Mastodon September 2022 | Climate Citizen --> Mastodon

Thursday, September 29, 2022

AGL Energy brings forward Loy Yang A coal power plant closure from 2045 to 2035

AGL Energy has announced the bringing forward of the closure date for the Loy Yang A coal power station in the LaTrobe Valley from 2045 to 2035. 

Such action was not unexpected given the Victorian Premier's announcement on Tuesday setting Victorian energy storage targets, and with continual growth in grid solar and wind farms and the planned construction of offshore wind. In March this year the Victorian Government set offshore wind targets of 2GW by 2032 and 4 GW by 2035.

But the 2035 closure date is still not ambituous and not in keeping with Paris climate target for phasing out coal. Bronya Lipski from Environment Victoria argues that a 2032 closure is in line with AEMO step change scenario. The Greens in the upcoming state election argue that all Victoria's coal plants should be phased out by 2030 with ramping up the speed of renewables and storage construction.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Queensland sets new renewables targets: 70% by 2032, 80% by 2035, coal reliance phaseout by 2035

“We are facing a climate emergency,” Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said in her State of the State address at a CEDA function. She noted that Queensland is facing dramatic problems from rising sea levels in Torres Strait, record “rain bombs”, bushfires, and a total of 98 natural disasters in the last decade. “Climate change is real …. but we need to do more than talk about it. We need to act, and act in a revolutionary way,” she said.

The Premier launched a $60 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan which will transform Queensland from a coal dependant state for energy to one powered by solar and wind renewables with pumped hydro energy storage, as well as grid batteries, and an upgrade to the transmission grid.

The plan encompasses:

  • At least 25 GW new and existing renewable energy
  • Gladstone grid reinforcement to support heavy industry to switch to renewable energy and decarbonise their operations
  • All publicly owned coal-fired power stations operating as clean energy hubs by 2035, supported by a legislated Job Security Guarantee for energy workers
  • Two new world-class pumped hydro projects that together could deliver up to 7 GW of long duration storage
  • Around 1500km of new high voltage backbone transmission to move more power around the state
  • Up to 3 GW of low to zero emissions gas generation for periods of peak demand and backup security
  • A smarter grid to support over 11 GW of rooftop solar and around 6 GW of batteries in homes and businesses

It should be noted Queensland is a major exporter of both thermal and metallurgical coal and this plan does not cover this coal production for the export market.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Victoria sets Energy Storage targets of 2.6 Gigawatts by 2030 and 6.3 GW by 2035 capacity, coal may end in early 2030s

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio announced new energy storage targets alongside a $157 million package supporting renewable energy generation and storage projects across the state.

Victoria has set a 2.6 gigawatts (GW) target of renewable energy storage capacity by 2030, with an increased target of 6.3 GW of storage by 2035. This energy storage is essential to firm the growth in renewables generation from solar and wind farms.

The new storage targets include both short and long-duration energy storage systems – which can hold more than eight hours of energy to cover peak demand periods. 

The new energy storage targets, along with advancing renewables may spell the closure of Victoria's brown coal in the early 2030s. It also adds momentum to Victoria's achievements in emissions reduction in future climate targets.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Guest Post: Australia violated the rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to act on climate change, the UN says. Here’s what that means

Guest post by Kristen Lyons, The University of Queensland via the Conversation.

In a landmark decision, a United Nations committee on Friday found Australia’s former Coalition government violated the human rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to adequately respond to the climate crisis.

The Torres Strait Islanders ‘Group of Eight’ claimed Australia failed to take measures such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and upgrading seawalls on the islands. The UN upheld the complaint and said the claimants should be compensated.

This decision is a breakthrough in Indigenous rights and climate justice, including by opening up new pathways for Indigenous communities – who are often on the frontline of the climate crisis – to defend their rights.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Foreign Minister Penny Wong addresses UN General Assembly on climate action and reforming the United Nations

Australia's in person delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, 77th session, was lead by Foreign Minister Penny Wong and included Yawuru elder from Broome and Senator Patrick Dodson.

Although the media reporting concentrated on her remarks regarding the need to reform the United Nations, the Ukraine War and geopolitics, a substantial amount of her speech focussed on Australia's escalating action addressing climate action both for Australia and in the Pacific region.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Australia commits to Global Nature Pledge to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 during UN General Assembly

More than 93 countries have signed the Global Leaders Pledge for Nature for Sustainable Development to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese just committed Australia to this pladge. The previous government of Scott Morrison refused to act on this pledge.

The pledge was developed by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Belize, Bhutan, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Finland, Kenya, Seychelles, the UK and an alliance of organisations.

It is part of the UN convention on Biological Diversity which is considering a new global draft agreement (PDF) for adoption at Montreal, Canada, from 7 - 19 December 2022  Conference of the Parties meeting (COP15). This is a landmark agreement addressing the biodiversity crisis, an equivalent for what the Paris Agreement did for climate change.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Victoria cut emissions by 29.8% on 2005 levels by 2020. There is a pathway to decarbonisation by 2035 to meet 1.5C target.

The Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, announced on 20 September that Victoria Smashes Emissions Targets. Victoria achieved a 29.8 per cent emissions cut on 2005 levels up to and including 2020. Victoria had set an Emissions Reduction Target of 15 to 20 per cent reduction by 2020.

Last year i reported that Victoria reduced emissions by 24.8%, on track for 45-50% reduction by 2030

The Andrews Government rebuilt Victoria's Climate Act and set a number of interim targets. 

Energy was the top sector that needed to start the decarbonisation transition process, and the Andrews Government has tackled this with growing renewables and energy storage as a proportion of our electricity production.

Victoria’s energy sector is still the state’s largest source of emissions, but continues to see deep cuts made due to the rapid upscaling of renewable energy. The sector saw renewable electricity production increase from 21.7% of total electricity generation in 2019 to 24.8% in 2020.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Natural gas, Methane emissions reduction and the need to implement methane removal

Image: large scale methane removal possible via atmospheric solar photocatalysis wind chimney

What was I doing at 4am on a Friday morning? Watching a Methane Action (US NGO) organised webinar (1) on methane reduction and methane removal.

This webinar had Sir David King, a former chief scientist for the UK, doing a presentation. I first came across Sir David King's statements on the approaching climate crisis around 2004.(2)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Microplastics pollution threat fails to be included in Hockey Feasibility study for Moreland Council

On Wednesday night I made a statement to Moreland Council meeting on Agenda item 7.9 Hockey Feasibility Study for a second Field Hockey pitch in Moreland.

My concerns were that Council needs to consider all the information on health and environmental impacts of synthetic turf, as well as the well argued social benefits, as part of good governance for making an informed  decision. This includes assessing carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions climate impact, urban heat, microplastics pollution and reduction in biodiversity, and disposal at end-of-life.

The Feasibility Report had a number of errors which I tried to highlight in my statement, the major one being the complete absence of the microplastics pollution threat. 

A Swiss/German study published October 2021 found that between 50 kilograms to over 1 metric ton per year was the average fibre loss from a synthetic pitch. (Bertling et al 2021) This is separate from infill loss assessed at 2.98 tonnes average per year from the same study (which would mainly apply to soccer artificial turf rather than hockey). 

There are several more errors in the Feasibility study I did not go into.

The health and environmental impacts that were mentioned, were not adequately detailed or quantified which was in sharp comparison to data provided to justify the social benefits. 

My Literature Review: Synthetic Turf carbon footprint, environmental, health, microplastics and biodiversity impacts, published April 2021, highlighted numerous impacts including in the areas of urban heat, microplastics and carbon footprint. The Literature review also explored how use of synthetic turf is an aspect of the Plastics crisis, is concurrent with and related to the climate crisis.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

UN Secretary General highlights climate crisis at WMO United in Science Report 2022 launch

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently launched the United in Science report (13 September)  The United Nations Secretary General articulated the climate impacts being felt this year, the climate crisis we are facing and the imperative to reduce emissions more rapidly and stop ALL new fossil fuel projects.

The United in Science report highlighted that:

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs. 
  • Fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns.
  • Ambition of new mitigation pledges for 2030 need to be four times higher to limit global warming to 2 °C and seven times higher to get on track to limit global warming to 1.5 °C..
  • 2018–2022 was the fourth warmest 5-year period on record and 2015-2021 were the seven warmest consecutive years on record.
  • Some regions saw greater glacial mass loss than others. For example, Western Canada experienced an exceptionally warm and dry northern hemisphere summer in 2021, which further exacerbated mass loss of glaciers across the region.
  • In 2018-2021 the Arctic sea-ice extent was below average and in the Antarctic, minimum sea-ice extent reached record lows.
  • There is a 48% chance the annual mean global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) for at least one of the next five years (2022–2026).
  • there is a 93% probability that at least one year in the next five will be warmer than the warmest year on record (2016).
  • As the climate changes, tipping points, or irreversible physical changes in the climate system, cannot be ruled out. Potential tipping points include the Amazon rainforest, melting of polar ice sheets and changes in major weather systems, such as the monsoon.
  • With 3.3 to 3.6 billion people living in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change, adaptation to climate impacts is more important than ever.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

PFAS, synthetic turf and a new planetary boundary proposed and being exceeded

Very concerning. Increasing production and use of Forever chemicals, that is, the thousands of chemicals in the PFAS class: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. These are not natural chemicals, and they do not break down in the environment. The chemicals are widely used. According to the Department of Health they are not manufactured in Australia, although plenty of products that use PFAS are imported.

PFAS is spread widely through water pollution and oceans and as aerosols in the atmosphere contaminating soils. PFAS chemicals are found very widely across the earth in rainfall. So, our water resources  are now contaminated.

My attention was drawn to this Euronews article. It sums up the recent scientific findings and outlines the issues: Rainwater everywhere on Earth unsafe to drink due to ‘forever chemicals’, study finds

Fluorine signatures and PFAS chemicals have been found in synthetic turf matting and fibers in the USA and in Sweden. With the study in Sweden the researchers say the presence of PFAS chemicals "we believe these results to be broadly translatable to Artificial turfs globally".