How a possible two-metre sea level rise would flood thousands of Melbourne homes | The Age

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Melbourne face a bigger risk of tidal flooding by century's end, and major roads, tram routes and industrial areas could disappear under water due to future sea level rises, new modelling shows.

The updated modelling of possible sea level rises caused by climate change predicts Victoria's coastline could be hit by sea level rises of two metres or more by 2100, due to the rapid melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

A two-metre rise would flood several low-lying suburbs in Melbourne including South Melbourne, Albert Park, Port Melbourne, Southbank, Docklands, Altona, Williamstown, Elwood, St Kilda, Seaford, Carrum, Bonbeach and Aspendale. Large areas in Geelong and the seaside towns of Barwon Heads, Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale would also be heavily inundated at high tide by century's end, it is predicted.

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Winds of change? Why offshore wind might be the next big thing | McKinsey & Co

The landscapes of Rembrandt glow with the great painter’s rendering of light. And they are distinctive for another reason: windmills are everywhere. As far back as the 13th century, the Dutch used windmills to drain their land and power their economy. And now, 800 years later, the Netherlands is again in the vanguard of what could be the next big thing, not only in wind power but also in the global energy system as a whole: offshore wind.

In December, the Netherlands approved a bid for its cheapest offshore project yet—€54.50 per megawatt-hour, for a site about 15 miles off the coast. Just five months before, the winning bid for the same site was €72.70. Denmark has gone even further, with an auction in November 2016 seeing a then record-winning bid of €49.90 per megawatt-hour, half the level of 2014.

Europe, which has provided considerable economic and regulatory support, accounts for more than 90 percent of global capacity. As a result, Europe now has a maturing supply chain, a high level of expertise, and strong competition; it is possible that offshore wind could be competitive with other sources within a decade. By 2026, the Dutch government expects that its offshore auctions will feature no subsidies at all. But it might be even sooner: in the April 2017 German auction, the average winning bid for the projects was far below expectations, and even less than the Danish record set only six months before. Some of the bids were won at the wholesale electricity price, meaning no subsidy is required.

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Climate change poses ‘nightmare scenario’ for Florida coast, Bloomberg warns | Think Progress

“Pessimists selling to optimists.” That’s how one former Florida coastal property owner describes the current state of the market in a must-read Bloomberg story.

Right now, science and politics don’t favor the optimists. The disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is speeding up, providing increasing evidence we are headed for the worst-case scenario of sea level rise — three to six feet (or more) by 2100.

The impacts are already visible in South Florida. “Tidal flooding now predictably drenches inland streets, even when the sun is out, thanks to the region’s porous limestone bedrock,” explains Bloomberg. “Saltwater is creeping into the drinking water supply.”

At the same time, President Trump is working to thwart both domestic and international climate action while slashing funding for coastal adaptation and monitoring. E&E News reported earlier this month that the EPA has already “disbanded its climate change adaptation program” and reassigned all the workers.

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CalPERS' Climate Risk Reporting Proposal Passes At Occidental | MondoVisione

Vicki Hollub, president and CEO, Occidental Petrol

Vicki Hollub, president and CEO, Occidental Petrol

The California Public Employees' Retirement System's (CalPERS) climate risk reporting shareowner resolution, Proposal #5, passed today (13th May) at the annual shareowner meeting of Occidental Petroleum.

The resolution requires the international oil and gas company to report on environmental risks and opportunities associated with climate change. It was co-filed by CalPERS and other investors, including Wespath Investment Management, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the New York State and Connecticut pension funds.

"The passing of this resolution is a sign of progress. It is a first in the United States," said Anne Simpson, CalPERS investment director, sustainability. "The vote at Occidental demonstrates an understanding among shareowners that climate change reporting is an essential element to corporate governance. I believe that we will see many more companies move in this direction. This vote shows that investors are serious about understanding climate risk."

The proposal at Occidental Petroleum calls for an assessment of the company's portfolio under the "2 Degree Scenario." This assessment will include:

  • Long-term impacts due to climate change
  • Short and long-term financial risks of a lower carbon economy
  • Evaluation of resources based on changes to demand and pricing
  • Public policy positions relating to climate change

CalPERS believes companies should provide accurate and timely disclosure of environmental risks and opportunities associated with climate change. As outlined in CalPERS' Investment Beliefs (PDF), the System believes the effective management of environmental factors, including those related to climate change risk, increases the likelihood that companies will perform well over the long-term.

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for nearly 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $320 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.

The Doomsday Glacier | Rolling Stones

The trouble with Thwaites, which is one of the largest glaciers on the planet, is that it's also what scientists call "a threshold system." That means instead of melting slowly like an ice cube on a summer day, it is more like a house of cards: It's stable until it is pushed too far, then it collapses. When a chunk of ice the size of Pennsylvania falls apart, that's a big problem. It won't happen overnight, but if we don't slow the warming of the planet, it could happen within decades. And its loss will destabilize the rest of the West Antarctic ice, and that will go too. Seas will rise about 10 feet in many parts of the world; in New York and Boston, because of the way gravity pushes water around the planet, the waters will rise even higher, as much as 13 feet. "West Antarctica could do to the coastlines of the world what Hurricane Sandy did in a few hours to New York City," explains Richard Alley, a geologist at Penn State University and arguably the most respected ice scientist in the world. "Except when the water comes in, it doesn't go away in a few hours – it stays."

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Investors worth $20 trillion call for climate change action | SMH

Some of the world's biggest investors have pleaded with governments of the world's largest economies, including Australia, to stick with their commitments to tackle climate change and to introduce carbon pricing to help achieve them.

There is strong speculation that American President Donald Trump could renege on his country's commitments under the Paris Accord signed in 2015, which aimed to hold temperature rises well below 2 degrees Celsius.

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Pathways and obstacles to a low-carbon economy | McKinsey and Company

Technological advances and falling prices are driving the momentum toward low-carbon energy production across the globe. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey partner Arnout de Pee and Lord Adair Turner, chair of the Energy Transitions Commission and the Institute for New Economic Thinking, speak with McKinsey Publishing’s Cait Murphy about the shift toward renewable resources and the future of sustainable development.

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Most global investors recognise financial risk of climate change, report finds | The Guardian

For the first time a majority of global investor heavyweights recognise the financial risks of climate change, according to the results of a major global index rating how investors manage such risks.

But despite the advances, the Asset Owner Disclosure Project chairman, John Hewson, has warned there is still an “enormous resistance” to managing climate risk.

The AODP releases its fifth global index on Wednesday, ranking the world’s largest 500 asset owners and, for the first time, the 50 largest asset managers on their performance managing financial risks associated with climate change.

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AUSTRALIA’S ENERGY: How did we get into this mess? And what do we do to get out of it?

Australia appears to have converted a national advantage – cheap and plentiful energy – into a national energy crisis, for business and consumers. We ask – how did this happen? And is there a way out!

Join the John Cain Foundation for a lively discussion with two experts in energy policy and pricing.

Journalist and writer Tim Colebatch will facilitate a discussion between energy experts Tony Wood, Grattan Institute, and Alan Pears, RMIT University. A Q&A will follow presentations by the speakers.

Join us for drinks at 5pm prior to the presentations.

Wednesday 3rd May, 5.30 to 7.30 pm

Graduate House University of Melbourne
220 Leicester Street

To book


About the speakers

Tony Wood - Tony has deep experience in the energy sector. Prior to joining Grattan Institute in 2011, he worked at Origin Energy for 11 years, and was an adviser to the first Garnaut climate change review. He was also program director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation. 

Tim Colebatch - Tim is a freelance journalist and writer, mostly writing on economic and political issues for the website Inside Story. He earlier spent four decades writing for The Age, the last half of them as economics editor and columnist. He is the biographer of former Victorian Premier Sir Rupert Hamer (Dick Hamer: the liberal Liberal), and recently won the Melbourne Press Club's Quills award as the best columnist of 2016.

Alan Pears AM - Alan Pears AM is a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT University and consultant. Alan is a well-known researcher, commentator and educator on energy policy issues, in particular related to energy efficiency, clean energy policy, energy markets and climate policy. He has worked in this field for 40 years, with governments, businesses and community groups. Alan worked in Victorian energy agencies from 1980 to 1991, and has worked on energy and climate policy and program development across Australia since then.

Bloomberg to world leaders: Ignore Trump on climate | CNBC

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg urged world leaders not to follow President Donald Trump's lead on climate change and declared his intention to help save an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Bloomberg, who considered a presidential bid after serving three terms as New York City's mayor, addressed his intensifying focus on climate change in an interview with The Associated Press.

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Adani coalmine at heightened risk of becoming a stranded asset, report says | The Guardian

The risk of the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine becoming a stranded asset has increased in the last 12 months, according to a new report.  The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), says the Carmichael project is likely to be “cash flow negative” for the majority its operating life, even with concessional loans. The IEEFA’s new report, Adani’s Remote Prospects, warns Adani Enterprises is not in a strong financial position.

It has thrown into doubt the wisdom of lending the project $1bn worth of taxpayers’ dollar through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

It comes a week after John Hewson, a former Liberal party leader, warned the Carmichael coalmine was already a “stranded asset” and the last thing the Turnbull government should be doing is lending Adani $1bn. 

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British power generation achieves first ever coal-free day | The Guardian

Friday was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid.

The control room tweeted the milestone on Friday. It is the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period for Britain since use of the fossil fuel began. West Burton 1 power station, the only coal-fired plant that had been up and running, went offline on Thursday.

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Coalition of 17 states challenges Trump over climate change policy | The Guardian

A coalition of 17 US states filed a legal challenge on Wednesday against efforts by Donald Trump’s administration to roll back climate change regulations, deepening a political rift over his emerging energy policies.

Led by New York state, the coalition said the administration has a legal duty to regulate emissions of the gases scientists believe cause global climate change.

“The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants,” New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the challenge.

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Miami’s fight against rising seas | BBC

Just down the coast from Donald Trump's weekend retreat, the residents and businesses of south Florida are experiencing regular episodes of water in the streets. In the battle against rising seas, the region – which has more to lose than almost anywhere else in the world – is becoming ground zero. 

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Age of Consequences Speaking Tour - Sherri Goodman

The Buzzfeed story lead says it all: “Meet the woman whose two-word catchphrase made the military care about climate” . That woman is Sherri Goodman, and she will be in Australia in early April. 
The national security dimension of climate change receives little attention in Australia, but is the subject of intense focus overseas, particularly in the United States. Climate change interacts with other pre-existing problems to become an accelerant to instability in unexpected ways. Scarce resources, growing water scarcity, declining crop yields, rising food prices, extreme weather events and health impacts become catalysts for instability and conflict, especially in Asia. This has profound implications for Australia, economically and socially, quite apart from the climate change impact on Australia itself.

The Age of Consequences is a gripping documentary film investigating the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.

Critically acclaimed and recently shown on ABC Four Corners, this showing is also a chance to hear Sherri Goodman, a member of the cast, and a panel of experts discuss the issues in person. 

Through an unflinching case-study analysis, an insider group of distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines. From the conflict in Syria and the European refugee crisis, to the social unrest of the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS, The Age of Consequences lays bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions and spark conflict.

It makes the compelling case that if we go on with business as usual, the consequences of climate change will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century.

“Age of Consequences” speaking tour with Sherri Goodman.

SYDNEY - Tuesday 4 April, Tickets and more info here

CANBERRA - Wednesday  5 April, Tickets and more info here

MELBOURNE - Thursday 6 April, Tickets and more info here

Cyclone the size of Debbie could be catastrophic for Gold Coast, modelling shows | SMH

A cyclone the size of Debbie could have catastrophic consequences on the Gold Coast, new modelling has shown, as climate change pushes cyclones further south and puts tens of billions of dollars worth of infrastructure at risk. 

Actuaries, who predict and model scenarios for banks and insurers, have warned properties could become "uninsurable" as premiums rise to meet environmental challenges. Debbie devastated northern Queensland and swept floods into NSW which caused $1 billion in damage, forced 30,000 people to evacuate and took two lives.  More

New trailer for Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ sequel shows President Trump as climate change villain | Washington Post

The trailer for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” the second film in Al Gore’s franchise of climate change documentaries, depicts President Trump as an antagonist. The clip that Gore shared via Twitter on Wednesday shows the president at an airport rally held last April in Rochester, N.Y., where then-candidate Trump mocks the climate science consensus.

“It’s supposed to be 70 degrees today,” Trump says. “It’s freezing here! Speaking of global warming, where is — we need some global warming!” More

Need for transparency as 'slush fund' allegations get bandied about | Lenore Taylor

We don’t yet know whether the $5bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will be – as was alleged in parliament this week – a “slush fund” used to pursue the government’s “pro-coal agenda”. But we do know some government ministers are absolutely determined to promote coal mining and generation – in particular the Indian conglomerate Adani’s $21bn Carmichael coal mine in Queensland – without a thought for how it will contribute to the global warming that is bleaching the Great Barrier Reef up and down the Queensland coastline and increasing the intensity of cyclones. 

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It's Time for Asset Managers to Step Up on Climate Change | Morningstar

Asset managers have a huge role to play in making this happen (transitioning to a low-carbon economy). Not just as corporate citizens themselves but as long-term stewards of trillions of dollars of investor capital, they have a huge stake in maintaining long-term political and economic system stability, especially in a globalized economy in which large public companies do business all over the world while the reach of sovereign governments is limited. If the global financial system itself isn't sustainable over the long run, neither will be their investments.

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How AEMO’s new boss will reform Australia’s energy vision | Renew Economy

Audrey Zibelman, the new chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator, has been in the job for little over a week, but is already making her mark, signalling the biggest shift in energy management philosophy in a generation.

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