Monday, 10 December, 2018

Australia refuses to abandon coal despite IPCC warning

The consequences of climate change are real READ MORE'We're not on track: Major climate change report pushes for 1.5C cap
Kristen Harrington | 11 October, 2018, 05:39

In the United States, people in positions of power have known about human-caused climate change and its impacts for decades.

Earlier this year Governor Brown issued executive orders to improve the health of the state's forests and help mitigate the threat and impacts of wildfire, and get 5 million zero-emission vehicles onto California's roads by 2030. It's called the 2-degree goal.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) both weighed in on the report, saying that as of now, the world is not even on course to achieving the 2C benchmark, let alone a lower target. So can we do it?

Senator Wong said "the government's own data shows they will fail to meet their already inadequate Paris targets with pollution rising all the way to 2030".

So with all that in mind, is it possible for the world to quit coal in time?

Despite Australia's coal habit, the country is also home to the world's largest grid-connected battery, a Tesla system connected to a wind farm in South Australia.

Australia has more than 21 coal-fired power stations in operation, and still relies heavily on coal for electricity.

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The report has received a lukewarm response by Australia's center-right government.

Melissa Price, the federal Environment Minister, said the government would consider the IPCC report, saying the government "is committed to the Paris Agreement and takes its global obligations seriously".

The IPCC report says failing to prevent just an extra degree of heat could expose millions and ecosystems to life-threatening conditions in the next few decades. "We have a world where there's inequity and inequality".

Tim Buckley said Japan has been slow to act, but has had a recent change of heart. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge. The first and second quarter of this year showed less coal produced than in each of the similar quarters last year.

"India is really exciting".

The country's previous prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, abandoned emissions reductions targets that the nation had agreed to, and Australia's renewable energy targets are set to expire in 2020.

With the U.S.as one of the top carbon dioxide-polluting nations, Trump's disregard for climate change could have disastrous consequences for the world - and for American security, experts say. That makes the company the fourth major USA coal supplier to file for bankruptcy in recent years due to the significant decline in coal use.

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Of Australia's reliance on coal as an export, he said: "We can turn the ship around".

Not every country is bailing out of coal.

Coal will further be hamstrung by the flight of capital from the sector, with commercial and development banks, insurers and trading companies starting to retreat from financing and insuring mines and power plants.

But given that once built, coal-fired plants generally operate for at least 30 years, it would be imperative that virtually all construction is halted now, and no new plants commissioned. The report describes increasingly severe food shortages and wildfires as well as widespread coral reef deaths if nothing is done about the current emissions levels. World transportation systems must be transformed from fossil fuels to electric to take advantage of that shift to renewables.

In these climate change "hotspots" - prone to droughts and floods - local warming and drying will be greater than the global average.

Still, Australia ranks only fourth for economic coal resources, with the US, Russia, and China ahead of it.

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