Tag: climate change

Periods of extreme heat in 2019 bookend Australia’s warmest and driest year on record

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 9 January: The year 2019 was Australia’s warmest and driest year on record. This is revealed in the Annual Climate Statement 2019 of the Bureau of Metrology released today. The revelations are a big cause of concern amidst Australia’s drought and worst bushfires which have spilled into 2020. It’s connection to climate change remains potent.

Environmentalists have been warning of the dangers of climate change which continues to be denied at the highest levels. What tragedies are in the offing for humans and other living beings in the near future can be anybody’s guess.

The Statement details the Bureau’s official summary of the previous year and includes information on temperature, rainfall and significant weather.

The Statement reveals, “Australia’s mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.

Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.”

Australia’s mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.

Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.

“Most of this year, Australia’s climate has been dominated by a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which acted to both warm and dry Australia’s landscape, particularly from around the middle of the year.

“We also saw the influence of a rare Sudden Stratospheric Warming event high above the south pole, which acted to push our weather systems northward and compound the warmer and drier than average conditions over southern Queensland and New South Wales during spring, amplifying the fire weather.

“The other key factor at play is that Australia’s climate has warmed by more than a degree since 1910, which means very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur, while the trend in recent decades has been for drier winter and spring seasons in the south.”

Last year also saw some periods of significant rain in northern Queensland and northwest Western Australia.

“In January and February, we saw exceptional rainfall have a major impact on communities in northern Queensland, particularly around Townsville.

“The floodwaters were so significant they eventually made their way to South Australia, where we saw one of the largest fillings of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre in many years.”

In recent weeks, some of the key drivers of the recent warm and dry patterns over Australia have eased. As a result, rainfall for the coming months is expected to be average to below average in the east, while wetter than average conditions are possible for much of Western Australia and South Australia. However, temperatures are likely to remain warmer than average over the rest of summer.

“Unfortunately the outlook is not indicating a widespread return to wetter than average conditions over drought and fire-affected parts of eastern Australia. But with the likely return of the monsoon by mid-January for northern Australia, it raises the chance that we could see some periods of higher rainfall move south in the coming months,” Dr Braganza said.

“It’s important the community remains vigilant to the risk of more heat and fire days this summer, particularly given how dry the country has been over the past 12 months.”

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Adani opens solar farm near Moranbah amidst climate protests at Haughton river site

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Photo: Adani Renewals

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 31 October: Adani Australia today announced first renewables project in Australia, a 65 MW solar farm in central Queensland which has been officially switched on. The project is powering more than 23,000 regional Queensland homes and businesses, says an Adani Renewables media release today.

Located near Moranbah in central Queensland, Rugby Run solar farm’s 247,000 solar panels makes it the eighth largest solar farm in Queensland and a significant contributor in renewable energy production for Queensland.

The announcement comes amidst reports of climate activists this morning disrupting work on BMD’s site at Haughton River just south of Townsville, calling on the construction company to cut ties with Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine.

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Photo: Frontline Action On Coal

A press statement emailed today by the Frontline Action on Coal to the SAT says, “A group of 25 people stopped work by blocking the gates to BMD’s site on the Haughton River floodplain upgrade just off the Bruce Highway. BMD is contracted to work on the construction of Adani’s Carmichael rail line.”

Frontline Action on Coal Spokesperson Andrea Valenzuela said “businesses like BMD can no longer defend working on destructive fossil fuel projects like Adani’s mine as ‘just doing their job’. The choice is between drastic climate action or accepting responsibility for the wilful destruction of our planet.

Adani CEO Lucas Dow was joined by Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker to officially open the solar farm in Moranbah today.

“We are delighted to officially open the Adani Rugby Run solar farm today, adding an Australian arm to our already significant international renewables portfolio,” Mr Dow said.
“People are often surprised when we say we’re in the renewables business, but the reality is that we recognize the world needs a reliable and affordable energy mix of both coal and renewables in order to meet current and future global energy demand, “he said.

VIDEO: The Australian Govt’s plan for the Great Barrier #Reef is a sham: Greenpeace

Source: #GreenpeaceAP

Believe It or Not, Pulses Reduce Gas Emissions!

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A key message of the 2016 International Year of Pulses is that pulses are highly nutritious—the little seeds are packed with nutrients, and are a fantastic source of protein. Photo: Courtesy of FAO

ROME, Sep 6 2016 (IPS) – Lentils, beans, chick peas, and other pulses often produce negative “collateral social effects” on people hanging around, just a couple of hours after eating them. But, believe it or not, they contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. How come?

See the facts: it is estimated that globally, some 190 million hectares of pulses contribute to five to seven million tonnes of nitrogen in soils. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, they need less fertilizer, both organic and synthetic and, in this way, they play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

And pulses are very popular-the global production of pulses increased from 64 million hectares in 1961 to almost 86 million in 2014.

These facts, which have been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), also tell that, additionally, when included in livestock feed, pulses’ high protein content contributes to increase the food conversion ratio while decreasing methane emissions from ruminants, thus at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This good news reveals how far this UN specialised agency is concerned about the impact of climate change on food security.

Climate change has a huge impact on global food production and food security, it says. “Changing weather patterns can cause an increase in natural disasters like droughts, floods, hurricanes, which can impact every level of food production.”

Unless urgent and sustainable measures are established, climate change will continue to put pressure on agricultural ecosystems, particularly in regions and for populations that are particularly vulnerable, warns FAO while informing about the so called climate-smart varieties of pulses.

On this, it emphasises the fact that pulses have a broad genetic diversity from which improved varieties can be selected and bred. This diversity is a particularly important attribute because more climate-resilient strains can be developed for use in areas prone to floods, droughts and other extreme weather events.

Pulses and Agroforestry

Added to all the above, agroforestry systems that include pulses such as pigeon peas grown at the same time as other crops, do help sustain the food security of farmers, by helping them to diversify their sources of income, FAO reports.

And “agroforestry systems are more able to withstand climate extremes as pulses are hardier than most crops and help to nourish the soil. When using these systems, farmers see an increase in crop productivity that extends to subsequent crop yields.”

It is significant that the United Nations has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses and held in April this year in Marrakesh, Morocco, an International Conference on Pulses for Health, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture in Drylands that came out with the “Morocco Declaration on Pulses as Solutions toFood and Nutrition Security, Agricultural Sustainability and Climate ChangeAdaptation.”

The conference gathered world science experts to find a path forward for boosting pulses production in developing countries through measures in science, research for development investments, policy and markets.

The Morocco Declaration recommends to increase global pulses production by 20 per cent from the current level by 2030 through closing the yield gaps, expansion in new niches that include intensification of rice fallows with pulses, and short season windows in existing intensive cropping systems.

t recognises that pulses production has significantly lagged behind the rising demand in the developing world in spite of many benefits of pulses, which are a “win-win for people and the environment – healthier soils, low carbon and water footprints, and greater household nutritional security, while also generating extra income for farmers.”

But What Are Pulses?…

In case you do not have enough information, FAO has elaborated the following set of facts.

To start with, pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.

But they do not include crops, which are harvested green (e.g. green peas, green beans)—these are classified as vegetable crops. Also excluded are those crops used mainly for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnuts) and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (e.g. seeds of clover and alfalfa).

You probably already eat more pulses than you realise! Popular pulses include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. Chickpeas, cow peas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas are also pulses, as are all varieties of lentils.

Staples dishes and cuisines from across the world feature pulses, from hummus in the Mediterranean (chick peas), to a traditional full English breakfast (baked navy beans) to Indian dal (peas or lentils).

… And Why Are They Important?

Pulses are essential crops for a number of reasons. They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, making them an ideal source of protein particularly in regions where meat and dairy are not physically or economically accessible.

Pulses are low in fat and rich in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol and help in the control of blood sugar. Because of these qualities they are recommended by health organisations for the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Pulses have also been shown to help combat obesity.

For farmers, pulses are an important crop because they can be both sold and consumed by the farmers and their families. Having the option to eat and sell the pulses they grow helps farmers maintain household food security and creates economic stability.

Furthermore, the nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases and extends the productivity of the farmland. By using pulses for inter cropping and cover crops, farmers can also promote farm biodiversity and soil biodiversity, while keeping harmful pests and diseases at bay.

Pulses can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing dependence on the synthetic fertilisers used to introduce nitrogen artificially into the soil.

Faith leaders call G-20 to act on climate change

Faiths

By News Desk

Melbourne, 12 November : Faith leaders from across the religious spectrum have issued a joint call for G20 leaders to act on climate change, end fossil fuel subsidies and rapidly transition to a low carbon economy.
Clergy and leaders from Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Indigenous communities will hold a press conference in a Brisbane church close to where G20 leaders are meeting.
Organised by the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), they are calling on country representatives to recognise the clear connection between economics and climate.
Prominent figures from a range of communities have signed a joint letter in which they describe fossil fuel subsidies as a “perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere”: Subsidies operate as a perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere, to deplete and pollute precious water sources, pollute the air and create significant health problems.
Bishop Professor Stephen Pickard of the Anglican Church said: “There is a moral imperative to act. A number of the G20 leaders claim to be people of faith yet their collective failure to act on climate change is morally reprehensible. The present situation demands that we transition quickly to lifestyles that respect the physicals limits of the natural world.”
Dr Mohamad Abdalla, Director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University, said: “There must be a concerted effort, even in developing countries, to shift boldly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. But this is being thwarted by government subsidies for fossil fuel companies, giving these companies an unfair advantage. Governments are essentially providing incentives for companies whose products are destroying the biosphere.”
Sister Geraldine Kearney, representing Catholic Religious Australia, said: “While wealthy countries are spending $50 – 90 billion USD annually on subsidies for fossil fuels, most are failing to put more than the most basic amounts on the table to meet their Climate Finance commitments. These leaders have a moral obligation to act.”
The fossil fuel lobby, including Peabody Energy and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), are resisting the call for change. In Brisbane they are actively promoting the message that fossil fuels are an indispensable necessity if developing countries wish to lift their people out of poverty.
Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism said: “This is a biased claim from an industry that is fighting for its own survival. Developing countries themselves recognise the wisdom of basing their development on renewables wherever possible. Their people are already suffering as a result of climate change.”

Aunty Togiab McRose Elu, Elder in Residence at Griffith University said: “Global warming isn’t just a theory in Torres Strait, it’s lapping at people’s doorsteps. The world desperately needs a binding international agreement including an end to fossil fuel subsidies. G20 countries should be leading the way.”

Professor Raja Jayaraman, Vice-Chair, Hindu Council of Australia, said: “Fossil fuels are causing significant health problems in places such as China and India as well as Australia. Meanwhile the price of renewables has come down dramatically and lend themselves to small-scale, decentralised energy delivery systems which are more accessible to impoverished communities.”

Mr Kim Hollow, President of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils said: “We know that the G20 leaders are pursuing greater prosperity. However, true prosperity cannot be created without care and respect for people and the environment. It is this integral vision for humanity and the earth which accords with the deepest roots of the world’s religious traditions.”

- SAT News Service.