestos or any party politics.

Once again they sweep their mess under the carpet for our generation to clean up and solve.

Some people say we are fighting for our future, but that is not true. We are not fighting for our future, we are fighting for everyones future.

And if you think we should be in school instead, then we suggest you take our place in the streets, striking from your work, or better yet, join us to speed up the process.

I am sorry, but saying that everything will be alright and continue doing nothing at all is just not hopeful to us. In fact, it is the opposite of hope, and yet this is exactly what you keep doing. You can't just sit around waiting for hope to come. Then you are acting like spoiled irresponsible children.

You don't seem to understand that hope is something you have to earn.

And if you still say we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction.

And since our time is running out we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Extreme Heat withering the trees in Albury


It's been an incredibly hot summer so far if you live in Australia's inland. Record breaking heat is impacting the health of people and roasting the vegetation.

Take the City of Albury- Wodonga as an example.

The towns of Albury-Wodonga straddle the Victoria-New South Wales border, on the Murray river. It is an important regional city with both the Hume Highway and Sydney Melbourne rail passing through.





MEDIA RELEASE – JANUARY 2019: ALBURY’S HOTTEST MONTH EVER – 1/2/19

Record breaking January temperatures coupled with low rainfall have caused significant stress on local plants including death of less established trees, burnt leaves, defoliation of deciduous trees, increased eucalypt limb falls and premature fruit drop.

Albury’s January temperatures were the hottest on record, with an average day time temperature of 37.4 degrees, 5.1 degrees higher than the long term average of 32.3, according to Bureau of Meteorology data.

“These record-breaking January temperatures, including 11 days over 40 degrees, have had widespread impacts on our area” said Lizette Salmon, convener of Wodonga Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH).

“As well as the blue-green algae problem and many people complaining of listlessness and irritability, we’ve received 60 reports from 30 citizen scientists describing impacts such as fatigued outdoor workers, decimated rhubarb, pumpkin and spinach crops, stressed and dehydrated wildlife and melting wax in bee hives. But the most frequently reported phenomenon has been the number of stressed trees.”

“A local arborist said he’d had double the number of limb fall call-outs from Vic Roads, a council worker said there was more summer leaf litter than any previous year and an orchardist estimated he’d lost 90% of his avocado crop due to premature fruit drop. Just look around our streets and you’ll see lots of stressed trees. Established trees in urban landscapes provide amenity, microclimate and biodiversity, so losses will impact greatly.”

Former curator of the Albury Botanic Gardens, Paul Scannell, said he too had noticed many changes in local plants this summer. “Natives like hakeas are dropping like nine-pins, avenues of ashes and other European and Asian specimens including Japanese maples, planes, conifers and elms are suffering. It’s the extreme temperatures, compounded by lack of water and attack by insects and diseases having an accelerated impact.”

“While defoliation, limb loss and fruit drop are natural responses to extreme conditions, this shutting down for self preservation can only go so far. If the heat and dry persist they’ll need to be well maintained with watering, mulching and, in the case of some street trees, air shattering the ground to open layers, or mechanical aeration to allow moisture to the root zone. Even then, they may not survive long term. If plants are suffering, insects are suffering, birds are suffering and lizards are suffering. It’s all interconnected. I anticipate that in the next 20 years there will be a 30 to 40 percent change of plant species we can use in gardens. We need to take strong action on climate change as well as selecting plants that are more likely to survive a heating planet.”

After advocating for climate action for more than a decade, Mrs Salmon has lost much faith in federal government. “Scientists have been warning us about these heatwaves for years and this January has been an absolute scorcher, yet the Prime Minister and his government are completely ignoring it. Their wilful silence and decades of inaction are disgraceful. Although Mr Morrison says we’ll meet the Paris climate targets he’s using dodgy accounting to ‘carry-over’ credits from Kyoto towards Paris. To pass on a habitable planet to our children we need to replace coal-fired generation with renewables and pumped hydro storage at emergency speed. It will be quicker and cheaper than more fossil fuels.”

Reference:

Monday, February 4, 2019

Politician responses to the record extreme heat for Australia January 2019


I've done some tracking on twitter across the political divide on climate and the heatwave events, going back to 22 December 2018 (the start of Christmas/New Year 1st heatwave event). December and January were record hot for Australia.

Australia's Hottest January on Record as we head into a climate election


Just as climate change has been driving up temperatures in Australia to record levels, the political temperature is also rising for a climate election for May 2019.

Australia has just experienced its hottest December on record, followed by its hottest January. It's already been a very hot summer with record breaking temperatures, and it's not yet over.