Can Tasmania provide leadership on climate change?

Political turmoil in Canberra in recent weeks has once again thrown the spotlight on Australia’s response to the Paris COP Agreement – where individual nations have agreed to take leadership in order to help restrain global emissions.

Tasmania’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

The Coalition’s internal schism over climate policy and Canberra’s subsequent withdrawal from renewable energy targets and other important components of national climate policy have resulted in a refocus on where state and local governments can pick up the pieces.

These rather tumultuous events have coincided with an impending review of Tasmania’s main climate Act – the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008, due to be debated in parliament in coming weeks.

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Don’t try to fix traffic congestion

Speakers at Climate Tasmania’s well attended July 5 transport forum warned that trying to fix traffic congestion by catering for more cars is a costly and never ending, futile exercise.

Dr Eliot Fishman (Institute for Sensible Transport) and Professor Jason Byrd (UTAS Professor of Human Geography and Planning) focussed on transport presenting an expansive matrix of solutions – taking into account multiple related issues of urban design, human health and equity, climate change and economy.

The forum can be viewed below in its entirety. Dr Fishman’s presentations starts here. Professor Byrd’s presentation starts here. The Q & A sessions starts here. Peter Boyer’s summing up is here. (The speakers’ presentations are embedded in the video.)

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Transport Forum – July 5

Many factors mesh together to create liveable, vibrant, sustainable cities and regions.
We need to get beyond simplistic engineering solutions to today’s traffic problems.

Here’s an opportunity to think • community health • social equity • climate change • technology and • people’s livelihoods…. all these being integral to a future transport matrix that serves the whole community. It’s ours to imagine and work for.

[Click on graphic to enlarge]

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Tasmanian transport emissions

A necessary debate that Tasmania needs to have regarding climate policy is about how we get around.

Our electricity generation mostly being hydro-electric power, it is often mistakenly presumed that the best individual vehicle choice is to ‘go electric’. The chart below demonstrates that unless Tasmania achieves at least 100 percent renewable reliance in its power supply, then this may not be the case.

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Snapshot of Tas power supply and demand

Below is the latest power generation snapshot facility kindly provided by Nemwatch.

By hovering your cursor over the coloured bars you can now see not only how much power is currently being generated in Tasmania from various sources, you can now also compare this to statewide power demand that’s happening at that same time.

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The growing human cost of climate change

To illustrate that climate change is happening apace, science has told us a lot about melting glaciers, habitat losses, unseasonable weather all over the globe, rising sea temperatures, Arctic melting… all of this with voluminous supporting data.

Yet as we now approach 2018, twenty two meetings of COP (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) the nations of the world have barely come to terms with the global climate change challenge, and in the public arena climate change is relegated well down the public’s concern rankings. Why is this so?
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Energy Security Taskforce report now public.

The final report of Tasmanian Energy Security Taskforce (set up in the wake of Basslink breakdown) has been released.

Disel generators brought in to prop up Tasmania’s power system during 2016 (ABC photo)

Climate Tasmania is generally pleased with the findings, in particular that it acknowledges and summarises the actual negative impact that climate change is imposing on the state’s hydro-electric system – an issue that has had little public exposure to date.

Below is the extract describing the issue of declining runoff from the Taskforce’s summary report.

The Climate Tasmania group has on several occasions raised this climate-related trend in our submissions.

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An Inconvenient Sequel – now showing

A decade after An Inconvenient Truth (2006) brought climate change into the heart of popular culture now comes the follow-up film: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017).

Amongst other things it shows what has elapsed in the past ten years and just how close we may be to a real energy revolution.

In Hobart it’s now showing at the State Theatre. See session times here.

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Heat wave off Tasmania coast persists

Scientists who have analysed data from September 2015 to May 2016 have produced a report on the damaging East Coast hotspot and conclude that as well as it being the most intense, it was the longest recorded off Tasmania’s east coast.

“Through the summer period, at least in the peak of the summer, we would see something like about 16 to 17 degrees Celsius and we saw it up to about 19.5 degrees Celsius,” climatologist Neil Holbrook said.

See full ABC story here.

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Tasmanian government launches state climate strategy

The Tasmanian state government today launched the long awaited state climate change strategy today – ironically on the same day that the United States announced that it will pull out from the COP 21 Paris global climate pact.

Entitled “Climate Action 21”, the strategy was three years in the writing and purports to set out the Tasmanian government’s policy detail for addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation for the coming four years to 2021.

Climate Tasmania, along with a number of other bodies, submitted to the draft in 2015 and has been awaiting the publication of this document – its publication somewhat delayed owing to Tasmania having being caught up in a series of climate related energy crises during 2016.

In recent months Climate Tasmania has written to all state MPs appealing for them to work together so as to ensure that the climate change issue is dealt with in a less partisan manner.

To download a copy of the state strategy please click here

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