Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dont Give Up On Us


  1. Australia suffers most extreme warming

    The UN's World Meteorological Agency has found that this year Australia has had the most extreme warming of any country.



    Global heat headed for record

    Global temperatures are almost half a degree Celsius above the long-term average so far in 2013, putting this year on course to be among the 10 hottest since records began, the world's leading meteorological agency says.

    In a provisional statement on the global climate in 2013, the World Meteorological Organisation says the first nine months of this year tied with 2003 as the seventh hottest such period on record.

    The statement was released in Warsaw on Wednesday where countries are meeting for the latest round of negotiations on a new treaty to tackle global warming.

    In Australia, temperatures are on track for the hottest year on record. Australia's temperatures from January to October were 1.32 degrees above average, which annually is 21.8 degrees. The same period was 0.24 degrees above the next highest record – which occurred in 2005 – for January to October temperatures.


    Dr Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said it would take significantly below-average temperatures in November and December for a record hot year not to occur across the nation.

    The meteorological organisation's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, said all the warmest years across the planet had occurred since 1998, and 2013 once again continued the underlying long-term trend of warming.

    "The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998," he said. "Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012, and we expect them to reach unprecedented levels yet again in 2013. This means that we are committed to a warmer future."

    Global land and ocean temperatures are recorded by the organisation as about 0.48 degrees higher in January to September than the 1961-1990 average. The temperatures so far this year are the same as the average for 2001-10, the warmest decade on record.

    In other areas the extent of Arctic sea ice recovered slightly from record rates of melting last year, but 2013 was still one of the lowest years on record. Conversely in Antarctica, sea ice extent reached a record high in September. The organisation says Antarctica differs from the Arctic because it is land surrounded by open water, whereas the Arctic is comprised of water surrounded by land.

    Tropical cyclones numbers for 2013 are nearing the 1981-2010 average of 89 storms, with 86 so far this year.

  2. US pension fund CalPERS backs climate change activist's bid for spot on BHP Billiton board

    America's biggest pension fund has criticised BHP Billiton for backing the Federal Government's intended repeal of the carbon price.

    The California Public Employees Retirement System has described the apparent backflip on policy as a short-term fix that will contribute to a possible "climate catastrophe".

    With $US500 million in BHP Billiton shares, the fund known as CalPERS is flexing its muscle by backing former Shell executive Ian Dunlop's campaign to become one of the global miner's directors.

    Mr Dunlop is warning the impacts of climate change could give BHP Biliton a life-threatening whack.

    "It's going to take a big hit. I don't know when that will be exactly but you can see it coming," he told Lateline.

    "There is the chance of very substantial writedown of shareholder value because the challenge is actually really very acute."

    He fronted the recent BHP Billiton annual general meeting in London to ask shareholders to vote him on to the board.

    "Climate change has to be seen not as a second order environmental issue," he told the AGM.

    "It really has to be seen as fundamental to the future of the company."

    Mr Dunlop is well credentialed. He spent decades as a Shell executive, including as managing director of its Australian coal subsidiaries.

    He previously headed the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was chairman of former Prime Minister John Howard's expert group that designed an emissions trading scheme in 1999.

    Anne Simpson from CalPERS says Mr Dunlop is a good fit for BHP's board.

    "Ian Dunlop has a broad and impressive record in the industry and there's tremendous respect for him, not just in Australia, for the work he's done on corporate governance," she said.

    "He brings an enormous amount of skills and experience to the table."


  3. Clive Palmer's refinery in Queensland government's sights

    Clive Palmer's Townsville nickel refinery has less than a month to meet the government's environmental requirements.

    But the government is yet to work out the consequences if Queensland Nickel fails to meet its deadline.

    The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection approved a 'Transitional Environmental Program' for the refinery on January 11 this year, giving it until December 2 to address “major” water accumulation issues.

    The Yabulu Refinery's tailings dams, which stores the liquid by-product of its mining operations, were found to be dangerously close to spilling over.


    The TEP set down guidelines for the refinery to follow to lift the dams storage capacity, as well as improve its storm water control, which the government claimed was necessary to “provide a spill risk of less than 1 per cent through the 2012-14 wet season”.

    But Queensland Nickel have indicated to the government, that while progress has been made, they will not be able to meet the deadline.

    Premier Campbell Newman raised the issue during an interview on 612 ABC Brisbane on Wednesday, and said Mr Palmer had wanted to release “thousands and thousands and thousands” of litres of contaminated water into the Great Barrier Reef's waters.

    Environment minister Andrew Powell picked up the baton later in the day, telling Fairfax Media it was time for Mr Palmer to “stop playing politics” and address the issue.

    “I call on Mr Palmer to... stop making wild accusations and focus on what is important here- and that is ensuring his tailings dam facility is safe and poses no threat to the environment, or the Townsville community,” he said.

    Mr Powell said if Queensland Nickel did not meet the TEP requirements by the deadline, his department would “investigate the facts and circumstances around the matter” and would deal with any “non-compliance” in accordance to its guidelines.

    That would mean fines, as well as possible court action, but the government did not use specifics when discussing the north Queensland operation.

    A spokesman for Mr Palmer did not comment on the government's most recent attack, instead releasing the same statement Mr Palmer made last week, when The Australian reported on the issue, which was first made public earlier this year.

    “The facts are that QNI and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection voluntarily agreed to a Transitional Environmental Program (TEP) in January, 2013,” Mr Palmer said last week.

    “QNI is compliant with this TEP. The QNI staff have worked very hard since then to maintain its compliance through innovative solutions and continual improvements in water management. QNI is committed to the protection of both the environment and our local community.”

    But Mr Powell said Mr Palmer was “well aware” of how serious the situation was.

    “Last year Mr Palmer told ABC radio that if the tailings facility were to spill “wetlands would be destroyed, the fish breeding grounds would be destroyed and you would have serious carcinogens free to affect the people of Townsville so we're taking steps to ensure that doesn't happen.”