Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Great White shark, climate change and ocean carbon cycles


The latest media 'hysteria' about shark attack arises from a tragic fatal bite incident when WA teenager Laeticia Brouwer was mauled by a shark at the popular surf break - Kelp Beds - near Esperance (south coast of Western Australia) just before 4pm on Easter Monday (2017).

The paramedic who was first on the scene said the teenager suffered tremendous blood loss and couldn’t be saved despite quickly receiving first aid.

While sharks are relatively common in coastal waters, attacks are exceptional given the overwhelming presence and numbers of people in the surf zone. You are more likely to be killed in a road accident, riding a horse or a vending machine, than by a shark.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg says WA isn’t doing enough to protect people from sharks urging shark culls and drum lines, according to the West Australian. "In light of the recent shark attack, the Commonwealth would welcome any proposal to protect human life first and foremost,” he said. “This could include the newest drum-line technology, shark exclusion nets, culling or other measures which WA sees fit.”

WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly has ruled out the idea of a shark cull in response, according to the ABC. "We're not going down the path of a cull because there's no evidence that it actually makes our beaches safer," he said, "...no evidence that that actually reduces the likelihood of future attacks," Kelly said.

Like on climate change, we are seeing the issue of shark conservation or culling being politicised rather than public education and options for shark incident mitigation. Our Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister should know better. The oceans are the domain of sharks and they have an important role to play as apex predators as part of the ocean carbon cycle. When we swim in the oceans we need to be mindful of the risks involved, including utilising the latest in public shark warning and repellent devices.

Mindless culling of sharks will not actually reduce the risk of shark attack without doing great harm to the ocean ecosystem trophic structure. It is as apex ocean predators that sharks do us the greatest service in maintaining the ocean carbon cycle and help keep carbon sequestered in coastal sea areas (Blue Carbon) to help us mitigate climate change.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Adani's Abbot Point coal contamination of Caley Valley wetlands and marine environment


Article First published at nofibs.com.au

Adani's coal export terminal at Abbot Point was in the direct path of Category 4 Cyclone Debbie. There was reason to expect a large storm surge, but this did not occurr, but the destructive winds and torrential rain caused Adani to release a large amount of contaminated water into the adjacent wetlands and ocean.

On Sunday April 9 the Mackay Conservation Group published on their facebook page a before and after photo of the Abbot Point export coal terminal owned by Adani, and part of the Caley Valley wetlands adjacent to it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ambitious plan to bend global emissions curve by 2020, while Australia continues Adani coal push



At Google HQ in London an ambitious plan was launched by former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres to accelerate climate action and bend the global emissions curve down by 2020.

Figueres outlined six areas where action was needed to make 2020 a real turning point in the global emissions trend. For the last 3 years global emissions have been flat despite rising global GDP, a sign that economies are increasingly becoming disengaged from processes of carbon pollution.

While in Australia the Liberal National Party Federal Government lead by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is keenly supporting the Adani Carmichael coal mine development, supported by the Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Greens dare criticize coal and climate policies during #CycloneDebbie


Original article published at nofibs.com.au

Those uppity Greens are daring to speak about climate change while severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie beat the shit out of the Whitsunday Islands (Read this report of Hamilton Island), Proserpine and Bowen, and now threatens extensive flooding from torrential rainfall for central and SE coastal Queensland.

The accusatory tone from Malcolm Turnbull and other Liberal government ministers is 'How dare you try to politicise an extreme weather event, when we should all be pulling together.', while they conveniently forget the South Australian storms in September 2016 which resulted in a system black which they conveniently and erroneously immediately blamed on the fault of the wind turbines in South Australia.

They have continued to prosecute an attack on wind energy and South Australia, despite a BOM report blaming the primary cause as the cyclonic storm with 260km per hour wind gusts. AEMO also put the primary cause as the destructive winds destroying transmission towers, but also identified in the final report that automatic wind generator protection settings (since updated) contributed to the System Black event.

No pulling together for South Australia, Queensland, or in fact all of Australia, in it's time of need to resolve the lack of coherence in energy and climate policies.

Is there the taint of hypocrisy here? You bet.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Coral, climate change, storm surges and #CycloneDebbie


Article originally published at nofibs.com.au

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is forecast to cross Central Queensland coast on Tuesday morning as a Category 4 Severe tropical cyclone. It will bring destructive winds greater than 200km per hour plus a storm surge with a king tide innundating low lying coastal properties, and torrential rain causing flooding. It is also cooling sections of the Great Barrier Reef reducing coral bleaching from an extensive and long lasting marine heatwave.

Update: 25,000 people in Mackay ordered to evacuate due to storm surge threat.
Update: Coal mines and coal ports affected.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie draws heat from the unusually warm waters of the Coral Sea. This will help it increase in intensity to achieve possibly Category 4, and an outside chance as a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone before it strikes land.

It is the first tropical cyclone to strike the north Queensland coast since Cyclone Nathan in March 2015. Although it may not be as strong, it is being compared in size and extent to the Category 5 cyclone Yasi from 2011.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Keppel Prince expands wind tower production with 50 new jobs at Portland



The focus on boosting renewables in Victoria through the VRET by the Andrews Labor Government is already boosting regional jobs in Portland at the Keppel Prince Engineering wind tower fabrication plant.

The Andrews Labor Government is assisting Portland engineering and manufacturing firm Keppel Prince Engineering with a $1.97 million expansion of the company's wind tower fabrication facility. This will create 50 new jobs to add to the 80 local wind tower manufacturing jobs.

Keppel Prince is Australia’s largest, and Victoria’s only, wind tower manufacturer. The wind tower division currently manufactures 110 wind towers per year, supplying them for wind farm projects across the country.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Victoria pioneering climate just transition package for Hazelwood coal workers



A special $20 million worker transfer package was announced today for workers affected by the closure of Engie's Hazelwood Power Station. This will allow early retirement for workers at other LaTrobe Power stations creating places for Hazelwood workers that want to continue their careers in power generation.

This transfer package is an important component of a suite of support mechanisms being put into place for the community, a part of a just transition being pioneered by the Victorian government driven by the necessity to move to zero carbon emissions by climate change.

“We will always stand up for the Latrobe Valley and with the worker transfer scheme for Hazelwood workers, we are doing just that. This is great news for jobs and for Hazelwood workers and their families.” said the Premier Daniel Andrews.

This particular scheme will cost $20 million to assist around 150 retrenched Hazelwood workers to remain in the power industry. In the first instance, employment transfer to AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A will be facilitated, but later transfers to Engie's Loy Yang B may be available.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Community campaign wins permanent #fracking ban in Victoria


Article first published at nofibs.com.au

To ensure it's clean green reputation of it's agricultural sector, and to guarantee the health of rural farming communities Victoria became the first Australian state officially banning fracking. It was motivated by a strong community lead campaign for a ban on gas exploration from 2011.

Legislation was passed in the Victorian Legislative Council, the upper house of the Victorian parliament, for a permanent legislative ban on fracking. Victoria’s agriculture sector employs more than 190,000 people and relies on it's clean and green reputation.

The legislation was passed without amendment. The Coalition parties and Shooters and Farmers Party sought to amend the legislation regarding the onshore conventional gas exploration moratorium, but were defeated 20 votes to 18. Sex Party MLC Fiona Pattern and Western Region independent MLC James Purcell gave crucial support, along with the Greens, for passage of the bill.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Solar Feed-in minimum tariff to double for Victorian Solar citizens



The minimum Feed-in tariff for solar PV owners in Victoria will more than double due to changes the Dan Andrews Labor Government has made to the regulation of pricing for solar PV owners.

Current minimum feed-in rate is 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Victoria’s independent regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC), has determined the new feed-in rate will be 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour and will apply from 1st July.

About 130,000 solar citizens will reap the benefit of this increased Feed-in tarriff.

“With this new feed-in tariff, the Andrews Labor Government is ensuring that households with solar panels are more fairly compensated for the power they send back into the grid.” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Community Energy Congress 2017 in Melbourne



Great energy and vibrancy at the Community Energy Congress in Melbourne.

Community Energy Congress is in Melbourne talking about the community role in transition to renewable energy. Check out the program.


Keep up with the twitter gossip and commentary from the Community Energy Congress in Melbourne Day 1, Monday 27 February 2017 below: