Companies planning to apply for grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency have been warned there is a substantial risk the organisation could suffer even bigger funding cuts in the May budget.
ARENA took the unusual step Wednesday of writing to “stakeholders” to advise that “given the fiscal outlook and media speculation concerning the forthcoming budget on 13 May 2014, the future of ARENA’s funding is unclear.”
ARENA’s chief executive Ivor Frischknecht told Guardian Australia there was a “substantial risk” his organisation would face more cuts. He said companies needed to be aware of this as they considered spending money on land, permits and feasibility studies ahead of making an application to ARENA for funding.
ARENA was set up as part of the former government’s carbon pricing scheme with a budget of $3bn. Unlike most of the scheme it was originally backed by the Coalition.
As Labor sought budget cuts in the 2013 budget, it deferred $370m of the funding until the next decade. The Coalition then included an additional cut of $435m in its carbon pricing legislation. The agency’s letter clearly indicates more cuts are very likely.
Given that the carbon tax repeal bills have not yet passed the senate, the already-announced $435m cut has not yet occurred under the law and the government needs to include the money in the budget.
But there are strong suggestions the government may require ARENA to use almost all its remaining funding to pay for the Coalition’s election promise to pay $500 grants to one million households to put solar panels on their roof.
At their annual conference in March, Doctors for the Environment Australia said the debate about whether climate change is real is over — it is now time to act. Carmela Ferraro reports.
IN LIGHT of the IPCC’s report card on the environment and the enormous challenges facing people and planet, it’s reassuring to know that a 2014 CSIRO survey shows more than 80 per cent of Australians think climate change is real.
Curiously, though, on a list of 16 concerns, climate change came 14th— lower than health at number one, the economy, electricity prices and drug problems.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the lead author of the CSIRO survey Dr Zoe Leviston
‘… said the low ranking may reflect people turning off the issue because it had become so politicised, artificially pulling the ranking down.’
Given that environmental heavyweight Dr Tim Flannery has, at several public events I’ve attended, said this is the “critical decade” and right now is the “golden hour” to put the brake on runaway climate change — how exactly do we turn people’s attention to this potential global disaster in the nick of time?
The answer may lie in the CSIRO findings themselves, which listed people’s primary concern as being health. Thus, as a group of U.S. researchers concluded a couple of years ago, framing climate change as a public health issue offered the greatest chance for climate change mitigation.
Framing climate change as a public health issue is in no way misleading — the effects of climate change on health are very real and extremely serious.
Indeed, in 2009, prestigious medical journal the Lancet flagged climate change as ‘the biggest global health threat of the 21st century’ and called on health professionals ‒ whom it acknowledged had (with a few exceptions) come late to the debate ‒ to act.
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is one health organisation that has since 2001 worked to raise the alarm on the health ramifications of the continued degradation of the environment and climate change, as well as the need to reduce these health impacts through awareness raising and advocacy.
read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/act-on-climate-change-for-the-sake-of-the-future--doctors-orders,6358
Devastating flash floods in the Solomon Islands have killed at least 19 people, while 40 are still missing and an estimated 49,000 people are homeless.
Entire riverside communities and bridges were washed away when the Matanikau river in Honiara broke its banks on Thursday. The government declared a state of emergency.
Rivers in the north-west, central and north of the island also flooded, destroying homes and displacing communities.There are more than 5,500 people in three of the most populous of the 13 evacuation shelters in Honiara, where aid groups report dengue fever is threatening to spread.
Water supplies and infrastructure including sewerage, electricity and have also been damaged, Reuters reported.
"This is unprecedented, and I've seen earthquakes and tsunamis and other very bad flooding incidents,” said the country director of Oxfam, Katie Greenwood. “But this flash flooding is unlike anything that I've seen previously here in the country.”
read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/07/solomon-islands-flash-floods-kill-at-least-19-people
Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita has been upgraded to the highest category level as it moves towards the far north Queensland coast.
The category-five cyclone is now expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation, coinciding with the high tide.
Ita has very destructive winds of around 250 kilometres per hour near the centre, and is expected to cause flash flooding with falls of up to 400 millimetres.
At about 7pm on Thursday the system, which has already wreaked havoc in Solomon Islands, was about 345 kilometres north-north-east of Cooktown and moving west-south-west at 15 kilometres per hour.
A warning has been issued for Lockhart River to Innisfail, extending inland to Kalinga, Laura, Palmerville, Mareeba and Chillagoe.
I have it on good authority (precise weather prediction maps) that there is 90 per cent chance that the cyclone will then hug the coast south-south-eastwards, turn into a nasty low (depression) right down to Brisbane or lower...
Slowly, inexorably, we are inching towards the time when one of the greatest fudges in recent Australian politics will be exposed.
Tony Abbott’s political demolition of the former government’s carbon pricing scheme was based not on what many in his party believe – that climate change is not happening and there is therefore no need to do anything at all – but rather on the assertion that the Coalition could achieve “the same” environmental benefit in an almost pain-free way.
The painlessness and effectiveness of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan has long been disputed. Study after study has concluded that it would actually require far more than the allocated money ($300m, $500m, $750m and then – at least according to the original document – $1bn a year until 2020) to achieve emissions reductions, but the environment minister, Greg Hunt, simply brushed them all aside and insisted his plan would work. Since it was always so vaguely defined it was difficult for those with doubts to pursue the debate.
And post-election it turns out that “the same” environmental benefit might well be the very bare minimum 5% reduction by 2020, despite the Coalition having promised in writing to increase that target under specific circumstances. The independent regulator (which the Coalition is seeking to abolish) says under the agreed conditions it should now be trebled. The Coalition says it is sticking with 5%.
But on both these fronts – the effectiveness and cost of the policy and the target it will need to achieve – a moment of truth is imminent.
From Eugene Robinson
Some governments have instituted policies to try to hold down emissions of carbon dioxide — by far the biggest contributor to climate change — but these measures do not go nearly far enough. We’re doing a Michael Jackson moonwalk, appearing to move ahead while actually sliding backward — toward what scientists fear is an abyss.
Between 1970 and 2000, according to the report, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions rose at an average rate of 1.3 percent a year. But between 2000 and 2010 — a period when no one could claim ignorance of the problem — emissions rose at 2.2 percent annually.
Given the fossil fuels we have already burned — the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by an incredible 40 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution — some further warming is inevitable. Most climate scientists believe humankind can avoid calamity if we limit the temperature rise to about 4 degrees by 2100. But at present, according to the new report, we are on track for an increase of up to 8 degrees.
Wave bye-bye to low-lying island nations and coastal cities. Say so long to what we think of as “normal” weather patterns and growing seasons. Get ready to welcome tropical pathogens as they migrate into formerly temperate zones.
read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-on-climate-business-as-usual/2014/04/17/5bc9a336-c669-11e3-8b9a-8e0977a24aeb_story.html
Note : I believe the degrees mentioned in this article are Fahrenheit
RIO VISTA, Calif. — As the Merva W puttered down the Sacramento River, it looked like any other dowdy fishing vessel headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge. But no other boat had as surprising a cargo or as unusual a mission: The Merva W was giving 100,000 young salmon a lift to the Pacific in the hope of keeping them alive.
The record drought in California is not only forcing cities to ration water and farmers to sell off cattle. It is also threatening millions of salmon because the newly shallow rivers lack a strong enough flow to guide the fish to sea. And in the warming rivers, more predators are lurking.
In an act that is equal parts despair and hope, the government is transporting the salmon by truck and barge, trying to imitate nature so that in three years some fully grown fish will find their way back upstream. For some salmon, “this is a way of sustaining the fishery,” said Peter B. Moyle, a senior biologist at the University of California, Davis. “For an endangered species, it’s a desperation measure.”
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